Big Night
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Big Night

Big Night
Big night.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
  • Joseph Tropiano
  • Stanley Tucci
Starring
Music byGary DeMichele
CinematographyKen Kelsch
Edited bySuzy Elmiger
Production
company
Distributed byThe Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
  • January 24, 1996 (1996-01-24) (Sundance)
  • September 26, 1996 (1996-09-26) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Italian
Budget$4.1 million
Box office$14.2 million[1]

Big Night is a 1996 American comedy-drama film co-directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci.[2] The film stars Tucci, alongside Minnie Driver, Ian Holm, Isabella Rossellini and Tony Shalhoub.[2]

Produced by David Kirkpatrick and Jonathan Filley for the Samuel Goldwyn Company, the film was met with largely positive reviews and grossed $14 million worldwide. It was nominated for the "Grand Jury Prize" at the Sundance Film Festival and the "Grand Special Prize" at the Deauville Film Festival. Scott and Tucci won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best New Director. Tucci and Joseph Tropiano won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.

Plot

On the New Jersey Shore in the 1950s, two Italian immigrant brothers from Abruzzo own and operate a restaurant called "Paradise." One brother, Primo, is a brilliant, perfectionist chef who chafes under their few customers' expectations of "Americanized" Italian food. Their uncle's offer for them to return to Rome to help with his restaurant is growing in appeal to Primo. The younger brother, Secondo, is the restaurant manager, a man enamoured of the possibilities presented by their new endeavor and life in America. Despite Secondo's efforts and Primo's magnificent food, their restaurant is failing to gain success and recognition.

Secondo's struggles as a businessman render him unable to commit to his girlfriend Phyllis, and he has recently been sleeping with Gabriella, the wife of a competitor. Her husband's eponymous restaurant, "Pascal's", has succeeded despite (or perhaps due to) the mediocre, uninspired food served there. Desperate to keep Paradise afloat, Secondo asks Pascal for a loan. Pascal demurs, repeating a past offer for the brothers to work for him, which Secondo refuses: he and his brother want their own restaurant. In a seemingly generous gesture, Pascal insists that he will persuade popular Italian-American singer Louis Prima to dine at Paradise when in town, assuming the celebrity jazz singer's patronage will revitalize the brothers' business. Primo and Secondo dive into the preparations for this "big night", spending their entire savings on food, drinks and decoration, inviting numerous people (including a newspaper reporter and Primo's love interest) to join them for a magnificent feast showcasing a timpano (a complex baked pasta dish). Primo pours his heart into every dish, lavishing care and great expertise on the cooking.

As they wait for Prima and his entourage to arrive, the dinner party indulges in the exquisite food and partake in a fabulous celebration. Hours go by, however, and it becomes apparent that the famous singer is not coming, although a reporter who came to cover the singer's appearance promises to ask his newspaper to send a food critic. Phyllis catches Secondo and Gabriella kissing and runs off to the beach. At Gabriella's insistence, Pascal admits that he never called Louis Prima, thus ending the party.

Secondo follows Phyllis to the beach where they have a final quarrel. Primo and Secondo have a fiery, heart-wrenching argument, chafing at their mutual differences. In the wee hours of the morning, Pascal admits to Secondo that he set the brothers up for failure; not as revenge for Secondo's affair with Gabriella but because the brothers would have no choice but to return to Italy or work for Pascal. Secondo refuses him, saying they will never work for him.

As dawn breaks, Secondo silently cooks an omelette. When done, he divides it among three plates, giving one to Cristiano, their waiter, and eating one himself. Primo hesitantly enters, and Secondo hands him the last plate. They eat without speaking, and lay their arms across one another's shoulders.

Cast

Reception

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 96% based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The performances in Big Night are wonderful, and the food looks delicious."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1996 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Dramatic Prize Big Night Nominated
Waldo Scott Screenwriting Award Stanley Tucci & Joseph Tropiano Won
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best First Feature Big Night Nominated
Best First Screenplay Stanley Tucci & Joseph Tropiano Won
Best Male Lead Stanley Tucci Nominated
Tony Shalhoub Nominated
1996 National Board of Review Special Recognition Big Night Won
1996 National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Tony Shalhoub Won
Best Screenplay Stanley Tucci & Joseph Tropiano Nominated
1996 New York Film Critics Circle Best First Film Big Night Won
Best Supporting Actor Tony Shalhoub Nominated
1996 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Stanley Tucci & Joseph Tropiano Nominated

References

  1. ^ "Big Night (1996)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (March 29, 1996). "FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW; Brothers' Last Chance to Save Their Paradise". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Big Night (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Big Night reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2017.

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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