12 Iconic Times America's Fast Food Obsession Made It Into the Movies

12 Iconic Times America's Fast Food Obsession Made It Into the Movies

Whether a scene or whole movie, these films capture America's obsession with fast food.

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Fast food isn’t just something we eat, it’s a culture that infiltrates everything from books to podcasts to movies. It also feeds our obsession with chain restaurants. Whether showing up as an existing brand like White Castle or a creation that we only wish existed for real, these movie moments prove that fast food’s impact goes well beyond the drive-thru.

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Clerks II

Clerks II

When the convenience store from the first Clerks burns down (and the film’s black and white motif with it), Dante and Randal need to find a new place to waste time. They end up with gigs at Mooby’s, a fictional fast food joint that along with its mascot, Mooby the golden calf, is a staple in the Kevin Smith cinematic universe. If you’ve ever wanted to try it out, you’re in luck: Smith is resurrecting a real-life Mooby’s pop-up next week in Los Angeles.

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Coming to America

Coming to America

What’s more American than getting a job at a McDonald’s rip-off? When Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem wants to appear as a normal, poor student from abroad to win the heart of a worthy woman, he dons the McDowell tartan uniform and starts serving up fast food. And remember, McDowell’s is nothing like McDonald’s—those are trademark protected golden arcs after all.

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Demolition Man

Demolition Man

Imagine a future in which Taco Bell is the only restaurant left. For some, it seems like a dream come true, but in Demolition Man it’s an emblem of a dystopian future—the year 2032 to be exact. The upscale version of the fast food franchise came to life at San Diego Comic Con a few years ago, and honestly, it’s a future of fast food we would welcome.

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Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Who among us wouldn’t have loved to order a pizza to a boring history class? What’s more impressive still is that Spicoli managed to do it without a cell phone, leading to one of the most iconic scenes in this 80s classic. “Certainly there’s nothing wrong with a little feast on our time,” Spicoli says. We couldn’t agree more.

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The Founder

The Founder

This one’s all about the fast food, digging deep into the drama-filled battle for control of McDonald’s and the way Ray Kroc changed the future of fast food service and franchising forever, best portrayed in a scene showing the creation of the “speedy system.” Likely the most prestigious movie on this list, there were Oscar hopes for Michael Keaton’s performance. Ultimately, though, The Founder ended up getting most of its recognition from the very real AARP Movies for Grownups Awards with three nominations.

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Good Burger

Good Burger

Children of the 90s know the cadence perfectly: “Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?” Kenan and Kel take the fast food wars to another level in this Nickelodeon classic, with cameos from greats of the era like Sinbad, Shaquille O’Neil, and Carmen Electra. Can’t you see the neon orange VHS just thinking about it?

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Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

There’s a world in which this movie could have been Harold and Kumar go to Krispy Kreme (the filmmakers consulted with that brand first). While donuts may be just as satisfying for a stoner, we’re glad that it was ultimately White Castle that got its chance to shine—it is the most American fast food joint, after all. And White Castle definitely loved the attention, inducting stars Kal Penn and John Cho into the White Castle Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Mac and Me

Mac and Me

Most people these days probably know the E.T. rip-off Mac and Me from Paul Rudd’s long-running bit with Conan O’Brien, but there’s more to the movie than that cliff jumping scene. In fact, it’s riddled with in-your-face product placement from Coke and McDonald’s. It gets the most unhinged (and most fun to watch) when a dance party breaks out in the middle of a McDonald’s.

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Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

Like Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino has injected his own fast food creation into his cinematic world with Big Kahuna Burger, which plays prominently in Death Proof, Four Rooms, and Reservoir Dogs, among others. But it’s the Royale with Cheese scene that’s taken over our collective consciousness. According to the McDonald’s France menu, it’s actually called “Le Cheesburger,” but we’re sure that doesn’t stop people from ordering them Pulp Fiction-style anyway.

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Richie Rich

Richie Rich

While we’re not necessarily a fan of McMansions, a McDonald’s in a mansion actually sounds like a dream come true. In Richie Rich, the titular character invites over the neighborhood kids for unlimited Happy Meals right in his home, living out every young (or, let’s be real, any age) person’s fantasy.

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She’s All That

She’s All That

While the fast food falafel joint was likely injected into She’s All That so that Freddie Prinze Jr. could make a cheap balls joke, the falafel hat has become a cultural artifact. And it’s one that was created on a budget—most of the film’s costumes were pulled from the Salvation Army, and that iconic hat was created on the fly with art supplies from Michael’s.

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Slice

Slice

Pizza delivery people are dropping like flies in this comedy-slasher flick. At the center of a war between ghosts and the living is Perfect Pizza, a by-the-slice joint where everyone wears satin bomber jackets. The movie finally addresses the question we’ve all been asking: Do ghosts like pizza? The answer is a resounding, “yes,” as long as a dead delivery dude doesn’t end up on their doorstep.

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