Random question: Did you ever watch Three's Company?
Bourdain: Three's Company, with John Ritter?
Yeah. He was a chef and opened his own restaurant.
Bourdain: Oh, yeah. But I mean, the minute the chef puts the hat on, they are dead to me. Because the chef is the guy without the hat, you know? So whether it's a floppy hat of a coffee filter, it's just like -- unless you're working the buffet at the Hilton, it's already wrong, you know? Somebody on Friends is supposedly a chef, too.
Bourdain: I mean, come on, it's not even worth the words. It was like that terrible film with Adam Sandler -- what was it called? Where they had, like, great chefs literally consulting on it?
Bourdain: Yeah. It was by the guy who did Broadcast News. James L. Brooks did it. He was, you know, a fucking genius as far as I'm concerned. But this movie. Here's a chef and most of the time, he's nowhere near the restaurant. It's like, I don't know what kind of restaurant you're running, bro, but...
Would you ever want to write a movie? I know you worked on Treme.
Bourdain: Some of the happiest work I have ever done -- the most satisfying and fun and, frankly, easy work I have ever done -- is writing for Treme. I loved being part of the writing team. I loved imagining a room and creating dialogue. That was a very happy experience for me. What I'm never going to do, ever, is I'm never going to write a pitch or a screenplay and then go pitching or shopping it. No, if you want me to write dialogue for you, you put me up in the Chateau for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, I'll be your pony, sure. But I'm not out there trying to sell.
I hate plot, anyway. That's not my thing. I see plot as an imposition. It doesn't interest me. I'm all about atmospherics and dialogue makes me happy. So one of the joys of working on Treme was that you work with a whole bunch of other people who would map out an entire season and then there would be bites for me to fill and get us from here to there. How are we going to do that? What do you think would happen? What do you think this character would do? How would they behave? Who would they do it with and what would they say? Well, that's easy. And fun.
What's the best restaurant or bar industry movie ever -- Road House?
Bourdain: Oh, yeah. It is, I watch it every year. Every year I have a Road House party, usually.
Wait -- you do?
Bourdain: Yeah, out at wherever place I am renting in the summer. And I will invite people over. We will drink a lot and we will watch Road House. It is just awesome.
That's amazing. Like the movie.
Bourdain: You can just analyze it forever. It's just peeling back the layers of an onion, you know. The subtext is just so great. When you try to beat up the same guy three times, don't you go get a gun, you know what I'm saying? What the fuck, dude? And what criminal enterprise is [the guy who played] Jackie Treehorn in anyway? I mean, it's all about a fucking Road House -- really? And a used car dealership? He's not even selling meth.
And the bar doesn't seem to be particularly well-run, either.
Bourdain: It's interesting -- it was better before [Dalton arrived]. Like, later on, they are playing Kajagoogoo or something in there. All these people with mullets and horrible puking frat boys and date-rapists. It's like, this is not good. These are the people that you want to keep out of your establishment. Bring back the cowboys. But I love it. And they are remaking it with Ronda Rousey, right?
Bourdain: Oh, I would like to be on that. [Laughs.] I would love to write dialogue for that.
Like if the producers added in kitchen scenes?
Bourdain: Yeah, in a hot second. Are you kidding me? I would do that for anybody. You know, rewrite. Somebody just did a really shitty job on this kitchen movie that we just did. Can you fix the dialogue? Yes, yes, I can. I promise you I can do that. Or you know, write some kitchen scenes for John Wick 4. Fuck, yeah. There's a John Wick 2 coming soon, which I am super-excited about. As a jiu-jitsu guy, it's like crack for me. I think it was the greatest, really, one of the greatest films of last year. It creates its own world. There's no plot, it's perfect. They killed my dog, so I'm going to go kill everybody. That's a plot. It's my kind of plot.
It's like the better version of Taken.
Bourdain: Taken Again? Jesus Christ, you know, it's like a professional kidnap victim, that kid. I can't watch women-in-peril or kids-in-peril movies. I can't do it. I'm physically incapable. I won't watch it. They are just too manipulative, and it works, you know? The wife captured and tied to a chair or the kid. It's just -- aw, dude. And there are scenes, also, like the sleeping child scene, you know? Where he's a bad man, he's killed a lot of people, but there's that scene where he looks longingly at his sleeping son. It's like, come on, man, you know? We get it. We know you've got a soft side. But yeah, I really enjoy that kind of writing. I don't have time to do more, but I would happily do more.
Hired! Thanks for doing this interview. Good times.
Bourdain: Well, thank you. Again, I'm sorry I was so late.
Anthony Bourdain's Appetites: A Cookbook is out now.