We have some really beautiful burgers in the real world. We have Big Macs and Whoppers and Whataburgers and In-N-Out Double Doubles and Wendy’s Baconators. We have burgers made of beef, both minced and in steak form, and chicken, and we have burgers with ketchup or mayo or chipotle sauce or nacho cheese on. We have burgers with bacon or cheese or pulled pork or all of the above on them. So, the burgers in the real world are doing just fine. But there are also some pretty gorgeous burgers to be found on the silver screen, too. Here are 10 movie burgers that we would love to try.
10. Harold and Kumar’s mountain of White Castle burgers
What’s great about the Harold and Kumar series of stoner comedy movies is that they are more than just a bunch of wacky and absurd gags based around getting high and angering rednecks. There are some great satirical moments about the racism and racial tensions in America in these movies. Harold is an Asian guy and Kumar is a Middle Eastern guy and they are shown to be so much more than that in the movies. They are stoners, sure, but Harold is a committed and hard working and lovely guy and Kumar is a gifted medical mind. The first one sees the two lead characters facing racists head on. The second one opens with a bunch of white people being terrified by them as they attempt to fly to Amsterdam – Kumar is selected for a “random” drug search by TSA agents and then the other passengers assume them to be terrorists based on their race. The beautiful thing about the movies is that they don’t just use racism as fodder for dumb jokes – they comment on it in an insightful way. The first movie revolves around these two guys’ quest to quench their munchies by getting down to White Castle to take advantage of a deal they have on mountains of burgers. When they finally get there, they eat like thirty of them. Yum.
9. Carl’s Jr. burgers from This is the End
At the beginning of this apocalyptic comedy, Seth Rogen, playing himself, picks up Jay Baruchel, playing himself, at LAX. As they are leaving the parking lot, Jay asks Seth if they can go to Carl’s Jr., but Seth begins to explain that he is currently on a “cleanse.” He says, “I can’t really eat that stuff right now. I’m on this cleanse. It’s good for you. I didn’t know – you’re supposed to take six shits a day. Look, man, if you stopped eating gluten, you’d feel way fucking better all day. Whenever you feel shitty, that’s ‘cause of gluten.” Jay fires back, Who the fuck told you not to eat gluten? You don’t even know what gluten is.” Seth says, “I do know what gluten is. Gluten’s a vague term.” They continue this kind of back and forth for a while. Then, cut to Seth and Jay, sitting in the parking lot of a Carl’s Jr., feasting on the greasiest, juiciest looking burger that you’ve ever seen. Seth declares, “Each bite is better than the previous bite,” and then at the top of his lungs, he cries out, “Gluten!” Don’t we all need a moment of food freedom like that sometimes?
8. Chili pepper burger from Dumb and Dumber
The Farrelly brothers’ 1994 screwball comedy starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels is easily one of the funniest movies ever made. Every gag lands and there are laughs in pretty much every line. There isn’t a scene in the whole movie without something memorable and hysterically funny. Even small details like when Harry says, “I sent her a John Deere letter,” instead of saying, “I sent her a Dear John letter,” make it one of the most consistently hilarious movies of all time. It also has one of the greatest burger moments in movie history. Fans of spicy food will definitely want to try the burger that killed the mob enforcer who went after Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne. Without realizing that the strange man that they picked up from the side of the road has a serious heart condition, Lloyd and Harry load up his burger with chili peppers while he is in the bathroom as a prank. Then he comes back, takes one bite, and starts to die. At first, Lloyd and Harry laugh at him, thinking their prank worked wonderfully. Then they realize that he’s dying and give him what they think are his meds, but are actually the pellets of rat poison that he was planning to murder them with. It’s a classic comic misunderstanding.
7. Mr. Smiley’s from American Beauty
Part of Lester Burnham’s midlife crisis in this movie involves leaving his job with a lovely bit of hush money, thanks to some blackmail. Okay, the means that he uses to blackmail his boss are a little awkward in these days of the #MeToo movement since they involve false allegations of sexual harassment being made by none other than Kevin Spacey, but that’s just the catalyst that gets us to the burger restaurant. In Lester’s mind, the last time that he was truly happy was when he was eighteen years old and he didn’t have a care in the world and the world was his oyster and he didn’t have any responsibilities and he had his whole life ahead of him. He remembers the job that he had flipping burgers at this time in his life, and so he decides to reclaim his youth by getting a job flipping burgers for the fast food restaurant Mr. Smiley’s. It is working the drive thru at this restaurant that leads him to discover that his wife is having an affair with another man. They pull up to the window and there he is to catch them red handed. He doesn’t mind too much, because his marriage has already begun to fall apart. But the burger looks pretty delicious.
6. Hamburger with Ed’s secret sauce from Good Burger
This movie was based on a comedy sketch, and expanding a comedy sketch into a feature length film does not always work out. But it worked for Wayne and Garth, and it worked for Dexter and Ed. This was not particularly well received by critics when it was initially released, but thanks to its popular stars Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell, who were already well known for their Nickelodeon show, it was hugely popular with audiences. In the years since the movie first came out, it has become a cult classic. Rotten Tomatoes contributing writer Nathan Rabin wrote that the movie “obviously connected with a lot of children at the time of the film’s release and holds up surprisingly well eighteen years later.” According to Mental Floss, it is “a silly cult hit that’s indelibly a part of Generation Y.” Another critic predicted that “the ‘90s generation will never forget [this deliciously terrible movie],” and that has been shown to be true. It means a lot to a lot of people. The whole movie is about burgers, and the crux of the plot is that the Ed character makes a hugely successful burger using his own secret sauce. This secret sauce is what makes the burger delicious and it is therefore the whole reason why anyone who loves burgers would want to try it. Sadly, it exists only on the silver screen.
5. Animated Van Halen hamburger from Better Off Dead
In one of the most surreal scenes in the history of cinema, a hamburger comes to life and starts belting out a hard rock classic by the beloved band Van Halen. So few scenes can make you laugh hysterically, be weirded out in the “WTF?!” variety, bang your head to rock ‘n’ roll music, and crave a hamburger all at once, but this scene manages it. This movie is not your typical teen Hollywood romcom. It stars John Cusack as a teenager who is so obsessed with his girlfriend that when she breaks up with him, he decides to kill himself. When he fails to kill himself, in typical ‘80s movie fashion, he decides to challenge his ex’s new lover on the ski slopes. It doesn’t exactly scream mass appeal or laugh riot or fun time at the movies. But that’s just the thing – it is! It’s a great movie that is hilarious and enjoyable and very, very fun. That is exemplified in this scene, in which a generic fast food hamburger comes to life and starts playing Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some!!” It’s super weird, but then so are a lot of the most memorable moments throughout movie history.
4. The Cow Tipper from Clerks II
Many View Askewniverse fans rejoiced when Kevin Smith returned to the Quick Stop to continue the adventures of Dante and Randall, the two bantering twentysomething burnouts who he had introduced previously in his black and white film debut. That movie made a huge splash in 1994 when it got into Sundance, became one of the most successful indie movies of all time, effectively set into motion a whole new wave of indie cinema, and oozed a sense of regional and cultural identity in its quintessentially New Jersey and Gen. X dialogue. When he decided to make a sequel, he took his characters out of their dead end jobs at the Quick Stop and the video store next door – and took them out of their black and white film stock, too – and put them into dead end jobs at a fast food restaurant in glorious color. One of the fictional burgers sold by the restaurant Mooby’s is “the Cow Tipper.” The ad describes the Cow Tipper as a “pile a meat.” It’s four beef patties separated by five pieces of bun, it weights six pounds, and it can be yours for just $3.95. According to the poster, “Saddle up to the meanest pile a meat this side of the Rio Grande.” That sounds tasty.
3. Whammy Burger from Falling Down
In this brilliantly satirical scene, Michael Douglas perfectly encapsulates the frustration of trying to order a breakfast meal at a fast food restaurant just moments after they have stopped serving breakfast. The movie as a whole has been criticized as feeding (no pun intended) into the “angry white man” subgenre of fiction, but his angers at the minutiae of daily life are just as relatable as angers at the more pressing wider social issues like climate change and police brutality. Douglas becomes so infuriated with the staff’s refusal to make him a breakfast meal a couple of minutes after their company policy has told them to stop serving it that he ends up taking out a gun and forcing them to make him a Whammy Burger at gunpoint. When they make him his burger, he then complains that the Whammy Burger as advertised on the billboards and on the menu behind the counter looks like a big, thick, plump, juicy, beautiful burger, and then what you get is a pathetic, sad looking, squashed piece of matter. The Whammy Burger might be fictional, but whether it’s in McDonald’s or Burger King or Subway, we have all felt Douglas’ frustrations in this scene at some point in our lives.
2. The Clogger from The Simpsons Movie
Krusty the Clown’s fast food chain Krusty Burger was made iconic by Matt Groening’s long running TV series, but it was the movie adaptation that gave us its most heart stopping and calorific creation. It is fittingly called “the Clogger,” named after the fact that it will clog up your arteries and, eventually, kill you. The pig who has been known at different times by the names Spider Pig and Harry Plopper and became a meme after the release of the movie came to Homer after being used by Krusty in a commercial for this sandwich. Krusty announces the tagline for the new burger: “If you can find a greasier sandwich, you’re in Mexico!” He takes a bite out of it for the sake of the commercial, but he refuses to swallow it, and as soon as the director has called cut and the cameras have stopped rolling, he spits it out. Krusty is infamous for endorsing his own products to make an easy buck and then avoiding them like the plague. It’s a surprise that he even agreed to put that thing in his mouth, but it’s not a surprise that he spat it out right after. If you were feeling lucky, it might be fun to try this burger.
1. Big Kahuna Burger from Pulp Fiction
This scene from Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar winning masterpiece simply has no competition for the title of the greatest burger scene in movie history. Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta have gone over to these guys’ apartment where they intimidate them over a debt that they owe to their boss, crime lord Marcellus Wallace. And what better way to intimidate them than for Jackson to take a bite out of one of their burgers and a sip of one of their drinks, which he uses to wash the burger down. The fact that Jackson takes a big, greasy bite of a burger in the middle of this typical gangster movie situation undercuts the whole tension of the scene and establishes the tone of the film – this is the cool, rock ‘n’ roll gangster flick that oozes pop culture and defines the American society of the ‘90s: guns, profanity, rock music, and fast food. The burger that Sam Jackson takes a bite out of isn’t a Big Mac or a Whopper. It’s a Big Kahuna Burger, because Tarantino doesn’t do product placement. Instead, he makes up his own brands: Red Apple Cigarettes, Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Teriyaki Donuts, and of course, Big Kahuna Burger.