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Ain’t What It Used To Be

By Adrian Nathaniel Groves

I’ll never understand the compulsion to pay for a barrel of movie popcorn that does nothing for you nutritionally, less for you financially and socially… well if you’re sitting next to me chewing your cud, rest assured I want to pop you one.

A Little Background

Cinema’s holy trinity has and forever will be; the movie, the popcorn and the obscenely sized fountain drink. But it hasn’t always been this way, in fact at first theater owners hated popcorn. It made a mess and distracted audiences from the movie. Originally sold by street vendors, pushing their popcorn carts around and selling to people walking down the sidewalks. Movie theaters were attractive places for these street vendors because they could count on crowds of people at regular intervals. Proprietors saw these street vendors as a nuisance until they began to realize the profit in popcorn. In 1925 Charles Manley went about selling the first popcorn machine to theatres who sold the buttery treat for a nickel a bag. Just like box office sales in the Great Depression, popcorn profits exploded at one time becoming more profitable than the movies themselves. With the proliferation of home video and microwave ovens popcorn found its way into our homes as well. Now there could never be one without the other.

Why I Hate It.

It’s all in the smell. That thick, suffocating, stale smell. The sounds. The shuffling of hands being driven into the bowl. The pitter patter of kernels hitting the floor as you raise that greasy, nutritional nightmare into your mouths and the crunch. That godawful crunch that reverberates all the way to the back of the building. I’m a purist, yes. A total snob when it comes to movies. I’m a card carrying cinema elitist. I don’t talk, I don’t even get up to go to the bathroom. I came to watch a movie, to have a story told to me and out of respect to the story tellers I sit, watch and listen. But it’s impossible nowadays. There’s some complete douche who can’t not kick your chair. There’s at least one person every fives minutes checking their cell phones. And everywhere you turn there’s someone eating popcorn like a hillbilly. But that’s everywhere isn’t it. Manners and decency have taken a tremendous hit. The little things we used to call social conventions are non existent. Just like most of the movies we’re given today the popcorn is subterfuge, empty calories masquerading as food, as anything worthwhile.

In A Perfect World.

I’d love a blanket ban on crunchy treats. I’m not saying no food, I’m saying appropriate food. You can’t munch popcorn at the opera or even at legit theatre so why have cinemas become a gluttony food court? I’ve sat through festivals and there’s nothing wrong with a little snack after marathoning through a triple feature. In a perfect world we could all just sit quietly without fidgeting, or stuffing garbage down our throats just to have something to do. We could all enjoy the experience as a group, the way it was meant to.

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2 responses to “Ain’t What It Used To Be

  1. Ryan

    I couldn’t agree more! It’s a love hate relationship for me at the theater because on one hand theres no better way to see a film than on the big screen but your risking it being ruined by assholes. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who show up 10 minutes late because you know… the beginning of the film is totally pointless and all….

  2. chandlerswainreviews ⋅

    Now this is a fundamental question that merits a government research grant of some kind. I have always wondered why sitting for a few hours in a darkened room signals a need for a food trough? (Is everyone in the theater packing carbs for a marathon run, or what?) And it seems that as the sound systems (thanks a bunch THX) gets obnoxiously louder it grants a license for the dialogue dismissive snackers to slobber their food at a higher decibel rate. (Whose idea was it to seal theater candy in impenetrable cellophane wrappers anyway?) Of course, the trick in the theater industry is for a saltier popcorn so the same glutton then feels the need for a tanker truck nozzle to be shoved in their kisser to down a few gallons of stale soda. I suppose we should be thankful they have not yet considered adding concession hawkers up and down the aisle like at a ball game. The last thing we’d need is to be part of the pass the change assembly line while dodging flying hot dogs.

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