February 28th, 2003


Fish Hook Sex: My Take On Korean Cinema.

Been watching a lot of Korean films lately.

EK and Daisy just bought a townhouse around the block from me. Brand new and quite spiffy, but extremely vertical - four floors from top to bottom. EK almost passed out just showing me around the house, although my out-of-shape ass was pretty winded too.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, Korean films. EK has a buddy named RingBoy who gave them a ton of his videos of movies from Korea and Japan. Being a small world and such, RingBoy also happens to be a friend of Rina's and a bunch of other people, and so for some reason everybody always assumes I've met him.

I'd like to meet him though, because RingBoy's got one of the more interesting ways to make a living. He basically finds movies in Asia that he likes, then buys the rights. He then shops the idea of the movie around Hollywood until he finds a studio that wants to make it into a movie. If it gets made, he attaches himself as an executive producer.

A few years ago, he started off by buying the rights to a certain horror movie in Japan, and the American version turned out to be a 2002 box office hit. This is why I call him RingBoy, and not StealingHarvardBoy. Now he's viewed as THE Asian connection, but lately he's been focusing on Korean movies.

He's done quite well there too, developing "My Wife Is A Gangster" and "My Sassy Girl." Lord knows if either will ever get their American versions made, although I heard Cameron Diaz was signed on for "Gangster" - not surprising if you understand her elaborate master plan of getting closer to my loins. But there's more where those came from.

You FOBs know this already, but Korean cinema's been steadily booming in global prominence (Hail to the Mothership). Nevertheless I hadn't seen too many of their movies. Not "Swiri." Not "JSA." Not even those celebrity sex tapes. I did see "Chunhyang," but that bored the kimchi jigae out of me.

So I figured I'd do some catching up with my people and borrowed a bunch of RingBoy's tapes from EK and Daisy. Coincidentally, the Independent Film Channel's also jumped on the chapchae wagon and has been airing several Korean films this month.

These are what I've seen so far:

"My Wife is a Gangster"
- I was skeptical at first, because the premise seemed too similar to "Mickey Blue Eyes," which is not a good thing. But I actually found it entertaining - and dare I say charming - despite Daisy's warning that it was lame. What can I say, I'm a sucker for lovable gangsters.

- My girlfriend told me this was a megahit in Korea. Why? Lovable gangsters. Along with hookers with a heart of gold, you can't go wrong with gangsters who are emotionally vulnerable. The scene where Rachel stabs Ross with a screwdriver was a tad bit contrived though.

"Take Care of my Cat"
- No lovable gangsters. I appreciated how the director integrated text messaging and other forms of type into the film with interesting graphical executions, but it was basically a pouty chick flick. Not too surprising considering how much Korean chicks love to pout. To add insult to injury, the girls weren't even hot, not even the twin sisters.

"Tell Me Something"
- Gory slasher whodunnit pic. Female character probably fulfills the fantasy of every woman who's ever gone out with a Korean guy by hacking her ex-boyfriends to pieces. The morale of the story: Never let your ex-girlfriend put an ether-soaked cloth over your mouth, no matter how normal it may seem.

"The Isle"
- Just saw this one. Not terrifying, but I'm not sure I can say the same about the writer/director's childhood. I'd heard when "The Isle" played during international film festivals, some critics actually ran out of the screening rooms and vomited.

That photo up there is from a scene where the woman had just removed bloody fish hooks that the guy had swallowed in a suicide attempt. As First Aid procedure dictates for such a situation, she's now riding his womb rocket (What's with fully-clothed sex scenes anyway? Has anyone out there actually had sex where both parties didn't even have their socks off?)

And that's not even the most disturbing fish hooks scene in the movie. Kinda makes you want to run over to your nearest Korean video store don't it?