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.