Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tom Cruise Favourite Dishes and Eatables





Chinese Food in the Movies
These films let you indulge your love of Chinese cuisine while being entertained
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by Rhonda ParkinsonHere are a few of my all-time favorite movie scenes featuring Chinese food:
The Firm (1993)Based on the John Grisham novel, this movie is about a recent law school graduate (Tom Cruise) who finds an offer of employment by a Memphis law firm too good to pass up. Unfortunately, he soon discovers that working for "The Firm" means engaging in a number of illegal activities. Some, such as over-billing clients, are relatively minor. Others, such as laundering money for the mob, are far more serious. Furthermore, joining this particular law firm is much easier than leaving.
In the scene I'm thinking of, Tom Cruise has just had his initial interview, and returned home to share the good news with his wife. When she opens the door of their New York apartment, he grabs her and pulls her into the dining area, where a romantic candlelit dinner is waiting. The table is decorated with fancy china, linen placemats, and long, tapered candles. And what menu has Cruise chosen to celebrate their new life in Memphis? You guessed it: Chinese take-out, including Mu shu Pork, Szechwan beef, and Mandarin duck.
The Joy Luck Club (1993)This film, based on the novel by Amy Tan, explores the relationship between four mothers who were born in China and eventually arrived in America, and their daughters. Given the important role food plays in Chinese culture, it's not surprising that many of the more dramatic moments take place either in the kitchen or at the dinner table. In one classic scene, the boyfriend of one of the daughters inadvertently insults his future mother-in-law when he agrees that a dish she has prepared tastes too salty. To make matters worse, he proceeds to douse his food in soy sauce. Most of the time food does not play that major a role, but it is nearly always present in the background.
A Christmas Story (1983)In our family it's a tradition to watch this movie, usually on Boxing Day. The story is about Ralphi, a fourth grader who desperately wants a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. Based on author Jean Shepherd's memories of growing up in Indiana in the 1940's, this movie is filled with humorous incidents, such as when the neighbor's dogs run off with the turkey on Christmas day. The family winds up enjoying Christmas dinner at the "Chop Suey Palace," with the waiters singing Christmas carols off-key, and a duck taking the place of turkey for the main course. In accordance with Chinese custom, the duck is served with the head intact. When the father complains that the duck is "smiling" at him, the cook swiftly and efficiently hacks the head off with a cleaver.
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)This film by director Ang Lee looks at the relationship between a Chinese widower and his three daughters. The main character, Chef Chu, is one of Taiwan's most respected chefs. An early scene shows him rushing to his restaurant to deal with a crisis during a wedding banquet for the Governor's of Taiwan's son. Only Chu is able to avert disaster. But while food has brought him status in the outside world, it fails to gain him the respect of his three grown daughters. Each Sunday he prepares an elaborate dinner, only to watch his daughters pick dispiritedly at the food. Food is used to demonstrate the main themes of the film. Early on we learn the father has lost his taste for food, which symbolizes the fact that both father and daughters have lost their taste for life. Food is also used to illustrate the shift in values between generations - the opening scenes move from the father's extensive dinner preparations to one daughter's job at a fast food restaurant. But all turns out well in the end, as the father regains both his sense of taste and his passion for living, while his daughters all find love. A tender, funny film that is well worth seeing.
Mickey Blue Eyes (1999) Set in New York, this film features British heartthrob Hugh Grant as an auctioneer who makes the mistake of marrying into the mob. Near the beginning is a wickedly funny proposal scene that takes place in a Chinatown restaurant. I won't spoil it by revealing what happens - let's just say you may never look at a fortune cookie in the same way again. The film, which also stars James Caan as Grant's father-in-law, is quite entertaining. Although not up to the standard of Four Weddings and a Funeral, it's definitely worth renting on video.Here are more favorites from our readers:Lethal Weapon 4Uncle Benny's "front" is his Chinese restaurant & Mel Gibson & Chris Rock chase down the bad guys in china town. Rush Hour 2 with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker actually takes place in Hong Kong, so they talk about Chinese food a lot and a restaurant is another front.From Elizabeth
That Thing You Do! Guy Patterson, played by Tom Everett Scott, seals the deal with Mr. White for the band to record with Playtone Records in a Chinese Restaurant in Pittsburgh.From Coco
The Four Seasons! Four couples always vacation together. The opening trip is a weekend together and the guys are doing the cooking in a cabin somewhere. They make Chinese food, and the kitchen is a smoking mess, with woks clattering, food tossing and chef getting in each others way! It is funny! I forgot what they made, but it is a wonderful scene.From Jo-Ann
Catch Me If You Canthe Tom Hanks character usually works every Christmas in the FBI office and eats take-out Chinese food ... a rather sad reality for this man estranged from his family.From Kimberly
Did you have a movie to add? If so, please email me and let me know. If you have any other comments or observations you'd like to make, please visit the Chinese Cuisine forum.
This Week's Recipes...What is a good film without something to nibble on?
Asian Summer Rolls

8 Comments:

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