The holiday season has arrived, and contrary to what retailers may suggest, there is a holiday between Halloween and Christmas – you may have heard of it, Thanksgiving? With that in mind, I’ve assembled a list of ten food-filled movies for you consider enjoying with your Thanksgiving meal. Now, let’s eat!
10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
Based on the popular children’s book with the same title, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is billed as “the best thing since macaroni met cheese.” Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), a scientist, has discovered a way to engineer and make it rain food. What follows are natural disasters in the form of giant falling meatballs and spaghetti tornadoes, just to name a few. Looks like we’d have to eat our way out of that mess. Regardless, the ice cream mountains, sprinkled donuts, and jell-o monoliths earn this movie a sweet spot on the top 10.
9. The Help (2011)
Set against the backdrop of the 1960s civil rights movement, this film adaptation of another popular book isn’t really about food, per se. But who, of you who’ve seen this movie, can forget about Miss Minny Jackson’s (Octavia Spencer) pie? I know you’ve all got relatives coming over sometime in the next month – and I know if you’re part of any normal family, you don’t like some of them. Why not serve up a little chocolate pie of your own? … Okay, maybe not really, but beyond Minny’s pie, The Help features some yummy looking fried chicken and the town outcast, Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain), with Minny’s help, blossoms into quite the chef.
8. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
While I’m personally not a fan of sushi, I couldn’t deny the urge to have some after seeing this movie. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary about 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono and his Tokyo-basement-based restaurant. The film explores Master Ono’s inspiration for making high-quality sushi and his relationship to his son Yoshikazu, the eventual heir to the business. The Dreams are shot exquisitely, and look like a cookbook came to life.
7. The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Disney’s first black princess, Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), dreams of opening a restaurant in the Jazz Age-era of New Orleans. But before she can do that, she’s got to kiss a frog (literally), and team up with a saucy cajun firefly, and a musically inclined and always hungry alligator. Tiana has moments where she whips up some of her famous gumbo and serves some oh so delicious-looking beignets – a NOLA classic. Truth be told, this movie inspired my recent trip to New Orleans. I wanted the ambient experience this movie captured – and I wanted to eat all the foods referenced in this movie. Mission on the Bayou: Accomplished.
6. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Screen legends Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy starred in this comedy-drama about a lot more than the delicious looking fried green tomatoes. Evelyn (Bates) is a distraught housewife who meets Ninny (Tandy), a resident at the nursing home. The two women bond and Evelyn listens to Ninny’s stories of the old town of Whistle Stop, Alabama, the Whistle Stop cafe (popular for it fried green tomatoes) and the people she used to know. Surprisingly, there’s a twist ending only fitting for the likes of Dr. Hannibal Lecter…what people like him have to eat too, don’t they? Who doesn’t love some smokey, meaty BBQ?
5. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Weren’t we all jealous of Charlie (Peter Ostrum) when he found the last golden ticket and got to go to Willy Wonka’s (Gene Wilder) Chocolate Factory? This classic is dessert-central, or cavity land, rather – but either way you look at it, this would be [almost] every child’s dream come true. Rivers of chocolate, trees and bushes of sugar – it’s a world where everything is edible, except for an oompa loompa maybe (see Dr. Lecter).
No matter if you were jealous of Charlie or not, you can’t help but empathize with his situation and be happy with the end result. This over-sweetened classic teaches a great lesson about family and is fitting for the holidays.
4. Chocolat (2000)
Love, chocolate, the French, and Johnny Depp – seems like a perfect combination to the ladies, right? And the guys out there are probably a bit like Reynaud (Alfred Molina) with their desire to watch this movie – but if there’s one thing this movie says it’s this: the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. I firmly believe this and think Chocolat, the story of Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche), an expert chocolatier, is a great story of persevearance and passion. Though ultimately, it really is all about chocolate – and you readers aren’t fooling anyone, we’re movie fanatics – we like our chocolate too…
3. No Reservations(2007)
Food seems to be a prominent theme in movies ranging from animation to drama – or at least it was for a good two year period (2007-2009). In 2007, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and Abigail Breslin starred in No Reservations. Kate (Zeta-Jones) is an executive chef in New York, whose life is turned upsidedown when she becomes the guardian of her young niece and a new chef, Nick (Eckhart), is hired. The journey between the three comes between meals, both eaten and prepared – and even if you hate the movie (which I don’t think is humanly possible), you won’t be able to deny how delicious something as simple as spaghetti is made to look.
I’ll admit – I liked this movie the first time I saw it, but I didn’t love it. Over the years, that’s changed. This little pixar gem has grown on me (though I still don’t like rats in the kitchen) and man, it makes me hungry (which reminds me – I need to eat ratatouille). I love the simplicity in Remy’s (voiced by Patton Oswalt) approach, and his passion for cooking. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe presentation is half the accomplishment of cooking and eating – if it doesn’t look good, you won’t want to eat it – that’s where the “little chef” gets it way right – everything in this movie looks appetizing, even if it is animated. If I’m not mistaken, this movie was released with recipe cards…
1. Julie & Julia (2009)
Et voila! Number one is Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. My connection to this film runs deeper than pipes on the kitchen sink, and that’s why I consider this to be the best food movie ever. I don’t know what it is specifically, but Streep’s performance just really reminds me of growing up with my Grandma Sarah and learning how to cook, shake, and bake. Everything in this movie looks (or sounds) delicious – and what’s more, there’s icing on this cake – there’s joy, sorrow, triumph, and trial – all words or emotions anyone may associate with cooking.
There they are, the top 10 movies to serve with the turkey. Bon appetite!
Agree/Disagree? Share your thoughts on the list and throw out some of your favorites that may not have made it!