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Just Saw [Insert Movie Title Here]...

...or how my MFA in screenwriting ruined any chance of enjoying a movie like a normal person. If I apply what I've learned to existing films, would it have made a better film?

SPOILER WARNING: Please be advised, I plan to discuss plot points in detail so if you haven't seen the movie and don't want the surprise ruined, stop here.

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Location: California, United States

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Motel

Written and directed by Michael Kang
Produced by Michael Kang

The Motel is a gem of subversion and nihilism. Exploding the myth of the model minority, The Motel carries themes about class in a rural motel that would be lucky to have any rating in a AAA guide.

Ernest (Jeffrey Chyau) is a 13 year old Chinese boy living at a rent by the hour motel owned and operated by his mother and his grandfather. Between cleaning toilets and washing stained sheets, he writes stories about life in the motel. He is befriended by Sam Kim (Sung Kang), recently thrown out by his fiancee, elevating drinking and whoring to an art form.

Sam is more than willing to play the father figure and educate (read: corrupt) Ernest as he enters puberty and deals with new feelings and urges.

Even thought the film masterfully exploits low humor, there is great poignancy in the evolution of Sam and Ernest's relationship. Ernest takes Sam's lessons in defiance to heart as he learns to stand up to his overbearing, controlling mother but also quickly outgrows the need for Sam's influence.


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