"Pass the f*cking asparagus", and 14 other teatime treats.
One of the greatest things about being a movie character is never having to eat, sleep, go to the loo or do the washing up. Imagine! However, when our fictional cousins do afford themselves the luxury of some downtime, the results are often explosive, if not eye-wincingly awkward.
From smashed plates to milked cats, via neo-Nazis, fancy sauce and mashed potato sculptures - here are the top 15 times where dinner's got diabolical in film.
(Images: YouTube, Rex Features, All Star)
1. Meet The Parents (2000)
Sharing a meal with your prospective in-laws is a tense ordeal for anyone. You meet the woman your girlfriend may turn into one day, lock eyes with the man who instantly despises you for doing 'things' to his little girl, and endeavour to present yourself as anything other than the immature manchild that deep down you know you are. However, should you find yourself in this situation in the near future, here's one piece of advice - don't mime milking an animal. Any animal. Especially not a cat.
2. American History X (1998)
Unless it's on the 100m dash, a heated discussion about race at the dinner table will always be a prickly subject. Especially if you just so happen to have invited a skinhead neo-Nazi with a Brent goatee and a sizable chip on his shoulder. Ross and Monica's dad from Friends really should've known better...
3. Wedding Crashers (2005)
It is indeed an old adage, but it's irrefutably true - there's a time and a place for everything. The dinner table, it turns out, is not the right time nor place to receive a stealth hand shandy from a randy redhead - especially not in front of her entire family, including her elderly grandmother. Who knew?
4. American Beauty (1999)
Here's a tip - if Kevin Spacey asks for the asparagus, it's strongly advised that you do as told and pass the (f*cking) asparagus. If not, it won't end well for you, or indeed, the asparagus. Also, movie lore claims that Spacey's plate-smashing freakout was totally improvised, to evoke bona fide surprise from his co-stars. And that is why he has an Oscar, and you do not.
5. Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom (1984)
We've all been there - go for a chintzy dinner dressed in your finest headdress and Mr T jewelry, and your host decides to lay on a gluttonous feast of giant bugs, snake-filled snakes and chilled monkey brains. This remains the only time it would be acceptable to buy and eat a doner kebab on the way home while entirely sober.
6. My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)
Unless you're dining with the cast of We Will Rock You, halting tea time for a musical interlude is never acceptable, even (and especially) if you're a contestant on Come Dine With Me. And this acapella harmony of Dionne Warwick's I Say A Little Prayer is every bit as awkward for the audience as it is poor Julia Roberts. Perhaps more. Please excuse us while we push a cotton bud a little too far into our ear canal...
7. Pineapple Express (2008)
When you're a middle-aged, flabby stoner about to meet the parents of your high-school attending girlfriend, do: Wear your best suit, charming smile and come armed with a bottle of wine and witty disposition. Don't: Turn up high on potent marijuana, covered in sweat, scratches and smelling "like sh*t". Sadly, Seth Rogen's Dale Denton went for the latter, and proceeds to be shot at with a massive gun.
8. Hannibal (2001)
Sure, we all love some liver, fava beans and a nice Chianti from time to time, but we'd strongly advise against sharing a meal with the nefarious Dr Lecter. Though he will ply you with the finest wines and strongest sedatives, his homemade haute cuisine may just give you a slight headache come the morning.
9. Beetlejuice (1988)
There aren't enough words in the English language to describe this cringeworthy feast of lip-syncing and bottom-shaking from Beetlejuice, but no matter how uncomfortable it is for you to watch, just imagine how the actors felt filming it. Several times. We hear that crazy cat Tim Burton's a stickler for perfection.
10. The Break-Up (2006)
Just in case it's not clear by this point, impromptu breakouts of acapella crooning at a dinner party are the peak of aural oppression. Vince Vaughn agrees, evidently, and looks like he's receiving an ear enema during this gut-punch of a performance by his (soon-to-be ex) girlfriend Brook's camptastic brother, Richard. Turns out he's not the greatest fan of kick drums either.
11. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
If there's anyone who can make dating a lifesize doll appear acceptable, it's Ryan Gosling - with his face carved by angels and moustache borrowed from Mark Lawrenson. Still, not even 'The Gos' can make the meet-the-family meal less uncomfortable, especially when his wheelchair bound missionary girlfriend Bianca turns out to not be much of a talker.
12. The Aviator (2004)
Having a meal with anyone when hard of hearing must be a bit of a trifle, but dining with the illustrious Hepburn family - with their machine gun conversation and condescending snarl - is enough to scare anyone. Credit to Leo DiCaprio's Howard Hughes though, he lasts a solid three and a half minutes before disappearing out the door, to get back to his own business of 'aeroplane guff'.
13. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)
If we learned one lesson from childhood, it's that the sight of your own father crying normally means there's something gravely wrong with planet Earth. Mind you, our dad never did make a mountain of of mashed potatoes after seeing an alien spacecraft - he just stubbed his toe on the coffee table - so we'll give Richard Dreyfuss the benefit of the doubt on this one. Also, as you asked - this scene was subject to a genius spoof in The IT Crowd.
14. Talladega Nights (2006)
Sitting down to a home cooked meal of Domino's Pizza, KFC and burgers, NASCAR supremo Ricky Bobby delivers a sterling, 2,000 year long grace to the "eight pound six ounce, newborn infant Jesus", allows his vile offspring to roundly insult their elderly grandfather and proceeds to get busy with his peroxide bride on the dinner table. Stay classy, Ricky Bobby.
15. Step Brothers (2008)
Another lesson from this rundown of awkward meals - don't ever dinner with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Like, ever. Also, if you want to have some Fancy Sauce, it's strongly advised that you make your own batch.