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By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 24, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
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What are some good “food” movies? —Rebecca

In the ’80s, two art-house films put the foodie genre on the map: Tampopo, a wild and erotic Japanese comedy about the search for the ultimate noodle soup, and Babette’s Feast, a dryly overcooked Danish fable in which the creation of a lavish French meal became tee-hee compensation for sexual deprivation. Then, in 1996, there was Big Night, that tasty tribute to love, to the majesty of Italian cuisine, to the Zen glory of cooking an egg to perfection. It should have kicked the pantry door wide open, so I must ask: Why has there not been an explosion of food movies in the age of celebrity chefs and the new American kitchen revolution? I’m not saying I want to see a bad romantic comedy with Kate Hudson in a role loosely inspired by Rachael Ray, but if ever the time was right for a steady diet of movies that treat food as serious passion, it would be now.

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