Very rarely within this column exists a precise marriage between the meal du jour and whatever movie I watch. Thankfully for me, comedian and “Seinfeld” co-creator Jerry Seinfeld has delivered a Pop-Tart film to the masses (yes, you read that right). We’ll get to that later.

I love assembling food rankings for this column; I always get my fair share of virtual rotten tomatoes thrown at me by people I know for my subjective preferences. I welcome everyone to get your tomatoes ready and warm up your throwing arms, as today I share my best and worst Pop-Tart flavors.

You would be hard-pressed to find someone who does not enjoy a Pop-Tart. They are the ideal mobile snack. The cracker-esque tart and mysterious, gelatin-esque filling packed inside combine to make for a satisfying meal on the go. Here are some of my go-to and must-avoid Pop-Tart flavors.

Worst Pop-Tarts

Frosted Wild Berry

The wild berry Pop-Tart looks tantalizing at first glance; just glimpse at that glistening purple frosting and the zany blue swirl on top. Underneath its festive decoration, sadly, lies a fairly standard-issue creation.
When I hear wild berry, my mind instantly travels to an exotic land where waterfalls are everflowing and a medley of aromatic fruits magically fuses into one mind-blowing creation. In reality, wild berry comprises apples and pears, neither of which are berries. The two non-berry fruits form a muted flavor profile that leaves something to be desired.

Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-Tarts

Where a lot of Pop-Tarts go wrong for me is trying to replicate the sensations of a dessert. I understand Pop-Tarts are not the healthiest snack, but who wants to eat a heavy piece of chocolate in the morning?
Modeled after an ice cream sundae, the hot fudge Pop-Tart is absolutely revolting. The oppressive artificiality stands out with every bite. The chocolate tart is bitter and one-note, and the vanilla “frosting” reminds me of eating glue as a kindergartner.

Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts

Take the nasty chocolate tart from the hot fudge sundae Pop-Tart and fill it with a volcanic chocolate filling, and you will have the chocolate fudge Pop-Tart. The chocolate filling here is more reminiscent of alien blood you would see in a horror movie than anything edible. I sincerely do not know how this product escaped the testing phase.

Best Pop-Tarts

Cookies and Cream Pop-Tarts

Did I say all the dessert Pop-Tarts are bad? I meant most of them. The cookies and cream Pop-Tart is an excellent remix of the classic Oreo cookie. When heated to a steamy hot temperature, the cookies and cream Pop-Tart oozes with sinful decadence. Maybe save it for dessert instead of breakfast.

Strawberry Pop-Tarts

The time-honored classic is well-regarded for a reason. The ooey-gooey strawberry filling provides an irresistible ode to the classic summer fruit, while the subtle vanilla frosting is an ideal complement to the sweet strawberry flavoring. Make sure to get the frosted version; the plain strawberry Pop-Tarts are as dry as the Sahara Desert.

Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

My go-to Pop-Tart is easily cinnamon. They pack a powerful cinnamon punch without ever feeling over pronounced. I would also claim that the tart pairs best with this flavor profile. The crumbly cracker-esque tart creates a well-balanced flavor profile that always keeps me coming back for more.

New to Netflix: “Unfrosted”

In the 1960s, rival breakfast brands Kellogg’s and Post are longstanding combatants in the competitive cereal marketplace. When rumors swirl of Post creating a game-changing breakfast product that replicates breakfast on the go, Kellogg’s assembles an eccentric team to create their own ubiquitous commodity in “Unfrosted.”

Many may ask, “Why did they make a film about the creation of Pop-Tarts?” Conceptually, I think Seinfeld’s idea is sneakily brilliant. “Unfrosted” arrives as the ultimate farce. It is a film that mocks American exceptionalism by poking fun at the self-important attitudes corporate leaders carry about what is, in essence, just another product to be peddled for profits.

When the ingredients come together, “Unfrosted” carves out pointed insights. Equating Pop-Tarts’ creation with the moon landing, and gags poking fun at listless branding attempts, are clever and amusing in equal measure. There are glimmers where Seinfeld’s film not only skewers corporate practices, but also the tidal waves of product-based biopics that prop menial creations as culture-defining touchstones (“Air” and “Flaming Hot”). Seinfeld also displays a keen eye behind the camera in his directorial debut. He captures the early 1960s optimistic worldview by implementing a bright color palate, frenetic pacing and several savvy references.

Along the way, though, “Unfrosted” overcooks its concepts. Seinfeld implements a joke-a-minute approach in his screenplay, throwing an energetic grab bag of ideas at the screen in hopes some will connect. In execution, “Unfrosted” devolves into a scattershot series of vignettes. Every well-executed gag is followed by a half dozen lazily conceived bits that are flavorless and lack perspective. Even the all-star cast, including Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer and countless other comedic heavyweights, cannot lift the burden of these dead-on-arrival moments.

Seinfeld recently opined about modern comedy’s lack of edge, which is ironic considering that is the exact component his film desperately misses. “Unfrosted” flirts with grander pretenses, including a few gags mocking zeitgeist political dynamics, but there is ultimately too much mugging at the camera and insufficient substance. I do not think “Unfrosted” is as bad as some are making it out to be, but it ultimately feels like a watered-down dish compared to its comedic counterparts.

Matt Conway
+ posts