By Christopher Trela and Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy
It’s not often we get the chance to write about movies, but with more than 300 films on the schedule of the Newport Beach Film Festival, we thought maybe we’d stumble across one that focused on food.
We were right.
“The Golden Scallop,” which screens twice at the film festival, covers the 43rd annual Golden Scallop Championship, held annually in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The three challengers competing for the coveted Golden Scallop trophy awarded to the restaurant that makes the most – and best tasting – fried fish dishes in a one-hour battle (a la Iron Chef) are two brothers who drive a dilapidated food truck dubbed The Fish Monger, a casual seafood restaurant named The Caped Cod (all waitresses wear capes), and The Happy Hooker restaurant.
No, you won’t find these restaurants on any list of dining options in Cape Cod.
“The Golden Scallop” is a mockumentary, that odd comedic genre that spawned such classics as “This is Spinal Tap,” Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” and “Waiting for Guffman.”
The restaurants are fictitious, as is the competition, but the film’s concept and characters are all-too believable, and also very funny.
Catherine and I were allowed to view the film prior to its festival screening, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. The plot was simple, and offered the opportunity to make fun of the inner workings of the restaurant business while allowing quirky characters to share their stories.
“I thought that the casting was great,” said Catherine. “Each character had a unique personality that was developed throughout the film. I especially enjoyed the Martins (the Fish Monger brothers) and their quirky family dynamic.”
“I loved the French chef that worked for The Caped Cod–as if you need a French-trained chef to make fried seafood,” I added, laughing. “I think what really worked was that all the characters stayed true to themselves, which is what made the film so much fun to watch.”
“I think the film also held true to small towns and their annual contests,” noted Catherine. “Since I grew up in a small town, I can relate to the sense of community and competition that surrounds annual events.”
“I talked to Joseph Laraja, the director of ‘The Golden Scallop,’ and he told me he and the other guys who made the film grew up on Cape Cod, where the main business during the summertime is restaurants,” I explained. “At one time or another, they all worked in seafood restaurants including the popular Friendly Fisherman, and that sparked the idea for the movie.”
“I looked at their Facebook page–the social media campaign is fantastic,” said Catherine. “It includes new video clips by the cast while still in character, plus fun pictures and interesting status updates. It also allows you to get even more out of the film since you can follow their Facebook updates to see more from your favorite characters.”
“I think word about this film has already gotten out–the initial Sunday screening sold out weeks ago, so the film festival added a second date on Tuesday, April 30, at 8:15 p.m. at Fashion Island Cinema,” I told her.
“I know where we’ll be on Tuesday,” she replied.
“Yes–after we enjoy a fried fish dinner!”
For more information on The Golden Scallop, visit Facebook.com/GoldenScallop. For tickets, visit NewportBeachFilmFestival.com.