Thursday, September 16, 2010

Korean Dramas

Several months ago, I went through a new and different phase. I'll call it my Korean Drama phase because that's what it was. My friend Veronica wrote to me on Facebook and said, "You should try a Korean drama. They're usually only about 20 episodes long and like a Spanish-language soap opera, but clean." This sounded weird to me--I had never watched a Spanish soap opera and I had no interest in anything Asian--but I was a fan of Hulu and it turns out there are several Korean dramas (subtitled in English) available there. Veronica recommended I start with a show called Pasta, and thus it began.

Pasta is about a girl who works in the kitchen of a high-end Italian restaurant. There are some fun cooking scenes and assistant chefs yelling, "Yes, Chef!" There are also some quirky, funny characters. It's mostly a romance, though. I'll warn you that, according to wikipedia and this show, it's typical for Korean dramas to feature a sweet girl falling in love with a guy who treats her badly, in this case because he's her boss and he treats everyone badly, and, you know, he's trying to help her become a real chef. It's a fun show. The romance is sweet and old-fashioned--this is, I suppose, traditional Korea, where holding hands is a big deal. I think it's still my favorite.

My Lovely Sam Soon. This one has some elements of Bridget Jones's Diary, like imaginary scenes of heroism on the part of the main character that contrast hilariously with her real life. Sam Soon is apparently a very old-fashioned and ridiculous name in Korea, akin to something like "Bertha" might be here. She hates her name, is slightly overweight (although she looks great to me), and her mother thinks she's an old maid. There's romance, pretended and eventually real. It's funny. I liked it quite a bit.

Boys Before Flowers. Yes, it's true that some of the titles don't translate very well. This one was about a group of super rich high school boys and the daughter of a dry cleaner they eventually befriend. Apparently, feathered hair and tight clothes are popular for guys in Korea. In spite of the odd fashion choices of the rich boys, I enjoyed this one, too. It was silly sometimes, but also funny and sweet. This is another one where the girl goes for the guy who's meanest to her, and I kind of wanted her to end up with someone else.

Bad Love. This one is a little racier than the others, at least in subject matter. There's an affair, I think. I can't remember this one very well, actually. What I remember is that the girl started out as a cellist but because of some injury had to stop playing. It was too long. I still enjoyed it, though.

It was delightful to find during this phase of mine that a friend of mine also enjoys Korean dramas. Her husband went on an LDS mission to Korea, which piqued her interest. She watches them with her daughters, though, which is selfless and family-oriented of her. Anyway, I stopped watching them so I could go back to knitting while watching TV. I did manage to do some knitting while watching and reading the subtitles, but it wasn't very fun. From what I've read, Korean historical dramas are supposed to be pretty good, too. I imagine I'll watch more someday. I thought they were fun--fun to hear Korean and fun to be intrigued by Korean culture and food. Also, they were generally quite a bit cleaner than American TV.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

I would like so much to enjoy the Temperance Brennan novels as much as I do the TV show, but I don't. I can't even remember what Bare Bones was about, except that it's not the one about the motorcycle gang. I think. Anyway. I found it entertaining, but just barely.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)

Here's another movie that got lame reviews that I liked pretty well. Of course, the Wyoming characters were stereotypes, but there was some familiar stuff that made me chuckle. For example, it's true that in small towns, a lot of people work several jobs. Also, it's a nice story about a married couple figuring out how to get past their troubles and mistakes, and for once, the mistakes and troubles seem realistic instead of completely retarded and baffling. I liked it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New in Town (2009)

Seems like this got generally bad reviews, but I liked it. For one thing, it's almost entirely clean. One point. For another, it's not set in New York City. Two points. Third, it's set somewhere crazy cold just like Teton Valley, Idaho. Three points. It really is different living in a place where snow and ice rule for half the year, and I thought this movie captured it pretty well. Sure, the story was pretty formulaic, but the setting and characters made it fun. (And no, I don't actually have a grand point scheme for movies.)