In a tweet: The world of competitive butter carving rises to the top in director Jim Field Smith’s flick featuring many twisted characters.
What it’s really about: The film follows an overly ambitious woman (Jennifer Garner) who is married to Iowa’s reigning butter-sculpting champ (Ty Burrell) but decides to enter the race on her own when he retires. She’s the favorite until an eight-year-old foster child Destiny (Yara Shahidi) discovers she has an uncanny talent for the odd dairy art. Controversies surround the contest and embroil our characters, taking them to hostile levels they never thought they’d reach in order to win the town’s praise.
Why it’s good: Garner’s win-by-any-means-necessary mentality is splendid and beyond anything we’ve seen her in before. She’s a ticking time bomb that no one can defuse. The on-going and emotional plot with Shahidi’s character feels like it comes from a completely different movie but her charisma creates a heartwarming bridge in a competitively chaotic setting around her. There’s also a noteworthy supporting cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde and Rob Corddry.
How it’ll surprise you: Despite it’s silly premise, the movie is layered with varying storylines to make the 85-minute sit go by quickly. The film also offers a peek inside a subculture of sculpture that few outside of Iowa may even know exists. The actors had to learn knife-sculpting crafts to prepare for filming. Kate Hudson was originally up for Olivia Wilde’s role, but backed out due to time constraints while shooting “Something Borrowed.” Also, Ty Burrell beat out Jim Carrey for the roll of Bob Pickard.
Bonus Points: Butter-sculpturing dates back to the 1890’s. The landscape of the art form was changed in the 1940’s as refrigeration became widely available. This brought a marketing revolution to the American Dairy industry, as they would promote sculpture as a way butter bests alternatives like margarine.
Sate your sweet tooth: Explore the sweet side of Akron after you watch “Butter” by visiting the West Side Bakery. This award-winning bakery offers a wide range of temptation for the desert lover in all of us. When you walk through the door, take a minute and let the rich aroma of cakes, pastries, cupcakes and everything in-between transport you to a delicious paradise of rich flavors that isn’t just tasty, but artistic in design. Owners Steve and Barbara Talevich invaded Pilgrim Square in 1995 and changed the looks and designs locally of how we view this tasty tradition. What I find truly different about their shop is that their menu goes far beyond just deserts, as they have some of the most diverse lunchtime sandwiches that I’ve found in the city.
Film Freak suggestion: Pay a lunch-time visit to enjoy the best of everything they have to offer. Start off with the roasted turkey on ciabatta bread. The homemade bread conquers midday hunger satisfyingly enough but leaves just enough room to treat your palate to the real reason you came here: dessert. Specifically, the New York-style cheesecake. As you enjoy the first bite, expect your mouth to take over and make all of the decisions for you until you finish. The portions for the cheesecake are fair to the customer while also not breaking your wallet. It’s all a sweet deal.