So this last drama cycle should be deemed a disappointment, with no crazy successes (MLFTS), cult obsessions (SLA), or even so bad/crazy its good (God’s Gift, though for a couple weeks Doc Stranger was vying. Then the complete suckiness took hold). So with the next cycle gearing up, I figured I would try watching the first weeks worth and deduce the critical and popular reaction. Then three months later we can all see how wrong I’ll be, Yay! I will try to keep everything organized so people can use this as a guide if need be.
This batch of films actually contains some thematic resonance betwixt the three, which was quite the serendipitous delight. In all films the male lives in a sort of stasis (be it forced, voluntary, or super secret supernatural somethings), with the effect of such meaning they all demonstrate infantile or devolving behaviors not befitting for “normal” society. Isolation becomes another key theme, and it’s not until they establish a firm connection with someone (namely the female), that they may finally start to feel human again. Now I’m beginning to wonder if this is random happenstance, or a common occurrence in Korean cinema. Even Kang Ji-hwan in My Super Ex-Girlfriend is a Secret Super Spy, seemed to be a bumbling genius till he met up with “girlfriend” and became a bumbling genius in a tux. (Was that a stretch..nah)
Anyway, it may be hard to believe but there were some slight differences as well. Which means onto the reviews!
It’s movie review time again, and this batch was conspicuously engaging and entertaining. This has me worried, where are my patented bad movie Monday’s that I can hate watch and rant about? Even that My girlfriend is a 7th grade Super Spy was innocuous enough to not make fun of (especially with double doses of nerdy and suit wearing Kwan Ji Hwan). Guess complaining about films being too competent are why I can’t have nice things. Oh well let’s Go-go!
The Much Too Long Intro
When I collected data from blogs large and small for my drama ratings, the one constant became the consensus of Answer Me 1997. I didn’t find a single negative review, and of the 30+ dramas I’ve seen it had the highest averaged rating with 9.3 (out of 10). So it comes as no surprise that a drama that was so universally loved from the international community would be adapted for other audiences, yet I remain conflicted with the prospect. According to deadline, Fox is very interested in bringing the Answer Me franchise stateside, honing in on the year 1999 and all that NSync/Brittany Spears/Backstreet Boys craziness that occurred. On one hand, I’ve literally had the exact same thought when watching AM 97′. The BB VS N’Sync wars were raging during my elementary school years (of which I was always a N’Sync and JC girl), and so eerily paralleled the H.O.T.-Sechs Kies battles that occurred I even wondered if American music producers saw the Korean b-boy shenanigans and produced such fan wars here (cause I’m nothing if not a conspiracy theorist).
Yet as much as I would love to have that rush of nostalgia bring me back to my old CD collection, bus-ride debates, and pop culture references I would understand in full. I remain traumatized by the prospect. Answer Me was a show that nailed its casting, from its stars (Seo in Guk and Jung Eun-Ji being one my favorite drama couples ever) to the teenage ensemble, to the parents (ditto for Song Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa), in ways I’ve only seen one other show replicate (NBC’s Friday Night Lights). But really the tone was the most important. Not that it can’t be done (Freaks and Geeks, FNL, and Skins come to mind, though perhaps more serious), but when the people adapting AM are most well known for creating the 3rd Step-Up movie, its hard to tell if this is gonna become more about fad-ish pop music instead of its fully-rendered characters. All this is a precursor and inspiration for this weeks Top 5, because if a global audience can fall in love with a drama steeped in 15 year old Korean pop-culture, then adapting it for American audiences should prove resonant at least for those Americans aged 20-30?? But because I’ve already talked about AM at length , it will not be included in this list. Mostly I will speak to American television as that’s what I know, but most of these choices seem universal for any TV market. Also, it seems historical dramas and standard rom-coms wouldn’t really work due to the lack of Joseon eras and over-abundance of multiple season shows. What’s more interesting (and provides more options) are shows Korean television should adapt, a future top 5 I shall be working on shortly. But without further delay, here is number 5!
So this seems pretty much inevitable no? I mean how can the topical sketch comedy show not have its own take on last years winner for the quirky MV that enticed the world for 4 minutes. (past recipients: 2012’s “Gangnam Style”, and 2011’s Rebecca Black “Friday”) Who said Ylvis is dead, he’s alive in the form of Norwegian comedy songsters who sing about animal sounds. If you don’t know about the noise the fox makes, I would suggest watching the original before both of these takes on the song.
Much like today’s news cycle, the shelf-life of such viral phenomenon is getting shorter and shorter, which is why it should come as no surprise that SNL original recipe and SNL extra Korean debuted their respective videos on the exact same day.
Just like part one of SNL (US vs KOR) series I’ll show each digital short before saying my opinions and crowning an eventual winner on who did it best. So let’s bring on some fox noises!
These days I hardly watch any movies outside of going to the theater, which also means I have little to no knowledge of Korean film. So I’m slowly working my way through a list of critically acclaimed films. Problem is, now that I need to satiate my thirst for my fav K-Drama actors, it’s led to some questionable movie watching decisions. Also known as watching My Girlfriend is an Agent before Old Boy. Here are some mini reviews (and with all my reviews, they shouldn’t be taken too seriously;)