Everyone enjoys a nice meal out. Food, companionship, peace, quiet, some more food, arguing about tips-it's a small slice of paradise on Earth. Unfortunately not all meals in a restaurant hit that platonic gold standard, especially in the movies. Who wants to watch a bunch of people have a nice meal, anyway? These six movie restaurants should be avoided, unless you're some kind of dining masochist.

The Black Mesa Filling Station and Bar-B-Q, "The Petrified Forest"


There's nothing inherently wrong with the little roadside diner in the 30s thriller "The Petrified Forest." A little shabby, maybe, but some people are into that. No, the problem is with the other patrons. Namely, Duke Mantee, a hardened killer and fugitive from justice who wants to hide out there. He's a man of violence, rather than a man of home fries. Which sucks if you're just trying to eat your home fries.

Mildred's, "Mildred Pierce"

Again, there's probably nothing wrong with the food at Mildred's. But do you really want to get involved in the kind of psychological family tension that the movie is all about? Not to mention the whole murder thing. Best to just stay away from Mildred's. Try Fran's instead, they have great hamburgers. We're pretty sure that all that family drama is going to at least lead to someone screwing up your order, if not something worse.

Ericson's, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"

The standards for restaurant service have risen quite a bit since the days of the old west. Here, you shouldn't be surprised to see somebody eating a "beefsteak" right off the floor. There's also the problem of having a bunch of troublemakers barging in and, eh, making trouble. Some people might like the element of danger that accompanies a meal here, but most 21st century folks would probably prefer a little more security.

The Royal Garden, "Play Time"

It's never fair to judge a restaurant by its first night in operation. Especially when that first night coincides with a Jacques Tati slapstick comedy, but that's exactly what we're about to do. Frankly, the place seems to be falling apart-pieces of the floor are sticking to waiters' shoes, model airplanes are melting, and that's not to mention those weird marks all the chairs leave on your clothes. It's like they finished building the place about four seconds before it opened.

Any of the restaurants in "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie"

Director Luis Bunuel is famous for his surrealist satires. And the hook to this one is a group of wealthy people (the bourgeoisie, natch), keep gathering to eat, but never get around to actually consuming any food. While this might be preferable to the alternative found in "The Exterminating Angel" (they eat, but they can't leave), it's still kind of a pain. It's almost an exercise in anorexia, and for the hungry members of the audience it has to be maddening.

Sal's Famous, "Do The Right Thing"

Sal's Famous pizzeria has a lot of things going for it. Good service, great pizza, good location in a cool neighborhood, and they deliver. But they don't have any brothers on the "wall of fame1" No Michael Jackson, no Richard Pryor, no Bootsy Collins, no nobody. Just a bunch of white guys. Even if that doesn't both you, it does result in the occasional race riot. The pizza is great, though, although maybe a snapshot of Parliament Funkadelic on the wall could have made it taste just a little bit better.