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I Reimagined the Dune Popcorn Bucket: An Unconventional Use

CEO Tinh Phung
Have you ever come across something that seems peculiarly designed? Well, that's precisely how I felt when I stumbled upon the Dune popcorn bucket. Now, before your imagination runs wild, let me clarify that this...

Have you ever come across something that seems peculiarly designed? Well, that's precisely how I felt when I stumbled upon the Dune popcorn bucket. Now, before your imagination runs wild, let me clarify that this article isn't about any scandalous or adult-oriented usage of the bucket. Instead, I'm here to provide an honest critique of this popcorn container, in line with its intended purpose and the artist's vision.

Form Over Function: A Disappointing Experience

The primary intention behind the Dune popcorn bucket is to serve popcorn, but I regret to inform you that it falls short in this regard. It epitomizes the concept of prioritizing form over function—an elaborate silicon monstrosity that not only makes eating popcorn a challenge but also leaves a lasting negative impression on your popcorn-eating experiences.

Let's address the elephant in the room—it does resemble a certain anatomical feature. However, the purpose of this critique is to evaluate the bucket based on its design and practicality. So, let's steer clear of any off-color interpretations or internet rumors.

The Dune popcorn bucket sits next to an ordinary popcorn bucket
The Dune popcorn bucket sits next to an ordinary popcorn bucket. (Photo: Chris Plante/Polygon)

A Serendipitous Encounter

It was a fine Friday when fate decided to intervene in my life. While driving on the highway, I encountered a flat tire that forced me to seek refuge on the nearest off-ramp. Stranded but determined to make the best of the situation, I found myself within walking distance of an AMC theater. It felt like destiny had assigned me a mission—I had to acquire the Dune bucket.

A daring feat awaited me as I traversed four lanes of heavy traffic and approached the ticket attendant. I inquired if it was possible to enter the theater premises solely for the purpose of purchasing the Dune bucket. With her approval, I hurriedly made my way to the concessions stand, grateful for the absence of a queue—ensuring no public spectacle would accompany my purchase.

Trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy, I found myself instinctively requesting a single Dune popcorn bucket "for a friend." The teenage staffer, clearly amused by my attempt at deception, chuckled and commented, "For a friend, right?" As I swiped my credit card to pay the price of $24.99, the young cashier inquired if I wanted popcorn with the bucket. Bewildered, I questioned, "With it or in it?" To my surprise, placing popcorn inside the Dune bucket would be akin to placing cheese inside a mouse trap.

The bucket consists of three distinct components. Firstly, there's a hard plastic base, representing the sands of the desert planet Arrakis. This base attaches to the official Dune popcorn tin. Secondly, protruding from the base is the worm's maw, also made of rigid plastic. And finally, within the sandworm's mouth are approximately 80 semi-soft tentacles. Even without the tentacles, accessing the popcorn requires an awkward pincer-like hand shape.

But here's the catch: the tentacles grip your wrist tightly when you try to retrieve your hand, resulting in the lid flying off. In essence, it bestows a sandworm bracelet upon your wrist, adding an unexpected accessory to your popcorn-eating experience.

A hand wiggles into the Dune popcorn bucket, as seen from the other side of the sandworm’s mouth
A hand wiggles into the Dune popcorn bucket, as seen from the other side of the sandworm’s mouth. (Photo: Chris Plante/Polygon)

A Lubricated Dilemma

In theory, generous amounts of artificial butter topping might facilitate smoother operation, but it also transforms the plastic tentacles into a makeshift pastry brush—anointing your hand with a thick layer of oily goop every time you reach into the bucket.

Perhaps recognizing the inherent design flaws, the AMC concessions attendant handed me not one, but two buckets. One held the traditional XXL waxed-paper container overflowing with freshly popped, steaming hot popcorn. The other was a metallic tin with a plastic lid that bore an uncanny resemblance to an anus afflicted with internal hemorrhoids—truly a sight worthy of a medical journal.

Standing in the theater lobby, juggling one bucket in each arm, I couldn't help but wonder if AMC itself acknowledged the impracticality of the Dune popcorn bucket. Rather than incorporating it into the movie snack experience, they presented it to me in a semi-transparent plastic bag, as if admitting defeat. After all, what purpose does a popcorn bucket serve if it cannot fulfill its fundamental function? And what alternatives exist for repurposing such an eccentric item?

But please spare me the answer to that question.

The Dune bucket sits next to a normal popcorn bucket, seen from bird’s eye view
The Dune bucket sits next to a normal popcorn bucket, seen from a bird’s eye view. (Photo: Chris Plante/Polygon)

An Unexpected Solution: The Dune Piggybank

Despite enduring a weekend filled with constant embarrassment—explaining my peculiar purchase to my wife and horrified parents visiting me—I managed to conceive an unconventional purpose for the Dune popcorn bucket. What can be concealed from sight, an object that allows you to deposit items but resists surrendering them?

Thus, I proudly present to you: the Dune piggybank. Nestled discreetly within the depths of my office bookshelf, this sandworm-shaped container remains shrouded by towering, weighty books that convey an image of intellectual maturity and sophistication. The sandworm faithfully collects my spare change while serving as a stern guardian, ready to claim its treasure and potentially "bite" should I dare to retrieve it.

If you too wish to obtain a Dune popcorn bucket-turned-piggybank, they are currently available exclusively at AMC theaters. Assuming stocks do not run out, they will likely become accessible through AMC's online store alongside other promotional memorabilia. For the sake of your reputation, I recommend waiting and hoping for the latter.

Remember, not every peculiar creation serves its initial purpose ideally, but it may find a second life in a different context. Embrace the unexpected and let the Dune popcorn bucket take on a new form as your very own sandworm piggybank.

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