Paint the town red with the city’s best gas station cuisine and this year’s Oscar-nominated shorts
By Angela Matano
Few things are more representative of L.A. than the Academy Awards and gas stations. Celebrate your city this month with an evening of Oscar-nominated short films at the Landmark’s Nuart Theatre, combined with dinner at The Bombay Frankie Company — across the street inside the Chevron.
Notoriously difficult to find, the 2019 live action and animated shorts announced as nominees on Jan. 22 play for two weeks at the Nuart, from Feb. 8 to Feb. 21. They screen as two separate programs put together by Magnolia Pictures and Shorts HD. Each program features five different films, ranging in length from about seven and a half minutes to almost 30.
The animated pieces, frequently more sophisticated and moving than you might expect, do not disappoint this year. Trevor Jimenez’s “Weekends” tells a poignant tale of a young boy ferried between two houses after his parents’ divorce. The colors in each frame feel dusty, as if lifted from an old, yellowed photo album, the melancholy tone melding perfectly with the look of the film. Another standout, Domee Shi’s “Bao,” also speaks of family — this time from the perspective of a mother facing an empty nest. Light-hearted yet tinged with sadness, the animation bounces around with all the texture of “Q,” or “al dente,” that mysterious “give” that maintains a little chew beneath a soft exterior.
As you might expect, the live action shorts tread even darker ground. Irish writer and director Vincent Lambe’s “Detainment” recounts the heartbreaking true story of a child abduction and murder by two 10-year-old boys. Difficult to watch and controversial in Britain, the film brings up a lot of questions about the role of art and cinema in our lives. Another terrific and tender tale is French-Canadian filmmaker Marianne Farley’s “Marguerite,” a terrific and tender tale. Exploring the relationship between an elderly woman and her caregiver, Farley delves into surprising and fresh territory. Finally, the shocking “Skin” picks up a bit of what “Get Out” put down. Watch it and feel your jaw physically drop.
Whether you choose live action or animation, cap your night off with a trip across Santa Monica Boulevard to The Bombay Frankie Company. While nothing could make you feel less elegant than tripping through a line of gas pumps to get to your meal, it’s also true that nothing could make you feel more like an Angeleno insider. And Bombay Frankie’s is nothing like what you might expect.
On entering the convenience store, ignore the Hostess Chocolate Frosted Donettes and the Pringles Screamin’ Dill Pickle. Instead, make a beeline for the counter to your left and order up from a friendly server at what might be the cleanest restaurant counter in town.
The menu at Bombay Frankie’s skews Indian, but with a bit of California flair. Try a “Frankie,” which is basically an Indian burrito, but instead of a tortilla it comes wrapped in a freshly tandoori-baked naan, paratha
or whole wheat roti. They’re bursting with one of eight protein and vegetable choices. The popular chicken tikka masala Frankie can be augmented with chickpea spread, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, mint chutney, raita and a tamarind drizzle. I recommend a creamy mango lassi to cool your palate between bites.
Eat your Frankie in a bowl if you’re looking to cut carbs, or make your entree vegetarian or vegan with choices such as tandoori paneer (sauce and soft cheese) or aloo gobhi (sweet potato and cauliflower). Samosas and pakoras come with a range of fillings, from fish to beef to potato.
For something smaller, a snack of crispy papadum can be easily sneaked into the movies. Absolutely nothing’s more L.A. than that.
The Bombay Frankie Company is inside the Chevron Gas Station at 11261 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A. Call (310) 444-9241 or visit thebombayfrankie-company.com.
Landmark’s Nuart Theatre is across the street at 11272 Santa Monica Blvd. Call (310) 473-8530 or visit landmarktheatres.com for tickets and show times.