Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|I Like Killing Flies|
Actor: I Like Killing Flies
Director: Matt Mahurin
A flavorful snack of a documentary (Entertainment Weekly), I LIKE KILLING FLIES is a hearty tribute to the quick-witted, cantankerous chef whose Greenwich Village restaurant, Shopsin s, has become a New York legend. — Wit... more »
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Bart King | Portland, Oregon | 06/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This odd documentary is a character study of a genuine New York "character," namely cook and crackerjack philosopher Kenny Shopsin. It is claustrophobically shot, periodically unintelligible, and sometimes verges on the slightly creepy.
I quite liked it.
I've never eaten at Shopsin's, but after reading Calvin Trillin's brilliant portrayal of the hole-in-the-wall eatery in the New Yorker, I was hooked. The makers of I LIKE KILLING FLIES seem to assume that the viewer has dined at the establishment AND read that piece... and yet, for those of you who have done neither, this fascinating movie will immerse you in such close quarters with the sometimes coarse, sometimes brilliant Shopsin, it won't matter. You'll get the idea. The menus feature hundreds of outrageously hybridized dishes, no parties larger than four may enter, and whatever you do, don't antagonize the cook.
Highly Recommended: Calvin Trillin's Feeding a Yen, which includes an expanded version of the aforementioned New Yorker essay."
Closed Saturday and Sunday
Paul Beauparlant | east coast USA | 06/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Entirely interesting portrait of a man and his family running their small eatery in New York City.
The title is just one pearl of wisdom Kenny Shopsin shares with many to follow.
Introducing us to one of the specific entanglements charateristic of his kitchen, of which only he and his family would know how to navigate, he'll say "If you don't do what you're supposed to, you'll get punished...RIGHT AWAY! And then, you must pay penance."
I now would like to quote Kenny again. The following is taken from the final scene of the film. I thought it was so thought provoking I could not resist repeating it here so here goes:
"This is like another one of my half-baked philosphies. The FIRST duty of everybody, in life, is to realize that they're a piece of s---. They're selfish, they're self-centered...they're not very good, and, that you're willing to sacrifice 20,000 people in another country just so that you can, uh, go to uh, a WINGS concert. You've sacrificed the lives of a hundred thousand Chinese uh female babies, just so you can rent this f------ camera (he's looking directly at director Matt Mahurin here) and do your stupid art project. NO PROBLEM! You're a piece of [...]. Once you REALIZE you're a piece of [...] , it's NOT so hard to take. Because THEN...you don't have this FEELING that uh, you're a good person all the time. And, let me tell ya somethin'...feeling that you're a good person all the time is like having a brand new car with no scratches on it. It's a REAL responsibility which is almost impossible to live up to. Being a piece of [...] and then occasionally doing something that's good and true...it's a much easier place to be. I think that's really important and I always try and raise my kids to understand that they're NOT that terrific. And that NOT being that terrific, that's okay 'cos most people who say they are terrific (pause) Bill Clinton..Cardinal Egan (pause) anybody that you wanna talk about..they're not so terrific---MARTHA STEWART! They're not so [...] terrific either and there's nothing wrong with bein' not so terrific, ya know, in FACT it's what's the whole ball game is about, is about not being so terrific and accepting it."
Other than that gentle nugget, there is plenty to find affection for in this tiny film, from the Shopsin family to their customers to their creative menu as we get to watch it being prepared and to two major upheavals that confront the family during this time period."
Order this for Dinner
Old School Fool | 11/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well done (no pun intended) documentary on a real-life character from the restaurant biz. Having been a cafe manager for 15 years, I could relate. It's a hard job, and you need broad shoulders to carry a place like Shopsin's. Shopsin himself is a bit of an anti-hero; at times you love him, at times you've had enough, but some of the existential wisdom he spouts makes sense, and it's clear that he's a good cook and kitchen manager. We need more people like him who are willing to speak up for what they believe in, while still doing good work and carrying a tough burden... The documentary itself is well-done; never boring, interesting shots, and put together character by character as you follow the restaurant on a life-changing move to a new location. Definitely worth watching. Punk Cookery, The Punk Rocker's Cafe Cookbook, Vegetarian Specialties"
F...... entertaining, and if you don't like it, you're proba
T. Davis | Seattle, WA | 07/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this slice-of-life documentary thoroughly engrossing, but some viewers may find it claustrophobia-inducing. It's not just that chef Kenny Shopsin's tiny kitchen is such a grim, grimy room, or that his restaurant in New York City's Greenwich Village is such a ratty hole in the wall, or that director Matt Mahurin is such a poor digital cameraman, producing herky-jerky images and muffled sound.
The problem is primarily this: we get up close and personal with a fat, sweaty, foulmouthed, cantankerous cook and his warts-and-all family, which is probably more intimate than most people would care to be. Yet it's precisely this intense intimacy and complete candor that make the film compelling.
From 2002 to 2003, Mahurin followed Shopsin in his final year at the location he ran for over 30 years. In the first half of the film, we watch him open his eatery for the day, talking nearly non-stop about his tools, menu, guiding principles, and the people he works with. We meet regulars and old friends who eat some of the 900 eclectic dishes he cooks, and we can't help but notice that patronizing the place requires nearly as much chutzpah and almost as thick a skin as Kenny has: woe betide rule-breakers like the party of five or the customer who just wants a coffee!
Shopsin treats all those who get on his nerves to a fresh serving of hot temper or, at the very least, an affectionate phrase beginning with the letter F. The protagonist's longsuffering wife and children weigh in on what it's like to work for a man who's both a genius and a jerk, and the viewer is forced to sympathize.
In the film's second half, Shopsin loses his lease and decides to move his establishment to a larger location in the nearby Lower East Side. Family, friends, and customers all pitch in to make it happen. Everything must go, from hundreds of knick-knacks and supplies to an antediluvian stove that amazes us by failing to explode and incinerate either the old or the new restaurant. The reopening is a resounding success, of course. We return for an epilogue the following year and learn that Shopsin's wife has died, but Shopsin hasn't changed a bit.
"I Like Killing Flies" is a classic piece of Americana and an enduring contribution to the tradition of quirky, abrasive New Yorkers who make their city one of the most interesting on earth."