Tampopo is a 1985 Japanese film directed by Juzo Itami, starring Tsutomu Yamazaki and Ken Watanabe. A sketch comedy revolving around food, it's main narrative involves a pair of truck drivers, one dressed like a cowboy, who take it upon themselves to revitalize the eponymous character's failing ramen shop. Another bit involves a white-suited Yakuza and his mistress engaging in food play. Beyond that, there's a man who teaches the proper method of eating ramen, managers getting upstaged by a subordinate at a French restaurant, spaghetti slurping, homeless foodies, trips to the dentist, an old woman who wrecks a grocer's produce, a pickpocket who loves peking duck, and a dying housewife who prepares one last meal for her family.The film was popular overseas in the late-'80s art house circuit, and many ramen shops claim to have been inspired by it.
This work contains the following tropes:
- All Just a Dream: The other shop breaking in and attacking Tampopo.
- Bar Brawl: Takes place offscreen.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: What the hell are they doing with that poor crayfish?
- Black Comedy: The scene with the man and his sick wife certainly qualifies.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The yakuza at the beginning.
- Defeat Means Friendship:
- After Pisken and Goro fight one last time, they end up as friends.
- Tabo beats up the three kids who've been picking on him, and they end the movie going off together as friends.
- Food Porn: A literal example as well as a figurative one. Let's just say this movie will make you hungry.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: Besides the main plotline (and the one about the yakuza and his mistress), there are a few other miniature plots that revolve around food, such as the Ramen Slurp sketch.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: How Goro and Pisken fight.
- Homage: Various westerns, notably Shane.
- It Always Rains At Shootouts: When the white-suited yakuza is killed.
- Lighthearted Rematch: After the Bar Brawl, Pisken asks for a rematch. He felt sorry for not fighting Goro one on one, and they spar again leading to Defeat Means Friendship.
- Man in White: The Yakuza character.
- Nice Hat: Goro's cowboy hat. He even wears it in the bath!
- Overcomplicated Menu Order: There's a scene where a bunch of businessmen visit a French restaurant. Each person defers up the ladder of seniority until the CEO of the company orders (something bland and safe for people new to French cuisine, as I recall.) Each person down the chain of command promptly orders the same thing—except the most junior executive. He turns out to be an expert on French food, and makes a complex order that thrills the waiter, but embarrasses the heck out of everyone else.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The movie uses Mahler in several places. Also Liszt.
- Ramen Slurp: A sketch revolves around it.
- Serious Business: The preparation and consumption of food, as most of the characters see it.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Tampopo in the chef's outfit.
- Stealth Based Omelette Making: Yep, omelette making.
- Training Montage: Parodied with ramen making.
- White Shirt of Death: When the yakuza is shot.
- Widget Movie It's a western. About ramen.
- Yakuza: One of the major characters.
- Yum Yum: The crawfish scene.