The Austin Chronicle

What'cha Watchin'?

Account Executive Marisa Mirabal celebrates our First Plates issue with a menu of movies

By Marisa Mirabal, July 30, 2021, Screens

To celebrate our annual First Plates issue, a menu of iconic restaurant scenes. From crime to comedy, these films will satisfy any cinematic taste.

Inglourious Basterds (YouTube, Amazon Prime)

Quentin Tarantino's World War II revenge-fantasy film utilizes subtly inventive ways to convey tension onscreen. One of the most intense scenes occurs when cinema owner Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) is invited by an SS officer (Christoph Waltz) to a lavish restaurant for a business proposal. She must maintain her composure while sitting across from the man who killed her whole family. Imagine listening to your enemies laugh and try to wine and dine you, all with the subtext that they can kill you at any moment if they find out who you truly are. The tension, suspense, and acting are superb and later pay off because Shosanna reminds us that revenge is always a dish best served cold.

Goodfellas(HBO Max, Amazon Prime)

A lot of business goes down among Italian crime bosses over the dinner table. Martin Scorsese's 1990 crime drama captures the exciting, first-class treatment of up-and-coming wiseguy Henry Hill in one of the best continuous shots in film history. Dressed to the nines, Hill guides his date through the back of the fancy Copacabana Club, through the kitchen, and out to the front of the lounge area, where he is met with a table reserved solely for him. There's plenty of glitz and glamour in this scene to juxtapose the amount of blood these gunslinging gangsters have on their hands.

La Femme Nikita (Amazon Prime)

Upon her arrest, Nikita (Anne Parillaud) becomes a trained assassin whose first assignment takes place at the opulent Le Train Bleu. After having a drink of their finest Champagne, she must take out three targets. Director Luc Besson captures one of the best shoot-out scenes, all while his feral protagonist is donning pearls and high heels.

Groundhog Day (Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime)

Anyone else feel like every day during the pandemic is the same? Bill Murray in Groundhog Day portrays all of us at one point during the past year and a half. His dialogue to Andie MacDowell over a table full of sweets at the Tip Top Cafe is very relatable at each stage of his repetitive journey. Eat cake in the morning? Sure. Down coffee from the dispenser? Into it. Discussing the meaning of life and whether or not you're a god? Sure ... But, ultimately, reliving a snowy work day over and over again makes him a better person in the long run. I only wish the same fate for us all.

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