Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Chef the Movie is a feel-good foodie flick

A few weeks ago I got an invite to an advance screening for the movie Chef. I wasn't able to attend, but  have had the movie on my mind and looked to see if it was playing anywhere nearby. I was pleased to see that it was showing at Showplace 16 in Schererville, but from looking at the schedule it seemed that it may not be there beyond Thursday. With a busy week ahead I knew tonight would likely be my only opportunity to see it. Hubby was working. A foodie friend of mine was unavailable. My oldest son was busy with yard work. His teenage brother was more interested in XBox.

Not one to go to a movie alone and unable to find a movie companion on short notice, it didn't take much convincing from my youngest son to bring him along. Surprisingly he had seen the trailer and was familiar with it. I've never taken him to an "R" rated movie, but from my quick research it appeared that it was mostly due to language. What comes out of my mouth is pretty clean, but I can't say that he's never heard the most frequent four-letter words. I decided to take my chances and let the F-bombs fall where they may. When the movie started and I realized that one of the main characters was the same age as my son, I relaxed a little. He laughed and smiled and could relate to the youngster on the screen eager to please his dad, always striving to imitate him and yearning to spend quality time with him.

The movie was as much about relationships as it was about food (no surprise there,) but the father/son interaction was completely endearing. I also found it refreshing to see a movie that portrayed a divorced couple who actually got along. It kind of showed the best-case scenario of an "amicable" split.

As in true life, not everything is a perfectly prepared dish of creme brule. We hit roadblocks. We get sidetracked. We settle. We get stagnant. We sometimes burn dessert to a crisp. Chef was an on-screen example of how easily we can fall into the trap of predictability and reliability at the expense of letting our passion dwindle. Who hasn't been there? Existing in a job that you just aren't feeling. This feel-good flick demonstrates that personal success stems often from doing something something small, but right rather than grand with apathy.

The cast was spot on and each role added a beneficial ingredient to the film as a whole. As a food blogger and huge user of social media, I cringed at the snide review by a food critic played by Oliver Platt (that's totally not my food-blogging style) and the aftermath. When my son heard the term "food blogger" he got excited and said, "Hey, that's what you are." I told him later that I'm a little different. I share information and accentuate the positive. Just had to let him know for the record that I wasn't a snobby chef-hater who would turn my nose up to a carefully-prepared molten chocolate lava cake.

I'd totally go back to see it again if it would hang out in the theaters a bit and if I were you I'd get there to see it while it is still in theaters. My one complaint is that I was starving by the time I'd finished watching them grill sandwiches of thinly sliced slow roasted meat on a crusty roll or artfully layer a plate of rare steak with vegetables and sauces. They should have been serving up risotto and Cuban sandwiches in place of popcorn.


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