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Food Movies [moved from Not About Food board]

In honer of Ratatouille opening up, I would like to mention a few lesser known Food Movie. Since we have all seen, or at leash should see, The Big Night, Like water for Chocolate, Babbets Feast and Mostly Martha; here are a few of my other favorites:

Dinner Rush - Mobsters, Chefs, romance and Cranky art critics - this movie rocks! I love the scene when one of the cooks is fired for messing with the Chef's mis en place.

The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover - I guess because it is not out on DVD a lot of people don't know about this darkly humorous tale. It is worth seeking out.

Good-Fellows - Does this count as a food movie? They sure do eat a lot.

Does any one else have some lesser known Food Movie Gems? What are your favorite or not so favorite?

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  1. The recent release "Waitress" is a better food movie than it is anything else. The title character translates her life into various pies.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Terrieltr

      What a fun topic! Movies and food are two of my favorite things!

      Not technically a food movie, but I adore Moonstruck. It's so full of life. I like to watch it and eat an Italian meal.I also love a glass of champagne with a sugar cube in it - although I put a drop of Angostura bitters on the sugar cube and add a lemon twist which they don't do in the movie.

      Oh, how about Big Night? Now there's a dinner movie!

    2. I'm a little embarrassed to say that the totally formulaic and cheesy, (appropriate label for a food movie) The Last Holiday was fun. Queen Latifa was trained in her technique at the Food Network.

      1. Tampopo by Juzo Itami

        The Future of Food by Deborah Koons-- depressing but informative documentary

        1 Reply
        1. re: laurenlyle

          Tampopo was the first thing that came to my mind, too. Great movie.

          1. You're missing out if you haven't seen "Eat Drink Man Woman," one of Ang Lee's earlier films. The first scene alone, when the father is preparing Sunday night dinner, is enough to make you hit pause on the movie and run to the nearest Chinese restaurant. It is a fabulous food movie.

            1 Reply
            1. re: VirgoBlue

              On a similar note, The Wedding Banquet is also worth check out. It doesn;t have nearly as much food. But the Taiwanese wedding scene is to the teeth with food and decor!
              Both of them made me homesick and hungry....

            2. -Woman on Top
              -Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi
              -Spangalish: it may not be all food, but you can't deny that sandwich looks really really good
              - Jewel in the Palace:Ok, this is not a movie, but a Korean soap. If you can find one with English subtitles, watch it! It's has Oriental cruisine at its highest form with the combination of the herbal medi use in food, the traditions, and hmmmmmm....
              -Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: come on, it has to be list.

              1. I just watched Mostly Martha again last night...great movie!

                Bread & Tulips...although not strictly a food movie, has a bunch of very amusing food scenes in it.

                1. TAMPOPO - Junzo Itami (RIP).
                  Eclectic, sarcastic, erotic and laugh out loud funny. Above and beyond, the greatest food film ever.

                  BABETTE'S FEAST- Gabrielle Axel
                  "Now you'll be poor for the rest of your life."
                  "An artist is never poor." Classic.

                  BIG NIGHT - Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci
                  "G** D**** it, I should kill you! This is so f****** good I should kill you!"
                  The wordless scene in the kitchen, the morning after is one of my all time faves.

                  COMFORT AND JOY - Bill Forsythe
                  Ice cream wars: Glasgow style. A somewhat forgotten but, no less excellent film.
                  "Helloo folks!"

                  WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY - Mel Stuart
                  What kid didn't dream of the Golden Ticket?
                  "There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.
                  Living there, you'll be free if you truly wish to be."

                  1. Like Water for Chocolate -- wonderful 90's Mexican movie. The book was good too!

                    1. Tortilla Soup - Great Cast and even better Food!

                      1. I've seen all of these films - some I enjoyed so much I ended up buying. They should be available on Netflix.

                        "What's Cooking", directed by Gurinder Chadha. Thanksgiving: A celebration of food, tradition and relative insanity. An inside look of how an American holiday is celebrated by four families in the same neighborhood with different ethnic/cultural backgrounds: Vietnamese, Jewish, Latino and Black. (Gurinder Chadra also directed "Bend it Like Beckham" and "Bhaji on the Beach". Although not technically food movies, Indian food makes a delicious-looking cameo appearance in both films.)

                        "Pieces of April" directed by Peter Hedges is another Thanksgiving film. April invites her family to Thanksgiving dinner at her teeny apartment on New York's Lower East Side. As they make their way to the city from suburban Pennsylvania, April must endure a comedy of errors - like finding out her oven doesn't work - in order to pull off the big event.

                        "A Christmas Story". Who can forget the disappearing turkey: "The heavenly aroma still hung in the house. But it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey Hash! Turkey a la King! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, ALL GONE!"

                        "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". In Luis Bunuel's deliciously satiric, Oscar-winning masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to dinner but never eats, their attempts continually thwarted by a vaudevillian mixture of events both actual and imagined. Perhaps his greatest film, Bunuel's absurdist view of the upper class is a timeless satire about consumerism and class privilege in a late capitalist world. Subtitled.

                        "American Adobo". In the tradition of "Eat Drink Man Woman" and "The Wedding Banquet" comes "American Adobo", a dramedy about five Filipino-American college friends who reunite years after graduation (around a sumptuous banquet) to compare notes about their lives. Top-lined by the Philippines' most distinguished dramatic actor, Christopher De Leon, American Adobo offers just the right combination of ingredients; it's a fabulous feast for the head and heart.

                        "The Debut". This story revolves around Ben, a talented high school senior who has rejected his Filipino heritage. The long-simmering feud between Ben and his immigrant father Roland threatens to boil over and ruin the 18th birthday party of Ben's sister, Rose. But to Ben's surprise, his sister's celebration challenges his sense of misplaced identity, and the way he regards his father and grandfather. In one night, Ben faces the true nature of his relationships with his family, his friends, and himself. A filipino food feast for the eyes to be had at the party!

                        Ang Lee's debut film "Pushing Hands". Master Chu, a retired Chinese Tai-Chi master, moves to Westchester, New York to live with his son Alex, his American daughter-in-law Martha, and their son Jeremy. However, Martha's second novel is suffering from severe writers' block brought on by Chu's presence in the house. Alex must struggle to keep his family together as he battles an inner conflict between cultural tradition and his modern American lifestyle. (Sorry, this one is NOT available through Netflix.)

                        "Only Human". This zany comedy in Meet the Parents fashion is a cautionary tale of bringing home that special someone. Leni's family is a handful: there's her blind grandfather, the belly dancer sister with a 5-year-old daughter, the brother with a newfound relationship with religion, the pre-menopausal mother and the estranged father. Leni brings her fiancé, Rafi, to meet the family, but all chaos ensues when the Jewish clan discovers he's Palestinian. In Spanish with English subtitles.

                        "Soul Food". Matriarch Mama Joe has held her family together for 40 years around a Sunday dinner of soul food. When diabetes hospitalizes her, the dinners stop and tensions among her three daughters start to break the family apart. Two of the sisters feud continuously: Teri is jealous of Maxine's marriage and irritated that everyone assumes her corporate salary is open to the rest of the family's uses. Maxine resents Teri's bossiness and insensitivity to family tradition. Bird, the youngest, newly married to an ex-con, accepts a favor from an old lover that leads to her husband's arrest. Mama Joe's grandson Ahmad cooks up a scheme to bring the family together, back to the table.

                        "The Chinese Feast". Food and fisticuffs meet in a dazzling exhibition of "cook fu" when rival chefs compete in an acrobatic display, turning ordinary dishes such as beef chow fun and sweet and sour pork into culinary masterpieces. The film culminates in a 3-day cooking contest to re-create the majestic Qing Han Imperial Feast, a banquet held in the 17th century to unite a divided China. Subtitled.

                        "When Do We Eat?" I found this hysterical! A family's Passover gets screwy after the patriarch unknowingly ingests a hit of Ecstasy.

                        "nbt: Never Been Thawed". Dark-humored mockumentary. As founder of the Mesa Frozen Entrée Enthusiasts' Club, Shawn brings his love for collecting TV dinners to the world, gathering a motley crew of co-collectors (most of whom are members of his punk band turned Christian rock group) to host the world's first Frozen Entrée Enthusiasts Convention. An ensemble cast (including Shelly Frasier, Allen Zwolle, John Morris and Mike Gordon) heats up this deliciously dark farce.

                        "Vatel". From writer Tom Stoppard comes another costume drama with the accent on sumptuous. Gérard Depardieu stars as François Vatel, chief steward to the nearly bankrupt Prince de Condé (Julian Glover). But if Vatel can create a feast fit for visiting King Louis XIV (Julian Sands), the prince will get a chance for the empire to fill his coffers.

                        "Super Size Me". If "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle" get to be on the list, so should this!

                        1. Chocolat. The candy looks good. Johnny Depp, better.

                          1. I was gonna say chocolat
                            My Best Friends Wedding (she's a critic)
                            Addicted to Love
                            Under the Tuscan Sun

                            But I'll go for a documentary...does wine count? If so a must see is "Mondo Vino"

                            1. Tortilla Soup. It's a good sisterly-bonding movie as well as being full of food that makes me drool.

                              1. On all the food movie lists I have seen on the internet, no one has mentioned "The Couple".
                                It has a wonderful scene where the couple serves a fabulous dinner to the Germans. I can't get that scene out of my mind. They served the food with white gloves, and the service went so smoothly.
                                I love cooking, and I think it would be neat to teach people how to serve their guests so nicely.

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                                1. re: JanGriffin

                                  O yes "Eat Drink Man Woman". Had me crying between drooling, or drooling between …
                                  Tampopo also ace.
                                  Ditto L'Odeur de la Papaye verte".
                                  And love all those Claude Sautet movies where people dress up and all go somewhere and eat lustily and smoke and talk and laugh. "César et Rosalie" and "Les Choses de la vie" leap to mind.

                                2. food movies for intelligent people:

                                  1. supersize me
                                  2. the futures of food
                                  4. food inc
                                  3. king corn
                                  5. the world according to monsanto.

                                  1. more food movies for intelligent people:

                                    6. Simply Raw - Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days
                                    7. Food Matters
                                    8. The Real Dirt on Farmer John
                                    9. Off The Grid Life On The Mesa
                                    10. The End Of Suburbia

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. "The Secret of the Grain"

                                      Not an overwhelming display of food porn, but a quite good movie about an extended family of Tunisian immigrants in France with the opening of a couscous and mullet restaurant serving as the locus of the drama. Newly out on video from Criterion (DVD and Blu-ray).

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                        I'll look for that one - hadn't heard of it.

                                        My additions:

                                        Julie and Julia
                                        My Big Fat Greek Wedding
                                        The Freshman

                                        1. re: 512window

                                          I've probably overlooked it, but I cant remember anyone suggesting THE FRESHMAN as a food movie before...Brilliant!