Last Call: What’s the most ridiculous food you’ve ever snuck into a movie theater?

Writer kneeling by trash can full of popcorn
Popcorn goes into trash, Lillian’s hand goes into popcorn
Photo: Lillian Stone
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After graduating from college, I spent a few years flitting from movie theater to movie theater at least a few times a week. I started out as a rabid consumer—I will never call myself a cinephile because I love to watch trash—and ended up an employee at Moxie Cinema, my hometown’s only indie theater. This is all to say that I’ve snarfed down all manner of foods inside movie theaters. As a viewer, I once snuck a massive Tupperware container of bean soup into a screening of Snowden (2016). As a theater employee, I spent hours cramming handfuls of popcorn down my gullet and removing toilet clogs that can only be described as Kafkaesque. I’ve been on both sides of the game, which is why I’m so tickled by Twitter’s current illicit movie snack discourse:


The responses to this tweet are incredible. We’ve got movie-goers putting away 10 pounds of Indian food. We’ve got people strapping rotisserie chickens and Saran-wrapped watermelon to their abdomens. We’ve got one user who “confidently wolfed down a Chipotle burrito during Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”

I love this conversation, even as someone who’s had to clean up after an adult man who decided to eat a cheesesteak in the dark while staring at a screen. I’m also woefully optimistic that movie theaters are, in fact, not dead—only dormant. My greatest hope is that we’ll all reunite in those squeaky, squeaky seats someday, when we’ll join hands and eat all manner of inappropriate foods and CLEAN UP AFTER OURSELVES OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO BURN THEMSELVES ON THE POPCORN POPPER. In the meantime, let me know: what’s the weirdest food you’ve ever snuck into a movie theater?

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.


Brick HardMeat

My story has nothing to do with movie theaters, but feels spiritually related.

In college, I rowed crew for a club team. To pay for the various resources the team needed (boats, dock time, daily use of vans, etc) team members were required to work the concessions stands at sporting events, mainly football and basketball games.

At the end of the shift, we were allowed to take any cooked food with us. With the dining halls giving us unlimited food during meals and the fact that the concession grub was barely fit for human consumption, I don’t ever remember consciously setting out to abuse this perk. I mean, sure, you’d end up waltzing away with a couple pretzels or nachos with “cheese” and maybe several hot dogs but nothing crazy. Until one day, one of my team mates came up with the brilliant idea of filling a trash bag (clean, unused) with hot dogs.

Were the hot dogs gross and only slightly warmer than room temperature? Were they steamed, making them questionable even at their peak consumability, and now weirdly soggy after spending hours in a tray? Is the life experience of gathering around an open trash bag with 3 other dudes cramming soggy near-room-temperature hot dogs into our chomping maws something that will haunt me to my grave? Did we fill that trash bag to the brim with more hot dogs than we could possibly have consumed in a single sitting (or “standing” as it were, since we pounded those sweaty meat tubes down our throats while standing in the middle of the concourse as crowds of football game attendees - fans, locals, alumni, fellow students - parted around us, yielding the wide berth a wildebeest gives a sick or injured member of its herd)?