Patton Oswalt & The King and the Clown

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               I’ve changed the movie so many times for Patton.  Once when I was deliriously sleepy I considered the perfection of comparing him to his favourite film the Princess Bride.  Not quite Korean.  I bought (stole) many stand-up routines that I didn’t already have.  I bought books on tape and I bought and borrowed new and used books during this strange journey.  When Spaceship Zombie Wasteland came out I had to purchase it.  I can’t just read in Borders or Barnes and Noble like so many people.  I like my little library of comedian books.  I don’t fit into one category, though the concept is as brilliant as a sparkling slice of sky cake.  Horror and Science-Fictional writers leave the world (Spaceship), simplify the world (Zombie) or destroy the world (Republicans).

                Gong-gil (Lee Jun-ki) and Jang-sang (Kam Woo-sung) just want to entertain the world.  They’re puppeteers, actors, tightrope walkers and jesters, but there is a problem.  Gong-gil appears more feminine and beautiful than some women and powerful men want to steal him away.  Considering the subject the King and the Clown was a real triumph, breaking the record in Korea for the highest grossing film.  The director Lee Jun-ik (Once Upon A Time In A Battlefield, A Happy Life, Radio Star) shouldn’t be confused with his star.   

              Patton starred in Pixar’s film Ratatouille in 2007 joining Pixar’s voice talent with fellow comedians like Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Tim Allen, Billy Crystal, Eddie Izzard and Daniel Whitney.  He’s been everywhere and done everything though.  He’s been a bridge troll, been to KFC and even released some albums that are incredibly hard for me to find.  I connect with him a lot being an R.E.M. fan.  Fables of the Reconstruction of the Fables of the Reconstruction of the Fables of the (stop me) was an amazing album.  I got into R.E.M. a bit late and I lean toward Lifes Rich Pageant.  I like that as I wrote KOCO (see cover) and read SZW Patton was connecting the Michael Stipe lyrics to his life.  We’re dedicated to what we love.

               Jang-sang has committed a murder to protect Gong-gil from being prostituted.  We’re never quite sure if his feelings go further than that.  The movie (also called the King’s Man) itself walks a tightrope.  The subject matter is not blatant nor is it hinted.  It was enough for China to ban it with Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain though.  Personally I think banning things is gay.  They should knock it off.

               The two clowns end up in Seoul (16th century) getting into trouble satirizing the King.  Soon to be executed they beg for the King to see their show.  No royal laughs and they’ll accept their fate.

               Though Patton has been on primetime shows, his comedy is more aimed at college crowds or at least his own peer group.  His jokes flip back and forth from pop culture to higher brow to geek.  He wowed me with a piece about Anne Frank where he goes into the historic house not knowing he has to pay.  He hides and starts a diary.  I mentioned sky cake before because it’s perfect.  Patton does various pieces about religion, but here he explains the purpose and need of religion and why he likes it, even as a “stone-cold atheist”.  The violent ruled the world, but with some kind of moral code and eternity dessert, humans could create civilization.  I was a little angry because I’ve explained the same concept to friends in the past but  seriously … sky cake.  The title is deserved of a band.  I just joined the Benevolent Church of Sky Cake.  I think I’ve gone too far.

               It isn’t long before the King becomes enamored with Gong-gil.  He has the clown perform for him privately and has the other performers make satires of treasonous acts, resulting in fear and murder.  As more and more truth is revealed no one is safe.

               Is it better to live a blissful life?  Is it better to mask depression with drugs?  Is it best to fall in line?  Some comedians simply entertain.  Some comedians hold up mirrors to themselves, some to society.  Patton has a beautiful moment where he expresses no mourning for the end of the worst President we’ve ever had, as if a good leader would destroy any comic.  Now where will I get material?  I’m reminded of the towers falling.  Will anything be funny again?  I wondered where I should move when people acted like that.

Jang-sang is imprisoned twice and mutilated for his feelings toward Gong-gil.  Gong-gil attempts suicide.  In the end they both find themselves on a tightrope with a speech amidst  the chaos that brings smiles to the audience.  They want to be clowns even in the next life.

               I’ve mentioned the tightrope that some comedians walk with low and high-brow humor.  Meaningful and silly.  Referencing and satire.  Shock and subtly.  Patton puts the others in awe with confidence and depression.  With charisma and geek.  I hope to watch the Princess Bride with him someday.  I have the Buttercup version too.  I think the first book I ever wrote breaks down as Zombie (simplifying), with elements of Spaceship (the role-playing adventures) and then Wasteland (killing the characters off one by one).  What are you?

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STEVE MARTIN & THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT

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               As I child I loved Steve Martin, the man in white with an arrow through his head.  As I grew older I felt he followed the path of Eddie Murphy (they would even work together in Bowfinger).  He was this energetic, hilarious guy on television, movies and records who, as he aged, became something else.  He began making watered-down family entertainment.  Maybe that’s what everyone does.  I felt like I was his audience though.  Shouldn’t he care what I want?  Writing this book I decided to give every comedian a real chance.  I listened to him read Born Standing Up with hope.

               The Customer is Always Right begins with an awkward scene of a chubby older man named Ahn Chang-jin and a schoolgirl.  The saying “The Customer is Always Right” gets a lot of visual ridicule throughout the film.  I have always had a problem with it.  I understand it.  There is no successful business without the customer, but a line may be crossed.  Sung Ju-ru plays Chang-jin, a barber.  The schoolgirl he’s with is prostituting herself, but he’s never going to get that far.  She runs away with Chang-jin’s money.  It’s a strange beginning as the barber believes his life is perfect.  He’s a perfectionist at his trade and has a wonderful wife, seemingly.  A gangster played by Myung Gye-nam is about to change his life forever and put the philosophy of the film’s title to the test.

               Steve Martin was a comedian before comedy clubs existed.  He focused his lack of commercial talents into an avant-garde act.  Rick Moranis called it anti-comedy.  Though I started out feeling a distance between us, I felt pulled in while Steve Martin read his own exquisite words recalling his epic life.  Steve studied comedy and broke down what he should and shouldn’t do.  And he often did both.  I started to realize that he was two people, the man and the man on stage.

               The Customer is Always Right feels like a stage play.  The shots aren’t boring, they are the creativity that comes from being in a box.  Kang Yang-gil (Gye-nam) has come in for a shave and some money.  He’s witnessed a hit and run.  It was the barber’s car.  He’s not happy with just one visit either, he’s going to make many.  Paying for his shave and then making the barber pay for his mistake.  He’s going to take whatever he wants.  Even the barber’s wife.

               There is a certain woman I’d love to talk about right at this moment.  Ellen DeGeneres probably has an idea of who I’m talking about as well.  I will not mention her name though.  She was such a crazy liar she had to write two books about it.  Sympathy for Mr. Martin and Sympathy for Mrs. DeGeneres.  Moving on.

               When Chang-jin tries to stand up for himself there is a frightening scene where he is slapped and slapped and slapped like he was an incompetent gangster.  He’s slapped until there is a red face and tears.  The anger melts to the whimpers of a child.  There is no way out of this hell.  One mistake that he’ll literally pay for forever.  The scene is not uncommon and a detective is hired to slowly unravel the real identity of Myung Gye-nam.  At this point in the film, you may also begin to put the clues together.

               Every comedian starts out with heroes and looking for identities.  Before his joyous happy feet and the surreal thoughts surrounding “getting small” Steven Martin was a magician.  He was an intellectual magician, an intellectual comedian, an intellectual writer and actor.  He was breaking the whole process down.  What works, what doesn’t.  Becoming what needed to be.  I fear writing this, I’ve written for so long and Steve’s words bury me.  Some author’s large vocabularies come from expensive editors and an explosion of thesaurus use.  With Steve, it’s real.  I’ve felt him becoming his old self as he quoted his own jokes and I see things differently.

               Myung Gye-nam is playing himself.  I will never forget him because of this film.  He often plays a small role and is in many gangster films.  His daughter has been hit by the barber’s car.  It has nothing to do with the prostitute at all, in fact, the barber’s wife was behind the hit and run. Gye-nam only wants insurance money that will come from his death.  He plays his final role in real life attempting to drive a man into homicidal madness.  He needs an accident for the insurance to pay off, maybe a slip of the razor.  That will pay for what his daughter needs.  In the end, Chang-jin rescues his sign and places back on the wall, The Customer is Always Right.

               Steve Martin is a wonderful writer.  Considering all he’s done in the entertainment industry there is nothing to not be proud of.  If he’s doing what he wants and he’s happy now, it matters little what you or I think.  I can always go back and watch or listen to what I enjoy.  I can watch The Jerk.  I can understand the past, present and future of Mr. Martin on a new level.  The only person that is right is the person who is harming no one and is happy inside.  I can do my own happy feet if I need to … and I think … I … will!

Bill Hicks & A Bittersweet Life

contains spoilers if text is not in bold, for more info check my intro, otherwise

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BILL HICKS & A BITTERSWEET LIFE

 

               There is no film by Kim Ji-woon that is representative of the director.  They are all beautiful and different.  There is no single act that will tell you who Bill Hicks really was.  And that’s okay.

               Some people just like to fight.  Sun-woo, played by Lee Byung-hun, is supposed to fight and keep order.  Mostly he’s supposed to obey.

               Bill Hicks fights everyone, rebels with animated conspiracy.  He fights his audience.  It’s not going to be entertaining for everyone, but Bill is a cult icon.  Being in a Tool song helps.  Being dead helps even more.  His act from the 90’s still translated into the year 2000.  Another Bush in office, another war with Iraq.  It’s more amazing than Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and the Wizard of Oz played together.

               Sun-woo comes back from the dead.  He’s been buried alive just to find the gangsters who smashed his hand and buried him are still there, waiting.  In a Hollywood movie you know everything is going to be okay.  Our hero will win.  This was something else, a frightening hands-to-face situation.  There is an exhilarating effect when Sun-woo escapes.  Grinding one of his enemy’s faces against the wall, fighting fire sticks with fire sticks.  It was nearly impossible and yet, he drives away.

               Reading Kevin Booth’s Agent of Evolution, about his friend Bill Hicks, is something I recommend, but it’s going to rewrite your brain.  Things you know from his act, you find are just an illusion.  It’s Bill as he wished to be.  Bill was someone else on stage.  He could have a conversation and thirty minutes later it could be in his act.  And he meant it.

               Sun-woo and Hee-soo (Shin Mina) meet.  This is before all of the violence.  His boss seems to prize Sun-woo over others.  He wants Sun-woo to watch over Hee-soo, his new, and very young girlfriend.  It seems that something isn’t right.  It doesn’t take long for the hit man to find her in the arms of another man.  He’s supposed to kill them both, but has them both separate forever.

               Though he was part of Outlaws of Comedy, Bill surpassed Sam Kennison by 666 light years.  Why scream so empty?  Bill wanted to fix the world while Kennison barely understood it.  Kennison screamed about starving third world people, GO TO WHERE THE FOOD IS!  Bill wanted all the money to be spent helping the people.  He wanted wars to end.  He was John Lennon as a comic with major leans toward conspiracy (Waco, JFK, The Bible). 

               Re-titled The Bittersweet Life, the original title is the Sweet Life, just like La Dolce Vita the bar where Sun-woo works.  This is one of the few alternate titles that worked really well.  The irony isn’t important here.  Nothing is fine.  Did Sun-woo have it all?  You watch him so bored, alone in his small place.  Sleeping on a couch.  Playing with a light.

               I’m actually at a loss.  There is a scene with Sun-woo where he watches Hee-soo play the violin.  He’s somewhere else.  We’re not in your average movie about a hit man.  I find both Bill Hicks and A Bittersweet Life beautiful.  I want to watch A Bittersweet Life while I build a time machine and go back to see Bill Hicks.  I just wasn’t old enough.  I only saw his censored televised act right before he died.  Cancer put his thoughts towards God (they weren’t friends in the act) at the end.  I really can’t shake a fist considering his age. He didn‘t make it to his 33rd birthday.  I just want to go in my time machine and see him, right before he was to weak, to watch some films.  I’ll have a Blu-ray player under one arm and Avatar in the other.  He said that no one was ever going to top Terminator 2.  I’d bring Terminator 3 and 4 (5 has Byung-hun!), but he’d probably just say he was right and go to sleep.

               The fighting could stop at any time.  Sun-woo and his boss just won’t give up.  It doesn’t end well, revenge and hate.  Some say it’s all just a dream in the movie.  Bill said it was just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.

               Tell me that kind of thought comes from an average comedian.

Emo Philips & My Scary Girl

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EMO PHILIPS & MY SCARY GIRL

 

               I’d like to talk more about I’m a Cyborg but that’s okay, I won’t.  It’s not that Emo is crazy, it’s just I’m a Cyborg, but That’s Okay is such a lovely film.  And Emo is crazy.  Voted most popular in his ward, though admittedly, the imaginary friends’ votes shouldn’t be counted.  Anyway, I decided to choose something unique with subtle violence, something that made me happy.  My Scary Girl (My Sweet, Yet Brutal, Sweetheart) also fits that description.

               Emo Philips, I probably first saw him in UHF.  He cut off his own finger with a table saw and sprayed blood all over “Weird” Al.  He was just talking about how careful you have to be and then Town Talk’s George Newman screams.  Emo is not so emotional.  “I think it’s on the floor somewhere.  Is my face red.”  That’s Emo.  Violence and puns.  If you have a problem with that, I’ll stuff you in a giant kimchi fridge.

               My Scary Girl begins with a teacher named Dae-woo (Park Yong-woo).  He’s fine with his lonely life.  No, really.  Everything changes, though, when he’s morally forced to help an old delivery man with a large appliance.  He finds himself resting because of his bad back and looks around.  His new neighbor Lee Mi-na (Choi Kang-hee) seems cultured with intellectual interests.  She has no idea why Dae-woo is inside her new place, and he attempts to explain his intrusion with the delivery man magically out of sight.  He likes Mi-na.  Maybe our protagonist isn’t fine with his lonely life.

               I’d love to see Emo Phillips’ love matches.  He had a short marriage to Judy Tenuta, but he’s kind of the opposite of her type, straight with no muscles.  His hair used to look like Amelie (from Amelie) and his voice probably won’t be on anyone’s one’s Top Ten list concerning charisma.  It’s slow with each word pulled like taffy.  He takes little notice of how dark his material can get or how surreal as he plays with social norms.  It’s a web of educated weird and you’re stuck in it quickly.

               Having not done it, almost ever, Dae-woo loves to kiss.  We’re quickly moved by his infinite appreciation of Mi-na, but Dae-woo has no idea what he’s getting into when attempting to date her.  There is a nice symbolic back problem that he has when things aren’t going so well.  Like a headache or cracking your neck.  Mi-na has a secret that will stay bold.  Though she gets a bit sidetracked by the sweet English teacher, Mi-na is only in Dae-woo’s building to commit a murder.

               Though the amount of baby and child abuse, light-hearted racism and just plain darkness has gone up in the intellectual stand-up world, Emo was easily a pioneer of it.  Even that stated, it’s hard to look at any comedian and say, wow you’re like a young Emo Philips.  As he sings his jingle for a place called Downers Grove that had a contest, I consider it is impossible for smart people to perfectly contour themselves into society.  The rules must be bent to give life any interest at all.  The jingle ends with the loss of an eye, dragged away by way of a truckload of puns.

               Son Jae-gon’s My Scary Girl takes on romantic comedy with surgical precision, but in a slightly different way than a Jang Jin-style parody.  In the classic, My Boyfriend Is Type B, I was introduced to something I’d never heard about.  Blood type, like the month you were born, giving information about personality.  During a double date Dae-woo realizes that Mi-na knows nothing about art (one of her modern art prints is upside-down) and worse yet starts talking about blood typing.  Dae-woo is furious, knowing that besides it being a pseudo-science, eugenics is racist and has been abandoned by most of the world.  Everything about her starts to unravel.  In the end Dae-woo catches up with Mi-na after she has done a lot of body disposal in the mountains.  He meets her in Mina’s other more expensive apartment with a bullet-proof vest on.  Finding out who she is he finally leaves, but cries in the elevator.  “Why did it have to be so many?”  I love the idea that one death could be something he could work out.  He obviously loves Mi-na, just not the situation.

               Emo’s appearance is very different now, much like “Weird” Al.  In 2005 a joke he wrote was voted the best religious joke ever.  Sadly they didn’t credit him, so I won’t credit the people that had the contest.  Maybe they couldn’t find him, because he looks so different with his short grey hair and glasses.  You can him find at a website with a http://www.com as the bread and EmoPhilips as the crunchy peanut butter.  If you’re ever down you can push his random logic generator.  It’s better for you than an energy drink and hurts less than a slap in the face.

On lay over from a business trip in Singapore, Dae-woo runs into Mi-na two years later.  He thinks about her every time they find a body in the mountains.  Mi-na is on her way to Australia, she can’t risk returning to Korea.  Though fate brings them back to together, they probably won’t ever be a couple.  There is something personal that just happened that kills me when I think about it.  Life isn’t about the pieces that fit together.  It’s all the pieces from another puzzle that you just can’t throw away and you just can’t use.  You just put them back in the box with a sigh.

There is a glimmer of dark hope though.  Dae-woo says maybe they’ll meet again much later, though he’ll probably be with someone else.  Mi-na replies, “I’ll just kill her.”  She kisses Dae-woo and walks off.

Janeane Garofalo & The Road Taken

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JANEANE GAROFALO & THE ROAD TAKEN

 

               Janeane speaks with a huge vocabulary.  She’s one of the most serious comedians you’ll experience.  She’ll jump from speaking about important social issues to apologizing for how people may perceive her.  I first saw her on Comedy Central.  She was young.  She was taking about being on the phone with a parent and the parent wanting the noise in the background to be turned down.  It was R.E.M.  She finds this strange and ironic, not thinking of R.E.M. as a loud band.  Later in her life she speaks of leaving another alternative band’s show, Weezer, because it was too loud.  She repeats, too loud, for comic effect.  Her life is a circular joke.

               Kim Sun-myung’s (Kim Joong-ki) life was more serious.  He was a North Korean soldier, imprisoned for 44 years.  The original title of the film is The Choice.  Sun-myung could have left the prison and avoided over four decades of mistreatment.  His communist beliefs were the only things the South Koreans (and the U.S.) wanted him to denounce.  They’re still calling people socialists today.  I even call myself a socialist.  It’s good to be in my country at this time.  Not everyone is this lucky.

               Janeane calls herself a peace activist, an atheist and she’s very vocal in the liberal movement.  Rarely are comedians non-vocal.  Poor mimes.  Well anyway, she is one of my first favorites.  Her insecurities seem to not get in the way of her getting on stage and being in many successful television shows & films even though her father’s skull is trapped in a bowling ball.

               We stay in the cell with Kim Sun-myung and his friends.  I enjoy the film because of its rarity.  North Korean are usually not portrayed correctly, or just found in spy and war films.  They were and are people with lives and dreams, not faceless enemies being shot or sliced with swords.  They each get pulled out one by one, once in a while for a chance to change their thoughts and be free.  How can you be free if you’ve been forced to change your thoughts?

               Opinions aside I want to take a second to talk about Bathroom Monkey.  Wait, no, though that was hilarious, my favorite non-stand-up performance came from Janeane in Sweethearts.  A film for people who don’t need happy endings, it starred fellow stand-ups Bobcat Goldthwait and Margaret Cho.  It’s about a romantic night for a suicidal woman.  My lungs kind of give out as I watch the end, as the sun rises.  Of course no one pays attention to a piece of art like this.  Much better than any dog-pulled roller skates role.  Janeane doesn’t take acclaim as well as others though, so I’ll cut this essay short. 

               Kim Sun-myung watched many North Koreans come and go in his 44 years, as one would expect.  He never threw his ideals away though.  People were beaten over and over.  People died in prison, but it didn’t deter him.  He listened as unification seemed a possibility and then faded away. 

               He was finally released back to North Korea in the late 90’s after amnesty international put some light on him as the longest-serving political prisoner in the entire world.  In the late 90’s films like this probably would not have been made in South Korea.  A few years later it was made, nothing censored.  Times change when voices unite.  So if you really want a world full of hate and war, please keep voting for it, or not at all.  Until then peace activists like Janeane will speak loudly, without the big stick.  Maybe you’ll need us one day when all the guns and bombs don’t work.

Margaret Cho & Green Chair

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MARGARET CHO & GREEN CHAIR

 

     Sexually explicit.  Parental Guidance is advised.

     I thought it would be fun to do one non-South Korean film because Margaret Cho is Korean.  Green Chair is a perfect choice though.  I mean, Margaret is already the All-American Girl.  What an interesting time. 

     There is often a news story in the states about some hot blonde teacher being taken to jail after relations with a student, but what happens afterwards?  What if the student picks you up, now almost at the age of consent?  What if the student really loves you and never felt violated or molested?  Well, maybe a lot of forbidden sex.

     An Asian comedian was a rare commodity when Comedy Central began.  Any white comedian would have the luxury of doing their act about whatever they chose, black too.  A Korean female comedian had some explaining to do.  Margaret walked that line of trying to be the All-American girl that she was, but noticed quickly that doing some material about her mother and the accent people were used to, as well as innocent prejudices that she witnessed, created consistent laughter.  Additionally her openness about sexuality and ties to the gay community made her an anomaly and interest grew.  She didn’t have to say, I’m a feminist, she just described an aggressive grasping at equality on all levels.  It was beautiful.

     Park Chul-soo is a very non-judgmental director.  He doesn’t seem concerned with opinions, he just lets the characters go, and they go.  I don’t know how easy this film would be to watch with others.  Have you ever been watching a movie and a sex scene begins and things get very quiet.  In Green Chair, Kim Mun-hee (Jung Suh/Jung Seo, who has had the most interesting indie career I’ve seen) has only received a small sentence for her crime.  She’s not sure now if she’s doing the right thing.  She and Seo-hyun (Shim Ji-ho) are both our main characters, and both their opinions count, just like in any relationship.

     Margaret’s career exploded in Y2K once she got over a lot of her addiction and self-esteem issues, attempting to fit the Hollywood mold.  She released a book and performed a one woman show called “I’m the One That I Want” explaining her weight struggles, problems with her sitcom (one of the first to show an all Asian family, though mixed) and general misunderstanding of her lifestyle choices … and of course what her mom thought.  Cho’s impression of her mother always seems to make an appearance in her specials giving yet another opinion on they way a Korean-American feels and sees things.  Her act (Revolution, Assassin, Notorious C.H.O.) has become stronger and more open as the years go by and she’s become a strong activist.  Considering her tattoo obsession I’m not entirely sure she’s fully comfortable with herself, but we all have to be and do what we want and if we’re not hurting someone else … so be it.  Love is the key.  Hate is the lock.

     After many sexual climaxes our cinematic climax is a pure joy, a party where we debate the modern controversies dealt with in the film.  Every side is represented.  Some people won’t make it this far and I understand.  The film wasn’t released for almost two years until outside interest grew.  Why watch something new when we can be comfortable, lazily taking in the same old thing?

 

     Special Thanks to Tom Giammarco for assistance.

 

Kevin Nealon & A Brand New Life

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KEVIN NEALON & A BRAND NEW LIFE

 

     A guy writes a book from his own perspective during his wife’s pregnancy, while a young girl is given away to an orphanage.

     I used to think adopting was the way to go.  I love kids, but I don’t think the world needs more of them.  There are lots of children.  I never understood paying though.  I mean, I’m taking the kid.  You should pay me!  I could have one for free.  I guess I can grow tomatoes for free or buy them.   I’m talking myself out of my own point, while A Brand New Life is making me think that adoption is horrible.

     Dana Carvey said, hey man, I can’t do this Pump You Up stuff alone.  You need this guy Kevin Nealon.  He’s tall and super calm.  He’s been on Carson.  These aren’t exact quotes, but a nine year career was born.

     Ounie Lecomte’s personal project really captured me.  It’s about her real experiences being given away to an orphanage and adopted abroad like many Korean children.  The camera is always on the level of the heartbreakingly fragile Jin-hee (Kim Sae-ron).  This isn’t a film about anything except her confusion and pain over being given away by her thoughtless father (a cameo by Sol Kyung-gu).   

     Yes, you’re pregnant, but what about me?  This is the question asked by Kevin Nealon.  He decided to write a book, rarely written.  The thoughts of a man as his wife is pregnant.  As women read and obsess about their upcoming pregnancy, most men do not.  Nothing is happening to them.  They are busy getting a second job or running away and then impregnating someone else like a human dog.  Kevin is a pretty different guy, a very unique comic.  He’s serene like a Hawaiian breeze.  He’s done his stand up laying down.  That’s relaxed!  It’s probably all the subliminal messages that make me like KOREAN FILMS his act so much.

     Adopting a baby must be much different than a nine-year old girl, but that was my plan when I was younger.  I considered how great it would be to know the human I was buying.  I want the one with the glasses and the book!  There are some girls at the orphanage that are well versed in English and are totally selling themselves, but people want Jin-hee.  She’s adorable.  She’s the one you can’t have.  Of course not, her father is coming back.  This is just a vacation.  The original title of the film is Traveler.  I don’t know how a child deals with abandonment issues.  Even when new parents are wonderful, you still must wonder who gave you away and why.  To start again would be too much.

     In the mid-80’s Kevin Nealon made is way to the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  He still calls this one of the (if not the) proudest moments of his career that goes on to this day.  On the show he’s a bit speedier, the energy of youth and probably the stress of being on the famous talk show.  There is a point where he’s telling a story and has a map.  The map isn’t the correct map though.  The act becomes some of the most intellectual prop comedy I’ve ever seen as he folds the map a bit and it instantly becomes the shape of Nevada.  The comedy of Kevin Nealon is a bit off, but that is always a positive factor for me.  Off is my on.

     The success of Brand New Life abroad will be helped considering the short length of the film.  It’s rare to even find a less than two hour comedy, let alone a drama.  Ounie is a woman of two worlds and they collide well.  Her decisions, though personally driven, are thoughtful and pull you in well.  Though as Jin-hee makes a friend and starts to adapt you know by the end, with her foreign adoption, that there will always be a small hole in her heart.

     I enjoyed Kevin Nealon’s book.  It’s good to hear a male’s voice, a male who not only wanted to have a child, but planned it out.  Everything in his life seems rather thoughtful.  When he sucker punches you in comedy you smile.  He’s hitting you in the head and not the kidney.