Dinner & A Movie: Grumpy Old Men - Lemmon, Matthau star in Thanksgiving collaboration

Courtesy "Grumpy Old Men," with Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and Ann-Margret

This is totally a Thanksgiving movie. I mean, it takes place in the lead up to Thanksgiving Day. That counts, right? I'm counting it.

Regardless, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau might be my favorite on-screen couple.

Oh sure, they never shared a romance and they spent most of their time on-screen arguing or busting each other's chops, but there was something special about the chemistry and obvious friendship the two of them shared. The first film they starred in was "The Fortune Cookie" in 1966, the first of 10 films they would co-star in together.

While "Grumpy Old Men" might not be their best collaboration (that would be either "The Front Page" or "The Odd Couple") it is the one that might just be their most layered and heart-warming, and that probably wouldn't be possible without the decades of friendship and collaboration behind them.

The story is pretty straightforward. It's about two old, retired guys who take pleasure in pranking each other, arguing and eventually sparring over who gets to woo the hot new college professor neighbor (played by Ann Margaret) who just moved in next door.

If anything, it'd be fine if the film was nothing but Lemmon and Matthau just going back and forth, busting each other's chops, as it's obvious these two are having a ball here. And yet they still manage to find the tender, wounded heart of these two lifelong pals and the friendship that continues to bond them. It's actually pretty sweet and endearing, when it comes down to it.

As I said, "Grumpy Old Men" may not be their best collaboration, but it's a great reminder of what a treat it always was to see these two wonderful actors pair up in movies.



Potato Latkes


4 large russet potatoes, peeled

1 small white onion, finely grated

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup beer

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying



Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grate potatoes in long strips, using smooth strokes to run potatoes across grater into a large bowl of ice water. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, transfer potatoes, reserving liquid, to another large bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel gently squeeze dry. Set reserved liquid aside for 10 minutes to allow starch to sink to the bottom carefully pour liquid from the bowl, reserving milky residue (potato starch) and discard. Transfer potatoes back to bowl with potato starch. Add onions to bowl stir in eggs, beer, flour, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with paper towels set aside. In a heavy nonstick skillet, heat 1/4-inch of oil. Spoon 1/2 cup of potato mixture per pancake into skillet. Make a few at a time, being careful they don't run into each other. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain. Keep warm in oven while preparing the others. Serve hot with applesauce, or sour cream and caviar, if desired.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living





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