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The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) Movie Theater Concessions

The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) Movie Theater Concessions

By Jeremy Blachman

We've all been to movie theaters where the popcorn is more or less indistinguishable from the insulation inside the seats. In fact, there's even been a recent study finding that moviegoers eat just as much popcorn whether it's fresh or it's stale. Yum! As the holiday movie season reaches full swing, we want to protect you from stale popcorn and expired boxes of Boogers.

We mean Goobers. Or do we?

Presenting the 5 best and 5 worst concessions you might find at your local multiplex:

1. The Caramel Corn at The Arclight Theatre Chain
Quite probably the only movie theater snack ever featured on The Food Network. On "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" ("crunchy" episode), the caramel corn (made fresh at the theater) was described as "little golden, toasted-brown balls of perfection." (Want photo evidence? This popcorn is so good that people actually do take pictures of it.)

2. La Brea Bakery Pretzel Sticks
I don't know if there's anyone who really chooses a pretzel over a tub of freshly (fake-)buttered popcorn, but at the Landmark Theater chain, around the country, it sounds pretty tempting. From the menu at one location, "La Brea Bakery Pretzel Stick. Served with choice of raspberry wasabi, apricot ginger or champagne garlic gourmet mustard from Robert Rothschild Farms."  Just a little more appealing than something that's been rotating in that glass heatbox since the first Star Wars movie. (Or do we mean the fourth Star Wars movie, since that one came first?)

3. The Cinnapretzel
Speaking of pretzels, pretzel technology has apparently advanced considerably in recent years. Scientists have apparently figured out how to enable pretzels to mate with cinnamon buns, leading to what seems to be the ultimate movie indulgence: the Cinnapretzel. Yes, it's 954 calories with the icing, but it's not like you go to the movies every day... or do you?

4. Sno-Caps
Maybe it's just us (it's not), but there is something special about a candy that you can only get at the movies. You can have popcorn at home, any time you want. You can have Twizzlers or gummy bears or Sour Patch Kids. You can even probably make yourself a Cinnapretzel, if you try hard enough, and use the icing as some sort of glue to bind the cinnamon bun to the outside of the pretzel.... But, for whatever reason, Sno-Caps are a movie treat that seem to have vanished from the rest of the universe. Chocolate, sprinkles, and... more sprinkles. Yum!

5. Chocolate mousse (Well, if you're in Alaska, at least)
Delish.com searched the country for the best movie theater food, and this was one of their top picks. Indeed, it looks really good. And makes me wonder why we're usually stuck with Sno-Caps and chocolate-covered raisins/peanuts/cookie dough when we could be eating stuff like this. Next time I go to the movies, I'm sneaking in chocolate mousse. In my pants pocket, probably. I'll put a spoon in the other pocket and everyone will be watching me with envy. Or disgust. One of the two.

So those are the five best... what about the worst things you can eat at the movies this holiday season?

1. Dots
Did someone get scared of gummy bears, gummy worms, and Sour Patch Kids, and decide to make a gummy candy with the least possible personality? Oh, look, it's shaped like a thimble! Thimbles are so much fun! Dots are a waste of calories, and an extremely boring candy choice.

2. Jumbo Dill Pickle
A "zero-calorie jumbo dill pickle," available, according to this article, as part of a healthy snack initiative at Cinemark theaters. Pickles are great, especially on burgers. But at the movies? Not to mention, I'm pretty sure your neighbor (eating her CinnaPretzel) would rather not suddenly catch a whiff of... pickle. Unless she's pregnant. In which case, this movie is probably too violent for the baby.

3. Cookie dough bites
Sure, they're tempting. But a box of the dough alone just makes you miss the ice cream even more. Besides, part of the fun of eating cookie dough is the risk that comes with the consumption of raw eggs. And movie theater cookie dough bites, well, they're "totally egg-free."  Which means they're totally not worth it.

4. Illness
No, it's not on the menu, but KLTV-7 in Texas did a report a few years ago on what's lurking at your local movie theater. And before you reach your hand into that bag of popcorn, you might want to check it out. On second thought, you definitely don't want to check it out. Please don't read it, or you will never touch anything, ever again.

5. Bottle of Water
Part of the AMC Theatres "snack smart and feel good" menu, a 20 oz. bottle of water is the worst theatre concession on our list. Not only is water far less delicious than freshly-popped popcorn, but it's also going to make you have to go to the bathroom right when the movie is getting good. This is not a wise choice. You never want to miss the good parts because you drank too much water.

What is your favorite movie snack?

Tags: movies, candy, popcorn, concessions, eating well

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