WHAT: A viral video showing a Corpus Christi Cinemark employee who prepares buckets of popcorn with uncommon flair. 

WHO: Jason “Popcorn Guy” Grosboll, the Butter King of Corpus Christi. 

WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Serving up popcorn at a movie theater is a thankless job. Generally speaking, you’ll only ever be noticed if you screw something up—otherwise, the customers will grab their tub from you, head into the theater showing Avatar: The Way of Water, and disappear for three hours into the wonder of Pandora. Standing out in the role requires a certain panache. 

That’s something that Jason Grosboll, the Corpus Christi Cinemark Century 16 employee whose name badge reads “Popcorn Guy,” has in spades. He’s the hero Corpus deserves—and after a customer captured the hero that Corpus deserves operating at the height of his powers and shared it to TikTok, he’s not only famous among the moviegoers at the local Cinemark, he’s a star across social media. 

https://www.tiktok.com/@oanderle/video/7181599485632466219?is_from_webapp=v1&item_id=7181599485632466219&web_id=7093508069877040686&v=2

What makes Grosboll such a compelling character isn’t just that he handles a popcorn tub with an artisan’s flourish—though he certainly does that, with flips and spins demonstrating that any activity can be done with style—but also because his brio serves a purpose. He’s beauty and he’s grace. He’s not just spinning the tub because he can, he’s doing it to more evenly distribute the butter (which he carefully dispenses across layers of exploded kernels), ensuring that the customer experience is more enjoyable throughout the many hours of watching Avatar, Babylon, Black Panther, or any of the other films currently playing at the Century 16. 

Grosboll told Corpus Christi’s KIII that it took customers and coworkers time to understand that scooping the popcorn with such élan was an asset he brought to the theater, where he’s worked for ten years. “At first, no one really understood it, but as time passed on, people loved it,” he said.

It makes sense: As theater chains continue to struggle with changes in audience habits brought on by the pandemic, enticing moviegoers back to the big screen requires giving them something they can’t get at home. In some situations—mostly those involving Spider-Man, Tom Cruise, or the Na’vi—that can be done through sheer cinematic spectacle, IMAX presentation, or 3D. But it’ll take the passion of folks like the Butter King of Corpus Christi to remind fans that what makes moviegoing special is the connection between strangers that comes when we’ve all gathered for the same purpose. As Nicole Kidman once said, we come to this place for magic—and that can be found on the screen or, in Corpus Christi, at the concession stand. Here’s hoping that Grosboll’s bosses recognize what he’s delivering to customers and decide to show him the money