Category Archives: Movies

Review of Front Cover: All the Ways a Gay Asian Man Can Hate (and Learn to Love) Himself

Well, this is embarrassing: I’m a 23-year-old gay Asian American man and I did not watch a movie with a gay Asian American man as a lead character until about a week ago. Thank goodness for Front Cover, a 2016 romantic comedy that centers openly gay Chinese American fashion designer Ryan (played by Jake Choi) and closeted Beijing movie star Ning (played by Ray Yeung). I had low expectations of the film going in, because a lot of gay romance I have seen mimics the heteronormative, patriarchal narrative of people feeling incomplete until a romantic partner – usually a man – swoops in and saves them. However, Front Cover surprised me. Though its tone stays gentle and sweet throughout, it tackles important themes of internalized racism, classism, and homophobia – and perhaps most importantly, features a gay Asian man who makes genuine progress in learning how to love himself. For the rest of the post I will discuss my reactions to the film, and I will warn you when I am about to reveal major spoilers. If you do not want any spoilers at all, go watch the movie and then come back so you can comment below and fanboy/girl/person with me unless you dislike the film which is fine too, we can still talk about it as long as you support my queen Ariana Grande. Continue reading

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Amour, Redux

A few weeks ago, I watched Amour, a movie centered on Georges and Anne, a married couple in their eighties. They reside in Paris as retired and cultivated music teachers. Their peaceful lives change when Anne suffers a stroke that paralyzes the right side of her body. George chooses to take care of her no matter what the consequence.

My semester in a nutshell.

My semester in a nutshell.

The media floods us with images of passionate love, with dramatized versions of real life. Continue reading

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Your Snobby is Showing: Twilight, Trashy Pop Music, and Mindless TV

“I don’t want my son reading trash and wasting his time.”

My mom spewed those words at me several times in my teen years. She said that in reference to most of the YA I read, some of the nonfiction I dabbled in, and mostly anything that wasn’t strictly “literature” or science/math related. Deep beneath her blunt delivery lay good intentions: how could I be successful in school and in life if I spent my time reading about teenagers falling in love and doing drugs (or, er, each other)? As an incoming college freshman, how will I survive without a vast repertoire of literary references and knowledge about the subjects that matter? Continue reading

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Reflections on Magic Mike, the Comfort Zone, and the Concept of YOLO

I originally was going to use a picture from the movie, but realized they were all too inappropriate… (image via thecinemasource.com)

I had to debate whether or not I should write this post. I ended up making a pros v. cons list – pros: I can start a cycle of reflecting about every movie I see on my blog, I can share my thoughts about a somewhat important societal issue, I can include a picture of Channing Tatum on my blog, cons: college admissions officers might see this and doubt my innocence/how well I spend my time.

Well, the pros won.

I’ll keep my thoughts on the movie short, as I’m no professional film reviewer. Continue reading

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Titanic Made Me Cry… Shocking, I Know

I'm more than a decade late on watching Titanic, but better late than never, right?

I finally got around to watching Titanic last week. There are a lot of little things I want to discuss about this movie, but I’ll start with a summary of my feelings for it.

Titanic is a true epic movie. Though it was released in 1997, the visual effects are comparable to films being produced today. James Cameron knew what he was doing with this film – I’m not a professional movie critic or anything, but its success is undeniable. It received fourteen Academy Award nominations and won eleven Oscars, grossing over 1 billion dollars. To (not) put in eloquently, that’s pretty darn amazing.

But what really captured my heart and made this movie a favorite of mine forever was, of course, the romance. While some complain that Jack and Rose’s relationship ensconced the actual sinking of the ship and ruined the movie’s message, I disagree. Without the romantic aspect of the film few people would be able to comprehend what a disaster Titanic was. Few could understand that people actually died – people that lived and loved just as we do today.

This paragraph contains spoilers about the ending of the movie. I’m a huge romance fan, but man, did that ending make me bawl like a baby. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet conveyed their characters’ emotions so convincingly, it was hard to believe that they were acting. I cried profusely from the part where Jack was telling Rose to stay strong and never let go all the way to their reunion in what I presumed to be heaven.

So those are my thoughts on Titanic. Such a powerful movie.

Leonardo DiCaprio was quite easy on the eyes 14 years ago... (image via lookpictures.net)

I downloaded the theme song, “My Heart Will Go On”. I’m already considering playing it at my wedding if I get married:

Hopefully the 3-D re-release scheduled for April 6, 2012, will live up to the original film.

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Rodrick Rules: An Unhealthy Message?

Image via onlinemovieshut.com

So I don’t watch movies often – I usually end up being dragged along by some extenuating circumstance. Today, I watched Rodrick Rules with my cousins who I babysit. I expected next to nothing – as popular as these books are, I’m not a big follower or reader of graphic novels, even when they include some form of a story.

I’ll spare you a summary of the movie and most of my thoughts on it, but a couple of things bothered me that I feel like writing about briefly.

1) In the initial skating scene, Greg mentions the “pecking order” of middle school. He does this because one of his peers, an Indian boy, tells him that a girl Greg likes is out of his league. The mention of the pecking order annoyed me. I mean, yes, I go to high school, and I’m aware that there is a “social ladder” – some choose to acknowledge it, I don’t. But the thing that bothers me about it is that the audience of this movie (generally preteens? I saw some younger kids too) is going to assume that middle school and high school is all about fitting in and assimilating to peer pressure, as opposed to their academics and extra-curricular activities, which actually plays an important part in their future. Ten years after high school, no one will care about what ruined your suit at prom or why you broke up with that hotshot quarterback.

2) The teasing. Oh, this irked me. Greg and the Indian boy I mentioned in the last paragraph are not portrayed the most popular bunch in their seventh grade class. Greg, in order to save himself from embarrassment, pretends as if the Indian boy ceases to exist, even when he’s in plain sight. Such a cruel joke – it really saddened me to see that. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had personal experiences with bullying or if it’s just the harshness of the action. What’s even worse is that instead of resolving the conflict, the Indian boy decides to prank Greg back, fueling the fire even more. By the end of the movie the character conflict between the two seems to disappear completely, but I feel as if kids and preteens who saw that might assume that bullying is okay, when it’s really not.

Sorry for the rant – it’s almost midnight, what do you expect? As a disclaimer, I would like to say that I’m sure there are worse movies out there and that it probably wasn’t the producer’s intention to perpetuate the middle school/high school stereotype. In fact, I liked Rodrick Rules – it was cute and humorous, and there were positive themes as well: the relationship between brothers, why you shouldn’t lie to your parents, and the importance of friendship.

Devon Bostick, the actor who plays Rodrick - I liked his look with the eyeliner he borrowed from his mom... (image via cryptopatents.org)

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