4.30.2003

Archived Posts - April 2003



04.30.03

Disney will release Hayao Miyazaki's latest production, Howl's Moving Castle in the U.S. in 2005.

04.30.03

So right for me, the big Major League news is Dusty Baker and the Cubs back in San Francisco to play the Giants and perhaps wreak a little retribution. But the real baseball news is this week's showdown in New York between the Yankees and the Mariners—meaning the highly anticipated first major league matchup between Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki. Should be quite a sight: Ichiro, Matsui hit the center stage

04.30.03

Interview with Aeon Flux animator Peter Chung

04.30.03

I'm told that on Craig Kilborn's show, he recently made a crack about how scary it is to have an Asian hot dog vendor at a Bluejays game. And of course the audience ate it up and laughed along. These are the kind of seemingly harmless jokes that end up fueling anti-Asian sentiment, especially in light of the kind of paranoia that the SARS scare is causing. Ironically, one of the Kilborn's guest on that particular show was Kelly Hu. Ai-yah. (Thanks, Marie)

04.30.03

It looks as though American Eagle Outfitters is trying really hard to be the tasteless successor to Abercrombie & Fitch. Another example of the commodification of Asian culture, in the form of trendy novelty clothing and accessories. Observe: this "cute" elephant caricature, printed up on a tote bag. "Dehli-cious Peanuts." Oh ho ho. The most clever thing I've heard since "Two Wongs Make It White." The elephant is actually the Hindu image of Lord Ganesh. Does AEO know this? If they do, they obviously don't care. Besides, it's cute, right? And they can sell an gazillion of them. The image also shows up on this tee shirt and a freakin' thong sandal. Read more all about it here: Gross Insensitivity by American Eagle Outfitters Enrages Hindus.

Also note the Lotus Blossom tee shirt. Oh how we hate that phrase. Does BBCM know about this one? That's racist!

04.29.03

Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, the screenwriting team behind X2: X-Men United, have signed a deal to write the screenplay for the Lucy Liu/John Woo Charlie Chan movie remake. All I have to say is, don't screw this up.

04.29.03

Mike makes an astute observation, noting that the final three Women's Team contenders on MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challege are of Asian descent: Ruthie, Ellen and Lori. Actually, the final four ladies were Asian, and in Melissa's final appearance before being voted off, she declared "I LOVE FILIPINOS!" on national television. It's a battle of the sexes, and the Asian ladies represent.

04.28.03

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has named Shamina Singh as Advisor for her Leadership office and Howard Moon to serve as Floor Assistant. We're talking 'bout Asian Americans in politics, people: Singh, Moon Appointed Key Positions

04.28.03

Parminder Nagra of Bend It Like Beckham fame has landed a role on NBC's ER. Aw yeah. I am a fan. She says, "I want to break the glass ceiling. There's more to second-generation Asians than cultural conflict. I'm delighted. I've always loved the program and will be going out to shoot the next series in August." Sounds good. I look forward to it.

04.28.03

SARS is taking its toll on Asians in this country—without killing a single person. The economic repercussions have been severe on Asian communities. I have a feeling this is going to get a lot worse. As paranoia and fear continue to spread, there's going to be a severe xenophobic reaction against Asians in America. Stay alert: LA-Area Asian Community Struggles to Recover from SARS Scare

04.28.03

Here's how Better Luck Tomorrow did this weekend, in terms of box office numbers: Box Office Mojo. It came in at 18th place, and made about a million bucks. This is good/bad, depending on how you look at it. However, to me, the real disappointment is that The Real Cancun debuted at 10th place, and made $2,300,000. WHAT? Say it ain't so.

I think MTV could be doing a better job promoting this film. If you agree with me, let them know.

04.27.03

Just caught my favorite show, Showtime at the Apollo. Okay, it's not my favorite show, but I enjoy it immensely, especially when I tune in and they've none other than slam poet Beau Sia performing. And the dude TORE IT UP. His piece was angry, Asian, and totally in your face. It was like an address to the rest of America, a wake up call—we're here, get used to it. The Apollo audience didn't quite know what to make of him. But he was great. Mad props.

04.27.03

Alas, Stoudemire gets Rookie of the Year... But here's Yao Ming's latest journal entry.

04.27.03

Speaking of white-man-as-asian casting, our very favorite white-man-who-played-an-asian, David Carradine (of Kung Fu), shows up on tonight's new episode (finally!) of Alias. Playing a monk, no less!

04.26.03

Honestly, what is it with radio sports personalities being racist idiots? David writes in with some angering stuff regarding "The Wiseguys" on 670 AM (THE SCORE) in Chicago. Specifically, this fool named Mike North who regularly takes shots at expense of Asians. On Friday afternoon, North was talking about how baseball teams playing in Toronto have been warned by Major League Baseball to stay away from "crowds and autographs" given the threat of SARS. North went on to add, "...You know what you gotta do? Just avoid Asians, because they're the ones bringing it from Asia." Ah, it has already begun. The condemnation and blame towards Asians because of the SARS epidemic, promoting an environment of fear and mistrust—as if we weren't already fighting an uphill battle with image issues in this country. But there's more. North started talking about North Korea's nuclear situation, and told his co-host, Mike Mulligan, "Yeah, why don't you go to a Korean restaurant to see how people feel about this situation." Nothing really wrong with that. But then Mulligan adds, "Yeah, I'll make sure I don't bring my dog along." THAT FREAKIN' RACIST! Do I need to even say more on this comment?

Here is the URL for the radio station: www.wscr670am.com/. And Mike North's contact information. Let him know what you think.

04.25.03

Really interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal on prep school kids and the strange, skewed world of college admissions. Race and ethincity aren't the only factors messing with the game... privelege, status and the "old boys club" racket still routinely edge out overqualified applicants from admissions at top-tier schools. The article profiles Henry Park, a Groton student passed over by his first-choice colleges, in contrast to his well-connected classmates. The article is only available online to subscribers, but I've reprinted the article here: For Groton Grads, Academics Aren't Only Keys to Ivy Schools. Yes, I hook you up.

04.25.03

This has been rumored for several years now, but finally we get a substantial update on the status of Lucy Liu and the "Charlie Chan" movie remake: A Charlie's Angel for Charlie Chan. I've always thought this was a pretty interesting premise... The "Charlie Chan" series has always been an seminal bump in Hollywood's history of Yellowface—all of the actors who have portrayed character have been white. But I always thought it would be appropriate if the character were remade and re-appropriated by Asian Americans. An update where the old bumbling, buck-toothed image was subverted, and we got to see a cool Asian American detective story. Looks like it's going to happen in some form. With John Woo at the helm, no less. My only qualm is that I wish an Asian American male could play the titular character. But I guess Lucy Liu has got star power.

04.25.03

WNBA Draft 2003 prospect: Sun-Min Jung

04.25.03

The first manned flight to the International Space Station since the February 1 shuttle Columbia disaster will blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday. Edward Lu, 39, of the United States, and Yuri Malenchenko, 41, of Russia, are scheduled to spend six months on the space station. Read more here: Shuttle's shadow over manned space launch. And here's Edward Lu's official bio.

04.25.03

So on the new "reality" (please) show, Mr. Personality, a woman has to choose from a bunch of guys. The catch: they're all masked, thus her choice must be based on their personalities, regardless of appearance. One of the contestants, Pete, is Asian American. Check out his bio here. Can you imagine him making it to the end? Her careful choice made, he is dramatically unmasked, and she shrieks, "You're Asian?!" I'd pay money to watch that. (Thanks to the chiseledchino)

04.25.03

I'm told last night on Jimmy Kimmel, there was a bit where he repeatedly asked an Asian kid if he could do karate or jujitsu. The kid seemed confused, didn't know what was going on, and repeatedly replied, "No." This is absolutely unbelievable CRAP. A cheap joke, built on yet again the proliferation of a racial stereotype. I didn't see the incident for myself, but you know what it looks like? That's racist! (Thanks, Greg)

04.25.03

So this movie, Better Luck Tomorrow (heard of it?), opens in theaters EVERYWHERE today. Now you have no excuse not to see this film, or tell all your buddies, cousins, co-workers and colleagues to do so. Even your momma. Week one and two were huge, unprecedented successes, but to me, today's nationwide opening is the true test. It needs to break out to non-Asian, mainstream success—and by that, I mean $$$ in no uncertain terms. Can BLT pack general audiences into theaters? Everybody, not just Asian populations, needs to get out and see this film.

Spread the word.

04.24.03

Tonight's ER not only "guest starred" the previously mentioned Sulekha Naidu, there was a distinct handful of Asians composing the group of medical students. By "guest star" I mean that they got to stand around and follow the doctors. But I appreciated it because it seemed like distinct true-to-life casting effort.

04.24.03

Sulekha Naidu shows up tonight on NBC's ER as Asha, a medical student...

04.23.03

Just thought I'd give some props to my panel-mate from earlier this week: Kristina Sheryl Wong, performance artist extraordinaire. She's just crazy. And cool.

04.23.03

This is crazy: Minor leaguer might face animal cruelty charges. So this player is in trouble for throwing a ball at an osprey. Okay, that's just plain stupid judgment on this guy's part. Idiotic move. But some woman wants the guy deported. I wonder how differently they'd react if the player wasn't South Korean.

04.22.03

Insightful interview with Justin Lin, on the making of Better Luck Tomorrow, especially his observations on funding and distribution: Better Luck Tomorrow, Today

I also suggest checking out Forging a Feature: The Journey of BLT by Evan Leong. It's a documentary (also known as BLT: Genesis) about the making of the movie, and it'll be airing on PBS in May for APA Heritage Month. Check your local PBS station listings.

Parry Shen writes in with another encouragement and appeal for audiences to make out to BLT this weekend: A Cast Member's Follow-Up

04.22.03

Turner Classic Movies will be airing a 12-film festival dedicated to the cinema of Bollywood! It starts June 5, 8pm ET on TCM.

04.22.03

New international trailer for The Hulk, directed by Ang Lee.

04.22.03

You may recall a long while back a crazy offensive movie show on USA called Banzai!, which is sort of hard to describe... just think bad Asian TV with stereotypical martial arts and voiceovers. It earned itself a great deal of controversy and was eventually pulled off the schedule. The show actually still airs in Europe, poisoning minds and refusing to die the death it deserves. If you've seen this show, you know what I'm talking about. The worst part is, besides the actors who appear in the show nearly everyone else on the production team is not Asian. And it's pure crap.

Now it looks like it's going to make a stateside comeback. Katherine gives me the heads up, from RDF Media News:


Banzai bets on Fox

Posted 8th January 2003

Radar, the entertainment company backed by RDF Media, will be taking its award-winning entertainment show Banzai to the US this year following a commission from the Fox broadcast network. Although Radar has previously made Banzai shorts for USA Network, the Fox commission for a six-part run is the first time the format will be run as a full primetime series in the US. A third series of the cult interactive betting show is also in production for original commissioners E4 and Channel 4 for broadcast this year.

In addition, Radar is looking beyond the established Banzai brand with commissions from Channel 4 to make Experimental, a new hidden camera show, for delivery in the spring, and from BBC Three controller Stuart Murphy for Hercules, a twelve-part extreme endurance series. Radar is also piloting 3 Kings, a comedy challenge show for Channel 4 and Battle Of The Dads, a Saturday evening show for Five.


This cannot happen, and espcially not on network US television. I'll keep you posted. That's racist! (Thanks, K)

04.22.03

TIME Asia's annual feature: Asian Heroes 2003

04.22.03

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (April 18, 2003) reviews Better Luck Tomorrow (page 49) and includes a picture of Karin Anna Cheung and John Cho. However, the caption mistakes Cho for Parry Shen. Perhaps we do still all look alike. That's racist!

"Secret Asian Man" watches Better Luck Tomorrow: Ssshh! It's Starting!

04.22.03

Props to the APCW people at UC Davis. The panel went well. Go Aggies! I had a good time, and it was great to meet some of you out there... I hope I didn't sound too dopey. Stay Angry.

04.21.03

Hockey news. A whole mess of people wrote in to let me know about Richard Park, a Korean American player on the Minnesota Wild who scored two goals tonight in Game 6 of the playoffs over the Colorado Avalanche—including the game winning goal in overtime!

04.21.03

Here's an interesting upcoming program on PBS: Race - The Power of an Illusion. You gotta admit, the title alone is pretty intriguing. Check out the people sorter: Can You Tell Somebody's Race By Looking At Them? (Kind of like All Look Same). It's pretty fascinating... The show premieres April 24 on PBS. I'll be tuning in.

04.21.03

I will be participating in "Asian & Angry," a panel-type discussion at UC Davis as part of their annual Asian Pacific Culture Week festivities. I will joined by the infamous Big Bad Chinese Mama. We are described on the program website as Asian American "internet celebrities," which sounds kind of shady, like we're p0rn stars or something... I don't have clear idea of what we'll be talking about, but I think it'll be cool. See you there. Tonight at 7:00 pm, MU II, UC Davis.

04.21.03

Better Luck Tomorrow made another strong box office showing this weekend. Check Box Office Mojo for the numbers. This coming Friday, April 25, is being described as "D-Day" for the film. Paramount and MTV Film are rolling it out in theaters everywhere, with an increased marketing push. I've seen several commercials all over, and not just on MTV. And did you see MTV's BLT Movie Special over the weekend? Really interesting to see the film's stars in their humble, everyday living. I appreciated their candor, and it made me want to support the film even more. Your work is not complete. Continue to spread the word about this movie!

04.21.03

"It didn't bother me at all. I'm sorry they were upset... I can't understand why they were so upset."

If you look at the word "Chinaman," it doesn't seem as though it would be all that offensive or derogatory. But it is. And used in this context, it's straight up ignorant: Utilities Chief Refers to Colleague as "Chinaman". That's racist!

04.20.03

Here's a moving human interest story from last month worth checking out: In Search of Work, Outsider Is Caught in Mideast Conflict. Pretty powerful. The article was written by Karby Leggett, who happened to be sitting next to Mrs. Chen on the plane ride from China to Israel. He usually covers harder financial news for the WSJ but this story moved him as well.

04.20.03

Candie Kung wins her first LPGA Tournament: Kung wins first title despite final-hole bogey

04.19.03

A few more items on Better Luck Tomorrow that seem to persist in the ol' mailbag. I am quite aware there is a connection between the film and an actual Orange County murder case from a few years back. No need to inform me about this. I'm informed. Contrary to popular belief, Better Luck Tomorrow is not a "ripoff" of the case—it's not an attempt to document or dramatize the actual events surrounding the murder. Nor is it true that director Justin Lin denies or refuses to acknowledge BLT's similarities to the case. A lot of people have written in, and I've seen some pretty outrageous speculation on various forums about this. I have to say, after reading up on the case it myself, the movie has some eerie, too-close-for-comfort similarities, and the movie is probably more closely related to the case than the filmmaker would care to admit. But for sure, this is not supposed to be a "docudrama" movie-of-the-week. To hear Justin Lin's take on this, visit the News section of the official BLT site, and click on "03/20/03 : Sunny Hills Similarities."

Another subject I'm getting a lot of inquiries about is the film's altered ending. I mentioned last week that the theatrical version currently playing in theaters is different from the version I saw early in its festival run. Basically, the plot has not changed, but due to some re-edited, re-shot footage, the resounding tone of the film strikes a different chord. Without giving anything away, basically, the story spends more time with Ben at the end. There are a few new moments, most notably the "lunch table" and "yearbook photo" scenes (and I think they added what sounds like a DJ Shadow song to the soundtrack), as well as some dialogue in the final car scene. There is also one key, important line missing. Jeffrey Wells talks about the new ending extensively in the "Hollywood Elsewhere" column I mentioned a few weeks back: WARNING: BIG SPOILERS >>Better Luck Shuffle. Personally, I'm fine with it.

One last thing... Catch the Better Luck Tomorrow Movie Special tonight on MTV at 9pm EST.

04.18.03

Another letter from Better Luck Tomorrow director Justin Lin, regarding the film's success so far:


Dear Friends-

Thank you for your incredible support this past weekend. I got the wake up call of a lifetime Sunday morning from the heads of MTV Films and Paramount. Not only was "Better Luck Tomorrow" the highest grossing film per screen in the country, but we also set records for both the studio and MTV Films. And my phone did not stop ringing there. Executives from other studios also called, and one thing's for certain, everyone is baffled. They can't figure out how a small independent film with barely any advertising muscle could out-perform the big movies. Of course, we already know the answer: word of mouth.

This history-making success is a testament to all of you that came out, bought a ticket, and told your friends to go see it. Now, the audience is telling the studios what kind of film they want to see - something completely unheard of in Hollywood. We are setting a new precedent. Fans showed up in such big numbers that theaters actually cancelled screenings of
"Anger Management" in order to add additional showings of BLT. And in cities where BLT isn't showing, fans have been calling their local theatre managers and demanding that the theatres bring it to their towns.

But we still have a long road ahead. If there's any downside to our triumphant opening weekend, it's that we might be seen as a fluke. BLT is opening in ten additional cities on Friday, April 18th. If we can sustain the same momentum of last weekend, I've been assured that "Better Luck Tomorrow" will go to a nationwide release on April 25th! Not only would this be historic for Asian American cinema, but it would finally put us on a level playing field with the average Hollywood film. I found out that approximately 60% of the audiences last weekend were Asian Americans. If this trend continues, we will at last be able to carve out a piece of the pie on the studio marketing chart, thereby signaling the way for more films with real, human portrayals of Asian Americans. We?re on the verge of something truly groundbreaking, so let?s not turn back now. If you haven't seen the film yet, now is the time. If you saw it last weekend (thank you!), bring a friend and watch it again. Remember, your movie ticket is your vote.

Please look at the new cities listed below and if you have friends or family there, let them know about the film and tell them to visit the website or read the reviews.

Once again, thank you for all your support.

Justin


04.18.03

Better Luck Tomorrow expands wider to a whole mess of cities today (I think something like 46 screens). Last weekend's opening was phenomenal, but the movie still needs to do well this weekend. Like, sell-out-well. And depending on its box office performance from these first two weeks, it will expand to theaters EVERYWHERE on April 25. Is the rest of American ready to see this startling new vision of Asian Americans on film? I say we make them see it, whether they're ready or not. So continue to spread the word like mad, tell your family and friends. Heck, go see it again.

04.18.03

The Asian Hip Hop Summit goes down tonight and tomorrow night in LA (at Boba Delight in K-Town). The schedule looks like they've got a great lineup. Check it out.

04.17.03

Interesting Q & A with Roger Ebert. He references Better Luck Tomorrow in his discussion of race and film...


"On the other hand, I think we're moving now into a time in America where race is becoming less obviously important as the subject of films that have people of various races in them. I mentioned Justin Lin, whose movie "Better Luck Tomorrow" is all about Asian Americans. But they're never identified by where their parents are from, whether it be Korea, Japan, or China, or the Philippines. When they start selling drugs in the high school, they're known as the Chinese Mafia, but that's just kind of a label that's given them. Other than that, they're not particularly conscious of the fact that they're Asian American. They are themselves; they are individuals; and they are involved in this situation."

This interview also mentions Hoop Dreams and Do the Right Thing, two relatively unknown films that he championed, which then when on to receive much acclaim and success—just like BLT.

04.17.03

Here's something crazy I just heard about. First read this: He's killed over a smoke: Bouncer is stabbed enforcing new law. A bouncer is allegedly stabbed to death by "two Chinatown brothers" when he tries to enforce New York's new smoking law. What's this look like? Two stupid foos getting violent against a guy just doing his job. But read on: Sprung in bar slaying: DA won't prosecute suspects. In a mysterious turn of events, these guys are set free with no clear given reason. Other press have suggested that it's race related... that they got off because the bouncer was black and these two guys are Chinese. I don't buy it, but it's still damn fishy. But you must also read this: Father of 3 suspects was gang chief. Oh man, these dudes are related to a Chinatown gangster. What now? It's complicated, it can't be good, and I don't even know what to think.

But all this, over a smoke.

04.17.03

No matter how you look at it Better Luck Tomorrow is a controversial film. And as expected, it has stirred up a lot of dialogue, especially about stereotypes and positive/negative portrayals of Asian Americans. From the moment that dude stepped up at the Sundance Q & A and asked Justin Lin how he could make a film "so empty and amoral to Asian Americans"—and Roger Ebert's heated response—you knew this topic would be at the forefront of BLT discussions: 'Tomorrow' has its day: Story of Asian American overachievers gone bad has moviegoers talking

On the one hand, you've got people extolling the film for subverting and shattering the Asian overachieving nerd-boy image... At the same time, I'm hearing people expressing disappointment that the film glorifies the Asian teen wannabe "gangster" image, another stereotype which, although not depicted on film until now, I've observed to an extent as a real suburban phenomenon. Like it or not, thanks to its stark, unflinching (and sometimes graphic) storytelling, the movie has got people talking.

It's just interesting how stereotypes evolve and multiply. You've got one kind of image that perpetuates itself through various means. You've got other images that sometimes work in opposition to the original stereotype, yet considered equally valid. You've got Asians working hard to negate stereotypes imposed on them. And you've got other Asians wholeheartedly buying into their respective stereotypes.

Consider this article, yet another on import car racing culture: Hot Import Nights: A showcase of all things car, including parts, babes and racing. It acknowledges that to many, this phenomenon is by and by "an Asian thing." What's interesting to me is how many Asians embrace this image and are in agreement with projected stereotype with a "hell yeah" mentality. But that's their prerogative. What's even more interesting is this quote from an SJSU Asian American studies professor: "If you're dealing with Asian-male masculinity issues relative to a larger dominant culture, cars, whether it's racing or customizing, are an equalizer... It's not the basis of height or weight. The car levels the playing field. It allows them to use a whole variety of other skills, from design to what they know about car mechanics." I don't know about that. That's bordering on a whole other can of worms.

What's the point of all this? I don't know. I just felt like talking, but it's too complicated to fully get into all of it. So many stereotypes, so little time.

04.17.03

Props to law student Sharon Cho, who took action when she read about 275 Korean immigrants facing deportation because a federal immigration official in San Jose gave them fake green cards: Student moved by injustice to lend a hand

04.16.03

Here's the official line from Paramount/MTV Films on Better Luck Tomorrow's box office performance last weekend: MTV Films' 'Better Luck Tomorrow' Opens With an Amazing $27,752 Per Theater Average With Cume of $360,772 on 13 Screens

04.16.03

Before I forget, I should mention that Bulletproof Monk, starring Chow Yun Fat, opened in theaters today. Almost seems irrelevant, considering all that's been said and has been going on with Better Luck Tomorrow. But really, the only thing I really have to say aboutt his movie: Why is a talented actor like Chow Yun Fat wasting his time with crap like this? I haven't seen it, but I know it's crap. Definitely a step back for a man who once defined badass in The Killer and Hard Boiled.

04.16.03

This can't be good: No bail for woman defendant in China-FBI intelligence case. This case is going to get ugly.

04.15.03

The Korean American Coalition, and the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium along with nine other organizations, recently announced they have sent a letter objecting to humor based on racial stereotypes to The Tonight Showπs top corporate sponsors. The letter expresses concerns over the use of a racially inflammatory depiction of Koreans and other Asians eating dogs. Man, this stems way back to early last year, when Leno made a crack about Kim Dong-sung eating his dog.
That caused a pretty big stir, but Leno refused to relent, and has kept it up. And that ain't right. This kind of "harmless" humor just fuels stereotypes and festers a lack of respect for Asians, in this country and around the world. That's racist! Read more here: Groups Object to The Tonight Show Humor

04.15.03

I'm told my website gets a mention in the latest issue of Koream Journal. Cool. Many thanks to the wonderful and talented Min Jung Kim.

04.15.03

How about some movie news unrelated to BLT? Okay. I read in Variety that Danny DeVito's production company, Jersey Films, is producing a movie called Beautiful Asian Brides as a starring vehicle for Lucy Liu. I don't have any more information on this. But with a title like that, it sounds like bad news.

Obviously fueled by the success of Chicago and Moulin Rouge, Columbia Pictures and Red Wagon Productions plan to produce the studio's first movie musical in three decades and have tapped 23-year-old Jon M. Chu to direct an update of the 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie. Chu's vision of the film will be a more urban, hip-hop take than the original and aimed at younger moviegoers.

Chu is a recent USC grad, who has been generating considerable buzz with the short When the Kids Are Away that he wrote and directed. Boasting a cast and crew of 175—including 40 salsa, swing and break-dancing actors and a 50-member orchestra—the 17-minute pic is a full-blown musical that revolves around what stay-at-home mothers do when their families are away during the day.

You might have seen commercials for the upcoming film Confidence, starring Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz and Dustin Hoffman. The film is written by screenwriter Doug Jung. It opens April 25.

04.15.03

Here's some more on Congressman Howard Coble's decision not to speak at Guilford College's commencement: Protests Do It; Coble Withdraws

04.15.03

Want to support Better Luck Tomorrow? Check this out, going down tomorrow morning in NYC. On Wednesday, April 16, 2003, join BLT actors Roger Fan and Parry Shen outside the studios of the Today Show at Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan at 6:45 AM. They'll be there with posters and banners trying to get on camera at the Today Show windows and maybe help Al Roker with the weather. This is a crazy way to get the word out. Join them!

04.15.03

Last night, went to a Warriors game, saw Wang Zhizhi and the LA Clippers give Golden State the beatdown, 122-113. Wang didn't get much playing time, and Warriors just couldn't quite keep up. But I had fun anyway. Courtesy of the fine folks at SanFranciscoChinatown.com. Mad props.

04.15.03

MTV will be airing a Better Luck Tomorrow Movie Special on Saturday, April 18 at 9:00 pm. Hosted by Suchin Pak.

04.14.03

We've got numbers. Better Luck Tomorrow blew away industry predictions and grossed $398,489 in just 13 theaters—that's a whopping average of $30,653 per theater. Read a little more about box office numbers here: Who gives a rat's ass about Anger Management?

It's working! Now you need to keep spreading the word. Let people know about this film! It's absolutely no good if this movie's viewership stays within the Asian American community. People need to know this isn't just an excellent Asian American film, it's a great film, period. I say this with renewed passion, having seen it for my fourth viewing on Friday night. Watch this movie. Discuss. Spread the word.





04.12.03

Paid for my ticket, plunked myself in a theater seat, and watched Better Luck Tomorrow. The show was sold out, the house was full, and audience reaction seemed decidedly positive. Looks like all systems are go. Now we'll have to see what the weekend brings.

One thing about the film I'm still turning over and over in my head is the ending. The new, re-shot and re-edited ending, to be exact. This final theatrical cut is different from the version I saw early in BLT's festival circuit run. The ending was always something I had some issues with... The new ending definitely sets a divergent tone for the story, and packs a little less power, but does send it in an interesting direction. Do I like it? I don't know. It certainly doesn't make me dislike the film or like it any less. And I suppose anyone seeing it for the first time this weekend isn't really going to care one way or another—it's still a great film. I'm going to think about it some more.

Go see the movie.

04.11.03

The day has come. Better Luck Tomorrow opens today in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. There isn't a whole lot more to say than what's already been said. Just go see it, and spread the word.

Here are all the reviews, rolling in. Read 'em all at RottenTomatoes.com. One of the best quotes on the page: "It's a long way from Long Duk Dong." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

04.10.03

Maya Lin will be a judge in the 9/11 memorial design competition.

04.10.03

Giant Robot's got a spankin' new redesign for their website. Looks great.

04.10.03

A while back, there was a lot of news surrounding actor Don Duong, who was branded a "traitor" by the Vietnamese government for his roles in We Were Soldiers and Green Dragon. This week, Duong and his family left Vietnam and moved to San Jose: ACTOR BEGINS NEW LIFE IN U.S.


04.10.03

Okay, one last thing to push Better Luck Tomorrow before opening day. Get your parents to see BLT! Yes, yo' momma and pops. There's been a lot of grassroots support for this film, and it's been pretty amazing. You know, because you've been getting the emails and passing them on. But it seems like the word has been circulating only among the 20-30 year-old Asian crowd. If this is going to be TRULY successful, we've got to remember to get other generations, our parents, and people of other backgrounds, our non-Asian friends, out to see it. This has always been about breaking out, with mainstream, crossover success. Better Luck Tomorrow is the movie to do it. So keep spreading the word—but think bigger, and wider.

04.10.03

Here's what someone thinks:


As a fellow Asian-american, I feel that Asian people like you are way to sensitive when it comes to humor. Now I understand that my views may be different from other Asians, (I never grew up around Asians or had an Asian friend in my life, except my family), but I feel that those making the Asian jokes are not the ignorant ones, but rather the complaining Asians are the ignorant. Anyway, I stumbled upon your page because I was looking for a picture of the Conan's Asian male
prostitute (for humor purposes, not personal) on google.com. When you turn on the television you see jokes targeting whites, blacks, and hispanics pretty damn often but they don't seem to take it too seriously like Asian people. An example of Asian sensitivity is the Abercrombie & Fitch t shirt incident. At the time I was working for Abercrombie & Fitch and was shocked to see they were pulled because some Asian whiners complained. I understand these are just your opinions on racism and I respect that but I just felt the need to point out the Asian cry baby syndrome that plagues them.

Okay.

04.10.03

Another article on Cpl. Edward Chin: Marine: Flag a symbol of liberation, not occupation

04.10.03

Okay, one final plea-type letter on Better Luck Tomorrow's behalf, this time straight from the director himself, Justin Lin:


Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Supporters:

By now, I hope you've heard about my film BETTER LUCK TOMORROW and it's release on April 11th. Scores of people have participated in our grassroots promotion, and the response has been great. It's truly amazing to be where we are.

When BLT started, it was just the four of us trying to make a film that dealt with issues we felt passionate about. Sure, making a film with credit cards and constantly not knowing how we were going to survive each day's shoot was tough, but there were also positives. Each person that came on board, from cast to crew, did it for the right reasons. They believed in the project and in our passion for bringing it to life. Since then, on every step of the way, the BLT family has grown with people who could relate to that passion. The family eventually evolved into a sizable and outspoken community. Having this support was important, because nothing ever came easy. From pre-production to post production to acquisition, we had to overcome huge obstacles and prove ourselves.

Looking back now, we feel so fortunate to have come so far. However, the biggest challenge of our journey still lies ahead. A lot is riding on the release of the film. It doesn't matter that we've been to prestigious film festivals like Sundance or Toronto. It doesn't matter that many of the nations top critics have embraced this film. Even though we've been acquired for distribution, it's merely an opportunity. With a Ïplatform release,Ó the lifespan of a movie is determined on a week-by-week basis. Every weekend could be its last. This Friday, we open in LA, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. How we do in these first cities will determine if the rest of the country will get to see us at all. Once again, it's about having to prove ourselves.

But that's the struggle of an indie film: it only gets a fraction of the support that a Hollywood film gets, and it's only on a fraction of the screens, but it's expected to do five times the business or else it's deemed a failure. It's a system that seems to promote generic and safe products, while suppressing original, thought-provoking material.

So then how can we beat the system? How can we ensure that fresh and unique films get to see the light of day? How can we level the playing field between independent films like BLT and the studio films with their multi-million dollar marketing budgets, billboards, TV commercials, and newspaper ads? The answer is "word of mouth." All we have to do is simply tell others to go see the film. Studios spend tens of millions of dollars on marketing their films. But the one thing Hollywood can't buy is Ïword of mouth.Ó By telling a friend, we have the ability to put films like BLT on an equal playing field with big budget studio movies; thereby sending Hollywood a strong message that they must pay attention to what we, as movie-goers, really want.

I've always heard the word "community" used but never truly knew what it meant. It just seemed to be a label. But as a result of trying to bring the movie to the big screen, I've learned first hand that a community is built on shared experience. The ever-growing BLT community is made up of passionate, motivated individuals who care about real issues and are tired of being dumbed-down by mass entertainment. They have embraced the film for its independent spirit and the way it deals with tough issues. They've helped us get to this point. But now, more than ever, we need your help. Please join and help us overcome our one last big obstacle.

Lately, I've learned a lot about how movies end up in theaters. I now know how we can communicate with the people that green light projects and control what we see. I know that the only way things can change is if the audiences themselves force things to change. This letter is more than just a plea for your support of our film. IT'S A CALL TO ACTION. If you've ever complained about unoriginal cookie cutter movies or representation in the media, you have the power to change that. All you have to do is help spread the word and support projects like BLT—Hollywood will listen if we are loud enough at the box office.

It's been great for me as a filmmaker and I am grateful for my journey. I got to work with incredible people all the way through and got to make the film that is important to me. It's taken five years and more blood, sweat and tears than I ever thought humanly possible to arrive at this moment. It's only appropriate that at the end of the road, it's up to you, the viewer, to help complete this circle. Together, we can make history. Please forward this letter to your friends, colleagues and family, and visit the website for more information: www.betterlucktomorrow.com

Thank you for letting me share this with you.

Sincerely,

Justin Lin


I've said it before, and I'll keep on saying it: Go see this movie. And spread the word.

04.09.03

I was able to attend the Chicago Asian American Film Showcase shorts program Guys Gone Wild! A few good ones, mixed in with a couple of okay ones. All pretty hilarious. I especially liked Cheryl Park's Pilots Are Badass and Nobu Adilman's Yoga, Man. A very special props goes to my man Vincent Tsu's Last Stand. I went to high school with that guy, and he's just plain cool.

04.09.03

Television audiences around the world witnessed the image of Cpl. Edward Chin, 23, of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment draping an American flag on the face of Saddam Hussein's statue before tearing it down—symbolizing the fall of Saddam Hussein's power in Baghdad. I've always been against this war, but props to this guy, for being a part of our troops, getting on TV! Check it out: Family cheers as 'their Marine' leads statue's destruction

04.09.03

I'm off to Chicago for a few days, to check out the Asian American Film Showcase and visit with friends/family. I'll try my best to update if I get the chance. I plan to watch Better Luck Tomorrow on opening night at the Century 12/Century CinÈArts 6 in Evanston. If you'd like to join me, you are more than welcome. At the very least, say hello... You'll spot me in my green Better Luck Tomorrow t-shirt. When I find out exactly which showtime I'll be attending, I'll post it here.

04.08.03

Singer/songwriter Vienna Teng is spotlighted in SF Gate: Songwriter finds her voice, fame at dawn of her 'Waking Hour'

04.08.03

More Better Luck Tomorrow stuff. This is a local thing. I'm betting San Francisco and Berkeley will do pretty well, and the South Bay will represent, but they've just added Union City Century 25 to the April 11 opening schedule, and I think it needs some help. East Bay, represent! They need to fill those seats. Spread the word.

04.08.03

Chinese Canadians are being victimized and irrationally blamed for the outbreak of SARS in Canada. SARS Not a Disease of Asians, U.S. Expert Says. Obviously, this is because a person of Chinese descent can be easily identified on the street. Would this happen if SARS had originated from, say, Germany? Cab drivers refusing rides to white people. There's a funny thought. That's racist!

04.08.03

Giant Robot has got some interviews up with Better Luck Tomorrow cast members Sung Kang and Roger Fan.

04.08.03

Thought we forgot about Howard Coble? A few months ago, there was some question of whether or not the congressman would speak at his alma mater's commencement, due to protests against his remarks about the Japanese American internment. Well, now there's no question: Coble won't speak at commencement at request of Guilford students. About a third of the 160 graduating students presented Coble with a petition asking him not to speak at graduation.

Now how about our petitions for him to resign from office?


04.08.03

What the--?! Check out this lady: Toronto's Gail Kim joins WWE. That's something you don't see everyday... But it makes me pretty proud, I guess. She's got the skills. Check out her official site www.lafelina.com. And view the video clips. Those are some impressive moves... Props.

04.08.03

Here's Yao in that Gatorade commerical I mentioned a few months back: Can Jimmy play? It actually shows Yao playing basketball! Sort of. I laughed my ass off when Yao breaks the hoop.

Speaking of basketball, check out Posterized, a new line of sports apparel. Basketball clothing with an attitude, brought to my attention by promoter Jared Lim. Check it out.

04.07.03

Another impassioned, common-sense urging to mobilize and see Better Luck Tomorrow, courtesy of Stuart at www.monkeywarplane.com. (The January 29 entry) Do you need any more motivation or reason to go see this film? It all begins on Friday, with you.

04.07.03

I completely forgot to mention that Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco's documentary Daughter From Danang was on PBS tonight. My apologies. I recommend checking out the website, which has a lot of great supplementary material.

04.07.03

Up to now I've refrained from talking about SARS, just because I didn't want to add to the potential panic. But now it's a little disturbing, especially since it has definitely made its way over to the United States—and kind of close to where I live. It's certainly alarming a lot of Asian American neighborhoods. You can actually see people in Chinatown surgical wearing masks. Some have cancelled trips to Asia altogether. Read more here: Asian American Neighborhoods Feel Impact of SARS

04.07.03

Better Luck Tomorrow was reviewed on Ebert & Roeper this weekend. It earned an enthusiastic "Two Thumbs Up" and a glowing review. Very impressive. Here's the transcript from their review:


RICHARD ROEPER: We move on to another movie, which is much better I think. It's dazzling, it's shocking, it's unsettling and it's called "BETTER LUCK TOMORROW." Like the Larry Clark films "Kids" and "Bully," it's a piercing portrayal of American teenagers who are for the most part good-looking, smart, funny— and almost completely lacking in morals. Directed, co-written and co-produced by Justin Lin, "BETTER LUCK TOMORROW" is narrated by Parry Shen as Ben, one of a loosely knit group of privileged Asian-American honors students living in Orange County.

RICHARD: The film starts with the discovery of that dead body and then goes back to the chain of events that led to a murder.

RICHARD: Karin Anna Cheung plays Stephanie, Ben's lab partner. They strike up a sweet, but complicated friendship verging on romance. Now, nearly all the main characters here are of Asian heritage, but they're also American teenagers who make fun of stereotypes about their ethnic culture. Yeah, they're the smartest kids in school and they have comfortable homes, but we never see their parents, who seem to be out of town or otherwise too busy to realize their kids are soaking in violence, drugs and crime. My only real complaint is an ending that came too quickly, leaving too many loose ends, but maybe that means there will be a sequel, which I'd love to see.

ROGER EBERT: Yeah you know, at one point the narrator says, "Our straight A's were out passport to freedom. As long as we got great grades, out parents didnπt care where we were." And I agree with you, this is a brilliant film. I think Justin Lin is going to be a leading American director, if he isn't already, because this film is very mature and well thought out. It's not just another American teenager movie and it doesnπt have another one of those dumb studio endings. It really goes all the way with this dark material and says these kids are affluent, they are privileged, they get great grades, they live in this wonderful area. But at the same time, they are completely adrift, completely adrift. Success is their only goal.

RICHARD: They almost have too much, too soon. They're bored. They get into it not because they really need the money, the
selling of the drugs and some of the other crimes; it's because they have nothing else to do. They've conquered the world of
academia, they're doing fine in sports, they have friends, they have good-looking girlfriends. "So what are we going to do next? Well, let's see what we can get away with." The direction reminds me a little bit of the promise of a young Tarantino.

ROGER: Yeah.

RICHARD: That kind of thing where it's just dazzling stuff, where you're saying, " I want to see what this filmmaker's going to do next."

ROGER: The way he handles his camera, the way he handles the actors, the way he sidesteps obvious points in the plot and
surprises us with character insights is very exciting.

RICHARD: Absolutely. TWO BIG THUMBS UP for "BETTER LUCK TOMORROW." It opens next week.


The push for this movie is on, people. Over the weekend I started getting weird, irrational doubts in my head. How many people really know about the movie? What if nobody shows up to watch this? It's not a good thought. And I'm not going to let it happen. So get out there and promote the hell out of this movie. I'm planning on passing out postcards and flyers to random people on the street if I have to. Tell your friends (and strangers) to go see Better Luck Tomorrow.

04.06.03

John tells me about racist crap on some crap Fox show called The Pitts. In tonight's episode, the 15-year-old daughter wants to get a car but doesn't have quite enough money. So she cuts a deal to get money from her brother who's too young to drive. In return she will drive him where ever whenever he wants. One of his requested stops is to go "out behind the Korean
restaurant to see if there are any cat parts..." Cheap shot. Does it never end? That's racist!

04.06.03

The 8th Annual Chicago Asian American Film Showcase kicked off on Friday. I'll be heading to out to Chicago to attend the festival later this week.

04.05.03

AsianWeek article on the successful election of Minnesota Congressman Cy Thao: How I won my seat

04.05.03

Coming soon: Asian Hip Hop Summit 2003. Friday, April 18th & Saturday, April 19th. K-town, Los Angeles. 100% of profits benefit North Koreans who are starving due to U.S. foreign policy. Featuring a WHOLE MESS of Asian hip hop talent.

04.05.03

You can actually watch the first 5 minutes of Better Luck Tomorrow at IFilm.com! And here's a clip of Han beating the crap out of Virgil.

This is a email being passed around from MTV's Suchin Pak:


Dear Friends, Colleagues, Influencers,

I am writing to you because I need your help. Each person receiving this letter has been chosen because you have the ability, more than most, to command attention from your peers. I am asking you to use your influence, your passion to do a very simple thing...tell someone.

Tell someone about this new film, about the story of an unknown director who wanted to make a film no one thought had a chance-- maxing out credit cards and risking his big break on an unknown cast, with un-Hollywood faces and an un-Hollywood vision.

The film is Better Luck Tomorrow and it comes to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago on April 11, 2003.

It's the story of a group of over-achieving teenagers who are too smart for their own good, who make a series of decisions that end up with some explosive consequences. It's sexy and funny and shocking and violent; and some of you may hate it, many of you will think it's brilliant, but either way, you'll leave thinking. And that's what really counts.

But this film is so much more than just an afternoon at the movies. It is the first Asian American film I have ever seen, which has nothing to do with the "Motherland"; where you won't see one Kung-Fu kick; where everyone speaks perfect, fluent English; where for the first time in my life I saw Asian faces who didn't have to justify being on the big screen. It's the
first time I have ever seen a cast of Asian Americans who don't struggle with their identity, who don't have to explain why they're there, who aren't delivering food or working behind a cash register, who aren't tokens. They're three dimensional characters that could've been written for any actor regardless of race. This cast just happens to be Asian, the director
just happens to be Asian-and the story just happens to be universal. I never thought I would ever see that.

We all have to see this film, to pay ten bucks and put our money where our mouths are. We all complain about how huge studio films suck, how there's so little out there that really pushes boundaries, makes a difference. Well here's our chance to reward independent filmmakers who take chances, who take the harder road.

You don't have to march in a rally or run a marathon or call your Congress woman. All you have to do is get a group of friends next weekend and see a film. How simple is that?

As many of you who work in the media know, to get an independent film out to theaters is an uphill battle, every step of the way. It has to do better than the big studio movies, to prove to the powers-that-be, that it's worth their money and support. So the success of Better Luck Tomorrow, for this film to even have a chance to get into more theaters, we have to sell out every single seat this weekend and the weekend after that, until we get the ball rolling. Hey, if a big fat Greek wedding can capture America.....well?

If you won't take my word for it, how about Rolling Stone's who says Better Luck Tomorrow is "a funny-sexy-scary powerhouse." Or Roger Ebert who thought the film was "extraordinarily accomplished and thought provoking." Or Variety who named Justin Lin, one of their top ten directors to watch. Do yourself a favor, go to www.betterlucktomorrow.com.

So, I'm personally calling each and every one of you, the Monday after, for your pop quiz. Spread the word, see the film, and let me know what you thought of it.....

Thanks!

SuChin Pak

MTV News Correspondent

1515 Broadway 29th fl.

New York, NY 10036


Now, honestly, haven't you heard enough? You and your friends must go see this film.

04.04.03

Seems like these days, there are more Asians in the Major League that you can shake a stick at: Big League Asians. From the superstars to the farm team potentials, they're coming over here from Japan, Korean, even Taiwan. What I'm thinking is, if all the good players are coming over here, baseball over there must be in some sad shape...

04.04.03

Just one week to go 'till the release of Better Luck Tomorrow. More and more events and groups are being mobilized for the event. For all the latest news and up-to-date info, be sure to check out www.betterlucktomorrow.com and groups.yahoo.com/group/betterlucktomorrow. And SPREAD THE WORD.

04.03.03

Didn't spot Chris in the background of tonight's ER, but there was an Asian actress in a prominent role (with lines and everything) as "Dr. Wu." She got chewed out by Dr. Romano. Didn't catch the actress' name though...

04.03.03

MTV News article on Better Luck Tomorrow: 'Better Luck Tomorrow' Gets People Talking About Asian-American Stereotypes

04.03.03

While the entertainment industry works hard to keep 'em down, let it be known, they're out there: ASIAN MEN. (From Fark)

04.03.03

From The Seattle Times:


June marks the 30th anniversary of martial-arts film hero Bruce Lee's death and the opening of a commemorative exhibit in Seattle's Chinatown International District. The other day, Lily Eng, who is working on the exhibit, was snapping pictures of people gawking at a giant poster of Lee leaping over the Space Needle.

One fan became so entranced that he walked - wham - into a parking meter. Eng raced over to make sure he was OK. She says, "I guess you can say Bruce Lee still knocks them out."


04.03.03

Chris Liang shows up tonight in tonight's episode of ER. I have no idea what he'll be playing, or the extent of his appearance, except that he'll be wearing a black jacket and blue jeans. So look for him. He apparently is also in the 200th episode, which airs on May 8, wearing a collared denim shirt and khakis. I think he's just walking around in the background. Well, good for him.

04.03.03

This is outrageous. Four Asian American San Quentin inmates in a rehabilitative educational program make a formal request to include Asian American studies in their curriculum. Not only is their request denied, the wardens from San Quentin separate the four inmates and accuse them of plotting to use the classes as a means to escape. In the words of San Quentin spokesperson Vernell Crittendon, they were apparently, "plotting a violent escape from San Quentin with the aid of people in the community in the guise of offering education services to the inmates." Read more here: Asian American Studies Denied to San Quentin Inmates. This does not sound like a matter of San Quentin security. That's racist!

04.03.03

So if you've been watching MTV after 9:00 pm recently, you may have seen the Better Luck Tomorrow spots featuring the individual characters. They're sort of intriguing, but personally I'd like to see more promotion. I mean, they're promoting the hell out of Bulletproof Monk and 2 Fast 2 Furious. Step it up, MTV. If you'd like to see more coverage of BLT on MTV, let them know at http://www.mtv.com/news/youtellus/

04.03.03

Controversy surrounding Eddie Griffin's new standup comedy film, DysFunKtional Family, for comments he makes at the expense of Sikhs. At one point in the film, there is apparently a scene where Griffin points to a turbaned Sikh man walking on the street and shouts, "bin Laden, I knew you was around here!" Read more here: Miramax Movie "DysFunktional Family" promotes hate and prejudice against Sikhs. This stereotype obviously operates on a level of fear and hate—and particularly irresponsible given the current xenophobic cultural climate in this country. That's racist!

The corporate phone number for Miramax is 212.941.3800. Call them up and let them know what you think, although my man Big Chethan has called and says he got the run-around. Miramax suckas.

04.02.03

Tonight's episode of The West Wing was directed by Jessica Yu.

04.02.03

Oh hell no. Steven Seagal as Genghis Khan? This is from Dark Horizons:


Beijing Star Daily talked with Steven Seagal about his upcoming biopic about the warlord: "We hope to shoot it early next year. At the moment we're trying to round out a cast. I'll be playing Khan, and we've got a great lot of other actors to play some of the smaller roles. In some respects, this will be the epic film I've never been able to do before. And We're hoping to fill a lot of the roles with local actors to make the film authentic. Genghis Khan was a
political and military genius. And it was not always that way, after his father was poisoned to death, many detested his appointing as chief. But this man had such a way about him, and spoke truths that his people hadn't heard before. Pretty soon three followers turned into three billion followers". Seagal is expected to follow this with a third "Under Siege" film."


I'm sorry, maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but wasn't Genghis Khan Asian? I don't care how much Seagal wants to be or even thinks he's Asian. He's not passing for Genghis Freakin' Khan. That's yellowface, and I ain't takin' it. That's racist!

04.02.03

Various Better Luck Tomorrow advance screening giveaways in the San Francisco Bay Area from:

SF Weekly

SFStation (scroll down)

SanFranciscoChinatown.com

04.02.03

Regarding Melinda De Jesus' altercation with Matt Dillon and his film, City of Ghosts, which I wrote about a few days ago. Here is a prose poem she wrote about the incident:


Letter to Matt Dillon after screening his new film "City of Ghosts"

Dear Matt:

Thanks for inviting me to the preview and discussion session for your new film, "City of Ghosts." I was told by your people that you were concerned about Asian Americans thinking your film was orientalist and racist and wanted to speak with me more about this. When I asked why you set your story (basically, a white American masculinity tale, a father-son saga) in Cambodia as opposed to New Jersey or Iowa or even SF's Tenderloin (where there's a big Cambodian American community) you accused me of being a "pc paratrooper" but never answered my question. Did I hit a nerve? You insisted that your film is a fable, a myth "about desperate men in desperate situations" that showed "the truth" about Cambodia--and you even had onstage an authentic Cambodian "Tonto" who vouched for you. I found it really fascinating that you had to travel to Southeast Asia to find the "heart of darkness" when you are surrounded by communities of color right there in LA. And I know you didn't create the prostitution there, but where do you get off trafficking my Cambodian sisters like so many cheap whores, expecting me to like it?

Obviously, you're not used to uppity Asian women ripping your head off. Yeah, we American-borns aren't very submissive, and we don't do that "suckee fuckee, two dolla" thing. Were you surprised I spoke English? Did you assume I'd be an adoring fan? You dismissed my question as "purposely making things too political"--but that's just another day's work for this untenured, underpaid Pilipina peminist "paratrooper of pc."

I'm sure you're back in Hollywood now, surrounded by your obsequious soothsayers, and bitching about how your work wasn't properly appreciated here, and how you were blindsided and ambushed. I'm sorry your feelings were hurt, but it's my job to protest demeaning, stereotypical representations of Asians in the media. Then again, what do you care--you're a movie star!††Keep patting yourself on the back that you're giving these poor desperate people in Southeast Asia a way to make a decent living by pimping your toxic images of the sinister, exotic Orient to an uneducated white audience.††Think about the kind of "truthful" film your Cambodian friends might make about you.

Sincerely,

Melinda de Jesus


04.02.03

20-year old Marine Lance Cpl. Stephen Funk is a Conscientious Objector in personal opposition to combat in Iraq. He is seeking a discharge: Marine obeys his conscience; Reservist didn't ship out with his unit to Iraq

04.02.03

Mike Kang gives you another reason why you should watch Better Luck Tomorrow: It's a good movie. Simple as that.

Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells offers some insight into Better Luck Tomorrow's re-edited ending: Better Luck Shuffle. SPOILER WARNING: It gives away the plot's ending.

04.02.03

Some folks have been asking where/how they can get videos of last week's Becoming American: The Chinese Experience. Here's the purchase info. If people buy the DVDs or videos, it'll be a strong statement to the producers and PBS, that there is a demand for these kind of stories and programming. Unfortunately, the price is pretty hefty, at $99.95 for the DVD.

04.01.03

I'm back. Sorry for the disruption. For some reason, most of the people out there couldn't access the site for most of the day. Technical difficulties. If that inconvienced anyone, well, you got over it. Stay Angry.

04.01.03

Ill Korean American MC out of Boston: Snacky Chan. Check him out.

04.01.03

Nomo seems old school now, compared to the newer Asian players. Still, he's tearin' it up: Nomo Brings a Smile to All