Ping Pong Playa and Recent Asian American Films

So here's a new movie out in limited release called Ping Pong Playa. If it looks good to you, then check it out and post a review here.

Speaking of Asian American movies, here are some notable ones of recent years:

Finishing the Game- I'm really suprised more people didn't like this film. The comic timing by actors and by director was hilarious. The mockumentary does a pretty good job of critiquing Hollywood without being too preachy. in fact, it's quite funny. I think some people just didn't get this film, because: 1) they didn't grow up in the 1970's watching Bruce Lee films and cheesy knock-offs 2) most people just don't the see the racism in Hollywood casting, so most viewers will wonder "what the hell is this movie alluding too?" I think you'll enjoy this if you're an Asian American dude who grew up in the 1970's, watched Kung Fu theater and took Asian American Studies in college. This is very much a niche film.

Better Luck Tomorrow- Another film from Justin Lin and definitely his best. This arguably is the best Asian American film of all time.

Shanghai Kiss- This was a surprisingly entertaining movie, mainly because of the strong acting by Ken Leung and Hayden Panettiere. Kelly Hu's performance sucks big time as always, but Ken and Hayden's performances really save the movie. There was a lot material that, in lesser hands, would have overwhelmed the actors: having a relationship with a minor, floating adrift in life, finding your roots and identity, etc. I only gave it 3 stars, because: 1) the audio was just awful. Do yourself a favor and put the subtitles on. 2) even though the performances are great, you don't really see the rapport between Ken and Hayden or Ken and Kelly Hu. Especially with Ken and Hu, because the audience doesn't see an emotional connection develop, so you don't know why he would stay for her. Nevertheless, a good film that speaks to those faking adulthood like Ken.

American Pastime- The great thing about this movie is that it's very balanced and even handed. It didn't just show Japanese Americans solely as victims. Each member of the community had a different response to the internment: some guys joined the military, some protested, and some tried to go with the flow and go on trying to live normally in a rather abnormal situation. It also should varied responses from the white community as well: some were flat out bigots, some realized the tragedy and injustice of it all, and some eventually came around. Overall a well-paced film that is never heavy handed.

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle- This first one is more entertaining than "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," although the second one has more to say about race relations in the U.S.

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