Just a thought… Life is a game. Money is how we keep score. [Ted Turner]
After an incredible 12+ hours of news, let’s switch lanes to the highly entertaining and blessedly diverting summer movie offering.
A few years back, I was asked if I’d read Kevin Kwan’s best selling book Crazy Rich Asians. First off, I was taken aback by what seemed to me to be the questionable taste or inherent racism of the title. Yes, I’m super careful about stuff like that after a lifetime of having a platform on which I could make a mistake, very easily and very publicly.
But I was intrigued by the premise: a young American-born woman of fairly modest Chinese provenance unwittingly falls in love with the scion of an unfathomably wealthy family. When he takes her home for a big wedding and to meet his family, she faces prejudice, outright hostility and an uncertain future – all brought about by her not being “enough” for one of the richest families – if not the richest family – in Singapore.
As a reader, I devoured Crazy Rich Asians and Kwan’s subsequent offerings. These glimpses behind the first-class curtains of the world’s highest flyers was irresistible and the film, which shows us early on just how posh travel in that part of the plane can be, does not disappoint. Not one bit. And at two hours, I can tell you I never once thought of the time.
After catching the 5:40 movie in a half-full theatre, Rob, our friends Charles and Nancy and I wandered the hazy streets of BC’s capital until we found a restaurant that would ease the cravings that watching a scene about making dumplings had stirred. Oh, yes! There’s also an early segment where the central couple and their friends dine on the offerings of a Michelin-ranked outdoor food market in Singapore – that didn’t hurt either!
Back in quiet Victoria, we ended up catching dinner at a restaurant in the city’s storied Chinatown, which is the second oldest in North America, after San Francisco’s. There we got talking about Crazy Rich Asians.
Over a full tofu and vegetable plate called Buddha’s Delight, almond chicken, sweet and sour pork and a house chow mein, we discussed the movie and came to the easy consensus that it, too, was a delight of a summer offering. Crazy Rich Asians is a light, frothy romcom that follows the usual formula: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, difficulties ensue and…well, I wouldn’t dare connect the dots, just in case you don’t know how these movies end!
I’ll tell you that in the US it got a PG-13 rating with a warning about…get ready…”Obscene Wealth.” A bachelorette party thrown on a private island (shopping spree and spa visit, anyone?) as well as a stag party staged on a freighter in the middle of the ocean, accessed by – what else? – private helicopters! Yes, the wealth was obscene and ubiquitous, but it was also central to the story. Are they called Ordinary Middle-Class Asians? No, they are not!
For those who remember the movie Arthur and the plot of that film, wherein a guy risks his family fortune for the true love of a girl who’s got a heart of gold but no material wealth (although, instead of a hooker, this film’s heroine happens to be an economics prof at NYU), you’ll find this story a little familiar. It’s one that has been told time and time again over the ages. But that’s not a bad thing!
A terrific soundtrack and solid cast (includingOcean’s8 breakout star Awkwafina and comedy favourite Ken Jeong) make this little movie a blessed and welcome bit of summer confection. There’s a female lead who doesn’t need rescuing; we know she’ll be just fine in her life without a man stepping in to save the day. Love wins and, oh, there’s a wedding like none you’ll ever see again (unless you happen to marry in Union Station during a rainstorm).
You won’t regret the money you spend on Crazy Rich Asians, a film that cost just $30 million to make and grossed $35 million on its opening weekend. Be sure to stay for the credits and a tease for the next one! Have a great day.
Now…back to the news and the Crazy Rich Caucasians. Talk to you here tomorrow.