In the labyrinthine streets of New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood, where cobblestone alleys and historic brownstones coexist with sleek skyscrapers, an Italian trattoria quietly hums with the rhythms of life. Here, the arts converge with human drama in a way that could only be captured by the visionary filmmaker Bob Giraldi. As we step into the world of “Dinner Rush,” Giraldi’s 2000 independent feature film, we are welcomed into the vibrant and tumultuous microcosm of Gigino Trattoria, a restaurant steeped in history and secrets. Now available to stream on Apple TV, “Dinner Rush” offers viewers an immersive experience, blending sumptuous gastronomy with an adventurous narrative, all against the backdrop of New York’s frenetic energy.
Before we delve into the intricacies of “Dinner Rush,” let’s savor a taste of Bob Giraldi’s illustrious career. As a director, Giraldi’s visual storytelling prowess has left an indelible mark on multiple mediums, from music videos to commercials. In an industry where innovation is paramount, Giraldi set the tone for music videos during the early days of MTV. His most iconic creation, Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” was a groundbreaking masterpiece that resonated with audiences worldwide. Giraldi’s ability to seamlessly blend music and narrative was further showcased in videos for artists like Pat Benatar, Paul McCartney, and Lionel Richie.
Music videos include “Beat It,” Michael Jackson; “Say, Say, Say,” Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney; “Just the Two of Us,” Will Smith; “Love is a Battlefield,” Pat Benatar; “Hello” and “Running with the Night,” Lionel Richie; “Loaded,” Ricky Martin; “Don’t Drive Drunk,” Stevie Wonder
Beyond music videos, Giraldi excelled in the realm of commercials, amassing a portfolio of over 4,000 advertisements. His award-winning campaigns for brands like McDonald’s, Pepsi-Cola, and Miller Lite showcased his talent for combining storytelling with advertising. In the advertising world, Giraldi’s name became synonymous with creativity and innovation.
More than 4,000 commercials, including award-winning campaigns for Freedom Center, McDonald’s, Pepsi-Cola (with Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie), Miller Lite, Chili’s, 2012 Olympics, I Love NY (with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin)
Bob Giraldi’s passion for storytelling extended beyond the screen. For over three decades, he has been an integral part of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. At SVA, Giraldi has shaped the minds of aspiring filmmakers, sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience. Today, he serves as the Chair of SVA’s MPS Film Directing department, where he continues to nurture the next generation of cinematic talent.
Writer, director, short films, The Routine, Second Guessing Grandma, The Grey Coat, Honey Trap, Cambio, Siren. Feature films, Dinner Rush, Hiding Out
But the pièce de résistance is Bob Giraldi’s “Dinner Rush.” This cinematic gem invites us into the bustling world of Gigino Trattoria, where the sights, sounds, and flavors of the restaurant are as vital to the narrative as the characters themselves. The film’s narrative orbits around Louis Cropa, portrayed with authenticity and gravitas by Danny Aiello. Cropa, the restaurant’s owner, is a complex character shrouded in rumors of mafia connections. Despite his protestations, Cropa’s restaurant is a hub of activity, both culinary and otherwise.
“The film, “Dinner Rush” (2001), the restaurant it’s based on, Gigino Trattoria, (1994–) and the film’s director (1939–), have, over the years, become truly simpatico. I am delighted the film has become such an important part of the curriculum at the Culinary Institute of America.” – Bob Giraldi
At the heart of the kitchen stands Udo “King” Cropa, played by Edoardo Ballerini. Udo is a brilliant chef who yearns to break free from the shackles of tradition, much to his father’s chagrin. His experimental culinary creations push the boundaries of Italian cuisine, making Gigino Trattoria a hotspot for food enthusiasts seeking innovation.
However, the restaurant isn’t just a haven; it’s also a battleground. Duncan, the sous-chef portrayed by Kirk Acevedo, grapples with a crippling gambling addiction, resulting in mounting debts to both the mob and Louis Cropa. His culinary prowess becomes a double-edged sword as he attempts to settle his debts through risky bets.
As the narrative unfolds, the restaurant becomes a stage for a diverse cast of characters, from a celebrity food critic played by Sandra Bernhard to a loan shark portrayed by Mike McGlone. These characters add layers of complexity to the story, creating a rich tapestry of relationships and conflicts that culminate in a thrilling climax.
“Dinner Rush” is a cinematic tour de force that offers viewers a mouthwatering blend of talent, technique, and patience. Its unique narrative structure, set during one fateful evening, adheres to the classical unities of time and space. Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times aptly described it as “a mouth-watering display of talent, technique, and patience” with “more intrigues here than in the court of the Medicis.” The Los Angeles Times says “Effortlessly graceful and burnished to a glow, “Dinner Rush” is surely as satisfying as any of the delicious-looking food served at Louis’ restaurant–and is as full of surprises as any dish Udo ever concocted.” The film’s ability to immerse viewers in the world of Gigino Trattoria while serving up a complex narrative is a testament to Giraldi’s directorial finesse. To stream Bob Giraldi’s “Dinner Rush” on Apple TV visit https://tv.apple.com/us/movie/dinner-rush/umc.cmc.36gj9r08tyq22i81y9q3hh8rw
For three decades, Gigino Trattoria has been a beloved fixture in the Tribeca neighborhood, attracting locals and celebrities alike. Its menu, featuring homemade pastas, fresh seafood, and wood-fired pizzas, is a testament to the enduring appeal of Italian cuisine done right. The restaurant’s warm ambiance, with mellow browns and yellows, offers diners an inviting space to savor their meals.
Beyond the delectable dishes, Gigino Trattoria has been a hub for community engagement. It has sponsored local basketball teams, participated in neighborhood festivals, and even supported first responders during challenging times. The restaurant’s commitment to both culinary excellence and community involvement mirrors the themes of “Dinner Rush.” This year, the hot spot hosted scores of film events with A-list actors such as Alexander Skarsgård, Laura Dean, Michael Shannon, and more.
“Every time I sit at the “round table in the corner” I remember to raise my glass to two departed mates from “Dinner Rush”; the late co-producer and casting director, Lou DiGiaimo and the film’s star and iconic NY actor, the late Danny Aiello. Salute!” – Bob Giraldi
Bob Giraldi’s “Dinner Rush” is not merely a film; it is a cinematic feast for the senses. It serves up a rich tapestry of characters and conflicts, all set against the backdrop of a bustling Tribeca restaurant. With its unique narrative structure and immersive storytelling, the film continues to captivate audiences and has earned its place as a classic in both cinematic and culinary circles. Originally shown as part of the 30th New Directors/New Films series of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the department of film of the Museum of Modern Art, audiences everywhere can now savor the flavors of “Dinner Rush” on Apple TV and be treated to a masterful blend of talent, technique, and storytelling that only Bob Giraldi can deliver. So, pull up a virtual chair, dim the lights, and prepare for an unforgettable dining experience in the heart of Tribeca.
Giraldi’s independent films have also garnered numerous awards and have found their way into collections as diverse as the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Museum of Modern Art. He was inducted into the NY Art Director’s Hall of Fame, one of the few film directors to be honored. In addition to directing Jon Cryer’s teen cult film, “Hiding Out” (1987), Bob Giraldi’s feature film, “Dinner Rush” has appeared on a number of 2001’s Top 10 lists and was selected for the prestigious New Directors/New Films Series at MoMA. “Dinner Rush” was listed by Roger Ebert as “One of the Best 100 Films in the Last 10 Years.”
Official Site: bob-giraldi.com
Gigino Trattoria: https://www.gigino-trattoria.com/
SVA, Chair, MPS Film Directing Department, School of Visual Arts: https://sva.edu/faculty/bob-giraldi
Director’s Guild of America: https://www.dga.org/The-Guild/Members/Profile.aspx?mid=x9hk7%2FiqD4I%3