Repasts Gone Wrong

Posted by / Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Nothing like a snow day to bring this area to a grinding halt, huh? (We know, Obama. We should toughen up).

Good thing it takes more than a few inches of scattered flakes to topple the interweb, or else we wouldn’t have been able to launch the latest Northern Virginia Magazine blog: Gut Check.

For our inaugural post, we decided to tackle the subject of food in film.

Confidence is high that many gastronauts are already foaming at the mouth in anticipation of this year’s “Julie & Julia” adaptation, an homage to that cackling culinarian Julia Child by amateur cook and pioneering gastro-blogger, Julie Powell.

And while most foodies love to clog chat boards with ebullient tributes to the fantasy dining depicted in flicks like “Big Night,” “Like Water for Chocolate,” and “Babette’s Feast” (random musings here, here and here), we’re infinitely more fascinated by those times cinema baits us with the meal-time equivalent of a Sunday drive (“Move along. Nothing to see here”) then straps us in for an emotional/psychological roller coaster that’s about to go off the rails.

Here, in no particular order, are a handful of dining sequences that illustrate what happens when the simple act of breaking bread breaks really, really bad:

1) The Untouchables: Deniro’s Al Capone espouses the virtues of America’s pastime while sending an indelible message to the weak links in his organization.

2) The War of the Roses: perhaps entertaining guests whilst actively pursuing the dissolution of one’s marriage is not the best idea. Skipping the fish course, on the other hand, projects sound judgment.

3) Alien: already paranoid space jockeys think they’re out of the woods following a harrowing scrape with a previously unknown species. At least until their parasitic antagonist makes the grandest of entrances by eviscerating John Hurt mid-celebratory meal.

4) The Whoopee Boys: Paul Rodriquez poses perhaps one of the greatest existential quandaries (“Do fish have balls?”) and defiles a Cornish game hen while channeling Eddie Murphy, all before dessert.

5) Parenthood: Nothing like having your battery-operated skeletons dragged out of the closet-or nightstand, as the case may be-in the middle of a big family gathering.

6) The Nutty Professor (remake): From grandma’s libidinous tendencies to rampant flatulence, Sherman Klump endures perhaps the most mortifying first date ever courtesy of his wildly dysfunctional family.

7) Donnie Darko: the candid exposition of sibling rivalry, distaste for all things Dukakis and ersatz expletives flying round the Darko table ensures you won’t catch this modern fairytale on Nick at Nite anytime soon.

8) Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life: the real tragedy is that the ill-fated Mr. Creosote arrives too late to enjoy Eric Idle’s jolly dinner ditty.

9) Rushmore: I’ll have the pathos with a side order of sexual frustration

10) Borat: Because sometimes breaking the ice involves stepping on toes.

Did we miss any of your favorite epicurean train wrecks?

–Warren Rojas

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6 Responses

Christina Says:

Let’s not forget Lester Burnham’s midlife crisis “please pass the asparagus” dinner scene in American Beauty:

Jessica Says:

Would you consider the meals in Better off Dead basically a series of train wrecks?

Wineaholic Says:

Another good dinner scene from The Meaning of Life, with the important lesson about cooking with canned salmon from the Grim Reaper –

Michael Birchenall Says:

Warren … you outdid yourself for a 1st post … 10 vids is quite the record for a single entry … I hope to see 11 next time … Monty Python wins again

Laura Says:

I love Donnie Darko, and love that dinner scene! Gee, wonder how Jake and Maggie ‘acted’ such convincing sibling rivalry?

WARojas Says:

Christina, I considered the American Beauty blow up, but ultimately decided that the War of the Roses took the falling out of love leap that much more dramatically.

Believe you me, Jessica. I searched high and low for the “franch” dinner sequence from BoD–”…and to drink, Peru!”–but was thwarted at every turn.

Great call on the salmon mousse expose, Wineaholic. But I just had to go with the Creosote bit–mostly because I don’t understand how John Cleese was able to keep it together through the poor cleaning woman scenes.

Anyway, glad everyone is enjoying the celluloid buffet.

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