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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

I Like Killing Flies
Directed by Matt Mahurin
New Video Group, Inc. 07/06 DVD/VHS Documentary
R - pervasive language

It is so wonderful to come across one of those rare individuals who love their work and never look at it other than as a form of pleasure and play. Meet Kenny Shopshin, the cook and owner of a beloved Greenwich Village restaurant he runs with his wife Eve and five kids. Over 32 years, he has built up a loyal group of customers who revel in the variety of choices from over 900 items on the menu. Breakfast is his specialty — he offers more than 200 different kinds of pancakes! Shopkin doesn’t like to repeat himself so people who eat in his establishment need to be aware that no two people should order the same food. There are other rules as well: no party of five will ever be seated, and cell phones are forbidden.

Shopsin is a madcap raconteur with stories and wacky commentaries about the Sixties, insights on Freudian psychology, and the challenge of killing high-flying flies. He faces a major challenge when he loses his lease and is forced to consider moving to a new place. He doesn't want to leave the cramped space which is filled with fond memorabilia, tons of memories, and his homemade solutions for dripping faucets and uncooperative refrigerators. Although his long-suffering wife and children are used to his temper tantrums and rants, these behaviors sometimes rub other people the wrong way. No matter. Shopsin's philosophy is that the customers aren't always right, and they must prove themselves to him before they can become regulars at his tables. Their reward: comfort food creatively offered to those seeking a shelter from the storm of pressure known as Manhattan.

Director Matt Mahurin is a regular at Shopsin's, and he has given us an entertaining portrait of an idiosyncratic man who reigns in his kitchen as a consummate performance artist. It is very appealing to see a man who has ball doing what he does. Our hats go off to Mahurin for paying tribute to this hard worker with a flare for making people happy.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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