Raiders of the Lost Ark
Every time I sit down to try and write about what makes “Raiders” such an incredible accomplishment in cinema I find myself stumbling to zero in on the specifics, but only because I can’t just say “everything.”
Although I suppose I could. Because it’s true. It’s Harrison Ford giving us the performance of an era, delivering a character so iconic people can simply glimpse his silhouette and know precisely who they’re looking at. It’s John Williams’ score that has been imitated and spoofed and ripped off so many times it’s easy to forget just how note-perfect it is and how much of the film’s identity it helped define.
It’s the confidence in Steven Spielberg’s direction, which came at just the right time in his career, when he was skilled enough to take on a project of this scale, but still young enough to take chances and be bold in his choices. It’s the perfection of Spielberg’s casting choices, giving the film texture with an incredible lineup of actors in supporting roles. John Rhys-Davies, Karen Allen, Ronald Lacey, Denholm Elliot, Paul Freeman, Alfred Molina, Wolf Kahler, all perfect.
It’s the iconic (yes, iconic) sound design by Ben Burtt. No other movie has punches that smack, guns that pound or whips that crack with the cadence and impact that “Raiders does.”
I had the rare opportunity to see this in IMAX last summer and it was the experience of a lifetime and only further cemented that “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is magic, plain and simple.
— Stewart Smith
Ultimate Spaghetti & Meatballs
During filming virtually the entire cast and crew were sick with food poisoning. The only person who remained unscathed was director Steven Spielberg. It is thought that he avoided illness by eating only the food he brought with him from the United States — which primarily consisted of dozens of cans of Spaghetti-O’s.
So instead of offering a recipe from Tunisia, or for that matter Egypt, I am sticking with a classic dish to go with a classic movie.
Enjoy, just as Spielberg probably would, the ultimate spaghetti and meatballs.
— Christine Gardner, Food Editor
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup milk
4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups good quality jarred marinara sauce
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
1 pound spaghetti
Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool. Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan - you’ll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don’t overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into 10 equal pieces and shape them into 10 nice looking meatballs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over. Shower with the mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour on the rest of the sauce and mix well. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately along with extra cheese.
Recipe from “Tyler’s Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time” by Tyler Florence