Monday, November 8, 2010
- John Huynh
What is wrong with Hollywood? I feel like as time has progressed that there are fewer and fewer truly original stories coming out of Hollywood. Can the summer blockbuster seasons become anymore predictable? Even awards season sees sooo many movies based on books! Curious Case of Benjamin Button? That was a short story. Slumdog Millionaire? That was a book. The Blind Side? A book. Precious? The subtitle blatently tells you it is based on a novel.
Ok, now you might be wondering why I bring this up. I have recently been hearing a lot of whispers, rumors and speculations on some franchise reboots, remakes and sequels that are on the horizon to some pretty piss poor movies. The kinds of movies that are so epically bad that they are actually good. Sometimes these films played up to the worst of our desires in taste for film but they were entertaining nonetheless. I list 5 films below that I would consider guilty pleasures.
5. Independence Day 2 (and maybe 3)
Yay!!! More epic speeches by the "Prez" Bill Pullman that unknowingly but essentially say "fuck you" to the rest of the world.
Yes, this franchise is being considered for a revisit with at least Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox and Will Smith making a comeback with Roland Emmerich at the helm once more.
Do not know, do not much care.
4. Top Gun 2
I bet you do not know the real story behind the original Top Gun.
I need to Maverick to rock my world for another 25 years. Tony Scott and Tom Cruise are in collusion to write a new script to make a sequel to one of the most subtley gay portrayals of the Navy in American Pop Culture since the Village People.
2012? But we all might be dead anyways according Roland Emmerich (director of 2012).
3. Red Dawn
Wolverines!!! This time our enemies are the Chinese though instead of the Soviet Union.
MGM is in the midst of going through bankruptcy and is trying to prioritize on salvaging their rights to the James Bond franchise. Red Dawn's distribution has taken a backseat even though it has been fully finished.
Zach Snyder has been on a tear (in my eyes) with adapting comics and graphic novels to the big screen after Watchmen and 300. I can see no wrong that he can do in trying to revive Superman.
1. Tron: Legacy
Even though I consider this a bit of a cowardly move on Disney's part in that they are making a sequel. A lot of the other pieces involving this film really seem intriguing to me. They brought back some of the old actors (Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges) as well as some fresh faces (John Hurt, Garrett Hedlund, Daft Punk and Olivia Wilde) to make for a really interesting plot that I am hoping will feature some more original music. The original if you noticed reuses the same melody but at different tempos. The courageous thing I find in this film is that they gave a man making his directorial debut $170 million!
December 17, 2010
Good night all
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
- Mark Zuckerberg in Social Network (not sure if he really said it or just made up for the movie)
So, I saw the new Social Network film and it really struck me in several ways. The dark genius of Mark Zuckerberg in both an entrepeneurial and computer sense was displayed in all its splendid form that only David Fincher could have portrayed. The appearance of Microsoft's founder in one scene seemed to raise a question in my mind. Were they trying to make a parallel between Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg? Both of whom are former students of Harvard (neither graduated) and went on to develop billion dollar ideas in the computer world under controversial circumstances.
More importantly, I wanted to write this post because of something one of the characters in The Social Network said. I truly believe in the education system wholeheartedly but there are deep distinctions between the top schools (looking at you Ivy Leagues) and the rest of the schools in the nation. He said something to the effect that "Harvard men do not go to school to get a job, they go to school to create one." Something about that self made man is really lost in our country these days. That quote ties into the Waiting for Superman film I mentioned in an earlier post.
It is an election year and I understand the importance of Waiting for Superman as a tool to enact political change. The subject matter of the film could really make an impact in swaying people's voting this November. The whole idea behind the title of Waiting for Superman is in the fact that people are sitting around hoping, praying and waiting for Superman to come along and save us. I personally believe that the education system might bring about another person with the kind of grand vision, enterpeneurial spirit and the will to make another billion idea happen like Facebook or Microsoft. Those are the kind of people that I hope will be able to make it through the horrible state of the education system that the film portrays. Though the film has yet to receive (and probably never will) a wide release date; Paramount is making waves where it matters with their production. President Obama has visited with the children of the film showing that the film is resonating with the people in positions of power. Click here to view the photos.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Owen Wilson as John Beckwith in Wedding Crashers
Usually I have some vaguely original or witty way of tying in my epigraphs to the blog post I leave but I think this is going to be a tough one. I guess the random nature of that quote more than anything is going to exemplify this post. There has been a lot going on the last couple of months and I feel like I should update my friends and family just what it has that has my mind racing all over the place.
|Nhu and some of my family at Pike Place Market|
|My cousin at the top of Rockefeller Center|
|Bethesda Terrace at Central Park|
The last time I was in New York City I was all of maybe two or three years old. I hardly remember a thing. This was quite the eye opening experience. I knew going into it that New York City is one of the biggest metropolises in the world but to be able to be physically there in the thick of the Manhattan was an enlightening experience. I like to consider Seattle as city but if NYC were the measuring stick for cities, it definitely made Seattle feel like a shanty town in comparison. All of the buildings in Manhattan were huge and there was so little green space in the city. However, when it came to Central Park it was kind of eerie. You would be walking along for blocks and blocks and blocks of seemingly endless skyscrapers but then low and behold you had a forest nestling up against all of these amazing buildings.
|Coq au Vin from Brasserie Les Halles|
These random moments are what I live for. To be continued in a later post...
Less than two months two go before I can have that first drink post-medication...
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
- Jerry Maguire
Weird huh? I just used a quote from Jerry Maguire. It has been about a month since my last post and part of that has to do with my own self taking some time to reevaluate some personal things. The other part has been my recent trip to New York City and Washington D.C. for several days over Labor Day weekend. The quote really encapsulates the point I want to get across. The last month has been one wild ride but has opened some new avenues for my future. Let me explain.
I basically work a glorified sales job and I do not have stomach to really continue with this career in the long term. It helps me pay the bills and insurance is always welcome. I avoid going into too much detail because I do not want to risk my frail job security by giving the moral ambiguities of the industry I work in. This can be said in all honesty; I love the people I work with and we make a very enjoyable and eclectic group of coworkers I have ever encountered. It reminds me a lot of The Office but that is a story for another day.
Because this job has little to no real future in it for me, it has given me pause to really sit and reevaluate what I want to do with my life. The raises are paltry and barely keep up with inflation and the commute is the worst I have ever heard of. I drive from Kent to the Tukwila International Boulevard Link Light Rail Station Monday thru Friday (and the occasional Saturday). The Light Rail subesequently takes me to Pioneer Square Station in Downtown Seattle. From Pioneer Square I walk a few blocks down to the Seattle ferry terminal and ride the ferry to Downtown Bremerton. I finally walk to my destination to work not far from the Bremerton ferry terminal. I reverse but repeat that commute coming home. In total the commute takes 2-2.5 hours a day. If someone knows of a worse commute please let me know as it might actually make me feel better about my day. Anyways, on to my main point...
My cousin brought a very interesting proposition to my attention immediately before our trip to the East Coast and on a couple occasions throughout. He has presented the possibility of a move to Houston, TX. On the surface it sounds like a huge change that might demand a lot of adjustment coming from Pacific Northwest to the "Lone Star State". But after experiencing the last couple of trips (East Coast trip and a SE Asia trip) it has made me take a long hard look at realistically considering this trip.
Reasons I have found:
- Money: One of those things I always thought I could do without (I live fairly frugally). I have come to the realization how much I can do with not only a salary bump but also to have that financial future as well. My parents have been hit hard by the recession and I know as the boy in the family I have a larger responsiblity in helping them out when retirement comes (which is coming sooner rather than later). Also, having seen how my father's side of the family lives in utter poverty, I see how much of a difference a couple hundred dollars can make in helping improve their livelihood. The lack of money I think has opened my eyes to its importance.
- Sanity: Seattle is a beautiful city filled with beautiful, intelligent people. I was a confused underachiever and went for a degree in History at a State College. Not to knock on WSU but I sometimes feel like I should have ended up at the UW. I learned a lot of things at WSU but there was a lot of wasted time and money in Pullman and I definitely have some regrets about it. If only I had gone into something more tech/science related because there are not a lot of opportunities for someone with a liberal arts degree. I need to move out of the house but it is hard with my salary! By moving to Houston my cousin and I would be able to afford a house (more of a mini mansion but a house nonetheless).
- Opportunity: Boeing is leaving Seattle whether we like it or not and the Pacific Northwest will be hard pressed to fill the void. I feel like the opportunities are only going to get more limited in the area even at the big tech companies (i.e. Microsoft and Amazon) with the advent of outsourcing and the constant need for fresh blood.Houston has a number of universities for me to go back to school. I want to go back to school and I have some pretty good gameplans to make a more secure financial future for myself in Houston. Plus, it does not hurt that I am also looking for the right woman (preferrably Vietnamese) and there a lot of opportunities for that to happen too.
Monday, August 2, 2010
- from No Reservations Season 1 Episode 2 Iceland narrated by Anthony Bourdain
I had the good fortune of joining up with some adventurous friends (Jesse, D and Jodi) for the Capitol Hill Block party a couple weeks back. The concert itself was a fun time, but more importantly we went to try some Ethiopian food at the Blue Nile up on Capitol Hill. It was really kick ass food. There was a lot of this dough-y bread that they served to eat and grab the little piles of various Ethiopian dishes. There was a lentil base that reminded me of a yummier version of baked beans. They also had some chicken, beef and lamb dishes that reminded me a lot of some Indian dishes like Palak Paneer for instance. It was spicy as hell but it raised our spirits after a long and sweaty day of bar hopping and music.
The experience was in stark contrasts to the rest of that day. The day was filled with swarms of drunken twenty-somethings roaming Capitol Hill bars in search of friends and good spots to catch the show. For us it turned into a mosh pit up front with one of us coming away with a fresh layer of puke all over. But the midnight excursion to Blue Nile was a welcome reprieve; our group consituted half the people in the establishment. We all ate in silence in the dimly lit restaurant but it was an overall experience.
Take that whole experience of going to Ethiopian and compare it with my other experience last week. I met up with my friend Doug for a random adventure to the Seattle waterfront. We ended up at some hole in the wall seafood fryer for a quick bite to eat before heading South to find a decent movie to watch. The food was a poor comparison with the movie we watched that night.
I ordered this fried combo platter that had fish, shrimp, clams and french fries. Overall the food stank (or it could have been the entire waterfront) and my shrimp was inedible. Mind you, I love seafood and love to pop shrimp like popcorn but this place has somehow found a way to prepare shrimp in a way that will make me second guess eating popcorn shrimp moving forward.
The film we saw later that night was called City Island. It is a dramedy but I liked the fact that all of the underlying drama in the film was the source of the comedy itself. The film follows a dysfunctional family from a relatively unknown part of the Bronx. The father is played by Andy Garcia and his wife is played by Julianna Margulies. Each member of the family harbors some sort of dark secret. The relationships within the family and how they affect each secret is subject to great comedy as they are constantly maneuvering (in ever awkwardly esacalating fashion) around one another. I honestly think this movie will get some early oscar buzz but I would hesitate to assume best picture. I could however see this getting some recognition for screenplay and acting (Andy and Julianna). Also, the reader should be mindful that I like to call Andy Garcia an Italian-Bill Pullman, so to say that he did a really good job in this movie would be saying a lot...
For the trailer, click here.
I love contrasting events in my days. Crappy, stinky stuff makes me appreciate the good experiences so much more.
Pill # 54/180
Monday, July 19, 2010
A person that had a profound impact on me when I was much younger was my grandmother on my mother's side. My Vietnamese was horrible growing up was pretty bad so I hardly understood a thing she said but I could tell she loved me. Everything from the way she used to watch over and care for me while my parents went to work to the way she prepared my favorite French Fries from scratch. Another thing that has really stuck with me since that time was her favorite TV show. On the rare occasion I can remember her taking time for herself she used to always love to sit and watch I Love Lucy. It has that universal appeal that did not really require a command of the English language to appreciate I suppose.
Why do I bring her up you might ask? TV and film are two separate and different things but a lot of qualities remain the same between the two. The qualities I look for in a film contain a universal appeal that often appear without the need for understanding the dialogue. A lot of good films that I have seen do not really require a full understanding of the plot as the visuals can often carry a movie (i.e. Avatar, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Inception). But what I really look for in a film is something that simulate life. Something that can be a bridge between fiction and reality. Sometimes films take liberties with a story but the same could be said of a painter making a portrait or a musician making the lyrics of a song about a person, place or thing. The details are not so much important as the artistry.
With the the film section of my blog I wanted to share and convey to whomever might be reading this the reasons why I enjoy watching films and have a personal distinction between films and flicks. I will explain in another post what that distinction is. For this post I just wanted to share why I find films imporant. For more entertaining fare: the five films that are to be released in the next five months that I think people should see in theaters.
1. Waiting for Superman
Due out: September 24, 2010
My take: By the director of Inconvenient Truth, this next documentary by Davis Guggenheim is a really engaging film. He focuses on the crises facing American public education. I fortunately have already seen this film at the Seattle Independent Film Festival and I truly doubt anyone walked out of the theatre with a dry eye. One of those rare documentaries that makes you want to take action as well as being an entertaining fare the film draws upon the raw drama of the people involved from various levels (politicians, social activists, kids, parents, etc.). The best thing I think I took from the film is that the kids that they follow all throughout the movie could easily be the kid down the street, your nephew, your son, your daughter, your sister, your brother...Everyone can definitely take something from this film and hopefully acts upon it!
For the trailer click here.
2. Due Date
Due out: November 5, 2010
My take: With a veteran comedy director like Todd Phillips of The Hangover and Old School I can not see how he screw it up. Even though he has made some pretty bad movies, (i.e. Starsky and Hutch and School for Scoundrels) neither were original works of his. He did not write Due Date but he did have producing credits. And how can you do wrong with Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx and one of my favorite comedians - Zach Galifianakis. I think this will be the funniest movie of the year. The film is a road trip movie which is a place Todd Phillips has already visited in Road Trip with a far worse cast ("Stifler" and Tom Green being themselves worked well). The plot follows Downey's character as he has to try and make it cross country in time for his child's due date and along the way he picks up Foxx, Galifianakis and an adorable French Bulldog. Comedy and mayhem ensues...
For the trailer, click here.
3. The Social Network
Due out: October 1, 2010
My take: David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is an awesome director and he brought back Jeff Cronenweth (Fight Club) as his cinematographer. Their work on that Fight Club with its dark and grungy appeal really fit that film and will do well to portray this very interesting look at the formation of the Facebook social network. I will admit it, I am addicted to Facebook, but it is the plot that really interests me.The film is based on a book that was a New York Times Bestseller (The Accidental Billionaires) that was itself written by Ben Mezrich (Bringing Down the House) who has a history of writing some tasteful and interesting non-fiction books. From the trailers you get the sense that Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland, Zombieland) is going to play his traditionally geeky, witty character but as the saga of the formation of the Facebook website unfolds he becomes a straight up dick which is a nice change of pace for him. I think he will get a lot of recognition for this role after it comes out. Basically, the film is depicting the formation of Facebook from its roots at Harvard under creator Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg), the relationships he formed (for better or worse) after its newfound popularity and the subsequent fallout in many of those relationships when he became embroiled in lawsuits and personal greed.
For the trailer click here.
4. The Fighter
Due out: December 10, 2010
My take: There is not a whole lot to go on except for plot details and the cast and crew attached to the project but everything sounds like they will make a nice ensemble. Originally Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream) was attached to direct this film but had to drop because of scheduling conflicts. Director David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings) picked up the project and is working Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg on the project as his stars. With that kind of a lineup I am only afraid that his Russell's oddball humor might conflict with the tone of the film. The story focuses on the early years of a boxer named Micky Ward before he went pro in the 1980's. Wahlberg plays Micky and his character is trained by his half-brother (Dicky) played by Bale. I just hope that Bale did not have another of his infamous "Batman" freak-outs but otherwise I am looking forward to this one.
No Trailer available. :(
5. Tron: Legacy
Due out: December 17, 2010
My take: The director, Joseph Kosinski, has had experience in the film industry but mostly in a technical background (computer graphics). He found some success as a commercial director having filmed the Halo 3 "Starry Night" as well as the "Mad World" Gears of War TV spots. Although they are each limited in scope, he really seems to show a good use of computer graphics. Unlike some "directors", *cough* (Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay) *cough* who rely on computer graphics for their "awesomeness", Kosinski seems like one of those directors who use their graphics as an aesthetic and tasteful part of film production (case in point: Avatar). Tron Legacy is a sequel to the original Tron in which Kevin Flynn's (played by Jeff Bridges) son (played by Garrett Hedlund) goes on a quest to find his father and gets thrust into the Tron-world of gladiatorial games with him. The project is taking a lot of risks with a budget of $150 million, a mostly rookie director and an unknown as the star. The appeal of a big budget blockbuster by Disney going into the usually dull holiday season should see this movie doing well, but will it be a good film? Time will tell.
For the trailer, click here.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The word connect is defined as: to join, link, or fasten together; unite or bind: to establish communication between; put in communication. A good meal can do a good job of connecting people, places and things. Many aspects of a good meal do not need a translator, meals communicates in a universal language that only requires an open mind.
For example, I recently tried Trinidadian food with my Brionna at Pam's Kitchen in University District in Seattle. If anyone gets the chance they should try this place out. As far as I know it is the only place that serves Trinidadian food in that area. In fact, Trinidadian cuisine is really a delicious derivative of Indian food. I could tell from the amount of Cumin, other tasty spices and the naan-type bread that was served. All things considered it was an awesome meal. Brionna was exceptional company (thank you for taking me here!). The restaurant felt like it belonged on the water in some faroff and away tropical locale. The food was incredibly delicious with an aroma teasing and goading me into devouring it which I happy obliged. Finally, there was the "sound", I really mean it when I say my friend made good company. I am always happy to see my friends as we have not hung out as we once did in college. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what would is a meal worth?
Coming back to my point of connect. Having these opportunities to go out to eat and have good meals with friends transport me places. When I hang out with my college friends at a good restaurant, it helps me to reminisce and try and relive those wonderful days in the Palouse at Washington State University. When I eat a big meal with family and our family friends it helps me to reconnect with my culture and to hear stories of the old times that I can otherwise only experience through books and film. Seattle is a great place for my habit. I can try new and exciting places to try and get a literal taste of other cultures and to put my bank account to work a little bit too. Many of the things that I do, like the meals I chase and crave, are not in fact a form of escapism, as some might think, from the civilized life but instead a way to connect with the world at large.
I would like to conclude by addressing something I have not fully addressed to this point in my two posts. I see this blog as a means to convey my deepest gratitude of having the undeserving fortune of being able to enjoy good food, good friends and family, good films and living a more fulfilling life. Each post will focus on one of three things that I find the most connect; films, food and/or all around wonderful times with my loved ones.
Looking forward to writing my next post!
Next post: Film.
Monday, June 28, 2010
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
- Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)
Before a lot of stories there is some sort of prologue correct? This is my prologue for the next several months before I begin a longer and more exciting journey. To spoil what that journey may or may not be the best decision for a lot of reasons. It would be like spoiling the ending to great novel; a great film; a great meal; a great story. Consider these next 5 months a prologue and a promise of something even greater to come.
This prologue began about 4 weeks ago. I am 24 years old and I am still battling with acne. Taking a long look in the mirror one day, I felt like I had lost a lot of my good looks in the past year and decided to make a change. I went to my doctor to get prescribed accutane. To make a boring and long story short; I got it prescribed and I am now on pill #21 out of 180.
What is accutane? It is a very strong and in someways volatile drug. The drug's side effects can range from hair loss to dry skin. My face looks like I have been sleeping on sandpaper but the most important thing is that my acne is finally in retreat. My doctor has also talked to me about the fact that this drug will affect my liver so I should not have more than 1-2 drinks a week.
I am 1 year removed from a state college (party school *cough, cough) and I will not be able to have more than a few drinks here and there until December 5th. Initially, I had my doubts about whether I could commit to such a thing but a good friend Will put like this: "if you cant do it because of the alcohol, it means you [sic] an alcoholic". That was the end of the "should I or shouldn't I?" debate.
Life to say the least will be a little different from my usual outing with friends. Usually I am getting drinks with friends and I like to have a good time but it will be a change from the status quo. I have a few ideas planned for the rest of the time I will be on this medication (i.e. trip to NYC, Bite of Seattle, Capitol Hill Block Party, trying new food, movies, etc.)
I must say it has been an interesting 3 weeks thus far living a much more sober lifestyle. Living near the exciting and beautiful city of Seattle has helped thus far. There is certainly no shortage of things to do in Washington especially in the Puget Sound region. I look forward to these next 159 days and the journey to follow.