Top 5 Gruel Movies

Not Oliver, in any of his many versions, just because.

5. Let’s just get this one over with: Requiem for a Dream (2000), because ha ha it’s grueling.

4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) – I like it when Leone in his westerns has the good guy or the bad guy sit at a table and eat from a wooden bowl with a wooden spoon. Probably not gruel, as bright green and red morsels are visible, but still. Van Cleef in TGTBATU does a great job with his spoon and those spatulate fingers, before finally pulling his gun and doing the bad thing.

3. Raise High the Red Lantern (1991) – When this movie concluded, we couldn’t wait to race across the street to Jing Jing for a bowl of noodles.

2. Drifters (Er di) (2003) – This is the one where I went afterwards and asked a friend from the Mainland whether it is true that families sitting around the dinner table, in lower socio-economic environments, occasionally spit bits of food onto the table top.

1. All those prison movies where somebody complains about the food just before the taciturn hero gets in a fight, or before a con jumps up onto a table, shouts “This food stinks!” and throws his tin plate, setting off a riot; and those war movies where the guys in their foxholes or trenches spoon up some K ration or whatever; and those cowboy movies where the ‘pokes spoon up beans around the campfire. As for the galley slaves, what did they get? Fish gruel?

Honorable mention: Actors and actresses like Brigitte Gruel, Maurice Gruel, Hela Gruel, Henri Gruel, Stew Silver, Stew McAllister, and Mush Solomon.