The Weekly Moviegoer - Does This Popcorn Make Me Look Fat?
by Christopher Campbell
September 11, 2009
I go to the movies a lot, and every time I buy concessions. There are a few reasons for this. I like supporting cinemas in the place they make their primary income. I consider it part of my job as a commentator on the movie industry and moviegoing trends to be familiar with each cinema's options as well as the quality of those options. And, of course, I am a fiend for popcorn.
The more movies I attend, the more popcorn I consume, and presumably this is making me fatter. Not that popcorn is an especially unhealthy snack, but any food is bad for you in excess. I must confess, however, that the summer I lost 60 lbs, I was a nearly broke movie theater usher making up for my lack of grocery money by eating free popcorn from the theater's concession stand.
It's different to get free popcorn, though, and not feel bad wasting it. Now that I regularly pay for concessions, I both want the best for my buck and, due to my low income as a blogger and the recession going on, want to eat all that I've paid for. Therefore I give into the obligatory upsell suggestion from the concessionist and buy the bigger bag, and I manage to empty that bag.
Often I'll make the concessions my "dinner," because even if I eat a big meal before going to the movies, I have to indulge. Sometimes my stomach hates me afterwards, and in the long run my whole body will resent my decisions, too. But I can't stop.
Even when I attend press screenings and museum screenings I have to sneak in some kind of little snack -- nothing as noisy or smelly as popcorn, though. Meanwhile, I attend fewer of those sorts of shows partly because there is no food available or even technically permitted.
Given how much money I spend on concessions -- which typically consists only of popcorn, and very rarely a frozen drink -- per month, I wonder how high the theater's prices will have to go up before I quit my concessions addiction. I actually began thinking about this recently when the interview with Barack Obama in Men's Health magazine sparked false reports that the President is proposing a tax on soda that would help fund public healthcare (New York Governor David Patterson proposed a similar idea for his state earlier this year).
Fortunately for my wallet, I don't ever drink soda (with the exception of those soda-based frozen drinks). Instead I fill up my water bottle at the theater's drinking fountain. Yes, it's frugal, but it's also healthier. Especially since I'm balancing that with a giant bag of over-salted corn topped with fake butter (essentially vegetable oil).
I guess if all junk food, which would be pretty much all movie theater concessions, were taxed as part of a health care initiative, I would likely continue still buying popcorn. I stand pretty firmly against sneaking food in to the movies. Besides, my local multiplex has reportedly started searching all bags entering the theater. And like many moviegoers, I just can't watch a movie without munching. It's part of the moviegoing ritual that I've been habitually accustomed to all my life.
What about the rest of you regular moviegoers? Can you ever resist the exclusive taste of movie theater popcorn or other concession favorites? And do you, too, feel yourself gaining weight with every movie?
Popcorn photo courtesy of Dave Fancher on Flickr.