Does Ratatouille accurately portray restaurant critics? What’s the lamest food trope in cinema? And what’s Dan’s favorite eating scene from The Godfather? We’re talking food in movies this week, with Kristen Meinzer and Rafer Guzman, hosts of the podcast Movie Therapy (Kristen also co-hosts the podcast By The Book). Plus we hear from listeners looking for food-related movie recommendations, and life advice. Like Katrine in Denmark, who’s considering giving up a career in healthcare to organize gourmet fly fishing retreats.
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Soul Good" by Lance Conrad
- "Get Your Shoes On" by Will Van De Crommert
- "Dilly Dally" by Hayley Briasco
Photo courtesy of John Biehler/Flickr CC.
Kristen Meinzer: I'm getting flashbacks to when I used to produce the show, Dan.
Dan Pashman: I hope by flashbacks you mean like pleasant reveries?
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, absolutely.
Kristen Meinzer: Like eating a slice of pizza in a hammock. That's how good it is.
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful, it's not for foodies, it's for eaters. I'm Dan Pashman. Each week on our show, we obsess about food to learn more about people. And it is summertime. Movie theaters are open. We are hitting up those summer blockbusters in those very powerfully air conditioned theaters. Or sometimes, you know, like my family spend a day at the beach, come back in the late afternoon, flop on the couch, throw on a movie. Today, we are talking food movies. And here to join me are Kristen Meinzer and Rafer Guzman. They co-host the podcast Movie Therapy. Hey, Kristen and Rafer.
Kristen Meinzer: Hey, Dan. So excited to be here.
Rafer Guzman: Hey, Dan.
Rafer Guzman: You write in with a life problem of varying degrees of magnitude. We will offer you a little advice as two unlicensed, not professional therapists, and then they will do what we do well, which is prescribe you a movie or a TV show that might help you get through whatever problem it is you're having.
Dan Pashman: All right. Well, later in this episode, we're going to do movie therapy Sporkful style. Well take a couple of calls and you two will prescribe food-related movies to people. And I'll comment from the peanut gallery. It's gonna be a lot of fun. Now, longtime listeners will recognize your name, Kristen, because you produced The Sporkful extremely well back in the ancient year of 2014.
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, gosh. That's a million lifetimes ago. Wow.
Dan Pashman: I know. I know. Now you sit atop a media empire. So not only do you host Movie Therapy, but also along with our friend, Jolanta Greenberg, you hosts the excellent podcast By The Book. Each episode, you pick one self-help book and follow every rule in it and then see what happens. Then the two of you also co-wrote a book based off of By The Book, which was called...
Dan Pashman: Of all the different self-help books that you have followed working on this show and book, Kristen, what was the best and worst food related self-help book?
Kristen Meinzer: The worst book? I'm sorry to all the Jamie Oliver fans, but Five-Ingredients is a terrible, terrible book.
Dan Pashman: Oh.
Kristen Meinzer: He at one point has — his fried rice that I made, you don't use day old rice. You boil the rice and then you put jelly in it? It was so weird.
Dan Pashman: Jelly?
Kristen Meinzer: Like, jelly.
Dan Pashman: Like the thing you eat with peanut butter?
Kristen Meinzer: Yes.
Dan Pashman: Oof.
Kristen Meinzer: I know. Your face is like, "What?". And then you put — and then you squash soft tofu onto it and top it with scallions. It was terrible.
Dan Pashman: Oh...
Kristen Meinzer: I know. Your face is saying it all. It was just terrible.
Dan Pashman: What about the best?
Kristen Meinzer: I loved Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints. And it's kind of a farcical book about how to turn the tables in your household so that you don't have to do all the work anymore, if you happen to be a mid century woman, who is expected to do all the housekeeping and all the cooking and all the dishwashing and so on. So one of her tips that I just loved was, nobody will see how dirty your sink is if you just cover it with dirty dishes. So I loved that book. It was full of all sorts of hilarious tips like that. And —
Dan Pashman: Right.
Kristen Meinzer: She had a whole section of like, oh, just turn to page 72 to see some of my showstopping recipes. And then you turn to page 72 and it's just blank.
Kristen Meinzer: I loved that book. If you're interested in cooking, if you're interested in keeping the kitchen clean, but you're actually not? Phyllis Diller, Housekeeping Hints.
Dan Pashman: Kristian? Rafer? Let's get to movies. First off, do you have an all time favorite food related scene? It doesn't have to be like the whole movie was a food movie, just a scene where you feel like food was used especially well? Rafer, you go first.
Rafer Guzman: I think one of my favorite food scenes, and this is probably because I am a film critic, but it involves a food critic. It's the scene in Ratatouille. You know, the whole film is kind of building up toward this moment when Remy, the rat, might be able to get recognized and make this big achievement by making something that will please France's most fearsome food critic, Anton Ego, played by Peter O'Toole. Right? A great, great, great voice by Peter O'Toole,
Dan Pashman: Perfect name, perfect casting.
Rafer Guzman: Yeah. No, it's great.
[CLIP FROM RATATOUILLE]
CLIP (ANTON EGO): I don’t like food. I love it. If I don’t love it, I don’t swallow.
Rafer Guzman: And Anton takes a bite of the ratatouille and it transports him instantly back to his childhood. Mom welcomes him in, sits him down, serves him a plate of ratatouille, and he smiles, and, you know, his heart is full and everything's fine again. And that's this great emotional sort of your life flashing before your eyes when you eat food. It kind of poked fun at what critics are. You know, we're all supposed to be so cranky and bitter. But then one little thing can come by and kind of stab you in the heart and remind you that once you were a child, too. Definitely one of my favorite food scenes in any movie.
Dan Pashman: Kristen?
Kristen Meinzer: I'm going to say a movie that I talk about a lot. And Rafer, you may be tired of it because I talk about this movie so frequently. Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah. I love this movie. It is the cure for anything that ails you. And if you're not familiar with the movie, Queen Latifah is kind of a cooking demonstrator. She demonstrates pots and pans in this giant department store in New Orleans. She receives a terrible diagnosis that she only has a week or two left to live. So she cashes in everything and she goes to Europe to spend time at this very, very famous five-star hotel where there's a celebrity chef she's always idolized.
[CLIP FROM LAST HOLIDAY]
CLIP (GEORGIA BRYD): Chef Didi....
Kristen Meinzer: She's going to eat all of this food and she does it unapologetically.
CLIP (SERVER): We have risotto followed with truffle, roast quail with brioche stuffing, and the braised lamb shank with blood orange relish.
CLIP (GEORGIA BRYD): Oh, Blood orange relish. Well, I guess, I better try them all tonight then.
Kristen Meinzer: And it's a truly delicious scene where those who are judging her eventually give in and want to eat side by side with her.
Dan Pashman: I'm embarrassed to say I haven't seen Ratatouille.
Kristen Meinzer: [GASPS]
Rafer Guzman: Oh wow.
Dan Pashman: And I also, I mean, I haven't seen Last Holiday either. But now you've made me want to see both of those movies.
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, they're both fantastic.
Dan Pashman: Janie and I recently rewatched a movie, you may have heard of it, The Godfather. It's a good one. Check it out people.
Kristen Meinzer: Never heard of it.
Dan Pashman: Yeah, I would say I've seen it before, but not in a while. The most amazing thing about seeing it was realizing that every single scene in that movie is famous.
Rafer Guzman: Right. Yes.
Dan Pashman: The scene where Michael Corleone goes into the Italian restaurant to shoot the two guys. One of them is the guy from the other mob family. And the other one is the police captain, who's kind of a dummy.
Rafer Guzman: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: Who's supposed to be there for security. And the two mob guys are having this intense kind of negotiation face off. And periodically they cut to the police captain. And he says almost nothing in the scene. But one of the ways that they illustrate that he's kind of aloof and unaware of the threat that Michael Corleone poses to them in this moment, is that he's eating.
Rafer Guzman: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: He's shoveling food in his face. And every time he goes to talk, he's got like spaghetti pouring out of his mouth.
Kristen Meinzer: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: He looks like a mess. And he — and it's clear that he's not on guard. So you're like, man, this guy's not ready for when Michael comes back with the gun. And sure enough, he wasn't ready. That was a use of food that I really liked because I felt like it didn't play into the typical stereotypes of, it brought us all together and gave us happy memories. It was just like — but it communicates something very important about that scene.
Rafer Guzman: And the very famous other quote, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli.", of course.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Rafer Guzman: Great, great — great food quote, my God.
Dan Pashman: Classic. Absolutely. What do you think about characters eating during scenes? When is it good? When is it not good?
Kristen Meinzer: Ugh. One of my pet peeves is the beautiful woman. She essentially is a supermodel. She's either Cameron Diaz or Sandra Bullock and she's so beautiful but guess what? She's clumsy and she eats too much. She's just like one of the guys. She loves sports and she loves eating but she still weighs only 110 pounds. Check her out. Ugghhh. That is one of my biggest movie food pet peeves. It's like some sort of male fantasy. I want a girl who looks like this, but she has to also be able to eat 10,000 calories a day, while we watch football.
Dan Pashman: Right. That's a good answer. Rafer?
Rafer Guzman: Characters eating in movies was ruined for me a long time ago when I interviewed this child actor, a kid named Brian D'Addario. And he was talking about being in this movie with Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks. I think it was called People Like Us. And it was one of his first films. And there was an eating scene. There was all sitting around. They're eating. They're eating something like shrimp or lobster or something. They had to do, obviously, several takes. They spent the whole day doing takes. And at a certain point in the day, the kid began to feel really sick because he’d eaten like a few pounds of lobster. And Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks apparently said to him, "You're supposed to spit it out. You spit it out into a napkin and then you put it in a bucket next to you, which is what we are doing." And so the poor kid had to stop and — because he couldn't — he, literally, just couldn't stuff any more lobster in his face.
Dan Pashman: Oh, my God.
Rafer Guzman: And now when I see actors eating on screen ans you never see them swallow. And I just think of them spitting around in a napkin and putting it in a bucket next to them somewhere. And now I can't watch anyone eat anything in a film, almost at all. It's just like it's been totally ruined for me.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Rafer Guzman: The spell has been broken for me. Maybe I've broken it for everybody else. I'm sorry, but I've — I had to share that.
Dan Pashman: One time I was shooting a segment for a food TV show. It was like I was supposed to be eating chicken nuggets. But the food stylist people, I guess there was a rush and they didn't have time to cook them through.
Rafer Guzman: Woah.
Kristen Meinzer: Ohh.
Dan Pashman: So they bring them to the set and they're like — [laughs] they're like, “Don't swallow these.”
Dan Pashman: So they put a bucket next to me. And I had — and like I had to eat — I had to bite into ten different takes worth of chicken nuggets, you know, roll my eyes back in my head, “Oh my God, it's so good.”, and then immediately spit it out so I wouldn't get food poisoning.
Rafer Guzman: That's breaking — some some kind of union law has been broken there, I guarantee you.
Dan Pashman: All right. Rafer and Kristen want to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to open up the phone lines and hear about some problems some folks are having. And you're going to prescribe food related movies for them. Sound good?
Rafer Guzman: Sounds good.
Kristen Meinzer: Sounds great.
Dan Pashman: That’s coming up, stick around.
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I’m Dan Pashman. Last week on the show I sit down with Dr. Jessica B. Harris, a cookbook author and scholar of African American food. Dr. Harris has spent a half century exploring the ways that, through the transatlantic slave trade, West African people and their food played a fundamental role in shaping American food. She made those connections through years of research and travel. And it seems like she remembers every single meal she’s ever eaten, including chicken yassa on her first trip to West Africa.
CLIP (DR. JESSICA B. HARRIS): Chicken yassa is a chicken, that is marinated in lemon juice with onion [STOMACH GROWLS] and then grilled. I think my stomach is just growling as I'm talking about chicken yassa. That tells you something. That is like ooh.
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): In other words, the passion is still there. I can tell.
CLIP (DR. JESSICA B. HARRIS): eah the stomach is going, yes, we need something right about now.
Dan Pashman: We also talk about eating popcorn with James Baldwin, sniffing out lechon in Puerto Rico, and, of course, the new Netflix series High on the Hog, which is based on Dr. Harris’s book of the same name. It’s a great conversation, I hope you’ll check it out.
Dan Pashman: OK, back to the show, and I'm joined once again by Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday and co-host of the podcast Movie Therapy. Hey, Rafer.
Rafer Guzman: Hey, Dan.
Dan Pashman: And we're joined by Rafer’s co-host on movie therapy and the co-host of the excellent podcast By The Book, Kristen Meinzer. Hello again, Kristen.
Kristen Meinzer: Hello.
Dan Pashman: All right. We're going to go to the phone lines. Now, as you do on Movie Therapy, we’re gonna have people call in with their life issues and you will prescribe movies that will help solve their problems. All right let’s do it. Hi. Who's this?
Katrine Kirk: Hi, this is Katrine Kirk and I'm calling from Denmark.
Dan Pashman: Welcome. Say hi to Rafer and Kristen.
Katrine: Hi, Rafer and hi Kristen.
Kristen Meinzer: Hi, Katrine.
Katrine Kirk: My favorite podcast hosts.
Rafer Guzman: Hi Katrine!
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, my gosh. Thank you!
Dan Pashman: Welcome, Katrine. Now tell us what's going on.
Katrine Kirk: So I was in this great career job in health care, health care improvement here in Denmark in a large hospital. And I thought I'd landed my dream job. But it quickly turned out that I got into a situation where my boss really, really, really did not appreciate me. So I had to leave. But I've always loved cooking, and so I began to think about would it be possible for me to combine my love of cooking with a career shift? So my my conundrum is, do I pursue the dream job, which is well-paid, very secure, potentially also very stressful in health care, knowing it could take a little while to land the job? Or should I think about just maybe scaling a little bit back on my living standards and then getting into something like cooking in the wild, arranging gourmet fly fishing retreats, for instance, and making sure that people had something really good to eat. Another thing going against this — and this is something my husband says, he says, I am so ambitious in general. My ambitions always rise to a level where I almost cannot deliver. So I have a wild talent for making even cooking stressful. So maybe the stress thing is not part of the equation after all.
Dan Pashman: Gourmet fly fishing retreat in Denmark with really good food sounds just amazing. I'm just going to say that. I mean, I don't know how to fly fish but I would be happy to sit comfortably near water while eating delicious food that other people caught.
Rafer Guzman: Me, too.
Kristen Meinzer: Yeah. And I want to wear those — what are they called, chest high overalls made out of rubber?
Rafer Guzman: They're hip waders.
Dan Pashman: Yes.
Kristen Meinzer: Yeah! I would love to wear those. And I think those flies are so pretty, too. Have you seen those flies they use for fly fishing?
Dan Pashman: They are beautiful. Yeah.
Kristen Meinzer: They're just gorgeous. Yeah. All of that sounds really fun. Do you have any fear whatsoever that you would lose your love of cooking if you turned it into your job instead of your hobby?
Katrine Kirk: Wow. What a great question. Yeah, I think there's a certain risk to that. I love that I can just be flirtatious in the kitchen and it's not an obligation.
Dan Pashman: Yeah, I can tell you, Katrine and Kristen, that before I started The Sporkful, I had that exact fear for me for food. Like if food becomes my career, will I not love it as much? And I can tell you that from my personal experience, the opposite has happened. The more I've learned about food and the more different types of food that I have been exposed to through my work, the more I love it, the more I'm eager to try and to learn more. That being said, I'm not a chef. I'm not the one cooking the food all day long. So, you know, it's different. Most chefs I talked to want nothing more than to have somebody else cook them dinner.
Kristen Meinzer: [LAUGHS]
Dan Pashman: All right. So we have heard Katrine’s situation. Rafer and Kristen, what do you prescribe?
Kristen Meinzer: I think you should give yourself a short period — maybe it's one year, maybe it's 18 months, where you pursue this dream. This is what I did when I became a full-time freelance podcaster, because the last company that I was working full-time for when they folded, I was on the fence about what should I do next? Should I work for another company? And my husband and I sat down, we looked at our finances, and he said, “Let's set a goal if in the next year you make this much money, and if at the end of the year you enjoy it, you can keep doing it for as long as you want. If you don't reach that financial goal and you're not happy by the end of the year, then don't do it anymore.”
Katrine Kirk: Mm-hmm.
Kristen Meinzer: But just set a deadline for how long you can do it, since financially it sounds like you can make it work and you don't have to be trapped in any one thing forever. So that's my advice for you. But as far as my prescription, I'm going to prescribe a movie that perhaps you've already seen because you are a food person, and that is Julie and Julia. Do you know Julie and Julia, Katrine?
Katrine Kirk: Oh, yes. That is a lovely movie.
Kristen Meinzer: It is.
Katrine Kirk: Yes.
Kristen Meinzer: And here's why I'm prescribing it to you. For anyone who doesn't already know, Julie and Julia is a movie that goes back and forth between two storylines. We have a young woman named Julie, who lives in New York City, who has a dead end job in an office. She can't stand her job at all. And the only way that she is able to keep her soul alive is by coming home every day and cooking a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. And she sets out to cook a different recipe every day for an entire year from the book until the book is completed.
[CLIP FROM JULIE AND JULIA]
CLIP (JULIE): Yesterday was Tuesday, August 13, 2002. Day one. 364 days to go. [COOKING SOUNDS] I cooked artichokes with hollandaise sauce, which is melted butter that’s been whipped into a frenzy with egg yolks until it’s died and gone to heaven...
Kristen Meinzer: Meanwhile, we also go back in time in the movie and see Julia Child's rise to becoming the greatest celebrity chef of all time.
CLIP (JULIA): What should I do, do you think?
CLIP (PAUL): About what?
CLIP (JULIA): I don’t really want to go back into government work.
CLIP (PAUL): Mm-hmm.
CLIP (JULIA): But shouldn’t I find something to do?
CLIP (PAUL): What is it that you really like to do?
CLIP (JULIA): Eat.
Kristen Meinzer: Julia Child had never even picked up a knife or walked into a kitchen until she was nearly 40. She was a spy. She had a lot of other careers before she was a chef. And we get to see her journey in starting a new life in France and trying her best and sometimes failing, making great things, making not so great things, and also writing a cookbook. And so we get to see two women at a crossroads, starting a new life and see their motivation, see whether or not the risk makes their lives better or makes their lives worse. And I hope, Katrine, when you watch Julie and Julia next, I do hope you'll give it another chance that maybe you'll see yourself in one of these two characters and maybe you'll see, I'm a lot like Julie. And you know what? I am going to do this thing. Or I'm more like Julia Child and that's why I want to do this thing. So that's why I'm prescribing it. It gives you more than one option of what your life could look like and what two totally different kinds of women do when they're at a crossroads.
Katrine Kirk: Hmm. That's definitely going to be a rewatch. Absolutely.
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, Good.
Katrine Kirk: Thanks.
Kristen Meinzer: Good.
Dan Pashman: All right, Rafer?
Rafer Guzman: Well, I'm going to go a little further back in time back to 1996. It's a movie called Big Night with Stanley Tucci. He's one of two brothers, who own Italian restaurant on the Jersey Shore in 1950-something. It's a restaurant called Paradise. The two brothers are at a crossroads because the restaurant is not making enough money and they may have to shut it down.
[CLIP FROM BIG NIGHT]
CLIP (BANKER): Your payments over the past few years have hardly been consistent.
CLIP (SECUNDO): Hmm. Yes, I know.
CLIP (BANKER): Oh. If we don’t receive your payment by the end of the month we’ll have to foreclose.
Rafer Guzman: Their goal is basically to see if they could get Louis Prima, a name you may or may not be familiar with, but Louis Prima the great singer — what if they could get Louis Prima to show up and play a show at the restaurant? Maybe that would save them and bring in all this money. And so they pin all their hopes on this one on this one big night. It's a good movie at showing the ups and downs of doing something that you love. They love this restaurant, but there are also some hard facts, some hard realities about running this thing and making this thing and devoting their life to it.
Dan Pashman: All right, Katrine. Well, those are your recommendations. Best of luck with your decision and and with enjoying those two movies.
Katrine Kirk: Thanks.
Dan Pashman: All right. Rafer and Kristen, ready to take another call?
Kristen Meinzer: We're ready. So ready.
Dan Pashman: Hi. Who's this?
Rachel: Hi, this is Rachel. I'm in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Dan Pashman: All right, Rachel, say hi to Rafer and Kristen.
Rachel: Hi, Rafer and Kristen.
Raf Guzman: Hi Rachel.
Kristen Meinzer: Hi, Rachel. We're so excited to talk with you.
Dan Pashman: So, Rachel, tell us what's going on. How can we help you?
Rachel: Well, so my family started a family movie night in the winter, just as a thing to do during COVID. And every Friday we get takeout and we watch a movie. And our kids are teenagers, so this is kind of a way for us to show our kids some movies that we really like, that we quote all the time that they've just never seen. And the one that all three of them loved more than any other movie was Chef, the movie by Jon Favreau. And we're looking for something like that but my daughter specifically wants something with a female lead.
Rafer Guzman: So what what are some of the other movies that you guys have watched that have not that have not flown so well?
Rachel: [LAUGHS] Well, I'm really sorry to say that the first movie we watched in January was one I that heard about from your podcast.
Kristen Meinzer: [GASPS]
Rafer Guzman: Oh, no!
Kristen Meinzer: Oh no!
Rachel: I loved it! Hunt For The Wilderpeople.
Rafer Guzman: What?!
Rachel: Which I thought was fantastic.
Rafer Guzman: Oh!
Dan Pashman: Oh, man.
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, no. My heart is breaking.
Rafer Guzman: Mine, too!
Rachel: I know! I know! I don't understand it.
Rafer Guzman: Interesting.
Rachel: I'd never seen it. I think the boys loved it but my daughter — she gave it a seven, which for her is very low...
Kristen Meinzer: Maybe there wasn't enough food in it for her.
Rafer Guzman: Yeah, right.
Kristen Meinzer: Maybe...
Rafer Guzman: Right.
Kristen Meinzer: Maybe the real answer here is the kids need movies with food, right?
Dan Pashman: Right.
Dan Pashman: So, Rachel, can I just ask, how old are your kids?
Rachel: So they're 13 and 16, right now.
Dan Pashman: And so you're looking for movies that are food-related that you can all enjoy.
Rachel: Yeah. And that I, specifically, really want a movie where the people actually eat because I hate it when there's food in a movie and then people don't eat it.
Rafer Guzman: Right.
Rachel: That's like a pet peeve of mine.
Rafer Guzman: We were just talking about that.
Kristen Meinzer: I was kind of joking when I said the kids clearly need more food in the movies, but is that why they liked Chef, because of all the food scenes and all of the eating of the food?
Rachel: So there are a few reasons they like Chef. I think one of them was it was probably the sweariest movie we watched...
Dan Pashman: Ahh.
Rafer Guzman: Ahhh.
Kristen Meinzer: Ahhh, yes.
Rachel: Which they liked. We have a rule in our house. You're you're allowed to swear if it's funny. You're not allowed to swear out of anger, right?
Rafer Guzman: Oh!
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, I like that rule.
Rafer Guman: That's a good rule.
Rachel: So... thank you!
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Rachel: I came up with it myself. So I think they just loved the music as well. And I mean, it is such a great story, right, about the family relationship.
Kristen Meinzer: Yeah. And for those who don't know, there's like a father-son relationship in it and the father decides to be a food truck driver and they get to go out there on the road and sell food together, father and son. Yeah. So that's pretty much the whole plot of the movie.
Rafer Guzman: Yup, that's pretty much it.
Rachel: Right. Yeah.
Dan Pashman: Yeah. I did not see Chef. I remember when it came out in the trailers and all that, and I just remember thinking like, I know exactly what's going to happen in this movie. There will be some obstacle like his restaurant closed or whatever it was. I don't even remember. Some some life obstacle. He decided to address it by launching a food truck. He made a lot of very delicious food, probably over a montage.
Rafer Guzman: Yup.
Dan Pashman: Where a lot of food porny type shots. And then in the end, he succeeded in whatever and got the girl and everybody lived happily ever after. Like that — is that the story, basically?
Rafer Guzman: Yeah. Right.
Kristen Meinzer: Spoiler. Yes.
Rafer Guzman: Right on all counts.
Rachel: It's still worth seeing.
Rafer Guzman: Yeah. It's a film with no villain. There is no obstacle. Yeah, but it's really sweet and really fun.
Dan Pashman: There's no dramatic tension whatsoever?
Rafer Guzman: No. No.
Dan Pashman: It's just a father and son go cooking?
Kristen Meinzer: No.
Dan Pashman: And then they cook good food?
Rafer Guzman: No. There's no...
Dan Pashman: How long is the movie? Six minutes?
Rafer Guzman: I know what you're saying.
Dan Pashman: That does not sound good.
Rafer Guzman: You got to watch it, Dan. You really should.
Dan Pashman: All right.
Rafer Guzman: Buckle down and watch it. You'll probably appreciate it.
Dan Pashman: So, Rachel, my question before we get to the recommendations is, have you watched food television? There's not a whole lot of cursing but it has an awful lot of what Chef has. If Chef has no dramatic tension and it's just people cooking delicious looking food, like the that we got that. You know, like that's in a lot of other places besides movies.
Rachel: That is so true. I think the problem for us is like it's hard enough for us to get together once a week to watch a movie.
Dan Pashman: All right. Rafer and Kristen, do you have recommendations?
Rafer Guzman: I'm going to give one, a movie that I'm hoping has not crossed your family's paths already. It's from 2007. It's called Waitress. Do you know it?
Rachel: I know of it. Never seen it.
Dan Pashman: Is it related to the musical?
Rafer Guzman: It is.
Kristen Meinzer: Yes.
Dan Pashman: The musical is based on the movie?
Rafer Guzman: Exactly, right.
Dan Pashman: OK.
Rafer Guzman: And I'm just I'm just waiting every day for them to make a movie based on the musical of the movie. But that has not happened yet. But it's a great little movie by a filmmaker named Adrienne Shelley. And it's got Keri Russell from Felicity. She plays Jenna Hunterson. She's a waitress at a Joe's Pie Diner and it's somewhere in the south. And she's kind of trapped in her life. She's got this abusive husband. She's pregnant. Some complications arise, not medical complications but a romantic complication where she starts to fall in love with her obstetrician, played by Nathan Fillion. And this Jenna character has one sort of great bright spot in her life, one great hope, which is that she's great at baking pies. And the shtick of the movie is that she bakes these pies for different occasions and different moods. And she gives them names like, "bad baby pie" or "car radio pie" or "falling in love chocolate mousse pie" or whatever fits the occasion. And there's a contest and there's a $25,000 prize. And Jenna thinks that maybe if she can win it, she can start over, and start a new life. I think the one thing I liked about the movie was the idea of the pies that had these negative connotations. That's what always fascinated me. I always kept thinking, like, there's a pie called, "I don't want to have Earl's baby pie", and I remember thinking, like, what does it taste like? And is it horrible or is it delicious? But because you feel so horrible, like it makes you even more miserable, like what does that what's that experience like to eat a negatively named pie? I just kind of thought that was cute.
[CLIP FROM WAITRESS]
CLIP (JENNA): I don’t want to make trouble. I just want to make pies.
CLIP (FRIEND): Hon, you okay?
CLIP (JENNA): Shhh. I’m inventing a new pie in my head. Tomorrow’s blue plate special. I’m calling it “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie.”
CLIP (FRIEND): I don’t think we can write that on the menu board, hon.
Rafer Guzman: It's a good movie and it's really sweet and it's about a woman taking control of her life. So that's my recommendation, Waitress.
Rachel: That sounds great. Thank you so much. I'm excited to see it.
Rafer Guzman: Yeah, let me know. I hope you guys don't hate it like you did with Hunt For The Wilder People. We'll see.
Rachel: It was only the 13-year-old hates it.
Rafer Guzman: Oh, OK.
Dan Pashman: All right, Kristen, what do you got?
Kristen Meinzer: All right. I'm going to prescribe a movie that I have mentioned on movie therapy before. Full disclosure, it's called Always Be My Maybe. Do you know Always Be My Maybe?
Rachel: I have seen it, but they have not.
Kristen Meinzer: Oh! well, I'm glad they haven't seen it.
Kristen Meinzer: So for those who are not familiar with it, it stars Ali Wong and Randall Park as two childhood best friends, who've always connected over food, particularly his mother's amazing Korean cooking and all of the diverse food in their hometown, San Francisco. The two have a falling out after a disastrous hook up when they're teenagers and they don't speak again for 15 years. But they reconnect years later when she is a celebrity chef. She's back in San Francisco opening another restaurant.
[CLIP FROM ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE]
CLIP (MARCUS): I thought this was a high end restaurant? Why am I the only one wearing a tux?
CLIP (SASHA): Oh, sorry. I should have told you, rich people are done with fancy clothes. Now it's all thousand dollar t-shirts that look that they were stolen off the homeless...
Kristen Meinzer: Over the course of a lot of food and some romantic competition, including the great Keanu Reeves who shows up in one of the funniest roles he's ever been in, we see, possibly, that there's still a chance that these two could end up together.
Rachel: Nice. That — you know, it never occurred to me to show that movie to my kids.
Kristen Meinzer: Oh! Is it too naughty?
Rachel: I think I could? I can't remember. I saw it a few years ago when they were, like, much too young for me to show it to them.
Kristen Meinzer: Yes.
Rachel: I think I saw it when I first came out.
Kristen Meinzer: There is a little bit of barnyard language, but since your kids like naughty language, I think they'll like it.
Rafer Guzman: Right. Right.
Kristen Meinzer: Yeah. So I think they'll like it. It's mostly wholesome. There's lots of great food scenes in it and they actually eat the food.
Kristen Meinzer: They actually talk with the people who cook the food. And without spoiling things, I will say that the ultimate tear-jerking moment in the movie comes through food.
Rachel: OK. I don't even remember that. So I'm very excited to see it again.
Kristen Meinzer: Oh, good. Good. I'm glad to hear it.
Rachel: It's a classic.
Dan Pashman: All right. Well, Rachel, good luck. Enjoy those movies. I hope you and the entire family like them.
Rachel: Thank you so much for your recommendations.
Dan Pashman: Take care.
Rafer Guzman: Thank you, Rachel.
Kristen Meinzer: Thank you so much, Rachel.
Dan Pashman: Bye.
Kristen Meinzer: Bye bye.
Dan Pashman: All right, Rafer Guzman, film critic at Newsday, Kristen Mainzer, co-host of By the Book podcast and many, many other excellent podcasts and author of books. And together, you are the co-host of Movie Therapy, where you offer advice and movie recommendations just as you have here, so well. If folks like this episode, you've got to check out Movie Therapy. Thanks so much, you guys. It was great to hang out.
Rafer Guzman: Thanks Dan.
Kristen Meinzer: Thank you!
Dan Pashman: Before we end the show, we actually got an update from Katrine in Denmark. Remember, she was torn between pursuing her healthcare career and getting into food. After she first contacted us, her situation changed in a big way...
Katrine Kirk: Things took a weird turn because I suddenly saw a job announcement that looked kind of interesting. I phoned to ask about it and it sounded very interesting on the phone. So I'm about to end this conversation and then the woman I'm talking to, the boss in this department in the hospital says, "I think you should know that I, actually, know you." And then she said, "I used to be a nurse. And when you had your bone marrow transplant — this is like over 20 years ago — I took care of you." And then suddenly I knew exactly who she was. So I said, "Oh, my goodness, are you that Caroline?" And then she said, "Yes. And I've never forgotten you. I've followed you on social media just to check that you were OK." And then she said, “I am so grateful to you because you helped me to not make a fatal career choice.” She was a nurse at the time and she wanted to to go into law school. But I didn't — I just couldn't see her doing law. She was much too vivacious for law. And so I talked her out of that and then she she made a different choice. And as we speak, she is now my new boss. And she likes me a whole lot more than my old boss. And I'm doing exactly what I love to do.
Dan Pashman: Next week on the show, we’ve got an incredible story for you. My friend Amy Pearl used to love meat, until she developed a mysterious allergy. We'll try to figure it out. That one’s next week. While you're waiting for that one, check out last week's show with Dr. Jessica B. Harris, about how African Americans have shaped American food. It's available in our feed, right now. You don’t want to miss it. Check it out. Thanks.