The Motel


Comedy / Drama

IMDb Rating 6.7 10 1283

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 23, 2021 at 10:44 PM



Samantha Futerman as Christine
Sung Kang as Sam
Jade Wu as Ahma Chin
696.19 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 15 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jkwon121 10 / 10

one of the best of Sundance

This feature was surprisingly the best of the 9 films I saw at Sundance. This is an endearing story of a young boy going through the struggles of life - it is a remarkably funny and heartfelt story that really moved me and the entire audience on opening night. This is, in my honest opinion, the sleeper hit of Sundance and the best movie in the festival. DEFINITELY worth checking out, I think it was overlooked due to the hoopla and buzz of other movies with bigger name celebrities. Filmmaker Mike Kang has taken a very endearing story and made it into an excellent film, about a lonely young boy working at a family-owned motel, who befriends a mysterious stranger (Sung Kang, from Better Luck Tomorrow) that teaches him the ropes of growing up (irresponsibly). It is a hilarious movie, yet it is filled with strong emotion and drama - many, especially the mothers in the audience, were brought to tears by the end. Highly recommended, just watch it for yourself and enjoy!

Reviewed by gaj324 9 / 10

Great film.... highly recommended

I saw this film at Sundance 2005. I am not an industry person and this was one of the only films we were able to get tickets for. Of the nine (I think) films I saw, this was probably my favorite. The fact that there weren't really any Hollywood recognizable faces made it easier to get into, but that is really what the festival should be about, right?

I thought that the acting was very sincere and the story was definitely interesting enough to keep my attention through the whole film. This was centered around a Asian-American cast, which made it somewhat interesting to me, not being Asian, but that did not really make or break the story. It was more about the relationships of these people and what they wanted out of life.

I'm not sure that this will get released to mainstream theaters but if you have a chance to see it or rent it, definitely do so.

Reviewed by sir_humpslot 7 / 10

intra-Asian American identity politics

Most reviews out there will gloss over the fact that this movie is first and foremost "an Asian-American movie" that comes with its own terms and conditions which needs to be understood from the Asian-American perspective. As such, the reviews out there treating the ensemble simply as quirky independent film characters or representative of how monolithically oppressive all Asian families are, misses a more revealing underscore of intra-Asian American politics.

The most blatant example is when Ernest goes to Sam to ask for rent money and Sam answers him "Don't go all Chink on me;" meaning Sam's perception of the Chinese as cheapskates indicates the misconceptions even Asian-Americans have towards one another's ethnicities. Asian-Americans are probably the most diverse ethnic minorities out there in terms of appearance, cultural practice and languages spoken. And it's no mistake that Sam is Korean-American while Ernest's family is Chinese-American.

One of the constant media stereotypes of Asian men are either weaklings or overbearing "Engrish" speaking thugs without humanity. In either case, AMs are relegated to the status of eunuchs in the American social hierarchy. It is then with props that I write how revolutionary it is for an Korean-American filmmaker to have the character Sam be a charismatic, successful yuppie who's "getting play" from prostitutes or bar "booty-call" pick-ups. While it is somewhat true that most AM are socially constrained to be docile and Sam breaks this stereotype flat out with his quirky personality, it doesn't negate the fact that his Korean ethnicity emphasizes another issue in the movie with treating the Asian-American characters with other stereotypes.

Both the character Sam and director Michael Kang are Korean-Americans and this fact cannot be ignored when it is Ernest's overbearing Chinese-American family that gets the rude script treatment. All the negative connotations of Asians/Chinese being cheapskates, or immoral motel operators, or meek fat nerds, or forcing their kids to be slave laborers come from the Chinese ethnicity; while Sam represents a suave Korean-American man schooling Ernest the facts of life on living it up as unrestrained Asian men in America (SAM is no doubt a play on the acronym for "Sexy/Successful Asian Male" for AM identity politics).

The reason this is problematic is not because I'm writing from a Chinese-American perspective, but it's because Michale Kang gets it wrong about Chinese-American cultural and behavioral practices that negates his portrayal of what he considers "Asian-American" to the wider audience. There are many subtle moments in the movie like Mandarin speaking news and TV broadcasts when the family is obviously Hong Kong Cantonese, and incongruent decorations or mannerisms that aren't Chinese means Michael Kang misrepresented a lot of what Asian-America is about. Plus, even the Cantonese spoken by Ahma (Jade Wu -- a really bad "orientalized" stage name) isn't even with the right accent; she's obviously an Asian-American who speaks perfect English but plays up the fake stereotypical Asian foreigner accent.

Thus ostensibly what Michael Kang ends up doing is to stereotype another Asian-American ethnicity without really understanding the subtle cultural variations that exist between Asian-Americans, but are important self-identity markers. Tenets like "the first truth of Buddhism is life sucks" simply distorts the fact that Asian-American is not monolithic and there are many different ethnicities and cultural and religious practices. (BTW, Korean-Americans are mostly Christians and not Buddhists.) In his blog, Michael Kang constantly writes on how aspiring filmmakers need to write what they know in order to make effective movies; I couldn't but help highlighting this contradiction of words with the fact how he misrepresents an Asian-American sub-population which he doesn't know anything about. To outsiders, Korean and Chinese might look the same, but for a filmmaker who wants Asian-Americans to acknowledge his work I'm disappointed he didn't do his homework properly. Michael Kang should have just kept all the characters as Korean-Americans.

Or perhaps as some allegations point out online, he's really pandering to mainstream non-Asian (white) audiences on stereotypical Asian families. As the unbearable character Ahma shows, Asians are construed as unfeeling and uncaring people who's only concerned with money. I don't think I'm the only one who finds Ahma stereotypical and two-dimensional as an Asian mom character. As such, whatever little attempt at humanity Michael Kang tries to give her at the end of the movie feels awkward and tacked on; as perhaps from somebody's recommendation at the Sundance institute? To sum up, while this movie is a must see for Asian-Americans and deserves audience support simply because there are so few Asian-American movies out there that deals with Asian-Americans with somewhat humanity, the movie is not without its flaws and shouldn't be viewed as accurate on the Asian-American experience. There are even issues with the movie's story and construction, directing and acting that I won't even go into here but that would detract from this movie being a recommendation to other Asian-Americans if it were not for the ethnic-specific characters and situations. In short, see it because it's about Asian-Americans and deserves not because it's a great movie that tells a story with artistic gusto or originality.

PS. I simply hope that the fact more and more of these movies gets made means there will be better ones about Asian-Americans in the future.

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