Twinkies made their most notable presence in the 1984 comedy. What's a Twinkie have to do with psychokinetic energy in New York? Using a delicious metaphor to convey the gravity of the threat to the Big Apple, Dr. Egon Spengler (played by Harold Ramis) gets through to his comrades using language they can understand. Ernie Hudson's delivery of "That's a big Twinkie" is one of the most-quoted lines from the movie.
2. The Jerk
Steve Martin's absurdist sense of humor dominates the 1979 comedic hit, particularly in this early scene when protagonist Navin is served his favorite meal for his 21st birthday: Tuna fish salad on white bread with mayonnaise and a couple of Twinkies. When Navin leaves his party in a tiff, his mom comforts him privately with another Twinkie. Navin's surprising discovery that he is not a naturally born child of his African-American family is only mitigated by the repeated sweetness of those Twinkies.
3. Benny & Joon
This 1993 movie didn't do much for anyone but The Proclaimers, the band behind the movie's theme, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)." Throughout the film, Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson show off a different kind of love between two very offbeat people. Benny's eccentricities come out in a diner scene when he uses his improvisational skills to demonstrate all the different ways you can play with two Twinkies — first turning them into drumsticks, then animal's feet, with the aid of two trustworthy forks as skinny calves. Much to Joon's delight, Benny knows how to put on a show. When he accidentally flings a Twinkie at the waitress, causing her to drop her tray of food, Benny's heroics save the day. No word on what happened to the Twinkie.
Who says Twinkies have to be saved for dessert? In the 1989 cult classic, "Weird Al" Yankovic's character stuffs a hot dog into a Twinkie, in what he calls a "Twinkie wiener sandwich." It comes from a good place, intended to cheer up his friend with his supposedly favorite lunch. But audiences were overwhelmingly disgusted by what happens next, as Yankovic winds up eating the sandwich himself, only after dipping it into a cup of milk. There's definitely a wrong way to eat a Twinkie.
For much of the 2009 movie, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) searches high and low for the last box of Twinkies on Earth. When he and Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenberg) are planning to charge into a grocery store in pursuit of their coveted snack, Tallahassee gives a short speech of confidence to his scared sidekick that proves to be quite prescient in light of Friday's liquidation news. "Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date. Some day very soon, Life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go... empty," he says. How right he was.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 17 old proverbs we should use more often
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
- Chuck Hagel wasn't the problem. It's America's addiction to endless war.
- 13 vegetarian dishes for Thanksgiving
Subscribe to the Week