Movie Theater Snacks, Ranked. With Help From The Girl In ‘The Ring’


There’s something that’s been lost in the modern days of streaming movies on demand on Amazon. A kind of je ne sais quoi that only being in a real movie theater brings. It’s that feeling of warm nostalgia that I simply don’t experience when firing up the Roku. And while I love the convenience of every movie at my fingertips, I miss the smell of buttery popcorn, the rustling of candy bags, and the friendly pianist who used to play in the front of the house.

You remember the days. Back when you could get a movie ticket for a nickel, and a quart of milk for a dime, and cough drops that had cocaine in them to control your cough while also allowing you to write feverish novels without sleeping for 72 hours. Fun stuff.

Though of course, not everything was good in the ‘good old days’. Back then, women, on average, didn’t make as much money as men, we had a government that was cracking down on immigration by passing acts that favored white, northern European immigrants over people of color, and there had never been a female president of the United States. It was a different time, with no resemblance to the world we enjoy now.

But I do miss the sounds of a movie theater, don’t you? Like collectively grieving together with quiet sobs as our favorite character refuses to fit on a floating door with lots of available space, or the chorus of uproarious laughter as we all watch a dog put on a hat like he’s people, or the inevitable shocked gasps as the screen rips open and the characters from the movie spill into our reality.

“This must be some kind of nightmare!” Someone always screams. And it brings me right back to my childhood in Appleton, Wisconsin watching the Hyenas from The Lion King eat a woman in the front row while Whoopi Goldberg’s voice cracked jokes and viscera sprayed across my lap.

I miss that kind of thing. The simplicity of buying a ticket to a new flick and then banding together with other movie patrons to hunt down all of the characters who tore through the screen and started marauding through the theater. Remember it? Remember the way Meg Ryan’s character from You’ve Got Mail was surprisingly violent when cornered? She was hard to track down, that Meg.

All of it brought people together. It’s what helped us to grow up! Kids these days are just so weak. The only obstacle they face is the near constant gun violence that plagues them absolutely anywhere they go: school, malls, movie theaters, churches, etc. It’s like “Try walking uphill in the snow both ways, kiddos! Jeesh.”

Photo by Ali Inay on Unsplash
Actual pic of me walking to kindergarten

The old days are gone now. We’re in an iPad world, convenience destroying the very things we all remember growing up. Because it’s just different. I’ve never been watching Netflix and had the characters from Clueless crawl their way through the screen, brittle dirt-covered fingernails scratching their way across the wood to reach me as their faces twist into an unearthly smile.

So, as technology shifts, I know I have to shift with it. I do. But as movie theater after movie theater shutters it’s doors or homogenizes into the same AMC-like Plex showing the same eight Jennifer Lawrence movies, I can’t help but feel a pull of nostalgia for what it used to be. In honor of that, this week I’ll be ranking the best movie theater concessions.

Our ranking today will be how long you’re willing to sit still while a movie monster is breaking open the screen to get to you because like, you’re almost done eating and can they just wait for TWO SECONDS?


10. Red Vines

When someone asks if you prefer Red Vines or Twizzlers more, the only correct response is, “I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.”

This isn’t objective, and there aren’t ‘some very fine people on both sides.’

Red. Vines. Are. Trash.

Ranking: As one ghostly, demonic child crawls her way out of the screen, you show her the red vines and tell her to go ahead and take you now. You bought them because the theater didn’t carry Twizzlers, but after one bite, you’ve decided life genuinely isn’t worth living.


9. Nachos

Here’s something I would like to ask you all: Does anyone like these kinds of fake cheese nachos? I would like to know if people buy them and eat them and also, if so, does that mean God doesn’t exist? And that when we die we just go into a hole in the ground forever to rot, our brief moment on the planet over, which means all of our actions are meaningless because there is no such thing as a soul or an afterlife and I should just give up now? Let me know in the comments!!

Real nachos are very delicious. With good cheese and pico de gallo and guac and a meat product. That’s a given. But these orange-y monstrosities….guys….why?

Ranking: Two demonic, ghost children are crawling to you getting water and blood all over everything in the theater which is honestly less of a mess than most heathens leave at their seats. Guys, take your trash with you when you exit the theater. I mean…there are like a hundred trashcans RIGHT AS YOU WALK OUT OF THE DOOR. In what world do you think that throwing garbage ON THE FLOOR is an appropriate way to leave your surroundings? I am baffled by this phenomena. Utterly baffled.

In the time I took for that rant I got “the ringed” by those demonic ghost monsters and am now dead. But I had to get it off my chest. My infant son, who is now orphaned,will understand. He’ll be like look, “I miss her but…she had a point.”


8. A Giant-Ass Soda

It’s soda. Not pop. And this isn’t me preferring the regional word from where I’m from. I’m from the Midwest, I know what they say. But I also know the difference between right and wrong. I have a strong moral code, and soda is the only correct way to refer to a soft-drink. And don’t even get me STARTED on calling all sodas Coke! That’s a brand name, you can’t just use it generally. Google it as you Uber to the theater if you don’t believe me. It’s not okay.

Ranking: Three grizzled, frightening ghost things that for sure have lots of time to get to you while you slurp that horse bucket of honey water. Here’s the thing about soda. I don’t drink it, but not because I don’t like it, but because I am not physically capable of consuming it casually. I either NEVER drink soda or I will drink it every meal like a g.d. fiend. One sip and I’m mainlining it in an Applebees bathroom with no idea of how I got there. So if I am drinking a soda, I am going to sit there like a lamb to slaughter while those ghosts go to town on me or whatever.

Side note: My soda has no ice. It waters it down, guys. ICE IN SODA IS GROSS AND I WON’T LISTEN TO ANY OTHER OPINIONS ABOUT IT.


7. Hot Dog

Oh, I’m sorry, I thought I was here on a date to watch Gerard Butler sexually harass Kathryn Heigl in a way that I’m supposed to perceive as “charming and cute” not watch a BASEBALL GAME.

Who do you think you are, eating a hot dog at the movies? Oh. Ohhhhhh. Did you not get a chance to eat dinner before you came here? And you wanted some “real food” in your stomach? Okay. That makes sense never mind. Oh sorry? What am I pulling out of my pocket? Oh, well it’s the world’s tiniest violin. I stole it from the grasshopper in the “Ant and the Grasshopper” parable after he died from hyperthermia. I took it off his withered, little, frozen grasshopper corpse and then, you know what I did? I took violin lessons for six months. And I practiced. I practiced every day, sometimes for hours, really committed. I let all other obligations fall by the wayside. I stopped going out to have the time to really become skilled at it. I stopped eating out so I could have the money to pay for daily lessons at a classical music conservatory, and then I put my head down and learned about complex music theory. I must have read hundreds of books!

Because you see…. I wanted to learn how to write and play the saddest song in the world so that in this moment, when you tell me you had no choice but to order a hot dog and eat it next to me in a movie theater as mustard and some kind of weird fucking onion mixture drips down your disgusting, blunt-fingered hands, I could pull it out, and play you a sad song on this very, very tiny violin with only my middle finger.

And you know what? It was worth it.

Rating: Four creatures that may or may not have started out evil (but like we’ll never find out because the sequels were garbage) crawl out of the screen. But I live because I throw the guy eating a hot dog in front of me and escape! Now all I have to do is never look at another screen again and the ghost can’t get me. Oh, there’s a rerun of Househunters on that I’ve already seen….eh…throw it on. It’s not like I haven’t lived a pretty good life at this point.


6. Raisinets

Raisinets are the kind of candy that you never really consider not in a movie theater. I’ve never said, “hey babe! Grab me some Raisinets while you’re out?” But they ARE delicious. Also. Raisins. Why don’t we eat more raisins? They don’t even need the chocolate, to be honest. They’re nature’s candy.

California raisins, you know? They come by their sweetness naturally. With no added sugar! The ingredient list says it all: raisins!

That’s just an endorsement by me. Allison Sanchez. Everything I say is reliable.

Rating/ranking: Sh*t, I can never remember if I call these ratings or rankings. I could look at past posts I’ve written, but that would involve work that our loyal readers clearly know I’m not willing to do. Sort of like editing my own writing. I’m just kidding. I don’t turn in 5000 words of rambling nonsense to my editor every week and then loudly sigh if he asks me to make any changes. I’m very easy to work with.

I’m easy like Sunday morning! Do not look at me. DO NOT LOOK AT ME IN THE EYES! AND GET ME MORE RAISINETS!

Four ghosts or…five….or whatever number I was on.


5. Sour Patch Kids

Imagine you go to take a drink of water out of a water bottle and it turns out to be filled with vodka instead. Imagine your revulsion, the shock and horror that would rattle your body and shake you to your very core.

Now you know what it’s like to eat Sour Patch Kids. At first, you taste a pleasant sweet sensation. For just a second life is good. You expect that feeling to last… then comes the turn. The sour breaks through. And I don’t care what the name says. It. Is. Always. A. Surprise. You cringe, you shiver, your face screws up in disgust. They’re good, but also not. After 20 seconds you enjoy them as a gummy bear, the initial pain worn off. Until you have the next one. And the cycle of pain starts all over again.

Rating: Six ghost children who started calling after you watched that VHS tape that had a a post-it on it that said, “if you watch this video you will die.” And sure, yes, you watched it. That’s on you. In hindsight, real mistake. But in your defense, you thought the note might just be a way to throw everyone off of the scent so they’d be too afraid to watch it. It might have been a supernatural murder video, but it also could have been some kind of cool sex stuff.

You figured you it was a 50/50 shot.


4. Wine/beer

The hardest part of going to a movie is timing your alcohol consumption beforehand. Drink too little and it’s like, “Oh, I’m not drunk enough for this Kathryn Heigl movie” and you have to leave the theater you’re at off of Michigan Ave, go downstairs to a weird Cajun restaurant, take three shots, and then return to the theater. Drink too much — by taking three shots in a Cajun restaurant in the downstairs of a Magnificent Mile cinema — and people say generic, common things like, “Can you please stop adding jokes to the end of every line in this movie in a full volume voice. Some of are trying to enjoy this Kathryn Heigl movie.”

It’s a real conundrum. Welcome to wine and beer you can take to your seat and time out your buzz. Life has truly never been better.

My favorite theater that serves wine and beer is tucked away on Sunset and once in the lobby, I saw Oprah there. OPRAH. IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR OPRAH, YOU KNOW?

Rating: 7 ghosts slithering their way out of your screen and you’re like “Oh no! I’m gonna die.” But then they’re like, “Can we have some of that Pinot Grigio?” And you’re like, “Oh my God. Of COURSE.” And then you help them with their unruly hair. You’ve got a hair tie on your wrist, and that’s what it’s for, you know? Emergencies.


3. Junior Mints

Junior mints are delicious. Sometimes I sit around I wonder what is it about junior mints that makes them ten thousand times better than peppermint patties. I think it’s partially about the texture. Junior mints are so much creamier. Unless you get a hard one. Why are ten percent of junior mints hard inside? I’d rather never eat anything again than expect a delicious soft junior mint only bite down to a chewy, ruined center. I’ve literally never felt stronger about anything in my whole life.

There should be stricter junior mint regulation. Can we at least agree on that?

Rating: Eight ghost girls come out of the screen. You’d maybe make it if you stopped eating junior mints. Maybe. But nothing is for certain in life except the junior mints that are right there. In your hands. Waiting to be devoured and loved by you. It’s really not that hard of a call.


2. Popcorn and M & M’s

I won’t allow one without the other. You eat a handful of that awesome, salty, buttery goodness. And then you think I need something sweet. So you have some M & Ms! But then you need something salty so you grab some popcorn. And on and on and on. And….. that’s….. How I Met Your Mother.

Ranking: What am I at eight or nine? Look I’m going to get real with you. I’m pretty tired. So I want you to imagine something really unhinged written right here. Do you have it? Good. Now make it worse. Like take that terrible, disturbing thing you just thought of, and add something really offensive. Now, add more blood. Just buckets and buckets of blood. Now go even farther. Dig deep guys, add the worst kind of thing you could truly even imagine.

Woah. Oh. Wow. That was really dark. Too dark. I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable. No. No. You went too far. What’s wrong with you? Stop. Just stop.


1. Twizzlers

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Paaaartaaay! #twizzlers

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Truly the best movie theater candy and/or food of all time. There’s no contest. Twizzlers taste like perfection. It’s truly an indescribable sensation. Like how I’d imagine it would taste to lick Paul Rudd’s cheek. If he had a physical body and wasn’t born out of the hopes of children while writing to Santa Claus, a drifting sparkly collection of the Christmas spirit that stars in Ant Man movies.

Ranking: Oh those 10 ghost-y kids are going to steal your soul. But you have twizzlers. And. You’re. Finishing. The. Bag.