TV Shows Pop Culture

This is why you need to watch “Grace and Frankie” ASAP

SNL skit “GoT Tribute” ostensibly pays homage to the popular Game of Thrones series but veers into a tribute to the more lowkey Grace and Frankie. There’s good reason, too, that Paul Rudd, DJ Khaled, and Pete Davidson all rap in proper fanboy manners. 

“Watch that show on the Reggy,” Davidson raps followed shortly after with DJ Khaled admitting that it’s “better than Game of Thrones”.

In short, Grace and Frankie is a MUST-WATCH show. The titular elderly women find themselves as 80-something divorcees after their husbands come out as homosexual for each other. Over its 7 seasons, the show explores the implications of this reckoning on Grace and Frankie as they grapple with the new life they’re left with as well as both their families and friends. 

If these hook sentences aren’t enough to catch your attention, I promise you that the rest of this article will. Think of it as an investment: 5 minutes of your time reading for over 100 hours worth of content. But if not, your dildo is on me.

1. Subverts Hollywood’s problem with ageism

An older woman stands in a business suit holding up the mask of the face of a much younger woman
[Image Description: An older woman stands in a business suit holding up the mask of the face of a much younger woman.] Via YaleNews
When was the last time that you watched a show where the protagonist was over 60? Raise the bar even lower to 50 and the answer still resists a resounding head scratch. “The old die young” is an adage I aptly coined for the Hollywood industry. 

There’s no secret that Hollywood resides on a foundation of “lookism”, discrimination fixated on a person’s appearance. Studies show that attractiveness implies more desirable physical traits. Simply put, they tend to be liked more by others. For an enterprise that depends entirely on the attention of a passive onlooker, it’s no surprise that cast directors choose the youngest, tallest, and best-looking of the bunch.

Grace and Frankie from "Grace and Frankie" hug in front of their beach house
[Image Description: Grace and Frankie hug in front of their beach house.] via Country Living Magazine
Grace and Frankie does all to subvert ageism in Hollywood. The main protagonists are all 80-years and older. A common trap that mainstream television shows fall into is commodifying their unconventionality for viewer count. The show, however, writes itself to avoid this by embracing their unorthodoxy by actively exploring the role aging plays in their lives.  

2. A diverse cast that feels natural – maybe not with race

Brianna, Sol, Mallory, Nwabudike, and Coyote (from left to right) from
[Image Description: Brianna, Sol, Mallory, Nwabudike, and Coyote (from left to right) stare at something offscreen] Via MEAWW
It seems that diversity is a hard thing for shows to implement properly. Shows so easily fall into the rabbit hole of token characters used as trophies for their color, queerness, etc. These shows avoid the wrath of cancel-culture while others shamelessly omit the entire notion. 

Grace and Frankie create a realm in which it’s natural to be different whether racially, sexually, or even neurotypically. Brianna is the shining image of cold confidence, but she is forced to explore her latent sentimental side with conflict and compromise with her boyfriend Barry. Mallory, her sister, navigates a divorce saturated with sexual tension from Coyote who lives in a trailer home in front of her own.    

I do admit that there is a problem with the portrayal of race in this show.  There are no major characters of color at the forefront of the show, aside from Nwabudike. Even he represents a major flaw: his name seems to be the only immersion into his African heritage provided by Frankie and Sol, his adopted parents.

Maybe it’s too much to ask of a show to do EVERYTHING. 

3. Serves real plot and character growth

Marta Kauffman, one of the writers of
[Image Description: Marta Kauffman posing in front of her home desk] Via LA Times
I acknowledge that media is consumed as a break from reality. But whenever a comedic show stars the lives of real people, it always seems to be a choice of comedy versus realism, and comedy seems to always win.

Writers Marta Kauffman, Howard Morris, David Budin, and Brendan McCarthy write Grace and Frankie to maintain a perfect balance of both humor and realistic commentary. In fact, its plot goes beyond by exploring the true human condition and does so beautifully. The storyline provides meaningful insight into the lives (and problems) of the characters so that in the end even the viewer can learn a thing or two. 


Grace and Frankie from "Grace and Frankie" holding up dildos from their brand Menage à Moi
[Image Description: Grace and Frankie holding up dildos from their brand Menage à Moi] via IndieWire
Yes, you read the subtitle correctly. 

I simply love the fact that Grace and Frankie own a dildo business for older women. Building off the first subtopic, it subverts the entire stereotype that shames women for seeking pleasure, albeit older ones. And if Menage a Moi was real, you know I’d be a very happy consumer. 

5. Gags galore + guest stars

Frankie, Grace, and Sheree (left to right) from
[Image Description: Frankie, Grace, and Sheree (left to right) sit on the edge of a pool with their knees submerged] via Deadline
What else is there to say, the show’s funny.

The gags make sense with each character. Their quirks are written to naturally bounce off the characters making nothing seem artificial. The amount of times, too, I squealed at the cameo of a “Friends” character is two. But it’s still two more than I expected. Each cameo is incorporated naturally into the plot too. Lisa Kudrow plays Sheree, Grace’s overbearing manicurist, like a glove fits a hand. Watching her, I forgot that she was on Friends at all – that was just a bonus. 

I envy new viewers of Grace and Frankie. I would give my bloodline to watch this show for the first time again – let alone six seasons worth. Six seasons of Grace and Frankie exploring the true essence of the human condition albeit in their affluence and privilege. But this is a sitcom in its nature. There’re forty minutes to involve yourself in a more entertaining world in all its flaws, and it sure is full of shits and giggles. The last, rotten eggs are the lucky ones after all.

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TV Shows Pop Culture

We ranked all the ‘Parks and Recs’ characters by how well they’d tend a garden

Let’s play a quick game of guess-who-said-this: “Everything hurts and I’m dying.” 

If you guessed Leslie Knopps from the acclaimed sitcom “Parks and Recreations,” you get half a gold sticker! But the real attribution goes to Mother Earth herself. 

2020 is a testament to it, with blazing forest fires and a new record heat since the 19th century. In all its maleficence though, has brought with it one singular blessing: time. The time that can be dedicated for the betterment of this small orb as it’s the only one we have (for the meantime at least). 

The entire main cast of
[Image Description: Main cast of “Parks and Recreation”] Via Deadline
Change is hard. Where are you supposed to start? What are you supposed to do? Most importantly, how do you continue? Answer: small steps. The key is to make your commitment gradual. Start with reusable bags and then eventually work towards a garden. But the most important thing is building a community. You need people to esteem and others that don’t do so hot because both inspire and motivate you to be a better version of yourself. 

In honor of one of the very few shows that manage to pull off an environment-esque foundation, here are the “Parks and Recreation” characters ranked least to best by how well they’d manage a garden. 

10. Tom

GIF of Tom from
[Image Description: GIF of Tom throwing money in the air] Via Giphy
Tom is a businessman. He doesn’t get his business ideas while watering his flowers or tending to his dirt but from movement. And plants don’t do movement. Nor do they germinate ideas. His ranking might also be because of the fact that he enjoys little puppies riding motorcycles to “big dumb ponds”. Can’t blame him. 

9. Donna

GIF of Donna from
[Image Description: GIF of Donna looking to the camera confused] Via Buzzfeed
There’s a reason why Donna and Tom get along so well. They understand each other because they’re the same type of person – the type who doesn’t do so well with plants. The only reason why she ranks higher than Tom is that I feel that she’d at least try – or make Joe try. 

Donna just doesn’t have time for plants with her life filled with annulments, NASCAR races, and starting niche trends. Tending to a plant, let alone a whole garden of them, takes dedicated time and effort — two things that don’t concern Donna. She’s already live-tweeting about the futility in ranking her as I write this. 

 8. Andy

Andy from
[Image Description: GIF of Andy looking to the camera in pure glee] Via Giphy
Andy is Andy, what can I say. He arguably undergoes the most character growth from a sluggish oaf to a satisfied worksman. But can he take on plants?

Short answer, maybe leaning to a no. If made to, there’s no doubt that he would at least try with effort. Andy, though, only works well with sentient objects to an egregious degree. He works with children because, in his heart, he is one. And while the only difference between a child and a plant is movement, movement is what Andy needs. 

7. April

GIF of April from
[Image Description: GIF of April looking at the camera menacingly while dipping her tea bag in her cup] Via Tenor
April would be disinterested in planting, but she would at least try. During Andy’s trial period, she’d definitely be supportive through and through, maybe even helping him with her own thumb. Would she do it on her own though? No. There’s no reason for her too. 

6. Leslie

GIF of Leslie from
[Image Description: GIF of Leslie losing feeling in her tongue] Via Giphy
For the entirety of “Parks and Rec”, Leslie cements herself as a typical businessperson: doing things for gain. This attitude subdues by the end of the series, but for a lady of committees galore, there would simply be no time to tend to a garden. She earns points, however, for attempting to cultivate a community garden so she’s got the upper edge there.   

5. Ben Wyatt

Ben from
[Image Description: GIF of Ben looking to the camera seriously] Via Tenor
Ben is known as the serious guy. At times, he feels incongruous with others liking things that others don’t but also not understanding the things they do. 

When it comes to gardening, Ben would most definitely take it seriously. He would buy a handbook from a local bookstore and spend hours cultivating the perfect garden. Almost too-perfect. Something he wouldn’t get is the secret to growing plants well which books can’t teach: rapport.

4. Ann Perkins

Ann from
[Image Description: GIF of Ann smiling cutely at the camera] Via Giphy
Like Ben, Ann would adhere strictly to a planting handbook. Unlike Ben though, she has that secret touch needed for a green thumb; she’s a nurse after all. Even though she has the ability, I just don’t envision her planting a garden of her own volition. She is rooted too closely to the clipboard, working the statistics and numbers of everything, and to pile it on top of a family is a lot to ask. 

3. Chris

GIF of Chris from
[Image Description: GIF of Chris saying “I may never smile again”] Via Buzzfeed
Chris needs plants. A volatile person needs some sort of natural grounding for their life to remain intact and perhaps a garden is exactly the solution. Enough of this unduly cheeriness too, Chris needs a tether to remind him that it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. I like to believe that plants are the easiest and most harmless solution for that. 

2. Ron

GIF of Ron from
[Image Description: GIF of Ron running from the camera with a nature backpack saying “Godspeed”] Via Giphy
Tell me, would a breakfast man not like plants? 

Ron’s interests are already amongst those living in the woods. Woodworking and animals are natural derivations of nature. Gardening is an easy extension of his hobbies then and he’s sure to pick it up easily. 

1. Jerry

GIF of Jerry from
[Image Description: GIF of Jerry asking “You didn’t bring a tent?”] Via Rebloggy
This one is obvious. If you disagree, I politely direct you to Season 1, Episode 2 “Canvassing.” Jerry is the tour guide on the teen nature walk and there’s a touching moment where Jerry is bending down explaining characteristics of the Honeysuckle to the group. 

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jerry would be the best plant caretaker there is. He is privy to each of their individual needs as a bonafide plantsman. Plants being insentient beings would spare him the judgment and ridicule he evokes from others at his workplace. They provide a haven for him as he provides one for them – a perfectly symbiotic relationship. 

These are all of my own professional opinions. A purely speculative one, in fact; there is no telling how each character would do if they don’t at least try. That is the lesson to take away today: you won’t know whether you’re better than Tom or not if you don’t seek a plot of land and plant some seeds yourself.

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Pop Culture Gaming

The English field guide to indie games

The rise of quarantine games like Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizon has brought traffic to the indie game community. But for many, the beginning might not signify a continuation in spite of a predilection for non-intensive, aesthetic gameplay. 

Look no further for your introduction to indie games. Be warned: adherence to this field guide might result in tremendous losses of time. 


Indie is a shorthand for “independent”, a reflection of the financial independence that a small group of developers holds from larger money-mongering corporations. Now, with the intermingling of both companies from funding and such, the genre is more reflective of the creative freedom possessed by developers.  


The video game industry had not yet burgeoned by the 1970s. Primitive gaming consoles like the Atari Pong, dubbed as the first home gaming system, opened a niche sector for game developers holding genuine regard for the hobby. A similar system called the RCA Studio II contributed to one of the earliest indie games designed by Joyce Weisbecker, who considers herself the first indie game designer because of her games for the failed console RCA Studio II. (She is also one of the many overlooked women who have made substantial efforts in the gaming industry due to the oversaturation of testosterone.) 

A cover of the book BASIC Computer Games by David H. Ahl. The cover is a bright yellow with dark blue font and a cylindrical robot performing various tasks.
“BASIC Computer Games “made game developing accessible [Credit: Retromags]
When the first computers came around in the 70s and 80s, there was one universal computing language: BASIC. The release of BASIC Computer Games by David H. Ahl in 1978 became the vade mecum containing the source code for hundreds of games. It made coding accessible for a new generation of game developers as well as the nascent of a commercial sector for video games. 

The commercial sector, that is the allowance of selectiveness by publishers, filtered out innovative small groups of developers. Shareware consequently became the main distribution method allowing users a trial period before they definitively purchased the game.

A photo of example games that Xbox Live Arcade provided for users
Steam and Xbox Live Arcade opened pathways for indie developers in the 2000s. A photo of example games that Xbox Live Arcade provided for users. [CREDIT: AR12GAMING]
And the rest is history. The advent of online gaming retailers like Steam and Xbox Live Arcade opened up new pathways for indie developers in the early 2000s. Online software helped provide unprecedented visibility that shareware lacked. Now, indie studios are coveted as sensuous art-houses providing games for a wide niche of consumers.


Now, indie games inhabit a whole sector of gaming on their own. There no longer is fear of discriminating publishers, and it seems that those same publishers are not the ones chasing after small developer companies. 2008 is credited as the “Indie Boom“.  The GameStop era was being handed off to major popular electronics companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft each announced initiatives creating platforms for indie games. Since then, there has been an explosion of indie games, the itch for new, fresh material being a cushion that small developers could land on. 

The Internet has provided a fast-paced realm of distribution where even the smallest names are heard loud and far. Crowdfunding websites particularly act as a modern, more accessible version of their 50-year old ancestor shareware providing both finance and recognition. Now, developers are able to join together on platforms that amplify their voices to large communities of fans and gamers, conversely fueling the most authentic, passionate, and unique projects.


Donut County

A raccoon and young girl are perched on the edges of a hole in the ground watching a donut fall through it.
‘Donut County’ is probably the most chill a game can get. Pictured is a poster of the game. [Credit: Steam]
‘Donut Country’ is as chill as you can get. The background lo-fi music and cute graphics add to the characteristic loll of the game. Just look at the donut in the name. 

Play on: PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac

Stardew Valley

A farm is drawn in warm-toned pixels.
‘Stardew Valley’ is for ones who enjoy farming – virtually. Pictured is a farm drawn in warm-toned pixels. [Credit: Polygon]
If you liked resource collecting in Animal Crossing, there is no doubt that ‘Stardew Valley’ is going to tickle the same part of your brain. The premise of the flat pixel game is to maintain the inheritance of your grandfather’s farm by (no-surprise) farming. 

Play on: PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One, Playstation Vita, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac

Little Nightmares

The cover art for 'Little Nightmares'. We can see the back of a small child wearing a yellow raincoat and holding up a feeble match. There are two monsters on either side of them.
‘Little Nightmares’ is a thriller not for the faint-hearted [Credit: Nintendo]
Don’t let the name scare you. ‘Little Nightmares’ is a game sure to keep your interest every minute of gameplay. The spooky graphics create an atmosphere that intensifies the experience. 

Play on: Playstation 4, Switch, Xbox One, Stadia

There is a whole world of indie games to choose from if these three didn’t manage to interest you. So go out and play!

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Real World Word Pop Culture

A deep dive in Asian hypersexualization in porn

The mass shootings in Atlanta that caused the deaths of eight people, six of whom were Asian, can be said to be nothing short of racially motivated. Experts on the case claim that the murderer had sexual frictions with spa and massage parlors. But this period of anti-Asian sentiment running rampant across the nation discloses racist footings that experts seem to ignore. 

There is no denying the cultural implications in the deaths of these six women rooted deeply within the foundation of this “American” soil. 

A portrayal of Uncle Sam is kicking a very racist depiction of a Chinese man in the rear. Uncle Sam holds up a document that reads "Magic Washer Under Penalty of Being Dirty"
[Image Description: The Page Act of 1875 was the first anti-Asian legislature signed] via KCET
It started with immigration. The late 19th century marked the burgeoning of a prospering American economy marked by the rise in the industry, creating a new social relationship between the boss and the laborer. Cheap as they come, the American interest relied on low-cost labor. There was immense competition, but Chinese immigrants were found to be eager to do dangerous work for inhumane pay, compared to their white counterparts. This, however, brought early-onset “Yellow Peril” as they were now perceived as economic threats that were minimized to their race. 

Asian women were brought in handfuls as prostitutes and were gracefully extended this same sentiment. They were popularly ostracized, said to be unclean, and sexually tainted. This tension culminated in the Page Act of 1875. It explicitly prohibited the immigration of Asian sex workers and was one of the first anti-immigrant policies and a violation of reproductive rights. Coupled with explosive propaganda,  then suppressed the Asian female identity, legally stigmatizing the demographic as a repulsive yet exotic body – a forbidden species of people.  

A shot from the Broadway musical "Miss Saigon". A man in an army uniform holds a Vietnamese woman in his arms. Both are singing.
[Image Description: The popular Broadway musical “Miss Saigon” portrays the Vietnamese protagonist local as a “lotus blossom”] via Entertainment Weekly
This hypersexualization manifested into a “dragon lady” stereotype. She is a sexually alluring creature shrouded in enigma and mystery – an object to discover. Conversely, there is the Lotus Blossom Lady, the opposite of the dichotomy. She attracts with her demure, obedience, and, most of all, her dependence on the white man. These two stereotypes are polar in definition, yet it’s in their ability to contain the Asian female solely to this role that aids the perpetuation of this stereotype, by the white man. 

In conjunction with domestic patrol, there is the matter of white sexual imperialism, coined by psychotherapist and writer Sam Louie. In the 19th century, during the throes of imperialism, there was a dark underbelly of American soldiers who inflicted sexual dominion on local women and were permitted to do so because of their stature as white, military men. 

The image is from the Philippines-American War. A soldier helps a Filipina woman down.
[Image Description: The Philippines-American War helped conserve a permanent separation between the Asian woman and the white man] via Google Arts & Culture
US troops stationed in the Philippines during the Phillippines-American War exploited women who were pressured into the sexual workforce, because of the warfare economy. Subservient and dependent, these women evoked feminine qualities that were marketed towards men. The relationship between both parties, the soldier and the temptress, was more complex as the sexual workforce burgeoned into lucrative opportunities, but still withheld themes of fetishization. Filipina women were coveted for their submissiveness and helplessness, and this notion is reinforced with American media and by increased servicemen during the Vietnam War in 1977.

The sexual workforce capitalizing off of fetishism by the white man prospers in the majority of Asian countries. It would be economically natural for these women to prosper economically by creating an entire genre of Asian porn to cater to the white man’s fetish. Porn in its totality works to objectify the woman. By extension, Asian women are then seen as bodies for pleasure, a dangerous stigma that extends to how others perceive them, even into the quotidienne

All that’s said before has been related to that of the Asian immigrant, yet the Asian-American experience diverges. There is a paradox within the Asian-American identity, an internal discourse. They are outwardly objectified and diminished to their race, contrasted by their self-identification as Americans, not unlike those men who perform the objectification. Whether through plain acts of sexual racism or microaggressions, Asian-Americans feel isolated in their own land. The ramifications of this explosive history are not contained but persist through generations. 

The foundation of anti-Asian sentiments, especially that against women, is deeply rooted in racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, the evidence all points to them. So why do Americans pause so readily at the slightest of indications that society is the perpetrator of such stigmas? Why is the problem still not addressed, after 3,800 incidents in the past year alone? What will it take for the problem and its roots to be addressed? 

People line up to march alongside a bright yellow banner that says "STOP AAPI HATE" on behalf of a domestic surge in anti-Asian hate crimes
[Image Description: A recent surge of anti-Asian hate crimes has propelled a movement against Asian-American Pacific Islander hate] via New Times San Luis Obispo
America stands in the eye of cultural reckoning. One in which movements like Black Lives Matter and now Stop Asian-American Pacific Islander Hate demand a change against the casual acceptance of racism. Now, it’s a matter of embracing the country’s unequal foundations and moving forward together as people.

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Best Of Movies Pop Culture

These are 17 of the best Asian movies you can watch right now

In his acceptance speech for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film honoring his groundbreaking film, Parasite, Bong Joon Ho began by saying, “once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” 

His advice isn’t unwarranted. Hollywood has a problem of constricting American cinema culture to a congruent reservoir of English films.

The Hollywood motto: if it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense.

This motto has persisted in studios choosing to smother and censor foreign films from the big screen. It’s almost like executives believe that theater owners simply do not know how to market them to an American audience.  

But Bong’s words endure as modern Western cinema changes to embrace international- and domestic-fomented Asian films — not just an accolade subcategory, but as a source of mainstream entertainment.

In 2018, Roma received rapid popularity through its release on Netflix which widened accessibility beyond that of theatre reservations. This new wave of online streaming has pushed other platforms to mimic Netflix’s approach of embracing international films with unprecedented outreach and advertising pushes.  

Yet there is no reason to rely on algorithms and consumer formulas to find your next obsession. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, here are some phenomenal movies to expand your watch list. 

[adsanity id=”178468″ align=”alignnone”/]

1. Minari (2020)

via Sightlines
“Minari” stars Jacob and his struggle to provide for his family on foreign soil. [Credit: Sightlines]
[imageAlt]via Sightlines[/imageAlt]

Minari, directed by Lee Issac Chung, is a Korean-language film that swept the 2021 award season. The film plays loosely off of Chung’s own immigrant experience, following Jacob’s (Steven Yeun) struggle to support his family and make his claim.

This is a film so universal in its language and intent that it speaks to every immigrant experience, namely the fight for the American dream. 

2. Parasite (2019) 

Characters from “Parasite” stand scattered on the lawn of a lavish house in one of the most recognizable posters for the film.
“Parasite” experienced tremendous box office growth following their Best Picture Oscar [Credit: Wikipedia]
Parasite is definitely the It movie of 2020. After it swept through American award ceremonies and received the Best Picture Oscar, it experienced one of the biggest revenue boosts for the best picture winner in the past decade. 

If you haven’t watched it already, it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon then. The saying goes, it’s better late than never, doesn’t it?

3. In the Mood for Love (2000) 

Su (Maggie Cheung) is pictured in the foreground, close, looking forlornly off camera. Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) looks at her but she doesn’t notice.
“In the Mood for Love” explores the romantic possibility in the “what-if.” [via The New York Times]
In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong film that follows two spouses whose partners are having an affair. The movie has been hailed as one of the most gorgeous films.
Its deep cinematic hues reflect the complexities between the estranged pair making you fall in love with the idea of love as their potential love blossoms slowly and heavily. 

4. The Farewell (2019) 

“The Farewell” focuses on the cultural divergence between immigrants and their family at home.
via IMDb

The first Asian-American movie on this list, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell focuses on the cultural divergence between an immigrant and their family at home.

Billi (Awkwafina) clashes with her family’s decision to hide the news of her grandmother’s terminal illness in accordance with Chinese cultural beliefs of collectivism. 

The emotional conflict is real in this one.

5. Shirkers (2018) 

Spunky illustrations act as the film’s main movie poster.
A visit to Sandi Tan’s student past engrosses audiences in “Shirkers.”
via From the Intercom

Shirkers is a weird movie. But its quirkiness is what makes it special. 

The documentary follows Sandi Tan’s journey, recovering the footprints of her enigmatic film mentor who pilfered her student footage. Exploring Tan’s youth and corresponding nostalgia, cringe, and inspiration make it a layered and beautiful film that filmgoers everywhere can take something from.

6. Chungking Express (1994) 

Convenience store worker Faye (Faye Wong) stares forlornly off-camera with her chin resting in her hand.
Wong Kar Wai’s “Chungking Express” remains a timeless classic about love.

Chungking Express is a timeless classic ‘90s Hong Kong film, one of few that leaves an impression afterward. Conventional people – policemen, a convenience store worker, a flight attendant – are all shrouded by the implications of love.

The possession of it, the loss of it, and the remnants of it. 

7. Train to Busan (2016) 

A crew of people is running towards the camera in desperation from an unseen force.
“Train to Busan” was the highest-grossing movie of the year in several Asian countries.
via Wikipedia

Zombies, train entrapment, a handsome protagonist — what’s there not to like?

The Korean horror film was the highest-grossing film of 2016 in both South Korea and Hong Kong. Centered on the stories of the passengers of a train overtaken by zombies, humanity is explored at its most desperate for survival. 

8. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (2017) 

Marlina (Marsha Timothy) is trotting away on a horse in an arid land.
“Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” is a feminist Indonesian art-house film.
via Wikipedia

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts is a must-watch for every woman.

The Indonesian film ties a Western milieu with tinges of feminist vengeance. Marlina (Marsha Timothy) kills her rapists belonging to a group of thieves and ventures for empowerment and revenge, not without dealing with repercussions from the remaining of the group. 

9. Spirited Away (2001) 

Several fantasy characters are pictured on top of a traditional Japanese roof.
“Spirited Away” is a classic anime movie that can be enjoyed by all ages.
via The Express

This is definitely one of my favorite movies, hands down, with all pretentiousness thrown out the window.

Spirited Away captures the essence of fantasy: escape into another world. The unpredictable plot physically transported into this fictional universe, one of shapeshifting witches and bathhouse attending monsters, and leaves it lingering in the back of your head so that you visit it time and time again.

[adsanity id=”170729″ align=”alignnone”/]

10. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) 

A pair of grubby siblings enjoy fireflies in a field.
Get ready for the tears with “Grave of the Fireflies.
via The Telegraph

While Studio Ghibli, the same production company that created Spirited Away, is known for its fantastical abilities, contrastingly earnest and heavyweight films are not omitted from their repertoire. It seems easy to see troops and citizens as a collective insofar as to forget there are victims on the other side.

Grave of the Fireflies follows siblings after they lose their home and family to incendiary bombs during World War II. All I can say is get your tissues ready. 

11. Perfect Blue (1997) 

An animated woman lies amongst assorted bedroom items in a blue filter.
“Perfect Blue” is the template for films about the obsessed artist.
via IMDb

The story of the obsessed artist is popular on the big screen. The origin of such films like Black Swan derives from the Japanese anime movie, Perfect Blue.

The animation style is psychedelic, purposely underscoring Mima Kirigoe’s descent into commercial obsession.   

12. Maheshinte Prathikaaram (2016) 

A couple is standing facing each other, smiling with umbrellas in front of a chapel.
“Maheshinte Prathikaram” is lighthearted fun against the mastery of the art form.
via IMDb

Maheshinte Prathikaaram (“Mahesh’s Revenge”) is a humorous retelling of bitter revenge; lighthearted fun against the mastery of the art form.

There’s subliminal artistry that reflects the mastery of the cast and crew, the ability to characterize a town around the central character rather than remain as a backdrop to the plot. 

13. Bad Genius (2017) 

A male student looks warily at a girl leaning on his desk too-close-for-comfort who glares back at him.
Multiple choice questions are made as gripping as a classic thriller in “Bad Genius.”
via Variety

There’s nuanced artistry required for making mundane activities suitable for a motion movie. Bad Genius, believe it or not, does this by answering multiple-choice questions.

Meanwhile, the film explores the deeply academic culture in Thailand and Asian countries at large in the dramatization of a student cheating schedule. Definitely show your children this movie. 

14. Memories of Murder (2003) 

Two detectives hold a blurred picture of a suspect to the camera.
Bong Joon-Ho’s “Memories of Murder” is a thriller crime masterpiece.
via IndieWire

Bong Joon-Ho’s early masterpiece, Memories of Murder, is about two detectives solving the first documented serial killer case. The thriller aspect is amplified in the rural setting but Bong’s talent behind the camera draws closer and closer to the edge of the seat with every new clue and discovery.

It’ll definitely have you screaming at the screen!

15. Little Door Gods (2015) 

The characters - deities and humans - are all huddled in a big hug with fireworks and traditional Chinese lanterns floating behind them.
“Little Door Gods” is a reflection of the rise of Chinese animation.
via Wikipedia

Adults can watch kids’ movies, too. I repeat: adults can watch kids’ movies, too. And this is one that should be watched.

Little Door Gods details a deficit of belief in deities by humans leaving them jobless. The film pays homage to an evolved and now-robust Chinese animation sphere, complete with correct cultural references that American-grown films like Kung-Fu Panda missed. But beware before watching: do not watch it dubbed in English.  

16. Dhoom 2 (2006) 

Five characters from the movie stand in formation dressed in black leather outfits.
“Dhoom 2” is a classic Bollywood movie – and more.
via Yash Raj Films

There’s something so enchanting about Bollywood.

Perhaps it’s the dramatization of literally everything and everything or perhaps it’s the elaborate and frequent dance sequences. Dhoom 2 fails to fail short on any of these attributes and goes above and beyond. It’s an altogether incredibly fun experience.

17. Lagaan (2001) 

Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) is the largest figure in this tan movie poster.
“Lagaan” is a Bollywood classic with a 2002 nomination for Best Foreign Film.
via The Asian Cinema Blog

 Lagaan is a definitive example of Bollywood’s best. With a soundtrack written by A. R. Rahman — the composer behind Slumdog Millionaire — and an epic sports plot, everything comes together beautifully for an engrossing film experience.

Even more beautiful is Lagaan’s accurate representation of India’s history, done without losing the film’s flavor.

This list is a reflection of a whole world of film waiting against the one-inch barrier fence.

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Fashion Lookbook

17 vintage jewelry accessories you have to order from Etsy

Every so often, I quietly shuffle through my parents’ wardrobes looking for any remnants of their 70’s childhood. Unfortunately,  they’re anti-hoarders and got rid of all their trendy clothes and accessories from back in the day. 

However, I have noticed that my frantic searches for cool pieces in my parents’ closet reflect a popular phenomenon: the widespread interest in vintage clothing and accessories. The rise of thrift stores and second-hand shopping has affirmed that vintage is not simply a trend, but a lifestyle. 

Here are some of my favorite vintage accessories from Etsy to level up your wardobe this spring. 

1. Sterling Silver Locket Ring

Sterling silver ring locket placed on a wooden surface.
[Image description: Sterling silver ring locket placed on a wooden surface.] via Etsy
There’s something special about this vintage sterling silver locket ring. It’s one of a kind and you’ll certainly make a powerful statement.

2. Gold Oval Locket

Gold locket necklace with flower etchings.
[Image description: Gold Oval Locket sold by Ringostone] via Etsy
This Gold Oval Locket is a great alternative to the previously mentioned locket ring. It’s perhaps the more recognizable form of the locket due to its size and aesthetic. Place a photo of a loved one, or even yourself.

3. Lady Cameo Ring

This is a ring. There is a cameo of a lady, which is to say a bust, on a blue drop background. The shank surrounds the size of the backdrop in intricate silver detailing.
[Image description:  Antiquated Silver Filigree Ring sold by ragtrader] via Etsy
This ring falls under a particular style of jewelry called ‘Cameo jewelry’. The main characteristics of this style of jewelry are a portrait engraved in a gemstone against a solid background. The style originated in ancient Egypt and was eventually adopted by the Greeks and Romans. The rings generally depict religious and mythological figures. 

4. Peridot Ring

Diamond peridot gem with a thin gold shank.
[Image description: Peridot Ring sold by AbahyDesignArt] via Etsy
If simplicity is your style, then this vintage gemstone ring is for you. The peridot gem is known to help open up your heart and create harmony in your life.

5. Brass Ring

Brass ring with flower engravings around the circumference.
[Image description: Floral Brass Ring sold by chloesvintagejewelry] via Etsy
This beautiful band ring is suitable for anyone who seeks comfort in a sturdy, statement ring. The intricate flower details bring the perfect balance of delicate and rigid.

6. Vintage Ring

Vintage woman's ring with a turquoise gem. Hugged with a very vintage style silver shank.
[Image description: Vintage Woman’s Ring sold by LittlejoyshopByMD] via Etsy
Sometimes you can’t go without a simple vintage ring, especially one that sizes a bit smaller. Create layering in your rings by sizing down to give you one that sits halfway down your finger. Make sure that you choose one that adjusts to your finger size. The one linked is a size 5 ¼. 

7. Labradorite Gem Ring

Silver shank droops down onto a labradorite gemstone.
[Image description: Sterling Silver Labradorite Ring sold by 925SILVERSMITHSTORE] via Etsy
The labradorite gem nests in the hands of sloping arcs, drawing your attention. The unique slope of the ring acts to beautifully elongate and accentuate the finger on which it lies.

8. Set of Rings

Assorted set of 15 bohemian rings. One has a pearl crystal hanging off it, another has a silver flower. Another has three consecutive turtles on the band. Many of them are simple silver rings with varied designs.
[Set of 15 Bohemian Rings sold by V2Sbeautiful] via Etsy
Can’t decide which ring to get? Get them in a set to have a selection to mix and match from. 

9. Victorian Brooch with Chain

Gold brooch. Regal emblem with chains hanging off it.
[Image description: Victorian Style Brooch with Chain sold by SassySuziTreasures.] via Etsy
Believe it or not, brooches weren’t always a standout fashion statement. Instead, they were created for utilitarian purposes in securing clothing. They only become ornamental during the Byzantine period of the middle ages. Now, they can be pinned almost anywhere!

This particular brooch stands out with its multiple hanging chains. It’s a great piece for someone who isn’t afraid to be the center of attention. 

10. Gold-Tone Cabochon Brooch

Gold brooch. The pink glass cabochon is the main feature. It is surrounded by gold embellishments, similar to a headdress. There are mini pink and beige colored pearls amongst the gold.
[Gold-Tone Filigree with Pink Glass Cabochon sold by ChasAndVivVintage] via Etsy
If the previous brooch didn’t suit your style, look towards this dainty one. Made in Germany, it embodies the perfect balance between femininity and reality. 

11. Turtle Brooch

Jade green ceramic turtle brooch
[Image description: Ceramic Turtle Brooch sold by TinysToysAndMore] via Etsy
Who knew a brooch could be so damn cute? This turtle brooch doubles as both an adornment and a simple comfort buddy wherever you go.

12. Pearl Crown


Silver pearls in flower shape surrounding a gold-wire tiara.
Pearl Flowers Silver Metal Crown sold by SweetheartVintageUS

From watching ‘Princess Bride’ to scrolling through countless Princess Diana photos, I am very drawn to a nice crown. It creates a sense of sophistication. 

Special headgear, in fact, was always used to discern rulers in society. The Romans had diadems, Native Americans wore headdresses, and the pharaohs had uniquely individualized crowns. 

This beautiful crown is adorned with flowers following the intricate gold circumference. It’s absolutely stunning. 

13. Vintage Bridal Tiara

[Image description: Vintage bridal tiara placed on pink silk sheet] via Etsy
[Image description: Vintage bridal tiara placed on pink silk sheet sold by ShadowCatCharms] via Etsy
When one imagines a tiara, the vision hardly deviates from this classic vintage one. The gems surrounding the tiara are sure to catch the light and twinkle with beauty.

14. Cool-Toned Necklace

The deep shades of blue and purple bring the necklace a cool ambience. There are jewels and beads assorted in a symmetrical pattern between wire.
[image description: Necklace sold by RebasDesignsNFinds] via Etsy
This is the most beautiful necklace. Period. The deep shades of blue and purple create a cool ambiance. The ensemble of jewels and beads are absolutely gorgeous in their alignment. This necklace is sure to upgrade an outfit. 

15. Pearl Necklace

There are three large pearls amongst a sea of smaller white ones, all separated by elegant clasps.
[ Image description: Pearl Necklace sold by Haengseongworkshop] via Etsy.
All I can say is I’m super grateful that cultured pearls exist. The elegant clasps between each pearl make this necklace worth having.

16. Pearl Necklace + Earrings

Necklace and earring set. Both are accented with pearls but the main focus is porcelain paintings of pink roses.
[Image description: Necklace and Earring Set sold by roxiesvintageattic] via Etsy
If you’re looking for a jewelry pair, then look no further than this vintage 1928 necklace and earring set. Both have pearl decals centered around porcelain rose point, taking you back to a time of balls, extravagance, and glamour (along with the racism, sexism, and added problems that we won’t dive into right now). 

17. Rhinestone Necklace + Earrings

This is a necklace and earring set. Big blue rhinestones are hanging off both the pieces of jewelry.
[Image description: Necklace and Earring Set sold by BrocanteSisters] via Etsy
This lovely blue rhinestone necklace and earrings are the perfect level of extravagance. Pair these with a stunning evening outfit and you’re good to go.

A blast from the past is always a good time. Ordering some vintage jewelry and accessories is a great way to immerse yourself in the past while looking amazing this spring. Online marketplaces like Etsy have made it all the more accessible for young people to explore various clothes and accessories and purchase items directly from one another. Styling and wearing vintage items helps to cultivate a sense of self in a unique and eco-friendly way. It’s a win-win situation. 

Check out The Tempest’s Etsy favorites and make the most of what’s on offer!

This is a sponsored Etsy article with Awin affiliate links. 

Celebrities Movies Pop Culture

Youn Yuh-Jung is our favorite grandma, and we love to see her win a SAG Award

Youn Yuh-Jung accepted her SAG (Screen Actors Guild) award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role with tears in her eyes and careful care of her articulation in English. There was a moment in which she consulted someone off-screen to check her pronunciation of “supporting actress”, taking due diligence with her words even in a moment of fervor. Fans on Twitter call her their queen and relate with her fellow nominee fangirls. It’s heart-warming to see positive Asian representation in mainstream media – something that’s sorely lacking.

Her role in Minari has welcomed her to the Western sphere of cinema. She stars as the doting yet vulgar grandmother Soon-ja who moves to the US to help raise the children of her immigrant son. To much of her grandson’s chagrin, Soon-ja brings a carefree spirit to a house that is injured by poverty and marital discourse.

For much of the movie, she holds as the emotional tether for the children of the household, something that is lost on the struggling family. She reminded me much of my own grandmother who provided me a safe bubble from the afflictions of my own parents and I’m sure that this empathy is universal for many that were born here too. Throughout Minari, Youn’s performance felt and stayed raw and heartfelt, as she channeled her own immigrant experience to America during the ’70s. 

But who is this veteran Korean actress that has managed to capture every international heart? 

Youn Yuh-Jung in a floral sweater. Her hands are wrapped around her as she looks up to the sky, eyes closed. She looks deep in thought.
Image Description: Youn Yuh-Jung in a floral sweater. Her hands are wrapped around her as she looks up to the sky, eyes closed. She looks deep in thought. Credit: Philip Montgomery for New York Magazine.

Youn Yuh-Jung didn’t think of acting until the start of her term at Hanyang University in Seoul. She was dejected after receiving her low college-entrance exam scores barring her from any elite colleges so when a TV director suggested she try out for an open talent audition, she went ahead with it. 

She debuted on the screen with the drama series Mister Gong in 1967. Though she received a TBC Drama Award for Best New Talent, it was not until 1971 that she gained critical acclaim. Her role as a paramour femme fatale in the film Woman of Fire awarded her three  Best Actress awards from the Stiges Film Festival, Grand Bell Awards, and Blue Dragon Film Awards, the latter the Korean equivalent to the Oscars. Awards aren’t enough to quantify the impact of her role, however. 

To this day, sexism is deeply ingrained in almost all pillars of respect due to historically Confucianist ideals. Within Confucianism, there are the Five Relationships that symbolize the basic links that must exist for harmony: ruler and ruled – be it father and son, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother, and friend and friend. The kinship between the husband and wife particularly contains increments of patriarchal values when considering the adjacent values of filial piety. A woman was expected to show only love and respect to her husband with their subservience. 

 Yuh-Jung’s role as a young woman grappling with the moral complexities of marriage, poverty, and lust, was unbeknownst to the big screen; women were simply never characterized so humanly, at least in popular films and TV shows. 

From then on, Yuh-Jung shot to popularity but at its zenith, she married and disappeared to the US, following her husband where he attended college. During her time, she gave birth to two sons but moved back to South Korea with them after divorcing her husband. 

Youn Yuh-Jung (left) received critical acclaim as a paramour femme fatale in "Woman of Fire."
Image Description: Youn Yuh-Jung (left) received critical acclaim as a paramour femme fatale in “Woman of Fire.” Credit: HanCinema. 

Yuh-Jung was a 40-year old divorcee returning to a country that rarely turned on its screens to middle-aged actors starring in anything but a parent role. She had no chance but to labor at any opportunity that came her way; to act was to work and support her family. To date, Yuh-Jung has starred in more than 30 films and 70 series. 

Eventually, Yuh-Jung was able to relinquish the chains of financial responsibility for her two boys. This finally allowed her the possibility of choice, the ability to choose what kind of roles she’d take on. At an age where women retire, Yuh-Jung looked frequently to amateur directors who, like Woman of Fire, weren’t scared to play around with the boundaries of the status quo. In The Bacchus Lady, for example, Yuh-Jung plays an aging prostitute who grapples with her role in a modernizing world. 

Yuh-Jung is, however, not simply just an actor but an adored public figure. Korea’s bustling entertainment TV business gives way for many actors to reveal their true personalities and personas. Youn’s Kitchen stars Yuh-Jung leading an ensemble of other actors in functioning a cafe in a foreign country. The show has not only gained general popularity with another show called Youn’s Stay in production but has cultivated a public image for Yuh-Jung. One in which many are able to watch her calm and pensive attitude infused with a dry wit that only age could give you. 

Now, she is an Oscar-nominated actress and holds a SAG award. There doesn’t seem to be any more that this actress can do yet for Youn Yuh-Jung, there’s no telling what’s next. Western cinema needs more Asian representation, and I am so excited to see Youn Yuh-Jung get the praise that she deserves. 

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