Boundbytheword Blog

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Dragons are real… April 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 8:55 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Funny thing about me. Most people would say I’m nice, and I am. Mostly.

But I have to admit, when my temper flares I go into dragon mode and I have a hard time not belching fire. Today’s inferno comes courtesy of our local movie theatre, or actually, from the corporate Guest Services of that said theatre. Sometimes I wonder if I get blinded by all the smoke and flames, but I have a hard time knowing. I often ask my husband for his read on it, but he’s so glad that I’m spewing rage in another direction that he just encourages me to keep on. I think he hopes the fire will run out before our next argument and he’ll be spared the scorch marks when he does something that wakes the dragon. (which has happened only a few times in 15 years – but enough times that he knows he sure doesn’t like it!)

So – I thought I’d share this with my loyal readers who so often offer their opinion which give me clarity. It’s like I have hundreds of Jiminy Crickets living in my laptop. I guess in a way it’s too late – I’ve already set the page ablaze, but at least I’ll know if I was irrational or unrealistic.  I’ve taken out the name of the theatre – for fear of being sued or banned. I’ve started with my first email, and ended with what I just sent. I’ll let you know what kind of response I get.

To: Guest Services

Subject: Feedback: Noelle F, Mar-25-2012

Topic:  Inappropriate content, Trailer shown in PG movie

My family visits our local theatre in Orillia on a very regular basis. Movies are a big part of our family entertainment and enjoyment. Yesterday I took my 13-year-old son and his friend to see the long awaited Hunger Games. Though the movie was rated PG, we’d read the books together so I knew the content would have violence some heavy content (which is I why I did not take my 9-year-old daughter, even though it was a PG movie.) My concern was not with the movie itself, but a trailer beforehand. The theatre played a trailer for The Cabin in the Woods – a movie not yet rated, but the poster out front had a R-rating for the US. I would place this movie in with any horror film – SAW, Scream, any of the 18+ or at the very least 14A movies. I would never expect it to be run in a PG movie.

I understand that trailers are geared towards the market of viewers that would likely return to the theatre – but my son would not be permitted to see that movie. If I was at home and that trailer came on, I would have changed the channel – and that would be on the tamer TV trailer version. It was offensive that we had to sit through it, and it hindered a movie experience that we’ve been looking forward to for months. I had to let you know, as I think it highly inappropriate to be showing this trailer in a PG rated film, and think it should be removed from the roster of trailers in this movie.

Thanks for your time, and I request feedback regarding this issue.



Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 5:58 PM
Subject:  Case #40576

Dear Noelle,

Thank you for contacting X Entertainment regarding your concerns about the trailers placed in front of The Hunger Games.

Please be assured that the trailers playing prior to the feature film, as well as the feature film itself, are rated PG.  Nevertheless, when our guests feel that the trailers have not been appropriately placed, we respond to their concerns.  If we find that a number of guests have the same concerns about a particular trailer we will advise the theatres to pull it from the performance.  With respect to your particular concerns, the trailers for The Cabin in the Woods will be removed from the performance.

Although it is difficult for us to anticipate the reactions of any one of our guests, We do strive to ensure that the pre-film material caters to the viewing audience.  If you wish to inquire about the pre-film material playing prior to a film you plan on attending, please feel free to contact the theatre or Guest Services and we can advise you accordingly.We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention and hope that we have addressed any concerns you may have on this matter.


Guest Services

Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 9:52 PM
Subject:  Case #40576

Dear Samantha,

No – actually, you have not addressed my concerns on this matter.

I just took 30 seconds and went onto your website and confirmed that The Cabin In the Woods (the movie trailer played at the PG-rated Hunger Games) is currently playing and is rated 18A, not PG as your email below states. I’m not sure if this was an error, if you didn’t take the time as I did to actually check the rating as posted on your website, or whether you thought just telling me this was a PG rated movie would appease my concerns. I certainly knew from sitting through the trailer, that it was in NO way a PG-rated movie because it was plainly a horror movie – one with severe and disturbing violence, and one that I would never have sat to witness, let alone have let my child view.

I certainly do not need to call the theatre in advance to check if the trailers are suitable, as you suggested below. I, like most paying customers, am going to assume that a huge corporation like XX will be diligent in choosing appropriate trailers as a courtesy and an obligation to their customers and their families. In case this is not clear – as your email seems to indicate – it is not acceptable to show a movie trailer rated 18A in a movie that is rated PG.

In case my hostility and irritation isn’t clear as well, let me spell it out for you – I am hostile and irritated. A substantial amount of our monthly family entertainment budget goes to XX, and I’m very frustrated that your office has tried to placate me with a feeble attempt at assuring me all PG films have PG trailers when that clearly was not the case on March 24th.

On a final note, I am surprised that my valid concern and complaint was not addressed with a simple apology for hindering our long-awaited Hunger Games movie night, and am disappointed that Guest Services would not send a family pass at the very least to make up for the distress caused that evening. I’m simply shocked at your dismissive email and the lack of customer service.

I hope it doesn’t take 3 weeks to hear back from you this time.



So I ask you dear readers…would you have complained? Would you have lost your nut with her email response, or should I give up my chocolate weaning in hopes that I will feel less bitter and combative?



20 Responses to “Dragons are real…”

  1. Susanne Says:

    I think you treaded very lightly, I on the other hand have gone right to guest services in the theater I was attending and ranted and raved in person! I am proud that you had the strength to wait long enough to vent in an email message! It seems a lot less noisy and far less embarrassing for your children doing it your way….

    • Hi Suzanne, I’m always one for embarassing my children! I did go to the assistant manager that night, who then got the manager to talk to me – which resulted in nothing. They were very nice about it – the manager actually said he agreed – he thought that trailer was inappropriate for the PG film it was previewed at. But he did said his hands were tied, the corp sends the trailers and dictates which are to be played with which movie. He went as far to say he had the new Twilight trailer, but was not allowed to play it becuase only a certain number of theatres were allowed to do so. Crazy, but I guess movie theatres – along with everywhere else – boils down to ridiuculous politics coming into play! Although they assured me they would contact head office, the type-A in me had to contact them myself too. We’ll see where it goes…

  2. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    Actually, I did see The Hunger Games with all of my kids, including my ten-year-old, saw the same trailer and thought nothing of it. So, in answer to your question, would I have complained, apparently not. I didn’t even think anything of it. Then again, my mother let me watch the original Carrie movie with Sissy Spacek when I was three years old and by the time I was seven, she would let me stay up to watch monster movies on the late show. I can hear you saying that explains a lot and you’re right – my mother probably has her regrets about that now.

    Having said that, though, you do have a valid complaint. Since movies are rated to allow parents to make the choice about whether they are suitable for children, they shouldn’t be showing an 18A trailer at a showing for a PG movie. Taking three weeks to respond and then lying to you is totally unacceptable. If I were treated like that, I would be taking my business elsewhere, if at all possible – unfortunately, small town living often means you don’t have that option.

    • LOL…I can’t believe you saw Carrie at three! I saw Jaws (unbeknownst to my parents) at around 10 years old and I still suffer from panic attacks in the ocean if I get myself thinking about it (as pathetic as that sounds). I have never seen a horror movie in full (other than Carrie – which teeters on thriller, not horror for me). No Chainsaw Massacre, no Friday the 13th, Halloween – none of them. Not any of the recent ones either – the Ring, Saw, none. I can’t get through a trailer without it affecting me – a full movie would send me into therapy for sure. Not a genre I can handle in the least!

      Thanks for validating what I thought was an tardy, and lying response. That’s how I took it – so good to know I wasn’t way out there in my reaction!

  3. I saw that trailer myself on something else recently and I was horrified just for my own self. I don’t want to be subjected to watching that shit.

    I thought your email (s – both of them actually) were fantastic. I was also particularly impressed that you spelled out what would satisfy you as an apology – ie. passes to another show. Although who’s to say that the same experience wouldn’t happen? I’ve pretty much stopped going to movie theatres these days. The amount of crap that is being peddled as entertainment is pretty shocking, and I think the deterioration of our society is due in part to the gently introduced desensitization of horrific material as entertainment.

    • I agree wholeheartedly Sue. Our society has been desensitized to horrific material, and we wonder why new generations are all screwed up and grow into adults with little empathy. I know the trailer bothered Sam and his buddy because they made no complaints as I talked to the managers of the place. Though they could have been trying to look like they weren’t with me…lol!

      I didn’t like having to see it, but I really didn’t like feeling like I was being placated with lies and a condescending tone. I think it’s interesting how many people are commenting here, FB, and to my email from all over the province (and one in BC) saying they saw the same trailer at that movie. What a bone-head mistake. Why doesn’t anybody ever just apologize anymore?

  4. Phil Dwyer Says:

    Hey Noelle,

    I don’t think your complaint was inappropriate or overly ranting at all. Not a single swear word in there. My brother is an assertiveness trainer – you should see him complain. If only it was an olympic sport, we’d have a gold medallist in the family. I’ve learnt one thing from him though: if you’re going to complain be clear, up front, what you want (from the company, person, faceless bureaucrat in question) and ask them for it directly. So, for example, in the case above he’d have asked for a family pass in the first email.

    Her response to you, while condescending and in at least one instance, mendacious (love that word) does demonstrate they listened to your complaint enough to pull the offending trailer (at least, that’s what she claims). She probably thought that was enough to placate you (and it’s a cheaper option than offering a family pass). If you lay it out from the get-go what you want them to do, there’s no room for doubt about what you want to achieve, and it’s easier to escalate the complaint if you’re not offered it.

    BTW – I thought her suggestion — phoning the cinema beforehand to find out what trailers would be running — is probably the daftest thing I’ve ever heard. Good luck with that. I find it hard enough to get the details of the films cinemas are playing and their showtimes. Not to mention the time you’d have to spend tracking every trailer down on the Internet beforehand and vetting them for content.

    • Hi Phil,

      Yes – daft is one way to put it. Frankly I felt like she was putting it on me – like I was some freaked out soccer mom who thinks Harry Potter is devil nonsense. I was perturbed to say the least. Why should I have to work for my family night out? Duh – that’s why I’m going out – so I don’t have to think or do anything.

      PS – I love the word mendacious too – or rather now – I had to look it up. I love having writers as friends to keep me on my toes! She was indeed mendacious!

  5. Heather Says:

    After you told me about the experience I was over at a friend’s house and bought this story up. I was sitting around 5 close friends, all whom I think share the same moral compass, family values, etc etc etc. I was shocked that none of them thought this was a problem. They said things like, “well he is going to see it anyways” or “It’s not that scary, I’ve seen much worse, did you watch Hostel?”. In the words of wise Sue… I don’t want to be subjected to watching that shit! I don’t think that it is ok… you would hear adults complain if a Barbie G rated trailer was playing during their Horror R rated films. I do think that our society is desensitized; my friends made it seem like watching people get slaughtered & raped is a “part of growing up and good entertainment” (yes someone said that). This wasn’t an adult movie; it is a tween targeted film. Bottom line, trailers match the audience that has paid to see the film, romance with romance, action with action, PG with PG and R with R. Continue your fight mom, breath your fire.

    • What a great head you have on your shoulders – your mother must have raised you right.

      Oh – Heather – hello – I didn’t know it was you.

      Remember when that girl who lived in the neighbourhood invited you to a sleepover birthday party? She was turning 10, and you were just 8 and so wanted to go because she was older (and you thought cooler). Against my better judgement I said yes, and you were all baggy-eyed and grey when you came home the next day. Then you told me the stupid-ass mother rented the kids Chuckie – the movie about the doll who murders people. Remember that? I could have Chuckie’d her! My poor kid!

      If we get a family movie pass – you’re in! 😉

  6. Bring on the chocolate girl! You behaved extremely appropriately and the the Theatre is definitely at fault. Thank goodness for parents like yourself who care enough to deal with this sort of thing head on.

  7. Tara Says:

    I thought exactly the same as you and said the same thing to my husband about why they would be showing that trailer at that movie. I felt bad for the little girl who’s mother thought it was appropriate to bring her to the Hunger Games in the first place as she was way to young even for that movie but then to be subjected to that trailer on top of that! Of course I think the girl was more interested in the pop and popcorn by the sluping noises I had to endure!!

    But I do agree that the trailer was not appropriate for the movie….I have seen that trailer acouple of times and for sure will not watch the movie…enjoyed the Hunger Games though!!

    • Hi Tara – I LOVED Hunger Games too. Didn’t even care that I was invading teen space with my son and his friend (the deal was I was taking Sam, and he could invite a friend, but I was going!).

      As for the trailer – I saw a few really young ones there as well, which I thought was over the top (same goes for Twilight movies), but even those are a way different category than Cabin in the Woods. I had nightmares over that one!

      Can’t wait for the next Hunger Games movie – loved Gale and want more of him on screen!

  8. debbierankine Says:

    Corporate theatres stopped getting my business when they upped the cost of popcorn and a pop to $15 and switched out the real butter for some god forsaken oleo crap.

    I remember a kinder, gentler time when a feature film with cartoon reels; a National Film Board vignette and NO COMMERCIALS costs 50 cents. The theatre owner would hold up in the lobby and thank patrons for coming; even us little kids.

    There’s no movie out there that I simply cannot wait to see on video… or free on the Net.

    If more people took a stand like you did, Noelle, going to the movies would be a pleasurable experience and not one where the patron has zero control and needs a short-term loan to treat the family to the outing.

    • Okay – you sound WAY older than you are in this comment…lol. But I have to agree – things have gotten so impersonal, and it is a major investment to go to the show. Just tickets for my family of four to attend a kids 3-D movie is $50 – that’s before any snacks. By the time you get everyone a treat, you’re looking at a night out that almost runs you $100. Crazy.

      I still haven’t heard (which frankly, I’m annoyed at!) but will let you know what comes back to me.

  9. Dale Long Says:

    As a bonifide, card carrying, soapbox ranter, I’d say you handled your e-mails professionally and politely. If there is one thing I’ve learned when dealing with situations like this is not to play all my cards up front. Start polite, talk them in circles, ask a lot of indirect questions until you get the answer you want without them knowing they’ve inadvertantly given it and then turn it around on them with their own words.
    If that fails, loud works. 😉
    As someone that mucks about in the macabre, I’m sorry, but those movies are not, not should they ever be considered horror, in the traditional sense. Believe it or not, I’ve never seen a single Saw movie or Hostel or etc… Nor do I plan to. There is simply no plot to them. From a writer’s perspective, they are to easy, the cheap route.
    As well, trailers should not be rated for the content they chose to show but for the content they represent. So whether they are rated PG or note the movie is still 18A and lets face it, The people seeing Hunger Games, for the most part, are not the target audience for Cabin in the Woods. What happened there is shoddy and lazy marketing.
    Go get ’em, Noelle!

    • You always serve to get me more worked up! Just when I start wondering if I am overreacting on this – I got your comment, and now I’m determined again that they need to make this better. What ever happened to good customer service where they say things like “I can understand how that would have been upsetting” or “On behalf of XX, I’m sorry that happened that way”. Has society lost so much accountabilty that nobody ever just apologies to make nice anymore??

  10. Hi there, I have just stumbled upon your blog and I’m not sure how. Glad I did though. I live in Orillia too…small world.
    I think you’ve done the right thing here, someone has to hold people accountable who can’t or won’t find it within themselves to do it. They at least have to have a logical reason for it, and what they’ve given you only proves they want to sell the movie to their projected biggest audience, not the intended audience.
    I will return! Just sayin’

    • Hi Ron – I agree, they did not want to be accountable, nor was their reasoning logical. ARGH. I hate that I can’t control the universe! So frustrating. My way is just easiest.

      Thanks for checking out my blog and for leaving your comments. Hope to hear from you again!

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