Things No One Cares About: Tampopo A Ramen Western

At the end of the last review I said two things that I'd never use that style of review again and I'd review Mistress Fortune. Well I lied about one of those things and as you can guess by the title it's the latter rather than the former. Which is probably best for all involved. I'll come back to Fortune in a while but I decided to do Tampopo instead. I don't think anyone really cares so lets do some reviewing.

Tampopo is a 1985 Japanese comedy that bills it self as the first Ramen Western. It comes to us courtesy of the late Juzo Itami who's films were mostly comedies and satires. It concerns itself with a main plot and a smattering of b-plots with no relation to each other outside of one or two. It flits between the plots with the smoothness of Colt 45 and is all tied together by the concept of food and how it shapes our relationships.

The main plot plays out like a heist movie without a heist as we follow a trucker named Goro and his sidekick Gun,as they help the titular Tampopo build up her dead husband's noodle shop. They start gathering men to help her out including a hobo,a drunk interior designer,and a butler. It's actually pretty fun with a smattering of great jokes and a fun dream sequences that wouldn't feel out of place in West Side Story.

The romance subplot is slightly underplayed and I question why they really brought it up. It's sad because the two leads play very well off each other. The plot comes to a halt bout twice as we go through some subplots:some good,some ok ,one stupid. The ones that work like one about food politics in business is really great,then there is a set of them focused around a white suited man and his girlfriend engaging in literal food porn. Those are really fun and even the mediocre one about two cons is fine. Then there is one that to save myself from ranting, just doesn't work. It's message is heart warming but feels really forced just to make it.

I just have to talk about these transitions as they ultimately make Tampopo work. Every single one of them is marvelous and gives the film a sense of scope that brings home the idea that food connects us all. The only time it does not work is after we've spent a good portion of time on the main plot it abruptly switches to a completely different scene. After that it's back to flowing like something flow-y,but it's jarring compared to everything else and also doesn't help that main plot was ramping up by that point.

Every actor/actress is bringing their A-game and we get some really fun performances from a group of vagabonds. The man in the white suit tends to steal every scene he's in and perfectly sets the tone of the movie with his forth wall shattering opening scene. It's a good thing that he's in his own plot or he would completely overshadow Goro and friends

So yeah it's a great movie that is definitely worth a watch for anyone who loves food or just wants to laugh. It is also really fun to snark at if you're in the right mood. As always, Stay Positive

Next time, Arc Words:Phantom Blood


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