December 27, 2002

Movies about Food

Did you get a DVD player for Christmas? Do you need something to fill it? Here's my list of movies about or containing food.

Babette's Feast
This is probably my alltime favorite movie. I think that the respect and attitude towards food is fantastic -- but the plot also moves me. Subtitles. Some opera. This may throw off some folks, along with the "yearning" aspects of the story. But, for me, there is no other food movie.

The Big Night
The earlier scenes in this movie are funny, and the "big night" itself is a fantastic whirl of food and cooking and eating. I found the end to be a bit of a cop out/let down -- but the final scene of a real time making of an omelette in one take is pretty neat.

Eat Drink Man Woman
Both a slice of family life, and a view of how Chinese food and culture and intertwined. Lots of interesting cooking scenes. Subtitles.

"The last of the great noodle westerns." High Noon meets Iron Chef. While noodles are the focus, it's really about the Japanese obsession with food in general. Subtitles.

A recent film, which I just saw. The "food" is really Chocolate and pastries. Some found the going slow and the subtext of "religion as evil" too much too take. I wouldn't put it high up on my list of favorites -- but it was a fine way to spend two hours. The cooking scenes and info are accurate, although sparse.

Like Water for Chocolate
This is one of my least liked food movies. The discussion of food and the cooking scenes are great -- but I find both the story and style so incredibly overwrought as to be a distraction. I know that stylistically this is how the story should be told -- but for me I find it turning what should be serious scenes into near comedy. Subtitles.

American Cuisine
Hard/Impossible to find. I only saw it via Lifetime or Bravo or some such cable channel -- maybe made for TV? Jason Lee plays an American who moves to France to learn to cook and finds himself in the middle of the traditional apprentice system. Story is pretty trite, but there is some great food scenes, and the behind the scenes stuff is accurate, although it may not seem so. English and French with subtitles as I recall.

Here are some films with lesser amounts of food in them that can still be somewhat interesting.

The Tavern
An interesting little film about two men who decide to open a tavern. Almost by accident they find success in the form of good food. A kid on the skids turns out to have a knack in the kitchen, which I also found very enjoyable.

Who is Killing the Great Chef's of Europe?
VHS only. It came from the 70s -- but some neat scenes in the more traditional-industrial-hotel style of kitchens of this era. Comedy.

My Best Friend's Wedding
Kind of strange to have this one on here. Julia Roberts main character is supposed to be a food critic (quickly tossed aside) -- and at the start of the film we see a real kitchen with a real Charlie Trotter playing himself, "If you don't get this right, I'll kill your entire family." Supposed to be set in NYC, with the remainder of the movie in Chicago, the restaurant looks to my eye to be Charlie Trotter's actual place in Chicago.

Addicted to Love
Not a particularly great movie -- and why two stars would want to be in a comedy about stalkers boggles the mind. Still, there's a chef, some cooking scenes, and a reviewer used as comedic foil.

Posted by dowdy at December 27, 2002 08:31 AM