Memorial Day means more than picnics and barbecues — especially if it rains. For a lot of families, it also means hitting the multiplex together to take in a movie.
Fortunately for foodies this year, when you take that break from grilling burgers and whipping up potato salad and head to the cinema, you don’t have to leave your culinary preocupations behind.
Jon Favreau’s Chef, an indie ensemble comedy in which the director stars alongside Sofía Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Emjay Anthony and others, tells the story of a Los Angeles chef and divorced dad who loses his restaurant gig churning out uninspiring dishes. He launches a food truck, which brings him back in touch with his culinary promise and estranged family.
The heartwarming movie, which opened in theaters across the country on May 9, has garnered good reviews, especially for the food prep footage: “Whatever else it does or doesn’t do,” Stephen Holden writes in the New York Times, “Chef’ … works as an appetite stimulant. And where there’s delicious food — plenty is shown being prepared, served and devoured — there’s life.” (Watch the trailer here.)
Stephanie Soechtig’s bracing documentary Fed Up, produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth), meanwhile, zeroes in on where — and why — America’s eating habits went so very wrong, resulting in skyrocketing levels of obesity and diseases like diabetes. Pointing the finger squarely at the profit-driven food industry for getting us hooked on added sugar, an effort at which it was enabled by the federal government, the movie, which features interviews with the likes of Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, promises to “change the way you eat forever.” (The official trailer is here.)
Also released on May 9, Fed Up is playing at theaters across the country. And if you take the family, maybe plan to eat dessert before seeing it, not after.