Sitting there in the dark of the movie theatre, you feel your stomach grumbling, your taste buds begin to salivate, as the blood and guts or sex and comedy on the screen let your psyche know that it is time, time for that age old tradition that has been part of the movie theatre experience for generations: over-priced concessions food. Forget popping a bag of popcorn at home to smuggle past the usher with the watchful eye when you can just buy a big ol’ tub of artificially flavored, slightly stale buttered popcorn from the same stand, and only for eight dollars!
We here at Screen Junkies know your predilection for high prices and fast living. That’s why we’ve assembled this extensive guide and rated the “food” you can get from most movie theatre concession counters so you won’t have to spend any more dreaded time “thinking” than absolutely necessary.
Food for Lack-of-Thought
Pros: Very tasty; if overcooked can function well as a Frisbee to toss at an obnoxious movie watcher, hopefully slicing their head off.
Cons: Over priced; costs too much; not enough food; waaaay too much money; did I mention it’s over-priced?
It’s not delivery, or Digiorno, it’s a mini-pizza that theatres everywhere have managed to convince you is worth a good six or seven bucks (maybe more) and is absolutely necessary to munch on in that dark room, even though it’s less than half as small as any “Small” pizza from one of the major chains and the crust occupies more than half of the pizza. Even though the pizza generally tends to be pretty tasty, it’s over in a about three bites, assuring that you’ll wade back out to the stand to purchase some more.
5. Pretzel/Cinnabon Pretzel
Pros: A Cinnabon pretzel actually tastes like a Cinnabon; cardboard regular pretzel can be carried as a conceale weapon.
Cons: When you’re paying $4.50 for a pretzel you expect more care to go into it than clicking one button on a microwave.
What’s more tasty than one of those soft, doughy pretzels that you see rotating in that pretzel display, the ones that practically melt in your mouth with goodness? Why, a frozen pretzel microwaved about a minute and tossed into a tray where its carboardy goodness will fill your mouth with happy! The folks over at Cinnabon also decided that a pretzel by itself was way too healthy for the movies, so they added the Cinnabon pretzel a few years back to squeeze away all the potential health with cinnamon and fat-drenched icing. The price tends to range from moderately ridiculous to extremely ludicrous, so it’s up to you which you go with. (Hint: The Cinnabon pretzel, no question.)
Pros: A lot of overly salted chips usually come with each order…
Cons: …unfortunately the amount of cheese they give you is usually only enough to suffice for about ten of the fifty chips.
The pretzel’s healthiness got you down? Not to worry, six or seven dollar nachos are right around the corner, delicious corn chips that have sat in the warmer all day and are who-knows-how-many-days old set for your pleasure, with a nice little cup of what looks like melted Velveeta (mmmm!), but which in actuality tastes purely synthetic. (Okay maybe there is no difference.) If you’re lucky the concessionist might even dribble the delicious goop all over your chips, which soften like they’ve been touched by yellow battery acid. Maybe I’m being too harsh here – the combination of the “cheese” and the chips actually cancels out the old artificial taste of both, so for a few seconds during each chip, you actually feel like you’re eating something substantial! Incredible!
3. Hot Dogs
Pros: One of the few items at the concession stand that essentially remains unchanged from its natural gross and delicious unhealthiness.
Cons: One of the few items at the concession stand that essentially remains unchanged from its natural gross and delicious unhealthiness.
Ah-ha! The classic American staple – ground up innards and all the leftover meat rolled into a delicious dong-shaped object that you can insert in your mouth and totally not feel gay about. Theatre hot dogs are probably some of the cheaper foods, and generally they’re pretty good, but it all depends on the theatre. Most theatres cook their hot dogs on these roller-warmers that give them a nice glossy grease-shine, just enough to compliment the healthy (eek!) bun. But there are some theatres that’ll just keep frozen hot dogs in the back and pop ‘em in the microwave for each order. So not only are you paying four or five bucks for a hot dog, you’re getting the added bonus of waiting in anticipation to see if it’ll explode in the microwave! Ah, the theater.
Pros: You could take a quick bath in your coke if you’re feeling dirty during the movie; if you spill it you’ll probably have enough time to snatch it back up as they take approximately ten minutes to empty.
Cons: If you actually drink the whole thing you’ll probably end up spending more time in the restroom than the actual movie theatre (and that’s not counting the free refills).
For the record, it is called pop, not soda, and I will bitch slap anyone who disagrees with me, but had to put soda in there for political correctness, you understand. When theatres first implemented soda (I mean pop), they took a look at 7-11’s model of creating cups you could do a cannonball in, and laughed heartily at the total lack of vision. Their small tends to be around 32 ounces. To give you an idea, that’s a Nalgene bottle size. Their large is enough to stick a small space station in. But on the plus side, you do get lot more for your money, and you’ll be set for the next month as far pop goes.
Pros: Bite sized so you feel like you’re eating less; an empty bucket makes a great party hat. A full bucket makes a great place to hide your…hot dog.
Cons: You may have a heart attack on your way out of the theatre; you may have a heart attack on your way to the car; you may have a heart attack on the highway…
Is there really any other item that can stand up to popcorn’s towering dominance over any other kind of movie food? Though movie popcorn is essentially styrofoam covered in thick layers of coronary-enhancing butter flavoring, it’s the most food for the best price, and most movie joints nowadays give you free refills on some sizes. So you can leave your movie in the middle for more of this artery-clogging goodness. And to top if off, did you know that eating a lot of popcorn over a very long amount of time causes the tiny shells of the seed to rip up your intestines? Hell, get a second refill. You deserve it.
Fine and Dandy Candy
Pros: They melt in your mouth, not in the hand you’re trying to feel your girlfriend up with.
Cons: Overpriced for not very much food (like the entire theatre concessions industry).
M&M’s as movie theatre candy don’t entirely fit the bill, for one because a four dollar box of ‘em contains less than a 99 cent king size pouch you can pick up at any convenience store. It doesn’t stop them from being top sellers, as like most candies, they’re bite-size and easy to pop into your mouth without taking your eyes off the glorious display of depraved violence on the screen in front of you.
Pros: If you really really want to, I guess you could fool yourself into thinking you’re healthy while you’re eating CHOCOLATE-COVERED RAISINS
Cons: Their shape and texture make them look like mini owl turds; they may melt in your hand (hey, these ain’t M&M’s).
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Raisins have been a healthy little snack for ages, but this being America and the movies, health must be gut-checked at the door and dragged, kicking and screaming, far away where it can be dunked in chocolate and made much tastier and over-priced. And so we have….Raisinets. Little globules of health hidden away beneath a crunchy layer of milky chocolaty goodness that (thank GOD!) overwhelms whatever taste of the dreaded “fruit” there is left.
4. Cookie Dough Bites
Pros: Brings back memories; different shaped and sized pellets make for a surprise every time!
Cons: They only taste slightly like what they’re called; they also look like mini owl turds.
Couldn’t get enough of that raw egg salmonella-laced batter that you used to scarf down at home because it’s much tastier than the actual baked product? Well, concessions stands everywhere have heard your pleas and hence we have Cookie Dough Bites, little chocolate-covered pellets made to taste like that good old batter but which in actuality end up just tasting like little balls of grainy chocolate. Various incarnations of this stuff have been added over the years, like Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate (for that special minty fresh chocolate breath), and Peanut Butter Chocolate (hey Reeses did it why not us?). There’s even less food in these than there is in M&M’s, but that nostalgia just keeps winning us over, I guess, and so Cookie Dough Bites are here to stay.
3. Junior Mints
Pros: In the words of Cosmo Kramer, “Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s delicious. It’s very refreshing.”
Cons: You feel sick after eating a whole box.
Who knows why they call them Junior Mints. Maybe the seniors thought they were too cool for the name. (Rim shot!) These little mint balls covered in dark chocolate are some of the tastiest treats to be found at the concession stand, and unlike most of the rest of the candies there’s actually a decent amount of mints to be found in each box. Of course if you’re any kind of decent concessions eater they won’t last you past the previews, but that’s beside the point.
2. Milk Duds
Pros: Nice weight displacement so they’re convenient in case a movie food fight breaks out in the theater; chocolate and caramel, a match made in heaven
Cons: The caramel attaches itself to your teeth like dried cement.
Ah-ha, we come to the eons-old Milk Duds, the movie candy that seems specifically designed for causing cavities. It’s basically just a ball of caramel wrapped in chocolate. It’s not advised that you chew a Milk Dud, as its texture will cling to your teeth like the dickens and dentists have been known to use them to remove teeth without anesthesia. Lately it seems the boxes are smaller than they used to be, because clearly ushers were tired of cleaning up all the teeth littering the floor of the theatres, but there’s still a decent amount in each box, and they take longer to eat than other items on this list.
1. Sour Patch Kids/Watermelon/Connectors
Pros: Being chewy makes ‘em last longer; one of the few candies that have different flavors throughout the whole box
Cons: None of the flavors taste like what they actually are. If you have open sores in your mouth it stings though. Not saying I have open sores in my mouth…
It’s clear why the Sour Patch Kids have topped movie concessions sales for years. When you can’t go and strangle that little screaming baby that his idiotic mother brought to Saw VI (who knew little babies would find blood and guts literally flying everywhere traumatizing???), there’s nothing more satisfying than biting into a sour little gummy candy and picturing that you’re biting off the kid’s head. (HA! Let’s seem him scream WITHOUT a head!) They’ve added variations on the formula over the years, like the Watermelon candies, because there’s nothing consumers like more than candies that taste nothing like the food they’re named after, and eating an entire bag of them. Although, Sour Patch’s popularity may just have to do with the fact that they’re fruit-flavored, so you can pretend like you’re eating healthier. Ah, America. Land of the Fat, Home of the Self-Deluded. But self-delusion is what movies are for, though, right? God bless America.
Kobe Hits Amazing Shot
Chicks + Mirrors