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Roadrunner (Anthony Bourdain)

August 28, 2021 (343 words)

Before going to see Roadrunner, the new documentary on the life of Anthony Bourdain, I knew very little about the man beyond the basics: He had a show on the Food Network, he traveled to exotic locales while filming the episodes, and he committed suicide in a Paris hotel room a few summers ago.

I was not the least bit tuned into the urban legend that had grown up around Tony Bourdain. But by last weekend I was itching to watch something on a big screen, and this was the only title playing that I could talk someone else into going along to see with me.

The movie has a sad ending (his suicide), but I found Bourdain’s story downright inspirational, nonetheless. It turns out before he was a TV host and talk show personality, he was a writer. His writing is what launched him into media stardom. I had no idea.

That he was a Vassar College drop-out and Culinary Institute of America graduate who started as a dishwasher and a line cook, then worked his way up to executive chef at a fancy Manhattan restaurant, is fascinating enough. That he also managed to develop a writing talent along the way, and eventually captured the imagination of a wide audience with his words, gives me hope.

Not that I have any interest in scaling the heights of fame and fortune. I am quite happy with the life I lead, and grateful for the people who share this life with me. But, hey, I wouldn’t mind a few more readers…

The film-makers have done an excellent job putting this little documentary together. The action footage of the witty and gently profane Mr. Bourdain is priceless. As are the interviews with his two wives, the last love interest of his life, his friends, and his co-workers.

If you can stand an unhappy, inexplicable ending to what seemed from the outside to be a most rewarding life, go see this movie. Anthony Bourdain was apparently one interesting, funny, complicated guy. May he rest in peace.

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
August 28, 2021

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