Ok so this post is more about films in which food features but that made for one clumsy-ass title so I simplified.
I love a good list so here are my top three (and some who just didn’t make the grade but deserve a runner-up mention) films about, or vaguely related to, food.
1. Waitress. Maybe it’s just my lack of a Y chromosome talking but this film occupies a very special place in my heart. I saw it twice in the cinema and teared up both times. It’s a poignant, heartfelt gem of a story that is as sweet as the many pies described therein. And of course only Nathan Fillion can make an adulterous doctor cheating on his gorgeous redheaded wife seem adorable.
Favourite moment: The ‘I can’t have no affair because it’s wrong and I don’t want Earl to kill me’ pie.
2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. No, not the 2005 version where Johnny Depp minces around like a manic pixie on acid accompanied by a totally forgettable soundtrack. The 1971 adaption of the 1964 book (marvel at my impressive date knowledge, brought to you courtesy of wikipedia). It’s well acted, looks great and CHOCOLATE RIVERS. I was gutted when I grew up and found out that Roald Dahl hated it.
Favourite moment: Any time Gene Wilder gets busy on the Oompaloompa-summoning flute. I don’t know how a grown man can carry that off in such a deadpan manner.
3. Toast. Based on the memoir of food writer Anthony Slater, Toast is the tale of a young foodie growing up in the 60s who turns to cooking to help him deal with the death of his mother and his father’s new marriage. Despite the grim subject matter it’s actually pretty comical and, although I wasn’t alive then, I imagine it’s pretty period accurate. Also Helena Bonham Carter plays the stepmother as if possessed. It’s gleefully scene-stealing.
Favourite moment: Slater and his manic stepmother dueling over pies as a way to win his father’s affection. I am totally down with the notion of food as a weapon.
1. Fried Green Tomatoes. Don’t be deceived by the title, the film’s not really about food so I couldn’t in good conscience include it above. It deserves an honourable mention however because it’s a great American classic and a rare case of a film living up to the book.
Favourite moment: When Ninny and Evelyn go to see Ruth’s grave and find someone has beaten them to it, leaving a jar of honeycomb. It gets me right there [points to roughly where heart is].
2. Julie & Julia. This got shoved into the ‘also ran’ pile because it’s a bit too cutesy for me. I loved Amy Adams as a struggling cook making her way through Julia Child’s extensive recipe collection but it came off like a huge advert for the Julia Childs brand so nah.
Favourite moment: Call me mean but I like it when Amy Adams gets snubbed by icy Meryl Streep (playing her hero Julia Childs) who will not deign to meet her.
3. Matilda. It’s another Roald Dahl but it’s my blog so that’s how it goes. Matilda (the story of a highly intelligent child with despicable parents and a psychotic headmistress) isn’t about food but there is one beautiful scene, which leads me to…
Favourite moment: Two words: Bruce Bogtrotter. Bruce is an unlucky pupil at Matilda’s school who swiped a piece of chocolate cake and is forced to devour the rest of it by way of punishment. The psychotic headmistress is incensed when the punishment backfires and Bruce doggedly polishes off the entire cake, so she cracks the empty plate over his head. As he has consumed an entire round of chocolate cake by this stage however, it as about as much impact as a hammer on a bulging sack of wet cement. I can’t do it justice but the scene (and Dahl’s evocative description in the book) is terrific.
So have I missed anything? What’s your favourite food film? Have you seen any of the above? Do you secretly long for an Oompaloompa whistle? Did anyone else get Duran Duran’s Girls on Film song stuck in their head as soon as they read the title (sorry)?
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