Monday, March 31, 2008

Its like a grail quest, only -- not.

Well, the end of March 2008 marks the end of a quest of proportions both epic and trivial. You see, since sometime in the summer of 2001 or 2002, I've been trying to find a copy of a movie called "American Cuisine".

That summer, on a weekend when I was home alone, I saw this simple flick on one of the random movie channels that you get with a big cable package. Its not "the Lord of the Rings" or anything, but its a movie that falls into a genre that my wife and I enjoy very much - "Food Porn" movies. Any movie where food or cooking plays a significant role is destined to be a classic in our household. No surprise really, since we're serious foodies and we watch more FoodTV than any four other networks combined, SpeedTV included.

Just a few of our favorites: "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman", (and its remake "Tortilla Soup"), "Chocolat", "Soul Food", "Big Night", "Like Water for Chocolate", and the recently added "Ratatouille". Even movies with tangential food themes or scenes of food porn like "The Last Supper" and "Goodfellas" are a treat.

So imagine my frustration when I saw, by myself, a cute little French-Food-themed romantic comedy starring one of our favorite actors, Jason Lee. Remember this was pre-TiVo (at least in our household). It turns out this movie was seemingly never released for the US market, and is exceedingly hard to find even abroad. I have been trying to get a copy of this movie to share with my wife since that summer day. Yep, nearly six or seven years. This movie isn't just not-released for America, but its also apparently out of print even in the markets it was intended for. The closest I've ever come is a German market disc on sale for $29. I didn't want it quite that badly.

Anyhow, a periodic search on eBay finally revealed my salvation. A Region 2, PAL-encoded, poor transfer of the movie with Polish subtitles, but salvation nonetheless. Fortunately my completely bitchin' Oppo DVD player is region free and PAL-to-NTSC converting, and the original English 5.1 audio is intact (the film was recorded in both English and French by the original cast). The upside of this movie being so hard to find is that apparently almost nobody else was looking for it. For 1.20 GBP, plus 4.20GBP shipping ($8.35 total, with today's craptastic US Dollar) I beat out one other bidder and this particular celluloid unicorn is now part of my collection. Huzzah!

Now the real question, will Kimberley actually like the movie? Read More...