Movie Theater Popcorn


Movie theater popcorn is a total treat, worse for you than a Big Mac (I’m making that up but I’m sure it’s true), but one of the best parts about going to the movies. I always get a small movie theater popcorn and a small soda (Sprite) despite the fact that, the way it’s priced, you can get a medium-sized popcorn and soda for $0.50 more. That’s how they trick you.

Am I a butter-drencher? I am not. Butter that comes out of a pump worries me. Sure, that might be O.K. at Paula Deen’s house, but in my home butter comes from a stick that sits in my refrigerator waiting to be melted in a skillet. Pump butter is gross so I avoid it.

At Film Forum in New York, where I went last week to see the wonderful new documentary about magician Ricky Jay (Deceptive Practice), their popcorn has been celebrated as “the best in New York” which surprises many people who try it because it’s totally unadorned. No butter, no salt. You add the salt yourself from a bottle of Baleine’s sea salt on the counter.

It’s good popcorn, less Big Mac-like than the fluorescent yellow kind we’re used to, but does it even count as movie theater popcorn? If Whole Foods popped popcorn it would look a lot like Film Forum’s popcorn. Do we want our movie theater popcorn to be wholesome? My inner Paula Deen cries “no!”

Some people dump a bag of M&Ms into their popcorn shaking the whole thing up to create a sweet/salty sensation. Others buy a supersize bucket and go back for seconds. We all have quirky habits when it comes to movie theater popcorn.

The only part that’s hard for me is munching loudly during the movie. For some reason, just when I think it’s safe to stuff a whole fistful into my mouth, the theater gets totally silent; it’s a quiet, important scene and here I am about to make a loud crunch. Is this just a neurotic Jewish thing or do other people worry about this too? Hello? Is this thing on?

When I started this post, I didn’t know there was so much to say about movie theater popcorn. Reading it back, I’m still not sure there’s so much to say about movie theater popcorn. But here I am, I said it, and now I’m craving popcorn. To quote Oliver Warbucks*, “Let’s all go to the movies.”

* This is my 2nd Annie reference in one week.