Opening this Weekend

Crazy Rich Asians

Mile 22

Alpha

Puzzle

McQueen

Box Office Predictions

  1. Crazy Rich Asians
  2. The Meg
  3. Mile 22
  4. Mission: Impossible — Fallout
  5. BlacKkKlansman

What You Should See

So I gather that it’s the Fringe starting this weekend and crossing over all the way into the next, and as much as I’d like to say I respect these live performers, brave and determined enough to travel to festivals all over the world to do something they believe in, I, honestly, have always found the whole thing a little boring if not outright annoying.  I know that part of that is my own superficial need to only partake of things that have been pre-approved by a broad and recognized audience, à la big-time movies with consensus Rotten Tomatoes scores, but another part of me just doesn’t want to go out into the hot and, lately, smoky outside world and then go see something markedly more amateur and nothing to do with Avengers:  Infinity War (which, now that it’s been out a few days on home video, I’m sure I’ve seen at least 10 times).

But I’m a terrible person.  And I’d hope that, in every way other than taste in movies, you’re nothing like me and you’re able to live a life nothing like mine.  So go ahead and go to the Fringe.  If you must.

To be honest, it’s in that same spirit of immediate dismissal that I find myself feeling about most of this weekend’s new movies actually.  Mile 22 combines the two things I hate most in action movies, shaky cam and too many quick cuts obscuring the action, Alpha doesn’t even really look like a thing, McQueen doesn’t look like my kind of thing, and Puzzle… well, Puzzle looks okay, but I know I’m not going to see it.

And that brings us, ladies and gentlemen, to the movie I’ve been dreading ever since I first learned of it, Crazy Rich Asians.  Now I want you to understand, first of all, that I’m saying this as a full-blooded Chinese person.  So here goes:  I don’t want to see Crazy Rich Asians and its existence makes me uncomfortable.  I understand that the movie represents a sort of win to certain people in terms of Asian representation and that greater representation of minorities is important, but the idea of people not being able to feel sympathy or empathy, or to find meaning in stories they’ve grown up watching simply because the characters onscreen don’t represent their own ethnicity has always been something that troubles me because, to me, it seems more like a limitation on the part of the viewer and their ability to engage in stories that are meant to be universal and carry themes that transcend things like race than a failing of the stories themselves.  I’ll admit that I’m also someone who’s had the luxury of being Chinese without ever really having experienced racism, but the cultural rejections I have faced have come much more from other Chinese people whereas most others I’ve interacted with were fairly indifferent towards my ethnicity.  And to suggest that a movie with an exclusively Asian cast makes things better or is an important step when there are so many other types of exclusion that most of the Crazy Rich Asians cast have probably never experienced simply because they all have the physical traits of people who get cast in lead movie roles just feels disingenuous to me.  The only thing I feel rings true about Crazy Rich Asians, and again, this is coming from someone who’s deliberately not going to see it, is that the plot is centred so much around Asians reveling in the chance to reject others.  And besides all of that, I kind of like people not knowing about my cultural traditions.  I like having that air of mystery and sort of having my own strange behaviour(s) as being something that might just be acceptable in my culture.

But, I’m probably way off on this one too.  Go see it if you want to, it’s got good reviews.  Like I said earlier, I’m a terrible person.  But I’m also Chinese.  And I reserve the right to be both.

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