Friday, December 1, 2017

Fuckity-bye


Too many blogs I've enjoyed reading have been abandoned by authors who abruptly quit posting new content, and too many of those blogs have never even bothered to say farewell to their readers. That's not going to happen here.

I decided in 2016 to quit posting new content for this Blogspot blog, which started out as a tie-in to a radio station I used to run, at the end of 2017. I'm throwing in the towel after 10 years of both writing blog posts barely anybody reads (except for a couple of posts that were read by more than a few after they were retweeted by Edgar Wright and Paul Feig) and getting erroneously referred to as "DK AFOS" or "Jimmy Aquino" without the crucial middle initial in my name by other blogs. The urge to throw in the towel is mostly due to wanting to concentrate on both a prose novel manuscript and Accidental Star Trek Cosplay--a far less time-consuming Tumblr blog with a list of followers that continues to grow (its amount of followers greatly outnumbers the number of people who follow my Twitter feed and the number of people who have hit "Like" on the AFOS Facebook page)--and I made this decision a year before I would stop posting new content, so that I could give myself some extra time to compose a proper farewell.

And the farewell message is this: nobody reads this fucking blog anymore. Thanks for nothing, fuckfaces.


The art of long-form blogging is no longer as enjoyable as it used to be. It's an art that's dying out. Godawful Twitter, equally godawful Facebook and the "pivot to video" trend in digital media are choking the life out of it.

Though it's in its death throes, long-form blogging has continued to be responsible for some outstanding writing. One of my favorite article headlines of 2017--and right now, I can't think of another headline that better sums up 2017--came out of the world of long-form blogging:


But otherwise, it's a dying art. And it's an art whose terminology nobody ever uses correctly. I've lost count of the amount of times someone has written to me, "I saw your blog about that movie," or "I saw your blog about the new Rick and Morty," and I want so badly to correct them and say, "What you mean to say is that you saw my blog post about the movie," but I don't want to sound like a Ted Mosby-ish douche.

The tiny audience I used to have over here has completely vanished. So why fucking bother anymore? I don't know if it's because of people's short attention spans these days and because each generation of readers has a shorter attention span than the last (it reminds me of one of my favorite Elvis Costello verses: "A teenage girl is crying because she don't look like a million dollars/So help her if you can/Because she don't seem to have the attention span"), but I think I'll blame the vanishing readership on that.

Also, the writer's blocks I sometimes would suffer from while trying to write posts during the blog's first few years have actually worsened in the last couple of years. Insert "Don Music banging his head on the keyboard" .GIF here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The problem with The Problem with Apu is that not enough people are going to see Hari Kondabolu's terrific documentary


This is the last all-new blog post before this blog's absolute final post in December 2017.

Fuck all these (predominantly white) superheroes fighting motion-capture-enhanced (and often boring) supervillains on the big screen. The movies I'm way more eager to see are documentaries about ordinary Asian Americans fighting stereotypes. It's a fight I've been a part of in some capacity. Nearly everything I do (even something as insignificant as writing a barely-being-read-by-anybody post for this insignificant and soon-to-go-completely-inactive blog) is some sort of clapback against Asian stereotypes, which have been a pain in my ass since junior high. Filmmaker Salima Koroma's Bad Rap, a doc about Asian American rappers, was the movie I wanted to see the most last year, and now The Problem with Apu, a 49-minute doc directed by Michael Melamedoff and hosted and produced by comedian and Politically Re-Active podcast co-host Hari Kondabolu, is the 2017 film that, despite its skimpy length and non-theatrical status, I've been anticipating the most, much more so than Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok and even Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Problem with Apu chronicles the Indian American comedian's love/hate relationship with a little-known Tracey Ullman Show spinoff called The Simpsons. Kondabolu's a Simpsons fan who loves everything about the animated franchise that was brought to life by Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and the late Sam Simon, except for one character. That would be Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian convenience store owner who, since the show's premiere in 1990 (not counting a 1989 Christmas special that was actually the eighth episode in the first season's production order, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"), has been voiced by a white guy, longtime Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria. The character is, as Kondabolu describes him in the doc, "servile, devious and goofy." Apu's shtick on the show is, as Kondabolu memorably said in an extremely funny 2012 Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell segment about his delight over the rise of Indian American representation on TV, basically "a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father!"


The most interesting tidbit about Kondabolu's Totally Biased rant about Apu, which went viral and ended up being shown in high school and college classrooms, is that Kondabolu was initially reluctant to write and perform the segment because he was so tired of complaining about Apu. I like how Bell--the now-defunct FX late night show's titular host and Kondabolu's boss in the Totally Biased writers' room--had to talk Kondabolu into doing it, as if Kondabolu were Logan being dragged out of his dead-end limo driver job to unsheathe his adamantium claws one last time and protect some runaway mutant kid.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Can't Believe I've Never Seen It Till Now!: House (1977)


This is the 13th of 15 all-new blog posts that are being posted on a monthly basis until this blog's final post in December 2017. I know I said "monthly basis" all through 2017, and instead, there ended up being two posts this October and three back in August, but I guess I discovered that in August and now October, I found plenty of shit I wanted to write about before I call it quits. "I Can't Believe I've Never Seen It Till Now!" is a series of posts in which I reveal that I never watched a certain popular or really old movie until very recently, and that's largely because I'm Filipino, we're always late to the party and that's how we do.

Director Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 Japanese box-office hit House is the kind of film that, had it been made in 2017, would have ended up being the subject of various audience reaction videos by YouTubers who want to show how confused and bewildered the audience members look while trying to process the extremely weird shit they're watching. Not to be confused with the 1985 American horror comedy of the same name and the long-running Hugh Laurie vehicle of the same name, Obayashi's J-horror oddity was largely unknown in America until 2010, when Janus Films introduced the Toho Studios flick in theaters to American film geeks and the Criterion Collection released it on Blu-ray. Both a Phil Chung blog post for YOMYOMF (his post is basically "I don't know what the fuck I saw, but I loved it!") and a Trailers from Hell commentary track for the film's 1977 trailer made me want to see House.



House is definitely the most unconventional haunted-house movie I've ever seen. I was expecting a Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky-type bloodbath with a bit of a Battle Royale-style attitude about not giving a fuck about brutally killing off so many innocent-looking Japanese teens.

What I got instead was something stranger than Riki-Oh. I believe I have a clip of myself reacting to every scene in House:


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bad Rap is a timely and often funny look at Asian American rappers who want to have a radio hit like P-Lo or Far East Movement do

Dumbfoundead in Bad Rap

This is the 12th of 14 or 15 all-new blog posts that are being posted on a monthly basis until this blog's final post in December 2017.

Back in 2011, I typed out an outline for a graphic novel or screenplay I wanted to someday write about the Minneapolis rock music scene in 1985, and the story was to be told from the point of view of a female Filipino American Prince fan who leads a band of otherwise all-male musicians called the Beautifully Complex Women. In the outline, I explained that a rumor spreads around Minneapolis that Prince, the city's favorite son, is looking for a new act to sign to his Paisley Park label, and the Beautifully Complex Women and a whole bunch of other local bands vie, often over-aggressively, for the attention of the unseen Purple One.

I called the script idea The Beautifully Complex Women. It was going to be my way of exploring why it's so difficult for Asian American artists--whether they're the power pop band Moonpools & Caterpillars in the '90s or the Philly rap group Mountain Brothers in the early 2000s--to find mainstream success in the recording industry:


Bad Rap, African American filmmaker Salima Koroma's 2016 documentary about the various hardships Asian American rappers have to deal with in the industry, covers all those above questions and more in a lean, efficient and enjoyably provocative manner that makes me say, "Wow, I think I'll let this 1985 Minneapolis battle-of-the-bands script idea remain a script idea." Her film turned out to be better than my script idea.

Koroma's documentary was the 2016 film I most eagerly wanted to watch last year, even more so than a tentpole blockbuster like Captain America: Civil War or a critics' darling like Moonlight. (Sorry, Barry Jenkins.) Now Bad Rap is streamable on Netflix after a run on the festival circuit, and, man, the doc was worth the wait.

Bad Rap producer Jaeki Cho and director Salima Koroma

Bad Rap, which was crowdfunded on Indiegogo, took Koroma and Korean American producer Jaeki Cho--the (now-former) manager of one of the film's four main subjects--three and a half years to make. The doc follows four Asian American spitters who either have often toured together or have done guest features on each other's tracks.

The amiable and quick-witted Jonathan Park, who's now in his thirties, was an L.A. skater kid who, as a teen, stumbled into the battle rap scene--the Detroit version of the battle rap scene was famously depicted in 8 Mile--and fell in love with the art form, or as I like to call battle rap, "Don Rickles insult humor by people who, unlike Rickles, have rhythm." Park, a.k.a. Dumbfoundead, is a hero in L.A.'s Koreatown (judging from his music videos and YouTube shorts, he is to K-town what De Niro is to New York: the unofficial mayor) and in battle rap circles, but he's unknown elsewhere. Bad Rap reveals--and I wasn't previously aware of this--that Drake is a fan of Dumbfoundead's battle raps, which makes me like Drake even more than I already do.