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Chef is a 2014 dramedy film written, directed, produced, and starring Jon Favreau. Favreau plays Carl Casper, a successful celebrity chef who has become stuck in a rut, cooking the same dishes over and over again. After a bad review from a notable critic, Casper goes on a rant that gets uploaded to the internet and goes viral. Casper ends up quitting his restaurant and gets his own food truck at the behest of his ex-wife, Inez (played by Sofía Vergara). Casper and his young son start to bond while fixing up the truck. Casper’s love for cooking returns and the relationship with his son becomes stronger and stronger. Casper’s food is a hit with customers and critics alike, and the film concludes with Casper opening a new successful restaurant and remarrying his ex-wife. Sorry, spoiler alert. I always forget to mention the spoiler alert.

Chef is an enjoyable movie. It was a passion project of Favreau and you can tell. I have a few complaints though. For starters, it’s too long. It takes about forty-five minutes for him to even get the truck. We didn’t need that much exposition. It shouldn’t take that long to establish that he’s a great cook and a lousy family man. And the film seems to be a commercial for Twitter, Vine, and other forms of social media. I thought I was watching a movie about food, not technology.

The supporting cast is great, although somewhat underused. Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman, and John Leguizamo all play supporting roles. John Leguizamo’s character, Martin, is there in the beginning, disappears for a while, and suddenly comes out of nowhere halfway through the film to work with Casper in his truck for no money and no reason other than to give Casper more time to bond with his son. Martin seemingly does all of the prep work and does most of the cooking during the food truck scenes. He’s more of a chef than the titular chef.

Watching this film makes you hungry. Be forewarned. Make sure you have something to snack on because your stomach will be grumbling every five minutes. It’s a good movie, a little redundant at times, but still solid entertainment. I watched it on Netflix. You can too.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


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South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a movie based on the hit TV show. And half the title is a penis joke. Most TV shows only get a movie after they’ve been cancelled or towards the end of their run, but they started developing this movie during the first season. This was my first introduction to South Park. I hadn’t even seen an episode before watching the movie. It was almost too much to grasp. It was howlingly funny, shockingly stupid, and a bona fide musical.

            I remember buying the soundtrack and making my mom listen to it as she shuttled me around. The songs are actually good. The lyrics are absurd, but this is one of the best musical comedies of the last thirty years. I can’t really think of that many musical comedies, but that’s beside the point.

To sum up the plot: The kids of South Park go crazy after seeing the Terrance and Phillip movie. Kyle’s mom is a bitch and declares war on Canada and Terrance and Phillip. Kenny dies and goes to Hell and finds out that Satan and Saddam Hussein plan on taking over the world when Terrance and Phillip’s blood is spilled on American soil. It’s up to Stan, Kyle, and Cartman to lead La Resistance and save the world.

Watching the movie is like revisiting old friends like Terrance and Phillip, Chef, Big Gay Al and Mr. Hat. They even introduce one-time memorable characters like The Mole. South Park has changed a lot from the early seasons. You can really see how much the show has evolved. The South Park movie is essential viewing for any South Park fan, even though it feels kind of dated now. It’s still hilarious, but it seems kind of tame when compared to the more recent seasons. It would be interesting to see how they would handle another South Park movie.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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