Ever since Charlie Chaplin boiled a shoe for Thanksgiving in "Gold Rush,” film and food have been fast friends. Food has been the backdrop to many memorable films such as "Chocolat,” "Big Night,” "Like Water for Chocolate,” "Ratatouille,” "Eat Drink Man Woman” and the Willy Wonka movies. But food’s greatest contribution to film has come in small doses. Here are seven great moments in food and film: 1.Cool Hand Luke bets he can eat 50 eggs in an hour. With Paul Newman’s recent death, you’ll no doubt see a scene or image from "Cool Hand Luke” (1967) on Oscar night. Hopefully, it will be Luke’s attempting to stomach 50 hard-boiled eggs. The film was nominated for six Oscars, including Paul Newman for best actor. George Kennedy took home a supporting role Oscar, but Newman’s loss was highway robbery, and the proof is in how it’s been referenced and parodied ever since. 2.James Cagney and the grapefruit. "The Public Enemy” (1932) was nominated for a best picture Oscar and was the film that made James Cagney a star. A Times Square theater ran the movie around the clock upon its release. Without this film, there is no Edward G. Robinson and probably no "Godfather” series. In one scene, Cagney’s character breaks up with his girlfriend (Mae Clarke) at breakfast. Instead of "I’m just not that into you,” he takes a grapefruit half and smashes it into her face. Cagney wrote in an autobiography that Clarke’s ex-husband timed when the scene occurred, bought tickets, went in when the scene started and walked out after his ex got fruit-punked. 3."Hold the chicken.” "Five Easy Pieces” (1970) followed "Cool Hand Luke” and "Hud” in what became a stream of anti-hero movies in the post-hippie, pre-disco era. Jack Nicholson’s persona was born in this film, perhaps in this scene where his character requests substitutions to his breakfast order. His low-boil rejoinder is legendary: an increasingly hostile diatribe in which he orders way more than he wants, deconstructs the order and finally tells the waitress to "Hold the chicken.” When she dubiously says, "You want me to hold the chicken?” he recommends a specific place to do so. 4.Michael’s revenge. Food appears throughout "The Godfather” series, which is no surprise considering director Francis Ford Coppola’s involvement in the wine and food business. Hint: If you see an orange in any of these movies, death and/or destruction is not far behind. After turncoat Paulie is shot to death, capo Pete Clemenza instructs his goon to "leave the gun, take the cannoli,” for fear of his wife’s wrath. Cannoli becomes a weapon in the third movie. Clemenza gives Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) a lesson in making ragu. It goes on and on. Michael’s coming- out party at an Italian cafe is most memorable. He exacts revenge on pasta-munching McCluskey and Solozzo for their attempt to kill his father (Marlon Brando). It’s strictly business, not personal. 5."I don’t tip.” Before "Pulp Fiction” made Quentin Tarantino big enough to spend his career patching together ’70s movies and calling it cool, there was "Reservoir Dogs.” The opening scene, shot around the breakfast table, introduces us to the profane, pop culture-laced dialogue that would make him the biggest director of the indie-film age. While trivial matters are cussed and discussed, the scene ends with Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) waxing poetic about his disbelief in tipping. 6.The midnight snack in "9½ Weeks.” In honor of Mickey Rourke’s return from the witness protection program, let’s beckon his salad days. While "9½ Weeks” was by no means the best film of 1986, it certainly got the most press for its sexuality. The scene with Kim Basinger that titillates most had no nudity or overt sex acts. It’s a simple scene between two lovers at a refrigerator. A series of taste tests ensue, and the result is one of the hottest scenes ever devoted to film. 7."I drink your milkshake!” Last year, "There Will Be Blood” played second fiddle to "No Country for Old Men” on Oscar night, except for the best actor category. Daniel Day-Lewis took home the gold for his performance, which is so over-the-top you feel as if you’re being held at gunpoint to buy into his interpretation of Daniel Plainview. The final scene, in which milkshakes are a metaphor for oil prospecting, is intense. If you realize Day-Lewis is channeling Oscar-night all-star Jack Palance, it’s comedy gold.
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In Friday’s Weekend Look, Gene Triplett, George Lang, Brandy McDonnell and Matthew Price list who they think will take home Oscars.