From Simu Liu (AKA Love, Basketball, and Barbie)

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Joy Ride Was Funny As A MF (Overall) And The Asian American Cast Was AMAZING. That APIA Adoption Storyline Though Was Kind Of Problematic And Almost Tanked It (Tons Of Spoilers)

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Before reading this, make sure to check out the previous post in April on "Joy Ride"

I feel like the post title kind of sets everything up for what you need to know--as well as the previous post--so I'm just gonna get right into it.
  1. I think EVERYONE UNIVERSALLY LOVED DEADEYE. The phrase "Deadeye is my favorite" could probably be a best-selling t-shirt.
  2. The pussy tattoos (plural cause there's that last scene).
  3. The really awesome bonding of so many different types of Asian American women and seeing them on screen together a la "Girls Trip".
  4. The completely hot Asian American male buffet.
  5. Bag #8 of cocaine.
  6. Baron ASMR OMG YOU MF BOSS Davis.
  7. Everything Lolo created.
  8. DDK Cameo.
  9. The Eiffel Tower.
  10. Ashley Park, Stephanie Hsu. Sabrina Wu, Sherry Cola
  11. Brownie Tuesday, Cardi B, and WAP.
  12. Lori Tan Chinn.
  13. Alexander Hodge.
  14. Chris Pang.
  15. Ronny Chieng.
I could probably list more--and there's more for sure--but pretty much you are either going to love the raunchy goodness of this, or you just won't like it at all (but I'm guessing you also like soap in your mouth for fun then too).
Here's the thing--I know this is a comedy. I know it's not a documentary and we have to give some artistic leeway--I get that. And I'm glad the writers had some friends who had been through the adoption system and leaned on some of that--just like for other types of character development--but--when you have a big ass feature film, with something so personal, where the historical representation and voice has not been there from actual real human beings who have been adopted but everyone else (albeit changing)--and it's such a big part of our ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY--just like when we say we have to have cultural expertise on films--I think the same argument can be made here--and I'm not just talking about your friends, but a cross section of people/academics, etc. Even with all the crazy behind Blue Bayou--they still hit up A LOT of people (and yes, I realize it was more dramatic, and we treat comedy different, but it's still something that needs to be taken into account).
At the same time, while people can argue that there are APIA Adoptees out there in different stages of their journey, and that the character of Audrey has similarities to some adoptees (some may say her character is in "The Fog"--though not everyone likes that term) just like the rest of the APIA community--we are not a monolith either--there's a lot of diversity and that's where I think we need to do better in the representation. 
In that way there were so many opportunities for the film and for Audrey's character to push back on those same stereotypes and old-school tropes, just like they did from an Asian/White perspective and Asian American female perspective---but while they had chances--nothing came to fruition and the word on the street, from APIA and other Transracial Adoptees (from what I've heard and read), and just adoptees in general--that portion of the film is pretty much DAP. It could have been WAP. But it ended up just being dry and crusty as a MF with no amount of lube to save the day.
  1. Still The Same Tropes/Stereotypes/Infantilization Of APIA Adoptees. Do people just not understand that there's a huge amount of time between being a young kid and an adult who's had a lifetime in some cases to understand their culture, language, and to be comfortable in their skin and around their people? And that's not to say adoptees in their 20's/30's/40's/50's don't go through a journey just like everyone else--and absolutely there are differences and some things that may never be gotten--but it's the same stereotypical APIA Adoptees Are All Whitewashed perspective that gets under the skin, especially when you look at activism from an APIA perspective and look at all the amazing APIA Transracial goodness out there fighting for so many causes.
  2. That Train Scene And Audrey Being Racist Against Her Own People. Again, I'm not saying this doesn't happen--because I've seen it and it's some bullshit--but it's the same as the creation and delivery of Dragon Lady characters throughout time, or the simple Hypersexualized-I'm-Your-Concubine flat characters. We all know some folks like that, just like I know some adoptees who call themselves White--but making that the de facto standard--that scene in particular really just laid it all on Ashely Park's character and her purely Adopted Self. Again, a big ass stereotype and something that we've all had to fight--just like APIA's having to fight that we're also American and that we can hold more than just our Asian-ness OR our American-ness. 
  3. So She's Really A Korean Adoptee? Again, not saying there isn't some flexibility here, and many of us know Ashely Park from her Broadway or Emily In Paris work, where in the later she plays Chinese--that piece--and I wondered what they were going to do there--while it was a story turn to help keep it moving--there are also people out there that think the APIA Transracial/Intercountry Adoptee landscape is dominated by KADs. So to have this character who's billed as a Chinese Adoptee--getting Chinese Adoptees to go to out as well (let's be honest)--really turn out to a KAD--it was fairly disappointing. I realize this one could be a little more personal, but I've heard similar from both sides (Korean and Chinese). In that way it almost muzzles and hides Chinese Adoptees--like they don't exist in many ways--and let's take that one step further in that in the story no Chinese Adoptee was actually hanging out with Chinese Americans who were not adopted. You get this one?
  4. Original/Korean Mom Leaves A Video? Again, I get it's a comedy, and we want to feel good and laugh, etc. and there's artistic license there--but my goodness--I actually almost made gagging sounds in the theater but held myself back. I mean for a movie that was being sold as subversive--this was anything but subversive or pushing boundaries, or even funny. 
At the end of the day, having an APIA Adoptee in the film, just like having a token Asian American in a film--doesn't do anyone any good when it's the same DAP we've seen before.
Gimme the WAP.

XO, Kitty - Holy Hell I LOVED This Way More Than I Thought I Would (For Someone Not In Their Age Demographic AKA I'm Totally On For Season 2 AKA Totally Sucks You In AKA And The Adoptee Story Is Pretty Solid...Well As Much As Can Be)

Friday, July 14, 2023

Btw--because the post title was so long I didn't put it in there, but there's probably some spoilers here. So be warned. 
At first I thought this was going to be another movie and I wanted to check it out, but then I saw it was a series and while I wanted to see it, I didn't know if I wanted to sit through a high-school drama with 8-10 episodes. I'm just not that target group from a marketing demographic, so I get it. 
But just like "Wednesday"--there's a lot to like for all ages, and like other K-Dramas, regardless of content, it sucks you in, and I have to say--I absolutely loved it. I mean they turned everything upside down in a lot of ways--some expected though for sure--and obviously not all realistic--but it's a K-Drama wrapped in an American Teen Drama that plays to both worlds. 
And I think that's what I liked the most--it hit all those notes from so many sides. And the adoption portion of it--while many can lament the fact that this doesn't normally happen in real life percentage wise--neither does Kitty going to a school called KISS. But Peter Thurnwald--who is also an actual Korean Adoptee/KAD/Adopted Korean--I mean he brought all the nuances and real-to-life thoughts/feelings to the part. 
The storyline, filming, editing--what was there not to love? From Anna Cathcart and Gia Kim, to the awesome Yunjim Kim, Choi Min Young, Anthony Keyvan, and Sang Heon Lee, they made this completely worth watching. 
But the ending--loved that, because absolutely--why should Kitty have to get with Dae or any other guy? 
Can't wait for Season 2.

"Past Lives" Was A Beautiful Slow Burn (Some Spoilers)

Friday, July 14, 2023

If you like the slow burn, and a love story with A LOT of nuance, you will really like Past Lives. If you don't - honestly, I can't help you there - because this is a beautiful, nuanced, slow burn about what could have been, what might have been, what doesn't seem to be ever possible, but yet you still wonder if it still could some time.

I mean - that's what I came away from after watching it (and I did actually get to see it the same weekend I posted about it not being in the Midwest (but they just hadn't updated the website I think). 

The way they played these parts, the subtle looks and phrases--understanding the thought of being in a relationship, looking back, and understanding the differences between the life that sometimes lives in your mind--or your heart--and the pragmatic life that helps guide decisions.

That last scene, where she walks alone and just falls into her husband's arms--it's just heartbreaking--you feel everything in so many ways--the loss she felt at her "past life", the remorse she felt for wanting what she couldn't and how it affected her husband, and this thought that maybe, if just a little different timing, because there was still a piece of her that wanted that, that in some ways she was ready for it. 

But in the end--who she really was--what really motivated her--it was something she couldn't escape.

Beautiful. Moving. See it.