Saturday, February 19, 2022

Weekend Cooking: Big Night

My current obsession with all things Stanley Tucci continued this week. So far I have watched the Searching for Italy series (twice) and listened to his memoir, but this week I went way back and watched his 1996 movie Big Night.

The story is a simple one. The two brothers run an unsuccessful restaurant in Paradise, New Jersey. Primo, the older brother is the talented chef who is determined to serve only authentic Italian cuisine despite the fact that the locals don't understand or like it. Tucci's character is Secondo, the younger brother and the charming front of house man who takes care of the business side of things. 

After being told that they can no longer meet the loan repayments, a friend/business rival says that he can help out by getting a big star to come to their restaurant to do a benefit, so the two brothers decide to go all out. After all, this is going to be the night that saves their restaurant.

What happens is a big night. The guests eat, drink, flirt, dance whilst waiting for the star attraction to arrive. Therr are various undercurrents amongst the guests. There is Secondo's girlfriend who wants more than he is willing to give.  And then there is the friend/business rival and his lovely daughter. There is a car salesman who is never off the job. This group of people come together for one night

I really enjoyed watching this movie. The food scenes are so beautifully filmed and the movie is worth watching just for that. The film also explores a number of themes around family, and in particular the way that Primo is determined to keep the traditional ways going and Secondo has fully embraced the American way of life and how that causes division between them.

There are a number of big names in the cast in addition to Tucci. His brother is played by Tony Shalhoub and other cast members include Minnie Driver, Mark Anthony, Isabella Rosselini and Liev Schreiber.

There is no doubt that you can tell that this movie was made in 1996. One of the things that surprised me was how much smoking there was for example, but in other ways it is still a great movie. The final five minutes scene is exceptional. Five minutes with very few words but excellent interaction between the three characters involved. 

In the series Searching for Italy and also in his memoir, Tucci talks about the making of a timpano, and so I thought I would share the following clip:

Weekly meals

Saturday - Food truck food
Sunday - 
Monday - Valentines Dinner
Tuesday -Chicken Parma
Wednesday - Pasta Carbonara
Thursday - Takeaway
Friday - Dinner at the pub

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. I've been obsessed with Stanley Tucci lately. Thank you for the reminder to look for Big Night.

    1. Looking forward to watching more Tucci soon Deb!

  2. I liked that movie too! The actors look so young!!!

  3. I Just bought this movie after reading Taste!

  4. Everybody seems to follow up reading the memoir by watching Big Night -- I definitely did. I was kind of amused by the no-show celebrity being Louis Prima, who would have meant more to the people in the movie than he does now. You didn't mention that while the movie was made in the 90s, it portrayed the New Jersey-Italian milieu in the 1950s. That also accounts for the smoking and a lot of other details, including clothes, cars, etc, that were clearly selected to set the timing.

    best... mae at

    1. I take your point about the smoking and being set in the 50s. I still think if it was made now, the clothes cars etc would be there but I don't think the smoking would be.

  5. the movie sounds interesting and worth the watch . Thanks for the review. I'll be looking forward to watching the movie.

    1. There are worse ways to spend your time.

  6. We are running out of things to watch, so I appreciate the idea to see more Stanley Tucci movies. He has always been enjoyable in all that I have seen so far. Have a great week ahead.

    1. I need to look for some more Tucci movies too.



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