Jiro Dreams of Sushi—–(Raw Talent)

Jiro Ono is a man with amazing talent and dedication. His sushi bar in Tokyo has three Michelin stars. He’s 85 years old and still going strong.

This movie is a “must see” for chefs and foodies. You will be impressed by the intense labor that goes into sourcing and preparation of what, when plated, appears to be simple food.

Fans of Japanese culture will love JDOS because we get a look at real Japanese people in their real lives. The film, directed by American David Gelb, is in Japanese with subtitles.

The movie, like the sushi, is presented simply. We see the work in the sushi bar, a visit to the fish market, the training of apprentices and an octopus massage. In the movie, we learn that you should massage your octopus for 40-45 minutes to make it taste right, not 30 minutes, which is apparently enough for some sushi sellers.

Jiro’s story is told by Jiro himself, his two sons, a former employee and a Japanese food writer.

Jiro recalls being on his own from a very early age. His work ethic is not unlike that of Americans raised during the Depression. (Except my father retired in his early 60’s. Jiro works on.) And, yes, Jiro admits that he does have dreams about sushi.

Jiro’s older son works in his father’s shadow, waiting for the day when he will take over. His younger son has his own sushi place, but still receives supervision from his father.

The food writer points out the qualities necessary to excel in the food biz and does not find Jiro lacking in any way. He mentions Jiro’s high level of excellence, which, through numerous meals he’s eaten there, has never fallen short.

JDOS is punctuated by glorious shots of the various sushi dishes being served, with a nice lingering shot of each piece on the plate, clearly identified.

I recommend buying the movie house popcorn or other snacks because this movie will make you hungry. It opens Friday, April 13, at the Tivoli in University City.

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“Young Adult”—(Grow Up, Already!)

The lead character in “Young Adult” is not especially likable. The movie, though, has a lot to like.

We all know people who have moved from a small town to a big city, enjoyed some career success and felt somehow superior to those back home. When they return home, they are sometimes amazed to see folks who are satisfied with their simple small town lives.

Charlize Theron plays Mavis. She’s a divorced writer of young adult novels who leaves Minneapolis to return to her small hometown in outstate Minnesota. Turns out she was a bit of a jerk to most of her classmates in high school. She is not exactly welcomed back with open arms.

Her goal is to reunite with her old hometown boyfriend who is now married and a new dad. She also encounters the class nerd at a bar in the hometown. Patton Oswalt gives an award-worthy performance as the nerd, who becomes a drinking buddy of Mavis.

Another character in the movie is the fictional small town of Mercury, Minnesota. Unlike Garrison Keillor’s fantasy Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon, Mercury has undergone the same transformations many American small towns have experienced. Diablo Cody wrote the script and offers commentary on the fast food chains that dominate the main drag and the attitudes of those who live in Mercury, either by choice or lack of choice.

There are some good laughs in “Young Adult.” Charlize Theron, not exactly known for comedy, can bring it.

The movie also serves up a memorable and seriously flawed character in Mavis. Will you feel sorry for her or will you feel she deserves all her fates? That’s for discussion on the way home from the movie.

The movie is directed by Jason Reitman of “Up in the Air,” “Thank You For Smoking” and “Juno” fame. He again delivers a trademark cool title sequence. “Young Adult,” like those listed, is funny, but also shares viewpoints on modern American life that stay with you after the credits roll.