‘Big Night’ is My Favorite Food Movie of All Time

Big Night

One day, I will recreate the meal. 

Obviously we won’t be able to wait on Louis Prima and his band to show up, I’d probably hire Eugene Snowden for some entertaining… or just make a good Prima playlist. The music’s not important now, though. 

Making sure you’ve seen the best food movie of all time is. 

‘Big Night’ is a 1996 film starring Stanley Tucci and my boy Tony Shalhoub and I’ve seen it at least 50 times. 

Tucci was also responsible for writing and directing this masterpiece, with the help of Joseph Tropiano (writing) and Campbell Scott (directing).

Something about simply hearing the opening credits of this movie calms me. I know I’m in for a gentle time, that celebrates love, life and Italian food. 

It’s a throwback of a throwback- a 90s movie made about the 50s. The story is pretty simple, Tucci & Shalhoub are brothers who run a traditional Italian restaurant. However, the customers, except for a few, don’t really get it, causing Shalhoub as Primo to exclaim to Tucci as Segundo, this (one of my favorite quotes from the whole movie):

“Sometimes the spaghetti likes to be alone.”

Timpano - Big Night

You know what, before I start talking about the plot, I need to give you a bulleted list of this gotdang all star cast:

  • Isabella Rossellini
  • Ian Holm
  • Minnie Driver
  • Marc Antony
  • Allison Janney
  • And my biggest 90s male crush that has bled over into my entire adult life: Liev Schrieber

Ok, so back to the premise.

Primo & Segunda have the authentic Italian resto… but right across the street is Ian Holms’ Americanized version that is super successful called “Pascal’s”. 

Pascal (Holm) knows Primo is an insanely talented chef and tries to get the brothers to work at his restaurant, but they want to keep their American dream alive. Pascal wants to help the brothers, so he offers to have Louis Prima  and his band stop by for a big meal after their show later in the week. 

The movie is a simple sharing of all the preparation that goes into the biggest night this restaurant has ever seen… and then the meal itself, and the aftermath of whatever happens, culminating in one of the most peaceful longshots in any movie I’ve seen. 

Big NIght

This movie has always had my heart. And I want to wear that heart on my heart. So I made a shirt. 

In my brain, I’ve been tossing around the idea of selling shirts based on the TV and movies I love for a few years. Last year, I decided to do it.

And I wanted to do it differently. I’m tired of these “fan service” shirts that are just logos of the title or screenshots of the movie. The shirts I make are for the insider fans, like me, who’ll see someone in their ‘Valley of Oh’ shirt and do a double take and say, “Oh, I love that movie/show/book/whatever, too!”

But people who don’t watch ’em have no idea it’s anything but a cute shirt!

Obviously, my brain tried to tell me a lot of times that this is a dumb idea or else I already would have told y’all about this, lol. 

So my first movie shirt is from this gem of a movie (if you haven’t watched it, hit me up for pasta and watch! I never get tired of sharing this movie with new people). 

I thought long and hard about what I wanted my first shirt to be and one of the things that I kept coming back to is how important the music and energy of Louis Prima was to the film. 

And then I thought about how tickled Segundo was at the prospect of Prima eating at their restaurant, “You know, Louis Prima: Big Jazz Guy!”. And it tickled my brain just right. 

I sketched out this terrible idea of a graphic for this shirt and tried many times to create it myself, but I just couldn’t. And… since this would be my first offering, I wanted it to be good. 

So I hired a pro: Laura Sanders. I explained the idea and she made my Louis Prima dreams come true. 

Louis Prima Big Jazz Guy Shirt 

This is the version for folks with boobs. Buy it here. It comes in different colors, too. 

Louis Prima Big Jazz Guy Men's shirt

If you don’t have boobs or just prefer a looser fit, here’s another version of the shirt. (It also comes in other colors.)

Louis Prima Big Jazz Guy Tote Bag

And if you wanna show your Louis Love on the daily, here is a cute lil reusable bag

Currently, everything in my shop is $19.77 to celebrate my first month of doing the thing. That won’t be forever though, just as a thanks to people who jump on board early. 

Also, I went ahead and ordered myself some shirts so I can personally attest to the quality. The shirt for boob owners runs a little small, so keep that in mind, but the boob-less comfy shirt fits just right. 

So right now my plan is to release two designs a month… one from TV and one from movies. I’ve already got next month’s designs ready, but I’m always open for future suggestions. Inspire me!

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