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Showing 1-10 of 122 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 200 reviews
on September 6, 2014
This is one of those quirky movies that it seems only the Japanese can make. The film publicity calls it the first ramen western, riffing on the term spaghetti western, and is true to that for if you watch there are many western tropes, from the hat the 'hero' wears to the atmosphere, and, most amusingly, the last scene.

The main story is how a truck driving drifter and his buddy (Ken Watanabe in an early role), for reasons never really explained, become involved with the widowed proprietress of a noodle shop, a really bad noodle shop. This principal story is essentially a Cinderella story and is sweet to watch.

There are several vignettes along the way that have nothing to do with the principal story, all one-shot episodes 3-5 minutes but all focused somehow on food. There is one repeating vignette starring Koji Yakusho, who is described as an elegant gangster in a white suit and hat. He is most often with his girlfriend, the episodes are almost pornographic (so young children may need thier eyes covered, <snicker>) yet they also are moving in their way.

The actors are fun to watch, not only for the generally good acting but also because of who they are; Ken Watanabe, Koji Yakusho, Nobuko Miyamoto, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Toshiya Fujita - think Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, a young Brad Pitt, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro all doing a low budget film basically for the hell of it.

The movie is a paen to food and to eating. It's funny, heart warming and occasionally tear-inducing. Just remember when watching that these people are not American and that as such they don't have American sensibilities and reactions. But this is well worth watching.
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on August 22, 2017
I saw this film in 1987 on cable and thoroughly enjoyed it. I wore out my VHS copy and jumped on the DVD when I finally found it online. Not many pressings as it was only appreciated by a few. I was hoping for Blu-ray but didn't think it would ever happen given the small following. Criterion has come through with an excellent DVD to Blu-ray transfer, as they do with all in their collection. The film is Itami Juzo's masterpiece. What really makes this worthwhile is Criterion's new addition of some supplements, the best being The Making of Tampopo narrated by the director. Its a nice snapshot into the mindset of a master at work. Sadly, he's not with us anymore.

The other supplements will give you an idea of why real ramen is a national obsession. I've been to Japan many, many times (10) and trying out the different shops is always a priority of any trip. Thousands, and there is even a ramen museum that re-creates post war Tokyo backstreets with different shops from all over Japan. You will never view those crappy, cheap instant noodles as ramen ever again.

Thank you Criterion. Now if you could just transfer all of Itami-san's other films.....
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on October 28, 2016
I have watched this movie five times and i am not tired of it yet. Hilarious. Tank truck driver rides in and saves the woman noodle shop owner. That would be enough but there are several side stories of equal heart felt humor. A classic. I make my friends watch it and they thank me.
Nakamura, I love you. Make more.
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on June 27, 2017
Tampopo is one of my very favorite movies, and this wonderful Criterion blu-ray release finally does it justice. I love everything about this release, and can't recommend it highly enough. If you love Tampopo, you are apt to really enjoy this blu-ray. Its extras include a 90-minute "Making Of" that is highly interesting, a 22-minute short on Tampopo's influence on food culture, and more.
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on September 17, 2017
Movie arrived in good condition. As to the art of it, I can't imagine a more charming, precise, and entertaining movie about Japanese cuisine and Japan's love affair with food. The main character is the John Wayne of soup.

Love it!!
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on March 11, 2017
This is one of the funniest movies ever made. It's a western... set in Tokyo... about noodles. For real. It's hilarious. (Not for children - there's a fairly graphic sex scene in the middle of the movie. Be aware.)
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on January 19, 2015
I first saw this movie back when it was released in the 80's, and always wanted to own it. The DVD picture and sound are both nice and clear, and the movie itself did not lose its appeal over time. There are definitely some differences in the storytelling compared to an American movie, but the glimpse into Japanese culture is fascinating, and the acting is very engaging. Definitely re-watchable.
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on July 13, 2017
Food porn has never looked so good. And I love the underlying story of the noodle shop in dire peril! Clint Eastwood could have made this film! (okay maybe not, but he SHOULD have. :-D )
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on March 4, 2013
I saw this movie in the theater when it was first released. It's an interesting mishmash send-up of movie genres, tied together with a compelling story with heart. Initially, it is sending up the idea of a spaghetti western ... a ramen western, get it? But gangster movies are referenced, along with old Hollywood romances. There is even a short sequence with a Chaplinesque hobo making a perfect omelet. Several old-time Japanese movie stars show up in cameo performances, along with Japanese favorites of the time- including a very young Ken Watanabe.
Some of the humor might be lost on western- cultured audiences as there are sly references to Japanese rites and cultural rituals. A good example is a scene where a gourmet -loving group of homeless folk talk about and rate different vintages of bordeaux wines - a western- cultured snobbishness being chided good-naturedly. Then, as the old 'master' of the group is leaving, the homeless encampment stands up as one and sings to the master. Turns out, the song is traditionally sung by high school seniors at graduations in Japan, as a thank-you to the teachers... I only know this, as my husband chuckled and nodded knowingly at the moment (he matriculated in Japan...)
I have to say that the movie didn't seem dated at all, and the r-rated food/nudity scenes seem as shocking/gross/ funny as they were the first time I saw them.... A great date night movie- make up a bunch of pasta ( be sure to save an egg or two for later...) and enjoy, with a very good bordeaux....
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on January 31, 2001
This is one of my favorite food-based movies. In this movie, the food truely takes the center stage. The main plot centers around Tampopo, a woman running a small noodle soup shop, trying to improve the quality of her noodles & soup. She is taught by a collection of noodle-experts from the unlikiest walks of life: a truck driver, a homeless noodle master, etc.
The scene where the truck driver is coaching and timing her with a stopwatch (like an olympian in training) as she prepares food is one of several hilarious scenes in the movie. Her actions and expressions are great! You may find yourself going back to re-watch a couple of the sequences after you finish the movie -- they are quite funny.
Another scene shows a noodle-master teaching an apprentice the art of eating a bowl of noodles - very funny.
As a aside, Tampopo actually makes some excellent examples throughout the movie about customer service in general, knowing your customers, studying your competition. For example, the truck driver points out that she should look at each customer entering her restaurant to figure out whether the person is in a hurry, being leisurely, etc. And when the customer finishes, is there any soup left, why?
Another good sequence is when one of her competitors discovers that she and the trucker have not finished eating their soup, is insulted, and confronts them.
The subplots also all center around food in different settings ranging from: a business meeting, a hobo breaking into a restaurant in order to cook a gourmet omelet, women being taught how to eat noodles when visiting a foreign country, and an especially sensual sequence of the use of food in the bedroom.
The sensual food use was quite sensual and well done, if not somewhat bizarre. These sequences involve some brief nudity, but are quite suggestive and very well done as such. But, this is also the reason I'm giving the movie 4 stars... I know you can't (and shouldn't) make a movie that appeals to all audiences, but in this case the sensual food use is not pivotal to the main storyline and will likely prevent some people (and kids) from watching or enjoying the whole movie, even though they would have enjoyed it otherwise. I liked the whole movie very much, but I've found myself somewhat selective in which sets of friends I loan the DVD to due to these (short) sequences.
If you've seen A Taxing Woman and thought it was just ok (me too), don't let that stop you from giving Tampopo a try. I found Tampopo quite different and much funnier. If you liked A Taxing Woman then you are sure to like Tampopo.
I will certainly watch, enjoy, and laugh at Tampopo again in the future.
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