Graham: Ranking the best movie snacks from Dots to Dibs

What are the best munchies at the movies? Here is a definitive ranking as summer movie season blasts off

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” kicks off the summer movie season this weekend, and for many moviegoers, what they’re eating is just as important as what they’re watching on screen.

Movie snacks. Truth be told, they’re the real reason movie theaters are in business. Sure, the movies are fine, the screens are nice, the seats are comfortable. But that’s all tertiary. The concession stands are where big theater chains really butter their popcorn, with some studies showing theaters rake in a whopping 85 percent profit off of each dollar spent at the snack counter.

It’s a weird game we play at the movies when it comes to snacks. We know a bag of Sour Patch Kids shouldn’t cost $4.25 and we’re aware tub of popcorn — no matter how colossal — shouldn’t cost $7.50. Let alone that oil drum of soda that’s gonna run you $6.25. But we pay it because we’re at the movies, it’s part of the experience, and hey, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” goes down a little easier when you’ve got something tasty to munch on.

Popcorn is, of course, the big daddy of all movie snacks. Nothing comes close. Popping it at home isn’t the same, buying bags of pre-popped popcorn at the grocery store feels like a replica of a replica of a popcorn experience. If it wasn’t for popcorn, movies would go straight to Netflix and theaters would be a thing of the past. These are facts. Good popcorn can make a bad movie palatable.

But you can’t eat popcorn all the time. With that, here is a definitive ranking of the absolute best movie snacks. It all comes down to personal preference, of course, but I’m very confident these are the correct answers, culled from many, many years of movie snacking experience. Consider this the gospel:

1. Dots — A controversial choice, yes. But these colorful little gumdrops are pure gelatinous bliss. Yes, they get caught in your teeth, but that’s like having a snack on reserve for later! Dots rule.

2. Reese’s Pieces — It’s tough to beat these little morsels of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness, and it’s even harder to put them down once you get going. If you open a bag during the trailers they might be gone by the time the opening credits start. Pacing is key.

3. Sour Patch Kids/Swedish Fish — Grouping these together because they’re both in the yummy gummy category. Sour Patch Kids come out slightly ahead because of the sugar residue left at the bottom of the bag, a perfect end note to finish on, but both are top-notch candies.

4. Twizzlers — Waxy goodness and perfect for sharing. Twizzlers are slightly preferential to Red Vines, but both do the job.

5. Milk Duds — Pure indulgence here in these chocolate-covered caramel delights; however, eat too many in a row and you’ll feel sick. Points lost because they don’t pair well with soda; their best accompaniment is milk, and if you drink milk at the movies you will get a lot of strange looks.

6. Dibs — Dippin’ Dots (the ice cream of the future!) never truly succeeded as a movie snack — there were portability issues — but Dibs, these little Nestle Crunch-like bite size ice cream treats, succeed in bringing frozen treats inside theater walls.

7. Any sort of cookie dough amalgam — This one has started cropping up in recent years, with Cookie Dough Bites elbowing their way into concession stand real estate. But the best way to eat cookie dough is still consuming raw cookie batter, and Cookie Dough Bites don’t effectively replicate the pleasure of that experience.

8. Goobers — These chocolate-covered peanuts always taste kind of stale. It’s difficult to mess up something as simple as chocolate and peanuts, but Goobers find a way.

9. Sno-Caps — It has always puzzled me why these aren’t better. Chocolate chips with sprinkles are a no-brainer! But Sno-Caps are mostly trash candy, acceptable only if you’re in dire need of a sugar fix.

10. Raisinets — Why are you eating these? You cannot be trusted. If someone next to you at the movies whips out a box of Raisenets, you have permission to contact the theater manager and request their removal.

What are your favorites? Let me know. Unless you like Raisinets, in which case we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

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