Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We do what we do. And we do it together.

My father is a chef. An egotistical a-hole chef, that considers himself a God in the kitchen, alienating countless people along the way, type-of-chef, er, chef.

Well, according to my mom, anyway.
(Spoiler alert: They're not together anymore).

But for me, while I respect my father's immense talent (and my mom's pointed opinions), and endlessly appreciate anyone that's willing to prepare food for another person, part of the whole restaurant/chef thing has always baffled me. Flawless presentations? Silly. But even worse? No matter how good the meal, no matter how fresh the ingredients, in the end?

It's going to turn to shit.

For our seventh anniversary, my wife and I pawned off the kids and headed out of town to do what we do best: no, not that silly, dinner and a movie. And as I was secretly hoping to spend a romantic evening in a three-way with my wife and Daniel Craig, she jumped at the chance for a little face-time with Blue Steel himself, Bradley Cooper. Oh, and I'd be there, too.

Burnt isn't a movie you need to see on the big screen, and quite possibly not one you need to see at all. It's not terrible or anything, it just didn't have the kind of emotional impact I was hoping it would. Not a tear was shed, nor a palm sweated, and outside of two big moments, the (shockingly) capacity crowd seemed rather subdued. This film, directed by John Wells (August: Osage County) isn't really gonna move the needle. Unless you have a thing for Bradley Cooper. Or montages. Or montages of Bradley Cooper. Then...well, you might need a box of tissues. And a change of pants. Chef pants.

If you've been lucky enough to miss the ubiquitous preview, here's the short-ish version: Cooper plays Adam Jones, a once mighty chef who, after burning every bridge possible, heads to New Orleans to shuck oysters. Once his shucked-o-meter hits a million, he decides he's atoned for his sins and heads to London to take another shot at being a giant asshole, er, master chef. Too bad no one wants to see his impossibly gorgeous face ever again.

Or so you would think. Or hope.

Jones: I hate you. You're a piece of shit. F--k your mother. Work for me.
Young Guy: Yes, sir!
But after assholing his way into an established restaurants's kitchen, and being a rotten prick to some old friends, somehow Jones quickly has impeccable digs loaded with supreme talent. In both the front and the back of the house, no less.

Daniel Bruhl plays Tony, the world's best maitre d', and the poor, gay bastard in charge of corralling Jones amidst his awful tirades. Sienna Miller has the thankless role of Single Mom, who just so happens to be the one of the best sous chefs around. When not making a sauce, she's there to be verbally and physically assaulted by Jones, which obviously means they're totally going to fall in love. There are some other characters, too, but you can group them into two categories: Nice Chefs and Mean Chefs. Oh, and Emma Thompson shows up as Supernanny, dressed like Paddington Bear, if he were a seventy-five year old lesbian. So there's that.

Even as borderline stupid as it all sounds (and for the most part, is), Cooper's innate likability allows Jones' psychotic tendencies to come across as something we'll - for the most part - tolerate. Fortunately, for people that enjoy redemption (unfortunately, for people that enjoy quality writing), Jones learns some valuable life lessons, and eventually realizes that he actually needs people, and shouldn't shit all over their faces whenever he feels like it. Trust me, you know how this one is going to turn out, but there's still some joy along the way.

Much like the Yays and Boos, actually. These two are about as surprising (and nutritious) as a box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but depending on your mood, can still make you feel pretty good. Initially, anyway...

Easily worth a thousand words, no?
Especially if one of them is foreshadowing.
  • I tend to avoid online trailers like students who ask for a ride home, so seeing The Hateful Eight trailer for the first time was f--king rad.
  • There was a bit where Sienna Miller's character, Helene, was saying f--k Burger King to Bradley Cooper. See, I've lived this scene a hundred times with my own father. But, unless I'm dead and this is heaven, I'm actually Bradley Cooper. Never thought I could type that...and mean it.
  • Holy shit! The Bride is in this? Whoa (though, full-disclosure...it took me one of her seconds to figure this out). I liked her part though, as her two scenes are pretty solid.
  • I hate the term foodie, I do, but I suppose pretentious wanker has too many syllables. Anyway, if you happen to be one, there's some pretty glorious HD food shots that might just butter your bread. Some fancy, hard-to-pronounce, hard-to-pronounce, is this actually bread? bread.
  • We're gonna need a montage! They happen about as frequently as a musical number in a 90's Disney flick, but....and this is a big but, they really keep things moving.
  • There's a minute where I thought it wasn't going to happen, but thankfully balance has been restored to the world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Cooper takes his shirt off. Phew. Dodged a real bullet there.
  • What's French for oooh-la-la? Jean Luc's daughter...was pretty sexy. (ha! I just found out it was Alicia Vikander, so...yeah).
  • I don't know what they're really called, and I'm pretty sure they have nothing to do with tires, but the lore of the Michelin Men was pretty awesome. THERE'S A FORK UNDER THE TABLE! 
  • The Congratulationsyou did it! scene was very well-played. Who needs words, right?
  • And finally, as I mentioned earlier, there are two moments in this film that may just make Burnt worth Redboxing this January. I don't want to ruin either, but let's just say both of them really spiced things up (the first one made the guy next to me let out a f------------k that sounded like he had just caught his wife in bed with his brother. Shock. Despair. Disbelief.). Fantastic.
We've somehow developed a 'bending over' theme.
  • Now I really liked Omar Sy's character, Michel. But, this poor dude was given nothing but expository dialogue. Made him seem silly.
  • Matthew Rhys plays...Reece. And he's a raging dick 900% of the time he's on screen. Well, except for the other 200%. He was kind of cool in one scene.
  • Jones goes to pick up a guy for his crew on the day he's getting out of jail. Funny, right? Turns out he was locked up for, get this, assaulting someone at work! Oh, the hilarity!
  • Which is kind of the biggest boo about this whole thing, you know? Apparently, in chefery (not a word, f--k you), you can totally be a f--king asshole. Yes, Gordon Ramsay is funny on TV, I guess, but here this kind of bullshit is totally the norm. Like someone gets to scream F--K OFF in your face, destroy an entire kitchen, throw plate after plate across the f--king room and it's acceptable? Like, if my two year old did half of this I'd die of embarrassment, but in a room full of adults? Totally acceptable. The f--k?
  • Oh, but Jones had a bad childhood. Or something. That's about all the info we get and it's supposed to be okay. Hey, guess what. It f--king isn't, even if we geot a half-hour of backstory (which we didn't, but still).
  • Wait. They triple her salary, then double it? Is this is even possible? It doesn't really appear that this place is even making a dime, and Helene's making 700k.
  • There's this one tender moment they showed in the preview (the scene with the cake and the cute little girl) and it's f--king ridiculous. My wife was like, aww, he's not a total maniac. Oh really, Wife? Really? He's having that moment with Helene's daughter instead of Helene having it. This is the worst 'happy' scene in any movie ever.
  • Ugh. The kiss scene. Stupid. I almost dropped my fish, too. Assuming that's code for punched myself in the dick, of course.
  • Even in a movie, someone putting a plastic bag over their head freaks me the f--k out. 
  • And finally, redemption. I would have been pissed if it had ended differently, sure, but I really believe that Jones simply didn't deserve it. And even he did, he didn't do enough to earn his happy ending. Oh, wait. My bad. He's attractive. 
Even if the movie left something to be desired, the evening didn't. 

My wife is the best. Married seven, together for fifteen, there's no Two Dollar Cinema without her. Likely no me without her, honestly. See, marriage is like preparing a big meal, you know? Lots of time planning, tons of ingredients, and ultimately all about family. Sure it can get messy, at times. And not everything might turn out like you expected, but with all those familiar faces around the table? It doesn't matter. 

It's totally worth it. 

Even if you eventually end up in the bathroom, shitting your brains out.


  1. Well, you didn't miss much with 'Spectre.' In fact, I'm quite certain 'Burnt' was a better choice. You know I almost didn't recognize Sienna Miller. Not a fan. Although my cat is named Sienna and spelled the same way. Go figure.

    1. Even though I've heard mixed things about Spectre, I have to believe it's more entertaining than watching Bradley Cooper wipe off plates. At least there's a bit of a spectacle to Bond, no?

      As for Miller, I'm not sure where (or if) I've seen her before, but her performance is pleasant, even if her role is shit. At least your cat's probably, you know, an actual cat. Rather than a woman playing a bad idea of one.

    2. Spectre has Bellucci, I haven't seen it but I would imagine that's a clear winner there :)

    3. Whoa. There it is.

      Sati plays the all-time trump card. The BELLUCCI.

  2. So Bradley Cooper is what David O'Russell would be in this movie if he were a chef? Got it. lol

    That's so sweet what you said about your wife at the end of the review.

    1. I did a little research after I read this and just watched some crazy shit on YouTube. And yeah, I guess it would appear that way, huh? Damn.

      Aw, thanks Brittani. Occasionally, I can NOT sound like an ungrateful douche. Who knew?

  3. I definitely agree that this isn't a movie that necessarily needs to be seen but I do think it was well made. I liked Cooper's acting and the scene with the plastic over the head blew my mind. But like you said, there aren't too many other moments like that. It's a good movie about a not so interesting topic. Good review (very funny)

    1. I certainly agree with you on a technical level, as the film is typically beautiful. Unfortunately, things get ugly when you really look at what little the script offers. It felt uninspired, unlike the visuals.

      Ugh, that plastic bit still bothers me. Maybe it's not that hard to look like you're in duress when you have a bag over your head, but I'll never know. It looked real....and frightening. Yikes.