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Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Jake Lipson

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Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Tagline: The only thing crazier than love is family

Genre: Comedy

Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Sonoya Mizuno, Awkwafina, Chris Pang, Harry Shum Jr., Ken Jeong, Remy Hii, Tan Kheng Hua, Ronny Chieng, Jing Lusi, Jimmy O. Yang, Fiona Xie, Pierre Png, Nico Santos, Carmen Soo

Release: 2018-08-15

Runtime: 121

Plot: An American-born Chinese economics professor accompanies her boyfriend to Singapore for his best friend's wedding, only to get thrust into the lives of Asia's rich and famous.

 

Jake Lipson

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I was surprised there hasn't already been a thread for this movie, but I thought I would go ahead and create one because the movie is opening today.

I'll be seeing it tonight.

I haven't read the book, but the trailer looks fun, the reviews have been largely extremely positive, and of course, whether it's good or not it's an important step forward for cultural representation and inclusivity on screen. But it seems like it's going to be good, which is all the better.
 

Jake Lipson

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I saw it tonight and thought it was great.

It's very, very much in the traditional romantic comedy model of "the potential in-laws don't like you." It doesn't venture outside of that mold. But it's so well-made, the cast is so charming, and it's done with an incredible amount of cultural specificity that makes it unique. So it works really well and is enjoyable to watch, especially when it's focusing on Constance Wu as Rachel, who is a relatable and genuine entry point into all the extravagance.

I've heard the book is the first of a trilogy. I hope, in success, that we get the other two. I would absolutely watch more of this, for sure. I'm curious to read the books now.
 
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Jason_V

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Ditto on all of the above. Went. to the first showing last night and had a packed theater. I enjoyed the heck out of the movie as obvious as it is. The actors are all very likable and I ended up being engaged through the entire film. The nerd in me really liked seeing the hotel with the surf board on top of it (yes, I know it has an actual name). I watched a documentary-series about famous hotels and this was the first one mentioned in the show. It was a cool touchstone for me.

My only complaint is it runs a little bit too long. There are things we don't need to see from my perspective. But hey, I enjoyed the two hours at the theater.
 

Vic Pardo

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Lisa Lu is in it, playing the rich guy's grandmother. She has a 60-year-long history in Hollywood films and TV and Hong Kong and Chinese films as well.

I've written about her on my blog four times. Here's a link to the most recent piece, written last year on the occasion of her 90th birthday, which offers a wide-ranging overview:

https://briandanacamp.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/happy-90th-birthday-lisa-lu/

Here's a shot of her from Shaw Bros.' 14 AMAZONS (1972):

32250355342_9703529bcf.jpg


And a shot from THE MOUNTAIN ROAD (1960), in which she co-starred with James Stewart:

31559656754_fc2b8f9443.jpg
 
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Jake Lipson

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In welcome good but not terribly surprising news, the sequel is moving forward following the first film's successful opening. Spoilers in the link for the end of the first film, if you haven't seen it yet.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/n...-revealed-jon-m-chu-writers-returning-1135890

That being said...the production company Color Force also produced The Hunger Games series. I hope they don't repeat their desperation move and split the third book in half for purely financial reasons. That really caused Hunger Games to limp to the end. This is only about the second one for now, but I'm sure they'll do the third in due course.
 
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I'm looking forward to this one. I won't see it until it hits streaming because I don't do theaters anymore but I do want to check this one out. I just hope it lives up to the hype for me. Black Panther I found really boring and shut it off after 30 minutes.
 

Vic Pardo

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This is the kind of luxury-laden corny, melodramatic romance I would avoid if it had a white cast (unless it comes from the Golden Age of Hollywood--Lana Turner in either of the two main female roles at different stages of her career would have been fine), but the fact that it was an all Asian cast in a different setting (Singapore) from what we normally see made it worth seeing. Asians deserve to have the chance to indulge in all these high-gloss clichés in a Hollywood film. (They certainly do it enough in Chinese movies.) I was happy to see Michelle Yeoh and Lisa Lu in a new movie--two greats from two distinct periods of movie history. And the film was easily stolen by New York rapper-comedienne Awkwafina, who plays the heroine's comical college pal. She should have her own series of movies.

Unfortunately, the film seems to embrace the conspicuous consumption and wealth-flaunting in a way that may not have been the original author's intent. And I've been told that the ending of the book was way more ambiguous, which I would have preferred. I don't like how this film ends. The heroine disappointed me.

Still, it's well worth seeing. I was impressed with how the film takes its $30 million budget a long way. It's got really lavish production design, location shooting in Singapore and Malaysia, and crowds of fabulously dressed extras. The last time Yeoh shot on location in Malaysia was 25 years ago and the result was spectacular: SUPERCOP: POLICE STORY III.
 

Jake Lipson

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This is the kind of luxury-laden corny, melodramatic romance I would avoid if it had a white cast

I don't get that at all. Obviously, it's worth celebrating that it has an Asian cast and culture at its center, but a good movie is a good movie. Had it been Crazy Rich White People, it would have been a different movie, but not automatically worth dismissing categorically. I'm glad it is what it is, but I don't really agree with what you're saying.

The heroine disappointed me.

In what way?
 

Vic Pardo

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I don't get that at all. Obviously, it's worth celebrating that it has an Asian cast and culture at its center, but a good movie is a good movie. Had it been Crazy Rich White People, it would have been a different movie, but not automatically worth dismissing categorically. I'm glad it is what it is, but I don't really agree with what you're saying.



In what way?

If it had been CRAZY RICH WHITE PEOPLE, I simply would have avoided it. There've been plenty of movies about crazy rich white people going back to the silent era and I've seen dozens of them. Some were good, some weren't. But I don't go see such movies these days, whether they're good or not. However, I have not seen lots of movies, if any, about crazy rich Asians or crazy rich Latinos or crazy rich black people, so there might be something new and original in such movies that would make them worth seeing.

I avoid lots of movies about subjects that don't interest me that may or may not be good movies. But if the casting is non-traditional, I'll sometimes take a chance. For instance, I went to see THE PERFECT GUY, about an obsessive guy who stalks a woman he got involved with after she'd broken up with her longtime boyfriend. I went to see it because it had a black cast and I like the idea of black actors being able to do the kinds of potboilers that white actors have done for decades. The acting was good, but it wasn't a good movie, so I'll be a little more cautious in the future. I watched NO GOOD DEED, a female-lawyer-in-peril movie, on cable because Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba were the stars. Not a good movie and not the kind of movie I'd normally watch, but interesting to see them in a non-race-specific thriller.

I've said for years that I'd love to see black actresses like Angela Bassett do the kinds of parts that Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck used to do. Hollywood doesn't know how to do that kind of melodrama anymore, but if one comes out with Bassett or Viola Davis or Taraji P. Henson in the lead role, I'd be more inclined to see it than if someone like Laura Linney or Julia Roberts is in it. The upcoming WIDOWS with Davis is a case in point. I'm more curious to see that thanks to her and Michelle Rodriguez, whom I like a great deal, being in the cast.

I had no interest in seeing MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. It may have been a good movie, but I had no interest in seeing it. But if it was about a Puerto Rican wedding or a Chinese wedding or a Jamaican wedding, it would have been different, since I have interest in those cultures and family members from those cultures and have been to weddings like that.

I'm not sure if this is what you were getting at or not. If not, please clarify. I appreciate your feedback and questions. Thanks.

As for my disappointment with the heroine of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, I'll have to put it into spoiler tags. This is about what the heroine does at the end:

She makes it too easy for Nick. She should have gone back to New York and made him follow her there and try to pick up the pieces without his family and his enormous wealth to back him up. That big party at the end and her acceptance of it was quite a cop-out. I understand the book had a more ambiguous ending.
 
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Jake Lipson

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She should have gone back to New York and made him follow her there and try to pick up the pieces without his family and his enormous wealth to back him up.

That might have been interesting, but the movie was already two hours and occasionally felt a bit long. I think if they had played out the scenario you suggest, it would have added to the running time considerably.
 

Aaron Silverman

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On the ending. . .

The key conflict was not between Rachel and Nick; it was between Rachel and Eleanor. The mahjong game, which was the true climax of the film, resolved that conflict. The airport scene just served to show Eleanor's change of heart on top of Rachel's personal victory, when Nick revealed her ring. Him physically chasing Rachel back to NYC would have been extraneous (and made the movie too long). The party at the end was not about Rachel accepting them; it was about them accepting her. She was a visiting outsider at all the other parties, but the guest of honor at that one.

See the mahjong article that Sam linked.
 

Vic Pardo

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On the ending. . .

The key conflict was not between Rachel and Nick; it was between Rachel and Eleanor. The mahjong game, which was the true climax of the film, resolved that conflict. The airport scene just served to show Eleanor's change of heart on top of Rachel's personal victory, when Nick revealed her ring. Him physically chasing Rachel back to NYC would have been extraneous (and made the movie too long). The party at the end was not about Rachel accepting them; it was about them accepting her. She was a visiting outsider at all the other parties, but the guest of honor at that one.

See the mahjong article that Sam linked.

Good points, thanks.
 

SamT

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Really enjoyed it. I had a grin on my face the whole time. I think the ending was too sudden, it needed at least an extra 15-20 minutes to make it really work.
 
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