All posts tagged: Film

Haute Taco Bell & Underground Rat Burgers: Food as Political Metaphor in ‘Demolition Man’

When my husband and I moved into our new apartment in Providence one month ago, we split our time between building Ikea furniture during a minor heat wave (which was somewhat-less-than-delightful) and watching movies that ranged from beloved cult classic (Slap Shot with 1977 Paul Newman) to awesomely bad. It is from this latter set that today’s subject matter emerges: the sci-fi action flick, Demolition Man (1993). In this film, directed by Marco Brambilla, hero John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone, ripped and a bit punch drunk as per usual) battles his violent nemesis, Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes, donning a startlingly blonde flat top). After Spartan’s attempt to arrest Phoenix goes wrong in 1996, both men are sentenced to be cryogenically frozen, which, yes, was somehow already a best practice in prisons before the end of the twentieth century. When Phoenix escapes at his parole hearing and starts a killing spree in the post-apocolyptic future of 2032, the current police force has no choice but to turn to Spartan for help.

“Older Bird” Chick Flicks: Romance, Feminism, and Food for the Over-50 Crowd

What follows is a section from the paper, “Something’s Gotta Give in the Kitchen: Viewing Nancy Meyers’ Older Bird Chick Flicks through a Food Studies Lens.” Read another section from this paper in the post, “Transcending the Screen: Trophy Kitchens in Two Nancy Meyers’ Films.”  Called “Middle-Aged Chick Flicks” by Mimi Swartz and “older bird movies” by Cherry Potter, there is a recent trend of what Potter describes as “comedy dramas about the sexual awakening of middle-aged women.” A handful of film critics and scholars have considered this new genre. For example, Thane Peterson defines the older bird demographic as, “Affluent aging women who worry that they’ll never find romance — or even basic human respect — in our youth-obsessed society.” Margaret Tally offers her own analysis: What these recent ‘older bird’ films may also be reflecting, then, are the contemporary struggles to redefine what middle age might be for a generation who has lived through the women’s movement and the struggle to have children at a later age than earlier generations. Sexuality and motherhood become, …

Chewing on the ‘Last Supper’ in “Drive” -OR- Viewing Ryan Gosling Through a Food Studies Lens

Today is Labor Day, marking a transition in the year and the pace of my life. The fall semester starts tomorrow, which means I’m equally excited to start my study of Food Anthropology with Carole Counihan and US Food History with Warren Belasco — and fearful that I might be crushed beneath the weight of my academic course load, working full time, studying for the cursed GRE, and applying to PhD programs. What this means for you is that I’ll happily continue blogging, but likely only once a week. So please do continue to visit me, but know I’ll only be posting new content on Mondays — like today!  Drive (2011), directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, turned out to be a film that viewers either adored or loathed. My husband and I were in the adoring camp — and not just because we both have huge crushes on the Gosling. After seeing the film, we read James Sallis’ novel by the same name on which the film is based. As is always the case, the novel …

Eat Up: ‘A History of Violence’ Sandwich

While by no means a “food film,” food plays an interesting role in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence (2005), a marvelous film — albeit as you can likely deduce from the title quite, ahem, violent. I’ll focus on two food-centric scenes, which sandwich much of the violent action of the film. A man with a history of violence, Tom Stall, played by Viggo Mortensen, has a new family-centric, pie-serving, church-going, All-American life, which is astutely symbolized in the business he owns, Stall’s Diner. As discussed in the BBC News article, “Why the Diner is the Ultimate Symbol of America,” a diner proves to be the perfect food-centric foil to the violence of Tom’s past. The freshly wiped-down surfaces, the democratic side-by-side seating at the counter, the ever-flowing coffee on the warmer, the simple “open” sign on the door, and the “friendly service” tagline on the sign that marks the storefront — all of these features clearly delineate the wholesome character of Tom, the loving Stall family, and the small, supportive community in which they live. The Main Street diner also …

Transcending the Screen: Trophy Kitchens in Two Nancy Meyers’ Films

Nancy Meyers’ older bird chick flicks, Something’s Gotta Give (2003) and It’s Complicated (2009), provide both escape and hope to middle-aged female audiences, whose views on love, sex, and relationships are both informed and complicated by life experience — including marriage, motherhood, and divorce — and the stereotypes that accompany being middle-aged. Something’s Gotta Give is the story of fifty-three-year-old Erica (Diane Keaton), the successful, divorced playwright who in the setting of her luxurious Hampton beach house falls in love with both her daughter’s sixty-three year old boyfriend, Harry (Jack Nicholson) and a handsome thirty-something doctor, Julian, (Keanu Reeves). It’s Complicated also tells the story of an accomplished, divorced woman in her fifties, Jane (Meryl Streep), but in this version of the story, she is caught not between a man her own age and a younger man, but between her ex-husband, Jake (Alec Baldwin), and her new boyfriend, Adam (Steve Martin), the architect she has hired to build her dream home. Food and cooking serve as symbols and narrative devices in these two films, representing and communicating the multidimensional …