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Primo and Secondo are two brothers who have emigrated from Italy to open an Italian restaurant in America. Primo is the irascible and gifted chef, brilliant in his culinary genius, but determined not to squander his talent on making the routine dishes that customers expect. Secondo is the smooth front-man, trying to keep the restaurant financially afloat, despite few patrons other than a poor artist who pays with his paintings. The owner of the nearby Pascal's restaurant, enormously successful (despite its mediocre fare), offers a solution - he will call his friend, a big-time jazz musician, to play a special benefit at their restaurant. Primo begins to prepare his masterpiece, a feast of a lifetime, for the brothers' big night... Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
In the final scene of the "big night" dinner the wine bottles across the table and in the kitchen with Secondo all have the trademark pink DOCG label on the bottle stem. The DOCG pink label was released in Italy only in the 1990s; the movie is set much earlier. See more »
[offers a taste asking opinion in Italian]
Not too fine, eh? Sometimes you cut it too fine, then all you taste is the garlic!
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When the British film magazine Sight & Sound had one of their periodic times of asking critics to list what they thought were the best films ever made, there was a book which collected articles by several of them, one of whom said that if you were the type of person who didn't tear up at THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S, he didn't want to know you. I try to avoid that philosophy, but if I endorsed it, BIG NIGHT would be that type of film for me, a litmus test. This is a wonderful movie, and I usually am not a big fan of food movies. I thought BABETTE'S FEAST was too full of whimsy, and whimsy also bogged down the often good TAMPOPO(EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, it could be argued, was a relationship movie which happened to be set in the world of food, where the others are inextricably food movies). But this was wonderful.
Tucci and Scott said they studied a lot of film masters, and it shows here; there's nothing that screams "first film." Instead, they take their time telling the story, and setting up characters we care about, even Pascal, the rival restaurant owner. And a lesser movie wouldn't have had the scene between Isabella Rosellini and Minnie Driver which is quiet yet moving, like the rest of the movie. The food scenes live up to the hype, and that final scene is moving.
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