Breaking Bread on the 25th Anniversary of Big Night | Features


Because, of course, “Big Night” is about a restaurant that shuts down, a restaurant that fails. The film takes place over the course of a few days, as Secondo tries to find a way to keep his and Primo’s flailing restaurant, Paradise, from going under. Despite Primo’s genius, the restaurant is doing anemic business due to the fact—at least according to rival, but avuncular, restaurateur Pascal (Ian Holm)—that the chef is too precious about his food and is unwilling to make any concessions to what American customers unfamiliar with Southern Italian food at its purest might want to eat. Indeed, when Secondo suggests to Primo that they maybe take the expensive and unpopular seafood risotto off the menu, Primo thinks they could replace it hot dogs. “They might like that,” he says.

In a last-ditch effort to save their business, Secondo, with Pascal’s help, sets up an invitation-only dinner party at Paradise, at which will be a journalist to cover the event, because, so Pascal has promised, his friend, the great jazz bandleader and singer Louis Prima will be making an appearance. So the stage is set for a mostly light, occasionally romantic, and very funny comedy, but one grounded in everyday realism, and also fraught not just with the suspense inherent in seeing if Secondo’s plan will pay off, but also with subplots that the audience knows will eventually blow something up—specifically the revelation that Secondo is cheating on his girlfriend Phyllis (Minnie Driver) with Gabriella (Isabella Rossellini), who also happens to be Pascal’s wife. Needless to say, every one of these people will be at the party.

Twenty-five years on, “Big Night” holds up like gangbusters. As funny, and as filled with wonderful, charming performances as the film is—Tucci and Shalhoub are both basically perfect, Holm acts like a wild imp throughout, Driver effortlessly gives the kind of performance that used to be called “winning”—it is nevertheless infused throughout with an unavoidable melancholy. There’s a terrific shot, just before the dinner party gets started, just before the real night’s work kicks off, of Cristiano (Marc Anthony), the Paradise’s busboy and waiter, stepping outside, into the dusk, to smoke a cigarette, and the camera lifts up into the air to show the emptiness and quiet of the New Jersey street. This cuts to a pan down the long table and its simple, elegant glass-and-silverware, white napkins and tablecloth, before tilting up to Secondo, Primo, and Cristiano, standing together, dressed for work, all to the strains of Matteo Salvatore’s gorgeous “Mo Ve’la Bella Mia Da La Muntagna.” The shot sets up a rather intense feeling of anticipation for the party about to begin (somewhat counterintuitively, given the gentleness of the two shots), but also feels ineffably sad. Somehow, perhaps, the audience knows what’s to come.

You can view the original article HERE.

Celebrities Who Died in 2023
Dave Bautista’s New Movie ‘Knock at the Cabin’ Aiming to Sink ‘Avatar’
‘A Christmas Story’ mom Melinda Dillon dies at 83
Mo’Nique on Playing Goldie in BMF Season 2
Frank Grillo Leads a Stylishly Brutal Thriller
Michelle Yeoh Reflects on Jackie Chan Turning Down Everything Everywhere All at Once
Knock at the Cabin movie review (2023)
The Friday Night Lights Showrunner May Have Just Given Birth to Another Hit
Brian May: Queen got irritated by crowds singing every line to their songs – Music News
Worst Party Ever cancel shows due to frontman’s “toxic” behaviour
Mary J. Blige was ‘afraid of success’ when she first met Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs – Music News
Lewis Capaldi gets waxwork at Madame Tussauds Blackpool
A Complete Guide to Reach the Best Level of Casino Bonuses
Kyrie requests trade from Nets; Lakers, Mavericks interested
Watch: Dustup between Bamba, Austin Rivers results in 5 ejections
Arrest warrant issued for Bengals’ Mixon for aggravated menacing
A Million Little Things: Things We Must See Before It’s Over!
The Boys Reveals the Title for Season 4 Finale
What to Watch: A Million Little Things, YOU
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal is Heading to Amazon Studios for a TV Adaptation
Ciara Wears a Hooded Gown to Black Music Collective
Charlotte Bickley Tested Out the Best Facials in New York City –
Madelyn Cline Wears Stella McCartney Chainmail Top and Suit
Lourdes Leon Wears Full Denim to Marc Jacobs