Popcorn at the Movies –and Brussel Sprouts ?

By Tony Moorby November 11, 2019 1166


   I went to the movie theater the other evening, to see Downton Abbey. No surprise there, I suppose, having been enthralled with the TV series, for what seems, donkeys years. In fact I’ve probably seen the whole thing three times. It was an enjoyable film; fulfilling all the expectations including lots of remarks from the Dowager Duchess whose dry wit and shielded sarcasm are sharp enough to cut the legs off any dexterous linguistic opponent.

   I wish I could have conjured up such verbal joust to address the ladies two seats along who insisted on continuing a conversation, spurred on by references to the glowing screens of their phones piped in to Facebook or something similar. There was no attempt at surreptitious whispers; they could have been talking over a garden fence.

   Going to the movies is, like many things nowadays, a different experience to that of recent past. Gone is any expectation of hushed reverence and respect for other peoples’ comforts. Phones glow in the dark like beacons of some other reality at the ends of arms – as distracting as a cymbal’s clash. Withering looks and tut-tutting only turns the offenders into the offended – the immediate gratification of the minority being allowed at the uncomfortable behest of the majority despite the implorings of screen wide notices from the theatre management.

   It used to be that popcorn provided an olfactory welcome to the movies. That singular scent having pervaded the walls and furnishings down to the carpets over decades was an automatic connection to an evening’s entertainment. Not so much. Not any more. Our local 20-screen emporium is now a dine-in facility! That’s dine in the theatre itself. You can order a full meal from your seat and have it delivered during the movie as you swivel a tray the size of a tennis court in front of you. The drink holder houses anything from a soda to a scotch in any size you can imagine. The comings and goings of the servers shadow the movie screen like black ghosts for the duration. And to excite your senses even further you can play a game of who’s eating what in the seats around you – fried chicken nuggets in J24, cheeseburger and fries over in G17, beef tacos, judging by the lip-smacking next door, between the Facebook glances. The final nasal assault is achieved by the provision of Brussels sprouts, their offensive sulphurous cloud hanging like a pall that clings to your nose hairs. Cooking Brussels sprouts should be confined to the privacy of your own home – not in public and especially not in a movie theater. The two events are diametrically opposed to good conduct in enclosed spaces.

   The shake-shifting of Goobers in a cardboard box or the crunch of crushed ice now are replaced by slurping and slopping from the tray while fully reclined, legs extended to disallow access or egress for those who wish to use the facilities (especially following the ingestion of Brussels sprouts). One can now recline to the extent of inducing sleep apnea should the movie not appeal.

   It would seem that no one can be expected to pay rapt attention to a subject for a couple of hours any more, visual entertainment now being insufficient, on its own, to garner the audience’s interests.

   I, for one, would rather keep my creature comforts separately sated. A nice meal, in a good restaurant deserves its own occasion. A meal in a movie theatre, prepared remotely and served in the dark, for me, invites all kinds of questions. Waiting for a great movie to be released and being there for its showing needs no other sensual support, in my view. Brussels sprouts in a movie theater indeed.




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Last modified on Monday, 11 November 2019 16:31