Why, Disney, Why?

A couple of days ago it was announced that the release date for the live action Mulan was pushed back yet again to Spring of 2020.

Photo Credit: weibo.com

Meanwhile other movies have been pushed up and newly announced, now I can’t say what is going on behind the scenes at Disney or what is going on with any part of the Mulan-in-the-making, however I can say that from where I’m sitting I’m angry.

I’m not angry at production, corporate, actors, etc. I am a general type of angry that I will have to wait two more years to see my favorite Disney “princess” back on the big screen (admittedly, I watch the cartoon version almost monthly {life is stressful}).

Photo Credit: ew.com

Why, Disney, why? I understand the importance of Avengers: Infinity War but I want to see an Asian-woman-led movie. Which I will get courtesy of Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians (GO CONSTANCE!), but it’s not Mulan.

My heart hurts and child-me feels a little bit like I was offered matcha ice cream only to find out it was a heaping scoop of wasabi, but oh well. I guess I’ll have to wait two more years to see Liu Yifei (who I will, until further notice, imagine is me) kicking some major Hun a*s and saving China.

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“Beautiful”

While it may sound vain, despite being relatively confident, comfortable, and even sometimes feeling rather pretty, I don’t think I’ve ever felt fully represented as “beautiful”. It frustrates me that so much of my already fragile confidence could be tied to media, movies and t.v shows but it kind of is.

Part of me feels like the culture I grew up in does not believe me to be “beautiful”. I’m not western enough, in fact in personal experience when I see an East Asian in a show or movie, while my heart does glow, they are usually mixed race or distinctly more western looking than I or many other East Asians look, so in a way I guess I’m used to feeling sidelined for a more western standard. Which is probably why I’ve never felt that en masse the American.

I often wonder: have I have been conditioned from childhood to see myself as too East Asian to be considered en masse “beautiful”? I have this fear that there will always be that “for an Asian” tacked onto compliments about my appearance or just the “oh she’s Asian” exclamation. I’m not sure when this would/has befall/en me but it’s still become a very real insecurity.

Photo Credit: Martin Taylor Home Page

The older I’ve gotten the more I seem to notice that I’m not sure where I fit, there’s always a twinge when someone asks if I’m an exchange student or to translate something for them, that’s in Korean *cringe*, but hey perhaps understandable transgressions, but still, really?

I don’t see myself reflected back when I see “beautiful” people on the t.v or in books or in American pop culture. When people make lists East Asian are woefully lacking, the part of me that is fed off of pure media is constantly being told that people who look like me aren’t really that beautiful.

I’ve talked about white washing before, but this year I was hit with a whole new wave with the twitter #expressiveasians.

An unnamed casting director is cited in Nancy Wang Yuen’s book Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism, as having said, “Asians are a challenge to cast because most casting directors feel as though they’re not very expressive.” As much as this statement kind of makes me want to laugh, because who even says sh*t like this? The more I sat and thought about it the more it shocked and … hurt.

Photo Credit: Twitter

I’ve always been slightly insecure about my smile, how small my eyes get when I laugh, I mean just my face in general, but this comment, despite the amazing retaliation from many proud Asians on the internet, just hit hard and not even where it was necessarily directed.

It hit me in a way that I can only liken to feeling like taking a photo with friends looking at it and going, “Oh god why do I look different, why do they all look good while I look so ugly?” It’s just the feeling of being the odd one out, in the case of Expressive Asians it’s being the perpetually non-expressive race.

It’s a kind of reminder that says even if you feel the same you definitely don’t look like it!

While I am in fact Chinese-American I’m not mixed race, I am full blooded Chinese, but I’ve grown up in America with Caucasian parents, in relative white privilege, so I’ve always been stuck between two worlds. I think and act like an American but I realize that people don’t see me as American until I open my mouth and even then sometimes they don’t. It leaves me to wonder about how I feel about myself, how does America as a culture feel about me?

Is it too much for me to want to see myself reflected back from the screen without the aid of cartooning? Is it too much for me to see someone like me be considered “beautiful” in American pop culture?

 

Star Wars Spectacular

A few weeks ago my friend Hanna and I decided to go see the latest installment in the beloved Star Wars series. I had only seen one of the movies previous to this, so I really had no idea what was going on. I walked into the theatre thinking it was going to be a super nerdy movie about bizarre looking alien-like creatures

I walked into the theatre thinking it was going to be a super-nerdy movie about bizarre looking alien-like creatures who fight each other with laser beams.

Although I was somewhat right, I loved every minute of it.

I have been turned into a total Star Wars fan, I have been watching the older movies in the series, obsessively.

I enjoy the action and adventure of the series, similarly, I also adore Indiana Jones and James Bond, but who would have thought I would become a Star Wars geek.

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My Top 5 Favorite Movies of 2015

2015 has been a great year for movies. Many were surprisingly good and in honor of the great movies this year I have created a list of my 2015 favorites. How I decided what I put on the list is by asking could I watch it more than three times and still enjoy it.

Photo credit teaser-trailer.com

#5 Mad Max: Fury road
Many people didn’t see this and I highly recommend it. I went into the movie expecting the worst movie of the year but was pleasantly surprised. The movie is based on Mad Max a low-budget film from 1979. The major reason why I enjoyed the movie was because the first time ever I went to the movies and saw something with a really basic plot that was entertaining. There wasn’t a moment in the entire movie that I disliked. They cut out all the slow scenes that are just there to add time like in every other action movie post-2000. Along with the great plot, the costumes, scenery and vehicles are astounding. It was also refreshing seeing a dystopian movie without teenagers.

Photo Credit to marvel.wikia.com

#4 Ant-Man
Ant-Man was great it was a perfect combination of action and comedy – plus the film makers did a fantastic job with character development. I liked this movie more than Avengers age of Ultron and that is because marvel has finally introduced the Wasp. After age of Ultron, I was outraged that they expanded the team and didn’t have the Wasp. Then when I saw the trailer for Ant-Man I was even madder because I thought “OMG there replacing the wasp with an Ant!” But at the end of Ant-Man I realized, “wait the girl is the Wasp” and sure enough at the end they reveal she is going to be the Wasp. I really did love Ant Man and even if they didn’t introduce the Wasp. An expert thief turns to a badass superhero who doesn’t love that?

Photo Credit to cinedude.com

#3 Jurassic World
I was on the Jurassic World hype train since the day the preview came out. Jurassic Park was a huge part of my childhood and I am glad they made a new one. It was great from the special effects to the acting. It’s just an all around entertaining movie.

Photo Credit to teaser-trailer.com

#2 The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was made spy movie of the year in my books. The perfectly executed 1960’s theme, pretty girls, and unique plot are a rare sight in most spy movies recently. Based off of the hit TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (which I binge watched prior to the movie), has Russia and the United States working together to save the world during the cold war. Between the tough Russian and the arrogant American, all the bases are covered. I love the 60’s – just the time period alone made me put this above Mission Impossible.

Photo Credit to potentash.com

#1 The Martian
Mark Watney portrayed by Matt Damon was left behind on mars he has to find a way to survive against all odds. After contacting NASA the whole world is shocked by his survival and space programs join together to bring him home. This movie was so good it even made interstellar look bad, and for that reason it easily made the top spot on my list.

Tim Burton

Tim Burton has always been my favorite director. 

From the first time I saw Nightmare Before Christmas I knew I loved his style.   Burton’s dark and quirky genre of film has attracted many fans, including me, over the years.

The thing that always appealed to me about his work, is that no matter how dark the colors and the characters may be, the movie always seems so bright. 

Take Edward Scissorhands, for example. This movie terrified me the first time I saw it, 7-year-old me would cling to my mother at the sight of a transformed Johnny Depp.

As I got older, I began to look past the frightening front of this movie to the much deeper meaning found in it. 

Edward Scissorhands was much more than a bizarre story about a man with scissors for hands.  It was about isolation and self discovery, and I learned so much from it. 

Movies have always been a constant in my life. 

Whenever I was sad, angry or just felt alone, the eccentric and beautiful characters of Tim Burton would fill me with laughter and joy. 

I related to his characters so deeply – so much they’ve almost became apart of me.

In my life, I’ve always been considered an outsider, I’ve done my own thing and been happy while doing it. 

When I started high school things began to change.  If you weren’t like every other girl in the school you were suddenly weird. 

Not fitting in is an age-old story, especially for teenage girls, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.  I was different, and I knew that, except suddenly it didn’t feel so great.

 Naturally, I turned the imagination of Tim Burton.  His characters are almost always outsiders, look at Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice or Sally from Nightmare before Christmas. 

These two outsiders both have huge hearts and make a difference to the people around them.  That’s what I strive to be. 

While I know I’ll probably never be a Tim Burton character (though Tim if you’re reading this, call me), I know, no matter how weird or different I may be, I can make a difference.

And that’s what I’ve learned from Tim Burton.

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Photo Credit to: http://www.d2fzf9bbqh0om5.cloudfront.net

 

Cult Movies

Most of us know at least one person who can’t get through the week without quoting their favorite cult film,whether it be Heathers, Carrie, Rocky Horror Picture Show or some other enthusiastically admired film. 

But what makes a movie a cult classic?  The term was originally coined in the late 1970’s but has now grown into many captivated fan bases. 

Films that are able to be called a ‘cult classic’ were usually box office flops, or movies nobody really cared about at the time of their release but gained popularity in the years later. 

Cult films are usually timeless, adored by people who watched them at the time of their release along with teenagers and young adults.  Even today you can catch a midnight screening of Rocky Horror Picture show at the Art Theatre in Long Beach.

Even though I have never attended one of these legendary screenings, I’ve heard it’s quite an experience.

Along with a love of Whole Foods, Arcade Fire and ugly shoes, admiration of cult movies have become a defining characteristic of the young hipster. 

This probably has something to do with the fact that these ‘cult films’ were ripped to pieces by the critics and virtually ignored by the public at the time of their release, and like any good hipster, they loved it just because it was hated. 

While most cult movies were not positively received at the time of their launch, doesn’t mean they are all bad. For example: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – it’s a great movie but Roger Ebert gave it a 1/4. 

Likewise not all Cult Movies deserved to be on the high pedestal their zealous fans have put them on, such as “The Room”, which one IMDB comment stated “watching this movie felt like being stabbed in the head”.

Why this movie still has a following, I’m not sure. 

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photo credit to cultmovieresearch.com

The Film Industry Today

To follow up from the previous angst saturated post “What is it all for?” written by yours truly, here are some issues regarding the film industry currently.

The Film Industry today revolves primarily among massive blockbuster film distributors who produce films that will cater to large audiences in order to maintain a high profit circulation.

Due to the high competition for sales, not as many quality films are being made. Movies are being made to sell, and look attractive to buyers. For example, you want to make an experimental film? Your distributer probably wont do it unless you throw in some romantic interest, and maybe a few action scenes.

That’s what people are buying these days.

Yes, great movies can have both those things, but they are loosing creativity. Characters are becoming 3 dimensional on imax screen buts are becoming 1 dimensional in content.

Smaller production companies such as Fox Searchlight are doing a great job. They’re doing well and coming out with great movies by more independent directors who are sticking to their creative vision more so than someone working for another company.

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Fox Searchlight