To Buy the Bucket of Popcorn or Not?

One of the best parts about going to the movies is the irresistible and unmistakable smell of popcorn that immediately hits you the moment you walk from outside the parking lot and into the lobby of the movie theater. That special smell gets me every single time as I always end up purchasing a bag/tub at the concession stand. It doesn’t matter if I am stuffed, I still fork over the money to eat popcorn at the movie theater every single time.

My local theater in Missoula is owned by Carmike Cinemas. This particular movie theater chain has a promotion where they sell giant buckets of popcorn that are re-useable for the full calendar year. You simply pay the price for the tub and then you are welcome to bring it back throughout the year to get refills at a discounted price each time you go to watch a movie. For someone like me, most people would say that I should definitely cash in on the deal. Even though it does make sense over the long run, the initial price turns me off.

I LOVE movie theater popcorn....not so much the microwave version though.

I LOVE movie theater popcorn….not so much the microwave version though.

Okay, ready for the price of one of these calorie-loaded, year-long bottomless popcorn tubs? Try $19.75. Want a refill on that tub? For the rest of the year you will just have to pay $3.75.

While I do thank Carmike Cinemas for saving us a quarter and saving us the shame of spending 20 bucks on popcorn, the $19.75 price tag does make me a little squeamish. Not that I haven’t squandered larger loads of money on even stupider things during my twenties but I think the fact that most times when I am tempted by the deal I am reminded that I just paid $20+ for movie tickets  and the notion of equaling that price in popcorn makes me decide against it. However, I am starting to have second thoughts.

On Friday night I went to “Lone Survivor”. While in line to get my traditional bag of popcorn I couldn’t help but notice that everyone else in line with me seemed to have the 2014 refillable buckets. I guess I had not realized the popularity of them until that night. I mean really, how could all those people be wrong? I bought a large popcorn and a soda and it come to somewhere over $14. Instead of getting my popcorn fix just for the movie that night I could have paid five dollars more (without purchasing the soda) and set myself up for discounted popcorn throughout the rest of 2014. If it was an ordinary movie I would have thought about my decision throughout the whole two hours but since “Lone Survivor” blew my socks off I forgot about it until after I walked out of the theater.

Not to be lost in this all is that it is still mid-January. If I pull the trigger and purchase the bucket now I will enjoy the benefit of $3.75 buckets of popcorn for pretty much the maximum time possible. I do plan to see a lot of movies this year.

“JUST BUY THE STUPID BUCKET!,” many of you might be yelling right now.

Well, I have concerns against it as well. Just because I can purchase something that will probably give me more for less in the long run it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the way to go. Do I really need to enjoy the largest bucket of popcorn possible at each movie I go to? At some point I should respect my body and cholesterol level. Also, living in an apartment, space is somewhat limited and I don’t know if I want to store it in one of my cupboards. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of fresh popcorn at the movie theater but I am not as enthusiastic about a cupboard smelling like the waiting room of a tire shop. Finally, if I can’t glue my fingers to the handle, chances are that I might forget my $19.75 bucket a time or two when I dash off to watch the latest blockbuster.

I know I am going against every journalistic principle by not taking a stand on what I am going to do but my personal jury is still out on whether I will buy the bucket or not. I will say that if forced to give a prediction, I think I will end up giving in sometime this month and purchasing it. But, if for some reason I am kept away from the theater for the rest of January I might just pass on it. One thing is for sure, you know I will keep you posted. Don’t Blink.

A Movie I Wish I Never Saw

Very rarely do I feel the need to devote a blog post to voicing how bad a certain movie was. However, the film I saw on Monday night at the Carmike 10 theater in Missoula reached such a level of horrificness that I felt compelled to let all my readers know about it. I care about all of you so much that if I can save you $9.25 and two hours of your time I am going to do it.

Many times I read books and watch movies without reading the inside cover or watching the previews. I like to go into something with no preconceived notions. I am just entertained more when I have to figure everything out myself without the aid of a primer before. As usual, I went pretty much blind into the recent movie I saw and I can say that was one of the few times where I genuinely wished I diverted course and did some research.

Monday evening I saw “Spring Breakers”. Going in, I knew the movie featured Selena Gomez and was based on the spring break odyssey of a group of girlfriends. I also knew that the movie featured some sexual and narcotic themes….but what movie these days doesn’t, right? I just thought it would fall in line with any typical PG-13 or R rated movie. So after all the commercial ads and the 30 minutes of previews, the movie finally started. It only took one minute of the opening scene to clue me in that this was not your typical PG-13 or R rated movie.

In “Spring Breakers”, sex and nudity predominate throughout the whole entire movie. Now trust me, I am no prude, but the blatant and constant usage of the above mentioned things really did distract from anything the movie might have had going for it while also leaving the viewer to think “Wow, this is just plain indecent.” Sometimes movie makers purposely go overboard with controversial themes and many times it just comes across as unnecessary. Think the F-Word with “Casino” or violence with the last “Rambo” movie. Directors sometimes just put strong language, violence, and/or sex in every part of a movie just so it will have strong language, violence, and/or sex in every part of a movie. But where “Casino” and “Rambo” both crossed the line a little bit with language and violence respectively, “Spring Breakers” in my opinion did an Olympic-caliber long jump over that same line when it came to sex/nudity elements. For me, it was just way too much.

The movie in general was just disturbing and weird to me. Filmed and cut in a choppy, drug high-induced way, most people 10 years younger than me would probably say it was cool….I just thought it was distracting. It is in this hazy way that the movie follows four girls (one of them Selena Gomez and one of them another Disney star, Vanessa Hudgens) as they go to Florida for spring break. Funding the trip by robbing a diner, the girls live it up in Florida, partying like there is no tomorrow. The party stops momentarily when the group gets arrested for trashing a house. Sitting in jail with no money, they get bailed out by a drug dealer rapper named Alien. The rest of the movie just chronicles the weird relationship between Alien and the girls.

And that my friends, is pretty much the gist of the movie. Don’t even bother about a plot, “Spring Breakers” is completely devoid of one. The makers of the movie must have thought that an excess in party, sex, and drug scenes excused them from throwing any sense of one into the film. The whole time in the theater I tried to figure out what the movie was trying to get at, what needed to get accomplished. Nothing ever emerged.

Of course, if something lacks a plot then there is no real set up for a decent ending. With no problem to solve or goal to achieve, what do you have to base a strong ending on? “Spring Breakers” makes no exception. The ending was one of the most epically bad ones I have witnessed in a long time. If you plan to make the mistake and watch this movie, turn your head now as I summarize how the movie concludes: Alien and the two remaining girls go to a rival drug dealer’s property and engage in a shootout with the rival’s entourage. Alien is shot dead right away but somehow the two college girls are able to blow away about 25 men of the entourage, enter the mansion, and kill the rival dealer in front of two of his women who are in the shower. The girls leave the property in the dealer’s car and the movie ends. A completely unbelievable, random, and unsatisfying ending…yet completely fitting for how terrible this movie was.

To put the cherry on top of the disgusting sundae, the characters in the movie will leave a terrible taste in your mouth. The group of girls the movie follows are 3x worse than The Plastics from “Mean Girls”. While Selena Gomez played the role of the good girl, the other three were simply way too out there to ever develop any liking, sympathy, or connection for. However, the character of Alien takes the cake for complete catastrophe. Alien is played by James Franco, the same guy who stars in “Oz the Great and Powerful.” I haven’t seen a character who made me feel more annoyed or disgusted in a long time. Just tough to even look at in the first place, he had no redeeming qualities and his constant rapping/singing/reciting throughout the movie drove me up a wall. If I heard him say his repetitious “Spring break…spring break” one more time in that movie I was going to storm out of the theater. It was that bad.

The funny thing about movies is that everyone has different tastes. Believe it or not, some critics have actually given “Spring Breakers” positive reviews. While I personally have no idea how that is possible, it reminds me that my standard of what makes a good movie differs from the standard of the entertainment writer from such-and-such a newspaper or from the standard of yourself. With that said, please don’t go see “Spring Breakers.” Don’t Blink.