Summer is scrumptious.
The days are long and languid while the nights are a little bit calmer and more relaxed.
Even those of us who no longer have the luxury of a summer “break” typically find ourselves slowing down, relaxing, lowering our shoulders from our ear lobes and taking an extended exhale.
The evenings stretch out like we don’t have a curfew or responsibilities, and tomorrow seems w a y too far off to worry about right now.
It’s the perfect time to shrug off kitchen duty (snacky dinner, anyone?) in favor of watching a foodie flick.
So tuck this list into your Netflix or Amazon queue, pop some stovetop popcorn (you’ll be glad you skipped the bag), pour yourself something refreshing and tuck into a Friday Foodie Flicks routine.
1. The Hundred Foot Journey (2014)
Absolutely my very favorite foodie flick. It’s touching, humorous and charming. I’ve rambled about it in the past. I love the way it captures the inherent, semi-endearing snobbishness of the French turned on its ear by the insolence of actor Om Puri. Given my affection for Indian food and my longtime status as a francophile, I feel like this movie was made just for me.
2. Chocolat (2000)
It’s actually surprising that this isn’t my top pick, because this is one of my longtime favorite movies, period. The oldest movie on my list is deep, witty and full of top-notch acting and brilliant symbolism along with the delights of a 1959 French village and its scandalous chocolaterie. Mais oui.
3. Bottle Shock (2008)
I know everybody loves to love Sideways, but it never resonated with me. This one’s corny, but in my opinion it’s a far better (and more fun) wine movie about the 1976 wine tasting that pitted French and American winemakers. Are you sensing a theme in my favorites?
4. Ratatouille (2007)
Yep… an animated movie made my list. Worse yet, it has talking animals (which I’ve always maintained are the bane of my movie-watching existence). This is just a great family flick – and I’d go so far as to say it might light a culinary fire in even the pickiest of eaters. Watch it with or without kiddos.
5. A Good Year (2006)
Ok, this is a little embarrassing. However, I have to over the disclaimer that I am a completely biased and unwavering fan of Russell Crowe. You can list all his bad behavior, terrible habits and poor acting and I will remain unwaveringly loyal. And mostly – as a fan of Peter Mayle’s books since I was a high school French student – this movie just smacks of romantic nostalgia for me. It’s the best of that common pipe dream of the masses that we will one day – against all odds – find ourselves living on a rambling estate in Provence.
6. Julie & Julia (2009)
I fully intended to not like this movie. I read the book, loved its quirkiness and expected the movie to be shoddy at best… but it really captures the mildly insane yet approachable compulsion of a young married woman insistent on gaining control of her kitchen and life by systematically cooking her way through both obstacles. It also helped me finally grow somewhat fond of the trail blazing of Julia Child… plus bonus points for its nod to the really early days of blogging!
7. Chef’s Table – France
I’m totally cheating: this is a Netflix series. Kudos and much gratitude to my friend and fellow foodie Lyndi (nwaFoodie) for turning me on to – nay, insisting that I watch – this series. She knows me reallyreally well. It is absolutely enchanting. Both the original Chef’s Table and Chef’s Table – France would be well worth your Friday night foodie flick consumption.
8. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Yup. Cheating again. Ok, transparency: I was not a huge Anthony Bourdain fan throughout his past two series (No Reservations and The Layover). I’m no prude, but I found the shows a little crass and Bourdain a little arrogant. I am happily reevaluating my position with Parts Unknown: it is every bit gritty journalism and frontline food at its finest. I have some other thoughts on Bourdain and his ventures over here, but the short version is that the series is Friday night flick quality.
9. Chef (2014)
This is my first runner-up position. It’s a fun film, and I’m a Jon Favreau fan (cue my enthusiasm for the under-appreciated Swingers – trust me)… and while it stumbles here and there, it’s a pretty fair glimpse into the life and challenges of a chef. Bonus: John Leguizamo plus food truck culture.
10. Today’s Special (2009)
Again with the Indian food flick. But seriously: this is a fun, mindless film with plenty of foodie delights. Maybe nothing to write home about, but well worth viewing on your Friday night film fest.
For extra credit, here’s what’s next on my list:
Babette’s Feast (1987)
When I first raved about Chocolat, my Dad said “Hmm. That sounds like a remake of Babette’s Feast.” Annoyingly – per usual – he is probably right, so I’ve got to mark this one off my list.
The Trip (2010)
A trip through Italy sampling restaurants with an annoying friend? Sign me up. Can I select my pal Jenny as my resident (not-so-annoying-but-snortingly-funny) friend?
No Reservations (2007)
Blech. I’ll probably regret it, but I’m dead set on knocking this supposedly food-oriented rom-com off my list.
SOMM: Into The Bottle (2015)
I lovelovelove the concept of stories told in the context of the bottle of wine opened. This would basically be my blog concept if I’d come up with it a decade earlier.
A Heavenly Vintage (2009)
While probably not so popular with the people, terms like “French countryside” and “peasant winemaker” are my version of sold.
The Lunchbox (2013)
I only came across this film in my fact-checking for this post, and I can’t wait to watch it. It has astonishingly popular reviews for a relatively unknown film, and again: Indian food. Plus notes in a lunchbox and the riveting (ahem: to me) world of lunch deliveries in India. Don’t spoil it for me.
I’m not expecting to love this one either, but obviously must mark it off my foodie flick list. Plus: Bradley Cooper viewing. It can’t be that bad… right?
What’s your favorite foodie flick, and what else should I add to my list?