In honor of the upcoming holiday, we at Portland Film Review have decided to put together pieces that are a twist on the classic question ‘What fictional character would you most want to have dinner with?’ In this spirit, we have each put together a list of the movie and TV characters we would assemble for our ideal Thanksgiving dinner table. Once you have had a chance to read over each of ours, make sure to visit our Instagram or Facebook on Thanksgiving Day to vote on which writer’s table you would most like to join.
Character: Babette Hersant (Stephane Audran) – Babette’s Feast (1987)
What they’re bringing: A “real French dinner”: turtle soup, quail, blinis, lots of wine, etc.
Why I want them at the table: I’d like one real chef at the table. Since Jane already called Remy, I’m turning to the film that has, without a doubt, made me the hungriest. In Babette’s Feast, the eponymous protagonist cooks a meal so delicious that it changes the hearts of those around her. That’s all I want: one jaw-dropping, drool-inspiring, heart-melting, piety-questioning, nostalgia-invoking, seven-course meal.
Character: Lionel Twain (Truman Capote) – Murder by Death (1976)
What they’re bringing: Mystery
Why I want them at the table: What’s the point of a dinner party if someone doesn’t end up dead under mysterious circumstances? Before Knives Out (2019) and Clue (1985), there was Murder by Death’s parodic twist on the Agatha Christiesque “whodunit” dinner party. Capote’s Lionel Twain is an eccentric estate owner and detective story aficionado whose bizarre sense of humor (and laugh) make for one of the oddest – and perhaps most dangerous? – dinner guests you could hope for. Is he a detective, murderer, victim, or all three?
Character: David Lynch (David Lynch) – David Lynch Cooks Quinoa (2007)
What they’re bringing: Quinoa
Why I want them at the table: It’s really, really hard to make quinoa interesting. You start with a food that tastes like dirt, throw in a texture that is gummy and somehow gets stuck in your teeth, and then tell people it’s good for them, and you’ve got a recipe for boring. Lynch somehow transforms even this bland void into something fun. This is probably because quinoa, for him, is more about the experience than the taste – the time waiting for it to cook is a time for spooky stories. Since Thanksgiving dinner takes ages to make, a few good stories are what I want, anyway.
Character: Mr. Ping (voiced by James Hong) – Kung Fu Panda (2008)
What they’re bringing: Noodle soup
Why I want them at the table: Based on the reactions that it gets, Mr. Ping’s noodle soup is to die for. This might be cheating, since I actually have no idea what’s in the soup, and was inspired by “Binging with Babish” version, but I think it merits an entry. And while it’s not exactly a traditional dish for Thanksgiving, I don’t think anyone will mind having it there.
Character: (Okay, nobody tell Jane, but here we go…) Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole) – Ratatouille (2007)
What they’re bringing: Some perspective
Why I want them at the table: Unlike the English, I prefer a verbal roast over a soggy one. Ego’s mordant pronouncements are one of my favorite parts of Ratatouille, and I would love to hear him tear my cooking to shreds. Perhaps my Id is masochistic, but if Ego’s unavailable, I’ll settle for Gordon Ramsey.