5. “Better Get a Bucket” – Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
This has to be the most grossly funny scene in food movie history, right? It has it all: gluttony, violence and absurd French accents. Python’s gross-out humor is usually way over the top (think about the dismemberment of the Black Knight), and this is no exception. For years, whenever anyone in my home would say they were full after a meal, they would be offered a “wafer-thin mint.”
4. Breakfast of Champions – Rocky
Apparently, the Italian Stallion likes to incorporate food into his workout routine. He does his roadwork by jogging through the South Philly Italian Market. He uses sides of beef as punching bags. And he knows that he needs to maintain a protein-rich diet. Why eat poached chicken or a juicy steak when you can feast on a couple of raw eggs? It could have been worse. If the movie had been made thirty years later, the eggs would have been dropped in favor of a lucrative product placement by a manufacturer of a soy protein supplement.
3. FOOD FIGHT! – Animal House
It’s kind of funny that a movie so drenched in alcohol is best known for a scene that features food, albeit food that is used as a weapon. The food fight itself is iconic, but the really fun part of the scene is when Bluto is working his way through the cafeteria line, loading up his tray (and pockets) with typical 60’s food items like Jell-O molds and white bread sandwiches. It’s a brilliant example of physical comedy, reminiscent of the greats from the silent era. (PS: Sneaky YouTubes only lets us view this random Italian translation…which I think only makes it funnier)
2. “Nobody can eat fifty eggs.” – Cool Hand Luke
This sequence will make even the most devout ovo-phile swear off eggs for a while. This is such a guy thing, but every now and then, you’ll say something stupid like, “I can eat X number of (insert your food item here), no problem!” However, when someone calls you on it, it’s an entirely different story. So, next time you’re feeling full of yourself, take a look at Paul Newman’s face in this scene. It might be the most convincing display of pain and fatigue ever captured on film. Then remember…he’s acting — you get to go through the real thing. And you’re not half the tough-guy Newman was.
1. Ego’s Revelation – Ratatouille
From beginning to end, possibly the most perfect love letter to food ever committed to film. Is there any foodie who doesn’t like Ratatouille? And chefs absolutely LOVE the attention to details, like the burns on the hands of the kitchen staff. But the most moving, tender and transcendent scene comes toward the end, when critic Anton Ego takes a bite of the titular dish and is transported, emotionally and seemingly physically, back to his childhood in a virtuoso shot reminiscent of the best of visionary directors like Welles, Burton or Jeunet. If you don’t love this movie, and this scene in particular, you’re required to turn in your foodie credentials.
There you have it. Of course, you’d be hard pressed to find a film that doesn’t include food, so feel free to have at it in the comments and let us know which of your favorites should be included in the annals of culinary cinema.