And then, at last: relief
It only seemed fitting that the final film I put on for the industry folk was Chef, and for the first time all day, they are silent and engaged. During the original conversation between the owner, played by Dustin Hoffman, and Favreau, the chef, I saw several of them nodding. "This owner-chef thing, this exists," said Sam. "I've seen this conversation."
Minutes later, when it became clear that hostess Scarlett Johansson and Favreau were hooking up, there were more nods. "Oh, this happens all the time," said Sarah. "Super-hot, way out-of-his-league hostess sleeping with the old and chubby chef. Classic move."
My optimism grew with each silent nod. But just as I wrote in my notes, "it seems like everyone is very invested," Favreau quits the kitchen and goes on the road with his son and buddy, interest dies, and sarcastic side banter resumes.
Also, people started getting ready to go to their own restaurants. As Sam prepared to leave, he grabbed an extra bagel off the counter and studied it suspiciously. When I asked his final thoughts, they were tempered. "I mean, for 20 minutes in the kitchen, they were getting things right," he allowed tentatively, stuffing a hunk of bagel in his mouth. "Just imagine if someone figures out how to do it for a whole movie."