When it comes to snacking on the Silver Screen, Brad Pitt is king. If he starred in a movie about our world’s resources being all but depleted and it was the last few days of humanity, you’d still have a scene of his character chomping on bar nuts as he spoke. It doesn’t matter if it’s historical (Troy, Legends of the Fall), action (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Inglorious Basterds), or a damn biopic (Moneyball), his characters eat.
Yet, if you deconstruct some of these items from the perspective of the actual character, they seem less frivolous and more powerful, more purposeful, and more absorbing. So here are the top five raddest things Brad Pitt’s characters have devoured in movies and why they mattered.
Chad Feldheimer, ‘Burn After Reading’
There is likely no greater sustenance on Earth for a dim-witted lovable goofball personal trainer like Chad. With friend, co-worker, and extortion teammate, Linda Litzke, Chad enjoys a smoothie from Jamba Juice, which is probably his second favorite place on Earth after his local gym and office, Hardbodies.
Although Chad doesn’t push for the $50,000 ransom from Osborne Cox to be paid in juice bar gift cards, it wouldn’t have been out of character. This is a dude who could run the treadmill and his mouth forever. He’s so stoked to be alive, so jacked to be healthy, and so pumped on being pumped. This man lives for the next day because he’s like a cartoon dog that’s come to life in order to ride his bike, get babes babe-lier, and drink goddamn smoothies.
He could be tied up at supervillain’s lair getting swiped left with brass knuckles, but if they offered him a smoothie, he’d be all grins and forgiveness. Working surveillance, tracking operatives, and making cryptic espionage calls about “having your shit,” none of it matters, because there is always time for a smoothie.
Benjamin Button, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Children know what caviar is and what class of Americans eat it long before they even come close to understanding problematic wealth distribution. But nobody has tried caviar in a way that strikes a better balance of class-act and bad-ass than Benjamin Button, the man born elderly who aged in reverse.
Button tries caviar for the first time when he’s emotionally 23 years old and physically like a tired yet beloved older stepdad who teaches philosophy at the nearby college. It’s the year he’s in Murmansk, Russia, where he affairs it up with Elizabeth Abbott, the British Trade Minister’s wife. In their tender candlelit moment, Button shifts between unsure and bold, while she starts things off with the Russian toast of “Na Zdorovie” and then immediately follows it with, “You haven’t been with many women, have you?”
To give her audacious character credit, she was the first woman to try swimming the English Channel, but ultimately confesses to never having done anything with her life afterward. All he does to comfort her is calmly lay his hand over hers. She responds as if the slowest electricity has warmed her from a world of grey. Before they kiss, she observes, “I can feel the wind in your cheek.”
It’s a beautiful, strange moment and the battle of emotionality vs. physicality comes to a lovely calm of firsts. After guilt or sense steps in, however, Abbott makes an abrupt exit and Button, forgetting or never really caring about the fancy, expensive delicacy that is caviar (because OMG WOMAN), narrates, “It was the first time a woman had ever kissed me. It’s something you never forget.”
Rusty Ryan, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’
Rusty eats throughout the entire Bellagio-Mirage-MGM heist and it’s wholly unmissable. The gang works around the clock, so there’s no time for anything resembling “supper” — and maybe there’s a smidgen of stress at play, even for the coolest of the cool. But while Rusty devours the breadth of Vegas munchies, from cotton candy to a shrimp cocktail, it’s the nachos that are inherently the most rewarding and, honestly, the ballsiest.
In a robbery, you need to be ready to abandon everything that isn’t crew. But nobody just throws nachos away and you certainly can’t run with them. They’re to be treasured, to be adored. Sure, even though every dumb-decorative-shit-on-the-wall chain joint has (at least an attempt at) nachos on the menu, the Pollack-esque flavor parade is still savored each and every time as if someone at the table hasn’t ever seen nachos before, let alone beheld their spiritual experience of cheesy other-worldly beyond. Nachos just do that to people. Even if nachos were legally required to be served at every restaurant, regardless of cuisine, someone would still sit down and say, “Hey, they’ve got nachos,” waiting like a drunken tiger for some table-side samaritan to say, “Yeah, I’m down.”
But Rusty’s no dummy. I mean, in just what we know, he’s pulled off three successful heists and won over the very cunning and gorgeous Europol Detective Isabel Lahiri twice. Yet he orders nachos, the boldest of ballsiest moves for someone who may need to run for his life at any moment. He knows the risk, but he also knows nachos are worth it. Die doing what you love eating.
2. Peanut Butter
Joe Black/Death, ‘Meet Joe Black’
Death tries peanut butter for the first time, and it’s truly one of the best scenes in a movie. Not because of the dialogue, the acting, or the scenery — all of which are fine — but what knocks your blockhead is the profound representation of the minute things we appreciate about our short lives on this (often troublesome) planet. Of course love, of course family, of course picturesque vistas at sunset or whatever, but to have been around for all of world history, seen every incarnation of human demise, individual and collective, and then finally wind up with five senses and a fresh beating heart… and then taste fucking peanut butter? Any brain of any creature from any dimension would absolutely, obviously, totally melt!
Think of the “Part of Your World” song from The Little Mermaid, except Ariel is actually Death who’s taken the form of a man killed by two cars slamming into him in the same (batshit fluke of an) accident. Death is discovering every single thing about human existence, a surreal glowing world that he’s only observed from afar. So when someone offers him peanut butter — after some of the most wily kid-like bounce of a grown man’s eyes, courtesy of the frosted-haired hunk that is Death — it’s for sure a bewildering moment of appreciating the little things. He inspects the first spoonful like the alien visitor that he is and nearly chokes on it like a doofus. The second time, though, he takes his time with it, rolling his tongue over the utensil and licking his gums, before finally stating the simplest, highest praise that could ever come from the Grim Reaper himself: “I thoroughly enjoy this peanut butter.”
This single two-bite spoon-snack has such a daunting effect on Death that his love interest, the glorious spark of quiet, humble life that is Susan Parrish, needs to clarify if it’s somehow better than sex with her.
Susan: “Do you love making love to me?”
Susan: “More than peanut butter?”
Joe: “Yes. Much more.”
I have not become death, the destroyer of girls, but damn, if a woman asked me if I enjoyed midnight antics with her more than, say, soft pretzels, I’d for sure… well, actually hold on… this would require clarification. In this hypothetical, would she be inherently asking for me to straight up choose soft pretzels or lovemaking? Or would she be asking me to choose between soft pretzels and lovemaking with her specifically? Well, I ask you this, how fresh are the soft pretzels? I REPEAT, DAMN YOU, HOW FRESH ARE THE SOFT PRETZELS?
Okay, sorry. That outburst was unnecessary. I’ve come to the decision that any woman who would put me on the spot like that is some sort of temptress and I would naturally recite an ancient incantation to banish her from our realm.
1. Human Blood
Louis de Pointe du Lac, ‘Interview With a Vampire’
You can’t beat a fancy dressed immortal drinking human blood. You just can’t. It’s too baller.