Memorial Day: Which pop culture cookout would you crash?

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Image Credit: Fox

The sun is shining, the smell of summer is finally in the air…and naturally, you’re still thinking about TV and movies. Which is fine, because so are we. Specifically: Not long ago, your pals at EW had a conversation about the pop culture cookouts we’d most love to attend. Three serve pretty standard barbecue fare; two feature whole roast pigs; one makes itty bitty alligators the main course. But all feature great company, from ace Miami detective Marcus Burnett to  growly, grizzled Korean War vet Walt Kowalski to the scrappy kids who spend their days hitting homers on their local baseball diamond. (Or trying to, at least.)

Check out our picks for pop culture’s best outdoor shindigs below — and feel free to add your own:

Bad Boys II: I don’t know how Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) can afford a Miami waterfront mansion on a police detective’s salary (it’s his partner Mike Lowrey who has the money), but that’s not the point. The point is, if he’s having a cookout, I want to be invited. There’s good food, beautiful people (Gabrielle Union in one of her first major roles) — and if his pool breaks, you simply float into the Biscayne Bay with drink in hand. –Kathryn Luttner

Southland and The O.C.: My cookout desires are simple: A burger, some booze, and some eye candy. And that’s exactly why I’d kick off my cookout adventures with the Southland crew, where Sammy (Shawn Hatosy) would grill the burgers, and Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) would walk around shirtless. Then, when the sun started to go down, I’d move my cookout back in time a few years and follow Ben McKenzie to another location: Holly’s beach house from The O.C. I’m not quite as crazy as those Newpsies-in-training, but partying with rich kids has its benefits. Plus, I’d have Ryan to keep me company in liking “nothin” about them. –Samantha Highfill

The Sandlot: The Sandlot is everything we love about America: baseball, hot dogs, underdogs, and scary dogs that are secretly lovable. Every kid wishes they were roasting mallows with the Great Hambino, listening to Squints tell ghost stories by flashlight while “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” plays in the background. Where else would you want to be on Memorial Day? At a bar? You’re killing me, Smalls. –Jojo Marshall

The Waterboy: With this masterpiece, Adam Sandler set the standard not only for meeting your future mother-in-law, but also for the ideal backyard BBQ. What more do you need in a picnic than thick red lipstick, pee-soaked sheets flowing in the wind, grilled alligator, and the smooth sounds of a mule named Steve? Sadly, the cosmos haven’t granted me an experience like this, because astrology is one of the many tools of the devil. –Ben Boskovich

Gran Torino: Barbecues aren’t all ribs and burgers: In Gran Torino, Walt (Clint Eastwood) attends a Hmong BBQ featuring an entire roasted pig, which should really be a requirement for all food-related parties. This is a slight turning point in the movie for Walt, as he goes from being a close-minded racist to grumpily showing actual interest in Hmong culture. The resulting scene is heartwarming. Bonus: Walt’s a Korean War veteran — what better way to celebrate Memorial Day than with someone who’s served?  –Ariana Bacle

The SimpsonsThanks for playing, guys — but you’re all incorrect. The ultimate outdoor party is actually Homer’s BBBQ, as seen in season 7’s “Lisa the Vegetarian.” The extra B is for BYOBB! (What’s that extra B for? It’s a typo.) There’s truly something for everyone here, at least until the spit-roast pig goes flying past the nuclear power plant — including multiple forms of meat and, for the vegetarians in attendance, plenty of delectable homemade gazpacho. (It’s tomato soup served ice cold!) Just don’t expect anything green and leafy; after all, you don’t win friends with salad. –Hillary Busis


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