Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (Netflix) is not a genre flick, or an action movie, or anything like what I usually write about in this column. So why do I recommend it, you ask? First, because I-Rex dared me to fling another K-bomb at ya’ll like Kim Jong-Un at a secret Pacific island test site. And second, because it’s the all-important intro to a patented three-step system guaranteed to acclimate your uninitiated significant other to even the most esoteric Asian import movie tastes. Unless you’re into this shit. If that’s your cup of tea, you should seek counseling immediately.
This system assumes your significant other is into movies in the first place but for whatever reason just can’t get into Asian cinema. (There are people like this and we can’t kill them all.) It begins with I’m a Cyborg, a cutesy love story with semi-serious moments, wry humor, an awesome yodeling song, and enough random weirdness to give her/him a taste of what’s to come. S/he will realize subtitles aren’t so bad. And, hey, those crazy Asians make movies just like ours, except all the actors have cooler hair and look like they’re twelve.
Step two is Oldboy, which you can now casually namedrop because it is also directed by Chan-wook Park, who you will unjustifiably dub the Hitchcock of South Korea. (Note: if she has heard of Stoker, abort the mission, change your name, and flee the country with all possible haste.) Park is so well regarded, you’ll say, that his best movie is being redone as a Spike Lee Joint! Of course, you’ll lament, the original is already perfect. It’s such a shame uninformed moviegoers will only see the remake, never knowing what they’re missing. Oh, what’s that? You’ve never seen it? I had no idea. I suppose we can watch it sometime. BAM.
Oldboy is fucking money, and you can find it for free on most streaming services. It should appeal to cinefiles and summer movie types alike. If nothing else your significant other’s reaction to the brutal perfection of the hallway fight scene will tell you if the relationship has a future or not. (You just KNOW Spike Lee is going to fuck that scene up. He’ll get all clever and do it in first person POV, or mount a camera in the head of a hammer or some dumb shit. Also, I like Josh Brolin and all but his career hit its zenith when he pulled gym shorts on over a sweatsuit and pedaled after Mikey on a stolen pink bike.)
Step three will take some time. You have to set your bird free and wait for it to come back to you. But eventually, while you’re chatting up artsy friends or eating dinner at some guady Thai fusion restuarant, your partner will ask you for another taste of cinema from the far east. At that point you can stick with Korea for one more round, or dive right into Japan or something more exotic. What will you choose? The Host? Audition? Dynamite Warrior? The sky’s the limit.
Added bonus: I went back and reread a review I wrote of this movie in 2007. Holy SHIT was that some awful criticism. Banal, obvious and utterly humorless, the thing reads like a middle school book report. What’s really depressing is 2007 me was every bit as confident in his insight and ability as 2013 me. Makes me wanna take that kid and tell him to jam his opinions somewhere dark and painful. Perhaps…