By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Food is a great democratizer. You can find bites equally as perfect in their own ways at the finest Parisian restaurants and the smallest street corner taco stands.
Keep your filet mignon. Give me dat street meat!
Jonathan Gold was one of the first and is probably the preeminent proponent of that philosophy, and Los Angeles is his playground- a food critic’s La La Land. City of Gold explores his relationship with the city in which he lives, writes, and most importantly, eats.
This documentary seems unprepossessing, but has quite a bit on its mind. First we have a pretty standard sketch of the food critic that arguably did more than any other to elevate that medium into an art form, even winning a Pulitzer, and it’s a well done profile.
Greater than that, though, is Gold’s, and hence the film’s, goal of profiling Los Angeles’s vibrant mix of cuisines and cultures, the ways in which they’ve shaped the city’s history, even the way in which they reflect our nation’s history, which too many forget is utterly and completely a history of immigration and culture clash and double-ended assimilation.
Maybe we should build a wall…
Watching this, yes, you will see a stunning array of foods that will make your trigger finger twitch on plane tickets to Los Angeles this weekend, but more importantly you will see the empathy that the saliva forming in the corners of your mouth betrays in you whatever your biases or fears say to the contrary. Give into that feeling.
As awesome as it is to spend time with this man, and visit yet another mouthwatering hole in the wall joint, City of Gold can definitely meander from time to time in search of its next nugget of wisdom. At only 86 minutes, it’s forgivable, but there’s arguably an even tighter film in there.
Jonathan Gold’s poor working habits/self-imposed writer’s block just isn’t terribly interesting. If these are the only warts you can find for your “warts and all” piece, it’s probably fine to apply a little foundation and forget about it.
I’m sitting on another five reviews to write, but nobody’s making a documentary about me…
City of Gold is a love letter to Los Angeles, a city that encompasses a world of flavors, and the world of people that make it up.
City of Gold (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for each new cuisine you see
Take a Drink: whenever anyone stands in awe of being with with the Jonathan Gold
Take a Drink: for long lines or celebrity sightings
Take a Drink: for other interviewed food personalities
Do a Shot: to chase away those sharp pangs of hunger