Papa John's Icelandic Oasis: THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

Saturday, December 28, 2013

In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter (Ben Stiller) is an exceedingly regular kinda guy, with 15 years at Life Magazine, working with photo negatives in a dark archival room, along side a nice, but overweight, equally dorky guy (Adrian Martinez).  Like most of us who are still looking for love in our late 30's and 40's, we find ourselves spending a lot of time with siblings and our parents, and in my case a 70 year-old aunt. In Walter's case a sister (Kathryn Hahn) still holding on to low level acting aspirations and a mother (Shirley MacLaine) who needs help moving into a retirement community.

At the beginning of the movie Walter's idea of bravery is to step out and join eHarmony so that he can send a wink to a new employee at work, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) after overhearing the object of his office crush is currently active on the dating site. Only this wink never goes through, prompting Walter to call eHarmony and speak to a rep, which becomes an amusing running gag throughout the movie.  It was driving me crazy, by the way, trying to figure out who the actor was behind the eHarmony rep voice - Patton Oswalt from King of Queens, which makes sense that he'd know Ben Stiller after working with Stiller's dad, Jerry Stiller all those seasons.

Video below one of my favorite songs, which is featured in the movie - David Bowie - Space Oddity (stereo version)

Anyway, if you didn't already know, you've probably heard by now,  the main plot of the movie is based on a short story of the same name, which appeared in The New Yorker in 1939 by James Thurber, about a meek, mild-mannered man who leads a vivid fantasy life.  Most of us keep our imaginative dreams and fantasies to the confines of our beds before rising, the shower or perhaps on our commute to work.  Walter's fantasies just take over to the point that others around him wonder why he's simply staring off into space for long periods of time.  A quirk that far from endears him to his new, snarky boss (Adam Scott) sent to manage the transition of Life Magazine from a newsstand publication to an online magazine.

The final print edition of the magazine hinges on the cover photo shot by the magazine's most honored and esoteric photographer (Sean Penn) who declares the picture to be the "Quintessence" of Life. And what image would represent the Quintessence of life? No one knows as the negative didn't arrive with the rest of the roll of film. The movie really takes off, when Walter leaves his fantasies behind and embraces real adventure in search of this elusive photographer in hopes of securing the photo.

I really enjoyed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I came out of the theater thinking the movie was damn near perfect. But then I read a review which criticized all the product placement - Papa Johns, Cinnabon (good food in film moments) and eHarmony.   This reviewer also felt Thurber's original story is not being served in director Ben Stiller and writer Steve Conrad's movie.  Then he points out there's no actual chemistry between Stiller and Wiig. He sums the movie up by saying -  As watchable as his movie is, it’s hard to discern exactly what Stiller is trying to say. Walter literally evolves from meek wallflower to heroic adventurer over the course of a week, and the ultimate result is a date with a girl who seemed to like him just fine before the feats of derring-do...  Jeff Meyers MetroTimes

Tinsel & Tine Summation

Perhaps Jeff makes some good points, but even he had to admit the movie is watchable, and that it is! It's a film that really takes you along for the ride. I liked the clever visuals in signage, the gorgeous landscape shots and it's inspiring to see Mitty/Stiller's face completely change and come alive with exuberance and robust pride as one adventure follows the next.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty makes you wish you could shed all fear of the unknown and follow Life Magazine's motto:
“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.”

T &T's LAMB Score: 4 outta 5 

Around the Web

A FREE audio of Stiller reading and commenting on Thurber's story can be downloaded at 


While You're Here Check Out This Recent Post

American Hustle: Amy Adams shows a lot of cleavage in this movie, almost every Bob Mackie-ish outfit has a deep plunging V. If her breast were of a darker hue, you wouldn't be able to distinguish them from mine. Which is not a compliment to either of us, we both need a boob job. She however, has her acting talent to fall back on. As Sydney/Lady Edith, Adams has to walk a thin line between love and self-preservation... 

Philly Events Calendar

ADD YOUR EVENT for FREE! - which includes SOCIAL MEDIA BLASTS!  Click AGENDA VIEW to see complete list of happenings.

Featured Post


Tinsel & Tine Winners for Preview Screening Contest Guest on The LAMB Podcast Lambcast #470: CAPTAIN MARVEL w/ Rich Kirkh...

Food n Film: BURNT

Food n Film: BURNT
Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too! READ POST

Food n Film: CHEF

Food n Film: CHEF
Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST


The key to deciphering both the city it beautifully depicts and the man who eats it best - City of Gold

By Tinsel & Tine Contributor Denine Gorniak (The Bicycle-Chef)

What Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times food critic/writer, has done for food writing journalism and for the restaurants that he loves, the movie, City of Gold has done for Jonathan Gold and Los Angeles and its surrounding environs – it has planted taco covered kisses on them... READ POST

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT
If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE


...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA
Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST


With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

Food n Film: WAITRESS
In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST


Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST


I participated in WalkMS Philly on 4/30/16
Thank you to the readers who donated to the cause - It's not too late to support! Click badge below

15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

Tinsel & Tine on

Tinsel & Tine on
Really love this platform, you feature your stuff and other people's stuff you follow, and it all configures like the front page of a newspaper. Click to see what I mean

Visit Our YouTube Channel

Visit Our YouTube Channel
View Q & A's with visiting Filmmakers to Philly

Philly Food and Film

Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.


Cross Content Blogs


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tinsel & Tine was nominated for a VBA



group of 10,000 women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments

Women Online

The Blogstress Network

The Blogstress Network
Female Bloggers Unite

Contributor from 2010 - 2012

About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

Camera Tips


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP