In theory, Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about love and gratitude and family togetherness. But let's be real — sometimes dinner with your next of kin is just... awkward.
Well, you’re not alone. In fact, most movie characters have probably got you beat when it comes to uncomfortable dining experiences, because meals are the go-to time for filmmakers to make something unusual happen.
So, in case you’re anticipating more cold silence and icy stares than warm turkey this holiday, we’re here to help you keep things in perspective. Here are 25 awkward movie meals you should be thankful you weren't present for. Bon appetit!
1. Home For The Holidays
To kick things off on-topic, Jodie Foster’s second outing as a director has a gay Robert Downey Jr. launching a turkey into his uptight sister’s lap at Thanksgiving, prompting her to scream “C---sucker!” at him.
2. Meet The Parents
Dining with his girlfriend’s stern father for the first time, Ben Stiller tells a story about milking a cat, because “You can milk anything with nipples” — prompting Robert DeNiro to ask, “Can you milk me?” This is just before Ben pops a champagne cork into an urn, spilling the ashes of DeNiro's mother.
3. Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Ever suffered through a dinner party because you didn’t like what was being served but didn’t want to be impolite? Just be glad goat eye soup and monkey brains weren’t on the menu.
4. American Beauty
Dinners that used to be coldly cordial suddenly become heated once emasculated Kevin Spacey finally decides to stand up for himself, announcing that he quit his job while wife Annette Bening shrilly chides him. When no one will pass the asparagus, he passes it to himself — and then at the opposite wall, snapping, “Don’t interrupt me, honey.” Burnham family dinners will never be the same.
Any meal can be livened up by a ghost that possesses guests at a stuffy party to dance and lip-sync along to “Day-O.”
6. Mrs. Doubtfire
Robin Williams has two dinner dates at the same time at the same restaurant — one as an elderly British housekeeper, and one as himself, so he alternates between personas in the men’s room. What could possibly go wrong? Well, when his ex-wife’s new fling starts choking, he rushes over to perform the Heimlich, but his mask comes loose, revealing that the nanny his family has grown to love is actually their father. Awkward!
7. The Little Mermaid
Poor Ariel. She traded her voice for a pair of legs and now she can’t ask Prince Eric which dinglehopper is for salad and which is for the main course. Also: the chef is attempting to serve one of her best friends as an entree.
8. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
It’s nice when the whole family eats together, isn’t it? Well, not so much when Dad has recently become obsessed with aliens and starts building a monument to them out of his mashed potatoes.
9. The Kids Are All Right
The kids may be all right, but the dinners are super awkward. There are actually two here — one in which “the Momses” meet their kids’ sperm donor/biological father for the first time, and another when Annette Bening realizes her partner Julianne Moore is sleeping with said father. Not all right.
You know what really kills your appetite? When everyone’s sitting around in the space ship dining hall having a laugh, then one of your co-workers suddenly starts convulsing and a tiny baby alien bursts out of his chest.
11. A Very Brady Sequel
Maid Alice has a special treat for houseguest Ray — she found his stash of “special mushrooms,” and baked them into his spaghetti! It prompts the Bunch’s fake dad to go “tripping with the Bradys” in an animated sequence set to “Good Morning Starshine.”
12. The Godfather
Nothing makes it harder to enjoy a meal than when you know you have to kill the guy you’re eating with before he’s finished his spaghetti.
13. Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Many husbands and wives probably idly think about killing each other as they sit at the dinner table, but few are as deadly as the two assassins who have just discovered they are each other’s next targets.
14. Wedding Crashers
Getting some manual stimulation from the girl you’re hooking up with can be hot — unless it’s at the dinner table, with her parents and sister and your best friend sitting right there. Then it’s a little less sexy.
15. Jurassic Park
Jell-O makes its best cameo ever when Tim and Lex’s famished feast is interrupted by velociraptors — who are also pretty hungry. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
16. (500) Days Of Summer
Lots of movies feature romance blossoming over a shared meal. But when Tom and Summer decide to have impromptu afternoon pancakes, it leads to the demise of their not-really-a-relationship — and Tom’s downward spiral.
17. When Harry Met Sally
Harry doesn’t believe that Sally can convincingly fake an orgasm. So she does it... right in the middle of the restaurant, prompting a senior citizen to tell the waitress: “I’ll have what she’s having.”
18. Punch-Drunk Love
Unstable Adam Sandler is nervous on his date with Emily Watson. To let off some steam, he excuses himself to the bathroom — and demolishes it. He returns to the table, but the manager at the restaurant approaches him and asks him to leave. So, guys — don’t excuse yourself to demolish the men’s room on a date.
Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt don’t touch their food once, but that’s because Bruce is the future version of Joseph that Joseph was supposed to assassinate, so eggs and bacon are low on the priority list. Thanksgiving tip: any meal that ends in a massive shoot-out is probably not a success.
As far as uncomfortable meals go, pretty much anything cannibal Hannibal Lecter cooks up is bound to be unappetizing. But when he serves Ray Liotta his own brains while Clarice watches, that’s just a whole new level of yuck.
Spielberg again? The man must love his dinner scenes, because many of his most iconic moments come from scenes of breaking bread. In this one, a grown-up Peter Pan returns to Never-Land, but while all the Lost Boys are chowing down, Peter himself can’t see the food, because you have to imagine the food and believe in the food in order to eat it. (Has anyone tried this as a diet regimen?) When he can finally see it, it results in a massive multi-colored food fight.
22. My Best Friend’s Wedding
What’s more awkward than pretending your gay pal is your fiance to make your best friend jealous? Maybe when he launches into a rendition of Dionne Warwick’s “I Say A Little Prayer For You” that gets the whole restaurant singing and clapping along.
23. The Avengers
Did you catch the bonus scene at the end of the credits? The superheroes who just saved Earth eat shwarma in exhausted silence — because what, really, is there to discuss after a day like that?
24. The Help
Saved room for dessert? Well, you don’t want a slice of Minny’s pie. Just trust us on this.
25. Silver Linings Playbook
Our Thanksgiving weekend movie recommendation contains a dinner so awkward, it ends before they’ve even finished the salad. Bipolar Pat (Bradley Cooper) and depressed Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) know how to push each other’s buttons from the moment they meet each other. After a lively discussion about the many medications they’ve both taken, Tiffany decides she’d rather go have sex with Pat than sit through the rest of the meal being judged by her sister.
Have you ever had a meal as akwward as these? Let us know in the comments!