I watched a movie in a hot-dog stand the other day.
At the same time, the guy behind me ate a hot dog in a movie theater.
I guess it all depends on your perspective.
The guy behind me probably was delighted that our neighborhood movie theater now offers hot dogs along with the traditional popcorn, nachos and candy.
I, for one, do not appreciate the smell of pork and beef with my cinema.
Oh, I can hear it now:
"Movie theaters must diversify in their choice of concessions because they need to compete with people's home entertainment systems. At home, people can watch movies and eat whatever they please. Theaters need to lure people out of their homes by offering all the comforts of home."
Yeah, well, I don't buy that argument.
People make liver at home, and I wouldn't want the smell of liver to mix with my movie watching.
Watching a movie is a specific experience. Part of that experience involves the smell of popcorn and the sound of candy boxes being unwrapped. Pork and beef have no place in the movie-going experience.
I have nothing against pork and beef in public. But their public appearances should be restricted to cheap restaurants, ballparks and street corners. To bring that smell into a movie theater is offensive.
I love a good pastrami sandwich, but it should not be sold at movie-theater concession stands. I love garlic bread, but it doesn't belong at a concession stand. I love tuna-fish sandwiches, but they don't belong in a movie theater.
Eat your meal at home
Truth be told, I am not a fan of nachos in movie theaters. The cheese stinks, and the chips make noise. There already is enough noise in movie theaters without adding tortilla chips.
I have no sympathy for the movie audience on this subject. I suggest you eat your main meal at home or in a restaurant, and then restrict yourself to popcorn and candy at the theater.
As for people who bring in bags of food from the outside, I would like to recommend some form of capital punishment. Take your pick - gas chamber, firing squad or being forced to watch a David Spade film retrospective.
While I don't support those who would eat smelly foods in movie theaters, I do understand the plight of the theater owner.
According to a study by the London-based publication Screen Digest, 40 percent of a theater owner's profits comes from concession sales. It's no secret that studios take such a high percentage of the ticket price that theater owners are forced to make profits on their concessions.
So, if I don't want theater owners to stink up the place with pork and beef, what options am I offering? It's a good question. I'm glad I brought it up.
I've devoted a lot of time to this problem because I spend a lot of time in movie theaters. By the way, I'm very unhappy with the trend away from chocolate-covered almonds. Some chains still have them, but too many chains have sold their souls to the chocolate-covered raisin lobbyists.
Anyway, I digress.
All about ice cream
I believe I have a responsibility to make a few suggestions as to what theater owners should sell at their concession stands as an alternative to pork, beef and other offensive-smelling food products.
More ice cream - Many chains offer ice-cream products, but it might be time to consider full-scale ice cream counters. Theaters could advertise their theaters as the perfect place for dessert. Too many movie-goers think of theaters as a dinner place (if hot dogs and nachos can be considered dinner fare), but I think more people might want to go to a movie as the perfect end of a dinner date. A milkshake not only tastes great, but it's a fairly quiet snack.
More licorice - Red Vines should be a major food group, but theater chains should be encouraged to take licorice to the next level. There are dozens of licorice products on the market, but why do theater chains sell only one?
More fruit - At some point at the dawn of the age of cinema, some enterprising theater owner decided that movie food had to be bad for you. And the public bought it. Fruit can be a wonderful theater snack, although I would ban apples because they're too noisy.
More martinis - Several upscale theaters are experimenting with liquor sales, but most keep their bars outside of the theater. I'm asking that the bars be placed inside the theaters, although the type of liquor sold would be tied to the movie genre. For instance, beer would be allowed only at showings of raucous comedies, while martinis and wine would be permitted at dramas.
As always, no liver in movie theaters!