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This week:

Filthy says:

I know people who call themselves "foodies", which is one of the most annoying words I can think of. Man, that word pisses me off, especially when people apply it to themselves. Just say you like food, God dammit. Or better yet, and less grating, just say you're a pretentious asshole prone to reverse snobbery. Tell people you can be condescending about more foods than most. Foodies are the ones who don't wait for some amazing wasabi ahi that costs fifty bones before they start jabbering. They'll just as happily prattle on about the nutty goodness of some 99-cent hamburger, or the smokey textures of gas station onion rings.

I don't have a problem with people who like eating. Hell, there are few things sexier than watching a fat lady stuffing her face with Hostess Gems. I could jerk off while watching my lovely wife in her panties, pounding down bag after bag of those delectable edible jewels. Not the toasted coconut ones, though. Only fucking weirdoes like those.

The thing is, with the self-proclaimed foodies it's almost never about the food. It's usually about them, showing off that 1) they can detect nuttiness and smokiness and other shit like that, and 2) they're cool for slumming it and finding hidden reasons to eat the shit us regular folks like. Gee, thanks for letting me know Funyuns have a crisp, light baked texture and delightfully sweet onion zest; without the foodie seal of approval, I would have just kept wolfing down Big Grabs of them behind the 7-11 only because I thought they distracted me from crying. Now I know they are also acceptable delicious

Foodies are like bookstore philosophers: for the most part they state the obvious, just with a bigger vocabulary. Some of us don't have the time, inclination or education to explain why we like corn dogs; we just do. Some of us don't spend a lot of time considering that the Bush presidency applies only a very limited set of Boolean Logic rules to its decision-making. We just know the guy's a dick. Some people need to read a shitload of old, wordy books on ethics to understand why it's wrong to rob a liquor store, and some of us simply know it's wrong because if you get caught the cops will shoot you in the balls. We've seen it happen on World's Funniest Police Shootouts. Some of us have to spend a thousand words justifying a love for junk food, and some of us don't have to say a word to know that we eat at Burger King because, somewhere, there are thousands of lab-coated scientists designing hamburgers and french fries with a formulation specifically to help the poor and disenfranchised forget our miseries. At least until the next mealtime.

Maybe my prejudice against food snobs taints my opinion of Ratatouille, but I suspect I didn't like it as much as I was supposed to. Whatever it was, the food part of the movie didn't appeal to me. And, since the whole damn thing is about a fancy French restaurant, the food part is about as big and important for holding things together as one of Mrs. Filthy's girdles.

Remy's a rat with a developed sense of taste. He savors cheeses and breads while his rodent brethren shovel shit into their mouths for the purpose of survival. He's a bit of a prick about it, too. He tries to get them to take their time and cherish the food. It's sort of like begging the Harelip to stop playing that God damn Badfinger song on the jukebox. Pointless.

Despite being a rat, Remy dreams of being a chef, and he's encouraged by the fat ghost of a dead Parisian named Gusteau, whose restaurant was once the toast of the town but is fading into irrelevance after his death. Remy, of course, winds up at Gusteau's, and befriends a clumsy garbage boy named Linguini (yeah, that's a bit too cute) with no culinary skills whatsoever. Despite his talent, the rat can't be a chef without the health department busting a hemorrhoid. So, the boy and the rat make a deal. The boy will let the rat live, and secretly do the cooking, and Linguini will get the accolades and keep his job in the kitchen.

Of course, all sorts of complications ensue. The head chef is paranoid and sleazy and smells a rat. Linguini is the bastard son and rightful heir to Gusteau's, but only the sleazy chef knows this, and he tries to hide this information from the boy. Linguini falls in love with a female chef, a badass toughie with a motorcycle.

In the end, though, anyone who matters recognizes that Remy is a great chef, which I guess is the point of the movie.

Ratatouille looks prettier than a pastel field of daisies, with a fat chick eating tiny donuts in it. I mean, Paris looks so damn nice that I nearly thought I wanted to visit. Director Brad Bird really likes cool cars because he put a load of T-Birds and Galaxies in The Incredibles and loads this one up with some nice Citroens. There is incongruity, though, that I couldn't get over in how detailed and photo-realistic the city is and how cartoonish the characters are. The characters aren't dazzling or interesting to look at; just sort of standard cartoon-looking things in 3-D.

For all the movie's talk about food, very little of it in the movie looks delicious. Maybe if I ate at superfancy restaurants all the time, I'd understand. Since I don't, though, the meals, sauces and ingredients appeared bland and uninteresting. I think of Big Night and how tasty its huge, meaty meals looked, and how I wanted to go eat a bunch of Italian sausage afterward. Ratatouille didn't have the same effect, although I suspect some food snob will correct me and tell me I'm stupid. I can't wait.

What left me coldest, though, was how mechanical the movie's plot points and some of the gags were. Previous Brad Bird movies didn't conform so easily to Hollywood formula, but Ratatouille frequently feels like it's being propelled by a blueprint that doesn't mesh with the characters. Why exactly does Linguini need to keep the job at the restaurant if he doesn't really show any real interest in food and is bad at cooking? Paris is a big city and there are other jobs out there. A scene where Remy is nipping at Linguini inside his clothes is pretty damn similar to a Harold Lloyd bit in The Freshman. The whole secret will plot is corny and ultimately means little to the story. It's just a cheap device for adding fake conflict. Similarly, the villains are villainous without redemption. In The Incredibles, Bird did a hell of a job humanizing Mr. Incredible's antagonist. Here, though, I can't figure out why I should give a shit about the villains, or believe they are more than just plot devices. And the climax, in which the nasty food critic loves the dish Remy prepared for him is the result of luck, not skill, and so doesn't do any convincing that the food really is better than it looks. It also feels tacked on more than organic.

Let the foodies enjoy Ratatouille. I just spent 1200 words saying why I didn't, so maybe they can spend 5,000 on the hint of oak and the taste of berries that I missed. Two Fingers.



Whore Hall of Famer Pete Hammond of Maxim

joshua is "a beautifully crafted, superbly well-acted SUSPENSE-FILLED tale that will creep you out."

Interview is "an absolutely fascinating film! You won't be able to take your eyes off the screen as this teriffic, psychological game of cat and mouse ensues."

Talk to Me is "a vibrant, funny, moving, highly entertaining and richly rewarding movie experience! Will have you talking long after leaving the theater. Unforgettable."

1408 is "A smart, highly entertaining non-stop shocker!"

Filthy's Reading
Charles Webb - The Graduate

Listening to
Dressy Bessy- Electrified


Robin Hood