Monday, July 10, 2006

I wanna be happy! too

Okay, so there's only two days left for New Yorkers to see The Motel. Hopefully this does really well, and then before you know it, there will be another asian-am. villain with maybe one line on the big screen's next comic book hero flick next to Kal Penn. Presto, progress!

But really, I'm glad that The Motel was good, because I was shilling for it only after reading a bit about it and watching the trailer. So, as my friend told me this weekend after showing me her newly purchased boots, I have a good eye! This movie works, whether you go casual or dressy!

So hooray to my peeps (helloooo Koreans!) and all that good stuff. The story isn't this narrow little experience of an awkward Chinese-American kid going through puberty, splashed in red and gold with squiggly dragons and demure engrish-speaking geishas in a restaurant where it rains fortune cookies. Since the characters are drawn with care and depth, they could have been any race and with a few tweaks, the film would have worked just as well. Or, as director Michael Kang is Korean, he could have very easily chosen to usurp the loose basis of the novel Waylaid to turn the family Korean too. In fact, what was nice was that everybody wasn't all one ethnicity, which differs, obviously, from most other times you see asian actors on the screen, in movies from other countries, or as 'tokens', or in works focusing on a particular ethnic community. Here, the characters who are thrown together are not just eclectic in type, but in roots as well. And they just want to be happy.

Kang draws great acting out of the kids, even in rather uncomfortable puberty stuff, and Jade Wu is spectacular in her portrayal of Ernest's strict mother. There is this wonderfully poignant silent moment which concludes the movie between her and Ernest, and I thought this ending was great, even though a few people I know felt that it was really abrupt. But I felt that the story had finished its gentle arc, addressed a whole lot of stuff in less than 90 minutes without it seeming like a whole lot of stuff, and that a sort of understanding or realization grows out of a silent shared moment seems different and wonderful.

The Motel also goes to LA July 28th. Support this hilarious and honest independent movie, and my next post will not be about this movie. It will be about food.


walter said...

i watched the world cup in a wings joint next to a huge contingent of what i think were korean soccer fans who just got out of church

janet said...

were they cheering for italy? a friend of mine once said that italians and koreans are very much alike. melodramatic family oriented noodle dishes.. you know, deep truths like that.
new york italia fans were celebrating in the streets yesterday. it was kind of nice, the excitement!