Movie studios scramble to have big-name stars headline their films, but in many of my favorite movies food is the star. Few things are better than pairing a foodie film with a great meal so we can enjoy ourselves just as much as the folks onscreen are enjoying their own aliments. In this series, we'll highlight a movie in which food plays a leading role and suggest one or more local spots that can provide an accompanying feast for you. Pull up a table and dim the lights, the show's about to begin.
They've got one night to prove themselves with lots of delicious food...
On the Jersey Shore in the 1950s, two Italian brothers, Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci), battle it out in the kitchen and the dining room to keep their failing restaurant afloat. Primo is the older brother and the chef, while Secondo manages the front of the house. Though the restaurant, Paradise, serves excellent, authentic Italian food, the mid-century American diners just don't get it, so the brothers must decide whether to cut their losses and return to work for a successful uncle in Italy or keep trying to make the restaurant work.
Secondo has a lovely and devoted girlfriend, Phyllis (Minnie Driver), but because of his work woes, he's unable to commit fully to her. He ends up having an affair with Gabriella (Isabella Rossellini), the wife of a competitor, Pascal (Ian Holm). Pascal's eponymous restaurant is hugely successful, so the brothers turn to him for a loan. Pascal offers to hire the brothers at his own restaurant, but they are too proud to accept. In a gesture of apparent goodwill, Pascal finally agrees to bring the famous jazz singer Louis Prima to Paradise when he's in town, suggesting that a celebrity's endorsement could revive the restaurant. The brothers set out to prepare for one stellar evening to show Prima and everyone else what they're made of.
This, then, is the titular "Big Night."More »