PROBE: April 15, 2002

April 15, 2002

QUESTION: Last Thursday my husband and I went to Calexico 10 theaters to see an R-rated movie. I was surprised to see children unaccompanied by adults who looked younger than 10 watching the same film. The kids were noisy. When I couldn't take the noise any longer I complained to a theater employee, who also looked pretty young.

He just looked at me. I asked him if he was going to do something and he said he would. When I got back to my seat, the kids were gone.

About 10 minutes later someone from the theater staff came to see if the kids were still there. After the theater employee left, the kids came back. Those kids were going from one screening room to another and nobody was monitoring them. Can you find out if children under 13 are supposed to be watching R-rated movies without supervision? If this is OK, why have a rating system in the first place? — Disturbed Movie-Goer, Calexico


The rule is that children under 17 are not supposed to be admitted to an R-rated movie unless accompanied by an adult. But that's not a law, that's an industry rule.

It's an often-ignored rule. So why bother to rate movies? It makes everybody feel better.

It may even serve a useful purpose because it makes it easier for a parent to say no to an inappropriate movie. It also makes it easier for theater owners to deny entrance to younger adolescents who might disturb older patrons with their childish behavior.

We've had three questions in the last week or two from movie-goers complaining about noise in the Calexico theaters. The other two complained about loud-talking adults and cell phone use.

Some of the behavior may result from folks confusing watching a movie in a theater with watching television in the informal atmosphere in their living rooms.

QUESTION: When we went with our baby to the 10:30 a.m. Mass Sunday at St. Mary's Catholic Church we were directed to the "cry room."

My husband and I were astonished to find children running around, yelling, eating out of little plastic bags and the parents chatting among themselves. I can understand a little one needing a bottle. When a child is old enough to eat cherries, don't you think it's more appropriate to eat at home?

Yes, they are children but children must be taught at a young age to show respect in church. Children learn from their parents but if mom and dad are not paying attention, the children are not going to learn.

Besides, I thought the cry room was for babies, not for children old enough to know how to sit quietly. The parents need to know it's rude to allow this. If your child cannot sit still for an hour, teach them at home. When you think they will not be disruptive, bring them to church. — Disturbed Church-goer, El Centro

You must have been in a bad mood to take such a holier than thou attitude. If parents waited until children learned to behave, they might never make it to church. At least give the parents a B for effort.

QUESTION: Who is responsible for fixing the railroad tracks north of McNeece Mart in El Centro? They are in horrible shape and need repair. Cars make sudden stops and nearly get rear-ended. Trucks take a long time to cross them and slow traffic. — Rattled, El Centro

Call Union Pacific on its "rough railroad crossing" line at (909) 879-6264 or (800) 848-8715.

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