Monday, May 11, 2009

Benny & Joon: Grilled Cheese with an Iron

Benny and Joon is a sweet comedy to which Johnny Depp brings his mastery of quirky characters: in this case, Sam, a young man with little schooling but a great talent for juggling and other physical gags. He becomes “housekeeper” to Benny (Quinn) and his mentally ill sister Joon (Masterson) but is soon doing more for them than cleaning house.
Joon has her own food habits: mixing her breakfast of milk, cereal, and peanut butter in a blender, or picking the raisins out of her tapioca pudding. But the real food laughs belong to Sam, who makes “smashed” potatoes with a tennis racquet and “grills” cheese sandwiches with a hot iron on an ironing board. These are not kitchen techniques that we’ve ever tried, but we would recommend boiling the potatoes first until they’re soft, and for the cheese sandwiches, it would probably be best to hold the steam.

Joon: He can really cook, can't he?
Benny: Uh, yeah. Although for grilled cheese, I mighta used a wool setting.
Joon: That's what I told him.
Benny: Really? What-what did he use?
Joon: Rayon.
Benny: Mm.
Joon: Silk would have been too soggy. Cotton would have...
Benny: Would have burned it.
Joon: Right. Fortunately, he consulted me before giving it steam. I was four square against it.
Sam: You don't like raisins?
Joon: Not really.
Sam: Why?
Joon: They used to be fat and juicy. Now they're twisted. They had their life stolen. Well, they taste sweet, but really they're just humiliated grapes. I can't say I’m a big supporter of the Raisin Council.
Sam: Did you see those raisins on TV? The ones that sing and dance and stuff?
Joon: They scare me.
Sam: Yeah, me too.
Joon: It's sick. The commercial people, they make them sing and dance so people will eat them.
Sam: It's a shame about raisins.
Joon: Cannibals.
Sam: Yeah.
Released 1993
Directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik
Story by Barry Berman and Lesley McNeil; screenplay by Barry Berman
Starring Johnny Depp as Sam, Mary Stuart Masterson as Juniper “Joon” Pearl, Aidan Quinn as Benjamin “Benny” Pearl, Julianne Moore as Ruthie, Oliver Platt as Eric, CCH Pounder as Dr. Garvey, and William H. Macy as Randy Burch

Fun Facts:
Depp modeled his “dancing rolls” gag at the diner on that of Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush.

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