The Llanerch Diner, the place I’ve been eating (can’t say ‘dining’) for over 40 years, the place with the best milkshakes in the world, the place where my brother toiled as a teenager, the place where I went to breakfast after Mass, school, and getting my heart broken in the 1980s, the place that is still only two blocks from my house, just got nominated for Best Supporting Diner by the Academy.
The Silver Linings Playbook, the film in which it was featured, also garnered 8 minor nominations like Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
I, however, am convinced that the movie would never have made it to the rarified echelons of “You like me, you REALLY like me!” had it not been for the strategic appearance of my beloved little slice of Americana. The diner, along with its attendant regulars, itinerant strangers and quirky waitstaff was featured in a critical scene where Bradley Cooper falls in love with Jennifer Lawrence (we realize it even if he-and she-doesn’t)
When I saw the throwback neon marquis highlighted in the trailer, memories flooded back to me of good times and bad, of great meals and worse, of a life lived in the orbit of a well-known landmark. Whenever I needed to hail a taxi home all I had to say was “I live near the Llanerch Diner” and no other directions were necessary.
Neighborhoods are important. While this pie-hunk of home is in Delaware County, there are places and nooks all over the Delaware Valley that have that same special hold on our respective hearts. So when the Academy chose to honor the Silver Linings Playbook, it didn’t just honor the actors (who deserved it) or the writers and technicians (ditto) who brought the film to life.
They honored that little place on Township Line. And those amazing milkshakes. And me.