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Mardi Gras: Made in China (2005)
A Good Clear View, Unbiased, DEFINITELY worth watching!
Just finished watching this film, and was amazed and appalled--amazed at what the girls went through to produce the pretty trash we play with and throw most of away at Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's, etc.--appalled at the Americans shown, so thoughtless and base, and really, most of them so ignorant. Hell, I'm an American and even I was saddened and disgusted at the excess of Mardi Gras. I love to party and have a good time--just got drunk and danced and enjoyed myself with my husband and friends Saturday night--however, there are limits. That 1000 people expose their breasts and genitalia every 3 MINUTES during Mardi Gras is absurd--for BEADS! I'm afraid I agree with the factory girls--it's embarrassing and just damned crazy! Those girls confined and working 11-16 hours a day, still had the need for music and posters and dancing and having their own good time of their own--and it was heartening to see them enjoying their home vacation during Spring Festival. Yes, to many, the father may seem awful because he sent the girl off to work, but nobody twisted her arm--she said she was bored with school and there was nothing to do in her village, so she was happy to go out and work and earn money for the family. It's not just girls either--plenty of factories hire mostly men, especially on the industrial side. Who knows? Perhaps her pampered little brother will decide to leave school and work in another factory--being poor is no bowl of cherries, and he may decide the money is worth the work. The film made the contrast clear between the girl's home and the boss' home too, but you would see that difference here as well. Rich and poor and the stark contrasts between them exist everywhere, but I think a film like this is needed--too many Americans are blind and ignorant about what goes on across the sea in other countries. I will also say this, the boss in the film and the factory, as bad as they were, would be considered high level in most of China--there are FAAAARRRR worse factories there, with MUCH worse conditions--do some research at your local library. LeslieT. Chang's "Factory Girls" is a good start. Spread the word--this is a worthy film and worth seeing by any standard! Should definitely be shown in schools (the "Educator's Version", of course!).
Dear John (2010)
Good, not great,--turn in the story was not well executed
First off, the scenery was gorgeous, lots of beach and marshland, just like I love, and plenty of hanging Spanish moss, palm trees and blue sky. However, the story itself left me cold. There is a turn in the story that makes NO sense to me--though this could be because of Amanda Seyfried playing a cute, tiny little blond with long curling locks and big eyes--she was fine in something like 'Mama Mia', which was more like a fairy tale, but she failed to show the acting chops needed to explain the story angle presented. Lots of folks put down the choice of Channing Tatum for the soldier's role, but actually, he did quite well. I live in a city with a large Army base, and he reminded me of SO many soldiers I've met. No, he's not a big talker. Yes, he's got some issues in is past, but basically he's a good guy. I think Richard Jenkins as his father, played with a big dose of autism (maybe Aspergers Syndrome), was fantastic. We have more than one child in my family with this and he got the characterization right on the nose. Tatum played John with just the right amount of masculinity--he was strong, passionate (without being oversexed,), tender when he needed to be, but no wuss--and when his heart was broken, he showed a kind of manly grief that tore me up, that really touched me. Amanda Seyfried's sorry-ass hysterics when he confronts her later, well, was unconvincing and called up NO sympathy at all--maybe because I'm not a guy overwhelmed by her prettiness, but to me, the acting was awful. People around me were weeping left and right,and I just wanted to grab her and shake her 'til her teeth rattled. The ending is changed from the book, but it doesn't make the movie any better for me. This 'eternal love' story just didn't work, and left me feeling sorry for John, but irritated and angry with Savannah.