10Jun11:39 amEST

Sunday Matinée at Market Chess Cinemas

The suicide of celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality, Anthony Bourdain, took many by surprise this week.

After all, he had what many termed to be the "dream job," of traveling the world and eating great local cuisine, learning from skilled local chefs and meeting friendly people native to each of his interesting destinations. 

But we never truly know what is lurking below the surface; what is happening inside someone else's head, for example. So, if there is a silver lining to him taking his own life, it may be that we ought not put someone else on a pedestal for "having it all" when, in fact, nothing could be further than the truth. 

Instead of always bemoaning how the grass is greener somewhere else, perhaps we should get busy working on our own lawns, instead. 

Back to the chef angle, now. And clearly Bourdain was passionate about food and culture. A great, underrated film which captures the business end of the food business is Big Night (1996), which details how tough the restaurant business can be, even for two talented Italian brothers who cook their native cuisine in America.

As the title indicates, the brothers gamble on one “big night” to try to save their teetering restaurant. The characters and dialogue are compelling, as the film pulls you in to the other side of the business that we rarely even acknowledge while thumbing through the menu and enjoying the food.

The talented cast features Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci as the brothers, as well as Minnie Driver Isabella Rossellini, Live Schreiber, and Marc Anthony (yes, that Marc Anthony).

Tucci co-wrote and co-directed the film with the accomplished actor Campbell Scott. In fact, Tucci later went on to publish his own cookbook.

Simply put, the above and below the line talent associated with the production is top shelf. Big Night is easily one of the better, underrated films from the 1990’s..

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