What is America’s favorite pastime? Eating. And growing up, at times
nothing seemed more subversive than a good old-fashioned grub rumble,
and nothing was more thrilling than the high-pitched war cry of a
passionate insubordinator, “FOOD FIGHT!” American cinema has
continued to deliver on the fantasy. So as you settle in for your Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, think of your favorite food fight
scene (the list below should help). Just don’t get too lost in thought,
lest you suddenly find your fist full of sweet potatoes and in an
unmovable trajectory toward Uncle Gary.
10. Valley Girl (1983)
When Hollywood punk Randy (Nicolas Cage) shows up to claim his lady (Deborah Foreman) at the prom, her preppy boyfriend beats him up and smashes a bowl of guacamole from the
snack table in his face. The other junior promgoers need no more
convincing to enter the fray, obviously. Alas, Cage and his woman make their escape during the melee that ensues, so this food fight never really gets the chance to make its mark. Next!
9. Problem Child 2 (1991)
Seriously, this one’s good: A simple family outing to a pizza joint turns messy when
the titular problem child catapults a meatball into the decolletage of
Gilbert Gottfried’s busty date. Gottfried sends
some grub sailing right back and then John Ritter then does what any desperate
adoptive father would do: He stands and calmly hurls his baked ziti in the opponents’
general direction. Sometimes you just gotta give in to your inner child.
8. Blazing Saddles (1974)
This satire ends with a massive fight scene during which the scenery is exposed as a set. The cast of a different movie being filmed
next door joins the brawl, and they all end up in the studio commissary. How refreshing to see normally-stoic cowboys giving in to the impulse to toss cream pies around the room with abandon! For trusting in the food fight to deliver a suitably memorable climax, this Mel Brooks classic lands at a solid number eight.
7. Little Darlings (1980)
Because it always makes sense to follow a pubescent 15-year-old girl’s
lead, a whole summer camp of girls do so when two of them start
throwing pancakes and porridge. When the original plan hatched by the two instigators (Kristy McNichol and Tatum O’Neal) — to lose their virginities, stat! — proves more complicated than expected, they take solace in the fact that they can still be kids and
start dousing each other in all sorts of
6. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
No one’s begging for a food fight more than a rich girl having an
exclusive debutante ball. That’s what villainess Natalie gets when her
daddy allows an invitation to get into the wrong hands — Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt’s. A few
well-circulated photocopies later, and the country club is overrun by raging
’80s punks who love nothing more than to wreck a pretty buffet. Daddy’s
silver hair looks extra shiny when it’s coated in blueberry pie.
5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Man-turned-woman Hedwig has been cuckolded by her
husband, and now she’s going to tell the world via raging
tunes played with her rock band, the Angry Inch. Alas, the bargoers of Middle America are
not ready for her overshare, and they resort to fighting — with
both fists and food! For taking the food fight into unexpected cinematic terrain, this gender-bending musical cracks the top five.
4. Hook (1991)
When Robin Williams, as
Peter Pan, can’t seem to remember how to access the carefree
boy inside him, he must re-learn his imagination with the help of the
shorty set in Neverland. His efforts come to fruition in the nick of
time, when he needs to dispatch with his foe, Rufio. What a
lovely world it would be if everyone’s imagination allowed them to conjure up
crazy-colored food — instead of bullets — to hurl at their enemies!
3. Whip It (2009)
Juliette Lewis is a badass of old, and here, Ellen Page could well be
her tough-chick-in-training. When Lewis, as “Iron Maven,” approaches
the dinner table to “congratulate” (read: mock) her younger rival, Page hardly bats an eyelash at the french fry thrown at
her face. No, the little underdog proves she’s earned her new moniker “Babe Ruthless,” and fights fire with… banana cream pie! Of
course, an all-out, all-girl food fight ensues, earning the movie the number three spot.
2. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
the “freshman fifteen”: That’s child’s play compared to the
appetite John Belushi brings to the cafeteria table as Bluto. His
overloaded food tray proves its
worth as ammo when Bluto decides to
pop a cream puff into his mouth and show off his impression of a popping zit. When his victims try to retaliate, he decides this is a good opportunity for that classic cafeteria battle cry: “Food fight!” His antics would probably land this one at number one if not for…
1. The Great Race (1965)
upbeat tunes of Henry Mancini, an unwieldy
bunch of car racers indulge in an interlude in which they cover
each other in pie. Confections of all varieties fly as every person to enter the room becomes
involved in this messy affair. There’s the conniving Natalie Wood,
saboteur Jack Lemmon, and daredevil Tony Curtis… Competitors in this
great race, they learn through this scene a valuable lesson: Pie, when
the vehicle of a food fight, is the great equalizer.