Top Favorites **** :
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Psycho ('60)
6. Better Luck Tomorrow
7. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
9. Ping Pong Playa
10. Always Be My Maybe (2019 - A.Wong / R.Park dir. N.Khan)
Other Favorites ***:
Evan Jackson Leong's Linsanity (The Documentary), Mayhem, Lee Chang Dong's "Burning", Justin Chon's 'Gook', 'Ms. Purple', Surrogate Valentine, Daylight Savings, Hang Loose, K-Town Cowboys, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, Finishing The Game, Jet Li's Fearless, The Year Of The Yao, To Be Takei, Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira (The Original Anime), Katsuhiro Otomo's Memories, Katsuhiro Otomo's Metropolis, Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro, Miyazaki's Nausicaa in the Valley Of The Wind, Pixar's Up, Toy Story, Office Space, Beavis & Butt-Head Do America, Idiocracy, The Ringer, Jackass 3, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Shine, The Goonies, The Karate Kid ('84) / Part II ('86), Forrest Gump, Dead Poet's Society, Rocky, One Hour Photo, Poltergeist ('82), John Carpenter's The Thing/Halloween, Saw, 1408, Pet Sematary ('89), The Amityville Horror ('79), The Conjuring, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek, Star Trek Beyond, Back To The Future Trilogy, The Breakfast Club, First Blood, Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Avatar, Cool Runnings, Field Of Dreams, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The School Of Rock, The Hustler, The Color Of Money, Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, Rain Man, Fast Five, Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, F6: Fast & Furious 6, Best of the Best, The Matrix/The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions,
The Terminator, Alien, Aliens, Casino, The Godfather Trilogy, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, The Maze Runner Trilogy, Escape From Alcatraz, The Twilight Zone: The Movie, Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight, Fast Times, Die Hard, Die Hard With A Vengeance, Ghostbusters ('84), Monster House, Spaceballs, Beetlejuice, Employee Of The Month, The Usual Suspects, Wreck-It Ralph
REVIEWS AND THOUGHTS
01/17/2020: Be My 'Valentine'...Surrogate Valentine 3
SXSW - that's where it's at. When I rented and watched "Surrogate Valentine" and "Daylight Savings", films based on Goh Nakamura's music with a plotline involving Goh and unresolved relationships or feelings - I was hooked. The ending of "Daylight Savings" was left inconclusive, up to the audience to decide or interpret. Which way was Goh going to go, or who was he going to commit to (if at all)? After being dumped or turned away, anything goes I guess.
In "Surrogate Valentine 3" or "I Will Make You Mine" - Lynn Chen (the woman from the first film) has taken over the directing duties and flips the script - this time from the point of view from the women themselves. Is Goh going to become more conflicted, or do the women have some kind of hidden agenda? I am looking forward to this, and hopefully it'll be available on VOD once it is done with its film festival circuit.
01/09/2020: Ms. Purple ***
The film was beautiful in its visuals, and captured the essence of story without too much dialogue. It didn't need to anyway - the soundtrack or music meshed well with various scenes. Although the film does not go too in-depth of the sibling characters,
the point was more of the re-connection of their relationship as well as their different relationships with their bed-ridden father. While the sister stood by her father and seemingly had a healthy relationship, we learn that the brother was the opposite. However,
we never find out if he ran away or where he lived (although we have to assume he ran back home later) during the brief flashback as kids.
Kudos to Justin Chon again, in the second of what I deem a "trilogy" of sorts. While his first film was in B & W, the color theme seemed to be purple in this one - with some scenic visuals, the hanboek, etc. Let's find out what "Blue Bayou" is about - his next film.
The ending is open to interpretation - was that a ghostly figure of their father finally looking in contentment, or a dream? Although I wish there was more to the ending or a more definitive conclusion or ending, sometimes that's how films or dramas end. You decide.
"Frozen 2" - in a compromise with my wife, I was ok with seeing this since I enjoyed the first one. While the first one might have been about self-identity or coming to terms with oneself, the sequel was mostly about origins, parents. It was fun to say the least - although
too many musical numbers. But these are animated musicals afterall. A Frozen 3 is possible - you can come up with new villains or shit.
In the spirit of holiday movies (as well as the sheer boredom from no other shit to watch - perhaps next year), here is a list of some funnies to get yer jollies on:
Home Alone - "I wouldn't let you in even if you were growing out of my ass!" "Don't you know how to knock, phlegm-wad" "Yeah, and he called me a trout-sniffer". With quotes like that (and other hilarious scenes as well as Christmas music /soundtrack), this
makes the list for sure.
Christmas Vacation - or how about some nice "Hawaiian Fantasies" instead haha. or Ho! Ho! Ho!.
Jingle All The Way - just laugh at the movie, the script, the quotes, etc. Especially Ah-nold in a Turbo Man suit haha.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas - they put the "weed" in your holiday stockings haha
The Polar Express - for kids
It's A Wonderful Life - holiday tradition
12/12/2019: Must-See Update
Here it is:
Justin Chon's "Ms. Purple" (on VOD)
John Cho in "Tigertail" (TBD)
Justin Chon's "Blue Bayou" (TBD)
Steven Yeun in "Minari" (TBD)
Daniel Dae Kim in "Stowaway" (TBD - 2020?)
"Mulan" (March 2020)
Goh Nakamura in "Surrogate Valentine 3" (TBD)
Others that might be worth watching include "The Grudge". I liked the official trailer, but the red band trailer pulls no punches for sure. Horror fans might enjoy this modern re-telling of "The Grudge", probably one of them rare remakes that might actually be worthwhile. Remakes are usually terrible no doubt.
In comedy, any Ken Jeong character I guess haha - "My Spy" looks hilarious.
Who you gonna call? Re-make Busters! We better call Ricky Berwick in that case haha. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" - I'm not sold with kids being Ghostbusters, but it is what it is. But finally - a Ghostbusters 3. Better have hired Ricky Berwick as a Ghostbuster haha (his "Reboot-Buster" video below):
I've been wondering what Justin Chon's been up to after "Ms. Purple", which I'm looking forward to watching if or when it becomes available on VOD. Currently, he's been busy with a new film called "Blue Bayou". I haven't read the details on it nor really know what it's about,
but should find out about it. Except for this color theme in the film titles, perhaps it's just coincidence or a metaphor.
Besides John Cho in "The Grudge", "Tigertail" is another film to look out for - although not much has been revealed as well (as to the release date, updates or description - you can always look it up in Wikipedia I guess), certainly it encompasses the Asian experience or story.
10/22/2019: Holding No Grudges For The "Grudge"
This film teaser poster of "The Grudge" is darn creepy for sure. You don't need to put or show too much on a poster to say much at all. That's the point of minimalism, and
sometimes it says a heck a lot more than being too obvious or cramming shit with imagery or words. John Cho is part of the ensemble in this horror remake or film. I'll take my chances on this one for sure - I know it'll be worthwhile and creepy. Can't wait for the trailer or preview.
Meanwhile, we wish John Cho a quick and successful recovery from his unfortunate injury during the "Cowboy Bebop" filming.
10/05/2019: My Top Five Asian-American Films (In The Modern Era)
1. Better Luck Tomorrow - An ensemble of Asian-American leads who defy stereotypes to rule their school in scams and other shenanigans. As Roger Ebert aptly put it - "They can be whoever the hell they want to be!". Damn right - a classic for sure.
2. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle - I can see why this isn't really considered Asian-American cinema, since only the leads are Asians. It's really a story about weed, misadventures, and the craving for white castle burgers haha. Still, I'll rank this one at the top.
3. Always Be My Maybe - Romcoms are not my thing, but this was important in many ways. Even your everyman actor such as Randall Park can absolutely hold his own as a lead. Hilarious and relatable.
4. Searching - This time, John Cho is front and center (and deservedly so). In a technology-driven society, this was well-crafted and well-done.
5. K-Town Cowboys - This should have gotten more attention, and deserved more releases in theaters. Story of a group of K-Towners who reunite for more of that night life.
Honorable Mention:Ping Pong Playa - how could I forget about this one. It's in my top ten favorite movies list, but as an Asian-American film - it's a Top Ten for sure as well (a close tie with K-Town Cowboys).
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Dubya Gettin' His 'Weed' On With Harold & Kumar in 'Harold & Kumar 2'....
This shit is hilarious, basically my favorite scene in the second film of the series 'Harold & Kumar Escape
From Guantanamo Bay'. H & K parachute into Dubya's ranch house unbeknowest to the duo, and some funny dialogue ensues with Dubya's usual idiocy and southern drawl; "Oh shit it's Cheney, that guy scares the crap outta me", "Haw, haw, haw, I thought you guys were terrorizers", "Oh fuck G-bay", "Mitsubishi-Wah", "Well, Kumar. That makes you a hypocriticizer too".