Well here I am again as those lovely people at Bitten have allowed me to write you another article about food on film. For those of you who may have missed my first article, I am trying to show you, by examining films, that sometimes it is not the actors who are the stars but instead it is the food! You may not have noticed it, seen it or even realised it, but trust me it is there. Therefore please allow me to show you how sometimes the food is the star and it’s not always the actors who should get all the applause.
The first film I have chosen has been a favourite of mine from the very first time I saw it. It has become such a favourite film of many others that even now it is still shown around the country in cinemas and outdoor screenings. To say that the food has a tough time being the star in any scene in this film is a massive understatement. Specifically when you realise that the main actors in this film are Harold Ramis as Dr Spengler, Dan Aykroyd as Dr Stantz, Sigourney Weaver and the always awesome Bill Murray as Dr Venkman.
You have probably worked out by now that I am discussing Ghostbusters. Now the scene in the film which allows the food to be the star for that moment revolves around the question asked to the Ghostbusters, “Choose the form of your destructor”. None of the characters say anything however the voice is then heard again saying “The choice is made!”, “The Traveller has come”. Nobody but nobody could ever have foreseen what was about to appear on screen. A Godzilla sized creature wearing a sailor hat! It could only be the Stay Puft marshmallow man.
For this scene and this scene alone, the singular focus is on the impending danger that can be caused by a giant man made from marshmallow. However, as I have previously stated, it is the food in this scene that takes the starring role, and a very big role it is too! I love that when the enormous marshmallow terror walks into town the response from Dr Stantz, played by Dan Aykroyd – who accidentally chose the marshmallow man, was “I couldn’t help it, it just popped in there”. Another man who couldn’t keep food off of his mind.
For someone’s imagination to create a giant of a marshmallow man in a sailor suit walking through the streets of New York City is genius. However how do you deal with that much marshmallow? Make a massive cup of hot chocolate or maybe start a camp fire? It is a brilliant mix between childhood memories and a monster threat menacing a city. I do think that the new Godzilla film could have learnt a lot from the Stay Puft marshmallow man! The point I am attempting to make here though is that in this scene with three amazing actors the star is still the food. Even though the food is as tall as a building and walks through the city with a scary smile on its face. For that moment and that moment alone the food is the star, and the star is a marshmallow sailor!
Now I realise here that I am writing this article on a food based website. So I thought it was time that I started discussing dinner plans. Allow me to set the scene for you. There is a table set for two, with candlelight. The moon is full in the sky and your table is being serenaded with beautiful music and song. The food of choice for the evening is of course Italian, the food of love. Now I’m hoping that all of this has got you in a romantic mood and you can picture yourself sat at this table with your loved one with stars in your eyes. This all sounds like the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two. Ok, now picture the exact same scene, however you are a dog!
The scene I am referring to is of course the iconic moment in Lady and the Tramp where Tramp takes Lady to Tony’s for an Italian candlelit dinner. They both end up sharing a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. This in turn leads to the all too memorable scene where both Lady and Tramp start to eat the same string of spaghetti, leading them to an embarrassed but tender moment in the film where they accidentally kiss. This is then followed by Tramp nudging a meatball with his nose across the plate toward Lady to have instead of him. Now how often have you ever been out to dinner with your loved one and pushed the last meatball across the plate for them to have instead of you. This is of course a much stronger gesture of love than giving your loved one your last Rolo. The gesture alone is one of giving and sharing because you want to show that person that you care. I am not however implying here that you may have used your nose to push food across a plate toward your loved one. However if you ever do plan to push food across the plate with your nose I would not expect the same response that you get in a Disney animated film.
What I am saying here is leave it to Disney he’s got that angle sorted. Again here it is easy to see how the food in this scene is not only the catalyst for the events but also the main drive behind showing the emotions of the characters. Without the food in this scene it would not be one of the most memorable spaghetti eating moments in film that it has become! Now I understand that this is probably a very small category. However if somebody mentions the film Lady and the Tramp this is the first scene everybody thinks of. It has become memorable and iconic not just because of the setting and the music Bella Note, but mainly because of the food. Once again the food in this scene is the star of the show.
Hopefully here I have managed to show again in this article how the food can be the star in the film. We have managed to see how a fifty foot tall man made from marshmallow dressed in a sailor outfit and the simple meal of spaghetti and meatballs can take the leading role. They are not only the catalysts for events in the film they are also major players in the narrative. Hopefully I have sparked your imagination a little to think about food on film and to realise it’s not always about the actors, sometimes the food gets to take centre stage and be the star.
Oh and one last thing if you are going out for a romantic meal tonight, order the spaghetti!