Tampopo

I went out to see “Tampopo.” I had seen it before during its original release in the 1980s, and it was good to see it again. The director Juzo Itami said that it was a ramen Western, and it had some of the elements of “The Magnificent Seven,” although there were only five men helping out this widow. One thing about my experience with ramen is that I never drink all of the broth. Nobuko Miyamoto was quite funny as Tampopo, especially during her Rocky-like training. When they were remodeling her place, I thought it was too dirty and dusty for food preparation. The story had one of those scenes where the two men have a fistfight and come out of it as friends, as you might see in a John Ford film. The script seems like it could have come from Luis Buñuel with its tangents, the girls going through an etiquette lesson in eating spaghetti, the man with the ice cream, and the dying mother preparing a meal for her family. Tsutomu Yamazaki is Goro, the Toshiro Mifune of the group, although I don’t know how a truck driver is supposed to know much about cooking. It was certainly funny when he took a bath wearing his cowboy hat. The audience on this afternoon definitely reacted differently than thirty years ago, as one woman expressed disgust at the scene with the egg yolk. I thought it was perhaps out of character when Tampopo topples some spoiled broth over onto the floor, making a huge mess. I enjoyed watching this movie more than most of the new releases of this year. The advertisement said that this was a new 4K restoration. It did look good up on the movie screen, about the same as when I originally saw it years ago. It felt slightly too long, but maybe because I’d seen it before. There was also not too much suspense about how it was going to out. Since it was a comedy, you figured the principals weren’t going to die. The love story aspect was a bit unusual. In the years since “Tampopo,” I can’t think of too many Japanese films that I have liked as much. Looking back, Juzo Itami had talent that didn’t come along too often. I appreciate him more now. Knowing that a storm was approaching, I took the bus to several stores before heading home. At Best Buy, I found what was apparently their last copy of “Eight Days a Week.” I went over to Barnes and Noble and found a skimpy Criterion Collection section, although I still decided to buy a copy of “Ikiru.” At DB Shoes, I bought a pair of boots. I really wanted to keep my feet dry during the next few months. I bought a bean and cheese burrito, and at the record store, I bought a CD of Mojo Nixon. I always liked “Elvis is Everywhere.” I watched the Partridge Family episode “Whatever Happened to Keith Partridge?” One of the Flying Nun nuns was in it. Keith’s makeup was visible in his audition scene. I didn’t see Laurie eat anything. It looked like they actually had tacos at the taco stand. I also watched the NUMB3ERS episode “Devil Girl.” It’s foolish for an agent to go out on a raid while injured so severely. I thought it was highly unlikely that Don could ride his motorcycle down a path and barely miss seeing Larry at the same place. I listened to Paul Simon’s “Stranger to Stranger.” Some of the people who died on November 19 include Franz Schubert (1828), Joe Hill (1915), Alan J. Pakula (1998), Dick Wilson (2007), John Neville (2011), and Mike Nichols (2014). Today is a birthday for Jodie Foster (54), Meg Ryan (55), Allison Janney (57), Calvin Klein (74), Ted Turner (78), and Larry King (83). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for November 19, the Hope and Crosby movie “The Road to Bali” was released in 1952. In 1964, The Beefeaters changed their name to The Byrds. In 1968, the Supremes gave a command performance in England. In 1975, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was released.

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