Sure, we've all seen the "I'll have what she's having" scene
from When Harry Met Sally (in
Katz's Delicatessen) dozens of times. But there are countless
other memorable restaurant scenes that are just as deserving of our
attention. And though many celebrities would not be caught dead
ingesting food in public in real life, they do a fairly convincing
job faking it (or acting, if you will) in the following scenes.
In 5 Easy Pieces Jack Nicholson plays a
classically trained pianist who opts for a life of working in oil
fields, beer, bowling and general disaffected drifting. When his
father falls ill, he must return home and face the music, so to
speak (a family of musicians who prefer a more refined lifestyle).
On the way, Nicholson's character displays some impressive semantic
skills at a diner to circumvent a stubborn waitress and a menu that
lacks toast (as a side).
Keeping with the theme of surly service, Steve Martin makes a
cameo in The Muppet Movie as the waiter at a "romantic"
dinner for Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Martin walks
a fine line between his usual stand-up silliness and an almost
believable portrayal of a waiter unable to effectively mask his
contempt for both his job and the customer. Most memorable is his
presentation of the wine: "Sparkling Muscatel, one of the finest
wines of Idaho."
The tables have turned for Steve Martin in Carl Reiner's The
Jerk, as this time he plays the rube attempting to order
wine at a French restaurant. The newly-moneyed Navin Johnson
requests "No more 1966 ... bring us some fresh wine. The freshest
you've got. This year's." After that matter is settled, he must
shelter his wife (a hilarious Bernadette Peters) from the horrors on
the plate before her. (No embedded clip this time: follow
Food and restaurants play an integral role in Quentin
Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Between discussions centering on
a Royale with cheese, cold-blooded speeches wrapped around bites of
a Big Kahuna Burger, and foiling an attempted restaurant heist,
Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L.
Jackson) seem to have food on the brain. However, perhaps the most
interesting restaurant scene in the film takes place at Jack Rabbit
Slim's, a "wax museum with a pulse." Who wouldn't want a $5
milkshake and a Durward Kirby Burger served "bloody as hell" by a
disinterested Steve Buscemi dressed as Buddy Holly?
And finally, John Cusack plays Lane Meyer, a sad-sack, recently
dumped high school student - what a stretch - in Better Off
Dead. Yet another reason to be mopey, Lane works a demeaning
job at a fast food joint, Pig Burger, with an ornery boss and a
less-than-dignified pig hat. Here, his imagination gets him in
trouble again in a bizarre Frankenstein homage featuring a
claymation, electric-guitar playing hamburger singing Van Halen's
"Everybody Wants Some." Makes perfect sense.