Pizza! The Movie was an ambitious project to begin with. On the surface making pizza seems simple enough. alright, you make dough with water, yeast, salt and maybe add some olive oil. Stretch out the dough, throw on a little olive oil, some tomatoes, some cheese and pepperoni or whatever. It’s easy. Right?
Not so to anyone who has made pizza from the heart, and certainly not for someone who makes a movie with heart about pizza. Pizza! The Movie will not be all things to all people. The film does not pretend to be. There will be pizza fans who are disappointed. After all fimmaker Michael Dorian had to narrow his focus.
Dorian has done an excellent job of hitting all of the high spots of pizza. He tackles New York Pizza, Neapolitan pizza and Pepe’s pizza. He discusses Chicago Deep Dish pizza. He uncovers the Chicago Deep Dish controversy. He travels the country from end to end searching out snippets and facts about the pizza culture.He interviews Peter Reinhart of American Pie, he talks to Chris Bianco, of Pizzeria Bianco, I even noticed Gary Bimonte of Pepe’s comparing good pizza to a home-run.
He touches on Pizza Delivery Drivers, featuring a clip from another movie about Pizza Delivery Drivers. He talks to pizza fans of all ethnic flavors and tastes. Dorian left no pizza box unopened or pizza pie untasted.
He uncovers several myths and tales about pizza. One of the brightest moments of the film is an uncensored interview with Ed LaDou, the inventor of California pizza. LaDou was the unsung creator of Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza as well as the creator of the menu for California Pizza Kitchen. Ed LaDou is truly one the Legends of Pizza. Both Puck and the owners of CPK, understandably, declined to be interviewed for this film.
Dorian, however, needed a focus, to pull the movie together. The stage is set, the lights are dimmed. Enter Tony Gemignani, five time World Champion Pizza Thrower, owner of Pyzano’s of California and head of the U.S. Pizza Team. Tony’s struggles are chronicled as he faces a major dispute in a Pizza Tossing Championship. The drama unfolds as the two major pizza magazines of the pizza industry (PMQ and Pizza Today) are pitted against one another.
We follow Tony and his new team The World Pizza Champions to Italy to compete against other countries in Pizza Tossing, dough stretching and other pizza realted events. Tony shows his passion and emotions for all things pizza.
This is a must see film for anyone who ever enjoyed a pizza. This film captures the taste and essence of pizza right up to the end. The use of Joe Dolce’s incredible anthem “Pizza, Pizza”, for the closing credits, is a clever addition.
My only complaint: Dorian should rename the film Pizza! The Movie, Volume Number 1
I am sure there is enough material left on the cutting room floor for several other Pizza! The Movies, Volumes 2,3,4 and 5! I can’t wait. Pizza on Earth…
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