Director: Patricia Riggen
Writers: Patricia Riggen
Starring: Jonathan Gold, Allen Salkin
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical images
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In this richly penetrating documentary odyssey, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold shows us a Los Angeles where ethnic cooking is a kaleidoscopic portal to the mysteries of an unwieldy city and the soul of America. Combing through colorful neighborhoods in his green pickup truck, Gold is sniffing out his next strip-mall discovery—whether Oaxacan grasshopper soup, hand-cut tonkotsu ramen, or a particularly unctuous pad see ew. As piping-hot platters are served up, so are stories of immigrants whose secret family recipes are like sacred offerings pledged for the opportunity to build their American Dream. With eternal curiosity, razor-sharp intellect, and existential longing, Gold is a culinary geographer taking us where no critic has gone before.
There are so many things about this film that I loved. First off I like to think of myself as a foodie. Not a critic in anyway but I do love food. And I tend to love out there things. I'm picky too - so I could be nothing like Jonathan Gold. But watching this film made me and my love for food very happy and I now have a list of places I want to try the next time I'm in LA.
As an aspiring filmmaker this brings me back to my schooling. When I was first starting out I swear every.single.project was based on food/restaurants. This is because it's an easy subject to get a variety of shots for. So watching this made me remember back when I was in school. Although I would've loved to have made something of this caliber, but it made me reminisce at least.
I love LA. I want to live in LA at some point in my life. That is truly where my heart is. And this film shows you - although mostly the restaurants - basically the reason why I love LA. It's so beautiful, it's a city that has it's own heartbeat. And if you can't see that from this film then I suggest you re-watch it. City Of Gold shows you all the different cultures that fill LA, all of the different lifestyles that go on. And that is what draws me to LA - apart for the obvious aspiring filmmaker wants to be in LA aspect of it.
Lastly. This movie is based on a critic. Seeing as I am a book reviewer/movie reviewer for this blog it hit at home, that's for sure. There's a part of the film that talks about critics and yelpers. Who's who and it made me wonder if there are author's/filmmaker's out there who aren't as appreciative of my reviews as I assume that they are. While I would like to think that everyone absolutely loves my thoughts on everything I read and watch I know that, that's probably not the case. And I'm okay with that. But for that whole section of the film I was definitely just sitting there going whoa...am I the critic or the yelper?
I really enjoyed this movie. If you love food, you should watch it. If you love LA, or even if you haven't been before, watch this movie. And if you are a critic I feel that this would be a good film for you. I have a new respect for food critics - and I feel like I'm going to be following Jonathan Gold and his thoughts on restaurants from now on.