This post originally appeared on May 18, 2018, in “Eat, Drink, Watch” — the weekly newsletter for people who want to order takeout and watch TV. Browse the archives and subscribe now.
Welcome to the weekend, a glorious time when you can ignore your inbox and bask in the glow of your favorite movies and TV shows instead. If you have a serious case of Royal Wedding Fever, you might consider waking up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to watch Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon riff on Harry and Meghan’s nuptials live on basic cable, but that is just one of many tempting viewing options that await you. Here are recommendations for three food-centric things to watch, as well a roundup of the week’s entertainment news.
Dinner with the enemy
Beatriz at Dinner is not quite a comedy or a thriller, but it uses elements of both genres to depict a meal where tensions between two guests smolder from start to finish.
Miguel Arteta’s 2017 film focuses on a day in the life of Beatriz, a Mexican-born holistic healer played by Salma Hayek, who gets roped into attending a dinner party at the ritzy Newport Beach home of one of her clients, Kathy (Connie Britton). Kathy’s husband Grant (David Warshofsky) is hosting his real estate pals Alex (Jay Duplass) and Doug (John Lithgow), and their wives Shannon (Chloe Sevigny) and Jenna (Amy Landecker).
As the wine flows and the food begins rolling out of the kitchen, the guests start to lose their manners. Beatriz keeps trying to place where she knows Doug, the cocky real estate tycoon across the table, and in a grander sense, understand why they were thrown together in the same room on this fateful evening. Throughout dinner, she keeps butting heads with him on a variety of broad subjects — preserving the environment, healing people versus hurting them — only to apologize and then ramp back up again.
There are a few surprises sprinkled throughout the film, but more than anything, Beatriz at Dinner feels like one sustained note — a meditation on class disparity, and the eternal struggle between people who want to fix the world’s problems and the egotists who don’t. Lithgow and Hayek are well-matched sparring partners, and the supporting cast members bolster their energy with inspired reactions to the spat at the center of the meal.
You could easily read Beatriz at Dinner as an allegory about the rise of Trumpism, but the film also works on its own terms as an example of how a discussion at a dinner party with someone from a different background can shift your perspective on the world — especially right now.
Beatriz at Dinner is now available for purchase on Amazon or iTunes, and it will be added to the Hulu library this Saturday.
Streaming selections du jour
Bill Nye Saves the World, “Recipes From the Future”
Watch it on: Netflix
The gist: Bill Nye, the science nerd who never goes out of style, is back with a new season of his family-friendly Netflix show, and this time around, he’s exploring the ways that we might eat in the future. In this episode, supermodel Karlie Kloss heads to Japan to learn about vertical gardening, and comedian Margaret Cho offers her take on dishes made with bugs, lab-grown meat, and fake seafood. Another highlight: Michael Ian Black playing Cornell University professor Robert C. Baker, who invented the chicken nugget only to have his thunder stolen by McDonald’s. B-movie actor turned prominent LA restaurateur Danny Trejo also makes a cameo in this installment of Nye’s lighthearted show.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, “It’s Just Landmine Hopscotch”
Watch it on: Netflix
The gist: In her hour-long sit down with David Letterman, Tina Fey discusses one of last year’s most divisive comedy sketches: the “sheetcaking” monologue on SNL’s Weekend Update, where the 30 Rock star recommended eating cake as a response to the violent protests last summer. Fey reveals that she felt awful after reading the responses to the bit about the white nationalist rallies, and admits that she made a mistake by not explicitly including the line, “Fight them in every way except the way that they want.”
Another big moment in this crunchy installment of Letterman’s interview show involves Fey and the former late-night host discussing the lack of female writers on his staff — a mistake he owns up to, though rather sheepishly. And perhaps the most entertaining part of this episode comes when Letterman takes a restaurant recommendation from Fey and visits the Athenian Room in Chicago for a lunch of roasted chicken and steak fries with blues legend Buddy Guy.
And in other entertainment news…
- Carla Hall says that the producers of The Chew have no intention of replacing disgraced chef/restaurateur Mario Batali as a host. Since he got booted from the show following a litany of sexual misconduct allegations last fall, The Chew has been hosted by Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Michael Symon — and that’s how it’s going to stay, for now.
- Food blogger and cookbook author Molly Yeh is the star of a new show coming to the Food Network this summer called Girl Meets Farm. According to an announcement, the show will feature recipes “inspired by her Jewish and Chinese heritage and a taste of the Midwest.” It premieres on June 24.
- And speaking of the Food Network, last week’s SNL had a sketch about a fake show on the cable channel called “Gospel Soul Brunch.” In the clip, Amy Schumer makes a smoothie by mixing ice, milk, and an entire pecan pie in a blender.
- The poster for Little Italy looks like a gag from a Christopher Guest mockumentary, but this is actually a real movie coming out later this year.
- That latest season of Iron Chef America — essentially a return to form after the Chopped-esque Iron Chef Gauntlet and Iron Chef Showdown — premieres on Food Network this Sunday at 9 p.m.
- Starz’s restaurant drama Sweetbitter stumbles a bit in its second episode, but the show is still entertaining and packed with details that people working the hospitality industry will likely appreciate.
- Anthony Bourdain spends around 250 days out of the year traveling, largely due to Parts Unknown filming, but he has no plans to hang up his hat anytime soon. “I might have deluded myself into thinking that I’d be happy in a hammock or gardening,” Bourdain tells People. “But no, I’m quite sure I can’t. I’m going to pretty much die in the saddle.”
Have a great weekend, and if you are partaking in the royal wedding revelry, perhaps consider mixing up a Pimm’s cup using this recipe.