?When you’re at the movies, it’s usually pretty easy to separate the fantasies you’re watching up on screen from the boring realities of everyday life. It’s not too difficult to suspend disbelief and blindly accept that a giant asteroid is on a collision course with earth, but for some reason it’s nearly impossible to accept that animal crackers could ever be used as a type of foreplay. For food fans and restaurantgoers everywhere, there are a few recurring themes that need to be addressed. These five movie food clichés keep popping up over and over again, and despite the fact that they must have happened somewhere, some time, at least once, there’s no way they’re nearly as common as the movies make them out to be.
1) The Restaurant Breakup/Public Fight
Few dating movies can avoid the appeal of having a private moment awkwardly aired out in a public venue. One person takes another to a restaurant with the express intent of breaking up, and suddenly the person who has just been dumped gets a little upset. The whole ordeal turns into a huge scene and things are shouted like “I don’t care who’s looking,” and, “Let them stare,” while a crowd of onlookers is provided with a nice little dinner show.
As much fun as it would be to watch this awkwardness unfold at an adjacent table while dining with friends, it rarely (if ever) actually happens. The more likely scenario involves quiet but angry whispers from someone too embarrassed to want any attention. Or, much more likely, a breakup takes place far from a restaurant and behind closed doors.
2) The Meal Ruining Bully
No 80s movie was complete without some sort of exaggerated bully (usually played by William Zabka) who mercilessly torments the film’s protagonist. And, for some strange reason, the pinnacle of on screen bullying seems to be pointlessly spilling someone’s food either onto the floor or (more popularly) onto them. There’s nothing funnier than knocking a cafeteria tray out of someone’s hands or tripping some poor kid who’s just wandering around trying to find a place to sit. The entire student body will point and laugh like it’s the funnies thing they’ve ever witnessed, and if it’s in a restaurant, the same rule pretty much applies. Diners will stop their conversation to share in the humiliation of some poor sap who just got picked on for no apparent reason whatsoever.
It’s hard to imagine the reaction you’d have if you saw someone knock a plate of spaghetti onto a kid’s shirt would be anything other than, “What the hell?” People don’t really do that sort of thing, and it’s kind of a dick move. Whether or not you’d actually say something to the bully depends on how confrontational you are, but there’s a pretty good chance you wouldn’t start pointing and laughing like some kind of heartless d-bag.
3) Confusion Over Silverware
It’s the typical fish out of water scenario where the lower class hero ends up at an exceptionally lavish dinner/ball/event. Having miraculously survived their entire life eating with only their hands or utensils made from broken bindle-sticks (or whatever street-urchins use to eat with), the protagonist looks down to discover an intimidating row of forks, spoons, and knives all sparkling mockingly. After some panicked glances around the room, someone eventually whispers, “Start from the outside in,” and all of a sudden the tension is immediately relieved. Obviously, other than a bit of confusion over the silverware, this low class street rat fits effortlessly into “high society.”
First of all, is using the wrong fork enough of a social faux pas to have you tossed out of a highfalutin dinner party? And if so, wouldn’t there be any number of other grave offenses likely to give away our sneaky “commoner” hero? Putting aside those two major criticisms, the far likelier scenario seems to be just waiting about 10 seconds, taking a few non-verbal cues from what everyone else is doing and then acting accordingly. It can’t be all that hard.
4) The Drink Thrown in Face
It’s a crowded club or bar, and the self-proclaimed ladies man of the group is out to impress his friends. He approaches an attractive woman and then proceeds to unleash a barrage of sexist pickup lines that eventually culminates in an aggressive (and almost entirely untrue) “You like it!” Before he has a chance to defend his hypothesis, she rejects him by angrily throwing her drink at his face and leaving him wet and humiliated in the middle of a crowded room.
The discrepancy between drinks thrown angrily in men’s faces in movies and drinks tossed angrily at rude males in real life is pretty glaring. Despite plenty of buffoonish behavior on the part of drunk guys at clubs and bars, an actual drink is rarely, if ever, thrown. For one, it’s a huge waste of alcohol–particularly if you’re at a club that charges $16 a drink–and secondly, the same appalled rejection can easily be accomplished either by disgustedly walking away or just calling the guy an asshole.
5) The Lavish Uneaten Breakfast
TV and movie moms make the best breakfasts. Stacks of pancakes piled high, perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs and enough bacon to cover a giant serving platter. They call the kids down for breakfast, and before anyone has barely had a chance to dish up this immaculate feast, something happens and breakfast comes to a screeching halt. The bus arrives, the husband has a bite and then takes off for work, or someone knocks at the door and everyone gets distracted. One thing is certain though, no one ever actually eats the breakfast.
Ignoring for a second the question of whether anyone actually has a mom who cooks a full-on breakfast every single day of the week, the even more glaring question is, why isn’t the mom ever pissed off? Clearly she spent at least an hour getting everything prepared and assembling the perfect breakfast, only to have the kids push a couple bites around their plates and then rush out the door. Add to that the amount of clean-up she’ll be in for (not to mention packing all the leftovers into Tupperware containers) and we’re hard-pressed to imagine any real life mom that would be making a breakfast like this for such an ungrateful family ever again.
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