Mario Batali’s Bitter Feast

What a way to start the New Year!

Bitter Feast loudly promises “revenge… on the menu” and “creative impulse gone tragically and ferociously awry.”

Instead, viewers will find their Winter 2010 holiday of good eats followed by mean splatterings of pure indigestion. Such were 102 minutes of this movie. It seems someone forgot to add the “wicked wit” and “savory flair” promised as special sauce.

After watching Bitter Feast, dare one write from the standpoint of restaurant reviewer J. T. Franks (played by Joshua Leonard) and denounce this film for what it really is?

Sure: dish it out. It’s a horror flick without the horror, a slasher flick in which food serves as background, for all that it is featured. After all, why does character Peter Grey (played by James LeGros) ever become a chef? The movie gives no hint. There was not even a reference in the poem read aloud by Peter’s older brother at the beginning of the flick. Besides, “food” may make for wonderfully unsightly gore, but fine food does not. Other than the fascination-repulsion of watching people under torture, this movie makes Iron Chef America seem truly exciting and inspired.

And speaking of Iron Chef America, Mario Batali plays the role of restaurateur flatly. He disdains all that makes up a great chef with the aplomb of a dweeb: “Dude, without your TV face going on the screen every day, you have f—ing nothing!” (One cannot help wonder: does Mario need more TV face time again?…)

Lastly, who would want to eat any of the food? “Venison steak with maple syrup creme brule”? Pass! “Open ravioli with rabbit ragout and locally harvested mulberries”? Pass!

In fact, no mulberries, please: just pass the belladonna.

Meantime, be sure to follow up with a really good food flick. You can’t go wrong with Ratatouille — another movie about fine food replete with food critic — even if it is cartoon. It has great lines, too, like these:

After reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, you know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective.

Bring on the rats!

Related article:
Bitter Feast Trailer

News:
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Mario Batali (2010.12.24)
Indie WireUPI
USA Today
Huffington Post
Los Angeles Times
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Eater.com

Production:
MPI Media
Glass Eye Pix
Scare Flix
Bitter Feast the Film.com

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