Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000) and Mother (2009)

These two Korean movies ( and were written and directed by the same person. And while very different, both films remind me of American movies of the 1970’s. More on that in a bit.

In a week, I hope to turn this blog into a daily review exercise for my to flex and build some writing muscles. I’ve been in constant consume mode for about two years now. Direct TV, Netflix streaming, a bourgeoning board game addiction, some mild anti-depressants, emusic, a not at all challenging job and basically an acceptance of who I am and what I believe have all led to a lessening creative output. And honestly, I’m okay with this. I enjoy consuming other people ideas, sifting through to find the truth and just letting things be. I no longer feel the need to pursue or justify any kind of ideology or agenda. Also, a need to write and create often stem from an obsession and I’ve been pretty obsession-free. General happiness and letting go of the uncontrollable can crush success. So, hoo-ray to my lack of success.

So, after failing to write for obsessive and even negative reasons, I wanted to get back to writing as a method for refinement. This blog is an exercise in refining why I like what I like and all of the semi-related topics the popular and not-so-popular culture are in relation into what makes up an interested or even negative response in my tastes. Huh? Basically, after developing a philosophy, I’m now interested in exploring and defending my likes and dislikes.

I do hope along the way, you’ll find some new interesting movie or game to play or what ever.

Yea, originally, this blog was going to be a game a day blog. A new board game played and reviewed every day. But, seven games played (with Seeshells) and reviewed would become a real grind. Funny thing is, I think we have enough games to go a whole year without repeating a game. Like I said, a board game addiction. I decided to scale that back to three games a week and fill the other four days with movies from Netfix streaming. I do like Netflix streaming, it’s a bargain. I may also do comic and music reviews as well.

This starts in ernest next week, the day after my 44th birthday and hopefully runs a year. (Hint, old man birthday a-comin’) If I like it, I may go another year with just movies. Technically, I received my new iPad for this birthday and each post will be written on my new-ish Apple girlfriend.

So, next week….
For now, a warm-up.

I’ve been watching a lot of Korean movies. The ones I’ve seen, including film The Chaser and the two titular flicks, remind me of ’70’s American movies. After Watergate, movies got darker and institutions started to fail on film. South Korea, as a country on film, seems to be going through much of the same growing pains. The populace is highly suspicious, distrustful, flawed, and uninterested in building community or improving their neighborhoods. It’s strange, all of the locations are crumbling and cramped, but the people themselves seemed to be dressed well to off-set their poverty. Individual over society. And they highly distrust every institution. The social services, police, church, academia and the politicians are either extremely incompetent or blandly corrupt. It’s just the way of life the young assistant professor has to bribe his boss to get a better job. Rumors abound everywhere, but conspiracies don’t exist. I like this because I’ve always thought conspiracies to be a uniquely American obsession and even have a positive side because it implies that the conspirators must be super competent, hard-working and ingenious to pull off their complex Machevellian plans.
That said, in these Korean movies, every one is angling for some personal gain with little regard for laws. They only cross the line at either the abhorrent or extremely, personally unethical. In all three of these movies, a bad guy is the good guy, the protagonist. He or she does some pretty bad things, sometimes not even for the best reasons, but only wins through personal sacrifice. And, in something and American movie wouldn’t do, another no-so-innocent, but unlucky person takes the fall for the protagonist’s crimes. There’s quite a bit of noir and dark absurdist comedy there. The lines aren’t drawn as heavy as they are in American or even western films. That’s not to say there isn’t any fairness doled out to the characters, there is, it’s just of the bittersweet variety.

As you can tell, I haven’t gone into story or even really classified what the two films are. Since I’m recommending them, I don’t want to spoil. And as far as the type of movie each of these films are, I think at once, they could be interpreted as both dark comedy or drama or thriller or farce. Tonally, I was thrown for a loop and I mean that in a good way. I didn’t see the end of Mother coming, but on reflection, man I should have. Tonally, tricks were played and like the best noir, the clues were all there. I should’ve seen it.

And that’s an awesome thing.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone