A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 2

Just this past Friday, March 30, A Series of Unfortunate Events season two arrived with gusto. Streaming on titan platform Netflix, season two has expanded from eight episodes to ten and takes the views up through book nine.

Photo Credit: variety.com

This season sees the introduction of the two remaining Quagmire triplets, a swagger filled Nathan Fillion stepping into the role of Jacques Snicket, and a wonderful, fourth wall breaking, sense of self awareness that shows of this nature often lack.

While yes it does follow a predictable plot line, which was a problem many had with the first season: bad guardian –> something terrible –> Baudelaires escape. The beauty of this repetitive and predictable plot line though is it allows actors like Neil Patrick Harris (Count Olaf) and Nathan Fillon (Jacques Snicket) to really work their roles and have fun doing so, which is reflected as fully realized and sharp characters.

Photo Credit: syfy.com

The plot, instead of taking front and center like most shows/movies, takes a backseat to an incredibly immersive and rich world. Instead of trying to turn darkly fantastical source material into highly approachable comic realism (e.g. Marvel Comics), the plot champions a wonderful sort of self-realized, almost escapist fantasy that is unafraid to hit viewers in the face with a strong message of: This is our world, not yours.

With this world also comes the introduction of the highly secretive and, thus far, very vague secret society of VFD as the Baudelaires chase after red herring after red herring (ha).

Photo Credit: screenrant.com

This season is wonderful and keeps the Baudelaires on the move, it maintains the spirit of the books and the first season with dexterity, and manages newly introduced plot lines with ease. I recommend this show so highly it and I are probably in space. Go watch it.

Now I may be a bit biased by the fact that I get to see one of my all time favorite series on screen, if one is in the mood for a more comprehensive look at season two (spoiler warning) there is one here.

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26/1

I wanted to cause damage.

 

I wanted to feel something, anything other than alone.

I wanted to live hope, to have tangible hope.

I wanted to have hope that I wasn’t dead

so I aimed to maim instead.

I wanted it to stop.

To know you’re just like me.

Photo Credit: threadless.com

I wanted the world to stop,

 

I wanted a chance to crack open the hearts that didn’t want me

and scar them. To see the same hurts on them as on mine.

I wanted to crack open every ribcage until I found you:

the heart that beats with mine.

I wanted to break those that are perfect to feel for

just a moment

perfection between my two hands.

But time didn’t stop, I can’t hear your heart.

Everyone goes on smiling, band-aiding each other’s hearts while I try to wash the blood off my hands.

I feel like bleeding out.

The only damage I can cause is to the heart in my hands.

The one that fell out of my own chest.

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.

What a Year So Far.

Life is moving fast. 2017 was a historic year for Asian representation in America.

Photo Credit: allkp
Photo Credit: chinafilminsider.com/

Last year Liu Yifei was cast as Mulan, Kelly Marie Tran became the first Asian American lead in a Star Wars movie, Bangtan Sonyeondan – better known as BTS – became the very first K-artist, besides PSY, to ever win a Billboard Music Award and the first K-group to ever perform at the American Music Awards and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. BTS also continue to break their own records in the Billboard standings and seem to only be growing in popularity.

Photo Credit: billboard.com

Only a month into 2018 Asian representation is looking up and just a couple of days ago BTS again made history as the first K-group and second K-artist ever to earn a RIAA Gold CertificationRIAA Gold Certification for their remix of their son “Mic Drop” with Japanese American DJ Steve Aoki and rapper Desiigner; and just today (February 4) Chinese Canadian singer Kris Wu became the first Chinese Artist to ever preform at the Superbowl Half-Time Show.

Photo Credit: nerdist.com

These examples are just a couple of the milestones that have been met in just a short amount of time. Hopefully these two events this year, and several from late last year, are indicative of how the rest of this year, and the future, will go on the Asian/ East Asian Representation front.

Mulan — Finally

Chinese actor Liu YiFei has officially been cast as my all time favorite Disney character: Mulan. Childhood and current me are screaming, actually screaming, I couldn’t be more thrilled, finally there is a movie figuredheaded by an Asian (and a woman, no less)!

As a little kid it always felt weird that the only character I had that looked like me was animated, but NO LONGER. As someone who has always dreamed of being Mulan, yeah I’m a little insulted that a talent agent didn’t stop me in the street and go: “you, you are Mulan,” and cast me on the spot but let’s be real…

Photo Credit: cfensi.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: cfensi.wordpress.com

YiFei looks ready to stop the Hun Army and save China already.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Disney anounced they were going to make a live-action version, I probably thought, “Oh god, another chance to whitewash.” But look at her. Although, I’m very worried that there will be some oomph lost from “I’ll Make a Man Out of You“, but you know what I am still so incredibly excited and want the movie to come out tomorrow.

This casting means so much to me not only because it means that, hello, I get relive Mulan again, but little kid me who thought a cartoon character was all I had to look up to and always thought I looked kind of strange is now jumping up and down yelling “I look like Mulan (not really, but the sentiment is there).” This movie had better go well or else my hopes and dreams will be dashed.

Photo Credit: cfensi.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: cfensi.wordpress.com

 

David Lynch’s Eraserehead

It’s October aka the Halloween month, so I thought that it’d be fitting to share and reflect on some of my favorite horror movies of all time. First, I’d like to talk about a rather peculiar movie that is Eraserhead. I first came across it when I was only twelve years old and it was also my first time diving into one of David Lynch’s elusive worlds.

The movie is Lynch’s debut work and it was first screened at the Filmex Festival in 1997.  The plot tells the story of a single father, Henry Spencer, who has to take care of his mutant, deformed child. The setting is Lynch’s favorite- small and isolated, industrial town. However, most of the movie is an insight into Henry’s mind, full of hallucinations, nightmare-like sequences, and his dark fantasies.

Eraserhead manages to alienate the viewer from the real world into a dream world. Lynch perfectly depicts nightmare logic and that’s what makes this movie truly terrifying. This movie is also perfect if you want an authentic insight into Lynch’s mind, he directed, produced, wrote, edited and designed sound for Eraserhead. Lynch refuses to explain anything to the viewer, however, he did say that he still hasn’t read an interpretation similar to his.

I would highly recommend this disturbing, claustrophobic body-horror classic. Perhaps, you might be the first to have an interpretation that matches Lynch’s.

Eraserhead IMDB

 

Photo Credit: Amazon

 

 

 

“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?