Rum and Rom-Coms, With Alison Stevenson: ‘Pizza My Heart’ Edition

Welcome to “Rum and Rom-Coms”. Basically what this is, is I watch a romantic comedy and get drunk while doing so. At the end, I give the film a rating according to how drunk I had to get in order to finish watching it. The higher the number, the worse the movie is.

This week, I picked a real festering heap of turd excuse for a film. It’s called Pizza My Heart, and it’s an ABC Family TV movie. It’s a modern take on Romeo & Juliet (can’t get enough of those) about two rival Italian families who each claim to have the best pizza in town. It stars nobody important. The most famous name on here from what I can tell is Dan Hedaya, a.k.a Carla’s ex-husband, Nick Tortelli, from Cheers. He plays one of the dads.

Before I press play, I know I’m going to need to be at least slightly buzzed to tolerate even the first five minutes without throwing my television screen into the Los Angeles River (which is a real thing, by the way). So I’m making myself some turkey bacon and drinking vodka with diet 7-Up.

I finished the drink, and am now making the same thing again. This time with a lot more vodka. I also ate half of a Reese’s peanut butter cup and took my birth control pill. I’m told that the best writing does not leave out any details, which is exactly what I am doing here for you. Also my pajama shirt has five different yellow stains on it. I won’t explain why there are so many yellow stains on my shirt, because I am told that the best writers leave out some details to create what is known as mystery.

So I am definitely feeling a buzz now. Time to press play.

Alright, right away we got a narrator spewing some actual Shakespeare lines. Ah, but instead of Verona, Italy they’re in Verona, New Jersey. Of course they are.

It’s being established now that the two rival families are the Montebellos and the Prestolanis. I have a feeling at least one of them will have the name Mario. Okay, here comes the good stuff. We got a montage of the two restaurants making pizza. This is borderline pornographic. It would be so much better if the worst song in the world wasn’t playing. It sounds like Incubus, but if Jack Johnson was the lead singer of Inbucus? Basically it’s crap, and it’s ruining my enjoyment of staring at pizza.

What the f*ck is happening right now? Are these idiots for real? The Montebello’s delivery boy is literally a little boy on a bicycle. Are there not labor laws that ban this? What if he crashes and gets hurt? Or worse, ruins the pizza? I am already on the Prestolani’s side.

What the hell, the Prestolanis have a little boy working for them too, and he doesn’t even have a bicycle. He literally just runs away with the box of pizza. I can’t stop laughing at how stupid that is. I need more vodka.

I’ve just added some more vodka to my drink so it’s filled up to the top again. This counts as drink three.

The star-crossed lovers bump into each other at the train station. Romeo is a Montebello and Juliet is a Prestolani.

I am really loving these over-the-top Jersey accents. Okay, Papa Prestolani is saying something about the Montebellos making 300 pizza pies at some feast, so he says this year they’re making 368. Why 368 exactly? Is this some sort Illuminati thing?

Turns out Juliet’s name is actually Gina, and she’s just returned home from college. She’s got photos in her binder. Her mom looks at one that’s literally just of people walking up a staircase and says, “You always see things so different and special.”

Alright, listen up, everybody! We got an art chick over here!

Of course, Papa Prestolani immediately condemns her Bohemian, staircase-loving lifestyle. He tells her if she’s a photographer she’ll end up working weddings instead of having one. This guy sucks. Let your daughter’s vision grow. What else does she see differently? Elevators? Trees? People smiling? This is just great, Papa P. says, “you’ll make much more money being a teacher.” As if they’re in Canada or something.

So now her sister, Annette, is pushing Gina’s buttons too. She’s all like, oh you don’t like how I decorated your bedroom? Yeah fine I’ll change it. Sorry I don’t have a big fancy degree in visual arts Gina. Sorry I kept workin’ in the pizza biz while you went off to see stairs differently Gina. I want to make it clear that she literally says, “I don’t have a degree in visual arts.” Being jealous of someone’s visual arts degree is the equivalent of being jealous that your best friend has herpes.

I am so sick of this family already and it’s been maybe ten minutes.

Oh good, we’re getting to know the Montebellos now.

Romeo is actually Joe. He’s playing poker with some chef buddies and they’re betting with cooking recipes. Typical guy’s night.

So chef Tommy is playing high stakes poker here trying to get Joey to bet his family’s sacred secret pizza sauce recipe. Some French guy at the table is like, what? A pizza sauce? Are you kidding me? Do it! Bet the sauce recipe!

No. Joe folds like a good Montebello. Now the French guy is like, man is your sauce this good? He’s losing his shit. He’s talking about turning his pizza place into a franchise. Let’s start a franchise baby. Money talks sweetheart.

Maybe I should take a shot every time I hear the word “pa” or “pops”. It’s already happened around thirty times. Maybe tonight is the night I die. Instead, I am having a fourth vodka drink.

Sidenote: Shakespeare made plays so movies like this could get made.

Now we got this Carlo character (he works at the pizza joint) who everyone wants Gina to marry, but Annette is obviously in love with him and Gina could care less about him.

Joe’s picking lemons from the Montebello lemon tree. Also turns out these rival pizza shops are right next door to each other. Whodathunk? Gina climbs the ladder of the fence to grab a balloon stuck in the tree and these star-crossed lovers get all star-crossy looking at each other and are immediately in star-crossed love again (first time was at the train station). Now they’re all like, whoa you’re a Montebello? And Whoa, you’re a Prestolani? I smell trouble!

Now back inside the Prestolani restaurant a bunch of Prestolani kids are asking why they must hate people they don’t even know. Papa Prestolani goes into a long spiel about how awful the Montebellos are for stealing their idea for the pizza. That’s right, pizza was a Prestolani creation, and the Montebellos went and snatched it hundreds of years ago. I’m feeling comforted that these children are taught blind hatred early in life. It’s a family tradition!

A kid is asking if there’s a way to end the feud, to stop the pointless hatred. Papa Prestolani’s response is, “Why would we want to do that?” Good answer!

Next scene. Of course they go to the same church. Wait, they go to church?

Papa Montebello says, “Look at this guy, tryin’ to make me look bad in front of God.”

Now they’re in a “shh” war, each family is trying to out-SHH one another.

Man, I want a feud so bad. Also, another drink. I chugged this bad boy down. I think for my stomach’s sake I should stick to vodka. I’m pouring yet another vodka and diet 7-Up. Sorry I’m so boring.

Joe is trying to convince his dad to let them franchise and nothing is convincing him until he says they could put the Prestolanis’ out of business. Joe’s meathead brother says, “If I was rich I would get me some pectoral implants and never wear a shirt again.” Maybe the movie should be about this guy.

Carlo is an idiot and wants to propose to Gina, a girl he hasn’t spoken to in all of the four years since she’s been to fancy art college getting her hoity-toity visual arts degree.

Now they’re all at some town feast called the Feast of Saint Gennaro [Vince’s Note: It’s called “The Feast of San Gennaro,” and yes, it’s a real thing. Jeez, these Jews and their-a stinkin a-cultural ignorance. *bites hand*]. This is where the 368 pizza boxes come in to play. Obviously, the families set up their booths right across from each other, and of course both of them came up with the idea to stack up a bunch of pizza boxes and call it the “Leaning Tower of Pizza”. Each accuses the other of stealing the brilliant and original idea.

Come on you two, fuggetaboutit! See, I can be Italian too!

Mama Prestolani is convincing her husband that his tower is much bigger. Wink wink.

Carlo hid an engagement ring inside of a cannoli to propose to with Gina. The only way this could be more stereotypically Italian is if the ring was made of spaghetti. Papa Prestolani is totally on board for this marriage. He tells Carlo that he considers him to be his own son, which is why he wants his daughter to marry him?

So the French guy comes to the feast and runs into Gina. He asks her where the “best pizza in town is” and she takes him to her family’s pizza booth. He was supposed to go to the Montebello’s pizza booth. Oh no this is a true calamity.

I am feeling no sympathy for Gina right now. Oh man these two hot guys love me and I’m surrounded by pizza all the time, my life sucks. Some people have real problems, Gina, did you ever think of that? Some people can’t eat pizza anytime they want and have to settle for turkey bacon and peanut butter cups. Did you ever think about that, Gina? Some people can barely get one man to fall in love with them, let alone two who both know how to make delicious pizza. Get out of my face, Gina.

Gina ditches plans with Carlo to meet up in secret with Joe at the feast, and OH MY GOD THEY’RE EATING EACH OTHER’S PIZZA. This is like third base for them right?

Gina comes home and her sister takes her sweater, tastes the pizza sauce stain on it, shakes her head, and says, “Whose sauce have you been tasting, Gina Prestolani?”

For the record, I will be saying this phrase all the time now for the rest of my life.

It’s date night for Gina and Joe. A real date night. They meet at the train station and Annette is spying on them. “Is she kidding me? Joe Montebello?” This is going to tear the families apart, maybe start a civil war within New Jersey. Eventually the whole country. Soon the world. Life as we know it will be obsolete. Death, destruction, chaos. All because that damn Joe Montebello can’t get his paws off that Gina Prestolani.

They took a train to New York City, and their date is inside the kitchen of Chef Tommy’s restaurant. Chef Tommy closed his kitchen during dinner hours so these two could have one stupid date? Tommy leaves the restaurant so these two can be alone. Enjoy your night off, Tommy. Though, you’ll have plenty of nights off when your restaurant is out of business because you keep renting it out during peak hours to two people so they can be alone. You’re a pathetic excuse for a man, Tommy.

Joe is going to make dinner for them. I’m very glad this movie is following the rom-com first date rulebook to the T. Joe is talking about how he wants to be a world-class chef, not just some guy who makes pizza. Excuse me, Joe, are you the worst human being imaginable or what? What kind of idiot does not know that pizza is a blessing from God? You get to create miracles everyday and now you want to throw that all away?

There’s just some garlic frying in a pan of olive oil and Gina says, “That smells wonderful, what is it?” Uh-oh wait, now she’s tasting his sauce! Whose sauce are you tasting Gina Prestolani?

Time for more vodka. I’m sick of diet 7-Up so I’m mixing my vodka with club soda. I’m drunk enough to the point where vodka does not taste like vodka, so really I’m just drinking club soda that happens to have vodka in it. Does that make sense?

In case you haven’t realized. These two people have secret passions that are equally cliché and boring but both cannot pursue these passions because their family has complete control over them regardless of the fact that they are legal adults.

The fancy photographer just took a selfie with Joe.

Carlo is waiting around for Gina to get home like a sad idiot puppy. Meanwhile Annette is losing her sh*t and tells Carlo that Gina is out with Joe Montebello.

Uh-oh, now both families know that Joe and Gina are out together and they’re both freaking out.

Some of what the dads say:

“Kissing a Montebello? How could you?”

“You trying to give me another heart attack?”

“Settle down. Marry Carlo. Teach!”

Gina confronts Annette and is super pissed. Annette says, “Just because we have the same mother and father doesn’t mean we are sisters.” THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THAT MEANS.

Oh no! Joe found out the French guy tried the wrong pizza, and now Frenchy doesn’t know if he should franchise the Prestolonis or the Montebellos. I knew that smell I was smelling was trouble. Whose sauce have you been tasting, Gina Prestolani?

The families have to present their pizza to the investors and they’re both trying to sabotage each other.

Okay, get this. For the Prestolanis, a good pizza is all about the cheese. With the Montebellos, it’s all about the sauce.

So strange how these two ingredients combined would make one perfect pizza! I wonder if these two families will notice the same thing and perhaps combine their pizzas to make the perfect pizza. Hmmm. How is this all going to end?

French guy says they each have a week to make the best pizza, no shenanigans!

Joe, who is mad at Gina for causing this mess, tells his brother that he misses her. You went on one stupid date you idiots. His brother is trying to compare Gina to tomatoes now? Wait now he’s all like, go to her!

They reunite and for some reason Joe is saying sorry? She ruined everything for him. I really hate this Gina girl. So they’ve made up, and I need a little bit more vodka inside me to get through this.

Okay not going to lie I’m very drunk right now and extremely distracted by this whisker I have under my chin. I always get this one damn whisker in the same spot. Sometimes I debate growing it out until it’s really long, but I always give in and pluck it because society does not allow women to have facial hair of any kind am I right? Oh so now the two restaurants are on fire. Also I have this weird bump under my armpit I’m not sure if it’s from shaving which I haven’t done in a while, or maybe it’s a pimple? I’m trying to pop it, but it hurts too much. Okay, so Joe and Gina might be dead or something? The family is freaking out looking for them. Wait no, they hid on top of a tree. While they were hiding they came up with the totally brilliant idea to combine their pizzas into one and YES I CALLED IT.

It’s six months later and the new restaurant just opened, called Presto-Bello. Annette and Carlo are married, Gina gets to put her fancy-shmancy photographs inside the restaurant. Everyone is happy. Whatever. The end. God this movie sucked.

Okay let’s sum up what I drank. I had six vodka drinks. I am going to have a hangover tomorrow that’s how bad this movie is. Pizza My Heart, on the drunk scale, gets a 9.5 out of 10. It would have been a 10 if someone’s name was Mario. I had to get blackout drunk to watch this, which is a good thing because maybe now I won’t remember it. Goodnight!