Nic Cage’s pig gets violently kidnapped and he recruits his truffle buyer Amir (Alex Wolff, the Rodrick-looking guy in Hereditary) on a search-and-rescue quest through nearby Portland. I knew so little about this movie going in because I didn’t want to discover whatever people are saying you should watch the movie without knowing. I assume it’s not the subterranean restaurateur fight club, but the fact that Cage plays a retired superchef who uses his eatery connections and cooking skills to track down the culprit, a sort of Ratatouille take on the John Wick template. But hot damn, there’s also a subterranean restaurateur fight club.
Cage is a local legend, a food philosopher-king, who just wants to be left alone with his pig friend in a shack in the woods. Amir’s dad Adam Arkin turns out to be a rival mushroom buyer and the pig thief, and the internet believes this to be stunt casting since Arkin once played an “off the grid, genius gourmet chef” on Northern Exposure. Sarnoski’s first feature, has too much handheld camerawork but not terrible. And the story comes together a little too neatly, that Cage gets answers by recreating a life-pivotal meal he once made for his helper’s pignapping father. These are small complaints about a delightful movie. I would’ve loved to show it to Katy, if not for the subterranean restaurateur fight club.
Gail and Doug are siblings living together – he studied forensic science but has a job at an ice factory. Ice worker Carlos moonlights as a DJ, meets Doug’s ex Rachel when she’s in town then becomes concerned when she skips a date… and belatedly/charmingly this hangout movie swings into mystery mode, our three heroes investigating Rachel’s whereabouts with ever more brazen detective tricks.
Great music by local Oregonian Keegan DeWitt who later worked with Robert Greene and Alex Ross Perry. Carlos was later in We The Animals and Unsane, Gail starred in Infinity Baby and last year’s haunted house movie Girl on the Third Floor. My first movie by Katz, whose Gemini I missed a few years ago. Looking back at his contemporaneous interview in Cinema Scope, he describes the next two films he was writing, neither of which sounds like the next two films he made.
Ben Foster (Chris Pine’s trigger-happy brother in Hell or High Water) is too freaked out to join society, lives the survivalist life in the woods outside Portland, earning cash by hawking his PTSD meds. Problem is he’s got a daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) who’s good at finding wild mushrooms and hiding from the authorities, but would kinda like to eat normal food and meet other people sometimes. They are caught pretty soon, provided a home, escape back to the woods, are allowed to stay at a new home, escape back to the woods, etc., until McKenzie makes the decision to join civilization, even though her dad is psychologically unable to stay. One remarkable thing about the movie is that everyone they meet is generous and kind, the opposite of Winter’s Bone.