The place where pizza comes to be written about

Movie And A Pizza #3.1: Martin Daubney on Mr Mom and a Pizza Pan Milano

Pete says: This week’s M&AP is a guest drop from Mr Martin Daubney, former Loaded editor and a man who arguably knowns more about mid-1980s high-concept comedy than anyone in the civilised world…

“Mmm, pizza make anything in the entire world better” is the kind of throwaway comment that disciples of the crust might casually grenade into an anodyne social gathering, as their fangs sink into yet another magmatic Pepperoni Passion.

But is there any truth in it?

Well, I, for one, think so. Several years ago I found that the funeral of a particularly fond Auntie was definitely uplifted by the welcome presence of a tepid, soggy, previously frozen (and decidedly 1970s) McCain’s French bread pizza nestling amongst the otherwise tawdry post-crematorium buffet. But what about the ultimate challenge: can pizza give much-needed open heart surgery to an item of light entertainment starring Michael Keaton?

I obliquely refer to Mr Mom, a family movie that has offended every atom of man’s being since it was spawned in 1983. Bulimic, vanilla, toe-curlingly predictable and up there with enforced gang rape as a way of whiling away a winter’s eve – or so you’d think. You know the deal – high-flyer loses his job and becomes a stay-at-home dad, missus goes back to work, all kinds of domesticated/scatological high-jinx ensues, yada yada yada. I fully expected to abjectly hate it – but, with the addition of piping hot pizza and a good glass of claret, didn’t. In fact, as a fully-bearded, bungling Keaton became addicted to daytime soap operas and threw a wives-only poker school, all the time popping those yummy old cans of Bud with the proper ring pulls, smoking heavily and chewing endless, blatantly product-placed Dominos – for this is a great pizza movie in every sense – I found myself seeing a little of me in him. More, I genuinely liked the guy.

When Keaton was attacked by a runaway vacuum cleaner to the Jaws theme, then played out a slo-mo pastiche of Chariots Of Fire at the wife’s boss’s sports day, me and the missus were thoroughly hooked. And when his errant washing machine “attacked” the cable guy, we concurred that we enjoyed Mr Mom ten times more than the previous night’s flick, the Oscar-nominated yet frankly cancerous The Tree Of Life starring pompous arse trumpet Brad Pitt.

So, to the pizza. Inspired by Pete and Rosie’s “keep it local” sentiment [editor’s note – Rosie and myself don’t actually have one of these at all, we would much rather order from Papa John’s or Dominos and have done with it, as we are essentially simple folk, albeit two very attractive ones], I worriedly eschewed my usual no-brainer Dominos Chicken Combo Meal and ventured 100 worrisome yards to Pizza Pan in East Dulwich. Ordinarily, PP’s chances of luring passing custom is mortally wounded from being nestled betwixt a fragrantly odorous curry house called Gandhi’s – the name itself is usually enough to tempt the comedy drunk in out of the cold, unforgiving SE22 night – and the Yee Wah, a great, cheap, deliciously dirty Chinese.

But duty beckoned, and PP does benefit from being opposite The Clock House, an inoffensive Young’s boozer that keeps good keg ale. You give the PP boys your mobile number, then swig a pint of Ordinary while you clasp your blower and feverishly await their “Mr Martin, pizza, it is ready” call. Surely, this is technology at its finest. Being a Monday, the PP boys threw in some free spicy chicken wings…

Free wings! FREE WINGS!

…Microwaved to the point of nearly setting fire, anaemic and worthy of weird Latin nomenclature, they were greasy, translucent and unremittingly awful. More rattus rattus then peri peri, they looked strangely mummified, and might have appealed if your name was Baldrick, or you were on death row. They were angrily slam-dunked into the trash afore the opening credits of Mr Mom had even rolled. Tragically, PP’s wings were worse than Paul McCartney’s – and about as welcome as finding a human stool in your bread bin the day after you’ve been burgled.

But what pizza to go with this flick? Erroneously but amusingly figuring Michael Keaton is probably of Italian descent, I opted for the Milano (that’s actually the very pizza in the above picture), which was basically a work experience meat feast, lathered in those strange, frozen veggies that obviously come from a cavernous sack from Iceland. The “Italian crust” was halfway between a thin and medium crust, and was chewy to the point of needing a good tug of the head to bite a slice in half.

It was genuinely an insult to the pizza kingdom, and, at £18 for uno Milano and a margherita for the missus, it was the best advert in Christendom for having Dominos on your speed-dial. Like unfulfilling sex with a semi-drunk ex, it lacked substance, left me feeling strangely empty, and, the next morning as the sad, greasy box haunted me of my foul error, I caught sight of myself in the fridge door and made a hopeful, silent promise to never, ever stray again.


THE FILM: Amazingly, I’m giving it a 7.5 out of ten. Say what you like about Keaton, he’s a pro, and the big-bucks Aaron Spelling production values polished this turd to a mirror finish.

THE PIZZA: Maximum 4/10, and the sides were inedible. Lousy pizza, decent family flick. Life, huh? Ain’t it full of surprises?

Martin perpetually has a lovely bunch of coconuts


Filed under: Guest drops, Movie And A Pizza

One Response

  1. gobblemonkey says:

    Michael Keaton is the best actor of his generation – extremely underrated.

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