Los Angeles is under a heatwave and it's miserable. I thought it would only last from last Friday until Sunday, but it's already Thursday and we're still in it. There's no AC in my house and I've given up all hope of ever being comfortable ever again. So I thought I'd beat the heat by writing an article about my favorite sandwiches from movies. Let's go.
1. Harriet the Spy - Daily Tomato & Mayo Sandwich
Harriet (played by Michelle Trachtenberg) makes a classic Wonderbread, mayonnaise, and fresh tomato sandwich before school as her mother derides her for eating the same thing every day for lunch. Well, her mom is wrong because this sandwich is awesome. I eat them all the time. If you wanna get it legit, ALWAYS use Wonderbread and NEVER toast it.
I've watched this movie all the time ever since it came out. The book is good, too, in its own way; Harriet is much more unlikable and offensive in the book. On the last day of school in 8th grade, my friend Sophie and I went to her place and watched it on VHS (the cassette tape was bright orange) on her 10-inch TV with a built-in VCR. I still talk to Sophie and her twin sister Sarah every once in a while, too. They rule.
2. Spanglish - The World's Best Sandwich
John (played by Adam Sandler) is a big-time chef that makes this classic good-at-any-time bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich that he pairs with what looks like a nitrogen stout (the semi-sweet, low-acidity, coffee-like flavor of a nitrogen stout pairs amazingly well with a bacon-heavy sandwich like the one he makes). Specifically, the sandwich consists of buttered-and-toasted French country bread, melted Monterrey jack cheese, butter lettuce, tomato, bacon, mayonnaise, a sunnyside up egg, and a sprinkle of salt on top. I've eaten several variations of this sandwich, but the Spanglish version is definitely the best. It's hard to eat iceberg lettuce on a sandwich like this after eating the superior butter lettuce version.
I've seen this movie exactly one time and have absolutely no recollection of what it's about. However, I've rented the movie a few times just to watch the scene where he makes the sandwich. I've also read more than one article about the sandwich in addition to watching a video featuring Adam Sandler and the chef he shadowed for his role in the movie as they made the sandwich together. That is a testament to how fucking good this sandwich is.
3. Benny and Joon - Ironed Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Sam (played by Johnny Depp) moves into a house with mechanic Benny and his sister Joon after Sam's original host puts the burden of housing him in a poker game that Joon participates in (and loses). Sam does a bunch of quirky shit and a romance with Joon ensues. What's important is one of the quirky things he does is make a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches with an iron and YOU CAN DO IT, TOO. You just need white bread, room temperature butter, Kraft American Singles, and an iron with adjustable settings. Be sure to spread the butter on the bread first and set the iron to RAYON (the "SILK" setting makes the bread too soggy and "COTTON" burns it).
4. Point Break - The Best Meatball Sandwiches Gary Busey Has Ever Tasted
Despite being endlessly mocked for multiple decades and openly shat upon by critics of fine film, Point Break maintains its status as one of the most watchable (and rewatchable) movies in American cinematic history, right after Goodfellas and the Sandlot. It never gets old. There's always something interesting on the screen or being said by one of the most mind-boggling mix of cast members that seemingly could only exist in an Ambien-induced dream; Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty, Tom Sizemore, and Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers are all in this one movie. However, the real star of the movie are these meatball sandwiches.
Agent Pappas (played by America's greatest actor Gary Busey of the Busey Family Acting Dynasty) says to rookie Agent Johnny Utah (played by Keanu Reeves) to go around the corner and get him two meatball sandwiches. He's very adamant that he gets TWO of them. Pappas claims that they're the best he's ever tasted. You can barely see the sandwich in the movie, but from what little you can see is enough for you to know that it truly is God's meatball sandwich. It wasn't fluffed up by some hotshot Hollywood food stylist; it's a real wax paper wrapped, soggy white bread, meatball-and-marinara sandwich that probably contributed to America's many health problems.
I live about 5 miles away from where the scene was filmed and I can assure you that there is no sandwich shop like that around there. That fact alone is the sole reason I debate with myself every night about whether or not I should leave LA for good and never come back.
5. The Breakfast Club - The weird goth girl's Pixie Stix and Captain Crunch sandwich
The Breakfast Club was my favorite movie when I was 7. They played it on weekend TV movie-blocks all the fucking time when I was a kid, but they played an edited version that omitted the weed-smoking scene and the shot of Molly Ringwald's panties. It wasn't until I was a little older and got an illegal satellite TV hookup that allowed me to watch the uncut version on Starz and HBO (they played the movie multiple times a month for years).
Ally Sheedy plays a girl named Allison, but everyone in my 30 years of pop culture conversation always refer to her as "the goth girl", despite not participating in any goth activities in the entire movie except wearing boots (it would've been so cool if she was looking at a Cocteau Twins or Sisters of Mercy record instead of a Prince record in that one scene). Everyone I've ever known has agreed that Allison was incredibly hot and the makeover scene at the end of the movie was ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE and it would've been a perfect movie without it.
Anyway, during the lunch scene, Allison assembles a sandwich by deconstructing her Oscar Meyer Pickle-and-Pimento Loaf sandwich down to only the white bread and then pours multiple Pixie Stix on the bread, followed by a layer of Captain Crunch as a substitute for the lunch meat. I have no desire to ever eat this sandwich, but I put it on the list because goddamn, think about that amazing crunch of texture. Putting potato chips on a sandwich is alright, but the crunch is nowhere near as sadistically satisfying as Captain Crunch.
6. Dave - Secret Midnight Sandwich
Dave (played by Frankie Cosmos' real-life dad, Kevin Kline) is an average Joe that moonlights as an impersonator/look-alike of the President and gets caught up in some scheme that involves him pretending to be the REAL President because the White House is trying to hide the fact that the REAL President ruptured a vessel in his brain while fucking his mistress. That probably sounded farfetched enough for a summertime comedy in 1993, but now that some guy who sold steaks on QVC and fucked a pornstar is now our Prez for real, the premise of Dave doesn't stray that far off from reality.
After agreeing to the scheme of pretending to be the real POTUS, Dave goes to the White House kitchen to make a sandwich for himself and his now-appointed body guard. The ingredients of the sandwich are never revealed, but the overhead and tracking shot from the movie gives us some clues as to what's on it. It looks like a hoagie/hero roll, mayonnaise, mustard, pickled sweet peppers, pimento stuffed green olives, spritz of lemon, bibb lettuce, turkey breast, roast beef, cured ham, spiral cut baked ham, one slice of white American cheese (Kraft "Swiss" cheese), one slice of yellow American cheese, tomatoes, white onion, cucumber, pickle spears, whole pickled peperoncini, and jullienned carrots. Though I've had many Dagwood sandwiches before, this one looks like it would be a pain in the fucking ass to clean after making it. I mean, imagine pulling out a whole roasted turkey just so you can carve a few slices of breast to put on your ridiculous sandwich.
But the fact that this sandwich seems incredibly inconvenient to prep and clean for leads me to believe that this is one of the greatest tasting sandwiches of all time. It's a shame that the real-life person who holds this actual political position and has access to these ingredients, kitchen, and cleaning staff will never make a sandwich like this and instead settle for two Big Macs, a few slices of Domino's, a few pieces of KFC, washed down with a 12 pack of Diet Coke.
7. Mermaids - REAL Ham and Cheese Sandwiches That a Man Can Sink His Teeth Into and Use Both Hands to Hold
Mermaids is one of the most underrated movies of all time and Winona Ryder is an American gem. Her favorite band is the Replacements and she's been wearing their t-shirts and sliding their name in interviews for over 30 years now. When I was 12, I had a huge crush on her character in the movie Lucas even though she practically looked like Conor Oberst in it.
Winona Ryder in Lucas
Charlotte Flax (played by Winona Ryder) is the daughter of free spirited and sexually liberated Rachel Flax (played by Cher, who also happens to maintain the greatest Twitter account of all time) in a small east coast town in the 60s. Charlotte's little sister is Kate, a young swimming prodigy (played by a 9-year old Christina Ricci). Despite being Jewish, Charlotte is obsessed with Catholicism and dreams of one day joining a Catholic convent as a nun. Her dreams of chastity take a turn when she starts getting the hots for Joe, the local maintenance man/bus driver who was also born in the house that the Flaxes just moved into. When Charlotte and Joe plan to go fishing on the weekend, she prepares some big ham and cheese sandwiches with mustard and mayo on white bread. She tries to make them as big and manly as possible to impress Joe, but then her mom comes by and "ruins" them by pressing them with a star-shaped cookie cutter. This is the main reason I've included the sandwich; you can never go wrong with classic ham, cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard (FROM A JAR!) on white bread, but you can DEFINITELY never go wrong if it's cut in the shape of a star. The star cutter also gets rid of the disgusting crust and makes useless outer scraps of oddly shaped bread and thin strips of excess meat that you basically have to throw in the trash, so for a moment you know what it's like to be a rich person that throws away food.
AND FINALLY, THE LAST SANDWICH ON THE LIST GOES TO...
8. Mystery Men - The Shoveler's Inspirational and Cholesterol-filled Egg Salad Sandwich
I watched this movie in the theaters when it came out in 1999. Because of this movie, every radio station that summer played "All-Star" by Smash Mouth every other hour and the video was constantly on MTV. The song did much better than the movie. And, in a twist of fate that proves there is no god, Smash Mouth made even MORE money by licensing the exact same song 2 years later as the theme song to the international blockbuster Shrek. Smash Mouth made tons of money AGAIN and they didn't even have to do anything except email a song that they recorded years ago to some movie producers. Mystery Men did so badly that this part of the article is supposed to be about Mystery Men and all I've talked about so far is Smash Mouth.
William H. Macy plays the Shoveler, a member of a team of rejected D-list superheroes who band together to rescue the city's most popular superhero who has just been captured. The team keeps getting the shit kicked out of them so they decide to give up, but the Shoveler makes an inspirational speech that includes the fact that his wife doesn't let him eat egg salad sandwiches because they're full of cholesterol. It looks like all that's in the egg salad is mashed up boiled eggs and mayonnaise. The reason I put this sandwich on the list is because the egg salad sandwich is one of the most ignored sandwiches due to its constant badmouthing in American media. Getting food poisoning from eating an egg salad sandwich from the gas station has become a Hollywood trope. The negative connotation has permeated itself in American culture so deep that I seriously doubt that you remember the last time you even ate an egg salad sandwich. Personally, I can't recall the last time I had one. But I DO think I should give it another chance thanks to William H. Macy's inspirational speech.
The Underrated Song of this Blog Post is...
Songs of August - Drop
Songs of August was the acoustic side project of Nick Kirby, the guitarist in the amazing DC hardcore band 1905. The Songs of August album is OK, at best, especially when compared to the amazing 1905 album Voice, but I was obsessed with the song "Drop" as a teenager. I'd listen to it on repeat. The mostly spoken word song is from the perspective of an observer noticing the excess and indulgences of those who don't realize they have them. The line "I could live off the fat of their scraps" stuck with me for years after the first time I heard it.