Thursday, October 23, 2003

Great Movies: I'd propose "Big Night" which stars, among others, Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci as Italian immigrant brothers (respectively, Primo - the purist chef and Secondo - the smooth front man who loves his brother but needs money to keep the doors open ) located in coastal New Jersey during the 50s. Their goal is to force real Italian food onto the un-suspecting American populace at a time when red/white checkercloth, red gravy, and mandolins ruled supreme. The opening scene alone is reason enough to see the film as Primo suffers apoplexy when a woman orders a side of spaghetti and meatballs with her risotto.

Needless to say, they're about out of money and can't compete with the restaurant down the street, Pascal's (the eponymous proprietor played by Ian Holm of all people) who serves the people what they want and revels in it (clearly, he has no soul). Anyway, Pascal (who had been trying to get the brothers to come work for him) promises Secondo (or so he thinks) that he can get Louie Prima in their restaurant after a gig, and with the right press coverage, the place will take off. Well, you get a lot of fun of watching the brothers prepare for their "Big Night", but the real scene-stealer is the food. Do NOT watch this on an empty stomach. Great period music too - kind of kitschy, but so is the movie. There's lots more going on in the movie, and some really fine acting too. It won't tax you or bowl you over with literary allusions, but that's okay - you'll still go back for seconds.

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