Monthly Archives: August 2017

heavy heart

I can’t write about anything else except Houston, Texas, and how the city has endured the near-biblical proportions of flood water by Hurricane Harvey.

I’ve got friends and family down there and was watching things happen in almost real-time via Facebook and live stream of the local news. Each pic posted of rising water, an evacuation, or the weather forecast made me cry deeper tears. My body was in LA, but my mind and heart was in Houston.

As other people were oblivious or not caring as much due to not having a personal connection to the town made me angry. How can you post about your random thought, a stupid judgmental tweet, or blabber on about your career goals? It seemed so heartless. Even worse were those who were criticizing whatever about the response from afar. I realize haters just hate.

But I had to take a breath and take a step back. How invested was I when other natural disasters hit the country or in other parts of the world? It was easy to judge, not easy to let it go.

I have many other thoughts about this, but will stop or else it’ll get ugly. A friend who is also a Houston local and graphic designer has these t-shirts for sale. All proceeds go toward relief efforts set up by the city mayor.

https://www.bonfire.com/hell-or-high-water-we-love-hou/

the best and second best movie review

I watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and the sequel “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and like most movies with sequels, the first one was better than the sequel.

I remember when I saw the trailer for this movie a few years ago and wanting to see it. How refreshing it was to see something about old British people going to a new place in the golden years of life. It would be an adventure for a twenty-something, but how much more for a senior citizen? It was a sweet and charming movie, and for some reason I wanted to cry in certain parts. Not because it was a moving scene…well, maybe it was moving, but it was so subtle I didn’t know it was deep until I felt the verge of tears. No tears were ultimately shed but heartstrings were pulled.

So of course I want to see the sequel and see what happens to this group of elderly and hodgepodge mix of personalities. It wasn’t too bad because they added in a few Americans, most notably Richard Gere, who happens to still be handsome at his age? How is that possible?

What stood out immediately was when you heard an American accent in the midst of the variety of British and Indian accents. It cuts through and it can sound really abrasive. Not to say the American cast had unappealing voices; they actually had great voices. It’s the contrast that really stood out and once you heard a few lines by Gere or the other Americans it settled into the soundscape and the story carried on.

The biggest disappointment was in plot holes. It never explains how the second hotel was ultimately acquired. It was hinted at but it was such a leap and the wedding scene at the end seemed to take over the last act of the movie. The festivities had one scene addressing it but it was a stretch in itself. I sigh a big sigh because it would’ve tied up that story a lot better.

Other little things were not as strong but perhaps because there were more characters in this film than the first it had difficulty wrapping up everything in a timely manner. It’s possible that in being a British film it was being so subtle and indirect that in their eyes it was complete but to me it wasn’t enough.

The film does show India in it’s vibrant colors so it does make me want to go visit someday. I mostly just want to eat all the food there.

cat men

There are two people I follow on Instagram that are both British middle-aged men in the creative arts. One is an actor, one is a cinematographer/filmmaker. I really like their work and therefore it seemed logical to follow them on IG.

Of course, this makes it possible to learn things about them that are not related to their profession. I’ve discovered that these two, who probably have not (but possibly have) met each other, are both deeply devoted cat lovers.

Many of their IG stories and posts have cats in them. Images of their own cats or shelter cats, but they are definitively cat men, which I find amusing but more baffling. I guess it really makes me think if dogs are man’s best friend.

This could be a great reason for these two to meet, to talk about their cats. Which sounds utterly boring to me, but would be a paradise for them.

I still do not like cats.

triple movie review

In one day I watched three movies on Netflix. Yes, there will be spoilers.

Star Wars: Rogue One

The Queen of Katwe

Philomena

Overall, I liked them even though there were things I didn’t like in each film. What I noticed was that each film has a female lead and the co-star was a non-romantic-interest male actor. Maybe Rogue One was somewhat romantic, but not enough to say it was so. There was a hug but no kiss, thank goodness. It would’ve ruined the movie.

Rogue One was really boring for most of the movie. It’s as if every SW movie must have the same scenes in it, repeating themselves in every film as long as they make a SW film. The best part was actually the last act of the movie (which was very not-SW like), with the principal cast of rebellion fighters. They brought a freshness with their different faces and skills. Even the robot was refreshing with his distinct personality. Yet why did almost everyone have to have a British accent? That seemed to distract me.

I actually liked how each of Jyn’s gang of rebels died in the film. It was heartless how everyone had to die, even Jyn and Cassian, truly tragic. It seemed like a hopeless movie for these characters. Oh, but then they get you in the end with the last shot of the movie with Leia saying “Hope,” as she holds the plans for the Death Star in her hands. In that sense it portrayed the brutality of war. However, this is SW, so it can’t ever get that tragic.

After seeing Rogue One, it did make me want to see the original SW trilogy again. How is it that those three old movies still seem fresh while every SW movie made afterwards seems derivative?

The Queen of Katwe is based on a true story of an African slum kid who becomes a chess champion. It’s a really sweet feel-good movie. There were many scenes where I just wanted to cry, maybe because I miss Africa and want to go back someday. The ironic thing is that the screenplay was written by a white American male telling the story of a Ugandan girl. The scenes sometime get confusing and bumpy with the time jumps in the beginning, which make it hard to get the viewer settled in. After that it gets better and you can just enjoy watching a story of a girl who shifts her place of belonging from where she was born to where she was born to be. That really is the best message of the movie.

Philomena is also based on a true story of an Irish-Catholic woman who searches for her son 50 years after the nuns who took care of her during her teenage pregnancy forced her to give him up for adoption. The news reporter who helps her is her non-romantic co-star and a pretty good foil for the Irishwoman, played by Judi Dench. It’s a British film, so it’s a lot more subtle in everything, from action to dialogue to climax and ending. Sometimes it really frustrates me, but I’m sure every British person is deep down frustrated by having to be so reserved.

The best part is the character contrasts of the Irish mom and the British reporter as Catholic vs Atheist and some of the discussion about religion is good but like most of the movie, it doesn’t get too deep into any topic. It mostly touches on the main themes so you can think about it without having to preach to you. Religion, God, adoption, family, what’s important, what you believe in, forgiveness, etc.

This post is now too long and so I’ll wrap up saying I ate some ramen today at a place that’s highly rated and popular, but after I tried it I had no idea why it was considered good. Overrated and overpriced. I only went there because the place I originally wanted to go to had shut down and I didn’t know it until I saw the empty restaurant and a couple legal notices on the door. A sad day for ramen. But tomorrow ramen will rise again.

Price: $16.14
Was: $28.99
Price: $7.99

love and peace or else

I remember a line that Bono sings/says during a song or maybe it was in a book; it may not be his words but he says them and I remember them. Something along the lines of “don’t become a monster in order to defeat the monster.”

We really need to not become monsters to defeat the monster of racism.

plays

I’ve read a couple plays for a class I’m taking and they are very modern plays, meaning they’re not Shakespeare with lots of fluffy words and a cast of a million characters.

These plays only have four main characters and aren’t very long. No multiple acts, just a large handful of scenes and lots of talking. Plays, I’ve noticed, have lots of talking. It’s all about talking. Not so much action, or it’s not the emphasis. The words are supreme.

Plays appear to basically express the writer’s intellectual thoughts about an aspect of society. While in some ways it’s really great, in other ways it can be total BS. And of course you can interpret a play both ways. Isn’t that the great thing about plays?

Price: $9.78
Was: $13.95