The ability to put a nourishing breakfast on the table is often, in movies, the ultimate proof of domestic worthiness. Think of Katharine Hepburn’s hilariously inept effort to prove she’s a regular gal by cooking breakfast for Spencer Tracy at the end of Woman of the Year (1942). Or think of the two contrasting French toast breakfasts Dustin Hoffman cooks for his son in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), one noisy and inept (at the beginning of his tenure as the child’s sole caretaker), one silent and efficient (months later, when father and son have established a routine). Or think of chirpy 1950s TV housewife Joan Allen casually stacking enough pancakes to feed an army on her family’s breakfast table in Pleasantville (1998). But the simplest, most graphic example is John Candy as the title character in Uncle Buck. A ne’er-do-well entrusted with the care of his young nieces and nephew (yep, that’s a pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin), Buck proves his breakfast bona-fides by making a stack of pancakes so enormous that each one needs a snow shovel for a spatula. Hilarious, blunt, and to the point.
Next Groundhog Day