Eating with your eyes
Dinner and a movie: It’s one of the great American pastimes, right up there with shopping, posting to social media and wandering into traffic while staring at your cellphone.
But what if you can’t afford dinner? Or a movie? Or both? Or maybe you just don’t feel like going out?
Well, perhaps dinner in a movie is the answer. And if you happen to subscribe to a streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon, you’ll find a number of films revolving around food, restaurants and eating to sate whatever your appetite needs. Because nothing satisfies like watching other people eat a delicious meal on a flatscreen.
“Julie & Julia” (2009, Netflix): Nora Ephron directed this drama that stars Amy Adams as a food blogger who endeavors to prepare all 524 recipes from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child (Meryl Streep in an Oscar-nominated turn) in the course of a year.
“Big Night” (1996, Amazon/Starz): On Amazon’s Starz channel is this superb drama about two brothers (Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub) trying to save their failing 1950s New Jersey restaurant by preparing a sumptuous Italian feast for crooner Louis Prima. Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini and Marc Anthony are also in the talented cast.
“Burnt” (2015, Netflix): A chef (Bradley Cooper) who destroyed his Michelin-starred career with drugs and prima donna behavior seeks redemption by taking the helm of a top London eatery in this fine comedy/drama from director John Wells (“August: Osage County”).
“Tortilla Soup” (2001, Amazon): Hector Elizondo (“Last Man Standing”) does typically solid work as a Mexican-American chef who continues to prepare elaborate meals for family and friends despite having lost his senses of taste and smell following his wife’s death.
“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (2011, Netflix): This outstanding documentary profiles 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, owner of the three-Michelin-starred Toyko restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, and his relationship with his son and heir Takashi.
“Eating: A Very Serious Comedy about Women & Food” (1993, Amazon): From French filmmaker Henry Jaglom comes this arthouse favorite that explores food and life through a birthday party for three women turning 30, 40 and 50. Nelly Alard, Mary Crosby and Frances Bergen star.
“The Founder” (2016, Netflix): The story of Ray Croc, who turned two brothers’ innovative burger operation into the fast-food giant McDonald’s, is told in this solid biographical drama that stars Michael Keaton as Croc.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” (2014, Netflix): Helen Mirren was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as the owner of a Michelin-starred French eatery whose hackles are raised when an Indian restaurant opens across the street.
“East Side Sushi” (2014, Amazon): A sushi chef (Diana Elizabeth Torres) is rejected for a job at a Japanese restaurant because of her Mexican heritage and gender in this underrated indie drama.
“Fannie’s Last Supper” (2010, Amazon): In this documentary, culinary expert Christopher Kimball and his team attempt to re-create an authentic 12-course meal from the 19th century.