Where is My Ramen Girl? I Do Not Have One, So the Ramen Girl Movie Will Have to Do.

For a movie about ramen to have come out in 2008, I give this movie “extra chashu” (praise worthy) for that.

This movie is not a complete joke because not only did it come out in 2008, but it felt like they legitimately put in a solid effort. Yea I know, you’re skeptical because you’re in the future, in 2020. 12 years later when the vast majority of movies are all about spandex wearing superheroes, reboots, prequels are sequels, and sequels are rehashes although I will give you a few reasons why I think this movie deserves a watch.

Photo Description: the Ramen Girl movie 2008 poster art has Brittany Murphy in a red kimono, with golden circular accents, and she has her hands in a praying posture with her red high heels set in front of her. The caption says "her romance is on pins and noodles."
Lame, but don’t judge a movie by the poster art.

How did this movie ever come about?

Is this a passion project because it seems like an obscure story/script to have been attempted, and I unfortunately could not find any additional information on how or why. Well who knows how it came about, and you just might want to watch it because Anthony Bourdain saw it which is good enough reason for me.

The basics about the Ramen Girl movie

  • This is one of the last movies Brittany Murphy appeared in prior to her death on December 20th, 2009. She died of pneumonia at the age of 32 years old.
  • Brittany Murphy not only played the role of Abby, but she was also a producer on Ramen Girl. Although there were a Japanese producers from Yoko Narahashi (Last Samurai), Masafumi Odawara (executive producer), and Kimio Kataoka, along with Cleve Landsberg, Stewart Hall, and Robert Allan Ackerman.
  • The screenplay is by Becca Topol: she doesn’t have a lot of big name projects to her name although she has written for a lot of TV. Mostly TV movies and a few series such as Mira, Royal Detectives, Wicked Mom’s Club, Psycho in-Law, Sugar Babies, to Elena of Avalor.
  • Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman: Brooklyn born dude, and the height of his career is this movie. After it, not much comes up after 2008 (I had to research if he died… he didn’t).
  • Budget 32 million.

You probably have seen Brittany Murphy in:

  • Abandoned (2010)
  • King of the Hill (1997-2010)
  • Futurama (2008)
  • Happy Feet (2006)
  • Sin City (2005)
  • 8 Mile (2002)
  • Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
  • Girl, Interrupted (1999)
  • Clueless (1995….got to love this one)

Just to name a few movies.

Don’t Expect a Whole Lot Out of Me in Terms of a Movie Review, But:

  • I love movies.
  • I don’t record a video on my phone, and say I’m filming because it’s not film (I deserve points for knowing that).
  • I love Blade Runner 2049, and the Avengers: Infinity War bored me. That ought to give you an idea of my tastes.
  • I subscribe to Red Letter Media, Chris Stuckmann, and a half dozen of other movie reviewers, but the extent of my feedback will be “I liked it” to “it sucked.”

Why It Sucked

  • The story/plot sucks.
  • Dumb romance subplot was really not needed.
  • She left a bottle balancing on her balcony rail that she used as an ashtray (I had to throw this one in).
  • She’s the successor, but how so?
  • Peppers, corn, and tomato (maybe for hiyashi chuka).

Why Ramen Girl Is Worth the Watch

  • They use some legitimate ingredients/processes in the movie. If you do not think that right there is cool, try naming an American movie or any show that can even come close to depicting how actual Japanese ramen is produced (they show a shoyu ramen, but the soup stock is tonkotsu and chicken).
  • A lot of footage was shot in Japan which looks to be more than what the Fast’n’Furious Tokyo Drift had in it, and I can not help but to compare the two movies. A movie that came out around the same time as Ramen Girl in 2006. The only movie on par with Ramen Girl with having Japan as a backdrop would have been Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation which came out in 2003.
  • The relationship between Chef Maezumi (Toshiyuki Nishida, the same actor who played Goro in Tampopo) and his wife Reiko (Kimiko Yo) carries the entire movie.
  • They have quite a few Japanese actors, oh and yes, Sohee Park is a Japanese actor even if he is ethnically Korean, so they put to shame the amount of Japanese cast they had compared to Tokyo Drift which had almost no main leads. Unless you consider “women at Boswell’s apartment,” “Toshi at underground garage,” “math teacher” and about a dozen extra’s as an extensive Japanese cast.
  • They don’t hold back on speaking Japanese: the use of the word “Tokyo” is the most Japanese spoken in Tokyo Drift, but it’s ridiculous how they produced/wrote a movie where the main protagonist never learns to speak Japanese (in over a year), and her teacher, the owner of the ramen ya doesn’t understand English. Yet, they don’t come up with a miraculous plot where they can all of a sudden understand each other (I suppose learning ramen is supposed to be transcendent regardless of language, hahahaha).
  • Culturally, they do capture aspects of the Japanese culture such as the mentality of trying to produce the best bowl of ramen possible.
  • Anthony Bourdain watched it, and if he did, how could you not watch it. On his show No Reservations when he was in Hokkaido he mentions that he saw the movie (yea, I found a 2 min clip where he mentions it).

Where to Watch the Ramen Girl

Other Ramen Related Movies or Documentaries to Watch

  • Tampopo – this movie is a classic and if you love food, you have to watch it (it’s not just about ramen, but food culture).
  • Ramen Heads – a ramen documentary of some of the top producers in Japan, so if you are a “ramen head” it’s a must.

Other Trivia

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