Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (R)
Magnificent runs down the major moments of Tower’s life: launching California cuisine in the 1970s when he came up with dishes at boho Berkeley eatery Chez Panisse; running his own restaurant in the ’80s with San Francisco hot spot Stars; and shocking the culinary world by taking the head chef gig at the revamped Tavern on the Green a few years back, after spending many years living a life of quiet leisure overseas. The movie features interviews from friends and admirers, including Martha Stewart, Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain (who also serves as an executive producer).
The dreamy, well-done Magnificent will inevitably be compared with Jiro Dreams of Sushi, that other doc about an obsessive, perfectionist chef. But more compelling is the vibe it shares with Man on Wire: Just like high-wire showman Philippe Petit, Tower is a brilliant, dedicated artist who has spent most of his life wowing people with his talents — but is ultimately always out there by himself.