Pop Culture

  • Choose between a happy popcorn shirt or an unhappy popcorn shirt.
  • Or don’t choose.
  • Moods are variable.
  • You need both!
  • Shirt is by Adam Koford or ApeLad, creator of Hobotopia and the Laugh Out Loud Cats. Maybe buy his most recent book.
  • This sizing chart really pops! Use it to make sure you’re getting the right size shirt.
  • Oh, we added Women’s 2XL this time (but remember that women’s sizes run small in this brand)
  • Model: T0P0FTH3P0P5.
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Popping Off

I hate to hijack Screenprint Sunday, usually a time of unbridled positivity and excitement, to go on an angry rant. But here we are. Friends, I have a bone to pick with the dinner theater.

In this context, when I say ‘dinner theater,’ I’m referring not to a playhouse with real live actors, but to cineplexes that serve you a dinner and a beer while you watch your movie. E.g. the Alamo Drafthouse experience. I don’t know when this started, but I know that it is now so ubiquitous that we even have one here in Central Iowa.

Two things I need to make clear up already:

  1. I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “Sean, have you been living in a bunker? These things have been around for years!” To which I can only reply, “Well excuse me, cool guys! I’m sorry that I grew up with access only to dinky mall theaters and a few locally-owned affairs with sound systems roughly equivalent to those found in Toyota Tercels.”

  2. My issue is not with the beer. No way. I absolutely love the option to have a beer with my movie. Not all of them, mind you. When I saw The Favourite, for example, I didn’t want anything to dull my ability to revel in the sharp wit and brutal aristocratic in-fighting. But if I’m seeing a summer blockbuster wherein The Rock improbably plays a kindergarten teacher who, during a field trip gone wrong, must scale the Burj Khalifa in order to save his class from UFC-trained robo-dragons, well then, pour an IPA for everyone in the theater so that we may raise our glasses and toast Mr. Johnson’s inevitable victory.

My issue is with the food. When I go to a see a movie in theaters, popcorn accounts for 50-98% of my excitement. I love standing in line at the snack counter and scanning the menu, before turning to my wife to say, “You know, the upgrade from the extra large to the literal rolling luggage full of popcorn is only $2, and you get a free refill,” as if this is something that I’ve just noticed and not a thing I’ve dreamed about for weeks.

Movie theater popcorn is garbage food, I know that. But a) it is the most heavenly of all garbage foods, and b) we need to preserve the few places where we can eat garbage food without shame. I don’t want to eat sashimi at the county fair, I don’t want to eat soufflé at the baseball stadium, and I definitely don’t want to eat a medium rare burger, or a personal wood-fire pizza, or a salad at the movie theater.

Yes. You read that correctly. These theaters have the gall to serve salads. And I love a good dinner salad, don’t get me wrong. But I’ll order one at the gastropub, not while I’m watching as John Wick dances violently through a world determined to end him. Imagine what we would have lost, as a culture, if the oft-GIFed moment of the iconic “Thriller” music video was Michael Jackson eating A FUCKING SALAD.

So, when I go to these “dinner theaters” I order popcorn. Every. Time. And when my waiter says, “And would you like anything for dinner, sir?” I say, “Yes. But I have already ordered it. The popcorn is my dinner.” And when the movie ends, I go home and I lie down to sleep, doing breathing exercises because my stomach is in knots from so much butter, oil, and corn.

But friends, these are only the pains of doing the right thing.

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