Tag Archive: stanley tucci


Loving Stanley

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Transformers Age of ExtinctionSo this past weekend, our youngest made a point of watching Transformers: Age of Extinction. Baseball is finished and the boy had a friend over spending the night.

All that was left to do was make popcorn and salt it down.

In this version, Optimus Prime has become an outlaw in the minds of the American people and the government. In the opening scenes, we see Rachet hunted and killed by soldiers and different creature, Lockdown, willing to tear apart the metallic creatures for scrap.

It is sad and disheartening.

That is till we find out Optimus Prime is alive and hiding out. Once he is ‘found’ by a poor mechanic/inventor played by Mark Wahlberg, it is only a matter of time before havoc is wreaked upon the lives of all humans who try to help him.

So I am watching because I find the special effects in these movies just fascinating. We are watching metal beings have fights but in reality they are computer programs. But then I noticed something else. There are some good actors in this movie. People such as Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci.

I can hear it now. Kelsey Grammer? That guy who played the snobby psychiatrist for nearly 20 years? Yes, I do mean him because he plays a great villain. Grammar uses his deep voice and hulking manner to make us fearful of him. We know that he is always in complete control and that control might mean the end of someone else’s life.

Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction

It was seeing Tucci that really made me stand up and notice. I mean this is a guy who repeatedly works in some of the best movies of our day. He works with Merle Streep because he can keep up with her. But every now and then I have seen him in cheesy action/adventure movies like the Transformers.

It makes me wonder why he does it. My personal theory is that after a very dramatic role that takes a high amount of energy, it is fun to perform in these movies that require much physical exertion and the chance to pop off fun one-liners. Stanley Tucci works in high profile movies such as The Hunger Games, The Lovely Bones, Julie and Julia. I have seen him in light-hearted fare such as Shall We Dance and Maid in Manhattan. I have also seen Tucci do action adventure in The Core.

Stanley Tucci in Burlesque

Stanley Tucci in Burlesque

You know what? It is worth it every time. He makes bad movie better just by showing up.

Tucci has perfected self centered characters. But he can be powerful and good-hearted. It doesn’t what type of character he is playing, I just want to watch him to see what his choices will be in whatever project he is working because it is always interesting and compelling. No matter what, I always believe him in whatever role he is playing.

That is the sign of a good actor.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Yum!!!

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As we prepare for the big feast, our house get stuffed to the brim with turkeys, ham, potatoes, stuffing ingredients, corn, green beans, and all manners of pie.

There are side dishes galore, one person told me they made 20 sides dishes one year. I plan to make about 5 when you include the cranberry sauce. My favorite side, besides the oyster stuffing, is the Memphis Corn Pudding recipe. So good, so creamy, so not healthy. Whenever I make it I get raves. And it is simple.

All I do is mix a can of cream corn and a can of regular corn with 1 egg, 1 stick of melted butter, 1 cup of sour cream, and one box of Jiffy corn bread mix. I put it in a 12” square casserole dish and bake until golden brown in a 350 degree oven. Like I said, simple.

Hector Elizondo as the Chef in Tortilla Soup

Hector Elizondo as the Chef in Tortilla Soup

To get ready for this week, I have been watching food movies. Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites starring Hector Elizondo as a chef who has lost his sense of smell. He has three daughters still living at home but who are making changes in their lives. As all of this is happening, they continue the family tradition of having a big meal on Sunday nights. These are incredible spreads with pumpkin made into a soup tureen and tortilla soup being something more than a way to use stale tortillas.

Sunday night meals are also a way to make big announcements. Announcements about new jobs, new boyfriends, new living arrangements. It is never boring in this house, especially when Rachel Welch shows up to make a play for the father.

Big Night long tableAnother food movie I love watching is Big Night starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as two brothers who own a restaurant in a small town on the East Coast. Shalhoub is the chef who wants to make great traditional Italian food that is not always about spaghetti. Tucci is the manager who tries to find ways to keep their business afloat while maintaining relationships with Minnie Driver and Isabella Rossini. The latter is the mistress of their competitor, Ian Holm.

They want to get the word out about their place and Holm says he can get a big celebrity to come to their restaurant. So Tucci spends the last of their money to make this happen. The food is glorious. Lovingly cooked all day despite the worries and temptations and schemes. And the party? Well, not everything goes as expected. But what a spread of food including a roasted suckling pig.

Babette s FeastThe last movie I saw is Babette’s Feast. This movie comes from France but the setting is in Holland on a lonely seaside community. It is here that two sisters live who are of a pious religious community. It is not that these two women never had the chance to leave, one could have been a great singer. But they choose to stay to help their father serve his parish.

In their later years, a former love sends them a woman who needs to start over as her husband and son were recently killed. They can pay her no money but she stays and cooks for them. The older people who get soup from the sisters love Babette’s soups and breads. The women notice their church is doing better. Then one day Babette is sent a letter stating she has won the lottery. She asks the sisters to put on a feast in the French style.

The sisters are afraid but they agree to it. And what a feast it is. When a former suitor of the other sister comes with his elderly aunt it is fortunate for the diners. He alone recognizes the dishes and the wine. His appreciation allows the others to appreciate the meals as well. Turtle soup, pastries, quail, fruit and cheese. If you do get this movie, be aware that it does have subtitles. You can choose the English language option but I did not want the distraction of the words not matching the mouth movement.

Such movies inspire me for cooking which will be needed this week.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Preparing for the Feast

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Next week, many of us will be working in our kitchens, preparing dishes for the big meal.

Some of us are only making one dish to take to a family gathering. If that is me, I am bringing my corn pudding or bread pudding. Perhaps you are bringing pies or biscuits or a fruit dish or the cheese and crackers.

Maybe you are making the whole meal – turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, relish tray, deviled eggs and pies. Pumpkin, apple, mince meat, and pecan. Maybe a French silk or banana cream arrives as well.

In the meantime, how-a-bout watching some movies that are food-based?

Image from IMDb.com

One movie I think about before Thanksgiving is Tortilla Soup. But that is a Mexican soup, you are thinking. I know but there is one scene in which the Hector Elizondo character is cutting open a medium-sized pumpkin, cleaning it out and then carving an intricate design so that the pumpkin can be used as a soup tureen.

The story is about a Los Angeles chef and widower who has lost his ability to smell. His three daughters live at home and are at different stages of life. The one constant is the big meal they share every week with dishes that are wonderful and difficult. These meals have announcements and drama. Promotions and relationships are announced.

I love how Elizondo creates a character that is fierce and loving and gentle. But the food you will see in this movie is incredible.

Image from IMDb.com

What you may not know is that Tortilla Soup is a remake of the Taiwanese movie Eat, Drink, Man, Woman directed by Ang Lee. The story focuses on a chef who has lost his sense of taste. His three daughters live at home and deal with their mercurial father as best they can while juggling work and relationship issues.

Every Sunday, he makes a huge meal that has many dishes. But the daughters notice that they are over spiced and no amount of telling him seems to make a difference. One by one, the girls leave because of different events in their lives. The emotions are right at the surface, always tangible, always intriguing. You will have to read the captions as this movie is not dubbed in English but do not let that turn you away.

Image from IMDb.com

Finally, a movie that I love for the food is Big Night starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as Italian brothers who have a restaurant in New York. Shalhoub is a gifted chef who cannot stand cooking for people who only want spaghetti. A competitor tells them he can get the musician Louis Prima to visit their restaurant and it will put them on the map.

So the brothers use the last of their money and prepare a feast, a grand feast. There are many dishes and tastes. It is spectacular. But there is treachery and drama. Love is found and love is lost. The brothers fight and manage and do what they must.

These are wonderful movies to watch and they make one want to learn all of these different style of cuisine. I can almost smell that soup in the pumpkin tureen. While these movies may not be suitable for the youngest members of the family, I find those who are older might enjoy them more.

 What movies about food do you like to watch?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.