The people of Piedras Negras have a lot to answer for.
The Mexican city is apparently the birthplace of nachos and so proud of that feat are its residents that every October they host the International Nacho Festival. Thousands of people attend this event that features singing, dancing and, of course, eating. It also runs the Biggest Nacho in the World contest, the record for which is featured in The Guinness Book of Records. On the face of it then, the humble nacho is something Piedras Negras should be very proud of, having become a popular snack across the world… and in our cinemas.
However, I’m willing to bet that the original vision for the corn-based snack was a far cry from what is served up in our multiplexes today.
Every time I go to the cinema nowadays, my chosen film is accompanied by an all too familiar cheesy-salsa waft that assaults my senses. I’ve long been against the practice of serving up junk food in cinemas, ever since the introduction of the humble hot dog. My objection comes in two parts. First off, there are the standard reasons everyone has against it – endless rustling of packaging, loud eating, food splatters on your clothes, having to wade over god knows how much rubbish in your aisle after the film’s finished. These in themselves are all valid reasons to ban it. Incidentally, how can someone rustle away at their nachos for a whole hour before they’re done?
The other reason is one of economics. Cinemas are boosting their coffers and cinemagoers’ bellies by selling these add-ons and it invariably turns out to be a disappointing experience, certainly once you realise you’ve spent well over a tenner for the ticket, food and drink. I understand cinema chains have to make their profits somehow, and with more people staying away from their local multiplex in favour of watching movies at home, tempting visitors with astronomically priced grub is a long-established means of doing so.
However, surely they could come up with other alternatives to enhance the experience and tempt more people through the doors. How about movie promotional materials? Soundtrack tasters? Copies of film magazines? I’d be more than happy to fork out money for either of those options, and if cinemas could strike up a deal with the companies involved, surely it would be quids in for all concerned?
The bottom line is that serving up food in cinemas distracts non-eaters with the smells and sounds of greedy guzzlers and distracts the eaters themselves from paying full attention to the film. Cinema chains should do us all a favour and say ‘No more’ to the nacho.
Read Mark’s rant against kids in cinemas here…