The Land of the Midnight Sneak

Jun 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm
The Land of the Midnight Sneak
Fernando de Sousa, Wikimedia Commons
I was planning on regaling you with tales of the highly appropriate rainbow-hued foods I snuck into the Pride Parade this weekend in Tower Grove Park. Alas, even Southern sneaks wilt like delicate magnolia blossoms in 100-plus degree heat, and I am no exception. I scuttled back indoors to live to sneak another day with less chance of heat stroke.

Instead, I'll offer you an exercise in one of the core doctrines of sneaking food into movies: appropriateness. Just as all food snuck into movies is not necessarily snuck ethically, far too much is snuck inappropriately. A good sneak is like a sommelier, enhancing the flavor and texture of a film with, well, flavors and textures.

For the purposes of this exercise, we'll be looking at the Tivoli's Reel Late Midnite Movie schedule. I cannot stress this enough: the Midnite Movie at the Tivoli is always great, even if you drift off in their comfy seats before the final credits roll (The Big Lebowski, flask of bourbon, and not being in college anymore, I'm looking at you.). As hot as it was on Saturday, I probably would have paid eight bucks just to sit in the air conditioning for two hours. The Tivoli's schedule of gentle cult classics (Crispin Glover, I am not looking at you, except in September when you play George McFly) and '80s nostalgia is a wonderful bonus to all that gloriously chilled air.

Here's the summer portion of the schedule and some suggestions for your sneaking pleasure:

July 17-18: GREMLINS

Could there be a better movie to watch in a movie theater while eating illicit food after midnight? Practically anything is appropriate. Anything but a candy bar, that is. Not only are they available at the concessions stand and therefore not ethically kosher, a scene in which a nice scientist gets mauled while holding one out to a caged gremlin scarred me for life when I was a kid. Thanks, network TV. You diligently saved me from boobs and cusses, and somehow I still came away traumatized.

July 24-25: DEADGIRL

This is the premiere film the Tivoli includes in the midnight line-up, a hopeful cult classic in the making. This one looks like a lean psychological drama touched off when two high school jerkoffs cutting class find a woman's body wrapped in plastic in an abandoned hospital, like Stand By Me for the kids in Elephant with more than a little traditional horror mixed in. You can either go swank to celebrate the premiere with a fine, cheap champagne or take more of a novelty approach and bring a food you've never had before into a movie you've never seen before to really roll the dice. Just make sure it's nothing you can't spill on yourself to disastrous results if you jump in your seat from a sudden scare.

July 31-Aug. 1

The perennial Reel Late favorite makes an appearance with a new bunny suit, the director's cut. What's appropriate here is the exact opposite of what you should bring to Deadgirl; this old favorite should be enjoyed with your most frequently ordered tubular food, but with a twist. Always order a sub with turkey and ham, swiss cheese, mayo? Get it with spicy mustard and savor the difference it makes.


If only Hi-C still made Ecto Cooler! While I'm pretty sure "Hi-C" refers to the HIgh fructose Corn syrup it dropped into my bloodstream, nothing quite represents the 80s as well as a product tie-in to a cartoon show that outlived the cartoon by many years. In college, I swear to you that every batch of hunch punch, that liver-killing blend of whatever non-beer you could find on a dorm floor in time for the party, tasted like Ecto Cooler. The Midnight Movie is one of the only reasons in adult life that justifies getting some friends and giant bucket together and mix up another batch. Make sure there's enough sober rides to go around before ladling up some individual hunch thermoses. In a pinch, you can use a big disposable plastic cup with wax paper or plastic wrap stretched across the top and duct taped securely to the sides. NASA wouldn't certify it for launch, but several will balance in the bottom of a bag just fine. Yes, I actually did that in college - professional sneaks have to start early.

Aug. 14-15: TAXI DRIVER

This is the date to take someone on when you want to know how compatible you really are. Coffee, apple pie with cheese. She can have anything she wants.

Aug. 21-22: U2 (National Geographic) - in 3D!

Admission for this special event concert film is $9 because the extra dimension costs a bit more. (Just pray that there's not a Bruce Springsteen-worthy flying crotch shot.) This is the time to sneak in your locally-grown produce and organic couscous, to calculate the carbon footprint of your midnight moviegoing experience. Is sneaking good for the environment? Studies are inconclusive, but by combining a trip out for dinner (or making your own) with a trip to the movie when they would be two separate car rides must count for something. Crunchy granola, while suitably ironic, might disturb your neighbors during quieter songs and cover you in unsightly crumbs. Irish food (particularly if that food is actually beer) is also acceptable.

Aug. 28-29: LABYRINTH

Good thing this one's not in 3D, or the protruding David Bowie codpiece shot would be assured. Got a preteen girl in your life who won't stop swooning over Edward Cullen? Here's how to mitigate that and look like an awesome adult while instilling life-long lessons of who and what can be sexy and sparkly at the same time. This calls for a full complement of sleepover foods: a couple of slices of pizza encased in aluminum foil, Doritos, Jolt Cola. I highly recommend enhancing your snuck foods with popcorn and the excellent gelato from the Tivoli's concession stand.

That's enough movies to get you through the start of school and theoretical dropping of temperatures. While an enormous portion of sneaking success is prior planning, half the fun is in the thrill of spontaneity, of having fun with your food. Long-term movie menu planners, here's the rest of the schedule through the traditional end of the Rocky Horror Picture Show for Halloween

Sept. 11-12: PULP FICTION
Sept. 25-26: SERENITY
Oct. 2-3: THEY LIVE
Oct. 16-17: 12 MONKEYS
Oct. 23-24: MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D - in 3D! (Admission: $9)
Oct. 31-Nov. 1 and Nov. 6-7: ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (Admission: $10)

Dara Strickland is a leading expert on sneaking food and drink into the movies. She reports on her exploits for Gut Check (from an undisclosed location) every Monday.