Monday, September 30, 2013

Bossypants - Car Ride Audio - "Yes, And"

My wife recently took a road trip, her and I, sans-children. It was a long car trip and so I brought along some audiobooks. One of which was Tina Fey's memoir Bossypants.

My wife and I enjoy Tina Fey, particularly in the creation and writing of 30 Rock. It's intelligent quirky humor has made it a show we have at times really enjoyed.

I will say that first off, my wife probably enjoyed Bossypants way more than I did. Listening to Tina Fey read it, is certainly entertainment in itself. Yet, thematically it is definitely written to a women audience. So a CD into the 5 disk set there had already been a lot of discussion about female topics such as menstruation, her non-dating relationship with boys, and what it was like as a woman to have gay and lesbian theater friends.

Generally, the books as an audio book was pretty entertaining, whether Tina Fey was discussing her father, the development of 30 Rock, her portrayal of Sarah Palin, perceptions of motherhood, or what it's like to be at a photo shoot.

If the book has a theme though it is about being a woman, and the way there is discrimination in the work place and entertainment industry against women. This topic comes up regularly in new ways. Tina Fey addresses a male-centric perception of comedy she found at various times in her career.

If there is a section of the book I specifically enjoyed it was Tina Fey discussing the lesson she learned doing improve for The Second City. She talks about the principal of "Yes" in improv, when someone presents something, you agree to support the idea. She uses the example of a pointing finger being a gun. If someone says "This is a gun," it's important for the second person to validate the statement by agreeing.

After supporting the person's allusion you add to it. This is "Yes, and." 

I liked this presentation of creativity because I think it's easy in a variety of situations (family, work, or any planning situation) to say a quick "no." And there really is something special that happens when. We take a chance to run with the ideas of others and build on them - Yes...and.

So, did I enjoy Tina Fey's book, sure. Would I recommend it "meh." Not my favorite but certainly a nice mix of comedy, insight, and creative storytelling.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Youth, Entitlement, and Parenting

We've heard the complaints. they come at different times and situations, but the term "entitlement" gets thrown around to discuss people...primarily kids, students, youth, young people, this "current generation," etc.

The other night I was out to dinner. There was an elderly couple near our table. The man was a little brash at this resort in the way he seemed to bark his demands at the waitress. It wasn't anything "dramatic," but he never said "thank you." He use phrases like "that'll do," or "I suppose that'll be fine."

In my head I imagined that this man could not have always been this way. Surely, at one point he was kind, maybe a tad grateful or capable of pleasantness.

I'm sure the waitress didn't think a thing. It didn't seem odd. Sure, I too was dining at the same resort but I felt like saying "thank you," when served, or "yes, please" when asked if I would like my water filled was a reasonable response.

In a way this old man acted entitled. In my mind, always a scientific approach, I imagine that he was once kind...yet it changed at some point. Did he lose faith in humanity? Did he feel he had served his time, and now people should take care of him? Did the financial exchange of his service seem to him an adequate exchange and an appreciative disposition was out of order?

Sometimes, I wonder if entitled children come from entitled parents. Sure maybe the parents weren't entitled when they were four, seven, thirteen, or twenty-two. Maybe the parents at those ages played hard, worked hard, and were grateful for their Christmas present/road trip experience/simpler life. Yet, as an adult they made switch. 

I see older parents (i.e. parents who waited until they were older to have kids) often act as entitled parents. They feel like they have worked hard, done there time, established themselves for the reward of a certain parental situation. This might mean living in a certain neighborhood (school district), having certain vehicles, having a schedule that allows for competitive hockey/dance/swimming. And this is okay, I think. Why shouldn't be okay?

Yet, it makes life easy. Someday when my kids are grown, I want them to want to leave my house. Sure, I want them to want to come home...but home for holidays or long weekends, not to stay.

I know a guy who is a little older who in my mind should be on his own in some way...a small apartment, maybe roommates to cover the bills. He's in his twenties, but the incentive isn't there. Why leave home when your video games, hot tub, media room, and food is at home.

I think it's easy to point out entitled children, but we're slow to point out entitled adults. Maybe we don't recognize them, or maybe we don't know how to say it, and maybe we shouldn't.

Talking about raising children is a touchy subject. At work during that awful workplace training they do over discrimination and sexual harassment we were told: "You probably know not to talk religion and politics at work. You should also avoid talking about parenting at work as well, it can be equally controversial."

So, I will summarize my thoughts with a personalization, not direction for others.

My wife and I are fortunate in many ways, supportive families, college education, good jobs, super friends, great kids, and the list goes on. Yet, I want to raise my kids in a way that makes it hard on them   sometimes. I want them to do without at times. I want them to lose sometimes. I want them to occasionally miss out. 

And more so, I want to be okay with there being hard times, their withoutness, their loss, their missing out. This needs to be okay with me, and that might be hard. I think it could be hard on others in our life, friends, family, and especially grandparents who can come to the rescue.

My goal is to prepare, not protect. That's hard, and I hope I can do it well (most the time).

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Reel People: Steve Carrell is John du Pont

The film is Foxcatcher. Foxcatcher is directed by Bennett Miller (Oscar nominee, Capote), with a screenplay by E. Max Fry and Dan Futternman (Oscar nominee, Capote).

John du Pont

John Eleuthère du Pont was born November 22, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of four children. His father William du Pont, Jr. was an American businessman, banker and all-star of the horse breeding circuit, as breeder and race venue designer. His mother Jean Liseter Austin also came from a prominent family, and the family grew up in a mansion in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

In 1941, when John was an infant, his parent's divorced.  John would eventually attend and graduate from the elite all-boys preparatory Haveford School.

The same year he graduated in 1957 he founded the Delaware Museum of Natural History, which he would eventually help open in 1972.

In 1965 in graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in zoology.

He returned to Philadelphia to attend Villanova University where he earned a doctoral degree in natural science in 1973. During this time he studied and published a number of books on birds through the Delaware Museum of Natural History, including Living Volutes: A Monograph of the Recent Volutidae of The World (1970), Philippine Birds (1971) and South Sulu Archipelago Birds (1973). He would continue his studies and publish South Pacific Birds in 1976.

In 1983, when he was 45 he married a therapist named Gale Wenk, but the marriage was annulled 90 days after they were married.

John du Pont was really involved in athletic philanthropy funding many athletes, including gymnast, triathletes, and swimmers. He also helped Villanova University fund a new basketball arena which openeed in 1986, which opened up initially as the John Eleuthère du Pont Pavilion.

In 1988 when his mother died he assumed stewardship of the Liseter Farm, and renamed it "Foxcather Farm" after the name of his father's thoroughbred racing stables. In addition to maintaining the working farm, he also added a wrestling facility for amateur wrestlers. He called his team "Team Foxcatcher." John allowed his friend, Olympic wrestler David Schultz, and Olympic Gold Medal wrestler, live at the farm. Schultz and his wife, Nancy, lived on the grounds for years.

John du Pont took up wrestling himself in his 50s, and began training and competing.

On January 26, 2006 John du Pont was seen shooting Dave Schultz on the driveway of the Schultz home on du Pont's property. After the murder, du Pont locked himself in the house for two days while he negotiated with the police on the phone. Police where able to get John by turning of the power and getting him when he came outside to fix the power.

In a unique court case which started with a plead of "not guilty by reason of insanity," but resulted in a change of "third degree murder but mentally ill," John du Pont was given 13-30 years in prison. Nancy Shultz also filed a wrongful death suit that resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement. No motive for the shooting was ever established.

Du Pont was placed in a minimum security prison. When du Pont was first eligible for parole in 2009 it was denied. On December 10, 2010 he died of an unspecified health issue after being found unresponsive in his bed at correctional institution.

Du Pont remained in the media after his death with a disputed will that gave 80 percent of his estate to Bulgarian wrestler Valentin Yordanov.

Foxcatcher

The film Foxcatcher focuses on the dynamics between John du Pont, David Shultz and his brother Mark Schultz.

In addition to Steve Carrell playing the part of John du Pont, the fiilm also stars Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, with Mark Ruffalo playing his brother David Schultz. Sienna Miller plays the part of Dave's wife, Nancy Shultz.. Anthony Michael Hall plays du Pont's assistant, and Vanessa Redgrave plays his mother Jean Liseter Austin.

Steve Carrell's opportunity to play a mentally ill wealthy wrestling fanatic in a bio film could be the perfect opportunity for Carrell to impress the critics in a dynamic and career defining role. Under director Bennett Miller, could Steve Carrell receive an Oscar nomination, maybe even a win, for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reel People: Channing Tatum is Mark Schultz

The film is Foxcatcher. The film is directed by Bennett Miller (Oscar nominee, Capote), with a screenplay by E. Max Fry and Dan Futternman (Oscar nominee, Capote).

Mark Schultz

Mark Schultz was born October 26, 1960. He had an older brother, Dave Schultz who was a little over 15 months older than him.

As a young child Mark was a child gymnast who won the Northern California all-around championship for his age group. He switched from gymnastics to wrestling when he was in high school, attending Palo Alto High School. As a senior in high school he didn't win any tournaments, but went on to win league, region, section and state.

He went on to UCLA, but then transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where he won three NCAA championships. His brother Dave also attended college in Oklahoma (both Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma University at different times).

In 1984 Mark and his brother Dave were both selected for the American Olympic team. During the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Mark won Olympic Gold in Men's Freestyle Wrestling (84 kg), his brother Dave won Olympic Gold in the same event in next lower weight class (74 kg).

Mark went on to win the 1985 and 1987 World Championships in Budapest and Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Mark retired in 1988.

On January 26, 1996 Mark's brother Dave was murdered by millionaire schizophrenic, and recent Wrestling enthusiast, John Eleuthère du Pont.

That same year Mark came out of retirmenet and successfully competed in mix martial arts in UFC 9: Motor City Madness. The Ultimate Fighter Championship was held on May 17, 1996 in which Mark Schultz won his fight, defeating Gary Goodridge. He was a coach at the time, at Brigham Young University. He went on to coach at a jujitsu studio, when he contracted a serious staph infection that almost cost him his arm. He later went onto work for a masonry company in Denver, Colorado.

Foxcatcher

The film Foxcatcher stars Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, with Mark Ruffalo playing his brother David Schultz. Sienna Miller plays the part of Dave's wife.

Steve Carrel plays what could be a career-defining role as John du Pont. Anthony Michael Hall plays du Pont's assistant, and Vanessa Redgrave plays his mother Jean Liseter Austin.

Could Channing Tatum's star performance under the direction of successful director Bennett Miller lead to critical attention, maybe even an Oscar nomination or win for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?

Jeoff Harris - I Could Be A Fan

Tonight, I had some chill time and spent some time writing short little music reviews on the website Slice The Pie (a website that pays you to write reviews of songs it plays for you - kind of fun little site, and hey I don't mind a little check for some down time activities).

In putting together reviews, a lot of the songs were kind "meh," but then I heard a song by an artist that kind of grabbed me.

After you perform the review, Slice The Pie lets you know who you just listened to and the name of the song. So I took note of the artist on the song, and it was by a small time independent artist named Jeoff Harris. The song was,  "I Can't Leave You."

I thought I would share the song here on my blog for your enjoyment. Here's a recent YouTube video from a few weeks ago of Jeoff Harris performing his song live.

There's only 986 views on this video at the time of posting, so when I say "independent," I really mean "independent." But, maybe you'll enjoy his music too. Jeoff's webiste can be found here.

I've also thrown in another YouTube video of a simple love song called "Aimee." Not sure who "Aimee" is, but not many girls get love songs this good written for them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quote to Ponder - Boredom

“In medieval times, if someone displayed the symptoms we now identify as boredom, that person was thought to be committing something called acedia, a 'dangerous form of spiritual alienation' -- a devaluing of the world and its creator.” 

--Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hyde Park on Hudson and Thoughts on Connecting in Weakness

The film Hyde Park on Hudson is in many ways one of the more underwhelming films of the 2012 film season. The film is primarily about a weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of England came to the United States to visit Franklin Delano Roosevelt (played by Bill Murray).

The film's primary focus though is on FDR's infidelity, primarily with Daisy Suckley (played by Laura Linney), a fifth cousin of FDR who lived in the area of the Roosevelt family's county estate, Hyde Park on Hudson. Daisy's journals and letters create much of the historical details to tell the story, but while the film focuses on this relationship, I found it to be the far less intriguing plot in the film.

Instead, I truly enjoyed the story of the interactions between FDR and King George VI ("Bertie" played by Samuel West).

Both FDR and Bertie are portrayed as people of power who also have real weaknesses.

In the case of FDR he has his clear physical weaknesses as a result of the paralysis caused by his polio, but it is very clear that his relationships, particularly with his wife is significantly strained and complicated by his moral indiscretion.

Similarly, Bertie has his problem with stuttering, and general confidence issues that create strain in the way that he leads England. This insecurity is portrayed in full force as his wife (Queen Elizabeth portrayed by Elizabeth Colman) really lay on stress by trying to encourage her husband to make decisions through the lens of his brother who had abdicated the throne.

And it is in these positions of weakness, that to me the best scene of the film is when FDR and Bertie are able to have a candid conversation in Roosevelt's study. Roosevelt far more confident even get's up from his chair and very awkwardly slides himself across tables to his desk to offer Bertie a cigarette. There is a moment of incredible bonding in the mutual acknowledgment of weakness.

The other day on Instagram I saw the a graphic posted by LifeChurch.TV paster Craig Groeschel that appears to be connected to their current teaching series on frindship. The quote reads: "We may impress people with our strengths...but we connect with people through our weakness."

I find a lot of truth in this message, and thank that when it comes to developing friendship that connection happens more in acknowledging our weaknesses. I'm not sure how Groeschel discusses this topic in his teaching, but there are so many different types of weakness -- some that can be tackled and some that will always exist.

In the case of Hyde Park, Roosevelt's physical limitations were not something that could be "fixed," but there is other character issues that it is unfortunate FDR did not seem interested in improving. Once weaknesses are identified, friends can either help you get past your weakness, minimize the impact of your weakness, or live in your weakness.

There's reason to be afraid of our weakness. Fear to ask for help, even if irrational.

The other day I was buying groceries and when the put them in the cart my groceries took up two carts instead of one, and they asked if I needed help out. At first I said "no" when in reality I clearly couldn't get to full carts out by myself. The sixteen year old kid was forward enough to grab the second cart and say "I don't mind, let me help." And he did.

For some reason we've been trained to present ourselves to the world as people who don't need help, people who can figure it out, and maybe there's no need or benefit to broadcasting our weaknesses to the world. But we need friends. And when it comes to our individual relationships with people, there's certainly a lot of room in many of our lives, my own included, to let down our guard and be honest with one another (and ourselves) and expose areas were we might be weak, or just need a hand (or a friend).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Reel People: Tom Hanks is Captain Richard Phillips

The film is Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass. The screenplay is written by the talented Billy Ray based on A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty.

Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips was born and grew up in Winchester, Massachussettes. When he graduated from highschool he enrolled in the University of Massachussetes to study international law, but instead ended up transfering to the Massachussetes Maritime Academy where he graduated in 1979.

In 1987 Phillips married a nurse, Andrea Coggio. They had two children Daniel and Mariah.

In 2009, at the age of 53, Phillips was Captain of the Maersk Alabama when it was hijaked by Somali Pirates.  The cargo ship, with it's 20 crew members, was hijaked on April 8, 2009. 4 Somali pirates boarded the ship and the crew was able to sink the Somali pirates speed boat.

Captain Phillips allowed his crew to be safe while he was taken hostage on a lifeboat during the exchange. After an agressive standoff, Phillips was rescued on April 12, 2009 by Navy SEAL snipers who took out three of the four pirates, and took the fourth into custody.

Phillips wrote the book A Captain's Duty shortly after his rescue, and it was published the same year.

Captian Phillips

The film Captain Phillips is an action-filled biopic that deals with the Maesk Alabama hijaking. Tom Hanks will play the title role, while Catherine Keener plays his wife Andrea Phillips. The rest of the cast portraying the four Somali Pirates, the Maersk Alabama crew, and the Navy SEALs are relatively unknown performers.

The film will feature a performance by Yul Vazquez as Captain Frank Castellano. Castellano was the Navy commander of the guided missile destroyer the USS Bainbridge that was instrumental in April 12 rescue of Captain Phillips. Chief Engineer Mike Perry will be portrayed by David Warshofsky.

In what could be a big year for Tom Hanks return to the big screen in some high profile films, it's anyone's guess as to how critics and peers will view Hanks performance in this film. Will Tom Hanks receive praise, including an Academy Award nomination for his performance as this Real (Reel) Person?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Reel People: Chiwetel Ejiofor is Solomon Northup

The film is 12 Years A Slave. The film is directed by Steve McQueen, with a screenplay by John Ridley, adapted from Solomon Northup's memoir Twelve Years A Slave.

Solomon Northup 

Solomon Northup was born in 1808 in Saratoga Springs, New York. He was an African American born as a free man in a non-slave family. His father, Minthus Northrup, had been a slave freed in the will of his owner who married another freed woman. Solomon was one of the families two sons.

In 1829 Solomon married Anne Hampton, a mixed race black woman. They had three kids, Elizabeth, Margaret and Alonzo. The owned a farm in Habron, New York. Solomon and his wife had many jobs and in 1934 they decided to sell the farm and move north to Saratoga Springs. Again Solomon held many jobs including building jobs and performing the violin at a number of venues.

Due to the seasonal employment, Solomon was interested in other opportunities which lead him his young thirties to be enticed by a job offer that first lead him to perform as a fiddler in New York City. His family was unaware of the details of his travel, and offered a large sum of money he accepted a gig that would have him performing in Washington DC, a place where the slave trade was very large.

Upon arrival in DC he was drugged, sold into slavery to James Burch, a slave trader who claimed he was a fugitive.He was taken to New Orleans, Louisiana to be sold. He convinced a sailor to send a letter to his family during this time.

In New Orleans, Burch's partner Theophilus Freeman sold Solomon under the name of Platt to a Baptist minister named William Ford. Ford was also a planter on the Red River. Burch had a good relationship with Ford helping him with a number of projects such as moving logs more efficiently down the river. But when Ford found himself in financial crisis he had to sell 18 slaves, including Solomon.

In 1942, Solomon was sold to the abusive John M. Tibeats, an abusive carpenter who fortunately under his overseer Chapin was saved from some lynching. With an outstanding bill to Ford for the purchase of Solomon, Chapin was able to remind Tibeats of the cost that would be associated with killing Solomon. Solomon and Tibeats had conflict and when Solomon ran away back to Ford he was eventually moved to other projects. He would eventually be sold again to Edwin Epps.

While working for Epps, Solomon was fortunate to meet and befriend Samuel Bass in 1952. Bass, a Canadian carpenter, helped at great risk contacting Anne in New York who was working with a lawyer to save and free her husband. The New York Governor, Washington Hunt, who appointed family member and lawyer Henry Northrup as his legal representative. Henry Northrup worked with the state of Louisiana and January 4, 1953 Solomon was freed again.

Solomon became active in the abolitionist campaigns upon his release. Information about when he died and the circumstances of his death are unknown.

12 Years A Slave

The film 12 Years a Slave chronicles the journey of Solomon Northup using his memoir as the source material. In addition to Solomon Northup being portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, the film stars a really strong cast of supporting performers. Anne Northrup is portrayed by relatively-unknown Kelsey Scott, and their daughter Margaret Northrup is portrayed by the recent young Oscar nominee Quezenhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

The primary slave traders James Burch and Theophilus Freedman are played by Christopher Berry and Paul Giamatti. The first slave owner William Ford is played by Bennedict Cumberbatch. The cruel slave owner John Tibeats is played by Paul Dano. His third slave owner Edwin Epps is played by Michael Fassbender. Canadian carpenter Samuel Bass is played by Brad Pitt.

The film also features Alfe Woodard and Sarah Paulson.

Chiwetel Ejiofor has been recognized with awards and nominations for other work previously, but never an Oscar nomination. Will his portrayal in this incredible and challenging historical film earn him an Oscar nomination or even a win for his role as this Real (Reel) Person?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

My 5 Favorite Mem Fox Books To Read To My Children

My Favorite Mem Fox Books
Recently I shared my personal quest to read as many books by children's author Mem Fox which lead me to read her non-fiction book Reading Magic.

This list I've put together is not my children's favorite Mem Fox books, although I've allowed them to influence my selections, but rather my favorite. I've included a short review of what I like about this book.

  • Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge - I love this book because it's such a beautiful little story about aging, and the sweet influence a child can have on an elderly person. The book is also fun to read with the voices of the elderly people and little boy. A favorite to read, admittedly one I like more than my kids. And don't tell, but it did make my wife cry.
  • A Particular Cow - This book is really cute, and of all the Mem Fox books is probably one that my two-year-old son really likes the most. It's quick, silly, and has funny pictures of the domino of mayhem which unfolds. I enjoy it, the kids enjoy it, and you can read it three or four times in a row at a time without any boredom.
  • Koala Lou - This a sweet story that also has that potential parental cry factor, with the line "Koala Lou, I do love you." In this book the little koala bear is trying to impress her mother in the bush olympics, and has this beautiful message of both striving for a goal but also the unfailing nature of a parents love.
  • Good Night, Sleep Tight - I like this one, and the kids do too. It's smashed full of rhymes, and my kids love to read it. I read it with a quick pace and, love the fact that the story is told to two kids with a male babysitter. We have a couple older teen boys who have watch our kids sometimes (who they love) and so to have a book with a male baby-sitter character is enough to make this book stick out.
  • Tell Me About Your Day Today - This book is imaginative in that three stuffed animals share their day in a cute little repeating rhyme, and by the time the child shares their story all the animals stories pull together to tell the real story. I read this story two or three times to me kids as a bed time story, but then one afternoon my daughter and I talked through the pictures and pieced the story together so she could see what Mem Fox is doing with her story. It was fun, and the pictures by Lauren Stringer in this book are warm and inviting.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Thoughts on Season 1 of The Hour

My wife and I threw ourselves into the six episode first season of BBC's The Hour.

The Hour is a series about a fictional weekly news magazine station on the BBC in the 1956, the historical setting for the series specifically is during the Suez Crisis.

The show, written by Abi Morgan, is dense in the sense that it moves quickly and the 6 hour series creates a number of characters, intrigue, and mystery.

The mystery primarily comes in with a murder of a professor early on in the first episode that triggers one of the reporters (Ben Whishaw as Freddie Lyons) getting a tip from a friend and socialite (Vanessa Kirby as Ruth Elms). It is this primary subplot of government conspiracy that for me really captured my interest.

There are other interesting aspects to this show outside of the government conspiracy, there is the additional web of familial and work relationships, there is the well-done portrayal of 1956 British news production, and like all good TV a unique love-triangle between it's principle cast members, Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, and Romola Garai.

In many ways, I think Romola Garai is one of the more complex and interesting female characters I've seen in a recurring TV show this past year. I would actually compare her unique complexity to that of the award winning performances we've seen in Claire Danes' Homeland character. Romola Garai was nominated for some awards for her season performance as Bel Rowley, namely the Golden Globe, but lost to Kate Winslet's Mildred Pierce performance.

In addition to the three primary cast members (Garai, Whishaw and West), the supporting cast is fantastic in terms of being interesting characters who are well performed. Personal favorites from season 1 include Anna Chancellor as Lix Storm, Anton Lesser as Clarence Fendley, and Andrew Scott as Adam Le Rey.

I look forward to enjoying Season 2 shortly, but am already disappointed that there is not a third. In February 2013 the BBC announced it would cancel the show, although upset supporters have been petitioning the BBC in a variety of ways (small protest, change.org petitions, and twitter hashtag campaigns) to "Save The Hour" (#SaveTheHour). Personally, I agree, and would love this award winning show to return for a third season.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Early Movie Theater Showing with Children

It was Saturday. My in-laws were in town, and we decided to take the kids (our oldest two) to a movie. Our daughter just turned five, and my son is two-and-a-half. This was her third movie at a theater, and his first.

We went to a Saturday 10 am showing. Buying tickets we were advised that the movie showing was a sensory friendly showing. We were advised this would meant that the lights would be dark, but not all the way, and that the sound wouldn't be as loud. No complaints. We could tell there were a lot of kids.

We were seeing the film Planes. And the audience was packed with kids.

Yet, as my father-in-law described upon leaving he said "The theater was full of animals, without any zoo keepers."

My kids are not always angels, but my daughter sat in her seat the whole time, and my son eventually crawled out of his into my lap where he fell asleep for the last twenty minutes of the film.

Yet, other kids were roaming around the theater without any restrain on the part of there parents. Kids were climbing on seats, walking up to the screen and walking between the aisles. There was lots of talking.

One boy walked down our aisle a half dozen times alone and his parents were definitely not in our aisle.

I was shocked. I don't think the other kids necessarily stole from the experience my own kids were having, they didn't try to jump up and play and they didn't seem to mind that they were held to a different expectation than some of the other kids. I think they're used to it.

We extend our own kids a lot of levity to have fun and play, but I hope that they learn and understand that different environments require different types of decorum. To me, it seems like a movie theater is on the opposite spectrum of behavioral expectations as, say, a park or friends backyard. A movie theater auditorium should line up more with story time at the library, a concert, or church service.

Again, our kids aren't always perfect, but there seemed like very little effort on the part of any parent in any vicinity of our seats to get children controlled and acting appropriate. I left the experience a little shocked and surprised.
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