February 23, 2007

The Subtle Art of Movie Snack Selection

If you thought that your movie preparation consisted of trying to figure out which movie to see, which can be tough enough considering how many of you there are and trying to satisfy all tastes, you would be wrong. No movie is complete without the snack. Snack choices range from the simple to the complex and can go well beyond the standard choice of popcorn. Beyond that, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right snack to plunk down the cash for before making your way down the long hallway to the darkened theater.

Now, I don't know about you, but I love movie theater popcorn. There is nothing quite like the salty crunch of a fresh bag of popcorn at the local cineplex. Sure, you have to take out a loan to pay for it all, but you cannot tell me that it isn't worth it. Still, as much as I enjoy that salty snack, there is no denying my sweet tooth, or my enjoyment of certain chocolate based goodies, there is also the time when all that is needed is a tin of your favorite brand of mint. After selecting the snack, there is generally a requirement for a beverage, and there are choices there as well.

I have always wondered if there was a formula that good be applied to help select the perfect snack, but there is nothing scientific about it. There are many factors that can be consider, and after I weighed everything out in my head and made a decision, I have found, on occasion, that I will change my mind at just the moment that I get to the counter. Essentially, I have thrown out all of the careful consideration I had just gone through.

OK, let's take a look at the factors that can affect the snack selection process, and there is no order of importance, these can be weighed in any order, or you may find something else to factor in, or you may pick and choose which ones apply to any given cineplex journey.
  • What did you have for lunch, if anything?
  • How long is the movie?
  • What is the proximity of the theater to the bathroom?
  • What is predominant today? Salty crunch, or a sweet tooth?
  • Are you planning a meal afterwards?
  • What type of movie is it?
  • Have you partaken in any movie type snacks recently that you don't want again so soon?

All of this, and more, can affect which snacks you choose. For example, I have found that movies such as Ghost Rider almost always require the intake of popcorn, while a comedy like, say, Clerks II would be more suited to a sweet candy like Skittles. As a general rule, the longer the movieis, the more I tend towards candy over popcorn, like when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the choice was Peanut M&M's, a candy that satisfies the need to crunch, but can also last a decent amount of time, depending on your personal eating style. Big dramatic films can go either way, so it generally comes down to length, the longer ones get the candy, while the shorter ones get the popcorn.

Another factor is the beverage. If I get popcorn, it is always going to be soda, and depending on what I had to drink recently, it will either be Cherry Coke or root beer, with the occasional slide over to the Sprite spout. With candy, I usually choose bottled water, although root beer goes very well with the Peanut M&M's.

Going back to the factors list, proximity to the bathroom could come into play, especially if you just had lunch (or dinner), and have chosen a good sized soda to accompany your snack. I hate to miss any of the film, especially due to the call of nature, so depending on your bladder size, you may want to factor in the long walk to the rest rooms, when you select that gallon jug of your favorite soda.

There are still other times when I want to limit my intake of movie snacks which are sure to help me to an early grave. Even in those cases, I still want to have something with me, if for no other reason than my innate need to have something. In those cases I opt for a bottle of water. A bottle of water can last me the entire movie, and is something I actually like to drink.

And finally, above all things, I am always sure to have a well stocked package of mints on my person, and sometimes two different kinds of mints. I have something of a mint addiction. Currently, I am never too far from a tin filled with Eclipse Winterfrost or cinnamon mints, and more often than not I also have a pack of the new Doublemint mints.

There are also an entire host of other choices, depending on your theater. I have been to theaters that offer hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries, and all sorts of other items. However, I have never been able to go with those choices, just not in my bag of movie snacks. There is also one selection that I despise, one thing that should never be allowed into a theater. So help me, if you bring nachos into a theater. Now, it is not that I don't like nachos, it is just that they are way too noisy a snack to allow in. I cannot stand hearing the crunching of those chips. Popcorn I can deal with, no problem, but nachos just grind my gears.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to be considered between deciding what movie you are going to see and walking up to the ticket taker. My snack selection goes through man permutations, though I will always swear by the old standy of popcorn and soda.

Always be sure to carefully weigh you options. Movie snacks are an important part of the experience, and a bad snack choice can ruin a perfectly good movie.

For some added inspiration, there are plenty of old snack time intermission ads:


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