Saw two—count 'em, two—movies over the weekend!
On Friday Andy and I played hooky and went to see Chef. It was thoroughly enjoyable but also thoroughly predictable. You will not be surprised at any moment in the plot, but it's still fun to watch. There's lots of gorgeous food-prep footage, which will make you fight over the last few crumbs of popcorn at the bottom of the cup. I liked Jon Favreau well enough, I guess, but I loved John Leguizamo in this. And Robert Downey Jr. had a 5-minute cameo role that was worth the price of admission as far as I'm concerned! Scarlett Johansson was unnecessary, mostly just smiling and smoldering alternately as called for. Oh, but I loved the little boy—someone named Emjay Anthony. He managed to be cute and smart but not maddeningly precocious. For some reason I found the music very heavy-handed—I liked the choices, but it felt overproduced, like, "Oh, now they're going to play an appropriate song to go with this part of the plot!" Can't explain it any better than that.
At a cookout Saturday night, I mentioned Chef, which got us to talking about favorite foodie movies; here are the ones I named: Big Night, Eat Drink Man Woman, The Wedding Banquet, Tampopo, and Babette's Feast. I'm sure there are others I'm just forgetting. . . . What are your faves?
At the cookout Pete started watching Sneakers with his pals but didn't get to see most of it because we had to leave. So last night he and I and Julie watched it. I hadn't seen it since it first came out in 1992, and it was still just as delightful. I had to explain to the kids that everything they were seeing was considered really high-tech back then. Interestingly, the bits about the NSA were not dated at all ("The only thing [the black box] would be good for is spying on Americans!"). I'm wondering if it's time for a Redford-a-thon chez nous: The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Natural, maybe even All the President's Men.
We have two options for watching movies at home: Netflix and On Demand. We have Netflix's 2 DVDs at a time plan, but the problem is that the discs often languish on the coffee table until I get a chance to watch them, while the kids are always eager to watch something else and end up renting On Demand (sometimes for free but often for $5 or so). But I didn't want to switch over to Netflix's streaming plan because the entire Netflix DVD library is not available via streaming, not by a long shot (thanks to my Twitter pals for confirming this!). So Netflix DVDs are really the only way I can think of to see older or more obscure movies that aren't streaming. But I figured out a way to have it all: I downgraded to the lowest DVD plan, which allows me to have 1 DVD at a time, up to 2 a month. Then I added a streaming plan that lets us stream unlimited movies, up to 2 at a time. These two plans together cost $2 more per month than my old DVD-only plan, but I'll make that up (and then some) by not paying the On-Demand rental fees every time the kids have a sleepover or are home sick and want to watch something.