Korean Pop Culture Obsessions: Notting Hill (Updated!)

Notting hill koreans

Ever wonder why in certain dramas people only seem to reference Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie in reference to Hollywood movie stars? Well it’s that train of thought that started me down this pop-culture rabbit hole.  Unfortunately, the “Brangelina Effect” is too tall an order for me to tackle at this moment. Instead, I’ll discuss my findings of another Hollywood treasure, the 1999 Rom-Com Notting Hill.

Now Notting Hill is very near and dear to my heart.  When I used to work for a movie theater, we each had name tags indicating our favorite film, so I went with the “hip” answer by choosing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Royal Tenenbaums, and Run Lola Run. Fantastic films in which to lord over the average theater patron with my faux cinematic pretentiousness, but put a gun to my head and out comes Notting Hill every time.

Because I literally watch this movie once a season without fail, I am fine-tuned to notice any references (be it real or imaginary) that crop up, so when Secret Garden‘s Oska played “She” (Notting Hill’s equivalent of “My Heart Will Go On”), I always wondered if the Korean reception for the film surpassed even America’s or Britain’s.

So this is the result of my exhaustive “research”, and I’ll touch on some conclusions upon finishing, so dig into some tasty mayo yogurt and enjoy!

notting-hill

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It’s Okay That’s Love: First Impressions

Insinuation of drug use and masturbation, open discussions of sex, transgendered characters, divorced characters, bringing mental health issues to the foreground and literal dick measuring contests.  This list alone seems iffy for Korean cable, but for the premier episode on a network?  Consider me flabbergasted.  This show seems to be on a mission to change the perceptions of what a K-Drama is and what it can achieve.

Color me impressed with it’s to-do list, though from these first two episodes, it seemed more like throwing a case full of pencils at a ceiling and hope they all stick.

That isn’t to say I didn’t throughly enjoy every minute of it, especially the pilot, which was such a glorious hodgepodge of happenings and misplaced scenes it’s rather amazing how enraptured I was.

In part this is due to all the plot points and questions raised in this first week which piqued my interest in what will occur down the line (such as the Cane and Abel scenario, all the past relationships, and everything D.O.)

it's okay that's love d.o. face

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You Who Came From The Stars: Amusing Clip Findings – Video Variety

mlfts

With the cornucopia of rom-com dramas* airing it may be easy to forget the long and winding drought dramaland had without the fluffy rom com fare that’s become a touchstone to Korean television.  I don’t think I could pin point why we had more shows with serial killers instead of kisses, but no matter, at least I’m in love with this most current slate.

*Seriously, at last count we have Trot Lovers, Marriage Not Dating, Fated to Love You, It’s Okay that’s Love, and High School King of Savvy.  Of those, to the best of my knowledge only one, has received mixed to negative reviews (Trot).  4/5 well received rom-coms running at the same time?!? I don’t know whether to feel greedy, or sad that these shows couldn’t have possibly been spaced out a wee bit better so that I would actually have time to watch all of them.

Also, the wait for rom-comy goodness wasn’t quite as punishing when the genre went out (or on hiatus) on a high note such as My Love From the Stars (MLFTS) which captured millions of eyeballs all over the world due to it’s intermingling of comedy, supernatural, drama, and romance. (and let’s get real JJH putting on one of the great comedic performances in a drama ever.)

So thought I would share some amusing MLFTS adjacent clips, stemming from parodies to PPL’s to plenty of KSH JJH adorableness. Enjoy!

You-Who-Came-From-the-Stars-Poster1

As many things as this show did right, these header/poster pics were not one of them. Is this a 1990’s soap opera? A funeral? or a rom com featuring a 400 year old alien? Better luck next time promo department

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Top 5ish – Gong Hyo-Jin Love Interests in Dramaland (Update: Vote for Your Favorite!)

With this weeks premier of her latest show, It’s Okay That’s Love, I realized that this will be my 6th (!) Gong Hyo Jin drama.  Which means I have spent more hours watching GHJ than either Lee Min Ho or Lee Seung Gi, though she still doesn’t top my apparent love affair with Ahn Suk-Hwan (UGH. 7 dramas!).

Ahn gaksital

Why are you and your mustache twirling ways in every drama ever?!?

Truth is, whenever I choose a drama, my criteria is based on critical reaction and premise rather than the actors in question, which is why it’s rather amazing the streak GHJ has going on.  To the best of my knowledge, her past six dramas have pretty much been critical or ratings successes (usually both), with zero “forgotten dramas”.  She’s also worked with some of the dramaland’s best, and though I will be focussing on her male co-stars this time around, the creative talent should make anyone jealous considering she’s worked with Lee Kyung Hee (twice), the Hong Sister’s (twice), and now also reuniting with Noh Hee Kyung.  Sounds like your typical bitchy diva who you’d never want to work with. (JK, she’s obviously amazing)

gong hyo jin turkey donkey gong hyo jin turkey?

Warning: nothing but nonsense from here on out!

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Veronica Mars Movie: Minute by Minute Commentary and Reviewish

veronica mars

Obviously this has nothing to do with Korean dramas (yet), but mix in some wine, and ongoing chatter about which cameo was a Kickstarter backer, and suddenly we are putting on our snark hats and slurrily attempting to remember which media organization made an appearance when.

The first 40 minutes are pretty sparse considering we were either squeeing or drinking, so it later becomes more chronological, but probably makes less sense. Also, I remembered time stamps apprx. 10% of the time.  Whoops.  Ooo and spoilers be wary (thought nothing whoa crazy crazy was given away).

P.S.(Because apparently this is in letter format now.)  Though this was edited a bit, I left in all the expletives/crudeness because alcohol is known to have such an effect.  NSFW because I’m PG-15 like that.

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It’s..It’s Okay That’s Love Week! #Get Excited

Heyo.  Ever since I heard about this meeting of the minds drama way back in January, I’ve been biding my time to properly freak out for its arrival. Well the time is now, and though much has changed with the drama since its potential casting announcement. –Plagiarism scandals, change in tone to lighter and more comedic, crazy car accidents.– I can’t wait to see what Noh HeeKyung, Jo InSung, and Gong HyoJin come up with.
nohjo-jin-sung

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Korean Cinema Reviews Vol. 4: Sunny with a Chance of Snowpierced Spells

Korean Cinema Sunny SPellbound Snowpiercer

This set of several satisfying or sensational serieses, seriously satiated my Sinema soul.  Each saw some sadness, sweetness, satire and swearing.  So much swearing.  There was more swearing in a film about teenage girls then a KJH film about finding out your girlfriend is a super spy.  Seriously though, 2/3 of these films are going on my all-time Korean films list.  Which one do you think will lose out on such an distinguished honor.  Only one way to find out…

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