The 12 Best Food Pairings For Every Movie Genre

Don't head into the theater empty-handed this summer.

Whether you're catching a movie in the park, pulling up at the drive-in, or just streaming something at home, you deserve a good snack to pair with your viewing experience. Choosing the right one is crucial. It might even determine your opinion of the film itself.

To give your next movie selection a fighting chance, we've laid out some helpful snack and drink pairings for every major film genre. For best results, try not to polish them off by the end of the opening credits.

Romance: Red wine and M&M’s

Whether or not wine and chocolate will put your date in the mood is irrelevant. What really matters is that the wine—specifically, red wine—will mentally transport your senses to an Italian vineyard where the love of your life might ride in on horseback and profess their undying love to you. Crunching on the M&M's, meanwhile, will give you cover and distract from the few happy tears that slip out when the main characters on screen finally kiss.

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Comedy: Spray cheese and soda

Have you ever used spray cheese to make funny designs on a cracker? You should start. Combine that with the burps induced by the fizziness of your favorite soda and you'll probably get a few laughs out of your fellow movie-viewers alongside the antics on screen. This is also a solid plan to generate some backup laughs in case the actual movie isn't as funny as you'd hoped.

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Drama: Tea and cookies

When you just want to take in the drama, what do you do? You sip your tea and keep your mouth zipped. (No slurping.) When you want to amp up the drama, what do you do? You spill that tea. Either way, tea is involved, and you can't have a proper tea time without some cookies or tiny finger sandwiches. Sip it or spill it all you want, but tea and drama go hand in hand. All the better if the drama you're watching involves tense tea parties of its own.

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Suspense: Bruschetta

When it comes to a suspense-filled movie, you want food and drinks that can be enjoyed at room temperature. If the movie has you on the edge of your seat, absolutely enthralled, and can't tear your eyes away from the screen, your snacks may end up neglected for a while. In that case, you'll need something to comfort you after a surprise twist, and bruschetta is the type of snack that can sit for the duration without losing any flavor. But beyond that, bruschetta is sort of a suspenseful snack in itself, requiring the utmost caution around precarious tomatoes that might topple at any moment.

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Horror: Soft pretzels

In the case of a film that's going to offer thrills and chills, the last thing you want to snack on is something that can spill everywhere. One ill-timed jump scare and the whole night is ruined. A soft pretzel with some dipping sauce (placed off to the side, out of an abundance of caution) allows you to munch through your fear. It's soft and comforting, like all great carbs are.

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Documentary: Coffee and croissant

This is not a dig at documentaries or the brilliant people who make them, but not every single one is going to grab your attention with the same intensity as other genres of film. For that reason, you might need a little pick-me-up midway through your viewing, and coffee and pastries are the way to go. The caffeine will keep your eyes open and a buttery croissant can help you feel like that film student who only drinks espresso and wears a beret. You know who I mean, right?

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Action: Loaded nachos

Feed the action hero within you with a loaded plate of nachos, a natural pairing for all the ass-kicking, meat-eating scenes you'll surely enjoy in the corresponding film. Masculine stereotypes aside, if nachos pair well with the athletic violence of a Super Bowl game, then they are certainly a fitting choice for the explosions and fight scenes of an action movie.

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Romantic Comedy: Ice cream

Think about it. You're enjoying a scoop of ice cream while watching a movie with your crush. You turn to look at each other, but oh no, you've got a little ice cream on your nose. (So cute, so endearing.) They wipe it off your face. You then try to seductively tie the stem of the cherry that sits atop your scoop. You choke, and your date has to perform the Heimlich maneuver. You're quirky and relatable as you cough up the stem and begin to laugh reflexively. Your date sees you for the wonderfully unique individual you are. My work here is done.

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Musical: Lollipop

Food is music to my ears, eyes, and soul, so it's hard to think of one specific dish or snack item that screams "musical." Instead, this is more about what's going to make that inevitable moment when I start singing along even better. A lollipop can look an awful lot like a microphone when you have the right audience. Grab your favorite Tootsie Pop flavor and you can belt it out while having a treat that will last for a good chunk of the movie.

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Animated: Gummy snacks

Most animated films take us back to childhood, and nothing encapsulates child-like amusement like the thrill of a sugar rush. To go with the bright colors and fast-talking characters that are staples of animated films, you can't go wrong with piles of gummy worms, gummy bears, and any other chewy, sugar-packed treat that brings on the nostalgia for you.

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Old Hollywood classics: Raisinets and Sno-Caps

It's true that shrimp cocktails and martini glasses just scream vintage Hollywood glamour, but if you're not feeling like putting in that kind of effort you could also go a simple route: Raisinets and Sno-Caps, throwback cinema candies of yesteryear. Either one is guaranteed to keep you in the Hepburn spirit. Sit back, pin curl your hair, and throw on some pearls for a movie marathon of starlets. (It's too bad a box of Sno-Caps doesn't still cost 15 cents.)

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Science Fiction: Dehydrated snacks

Although I'd love to have the kind of futuristic instant-rehydratable McDonald's meals that the kids in Spy Kids got their hands on, that's still largely just a fantasy depicted in movies. Instead, to maintain a high-tech futuristic vibe, you could always go for ready-to-eat dehydrated food like astronaut ice cream. You'd be surprised at how good a snack like dried apple slices can be, too. Pair this with some sort of neon-colored frozen slushie and you'll wonder whether the enviable future is actually the one you're living in right now.

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