Chaos Attraction

Crazy Rich Asians

2018-08-19, 10:46 p.m.

Today I went to the county fair to check out my projects (2 second places and some compliments) and photograph others for the yarn mailing list I co-run. I also checked out the art, bought a(nother rainbow) dress and some tie-dyed shorts, and hung out at the needlepoint guild booth for a few hours. My friend Dawn was working at the booth yesterday (I couldn’t join her because I was out with Jackie having tea and shopping) and she told me to go by and say hi to a few folks. I attempted to do this but didn’t really have a conversation with the ones she wanted me to meet because I met two other ones I hit it off with better! I would probably join this guild except they have retiree scheduling, i.e. during workdays. Dawn has joined it but uses vacation time to go.

I met the Australian lady (Jacqueline) who had the biggest prize winning quilt at the fair, and she said she was genuinely shocked it won all the awards it did. She also showed me a new stitch. Then I met Barbara, who has done Renaissance guilds and acting and singing (and also worked at my employer--we know someone in common) and we talked about what it’s like to be in shows and how to audition at the musical theater company in town that she’s been in shows in. I should try that sometime, when my going on vacation schedule doesn’t interfere with rehearsal time.

That was fun!

After that, I went home and saw Crazy Rich Asians.

Regarding Crazy Rich Asians: I have been debating for years as to whether or not to read the book. On the one hand, sometimes I like rich trashy stuff, like Dynasty or Dirty Sexy Money, where you at least have some good characters mixed in. On the other hand, I can hate the super trashy, everyone’s an asshole rich stuff, like anything involving the words “Real Housewives” or “Gossip Girl.” I wasn’t sure in which category CRA went into so I have vacillated. Likewise, I was vacillating on whether or not to see the movie, which seems to have gotten either really good or really bad reviews. I tried asking Jackie what she thought--I figured she’d haaaaaaaaate the idea but at least have good reasons why since she is actually Chinese/Hong Kong (er, however you phrase that, I think that is where her relatives are from and I know she still has some there). She hadn’t seen it but figured she would hate it for inaccuracies that I think could be summed up as “most people are not THAT rich.” She also brought up The Joy Luck Club, which, well, I don’t know what to say there, I saw it at the time and was fine with it but don’t remember much about it now.

I decided that since after I finished going to the fair the rest of my time was free, I’d go, maybe support the movie, maybe make sure it’s not another 25 years before another all Asian movie happens in mainstream American moviemaking. We have three theaters in town, the indie and the two mainstream (both owned by the same company), and they always put the movies they think they are going to sell big (i.e. Marvel) into one theater and everything else into the other. This one was only airing four times a day at the other theater, so I assumed there’d hardly be anyone in the audience if that was the bet that Regal was making on it.

(a) I showed up five minutes before the movie started and there was a line and everyone ahead of me was buying tickets for it.
(b) I saw a sign saying “4:10 Crazy Rich Asians Sold Out” on the counter, at the ready,
(c) Sure ‘nuff, I think the entire theater was almost entirely full. I had to sit in the third row and even that ended up being full. I dunno about the very front row but people were in it.
(d) This is the most people I’ve ever seen in a theater movie here that didn’t involve a superhero.

And it was amazing! Romantic comedy is back, y’all! It’s beautiful, most of the folks are nice (so it fits my qualifier of “must have some nice rich people” in there), it’s romantic, it’s got very loyal friends, it’s got parental conflicts, it’s got fashion, it’s got amazing scenery and crazy parties.

The plot: Chinese-American Rachel is an economics/game theory professor and daughter of a single mom and as far as she knows, her dad died before her birth. She has been dating the adorable Nick Young for a year, and he asks her to come to the wedding of his best friend in Singapore. However, he hasn’t mentioned to her (presumably because he wants someone who wants him for him) that he’s from a “comfortable” family, until they get onto the very fancy plane. Her best friend from college Peik Lin, who seems to be from new blingy money, clarifies this for as “they’re not rich, they’re CRAZY rich” and old money. Like, practically a prince old money.

Rachel meets Nick’s engaged friends, Colin and Araminta, who are lovely and fun and welcome her. She reunites with Nick’s best cousin Astrid that she’s met before--we’re told she’s loaded and fashionable but also super nice. However, Astrid’s husband Michael has a strong case of “I’m not manly because my wife is rich” and is cheating on her. Sadness. However, while his mother Eleanor and his grandma are verbally fairly welcoming, Rachel can figure out that this isn’t going so well there. Nick’s grandma apparently doesn’t like Eleanor--it turns out she wouldn’t give Nick’s dad the family engagement ring so he got a big green one made for Eleanor--and even though Eleanor can’t have been happy with being treated like crap her whole life, she somehow seems to be doing the same to Rachel, because she’s American/poor/”ambitious”/”doesn’t understand family,” blah de blah excuses. Also, Grandma and Eleanor have Rachel investigated and they find out something Rachel didn’t know-- her mother was married to an abuser in China, cheated on him with a nicer guy and got pregnant with Rachel, and had to flee to America.

By the time Nick proposes, saying he’ll abandon his family for her, Rachel takes the hint from his mother and says no. She has a mahjong game with her in which Rachel--who not only does economics but does game theory-- deliberately throws away the piece she needs to win and leaves it to Eleanor so she can win, saying she’s doing the same with Nick because she doesn’t want him to lose his family and when Nick finally picks someone Eleanor can approve of, it’ll all be due to some poor crappy American girl.

Nick gets on the plane that Rachel (and her mom, who he had flown out to see her) is on to go home and narrates the plan he had for proposing to her--while helping various people put their luggage in the overhead compartments!-- and then proposes. WITH ELEANOR’S GREEN RING. I believed I screamed a little right there. SO ADORABLE.

They have a tiny teaser in the credits about how Astrid is going to meet Harry Shum, Jr. (who has NO lines and does nothing, sadness), and I’m thinking this movie is going to be a hit and we get to see them get together in a sequel after all. And as of the day I'm writing this (8/22), a sequel is confirmed!

Other awesome things about the movie:
* The various ridiculous relatives in it. Peik Lin has a creepy brother and creepy dad for comedy (oy, you guys), Nick has some flashy jerk relatives, one of whom plans Colin’s bachelor party on a giant barge in international waters, where there are a bunch of bimbos and a rocket launcher.
* Nick and Colin are all, “we have GOT to get off this barge,” take the helicopter, and crash quietly on some floating platform on another island to drink beer. Nice boys, you are.
* The parties are a delight. There’s the barge, there’s the “free shopping trip” on an island Araminta sets up, there’s very pretty sets, and for whatever reason, the bride walks down a water-filled aisle in a giant dress. Not sure why that is a thing but it is crazy pretty.
* Peik Lin is a delight. It’s hilarious how she is the clothing arbiter for Rachel and yet is going around in like, dog pajamas and random animal print clothing. Note to Peik Lin: if you are going by the Youngs, even to just drop Rachel off, you might want to spiff up a bit. That said, she literally has bags of clothes for clubbing, partying, and “walk of shame” in her car, just in case. I cannot argue with her father’s assessment that she is “Asian Ellen,” though. She bucks Rachel up and takes her in and guides her and gets her to fight back.
* Oliver the requisite gay guy who’s called in for the fashion is also a delight. But he’s played by that guy in Superstore and I expect no less.
* Nick’s friendships are very sweet.
* Nick and Rachel are very sweet.
* You respect Eleanor even as she’s kind of giving a polite cold shoulder. She’s not evil, just disapproving.
* The start of the movie features Eleanor, Nick, Astrid, and Astrid’s mom (Felicity, I think) trying to check into some exclusive English hotel they made reservations at, and being brutally snubbed and refused entry or even to use a phone. Eleanor makes a call and next thing you know, the owner JUST sold it to the Youngs. I haven’t seen anything like that since “Big mistake. Huge.” in Pretty Woman. Wow.

I look forward to the next movie, and I have sucked it up and put it on reserve at the library.

Here are a lot of articles you can read about it.

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