At risk of sounding like a lame comedian circa 1985, I will now offer some very basic rules of moviegoing that I hope we can all agree with. Because really -- if we ALL agree on them, then every one of my complaints should be remedied by this time tomorrow. And that would be great.
A. Young children in movie theaters. OK, for G or PG-rated flicks we non-breeders simply have to deal with it. That's cool. (Forget that I still can't see WALL*E in peace, but OK.) For PG-13 movies, you're kind of pushing it. I seriously doubt that your four-year-old will be disappointed if he has to wait for Return of the King on DVD. So please just drop the extra $15 on a babysitter. For R-rated movies? Nothing personal, but if your child is too young to understand the phrase "Please be silent for the next 103 minutes, except if you have to pee or you rrrreally want a soda," then that child must be left at home. I've seen three-year-olds at 300, rugrats roaming The Ruins, toddlers' troubles with 28 Days Later, daughters dazed by Doomsday, sons stunned by Sunshine, minors mucking through The Mist and babies babbling In Bruges. Seriously, cut it out.
B. When dealing with "talkage" during a screening, we should of course give the talker a brief grace period. He / she could be saying something that's actually important (like the house is on fire) or maybe they just need a quick catch-up on why Spy Assassin B just turned stoolie on Government Agent C. That person gets a handful of seconds (depending on the mood of the offended party), but once a brief exchange of words becomes anything close to an actual conversation, then SHUSHING simply must occur.