A couple of pretty good movies that happen to deal with food have opened in theaters in North America in the last several months. As everyone knows, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so movies that otherwise might not have been on my radar made little ‘blips’ on my movies to watch screen.
Just last month, The Hundred-Foot Journey, is a movie that has the advantage of powerhouse producers Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg in its corner. It’s a nice little story about Hassan (played by Manish Dayal) who grew up in Mumbai, India and was taught to cook by his mother. His family moves to Europe and there, as the trailers show, their Indian restaurant is in competition with Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) and her French restaurant.
I enjoyed the movie – the food looked good – but to be honest, what I really liked most about the film was the soundtrack. I probably won’t see the movie again but I do plan to get the soundtrack. It was for the most part composed by Indian singer-songwriter and music producer A. R. Rahman who also did the soundtracks for Slumdog Millionaire and this year’s Million Dollar Arm (another soundtrack I loved).
My winner in the food-film cook-off is an even smaller film released a few months ago. Writer, actor and director Jon Favreau (also director of Iron man, Iron Man 2 and Elf) has made Chef, a little gem of a movie.
Chef has a mixture of 20th century relationships, 21st century technology and kind of a 17th century tutor/ apprentice thing going – along with some really yummy food scenes that I could almost smell and taste.
My film reviews are always very personal and what grabbed me the most about Chef was the father/son relationship that is weaved throughout the movie. I always gravitate to that type of movie because of the lack of relationship I had with my father, my parents having divorced when I was pretty young.
Also what guy doesn’t enjoy a movie that involves a Road Trip, this one starting in Miami, goes through New Orleans and Austin, and ending in Los Angeles.
It’s a pretty funny movie that, along with major supporting rolls by John Leguizamo and Sofia Vergara, has smaller nugget size appearances by Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Dustin Hoffman.
And…here’s another great soundtrack – with several songs that have what could be called an American-Cuban ‘flavor’ (pun intended), New Orleans R&B and Texas Blues.
It’s a movie that I will watch again and I’ve added the soundtrack to my “to download” list.
I just want to mention that The Hundred-Foot Journey is rated a very family friendly PG. Chef on the other hand is rated R for quiet a few expletives and some crude dialogue. I personally enjoy a first-rate, G rated animated film as much as any movie and in my heart wish more films were not so loaded with so much profanity, if for nothing else, making many very good stories more appropriate and available for younger audiences.
This movie review is part of a new series of monthly posts. The movies I’ll choose each month will be films that I feel a personal connection with, to the story or characters. They’ll usually be films that, like this post, you may not have seen, classic’s you may have missed or maybe some I think are worth a second look. From “Classic Hollywood” black and white to the latest hits – Action/Adventure and Comedy to Coming of Age and Buddy Films.