Normally it’s tradition for me to kick off May with a post in regards to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. But due to circumstances beyond my control and a two-week film festival occupying a good chunk of my time this month, I find myself in a position where I’m instead writing today’s post as we wrap up Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
It’s been about a month since the first trailer for it dropped, and we are now less than three months away from the film coming out too. After several people have expressed their opinons on it, today I want to talk about my thoughts about the upcoming film, “Crazy Rich Asians.”
For those who don’t know, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a romantic-comedy directed by Jon M. Chu, starring Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and a bunch of other Asian and Asian American actors. Based on the 2013 Kevin Kwan novel of the same name, it’s about an American woman, Rachel Chu, who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick Young, for a friend’s wedding. It’s upon arriving there where she learns that Nick is from a filthy – or, in regards to the title, crazy rich – family, and he is the most eligible bachelor in Singapore; a detail that other women, Nick’s uptight mother included, will give Rachel a heap of grief over.
Now generally speaking, the premise for the film is not my cup of tea. I don’t usually go for romantic-comedies and the cattiness that is destined to be present throughout this one is sure to drive me up the walls of the movie theater in annoyance. But regardless of my preconceived opinions about the film, I already have made the decision to go see it as soon as it comes out. I want my ticket money to count towards its earnings made at the box office that first weekend of its theatrical release.
Some of you might be wondering my reasoning for this. That is because this film is making history; it’s breaking a very long, sad streak. This is the first Hollywood film to star an all-Asian cast to come out in years; the last time being back in 1993 with Wayne Wang’s “The Joy Luck Club;” an adaptation of Amy Tan’s novel of the same name. Just to put things in perspective, in 1993, I started walking without help. That’s how long it has been, and that’s insane!
When it comes to representation of Asian Americans on the mainstream media landscape, it’s finally starting to get better. “Fresh Off the Boat” was just renewed for a fifth season, Kelly Marie Tran was one of the leads in in the previous “Star Wars” film, and one of the leads in “Crazy Rich Asians,” Awkwafina, will be starring in another film this summer too; “Ocean’s 8.”
Hollywood, to some extent, is starting to understand that diversity is demanded and it sells, and in order to prove it, the numbers from that first weekend need to show it. It doesn’t matter what rating “Crazy Rich Asians” will wind up getting on Rotten Tomatoes. If it makes a lot of money opening weekend, that will let the studios know that a film like this – featuring Asian leads and an all-Asian cast – is long overdue. That’s why Justin Chon’s “Gook” ran longer and in more places than initially planned last summer; it’s because of the turnout and demand for it from that first weekend.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is not, and should not, represent all Asians. As a mixed race Filipino American, I can already attest to this story not at all resembling mine. But to reiterate from the previous paragraph, if the film does well financially, then that will create space for other stories from the community to be made through these Hollywood studios.
Also, to shed some light to “Crazy Rich Asians” itself, while I might not be a big fan of the premise, there are some parts that I’m looking forward to. Just from the trailer alone, it looks like Awkwafina is going to kill it in every scene she is in. Also, Constance Wu is playing the protagonist, and she’s amazing. Plus, while there have been several cameos confirmed of other Asian and Asian Americans for this film, I want to see if I can not only spot them, but also spot others.
So that is why I’m seeing “Crazy Rich Asians” this summer. While the story might be light and catty as hell, I know that if it does well, more doors will open for more stories from the community to be told.
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