Category Archives: Foodie Flicks

Foodie Flicks: Big Night (1996)

I have to thank my friend Ruby, the Wanderbites, for letting me peek one of his movie collections the other day and Big Night since then has been clinging on inside my mind as a must-watch movie.

It has been traditionally known that Stanley Tucci is a talented supporting cast in many movies. But that’s not a sad thing actually because in many occasions he’s also known as a great cook who has his own cookbooks and in this movie, he stars and also directs it fascinatingly.

Big Night 3

Set in the 50s, two Italian immigrants in the US have been struggling with their ristorante business. On one side, Primo (Tony Shalhoub) as the chef and the older brother wanted to retain the originality of his brilliant dishes, not giving in to what people want. However, Secondo (Stanley Tucci), the younger brother and restaurant manager, respects his brother’s skill and wishes but realizes that sooner or later, they have to make a smart move to stay in business.

We have to remember that 50s was still the age where most American didn’t know yet the true extent of Italian cuisine. Even Primo in one scene explains to his sweetheart Ann that there’s a famous dish back in Italy named Lasagna Bolognese, a dish that we all know way too familiar these days.

The timpano scene
The timpano scene

Lovingly made with wits, Stanley Tucci further explores the character of Big Night’s casts by showing their comical expressions, love stories, and of course, the deliciousness of behind the kitchen scenes. Big Night takes its time in exploring the communication between the characters, from their natural awkwardness with their convo subjects up to the point where we will burst out with laughs. The film also takes us to a dimension where we get anxious about whether they will successfully put up great food for the guests when they’re about to cut open the good looking timpano or how we can literally drool upon seeing how the guests get so excited after having the lovely meal Primo has cooked for them.

Everything is so realistic and leaves us with a question whether we want to do our passion wholeheartedly or do the somewhat easy way of getting pragmatic. It’s something philosophical where many of us will encounter (or have encountered) during a certain stage in our lives.

Lastly, I have to agree with many other viewers who found the breakfast scene as one of the most memorable moments from Big Night. It’s a whole uncut scene where Secondo serves breakfast for his brother and their employee, Cristiano (Mark Antony). Even after intense conflicts between the two brothers, they get reunited once again upon an honest meal of omelette and bread.

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Big Night 2

BIG NIGHT (1996)

Drool Level: **** (gimme gimme!)

Director: Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci

Producer: David Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Filley

Screenwriter: Joseph Tropiano, Stanley Tucci

Starring: Minnie Driver, Ian Holm, Isabella Rossellini, Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci

Music: Gary DeMichele, Louis Prima

Editing: Suzy Elmiger

Genre: Drama, Comedy

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Pictures taken from various sources

Foodie Flicks: Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

A video that will make you want to eat sushi right away. I dare you! 😀

Taken from: http://sassyraconteur.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/jiro-dreams-of-sushi/

Already 85 years old and still going strong, Jiro Ono has seen the ups and downs of his fulfilled live and a career as a master of sushi for the past 75 years. He started small and he started it all with devotion. For him, a job is something that you should not complain about, it’s something that you have to love and that the rest of your life is to learn how to master it.

A sushi master, a sage, and a lifetime student of kaizen, in this documentary Jiro tells us about everything that he knows on how to reach the highest aspiration in life. He tells us about the tough life he had when he’s still very young, he tells his visions on how to dedicate himself for this lifetime venture, and in turn everybody tells how they fare with the master’s life – from his apprentices, from his sons, from his business partners, and from a food writer perspective. Everyone simply admires his character and his attitude as his conviction affects them in a good way and that made everyone strives to be as determined as him even though eventually they may not be able to surpass him in the end.

Jiro Ono, the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro

This documentary shows also that he’s human after all and he has sentimentalities with his long gone parents, his sons, and his friends. He even admires a younger and a very talented chef we all know as Joel Robuchon. Of course, all his hard works culminated into a prestigious award of three-star Michelin for his famous restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, but in the end he’s that next door grand dad that we all know well.

The best part of the documentary is about seeing him in action on how he creates his special 20 course of sushi under 15 minutes for his guests, on how his son and the apprentices take care of the kitchen from food preparations and how they do business at the famous Tsukiji fish market. It was all presented gorgeously by director David Gelb.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi tells us a philosophical story about a master who dedicates his life to the fullest, but also tells us more on how to appreciate food and the people behind it. For now, I simply hope that someday soon I could get a chance to visit Sukiyabashi Jiro and taste Jiro’s wonderful 30,000 yen set of amazing sushi! I know it’s gonna be tense to eat under a scanning old eagle eyes of his but instead, he might as well found me savoring his dishes with tearful, dreamy eyes filled with happiness.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi Poster

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI (2011)

Drool Level: ***** (maxed out!)

Director: David Gelb

Producer: Kevin Iwashina, Tom Pellegrini

Cinematography: David Gelb

Genre: Documentary

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Pictures taken from various sources

Foodie Trailer: El Bulli – Cooking in Progress (2011)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3MV5rvCm_Y

Quite recently I got myself a complete video about an insider look on how Ferran Adria ran his El Bulli kitchen with intensity and creativity never seen anywhere else during the restaurant’s heyday back a few years ago. Well, time has not permitted me yet to finish watching this documentary. Do share your thoughts if you have watched this before. 🙂