Release Date: July 28th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by THINKfilm.
Directed by Matt Mahurin.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Shopsin’s, a small, family-owned restaurant in the Greenwich Village.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Don’t be put-off by the creepy title because this documentary has much more to it than a chef, Kenny Shopsin, who often swats flies in the kitchen of his family-owned restaurant. Kenny comes across as a lively, outrageously funny and charismatic chef and owner of Shopsin’s. He rarely stops talking and sometimes gets into arguments with customers—and, yes, he does ban some of them like the Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” does for breaking his rules. One such rule is that parties of five or more cannot eat at his restaurant with no exceptions whatsoever. Often, he seems like an R-rated chef with a wicked sense of humor such as when he gives a regular customer her desired order only after she flashes him per his request. She claims it’s the most worthwhile flash she ever gave anyone. You don’t want to know what sexual activity he compares separating the yolk from the egg to. Then there’s the sign on the wall which jokes that all the chefs wear condoms. I Like Killing Flies also includes some tension when Kenny must move his small business to a bigger location not far away which forces him to incur costs which he hopes to make up for in additional revenue—i.e. selling 800 more hamburgers for the $800 fee of cleaning the old restaurant. Director Matt Mahurin does a great job of personally getting to know Kenny, his wife Eve and five children through interviews which humanizes them and helps you to truly care about them. He manages to bring out their honesty on camera so that this film never seems like an advertisement for Shopsin’s. Rather, it’s a fascinating and memorable documentary without a single dull moment during its brief running time of 79 minutes.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Kenny philosophizes about a wide range of topics from sex (hint: he has a Sigmund Freud doll) to politics to the right way of living life, according to him of course. His two most insightful remarks include that people should have faith in everyone, no matter how rich or poor, and should be given equal opportunities because you never know what their future could hold. In other words, rooting for the underdog would be an ethical thing to do in the long run. Also, he says that it’s more realistic and rewarding to tell his children that they are not special rather than set the bar high by calling them special. After all, he claims, celebrities such as Martha Steward are far from special—they might do special things, but they are all just as fallible as every human being on this planet.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Lively, funny and insightful. A truly memorable experience. Not-to-be-missed.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "I" Menu