Friday, September 08, 2006

The God of Cookery

I recently watched a Chinese film called "The God of Cookery." The movie was originally shot in Cantonese but since I do not speak any Cantonese I switched the language to Mandarin. Since my Mandarin is not good enough for me to really understand what is being said I also turned on the English subtitles. This creates an interesting effect. I read the subtitles most of the time, keeping my eyes at the bottom of the screen. Then, every now and again, I look up to see the faces when I can understand the Chinese, but because the movie is dubbed over I get very disoriented looking at mouths that are not actually moving with the words. The whole thing generates a sort of language overflow that makes my brain hurt.

This alone would not make "The God of Cookery" anything special, as many mainstream Chinese movies, such as Shaolin Soccer, are formatted like this. This was one of those movies where it was so awful that it was actually funny. The movie is about this guy who is the God of Cookery but really he can't cook at all. One day his apprentice figures this out and steals his title from him. Now the former god cannot go anywhere in public safely. He ends up hanging out with a bunch of street vendors in an alley way of a rundown neighborhood. There he meets a women who owns a noodle cart, named Turkey. She is actually his biggest fan and they partner together to advertise a new product called, get this, pissing beef balls. Somehow things go wrong and the former god is forced to leave town. He ends up at a Shaolin monastery headed by a monk named "Wet Dream." I am not sure whether this is a direct translation from Chinese or not, but the movie would not be complete without this unneeded sexual reference. In the end he escaped from the monastery and uses the martial arts skills to reclaim his title as the God of Cookery.

Of course, this is all a little fuzzy because the icing on the cake is that the subtitles were not translated properly and they use improper English grammar and spelling. My final review: Although this was possibly the worst movie I have ever seen it would be a great thing to see on a rainy night with some friends. Make sure their is nothing hard that you could hit first, though, because there is the chance of falling off the couch laughing.

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