Food on Film: Most Memorable Moments of 2008

The Oscars are this Sunday, and later on we’ll be bringing you recipe ideas that celebrate some of the nominated films. But first, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the year’s most memorable food moments in film.

Got your popcorn ready? We’re diving right in with a quirky family drama that comes to a head when an uninvited guest shows up at Christmas dinner.

Smart People
As the de facto head of a dysfunctional household, Ellen Page’s uptight character takes great pains to overachieve in the kitchen. When her father’s new love interest shows up uninvited at Christmas dinner – along with a cake bearing the name of a pharmaceutical company – she makes her displeasure clear.

Burn After Reading
In this characteristically dark and wacky Coen brothers film, George Clooney’s, Tilda Swinton’s and Jon Malkovich’s characters take a break from amateur espionage and other hijinks to debate the subtleties of goat cheese vs. chevre, “lactose reflux” and anaphylactic shock. Take a look:


Does the future of food involve nothing but liquid foods and a total lack of bone density? We sure hope not! But it does for the humans in this animated world, until lovable robots WALL-E and EVE save them from themselves. (Warning: This clip is a little long at nearly 5 minutes. WALL-E meets the humans just after the 1 minute mark)

In this touching film about groundbreaking gay politician Harvey Milk, James Franco and Diego Luna play Milk’s subsequent boyfriends, both often left behind when the political action heats up. Luna’s Jack is a troubled and tragic character but still manages to bring a little comic relief. In one scene, he makes a valiant attempt to make a special meal, despite the fact that it’s a repeat of the only dish he knows how to cook. Franco’s Scott takes a more serious approach:

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Last year, we mentioned being inspired by the tapas and wine in this Woody Allen film, and it still makes our list of top food movies. We can’t pinpoint a specific moment, but there’s lots of wine drinking and nibbling as the characters analyze their relationships. Well, there’s a lot of wine drinking, anyway. The food mainly stays on the table, as it often does on screen. We can’t even begin to count the wine glasses in the trailer alone:

The meal scenes in this tense film were particularly memorable for us. The nuns, led by Meryl Streep’s character, eat modest meals, drink milk and refrain from casual conversation. The priests, on the other hand, take a much more relaxed approach with wine, steaks, music, cigarettes and laughter. Could these very different meals contribute to division and suspicion between the two groups? Just another thing that will keep you guessing. Catch a glimpse of both tables in the trailer:

Well, that does it for our favorite food moments on film in 2008. Obviously, we couldn’t see every movie that was released last year, so let us know if we missed any of your favorites.