9 Asian American coming-of-age movies that aren’t The Joy Luck Club

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Reappropriate:

Last week, Colorlines published a list of 9 coming-of-age movies starring (and focusing on) people of color. While I usually enjoy most articles that Colorlines puts out, I was frankly a little disappointed in the Asian American representation in the list: our sole entry was Wayne Wang’s adaptation of the Joy Luck Club, also the second oldest (behind Boys ‘N Tha Hood) on the list.

Don’t get me twisted: I appreciate the effort to include Asian Americans on this list of POC coming-of-age films, and Joy Luck Club deserves respect as one of the first, and most mainstream, of Asian American films. But, Joy Luck Club is also more than 22 years old, ambiguous in its navigation of the line between exploration and exoticization of Chinese history, culture and tropes, and highly controversial within the community with regard to its portrayal of Asian and Asian American men. And, I say that as a fan who grew up on Joy Luck Club.

Asian American film has flourished in the last 22 years since the release of the Joy Luck Club film adaptation; there are so many more films in this genre than Wayne Wang’s (clearly important) familial and feminist epic.

Here are 9 Asian American coming-of-age films (in no particular order) that aren’t the Joy Luck Club. How many have you seen?

 

1. The Debut (2001)

Directed and co-written by Gene Cajayon, and starring Dante Basco (“Rufio! Rufio! Rufio!”), The Debut explores the relationship between young Filipino American aspiring artist, Ben Mercado, and his immigrant father Roland (Tirso Cruz III); the conflict threatens to ruin sister Rose’s (Bernadette Balagtas) eighteenth birthday party.

 

2. The Namesake (2006)

Starring actor turned Obama staffer Kal PennThe Namesake explores questions of identity and family between immigrant parents Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli (Irrfan Khan and Tabu), and their American-born children including older son, Gogol (Penn), whose rejection of his name symbolizes his attempts to disconnect from his Indian American history and heritage.

Based on a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri and directed by Mira Nair, this film is easily the best in Kal Penn’s filmography, and worth renting.

 

3. Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)

The first film acquired by MTV Films, Better Luck Tomorrow was a debut movie for director Justin Lin (who was recently tapped to direct Star Trek 3) and also first introduced the world to the character of Han (played by Sung Kang), whom many speculate is the same Han to appear in the Fast And Furious franchise.

The film focuses on Ben Manibag (Parry Shen), a typical high-achieving Asian American high school student whose small acts of rebellion in the form of petty theft escalate out of control to murder.

 

4. The Motel (2006)

Directed by Michael Kang and starring Sung Kang with young actor Jeffrey Chayau, the film explores adolescence and sexuality through the eyes of 13-year-old Ernest Chin (Chayau), whose life is turned upside down when he meets and befriends the motel’s newest guest, the jaded and angry Sam Kim (Kang).

 

5. The People I’ve Slept With (2009)

This film is loosely a coming-of-age story, since it is an exploration of a woman’s shifting relationship with her sexuality and her femininity. Asian American films that explore questions of sexuality are a distinct sub-genre within Asian American film, and inclusion of The People I’ve Slept With is in some ways a placeholder for this entire category of movie; others of note include Charlotte Sometimes (by Eric Byler) and Yes, We’re OpenThe People I’ve Slept With is a comedy directed by Quentin Lee and starring Karina Anna Cheung as young Angela Yang, who enjoys sex but discovers she is pregnant and so must revisit her sexual partners to figure out who the father is.

 

6. Saving Face (2004)

In this film written and directed by Alice Wu, Wilhelmina struggles to reestablish a relationship with her 48-year-old mother Hwei-Lan Gao (Joan Chen), after Hwei-Lan is kicked out of her father’s house for being pregnant out-of-wedlock; over the course of the film, both Wil and her mother struggle with Wil’s closeted homosexuality and her budding romance with the daughter of one of Hwei-Lan’s friends, Vivian (Lynn Chen). Both Wil and Hwei-Lan grapple with their place in Flushing’s Chinese American community, while still trying to “save face”.

 

7. Catfish in Black Bean Sauce (1999)

Written, produced, directed by and starring Chi Muoi LoCatfish in Black Bean Sauce focuses on the identities of a Vietnamese American brother and sister who are adopted by an African American family in the South, and the resulting familial and interracial tensions. Those who are interested in films positioned at the intersection of Asian and Black interrelationships might also be interested in checking out Mississippi Marsala, which tells the story of star-crossed lovers Mina (Sarita Choudhury) and Demetrius (an incredibly young Denzel Washington).

Below is a clip from Catfish in Black Bean Sauce, because the trailer on YouTube is of such poor quality, it’s practically unwatchable.

 

8. Ocean of Pearls (2008)

Co-written by and directed by Sarab Singh Neelam, the film focuses on the story of Dr. Amrit Singh (Omid Abtahi), a young Sikh Canadian surgeon who moves to Detroit from Toronto. The move, which forces Amrit to leave behind his family and his Indian Canadian girlfriend, prompts him to face deeply personal questions regarding racism and assimilation, his Sikh heritage, as well as the unfairness of the American medical system.

 

9. Strawberry Fields (1997)

A low-budget independent film co-written and directed by Rea Tajiri, the film stars Suzy Nakamura as Irene Kawai, a young teenager growing up in the midst of anti-war protests in the 1970’s. Haunted by the sudden death of her sister, Irene discovers a picture of her grandfather growing up in a Japanese American internment camp, and embarks on a  road trip to Arizona to find the spot at Poston War Relocation Camp where the photo was taken. Sadly, the trailer for Strawberry Fields doesn’t exist on YouTube.

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Asian American men on television: Why the cancellation of “Selfie” matters

http://www.hollywood.com/news/tv/56986277/reasons-to-watch-selfie?page=all

 Audrey Magazine:

Selfie put together one of the most promising interracial couples on television in the past ten years so it’s easy to understand the general dismay over its quick cancellation. There was protest over the internet, petitions made and many articles about ABC’s decision to pull the new show. And there is reason for it: Selfie was just getting good.

The show had begun to grow out of the initial premise of “the internet sucks and this is why,” and instead became more about the on-screen leads’ friendship and ability to help each other develop. John Cho and Karen Gillan’s characters had occasional moments of intense on-screen chemistry and fun. Their relationship, at its core, was a friendship first.

When I was growing up, I was very much influenced by what I saw, and more importantly what I didn’t see on television.” said winner of reality TV show Survivor: Cook Islands, Yul Kwon. Whenever Kwon saw an Asian man on television, he was a kung-fu master who could kick ass but couldn’t speak English. Or a computer geek who could figure out algorithms, but who couldn’t get a date. As Kwon grew up, he began to realize that there were many more shades to an Asian American male than what was represented on television.

 

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Seven years later, the video of this conference is still relevant. Sure, strides have definitely been made thanks to a range of Asian actors such as Steve Yeun and Danny Pudi. In fact, the conversation has extended itself to Asian American females in entertainment as well.

However, the de-sexualization of Asian men has not been cracked wide open as much as it has been separated. So far, Asian American males on television were either de-sexualized or pointedly given a loveline. Asian American actors still teeter on the edge of meeting the Western definition of a man, but we’re still missing a seat at the table of owning the agency to change that definition. As San Francisco Chronicle’s Jeff Yang says, “Coming from my own perspective…every time I hear people say ‘Oh you know, Asian American men shouldn’t be portrayed as geeky-looking and having glasses, and being nerdy and all this,’ I’m like, ‘You guys are, like, protesting in front of my mirror.’”

 

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Which brings us back to Selfie. The goal right now is not what is the right kind of representation for Asian Americans, but instead, let’s try to represent as many Asian Americans as possible. John Cho’s character Henry was one that had seldom made it on-screen. Yes, he was a romantic lead, but sometimes he rhymed when he spoke. Sometimes he sold pharmaceuticals. Sometimes he was neat. He didn’t like Facebook, he had vulnerabilities and things to learn, and his role was fully inhabited by Cho. He had depth and intricacies beyond Hollywood’s cookie-cutter Asian American male.

The good news is that a character written like Henry made airtime and the show developed a solid fanbase. The so-so news? There is still progress to be made in sustaining characters once they developed. The de-sexualized, the international, the John Chos — there are still more Asian American characters waiting to be created and the cancellation of Selfie took a character who was not de-sexualized  and not “made only here for a loveline,” but instead something in the charming middle, and set it aside.

 

Link

17 Reasons Why Asian American Men (or Any Other Western Asian) Make The Best Boyfriends

 

1. They are modern day Renaissance men.

They can usually either sing, play an instrument and/or beatbox…

They are modern day Renaissance men.

and win all the dance competitions…

From tennis to basketball to golf, they are also very athletic in a wide-range of sports.

On top of that, they can usually speak/understand/write in [fill in complicated Asian language]

2. Passive? Weak? Think again!

They are raised by the most vicious, cut-throat people in the world- the old Asian woman.

Passive? Weak? Think again!

3. Being super famous or get-rich quick schemes also aren’t their thing.

They just want or currently have a stable, high paying job.

Being super famous or get-rich quick schemes also aren’t their thing.

4. Their stable career choices also make them practical for everyday things like:

Finding tax breaks

Their stable career choices also make them practical for everyday things like:

Solving IT issues

or nursing you back to health when you get sick

5. They are culinary masters and love to cook for fun.

You will never go hungry….

They are culinary masters and love to cook for fun.

6. Whether it’s your photo, a group photo, or a photo of your meal, they also don’t mind taking the same photo 100 times until you approve.

Whether it’s your photo, a group photo, or a photo of your meal, they also don’t mind taking the same photo 100 times until you approve.

7. They aren’t commitment-phobic and date to marry.

They aren’t commitment-phobic and date to marry.

8. Work/school/family/you come first— not their bros and getting drunk at the club.

17 Reasons Why Asian American Men (or Any Other Western Asian) Make The Best Boyfriends

9. They age impeccably and will look like the same hot guy you met 25 years later.

Guess who isn’t Asian?

They age impeccably and will look like the same hot guy you met 25 years later.

10. You never need to worry about gross back, butt or chest hair.

Minimal body hair? Yes, please!!

You never need to worry about gross back, butt or chest hair.

11. They are usually the best-dressed guy in the room

and are always on top of haircut trends

17 Reasons Why Asian American Men (or Any Other Western Asian) Make The Best Boyfriends

12. They are amazing and selfless lovers.

and will work fives times harder to please you to defy any preconceived negative stereotype you had about them being bad in bed or having a small penis

They are amazing and selfless lovers.

13. They love finding deals and saving money— helping you to be more financially savvy in the process.

Groupon? Slickdeals? Cashback? SCORE!!!

They love finding deals and saving money-- helping you to be more financially savvy in the process.

14. They come from huge families— often caring and feeling responsible towards their loved ones— especially you.

This also means you will be assaulted with Costco amounts of Asian food anytime you visit his family.

They come from huge families-- often caring and feeling responsible towards their loved ones-- especially you.

15. Your potential offspring will always look cuter than any other baby.

Your potential offspring will always look cuter than any other baby.

16. They are ambitious yet humble.

Raises, promotions, interviews aren’t broadcasted with #WINNING . That’s what their Asian parents are for…

They are ambitious yet humble.

17. Most importantly, for all the reasons above— they make awesome husbands!

Sooo dreamy!

Link

Asian men like their curvy women, says online dating site

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An analysis of data by an online dating service from its own users shows Asian American men looking for love online are more likely to prefer curvy women. AYI.com found most men prefer slender women to full-figured women.

But when asked if they would consider matches with curvy women, Asian American men are 85 percent more likely than white men to check yes.

Blacks are the second most likely to check yes at 52 percent followed by Hispanics at 28 percent. AYI.com further found that most of these men preferred women outside their own ethnicity.

Curvy Caucasian women were most preferred by Asian men. Black men preferred curvy Hispanic and Asian women.

AYI is the same site that earlier this month determined that Asian women are the most preferred among men of all nationalities, but that Asian men prefer Hispanic women.

Check out this link:

Asian men like their curvy women, says online dating site