To Hollywood, nothing shouts “Joizy” quite like a Garden State diner.
ROSIE’S, Little Ferry: The slasher genre got off to a ripping start with cheesy flicks like Alone in the Dark (1982). The premise: a gang of escaped psychopaths lay siege on their psychiatrists. This twisted film opens with a scene shot at Rosie’s. A man known as Preacher (Martin Landau) enters “Mom’s Diner” and, asking for his usual, is presented with a dead fish. When it begins raining indoors, you figure out that Preacher is dreaming, but what he wakes up to is worse: The cook (Donald Pleasence) emerges from the kitchen wielding a cleaver. Preacher is chained upside down and sliced in half!
BENDIX DINER, Hasbrouck Heights: In Jersey Girl (1992), Toby (Jami Gertz) is gabbing with friends at their favorite hangout, the Bendix. “Every Friday night, we go to the same place, see the same people, and we eat the same garbage food,” she gripes. She resolves to look for love in the big city, but the diner remains pivotal. It’s where she discusses her trysts with Sal (Dylan McDermott) and informs her friends she’s skipping an important birthday party to be with him; it’s where her friends confront her for neglecting them; and it’s where her friends announce that they have taken revenge on Toby’s former flame—by stealing his goldfish.
TUNNEL DINER, Jersey City: Al Pacino, John Cusack, and Bridget Fonda starred in the 1996 political drama City Hall. In the diner, the idealistic deputy mayor (Cusack) and strong-willed attorney (Fonda) discuss why the nephew of an influential crime boss has been paroled prematurely. The mayor begins to understand the true nature of the judicial system he desperately wants to believe is incorruptible.
CHAPPY’S DINER, Paterson: In the 1998 drama No Looking Back, Claudia (Lauren Holly) longs to escape her small town. She hopes the return of an old flame (Edward Burns) will be her ticket to freedom.
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