In a brand new feature on HorrorCultFilms, we look at the scenes that blow us away, moments that will live forever in our minds and in yours. Number 7 is the quite brilliant dinner scene in 1999’s American Beauty, where a simple family get together demonstrates just how bad married life can get…..
Hughesy: One of the best films of 1990’s was Sam Mendes stunning American Beauty and despite many brilliant moments. it was the now infamous dinner scene that fans always remember! Lester (Kevin Spacey) years of built up frustration comes to the boil when he simply asks for the “Asparagus”
INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - DINING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER We HEAR Jack Jones singing "YOU'D BETTER LOVE ME." Lester is seated at the dining table, in a T-shirt and jeans, eating his dinner voraciously and drinking beer from a bottle. Across from him, Carolyn picks at her food, watching him with contempt. He HEAR the back door SLAM, then Jane enters and quickly takes her seat at the table. JANE Sorry I'm late. CAROLYN That's quite all right, dear. Your father and I were just discussing his day at work. (to Lester) Why don't you tell our daughter about it, honey? JANE stares at both her parents, apprehensive. LESTER looks at Carolyn darkly, then flashes a "you-asked-for-it" grin. LESTER Janie, today I quit my job. I also told my boss to fuck himself, and then blackmailed him for almost sixty-thousand dollars. Pass the asparagus. CAROLYN Your father seems to think this kind of behavior is something to be proud of. LESTER And your mother seems to prefer I go through life like a fucking prisoner while she keeps my dick in a mason jar under the sink. CAROLYN (ashen) How dare you speak to me like that in front of her? LESTER Will someone please pass me the asparagus? CAROLYN (to Lester) I hope you don't think for one minute I'm going to support you LESTER I already have another job. JANE (rises Okay, guys? I'm not going to be a part of this. LESTER (means it) Sit down. JANE does So immediately, surprised and intimidated By the power in her father's voice. Lester gets up, crosses to the other side of the table to get a PLATE OF ASPARAGUS, then sits again as he serves himself. LESTER (cont'd) I'm sick of being treated like I don't exist. You both do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it and I don't complain. All I want is the same courtesy - CAROLYN (overlapping) Do you really think - LESTER hurls the plate OF asparagus against the wall with such force it SHATTERS, frightening Carolyn and Jane. LESTER Don't interrupt me, honey. He goes BACK to eating his meal, as if nothing unusual has happened. Carolyn sits in her chair, shivering with rage. Jane just stares at the plate in front of her. "YOU'D BETTER LOVE ME" continues to play on the STEREO. LESTER (cont'd) Oh, and another thing. From now on, we're going to alternate our dinner music. Because frankly, and I don't think I'm alone here, I'm really tired of this Lawrence Welk shit.