Food and movies go together like popcorn and movies, for example. Food is one of life’s core topics, therefore it comes to reason that it would make a fine film theme, and there have been several fantastic films based on life’s culinary delights. Now, here are ten films that will make you laugh, weep, or encourage you, but they will all make you hungry.
The Big Night (1996)
Thousands of restaurant theme meals were inspired by this film. Perhaps no film has ever depicted the careful attention to detail that goes into preparing a spectacular meal. Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub play two fighting brothers who operate a failing Italian restaurant. They don’t understand why the restaurant across the street succeeds while their wonderful cuisine fails to attract guests. It’s a conundrum that restaurateurs face all across the world.
Desperate, they devise a scheme to entice famous Louis Prima to the restaurant and provide a lavish supper that will catapult them to fame. On the screen, the subsequent planning and preparation is breathtaking, and I defy anyone to watch it on an empty stomach. Simply the greatest cuisine movie ever made.
Chocolat (British, 2000)
If you need a break from the savory cookery flicks, watch Chocolat, which is about a French lady who opens and runs a chocolate store in a little French hamlet across the street from a church. During Lent, she keeps her business open on Sundays and tempts the pious.
Despite the fact that chocolate is at the heart of the tale, this pleasant and stunning picture has a lot to offer its audience in terms of story, not least the mystery love interest played by Johnny Depp.
Julie and Julia (2009)
The real story of blogger Julie Powell, played with recklessness by Amy Adams, who attempts to cook her way through famed chef Julia Child’s groundbreaking textbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” brought throngs of foodies to theatres. The film is essentially two parallel storylines about two ladies who are pursuing their dreams. Meryl Streep, who plays Child, is fantastic (isn’t she always?) in her portrayal of the legendary chef.
The movie’s inspirational message is simply how Child lived her life: chase your dreams, they don’t have to be flawless all of the time, and don’t apologize for the first two. On a related topic, a Cleveland food blogger is attempting to do the same thing with Iron Chef Michael Symon’s cookbook.
Tortilla Soup (2001)
Hector Elizondo, who is usually fantastic, plays the widowed father of a Mexican-American household. Elizondo, a chef who has lost his sense of taste, attempts to keep his family together by forcing expensive Sunday dinners on his three attractive children. I can connect to this since when I was younger, my father insisted on the entire family gathering for Saturday meals.
He attempts to cling on tighter and tighter as they try to break away. The film is based on the renowned Chinese film Eat Drink Man Woman, which is one of the foreign language films I need to dig down. It is a genuine family values picture with amazing kitchen sequences.
Have you ever seen a spaghetti western? What about a noodle western with a Japanese twist? This amusing and moving Japanese tale weaves together various episodes all centered on food. The major plot is around a chef who aspires to learn how to create the greatest noodles in the world, as well as a Clint Eastwood-like trucker/drifter who assists him on his adventure.
This film, similar to Zen and the Art of Noodles, demonstrates a genuine passion for food and the people who prepare and enjoy it. Get the DVD and enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen.
Two lovable losers go on a journey across California wine country’s Santa Ynez Valley. On the road, in the bottle, and from a very sturdy motorcycle helmet whapped upside down on the head, they learn life lessons. This sophisticated film, which is both funny and unpretentious, will appeal to wine aficionados and just plain lovers alike.
Keri Russell plays a waitress at a local bistro who produces the finest dang pies you’ll ever taste in this cute little film. She’s pregnant and in a loveless marriage, and she’s hoping that her pies will help her escape her little southern town and her marriage.
The “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby” pie, for example, is based on her goals and dreams as well as her life’s desperation. Russell dazzles, and he’s surrounded by a talented ensemble of characters. Is the film deserving of an Academy Award nomination? The pies aren’t even close, but they look delicious.
Babette’s Feast (1987)
A Danish film about a French woman who is taken in by a preacher in Denmark. She lives in a constrained society where earthly pleasures are forbidden, but when she wins the lottery, she spends the entire sum on a feast in honor of the guy who took her in when she was in need.
The dinner buying and preparation is extravagant, and the narrative is uplifting. This picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and is higher on most lists, although it lacked for me at moments. Nonetheless, it’s a great film, and no list of food movies would be complete without it.
Soul Food (1997)
Another film based on the Chinese film Eat Drink Man Woman (which I really need to see), this time from the perspective of African-Americans. Mama Joe’s daughters begin to break apart without her family dinners while she is hospitalized, only to find their way back together thanks to Mama’s soul food. This film, which starred Vanessa Williams and Vivica A. Fox, was eventually turned into a TV series.
Woman on Top (2000)
Another film in which a lady utilizes her culinary abilities to flee a difficult marriage, this time starring the lovely Penelope Cruz as a Brazilian chef who has become a cooking show goddess. The film is quirky and amusing, but Cruz is charming in the main role, and she learns that she doesn’t need a guy in her life; instead, she needs to cook and be her own woman, using food as a metaphor for life.