Big Night [DVD] 
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A young couple who witness a police chase find dropped loot and hide it, becoming the target of crooks and police.
Critics tripped all over their big feet to praise Big Night and in doing so performed a grave disservice to this fine little film. They fooled audiences into believing it was a "super movie" instead of a home movie buoyed by friends and family. Consequently, many viewers were disappointed. Big Night is an intimate look at the immigrant struggle to attain the American Dream, set in New Jersey in the 1950s. Its disproportionate success gave co-directors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott, who also star in the picture, the green light to follow up with a smug, unsuccessful second venture called The Imposters. Tucci wrote Big Night with his cousin Joseph Tropiano and they based the story on the experience of growing up in a large, proud Italian family. The brothers in Big Night--chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and businessman Secondo (Tucci)--have come to New Jersey to open a bistro named The Paradise that serves the finest in traditional, authentic Italian cuisine. Their every move is foiled by rival restaurant Pascal's, which serves mile-high servings of spaghetti and meatballs and flasks of bad Chianti at exorbitant prices. Primo is disgusted by the fact that Americans want cheap pasta instead of risotto, so Secondo hatches a plan to boost business: rumour has it bandleader Louis Prima is travelling through and will dine at The Paradise that very night. Secondo gambles to bring the finest dinner ever cooked--at the risk of losing his shirt and being reduced to exile to the old country with his tail between his legs. Big Night is a film that will easily invite comparisons to other "food" fare like Babette's Feast and Eat Drink Man Woman but, though Tucci insists his story is "about the struggle between art and commerce and the risk of staying true to yourself", the media refused to let it stay a small, comparative work. The movie, and the buzza round it, became a parable for the essence of the film itself: art vs. commerce. --Paula Nechak --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Big Night is not a sensational Hollywood blockbuster, so if your expectations are such, please either adjust them or avoid the film altogether. If on the other hand you appreciate subtlety, good food, cultural differences and the universal struggle amongst family members, sit back and enjoy.
The scenes in Italian are warm and very funny, portraying a difficult sibling relationship rooted in fundamental differences of life choices.
Watch with an open mind and a stocked kitchen, because it will make you salivate!
The tense, sincere and often very funny interactions between the two brothers are so believable that they make you really want them to succeed with the “Big Night” on which the future of their restaurant and their relationship depends. Against this background, the preparation of the dishes themselves becomes an all-consuming event, infused with the drama and expectation of a chef in full flight cooking, of necessity, the meal of his life. And, the subtle plot with its inevitable denouement is understated and, as a result, extremely effective.
Brilliantly acted, charming and, in the end, quite moving, “Big Night” is a superbly reflective exploration into the dreams & hopes of two immigrants in an alien world where their values don’t apply and where this threatens to destroy the most important relationship they have. Over-hyped on its release and now increasingly forgotten it’s an unmissable gem of a film.
The tense, sincere and often very funny interactions between the two brothers are so believable that they make you really want them to succeed with the "Big Night" on which the future of their restaurant and their relationship depends. Against this background, the preparation of the dishes themselves becomes an all-consuming event, infused with the drama and expectation of a chef in full flight cooking, of necessity, the meal of his life. And, the subtle plot with its inevitable denouement is understated and, as a result, extremely effective.
Brilliantly acted, charming and, in the end, quite moving, "Big Night" is a superbly reflective exploration into the dreams & hopes of two immigrants in an alien world where their values don't apply and where this threatens to destroy the most important relationship they have. Over-hyped on its release and now increasingly forgotten it's an unmissable gem of a film.
I watch this film and see a struggle between art over comercialism, truth and beauty over fabrication. Something that is real, something that is cultivated over generations must be protected and this is what the oldest brother Primo (the first, the orginal) tries to do with his cooking. He tries to protect the old ways, the truth in his cooking. The younger brother is called Secundo. His name suggest he is once removed, he has one foot in the US and one still firmly planted in the old way. He understands that he must change in order to survive and capitalise on the American dream. He dresses smoothly, he has an American girlfriend and he acknowledges the success of the rival Italian restaurant accross the street. Yet, for all his attaempts to buy into the Amercian Dream, he defends his brother and will not betray him. He has an American girlfriend but sleeps with his Italian lover. He wrestles with himslef as he is torn between these two conflicting worlds. Our cliched view of Italians (the loud voices, the open personalities etc) are exagerated here to great comic effect. We see the overt hand gestures, the wild, dramatic actions and words of the rival restaurant owner. While great comedy, these actions also highten our awareness of 'the other', of the fact that we are examining an old culture in a new land.
Among all of this noise, drama and comic effect, there are moments of complete calm. These moments arrive when the brothers are in the kitchen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very nice movie. I'm a huge Stanley Tucci fan, so to see him taking the lead in a movie is very cool. The food in Big Night looks delicious, so prepare to drool when watching!Published 23 days ago by LikeASatellite
Slightly outdated yet stylish both in terms of the film as a comedy of manners/etiquette and seductive glamour.Published 3 months ago by Pete inkpen
It's a wonderful movie and I loved it. The only complain of this DVD is that there are 2 options for subtitles: French or Dutch. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J. H. Steel
Disappointed that the movie we obtained was in English with Dutch and French subtitles. That was fine however when people spoke in Italian there was no English translation... Read morePublished 7 months ago by T.D. NIENHUIS
I was disappointed by this dvd. The film itself was very good, with a good storyline and well acted. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ray Howard