The Film: Anthony Zimmer
Once you realize what I realized, you will never again want to watch remakes. Yes, I am aware, not all remakes are bad. But so many of them ruin what would have been amazingly pleasurable viewings of foreign films, that the sour taste is hard to compensate for with a few good drops in the ocean…I’m mixing metaphors.
Anthony Zimmer is the original film. And The Tourist is the remake. Guess which one sucked. Guess which one I watched first. I will never forgive Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck for making the great film The Lives of Others which lead me to believe that another film of his might be alright despite the warnings I’d received. Big mistake. Huge.
Zimmer is a superior film, a taught crime thriller. I can only imagine what my perception of the film would have been had I not watched the failed remake first, but I did. So my viewing experience was rather altered, but the first thing that struck me was the difference between Johnny Depp and Yvan Attal. I don’t know who told Depp to act like he did, but it was abysmal. Something like Jack Sparrow meets Peter Sellers. Attal was quiet, unassuming, charming, and instantly relatable. Someone to care for, not laugh at.
Credit also goes to Sophie Marceau who could have puffed her lips out and smiled ambiguously when she should have spoken, but instead was given the chance to turn her part as a romantic interest into an actual character. She, like the rest of the film, had every opportunity to take all the wonderful moments and twist them into the hokey, eye-rolling territory The Tourist found itself swimming in like quicksand. But Marceau’s performance and Jérôme Salle‘s directing made all the right choices leading to some prime moments.
Speaking of Salle — the directing? It’s smart. It’s ahead of you. And it knows what it’s doing. Henckel von Donnersmarck seemed to be piecing together elements like a montage of clips but Salle knows just what to hit and if I had to point out a scene where that was obvious, it would be chase on the giant spiral stair case. The way he uses every element at his disposal to keep the story pushing forward is sharp and witty and renders Anthony Zimmer, in the best way possible, unremakeable.
The Food: Toasted Meatloaf and Mashed Potato Sandwich
Every bit as good as it sounds. Like a cheese burger and fries, together under one bun. Two dinners combine to to form this sandwich and even though it’s a remake of sorts, it is the king of comfort food.
Everyone has a different kind of meatloaf that is the meatloaf for them. Personally, I don’t like a lot of fuss. So I’ll include my quintessential recipe from the BGH cookbook. Modified. Of course.
Preheat oven to 350°. Soak bread crumbs in milk; lightly beat in eggs.
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
In large skillet heat butter until melted and foaming, add vegetables. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook 3 minutes, being careful not to brown.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
Cook and stir until onions are tender and translucent. Stir in grated carrot, garlic and thyme; remove from heat. Cool completely.
1/2 cup carrots, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
In large mixing bowl combine ground meat, cooled vegetables, and bread crumb mixture. Mix well with hands until blended.
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork or turkey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Turn mixture into rectangular baking dish. Using hands, shape into a 9×5-inch loaf. Or make two small loaves. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar. Spoon over top of meat loaf.
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Bake on middle rack for 1 hour or until meat thermometer reaches 155 degrees F. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Everyone does mashed potatoes differently and some people, crazy people, like them from a box. I don’t have a favorite recipe, I just make it depending on the variety of potato I have on hand. So I’ll leave you to sort out your favorite version. You could even use scalloped potatoes and leave out the cheese. I’m not sure any variation would be turned away.
For the leftover sandwich I put down one slice of meatloaf on a chibatta bun, topped with mashed potatoes, and added a slice of cheddar cheese. I broiled it without the top until the cheese was melted and then I set the top in the broiler until it was golden brown.