Our Ten’s List: Movies with Food Titles.

Our Ten’s List: Movies with Food Titles.

Stuffed like a turkey yet?  Here’s ten side dishes of movies with food in their names for your Thanksgiving hangover.

Time to restock the pantry with ten films with food in the title.  For those recovering from a turkey day food coma, these flicks should hit the spot and take your mind off that fourth helping of candied yams.  Don’t worry about the list adding to the holiday bloat; despite the titles, only two of our nominees are actually about food.  We won’t claim the definitive list of films to sport edible monikers, but they certainly are ten of the most interesting.

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
Now with vitamins A and D!

Movies with Food Titles.

10. Mixed Nuts  (1994)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
That cast…something had to work!

Phillip (Steve Martin) runs a suicide prevention call center that’s having a glum Christmas.  The non-profit is about to be evicted, Phillip’s girlfriend is leaving him for another man, and the neurotic staff is driving each other crazy.  Add to this a neighborhood full of obnoxious characters, and you get a holiday tragedy that just might make Phillip jump out a window.

Mixed Nuts has a bad reputation and got gleefully savaged by critics upon release.  Nora Ephron certainly chose a macabre subject for her follow up directing gig after Sleepless in Seattle.  The film is manic and maniacal, but packed with talent.  Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Gary Shandling, Rob Reiner and even Adam Sandler round out the roster.  For folks who think Christmas is the pits, the dark humor in Mixed Nuts should feel spot on.  No wonder this is one of the few Christmas movies I can tolerate…

9.  Meatballs  (1979)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
Murray, figuratively and literally putting it all on his shoulders.

Tripper (Bill Murray) is the head counselor at Camp North Star, a bargain basement summer camp.  Despite being “losers”, they generally all have a good time.  When a new camper, Rudy, arrives with the intent to run away, Tripper takes him under his wing.  He teaches him how to get the last laugh in any situation and to go with the flow.  Rudy becomes a natural camper, which might help North Star to beat their rich rivals at Camp Mohawk in this summer’s camp Olympiads.

Meatballs is a classic slobs versus snobs comedy that has earned its cult status due to the effort of Bill Murray.  His first staring role, Murray blends his usual snarky, devil-may-care persona with a charming lovable loser routine.  He’s hilarious when he’s taking the piss out of everyone around him and heartwarming when he’s teaching Rudy his effective but dubious life lessons.  If every camp had a Tripper on staff, I might have looked forward to summer’s at the lake!

8.  Juice  (1992)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
You try to tell him no.

Bishop (Tupac Shakur) and Q (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who run with a smalltime gang in Harlem.  Mostly the young men hustle records from the local music store and cut classes, but Bishop is tired of being nobodies.  He gets a gun and forces his friends to help him rob a store on a rival gang’s turf.  High on the power trip, Bishop kills the clerk and threatens Q into keeping quiet.  As Bishop gets a taste for power and killing, Q has to figure out how to break free from his grasp.

Juice is a riveting crime drama, and Shakur is magnetic as Bishop.  Equal parts charming and vicious, director Ernest R. Dickerson (Surviving the Game, The Wire) gets a snake charmer’s performance out of Tupac that was good enough to land him on our Best Hip Stars in Movies list.  Having worked extensively with Spike Lee, Dickerson is adept at working social messages into his film, yet Juice never turns into a sermon.  It’s tightly paced and delivered, keeping you on edge like Q. the whole film.

7.  Hard Candy  (2005)

Hayley (Ellen Page) is a 14 year old who agrees to meet an older man after chatting him up online.  She proposes to go to his place, which he is all to eager for.  Once there, the tables are turned and Hayley drugs and binds him, intent on torturing information out of him.

As the day unfolds, the question of who is the predator and who is the prey flips multiple times.  The obvious roles are reversed initially, and the film remains cleverly coy about who is actually the victim for the first half.  It’s a taut thriller and a fantastic debut performance from Page.  In addition, director David Slade uses a colorization technique that changes the warmth of the picture in response to the mood of individual scenes.  Shot quickly and for little money to avoid censorship, Hard Candy is a good film and a daring artifact of film making.

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.

6.  Duck Soup  (1933)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
Inspired lunacy.

In the tinpot country of Freedonia, an erratic leader (Groucho Marx) is being purposefully goaded into conflict with the neighboring state of Sylvania.  Scheming ministers want to annex the country and get their hands on the fortune of the widow bankrolling Freedonia.  Instead, the canny and probably insane leader of Freedonia proceeds to make fools of the envoys, spies, and soldiers sent his way.

This farce is widely regarded as one of the best Marx Brothers films, and it contains many of the iconic skits for which they are remembered to this day.  Being pre-code, Groucho and company are able to get away with quite a bit that would have infuriated government censors.  Broadly, the film lampoons the idiocy of war and nationalism, an apt topic in the years between the first and second World Wars.  The final scene, in which a lunatics version of war breaks out, is breathtaking in its silliness and audacity.  Truly a screwball classic.

5.  Big Fish  (2003)

An old man with a love of tall tales (Albert Finney) has continually embarrassed his straight-laced son (Billy Crudup) with his foolishness.  Stricken with cancer, he is visited by his son and his new wife (Marion Cotillard), the latter of which is fascinated by the old man’s stories.  As he nears his end, the old timer tells one final tall tale…the story of his life as a young man (Ewan McGregor).

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
Burton gets the correct amount of absurdity here.

Big Fish is a bit like The Princess Bride and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure had a child who loves to tell fibs.  Wondrous, fantastical, and a not afraid to wink at the audience now and again, it turns sentimentality into a boon instead of a curse.  It is also packed to the rafters with talent:  Helena Bonham Carter, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito and more bring to life the oddball characters from the old codgers imagination.  Its easy to forget how well Tim Burton’s bizarre imagination could charm an audience these days, but Big Fish is one of his best.

4.  Hamburger Hill  (1987)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
War is hell. Pass the ketchup.

A platoon serving in Vietnam is patched together with grizzled veterans and green new recruits.  Tension mounts between the men as the war inflicts losses and tragedies upon them, and internal strife such as racism and politics inflames them further.  Things get worse when they are sent to recon a hill that winds up being a heavily fortified Viet Cong position, and one of the major battles of the Vietnam war ensues.

Director John Irvin brings an immediacy to the events, having filmed a documentary in Vietnam the very year the Battle of Hamburger Hill took place.  His eye for realism sets this war drama apart as compared to his contemporaries.  It doesn’t seek to make a political statement, like Oliver Stone’s Platoon, or dig into the culture war of the period.  It instead paints a stark and fatalistic portrait of the men involved.  A largely unknown cast (except for a young Don Cheadle) helps to make the immersion that more complete.  It’s a tough film and an unflinching look at Vietnam through the eyes of the GI’s who bled and died there.

3.  Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.A frustrated woman (Cathy Bates) gets a fresh perspective on life and hope from a woman in a nursing home (Jessica Tandy).  The older woman shares a tale of her youth and her indomitable sister, Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson), that encourages the younger woman to break out of her domestic rut.

Time has dulled the reception of this film, but when it came out I remember it being like the second coming of Jane Austen.  A story about women and womanhood, featuring a star studded female cast, and dealing frankly with the frustrations of marriage and again, Fried Green Tomatoes was not afraid to speak its mind.  Besides being empowering, the film is excellently made, from its fine cast to its engaging story.  Cathy Bates is always excellent and Jessica Tandy was a national treasure.  Fried Green Tomatoes blended comedy, warmth, and sincerity, and is a fine addition to our top three.

2.  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

A poor child wins a lottery to be allowed inside the fabled candy factory of a reclusive genius (Gene Wilder).

We’ve spilled enough ink about this classic in our tribute to the late Gene Wilder.  It’s an institution, and only a fool would miss it (and only a crazy person would think of remaking it…ahem, Tim Burton!)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
Good day sir. Good day.

1.  A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Our Ten's List: Movies with Food Titles.
The future of streaming media!

Alex is the leader of a trio of delinquents who enjoy violence, mayhem, and drug abuse in a near-future dystopian view of London.  Betrayed by his gang during a home invasion, he is forced into a state-sanctioned rehabilitation program that aims to erase his anti-social tendencies.  It turns out that the cure is every bit as cruel and nasty as the disease for Alex.

Stanley Kubrick brings his eye for detail and penchant for visceral societal commentary to this adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ scandalizing book.  Terrifying in its view of human nature and mesmerizing in its depraved grandeur, A Clockwork Orange is a powerful film from a legendary director.

Honorable Mentions:

3.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s  (1961)

2.  Naked Lunch  (1991)

1.  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner  (1967)

 

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