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Our videographer Elena Parker -- a serious food and film buff -- is really good at throwing movie-themed dinner parties. She and her friends cook together, serve up, and eat while they watch.
We've asked her to start sharing the menus for her favorite films with us -- here's the latest installment: Billy Wilder's classic comedy Some Like It Hot.
Have you ever seen a Billy Wilder movie? There's no doubt in my mind that you have, even if you don't immediately recognize the name. Sabrina, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard ... Double Indemnity! The man was both jester and king (no small feat).
With a wry smile and a legacy that dates back to Lubitsch (a lesson for another day), Wilder and his influence still permeate a lot of the media we see today. You'll find traces of his bitingly witty, yet honest, style in everything from sitcoms to rom-coms to Oscar-winning flicks (see Cameron Crowe's entire oeuvre).
While I'd love to continue lecturing you on how wonderful Wilder is, I'll get to the task at hand: setting you up with a comedy of cross-dressing and crass humor called Some Like It Hot.
Some Like It Hot starts with a typically Wilder-esque joke on the audience: it's Chicago, 1929, and a group of mobsters in a hearse get into a shootout. However, when we turn our attention to the casket full of bullet-holes, liquor comes pouring out instead of blood. The rest of the film is no less farcical. Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, respectively) are musicians at the mobsters' speakeasy. After the joint is raided they must find a new gig, however their bad luck gets immediately worse when they accidentally witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. So, they devise a plan to hide out in the only job available: an all-girls band which is conveniently playing three weeks in Florida.
The boys, newly christened Josephine and Daphne, hop on a train and quickly meet the band's singer and obvious male fantasy Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe at her best). Of course, Josephine and Daphne's lives just continue to get more complicated, as a millionaire named Osgood Fielding III (the astoundingly hilarious Joe E. Brown) takes a fancy to Daphne (Lemmon, whose joy in playing up the cross-dressing is unsurpassed). Meanwhile, Josephine (Curtis) jumps out of his/her dress and into the guise of the fictional heir to Shell Oil (who sounds suspiciously like Cary Grant) in order to woo Sugar. Then, the mobsters return...
I wish I could say something more sophisticated than "this movie is hilarious," but you'll have to forgive me. I'm still too consumed with laughter from when I accidentally started watching the whole movie instead of merely taking screen captures. In my defense, in 2000 the American Film Institute named this the most funny American film of all time, no doubt in part because it contains the best last line in cinema history (I won't ruin it, but if you want it ruined, here it is).
Speaking of time, while this movie is ostensibly set in 1929, for me it has and will always scream 1959 (its year of production). I'm not sure if it's the way iconic Monroe literally takes over the screen or the fact that this film generally defies expectations, but it doesn't really feel like a movie from the Jazz Age. In accordance, the meal I found is a little bit '20s ... but maybe a little bit '50s. Perhaps it falls nowhere in between. Regardless, I'm pretty sure it can be consumed between belly laughs.
Also, if I were you, I'd be sure to have a flask of bourbon on hand to toast with Sugar and the girls ... erm ... boys.