Oklahoma Contemporary
Ratatouille (2007)
An animated rat looks like its jumping through the air with a chunk of cheese in-hand. Broken dishes and sink water fly up behind the creature.

New Light

May 19, 2023

#FridayFilms: The Art of Food 2

Round two of delicious views

A man dressed in a purple velvet suit jacket with a brown top hat is standing in front of a chocolate waterfall and lollipop flowers. He is holding a large green mushroom cap that's stuck on the end of a pole.
Willy Wonka (1971)

The Art of Food: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation leaves the Main Gallery on Monday, so what better send-off than with another round of #FridayFilms: The Art of Food edition?! Oklahoma Contemporary staff never miss with a film rec, and these are just as tasty as the first picks.

These films consider the impact of food, its consequences and benefits, and its role in our relationships and society. Order up!

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) | Family, fantasy, musical | PG | 1 hour 7 minutes

“I’m so glad you could come. This is going to be such an exciting day.” Gene Wilder isn’t wrong, kids. Lick the walls. Swim in a chocolate river. Dissolve into TV rays. Float like a carbonated bubble — or blow up like one. Whatever you do, excitement (and more than a few bad attitudes, no small amount of danger and many catchy, creepy songs) is guaranteed. And if your grownup feels particularly inspired after, send them to Norman’s BIG Brewery, where the Tastes Like Snozzberries does exactly that. Or close enough to make their lips pucker and their hearts nostalgic, regardless.

Available on Prime Video, Apple TV, iTunes, Google Play

- Lori Brooks, director of communications

Spanglish (2004) | Comedy, drama, romance | PG-13 | 2 hours 11 minutes

THAT sandwich. Spanglish is a movie centered around cultures, both based in class and nationalities, colliding and causing those involved to reflect on their own existence and impact on the world around them.

Adam Sandler plays a successful chef, John Clasky, struggling under the weight of a great review crown. His business has changed from a local eatery to a destination restaurant with a waiting list. They hire illegal immigrant Flor Moreno, played by Paz Vega, as their housekeeper. The film shows how food can be used to communicate without words. When John cooks Flor a meal out of gratitude and love, she describes the food as a taste that she will never forget — you can see an ease and comfort that relay that message of love and appreciation.

OK, so back to THAT sandwich. If watching John making his egg BLT, trying to find the joy in cooking again, doesn't have you hitting the kitchen to find a frying pan of your own, you might not be alive.

P.S. Cloris Leachman is a TREAT!

Available on Netflix, Prime Video, DIRECTV, Google Play

- Cody Giles, print and digital designer

Chef! (1993-1996) | Comedy | TV-MA | 30 minute episodes

This engaging sitcom is about imperious chef Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), a stern taskmaster who runs his kitchen with an iron fist, a lightning tongue and a silver palate. The show combines some of the best elements of episodic drama and zany comedy, generously seasoned with sensual splashes of fine French cuisine.

Yes, a TV show, but highly recommend! Cheeky, sweet and you’ll chuckle at every episode. An easy binger, too!

Available on BritBox, Prime Video

- Beth CreMeens, registrar

Babettes Gæstebud (Babette’s Feast) (1987) | Drama | G | 1 hour 43 minutes

Babette’s Feast is about famine — the kind conditioned not by economic circumstances but by the willed asceticism of a spiritual ethos. A dramatization of the 1958 short story by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), the film follows the lives of two sisters, Martine and Filippa, named by their pastor father after Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, leading theologians of the Protestant Reformation. Thirty-five years after Filippa turns her back on both the voice tutelage and courtship of a famous French opera singer in order to remain within the strictures of a life dedicated to restraint, a French woman named Babette appears at their door in Denmark. Filippa’s French baritone suitor implored on the sisters to give refuge to the poor woman seeking exile after the bloody massacre of the Communards.

The sisters, once referred to as living such modest lives they couldn’t even afford to buy salt for their soup, take in Babette, who works for them as a cook. Babette learns how to prepare the ale and bread soup, which is cooked for an hour until it congeals into a brown sludge, and immediately tries to improve it with onions and foraged herbs. Fourteen years later, she discovers that she won the lottery in France with a ticket that she asked a friend to renew every year. She asks the sisters to allow her to prepare a French dinner in place of the simple meal they had planned for their small congregation in honor of their father’s centennial. Vexed at the prospect of a fancy feast disrupting their way of life, the congregants resolve to eat out of respect for Babette while renouncing whatever pleasures the food brings. They even repeat to themselves that their sense of taste does not exist.

The scenes awash in gray clothes, gray hair and gray walls embodying their spartan lives that were of late tilting into petty discord melt into the warmth of the feast of turtle soup with Amontillado sherry, blinis with caviar and champagne, quail stuffed with foie gras and shaved truffle served with Clos de Vougeot Pinor Noir, a rum sponge cake with figs and candied cherries, cheeses and fresh fruits served with Sauternes, and coffee served with cognac. The pallid cheeks of the heretofore bitterly bickering women flush rosy with the wine. Tempering their temperance to indulge the temptations of savory and sweet delectation, the evening closes with the congregants spontaneously holding hands in a circle singing in cheerful brotherhood and sisterhood.

The film ends with the discovery that Babette had used her entire lottery winnings for that one dinner, splurging on the best fresh ingredients, best wines, fine crystal and china, linen and silver candelabras — that she had nothing left. She did not feel empty/emptied after such capricious decision because “An artist is never poor.”

Available on Prime Video, Apple TV, HBO Max

- Carina Evangelista, senior director of curatorial affairs

Ratatouille (2007) | Animation, adventure, comedy | G | 1 hour 51 minutes

Boy meets rat, and the rest is history! This generation-defining film (ask Gen Z) is peak animation in film. There’s romance (swoon), a hero (Remy, duh), a beautiful friendship, ticking-clock suspension and incredible meals that will have you drooling over animated noodles.

Remy is a wannabe chef with the taste, the talent and the gumption to be the best, drawing inspiration from his human idol, the late Auguste Gustea. Only thing stopping him? Buddy is a rat! Finding a friend at Gustea’s restaurant, Remy takes the reins (think marionette) and not only does their friendship blossom and bloom, but Remy also lives his dream as “nothing less than the finest chef in France.”

A must-watch for any who have never seen, and an obvious rewatch for those who have! Ratatouille will have you giggling, tearing up and cheering on the furry four-legged creature as he whips up dish after dish, proving critics wrong.

Available on Disney+, Prime Video, DIRECTV, Google Play

- Cassandra Watson, social media coordinator and writer

And there you have it, folks! Our video pantry is full of ready-to-snack offerings (check out round one if you missed it), and pair perfectly with a trip to the galleries. Happy watching!


Patton Oswalt as the voice of Remy in Ratatouille (2007). Photo courtesy Pixar.

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). Photo courtesy Wolper Pictures.

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