A scarred serial killer stuntman stalks women and exploits his “death proof” cars to execute vicious acts of vehicular manslaughter.
Released in 2007 as part of the doubled feature, Grindhouse, alongside Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, Death Proof marks Quentin Tarantino’s fifth film (first, second, third, fourth), and is accordingly, the fifth Tarantino film to be featured here on food & a film. As we have come to learn, food and drink are heavily featured throughout Tarantino’s works, and Death Proof is certainly no exception, so let’s get into it!
Death Proof’s very first food or drink moment occurs just over four minutes into the film when Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito) takes sips of her large fountain soda from Acuña Boys (a Tarantino-invented fast food chain first featured in this film). While Shanna (Jordan Ladd) drives with Arlene riding shotgun and Jungle Julia (Sydney Poitier) in the backseat, she asks Julia, “So what’s the plan, man?,” to which Julia replies, “Margaritas and Mexican food at Guero’s.” Then roughly ten minutes into the film, we see the gals having margaritas at Guero’s. Although we never see any food or drink being consumed by the women throughout the scene, the margaritas, complete with salted rim, are prominently featured and referenced throughout their time at Guero’s.
Following the scene at Guero’s, we cut to Huck’s Bar where Julia is drinking a pint of beer while dancing in front of the bar’s jukebox. We also see Shanna drinking a Long Island iced tea before a server at Huck’s comes over to the gals’ table with a tray of shots and says, “Okay! Warren is sending over shots… And you know the house rule: if he sends over shots, you gotta do them!.” Warren (Quentin Tarantino), the bartender, pulls up a chair to join the group and they all dutifully take their shots. Warren then rhetorically asks, “Is that a tasty beverage or is that a tasty be-ve-rage?.” Arlene then asks him, “What the fuck is it?,” and Warren replies, “Chartreuse! The only liquor so good they named a color after it!” A little while later, Shanna and Julia are asked to confirm their drink order: another big-ass Long Island Iced Tea fo Shanna, and a Bombay Sapphire and tonic, no ice for Julia.
While there are plenty of drinks to be had in the entire sequence set at Huck’s Bar, there is one major food moment as well, consisting of Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) passionately devouring nachos while seated at the bar. Not only do we get an extreme close-up of Mike shoveling nachos into his mouth and licking his fingers, but we also get a shot of the nacho platter as Mike retrieves another loaded tortilla chip slathered in melted cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo, black olives and jalapeños.
While Mike is eating his nachos, we cut back to the group’s table and see Arlene being served a margarita in a cowboy boot-shaped glass. We then cut back to the bar where Mike is now joined by Pam (Rose McGowan), who is also drinking a margarita in a cowboy boot glass. Mike says to Pam, “I’ve been drinking club soda and lime all night and now I’m building up to my big drink.,” and when Pam asks, “Which is what?,” Mike replies, “Virgin Piña Colada.” Pam then asks, “Why would a person who doesn’t drink, spend hours in a bar drinking water?,” and Mike retorts, “You know a bar offers all kinds of things other than alcohol.” When Pam then asks Mike to elaborate, Mike responds, explaining, “Women. (motioning to his plate) Nacho Grande Platters. The fellowship of fascinating individuals, like Warren here.”After this mention of his Nacho Grande Platter, Jungle Julia orders six shots of Wild Turkey and we are then graced with an overhead shot of a bottle of Wild Turkey and six full shot glasses.
Later into the scene Stuntman Mike declares, “Well Pam, I think it’s time for my big drink.,” and Pam responds, “Well Stuntman Mike, since I have a tab here, can I buy you that virgin piña colada.” Mike replies, “That would be lovely.,” and Pam then turns to Warren and says, “a virgin piña colada for my Stuntman friend, and I’ll have another Cadillac Cabo Wabo margarita.” We then see Stuntman Mike a few moments later sipping on his virgin piña colada while talking to Pam.
A little while later when Stuntman Mike is first talking to Jungle Julia out on the porch, he says, “Wait a minute, you got a billboard by Big Kahuna Burger don’tcha?.” (Similar to Acuña Boys, Big Kahuna Burger is another Tarantino-invented fast food chain, which was first featured in this film.) And then finally, the last major food or drink moment in the Huck’s Bar sequence occurs when Stuntman Mike brings Julia and Arlene each a bottle of beer while they are seated out on the porch.
The next major food or drink moment to follow the Huck’s Bar sequence occurs when Abernathy (Rosario Dawson), Kim (Tracie Thoms), and Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) stop at a convenience store. When Lee asks, “Wait a minute, what are we doing here?,” Kim responds, “If I’m gonna power through and pick up Zoë at the airport, I need a big ass cup of coffee.,” and Abernathy then adds, “Since you’re getting that, can you get some more vodka and some more sugar-free Red Bull?.” A few moments after Kim goes into the convenience store, she comes back out to say, “They ain’t got sugar-free Red Bull. They got regular Red Bull and sugar-free G.O. Juice,” and Abernathy then requests G.O. Juice (another Tarantino-invented brand, first briefly advertised on a billboard in this film). While Kim is inside the convenience store, Lee then goes to get a can of soda from the Big Red soda machine out front. Later, when the gals are back in the car, this time accompanied by Zoë Bell playing herself, we see Kim sipping from her big ass cup of coffee while driving, as well as Abernathy drinking a can of G.O. Juice in the back.
The next and final major food moment in the film takes place at a diner type of establishment, where the gals are enjoying breakfast. Throughout the scene we see the women drink their mugs of coffee, eat eggs, bacon and toast, as well as get brief glances of other patrons eating in the background, including Stuntman Mike! Although food is not prominently featured onscreen, seeing as the women eat and drink throughout the entirety of this scene, we definitely catch glimpses of their meal, including the bottles of ketchup and tabasco on the table.
And lastly, the film’s final drink moment occurs when Stuntman Mike pulls over to lick his wounds and drown his pain with large swigs from a bottle of Four Roses Bourbon.
For my Death Proof-inspired vegan food pairing, I ultimately decided to go with Stuntman Mike’s order at Huck’s Bar.
To start, we have a “Nacho Grande Platter” complete with tortilla chips, plant-based crumbles, spicy black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, vegan queso, dairy-free sour cream, black olives and jalapeños, topped with a sprinkling of cilantro and accompanied by a lime wedge.
And for the beverage, we of course have a virgin piña colada, complete with a pineapple and cherry garnish.
And finally for the table setting, I found a fabric inspired by the checkered flag patch on Stuntman Mike’s jacket to use as a tablecloth.
And that does it for March’s installment of food & a film! Thank you so much for tuning in, and be sure to check back next month for another new entry!