2020’s been twelve months of pure chaos, but hopefully you can find some peace in viewing some great movies. For Thanksgiving while you’re chomping down on turkey, or tofurkey, or turducken, or whatever horrifying facsimile of turkey that you can concoct, be sure to stay home, and check out these five great movies about food.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
I love White Castle. The fries, the sliders, they’re all so excellent. I was originally skeptical, but it ends up being an absolutely hilarious, bizarre, intelligent, and exciting road trip film. While, yes, it’s about two stoners trying to reach White Castle after smoking some weed, the movie itself brilliantly deals in racial stereotypes, systemic racism, and the pressure society can put on younger generations. The movie itself is a worthwhile cult classic thanks to the iconic walk on role from Neil Patrick Harris, the great soundtrack and the flawless performances by John Cho and Kal Penn. Plus, the way the directors deliver the pay off with a near orgasmic filming of White Castle food is not only a great resolution, but will likely have you seeking out a White Castle, too.
Soylent Green (1973)
I don’t know how much you know about “Soylent Green” but it’s become a movie often cited by genre fans for its well known climax. I’ll try not to spoil it for you, but “Soylent Green” is a depressing tale about an overpopulated New York city ravaged by starvation. NYPD detective Robert Thorn investigates the murder of an executive at the local Soylent Corporation. Soylent (sold in Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow, and Soylent Green) has become a food facsimile that’s cheaply produced and used to feed the masses. Despite the government intervening, Robert is anxious to figure out what the new flavor Soylent Green is made of, especially when research about Soylent doesn’t quite add up. This is a stark, brutal tale about ecological disaster, overpopulation, and yes, garners an iconic climax.
Tortilla Soup (2001)
The film follows three grown sisters, Maribel (Tamara Mello), Leticia (Elizabeth Peña) and Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors) as they try to cope and live with their father Martin (Héctor Elizondo). He’s a strict chef who is losing his sense of taste, and is at constant odds with his daughter Carmen, an aspiring chef who insists on changes to his recipes. When a local woman (Raquel Welch) seeks the affection of Martin, conflict begins to split the family apart. Based on the film “Eat Drink Man Woman,” Maria Ripoli’s Mexican flavored remake is a smart, sweet, and subtle tale about food, and the way it connects families.
Adrienne Shelly’s drama romance has become something of a cult classic over the years, and it’s a great subtle tale about coping through food, and how food can be artistic catharsis. Jenna, played by Keri Russell, works in a small diner in a Southern town and is a wiz at creating unique, luscious pies. But with her marriage to an overbearing abusive spot (Jeremy Sisto), her happiness is almost impossible. When she discovers she is pregnant, she makes plans to skip town before her condition is obvious. However, she begins an affair with the new town doctor (Nathan Fillion), who is the only one who knows her secret. Working through her emotions, she makes pies that express her feelings, and they become characters on to themselves.
Julie & Julia (2009)
Nora Ephron’s drama comedy is partially a biopic and partially a coming of age film that pits the focus on two charming women. Angry with her dead end job, New Yorker Julie Powell seeks to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” While she realizes her calling and begins blogging about her progress, we cut to Julia Childs as a budding chef who learns and masters French Cuisine and inevitably becomes a culinary icon. The movie is packed with a gold star cast including Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, and Stanley Tucci, and Streep rises to occasion to deliver a performance as Childs that absolutely charming. Sweet, subtle, and absolutely adorable, their stories ultimately parallel and reflect various points of their journey within the book. “Julie & Julia” is a charming and absolutely fulfilling story about two women trying to find their power through the art of cooking.