by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Californian on August 24, 1993
There has been much debate recently on the subject of whether or not small children should be permitted to see "Jurassic Park." As one of the nation's foremost child psychologists, I feel I must comment. No, they should not be allowed to see it. In fact, they shouldn't be allowed to see ANY movies, because they can't seem to shut up long enough to do it.
I go to the movies about once or twice a week, and it bothers me greatly when my viewing is disturbed by a child behind me who keeps talking, in a normal tone of voice, as if he (it's always a boy) thinks he's in his own living room, watching a movie on his own personal 32-foot TV screen. These children evidently do not have parents, which is good to know -- if I should do bodily harm to one of them someday, there will be no one around to get upset.
I recently saw "Jurassic Park" in Temecula with my mother (which I think boosts my credibility tremendously), and there was a pack of small children seated directly behind us. I'm quite certain that several of them had megaphones. One of the kids was about five, and he obviously did not understand many aspects of the movie. A five-year-old can only understand a few basic concepts, such as being potty-trained and tying his shoes. Bringing dinosaurs back from extinction via DNA-cloning and fossilized mosquitos is not something within the grasp of a five-year-old. Pooping is within the grasp of a five-year-old; science is not.
Anyway, since the movie was way over his head, this boy had to have many things explained. Anytime a difficult concept was presented (e.g., the Tyrannosaurus rex eating the lawyer), he would express his confusion via the following statement: "What?" Then his brother, or uncle, or kidnapper, or whatever he was, would explain the concept to the little boy using this basic format: "The T rex just ate the lawyer." Then the boy would understand and watch the movie for approximately one second, at which point he would fail to understand something else, thus requiring further dialogue between him and his companion. I occasionally jumped into the conversation by turning around and glaring at them. This did not help, even though it is stated quite clearly in the movie-going rule book that if someone turns around and glares at you, you have to shut up. They apparently had not heard this rule, or, perhaps, they had heard it and the five-year-old just didn't understand it. ("What?")
But it is not just children who shouldn't be allowed to see movies. No sir or madam, there are many fully-grown adults who also should be denied admittance. Two of them sat across the aisle from me during the aforementioned viewing of "Jurassic Park." It was a man and a woman, obviously boyfriend and girlfriend. They came in about a third of the way into the movie, and they had obviously seen it before, because they immediately began announcing to anyone who could hear them (i.e., everybody west of the Rockies), when the good parts were coming up. "Oh, this part is good!" they would say. Or, "This is cool, this part here." At one point, the woman -- and I'm not making this up -- actually imitated a Velociraptor noise. The Velociraptor made the noise on the screen, and the woman responded. It's stupid enough to talk to the actors in a movie; it's even stupider to talk to the mechanical Muppets.
And I should point out that glaring at this couple did not help one bit.
(Eric D. Snider is a college student living at home in Lake Elsinore for the summer. He has seen "Jurassic Park" three times, but feels it is inferior to such horror and suspense classics as "Jaws," "Psycho," and "The Bad News Bears.")
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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