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Has the Popcorn Bucket Kicked the Bucket? [Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered]

There are a lot of things to complain about these days. Rising health care costs. Corporate greed. That stunt Netflix pulled earlier this year. But, few trends have aroused the wrath, frustration, the unbridled ire in my otherwise serene sensibility than this: the replacement of the traditional bucket of popcorn with the less aesthetically pleasing and generally inferior bag.

A bucket is sturdy. Firm in the hand. Solid. Everything from its circular shape to its thick cardboard to its smooth rim represents the movie going experience I grew up with as a kid. My 4 sisters, all of us under the age of 10, would pass the bucket up and down the row between us, then back again. At least 3, maybe even 4 of us could stick our grubby little hands in that bucket and not a kernel would go flying. There was a weight to the thing. Room to dig. There’s comfort in that.

Now when I approach the concession counter at the multiplex, after I shell out $7.50 for a large, rectangular, paper Shrek 5 advertisement – oops, I mean a large paper bag filled with popcorn –  all I can do is hope the featherweight thing doesn’t tumble out of my hand on my way to my seat, as it has before, when I’ve trying to rest it lightly against my chest (so I can balance a Diet Coke and a pack of Twizzlers. Duh).

Or, maybe I’m at the movie with my significant other. The best we can do is hope that the lame, thin paper bag of popcorn doesn’t tear down the side as we both dig our hands into it the dark, or go flying across the theatre, each of us thinking the other had a firm hold on the flimsy thing.

Sure, the paper bag is probably more economical (not that any of that savings trickles down to us moviegoers). Yeah, the paper bag may be more environment friendly. But, I ask you, what about nostalgia? What about authenticity? What about THE BUCKET?

I had so hoped this movie- popcorn-served-in-paper-bags thing was a passing trend. But, here we are, 2011, and the bags remain. I imagine the bucket is back, see it in my dreams. I go to the theatre and order myself a large popcorn. With a golden glow I gracefully accept the product handed to me…and  grip my hands around a gloriously unyielding, structurally sound, beautiful bucket of popcorn.

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featured image credit: Tom Clifton