Monday, October 5, 2009

Me, Myself and I

Last night, something happened to me at the movies which has never happened before - I was the only person in the theater. The theater sat 86 but only one seat was used. I recall instances where I was one of two people in the audience or I was the only one but someone came in late or left early. Never before have I been the sole audience member for the entire film.

Which film suffered this ignominy? White on Rice (Official Website). It was completely undeserved since the film was quite amusing. The film did screen at 9:15 PM on a Sunday evening but still it was odd that no one else showed up. The film screened at the Camera 3 Cinema in downtown San Jose. I was expecting some San Jose State students to show up.

It was an anomaly that even I was in the audience. I wanted to see the film when it was showing in San Francisco but my procrastination cost me again. When I saw that it was playing in San Jose, I waffled as to whether I should drive down there. It's about a 90 mile round trip. Also, the film was only screening at 1 PM and 9:15 PM. Around 8 PM, I was still ambivalent about driving down there but I didn't have anything better to do and the film received a good review in the Chronicle. If not for my procrastination and a weak television schedule, I wouldn't have been in the audience either. I wonder how many films screen to empty auditoriums.

On Saturday night, some of the cast and crew were in attendance. I can only hope that the turnout was better.


White on Rice

White on Rice (2009) screened at this year's SFIAAFF. The quirky comedy revolves around Jimmy, a 40 year Japanese man. Divorced, aimless with a less than a McJob and living with his sister's family (sleeping in bunk beds with his 10 year old nephew), Jimmy doesn't have much going for him. He is a disaster with women but now he has heart set on his niece (by marriage not blood).

I won't bore you with the rest of the plot because this is a film filled with silly vignettes about our man-child protagonist. Let's see - Jimmy "borrows" his brother-in-law's car but locks himself out (he solves the problems with a large rock), he makes a mess while cooking which results in his brother-in-law slipping and impaling himself with a kitchen knife and it's implied he gives his niece a wedding gift of matching bra and thong panties. The cast embraces the material with gusto - Hiroshi Watanabe as the sweet but bumbling Jimmy, Nae as his long put-upon sister, Mio Takada as the grouchy brother-in-law, Lynn Chen (from Saving Face) as the trenchant niece and Justin Kwong as the quiet, unsupervised prodigy.

There was no particular reason why the characters are Japanese - Watanabe, Nae and Takada converse in Japanese with each other. Maybe the man-child character smacks of some Asian male stereotype. Many of the scenes elicited a guffaw from the entire audience.

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