Monday, October 18, 2010

Food for Films: Sneak Peek of the 33rd Starz Denver Film Festival

If you follow this blog with some regularity then you may remember that I went to this year's Telluride Film Festival (TFF). I had a great time, ate some decent spit-roasted meat and saw some films. Although the films I saw were generally quite good, and were often world-premieres, it made me realize that film-for-film we have a special film festival of our own right here in Denver.

I am, of course, referring to the Starz Denver Film Festival (DFF). It doesn't compare to Telluride in star power, budget or world premieres-- but it isn't trying. It is a workingman's film festival that every year brings an impressive number of incredible and important films to Denver; and spread out over almost two weeks, with the ability to buy individual tickets to every movie, it is easy to manage and afford.

This year the line-up is impressive again. There are at least six films that I saw or could have seen at the TFF and overall there are a couple-hundred choices from dozens of countries, including a focus on Iranian Cinema and a special group of Mexican cinema that has become another new tradition within the festival itself. (For some real movie insight, visit Denveater's site here and here.)

I should disclose that I am a Denver Film Society member, something that will get me the inside track in buying tickets to this year's showtimes. Member tickets go on sale Wednesday and the rest of you can start buying on Friday. There is still time to join and reap the member benefits which include discounted tickets and discounted concessions, the latter which should deter you from having to sneak food into the theater.

That being said I know economic times are tough. I also know that even when times aren't tough there are those of us that are still either too damn cheap or snobby (or somehow both) to buy food from the popcorn counter, so we sneak it in ourselves. That, ladies and gentlemen, brings me to the topic of this post:
My Favorite Foods To Sneak Into the Movies.

1) Burrito
My number one favorite food to sneak into the movies is a burrito. A burrito that is well-wrapped in foil might be the ultimate movie meal. It is here that I admit that when I do indulge in my movie burrito is more often than not from that place you all think of now when you imagine a foil-wrapped burrito. Call it non-traditional. Call it corporate food for the masses. Call it convenience. But whatever the case, it is especially good slouched down in a seat under the big screen.

2) Torta
Like the burrito, a torta is usually tightly wrapped in foil when ordered "to go". It is also usually sliced down the middle making for easy in-theater eating. Compared to the standard burrito, however, they can reek of fried meat, oil and butter. That is usually a good thing, but in a tightly-packed or small theater it is a little much, so save it for those big theater showings of second runs when you can isolate yourself from the rest of us. This photo is from the infamous Tortugas:

3) Popcorn
This might seem obvious. Or stupid. Or cheap. It's not just that movie popcorn is outrageously expensive, it's that I don't love the artificial butter taste or the excess salt. I know that might be sacrilegious to some, but it is just a little too much for me sometimes. I like to stove-pop popcorn at home and toss it with a healthy dose of cayenne pepper and a little salt. In the summer, when I have fresh-pesto coming out of my ears, I like to drizzle that over my popcorn and shake it up in a bag.

4) Booze
There is nothing more embarrassing then opening a can of beer in a movie theater while trying to cover it up with a cough. I'm not above that scenario, but in my more mature years (everything is relative) I can often be seen (hopefully I am never seen) sipping from a thermos filled with a mixture of Bailey's Irish cream and either hot cocoa or coffee. Plus, have too many beers and you'll be in the can when Matt Damon saves the world.

5) Chocolate Bar
I'm a little bit of a dark chocolate fiend, and not so much of a candy-type (except for an occasional box of Mike and Ike's), so I like to supply my own sweets for movie time. Lately I have been hooked on two different bars from Boulder's own Chocolove: one with sea salt and almonds, the other with crushed ancho chiles and cherries.

6) A Big Bag
None of this would be possible without the big-ass purse I bought my wife for Christmas a few years ago. Actually, to call it just a purse would be like calling Muhammad Ali just another good boxer. This is the hands-down king (or queen) of purses. My wife is rather petite, but she could easily lay down in it and take a nap. If I was strong enough I could carry her in and only have to buy one ticket. Suffice to say it is more than up to the task of even our most gluttonous of movie contraband experiences.

Now I don't know the Denver Film Society's stance on contraband food in its theaters, but I imagine it might be along the lines of "We will confiscate that." I also realize that I have quite possibly incriminated myself-- or at least all women carrying a big black purse. On the other hand, I have information from a credible source that the "theme" of this year's festival is along the lines of "Festival-Going Tips", so I'm really just doing my part.

The reality is that I save my food-smuggling for international travel and for theaters other than the DFS's lovely and intimate Tivoli showrooms. Seriously. Because there is something special in these intimate mini-theaters, and the film festival they play host to is my absolute favorite annual Denver event, so I would hate it to go away because they lost all that concession money. Plus, they do sell beer. And they should also have beer at their new location in the movie theaters on East Colfax next to Tattered Cover and Twist and Shout-- former home of Neighborhood Flix (RIP). I think I also get a free bag of popcorn (being a member). So at this year's film festival, if you hear someone coughing while obviously opening a beer, or awkwardly unwrapping the foil on a giant burrito, it probably won't be me. Probably.

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1 comment:

  1. Ditto on Chocolove's almond and seasalt. Once when I was in high school we snuck a pizza in - I don't remember how but it was good.



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