Stephen King tackles the topic of movie snacks in this edition of his column. He felt he had to do it as it is an important part of the moviegoing experience and it so rarely gets discussed. The author even goes so far as to say that people go to the movie theater just for the snacks. I’ve never heard of people doing that to be honest. I’ve heard of people going to a movie they didn’t want to see because a trailer for a movie they were looking forward to was premiering, but never of people going just for snacks. I guess it’s possible though.
King’s first order of business is to insist that you use the snack bar. It helps the theater out, as that is where most of its profit margin comes from, and it makes for a more pleasant experience compared to sneaking snacks in from home. He says darn the expense, but one has to admit that that sentiment is much easier to have when you have his level of success. He does, however, have a point about this being a night out and rewarding yourself by splurging every once in a while. King goes on to say that if you want nutritional food, there are places for that. He adds that the high price makes it feel more luxurious.
As for beverage of choice, King recommends Diet Pepsi, with Coke Zero or Diet Coke being a secondary option and last resort respectively. That wouldn’t work for me. I have to have the pure stuff when I go out. Pepsi Max is pretty good,all things considered, but as far as I’m concerned it’s still a pale imitation of the original.
With the drink matter settled, King moves on to snacks. Since he buys a diet drink, he rationalizes that he can get a large popcorn and douse it with the “butter like substance” offered by theaters. I do have to agree with King’s stance that they should add it to the middle of the bag as well as the top layer. It’s rather vexing to have the popcorn lose flavor as you progress deeper and deeper. The author is sure to warn the reader not to set a heavy bag on your lap, as it looks bad when you get up to leave. He also says not to set it on the seat next to you as it will annoy whoever sits there later on.
When the pump is self serve, so to speak, King takes it a step further and adds enough where he has what he refers to as a “heavy bag”. He explains that you have a heavy bag when the bottom starts to sag and the butter like substance starts to drip through. He also suggests salt, as the two really do go together to make that much better.
Speaking of which, back in elementary school, a friend and I used to do a similar thing to our popcorn. While some “butter” was added, we were always sure to douse it with salt. It got to the point where no one else could eat it because we poured so much on. It was worth it just to see their reactions, and I enjoyed it at the time, but looking back, that was rather gross.
In terms of candy, King recommends junior mints. I try to stay away from the candy bars as they don’t last. Sure, they’re larger than the grocery store counterparts; you get 4 Twix bars and Peanut Butter cups instead of the standard two. But, it doesn’t last. Snacks like that end up being done before we even hit the previews. I find that it works out better if you stick to the smaller candies like Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s.
King’s suggestion of Gummi Bears also works. You know what I miss? Muddi Bears, they were Gummi bears that were covered in chocolate. My friend and I saw those offered by the snack bar a few years back and had to try them, just out of curiosity. It seems like two flavors that wouldn’t mix, and I’ll admit it took some getting used to, but those things were tasty. They need to bring those back.
King also suggests staying away from snack bar meat, though he says nachos work rather well. I generally go by the same policy. Although, there is a theater out here that serves restaurant style meals and brings them right to you in the theater before the movie starts. I don’t know how many theaters do that, but if you have one that does a similar thing, I highly recommend frequenting that theater as it makes for a great evening out.