In honor of the movie “Julie and Julia” opening today (check local listings), we have decided to proclaim (once again) the top 5 food movies of all time (with commentary):
1. Tampopo – A series of oddball vignettes about everything from making a Japanese omelet to eating conformity to how to taste soup — plus a few steamy scenes thrown in to (not so subtly) drive home the point that food and sex are about the only things in life worth discussing.
2. Eat Drink Man Woman – Ang Lee’s masterpiece of food and family will absolutely, positively have you running to the nearest (good) Chinese restaurant the minute it is over.
3. Ratatouille – Rats in the kitchen never tasted so good, and despite the typical Disney-esque plot (youngster must find himself in the big bad world and learn life lessons….yawn), the rapid fire food dialogue (and animation that reveals more food verisimilitude with every viewing), is a foodie insider’s dream.
4/5. (tie) Big Night/Mostly Martha – Two movies that define (in a movie sense anyway) the frustrations of great cooks running (or trying to run) great restaurants. The Hollywood remake of Mostly Martha (No Reservations starring Catherine Zeta-Jones) is to the original what a cup of Campbell’s is to a bowl of bouillabaisse.
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The Two Most Overrated Food Movies Of All Time:
Chocolat – A boring, banal love story that women flock to because of the title (and because it features Johnny Depp (as “Roux,” get it?) supposedly interested in a woman fifteen years older than he is).
Tortilla Soup – Scene by scene remake of Eat Drink Man Woman, completely lacking the wit and wisdom of the original. Latinos love it because the food scenes (and Hector Elizondo) are great. Americans watch it because they don’t have to read subtitles.