Pick Six: Feasts in the Movies

Thanksgiving is upon us Americans, which means a handful of things. We get to watch football with relatives we don’t care for while we stuff our faces with all sorts of food we like to pretend we only eat once a year. The food is easily the most favorite aspect of the holiday and to correspond with the gluttony that reeks of patriotism, we break down six feasts in the movies that make us lick our lips and our stomachs growl.

Hook, 1991

In Steven Spielberg’s Hook, Peter Pan (Robin Williams) returns to Neverland as a grown adult with no memory of his past or even the slightest bit of whimsy or innocence that made the character so beloved. But after his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook, Peter must find his youth and fun again in order to earn the respect of The Lost Boys, learn to fight, and learn to fly. The beginning of this change comes at hand in the memorable dinner scene, where imagination is the key to a good meal. While much of the food that “appears” is colorful and mushy, the ensuing food fight and gorging at the table makes it one of the more memorable dinner scenes at the movies. As an added treat, we’re gifted with a slinging of insults from one to another, including “substitute chemistry teacher” and “near sighted gynecologist”.

Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006

In 2006, Guillermo del Toro told his own version of a fairy tale in Pan’s Labyrinth. Mystical, magical, and incredibly bleak, Pan’s Labyrinth features wonderful set direction, character design, and its own mythology. One of the standout scenes from the film features young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) being led into the underground lair of the Pale Man to complete one of the tasks assigned to her by The Faun. The only catch? Ofelia cannot eat anything at the Pale Man’s table or she will face an untimely end at the hands of the creepy fairy-eater. Of course, a feast looking that delicious is far too impossible to ignore, and a single grape leads to Ofelia running for her life.

Spirited Away, 2001

Much can be said about any of Hayao Miyazaki’s films and their inclusion of food. Each of his masterpieces not only takes us on an imaginative journey, but each feature scenes packed with delicious food animated so well we think we can smell or taste it. However, the best example (and perhaps his best film) is Spirited Away. Set in a bathhouse full of people, creatures, and all sorts of wonders, the film features a handful of moments that focus on food and the excess of eating. Upon the arrival of No-Face, the residents of the bathhouse give tribute to the apparition as it can generate gold out of nothing. Each gift is a basket full of all sorts of food and No-Face’s initial response is that of bliss as it loves the attention.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001

Speaking of magic, the first thing that comes to mind concerning such a thing, is the Harry Potter series. And at the series’ very beginning, in The Sorcerer’s Stone, as an introduction to the majesty and elegance of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, we lay witness to a wonderful feast to begin the new school year. Set in a magnificent grand hall, the feast is one of the more celebratory moments of the franchise and shows off how peaceful and wonderful things could be before the arrival of He Who Should Not Be Named.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984

Unfortunately for us, The Temple of Doom features one of the most annoying characters in film history in Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), who arguably only existed at the level of irritation because Capshaw was romantically involved (and later married) with director Steven Spielberg. That being said, between her diva antics and unnecessary screams, there existed a memorable scene at a dinner table full of exotic “delicacies” including snake and monkey brains. Although the scene is not as appetizing as many of the others on this list, you’d have to be lying to yourself if you didn’t wonder what the brain of monkey tastes like.

A Christmas Story, 1983

After a failed attempt at an elaborate Christmas dinner (damn hounds!), Ralphie and his family venture out to look for some sort of feast to celebrate. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, the only restaurant open on Christmas Eve is a Chinese restaurant. Even worse (better), the only substantial thing on the menu is smiling duck. To add to the meal, employees of the restaurant joyfully sing a Christmas carol, even though their English-as-a-second-language limitations butcher (enlighten) the classic song.

Honorable Mentions:

Jurassic Park
The Big Night

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Gold Rush

What is your favorite feast at the movies? Let us know below.

Written By Nick

Nick is a man obsessed with all things related to film. From the most obscure to the very popular, he’s seen it all and hopes to one day turn his obsession into a career that makes a lot of money so he can buy a monkey, a bulldog, and a full size Batman suit.

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  • Brittani

    Love this list! Pan’s Labyrinth is a nice touch. That might be the worst feast ever. (RIP fairies)

  • Greg Sands

    Two more: Babette’s Feast (bonus points for having feast in the title) and Chocolat.

  • fernandorafael_c2c

    Cool list! Harry Potter’s feasts are definitely mouth-watering!

  • The Vern

    I think I could outrun pale man if he tries to attack me right away. I would not have much luck if he waits until I’m done eating. Then I’m screwed