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.

 

David Cross & Save the Green Planet!

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DAVID CROSS & SAVE THE GREEN PLANET!

 

     Can any one person save us?  How active and aggressive does one have to get when no one is listening?  How soon before everyone thinks you’re just a lunatic and stops listening?  How soon before you agree and give up forever?

     A bee-keeper and possible mannequin maker named Lee Byung-gu  (character actor Shin Ha-kyun) kidnaps a wealthy businessman.  Lee knows the man is an alien.  His research is extensive.  He’s assisted by his chubby circus performing girlfriend Su-ni (Hwang Jung-min).  She’s like a child with dolls and an affinity for the song Over the Rainbow.   There are ways to get an alien to talk and they’re both about to go to work.

     David Cross’s early openings can be equally interesting.  Sometimes he acts like a redneck who hates acts like his own, especially “potty mouth”.  Sometimes he sings a Vegas show tune about his act that tangents into commentary about cosmonauts.  Every act I’ve ever heard has been different, but something remains the same.  David is a satirical agent for progressive change and has been for many years.

     It isn’t long before the drugs he’s (not David Cross, but I can see how you might be confused) taking and the torture starts to get to Byung-gu’s girlfriend.  She leaves sadly.  The love loss is no distraction.  The alien has plans to destroy our planet.  Before anything, the alien’s head is shaved.  That’s how he can communicate with the others.

     David Cross pops up in movies like Sarah Silverman,  usually a role where he’s playing a horrible person of some kind.  He’s well known for Mr. Show, a sketch program that was like no other.  Each sketch connected to the next and often the whole show was a circle.  Co-hosted by Bob Odenkirk (Abe Lincoln) and co-written by Bill Odenkirk, Jay Johnston, Brian Posehn and others with long names, it was a cult hit.  That means it was cancelled too quickly after being put on HBO very late at night.  There was even a really funny film that had so many problems even David and Bob gave up on it before it made it to DVD.  It gave me an old fashioned kick in the cunt.

     Lee Byung-gu’s life is violent and tragic.  His mother is in a coma and the alien Kang Man-shik (played by zen master with a similar name Baek Yun-shik) is partly responsible.  His first girlfriend was beaten to death in workers’ strike.  His mother killed his father.  Lee Byung-gu’s dog eats his past test subjects.  Each one he finds is not an alien.  When a suspicious detective arrives and finds nothing, on the way out he sees a human bone with the dog.  Honey, gravity and bees dispatch yet another in the way of saving the green planet.

     David will be my hero for long stretches of his act, but then as the audience laughs less and less, he switches gears into something low-brow or silly.  I think this happens with a lot of intelligent comics.  Some comedians know their audience and fully pander.  Some know their audience and semi-pander.  But I feel like David doesn’t what to.  He almost yells at them and himself at the same time.  What the fuck is this political stuff?  I came here to laugh!  His book seemed the perfect time to throw it all out there.  It’s a different audience.  I was actually a bit disappointed.  Some parts were really funny, I love the Mafia game.  I just think he’s more intelligent than some of the material.  I’ve been listening a long time.

     The alien tells of a cure for Lee Byung-gu’s mother.  He uses the time to break free and finds himself going through the journals of his disturbed host.  It saddens him.  As he’s about to be freed Lee Byung-gu returns.  His mother is dead and he has nothing left.  The businessman tells the story of our creation as if he were an alien.  It’s unknown if he does this from the journals or because it’s true.

     Sub Pop is a well-known Seattle music label.  It released Nirvana’s first album as well as Soundgarden, being an important label for the grunge genre.  Then suddenly, David Cross and a few other comedians were released on it.  I thought it was really cool.  There is a saying: Comedians all want to be rock stars and rock stars want to destroy Napster.  Sorry still bitter.  Often comedians find themselves self-releasing their comedy or on very tiny labels.  Sub Pop, even if it has changed its principles, was a well-deserved step for a talented artist.  I just hope for less Chipmunks and more satire.

     It’s all a satire, the aliens, the torture, the blowing up of Earth to the saddest ending theme ever (Lee Dong-jun is phenomenally talented).  It’s about working conditions, gangsters beating striking workers to death.  It’s about our never-ending violence that will ultimately destroy us.  A television, the opiate of the masses, flies out into space when the Earth blown up.  It suddenly shows scenes of Lee Byung-gu’s youth.  There is good here.  We later learn to kill.  We learn that money is everything; it’s the society we vote for every few years.

     David is at a David crossroads.  I just feel it.  It’s easy for him to stop.  Eddie Murphy just has to clock in.  The paycheck is guaranteed no matter the script.  If you’re at a show, and David Cross starts screaming at himself again, stand up and say this please:  “No, wait, please go on.  We’re listening this time.  Hell, some of us might even do something.” 

     If you simply get thrown out, I apologize. 

Charles Fleschier & Someone Special

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CHARLES FLESCHIER & SOMEONE SPECIAL

 

     Seemingly a comedian has just walked on stage.  Seemingly another Korean rom- com has started.  The difference is in the writing, the thoughts, the strangeness.

     Most of you will know Charles Fleschier from his voice, rather than his face.  Even then his voice is pretty odd and different from what you know.  He voiced Roger Rabbit, a groundbreaking hybrid of real life meets animation and Warner Brothers meets Disney.  This has never been done before and hasn’t been done since (though there may be a sequel).

     Someone Special (A Girl I Know) is written and directed by Jang Jin.  Never one to cuddle with clichés (except the film being a remake of a Bob Hope film from the 30’s), the movie is a hybrid of a traditional romantic comedy and a satire of it.  He brings along Jung Jae-Yung, who is in most of his projects, and the model Lee Na-Yung, who loves to make herself appear average or worse.  They are two perfect character actors that really should have done more work together.  Lee Na-Yung seems to make one film per leading man.

     What is Charles Fleschier?  Is he a scientist?  Maybe a mad scientist, throwing out moleeds at you.  Is this what you paid for?  Charles makes you think in all sorts of ways, possibly trying to connect, hoping your brain will do a third of the work his is doing all the time.  He’s in his sixties and still as hyper as an animated rabbit.

     After some fantastic screaming, the catalyst being his girlfriend leaving him, Dong Chi-Sung (Jae-Yung)’s nose starts bleeding.  The doctor tells him he’s going to die pretty soon.  He’s a baseball player, but not the professional he used to be.  He has nothing to do, but drink in Han Yi-yun’s (Na-yung) bar.  He wakes in her home after she carries him there in a bag.

     Charles Fleschier is that post office employee that is about to go postal in Demon Knight.  He’s a possible (and creeeeeepy) suspect in Zodiac.  He’s over eighty more characters, but his most interesting is himself.  He’s one of the few comedians I’ve ever seen play a harmonica and keep me hypnotized.  He’s making connections and scaring people away at the same time.  I think he’s just fun.

     When a man thinks he’s going to die he does some pretty crazy things.  There are many tear-jerking romantic comedies in Korea where one (or both) members of a couple are going to die.  They grow to love each other, we grow to love them and then they’re taken away from all of us.  Jang Jin seems to look at this concept like a Zucker brother.  There’s room to poke fun and room to improve.  The secret is this film is so good, I’m surprised to no else thought of it (except the in the 30’s).  In this way the film is something special.

     By the way, if you find yourself really connecting to what I’m saying please call me, my number is oot oot oot – oot oot oot oot.  Area code oot oot oot.