You’d think that one of the best parts about being involved in a movie is getting to watch it with your friends afterwards, point at the screen whenever you’re on it, and grin like a huge idiot. But apparently there are lots of actors who have never felt the urge to watch the very movies they were paid millions of dollars to star in, and in some cases they actively hate the characters they were asked to play with every fiber of their being.10. Paul Bettany Has Never Watched Any Of The Iron Man Movies
Though Robert Downey Jr. is the star of the Iron Man movies, Paul Bettany, who voiced his AI companion J.A.R.V.I.S., has received praise for his on-screen chemistry with Downey. But according to Bettany, the work he did for the three Iron Man films should be considered piracy (the old kind that involved stealing money, not the modern “I’m too cheap to pay for this movie” kind). In his own words:
“I turn up, read off of a piece of paper for two hours and then they’d give me a huge bag of money.”
While it seems like Bettany and Downey had really good chemistry, they never actually read any of their lines in the same room. In fact, Bettany never even got a full copy of the script. He instead came in at the last possible moment during the production of each movie, recorded all of his lines and then went home with the aforementioned bag of money. He’s never even watched any of the movies, which he says makes him feel terrible when fans of the film tell him how much they loved his parts and he has to look them in the eye and say “I’ve got no idea about Iron Man.” Of course, if he feels so guilty we’re not sure why he doesn’t just sit down for six hours and watch them, but maybe he’s really busy spending all that money.9. Alec Guinness Hated Star Wars and Star Wars Fans
For our younger readers, Alec Guinness was the guy who played Obi-Wan Kenobi before Ewan McGregor did, and he hated every second of it. Guinness’ hatred of Star Wars has practically become Hollywood lore. According to some sources the only reason he agreed to reprise his role was because George Lucas agreed to double his pay, while according to others it was his idea to kill off Obi-Wan because he simply couldn’t stand speaking his lines anymore.
Guinness’ dislike of the movie and the fame it brought him was so great that he absolutely refused to do any promotion for it and reportedly threw away every piece of fan mail ever sent to him. According to Guinness, he also “shriveled” at the mere mention of Star Wars and would be openly hostile to fans who approached him in the street, to the point where he once made a child cry.
But here’s the best part. Guinness was one of the few people, along with George Lucas, who thought the movie would be a success. He managed to secure a deal netting him 2% of the film’s gross box office for the rest of his life, and his son is still cashing those checks. Guinness hated the very thing that made him a guaranteed millionaire for life, which when you think about it just makes him seem ungrateful.8. Johnny Depp Hates Looking At His Own Face
The list of movies Johnny Deep has been in is so expansive that including it would double the length of this article, so we’ll just save time and say that you’ve definitely seen one of his movies. If you haven’t, you have and just didn’t realize it.
Which means you have probably seen approximately infinity percent more Johnny Depp movies than Johnny Depp has. As noted in this article, Depp consciously avoids watching all of his own movies out of the fear that seeing them would somehow “harm” him. There are even unconfirmed stories about Depp vandalizing the posters to his own movies because he doesn’t like seeing his face staring back at him. He must loathe mirrors.7. Jackie Chan Tells Asian Fans Not To Watch His American Movies
Jackie Chan is like the working man’s Bruce Lee. He’s starred in dozens of movies, but in the west he’s most recognized for the Rush Hour trilogy, in which he features alongside human microphone Chris Tucker.
Though Rush Hour and its sequels are arguably Chan’s most beloved films, he himself doesn’t really like them. Stating that he doesn’t understand the humor or like the action, which he described as “Americanized,” he even went as far as suggesting that Asian fans of his movies should avoid his American ones all together. Like The Forbidden Kingdom, which he openly admitted “isn’t that great” on his own website before it came out.
According to Chan, the only reason he even bothered to make a sequel is because he was offered a ton of money for it, and when the time came to film the third he only agreed to reprise his role because he felt he owed it to his fans. Which at least makes Jackie Chan a much nicer guy than Alec Guinness.6. Bela Lugosi Wasn’t a Fan of Dracula, But Still Fought to be Him
Before vampires were sparkly weirdos who played baseball in forests and got in fistfights with werewolves, they were stone-cold bad-asses who only cared about chomping necks and wooing ladies. And Bela Lugosi is the original vampire. Throughout his career, Lugosi appeared on-screen as Dracula in dozens of movies and became so synonymous with the role that he was able to trademark his characterization of the character. People had to pay him if they wanted to dress up as the “real” Count Dracula, so if you’ve ever put on a cape and tie Lugosi’s estate has probably been paid somewhere along the line.
That said, Lugosi was deeply frustrated by how typecast the role of Dracula made him. You know, the same character he fought for the rights to pretend to be in court. Lugosi came to resent the role and the movies it involved, which didn’t stop him from being buried in his trademark cape at the bequest of his family, who felt that it was definitely what he would have wanted. Either they were very ignorant or they just wanted to screw him over one last time.5. Danny Trejo Isn’t Even Aware of the Movies He’s Been In
Danny Trejo is so scary he can print his own money by sending selfies to the US Mint, and as an actor he’s known primarily for two things — dying like a champ in practically every movie he appears in, and his huge chest tattoo.
As we’ve discussed before, Trejo is a terrifying man who’s led an incredible life involving prison, drugs and punching death row inmates for fun. During his long and bloody acting career he’s appeared in more B-movies than the second letter of the alphabet. In fact, Trejo has appeared in so many movies that he literally can’t keep track of them. According to the Guardian, it’s not uncommon for Trejo to watch a film and be surprised when he realizes he’s in it. Johnny Depp would kill to reach the same level of indifference.4. Tim Curry Never Used to Talk About Rocky Horror
Tim Curry is mostly known for his roles as Pennywise the evil clown (It), Dr. Frank-N-Furter (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Nigel Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys). While he’s happy to talk about the first and last role, his time as Dr Frank-N-Furter is something Curry seriously despises discussing.
Out of fear the role would lead to type-casting, Curry never openly discussed the movie in any interview (save for one promotional appearance the week before the film was released) and he avoided going to fan conventions or appearing in any media related to the franchise, even once famously retorting “not with me in it” when asked if there would ever be a sequel. However in recent years, probably due to the sheer amount of times people ask him about it, his attitude towards the role has mellowed and he now fondly refers to it as a “rite of passage” for teens. That said, he’s still very thankful when people don’t mention it in interviews.3. Joseph Gordon Levitt Thinks His Character In 500 Days of Summer Was An Ass
If you’ve never seen 500 Days of Summer, go ask the nearest girl or guy with a girlfriend for a copy (trust us, they’ll have a spare). It’s a pretty good movie, but one thing that’s proven irksome for Joseph Gordon Levitt, who played Tom, is that everyone he speaks to seems to think his character was a nice guy who didn’t deserve to be dumped by Zoey Deschanel’s eponymous Summer.
According to Levitt, he personally thinks that Tom was a bit of an ass who selfishly and unfairly projected a fantasy onto a girl, then reacted poorly when she didn’t seem to fit with his inflated expectations of her. Though Levitt has mentioned that he likes the movie in past interviews, he’s said that he’s troubled by the reactions to his character from fans, especially the ones who seem to think that his character was some sort of romantic role model — an idea Levitt was quick to quash, because he’s the real role model.2. The Phantom Menace Turned Jake Lloyd Off of Acting
Yes, Star Wars is such a massive and apparently hateful franchise that it gets two spots on this list. Before any of you fire up Google to see who Jack Lloyd is, we’ll save you the eight seconds and remind you that he’s he kid who played the young Anakin Skywalker.
We’re not going to mince words here. After the role Lloyd’s life became, in his own words, “a living hell.” He was teased constantly by kids at school, was forced into doing upwards of 60 interviews a day, and to this day faces harassment from fans who didn’t like the way he played the role. Because screw him for not being able to act perfectly as a 10-year-old in a movie that had far, far bigger problems than Lloyd’s perfectly fine performance.
Llyod has only appeared in one movie since (an obscure, semi-fictional film about hydroplane racing in 1970s small town Indiana, which other than the racing is about as far from Star Wars as you can get) and has no intention to get back in the game. Although he’s appeared at a few sci-fi conventions, he refuses to watch the movie that made him famous because of all the bad memories it brings up.1. Peter Dinklage Doesn’t Watch Game of Thrones For A Very Silly Reason
Peter Dinklage is mostly known for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, although he also featured as the villain in X-Men: Days of Future Past, where half of the audience probably saw the guy as an evil, alternate universe Tyrion. However, Dinklage has admitted that he doesn’t watch himself on-screen in his most famous role. What possible reason could he have for not wishing to watch himself in Game of Thrones? He doesn’t have HBO.
Yes, Dinklage doesn’t watch his acclaimed and beloved breakout role because he doesn’t want to pay 15 dollars a month for the channel that plays it. Come on HBO, the guy’s helping you rake in buckets of money. Throw a free subscription into his contact.
I have a slight dilemma, where some people suggest to exclude ActionController::Base from a Controller tree inheritance and use ActionController::Metal instead to speed up the performance of requests, however the main application is dependant on Comfortable Mexican Sofa CMS, which is dependent on Rails stack.
Hence the question would be what:
- Is changing inheritance class will make a difference in this case? Why?
- How to test performance of the controller thank you.
Jackie Chan Will Fight Former Divas Champion Eve Torres Or Fall In Love With Her Or Whatever In A New Movie
Former WWE Diva Eve Torres announced via her Twitter that she’s accepted a role in an upcoming Jackie Chan project:
I am SUPER excited to announce that I am off to Beijing, China for a sweet role in an upcoming film! I am totally thrilled because I will be working with one of my childhood idols, Jackie Chan! I will be learning from the best, working hard, and having a blast, so I may have limited internet access in China. I will try to keep you guys posted with pictures, blogs, and updates over the next couple months! – evetorres.com
She’ll star alongside Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville in Skiptrace, the story of a Hong Kong detective who teams up with an American gambler to battle a Chinese criminal. The film, set for release in 2016, is helmed by director Renny Harlin, known for his work on films scuh as Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, and the critically adored Andrew Dice Clay epic The Adventures of Ford Fairlaine.
Eve Torres was probably one of the best things WWE had going for it before she left to marry into some unheard of family and empower women. I don’t get hype, I stay hype for her having nice things outside of wrestling.
The best way to enjoy this terrible movie is to turn into a ten year old – because The Medallion seems to have been made with this demographic in mind. As a kids’ flick, it’s big budget magic, a lot better than what the Disney Channel has lined up. There are funny good guys, menacing bad guys, exciting fight scenes, and a cool, glowing medallion that will give you superpowers and make you immortal.
Jackie Chan fans who have gotten past puberty, however, will want to skip this dying gasp of an effort. All the hallmarks of a Chan film are tried here, and all fail miserably. The worst are the attempts at humor, which rely on the pairing of the action star with British comedian Lee Evans. Both play police officers – Chan is Eddie Yang from the Hong Kong force, and Evans is Arthur Watson from Interpol – chasing after the evil Snakehead (Julian Sands) who has kidnapped a boy in possession of the supernatural medallion.
Unfortunately, the duo don’t have even a fraction of the opposites attract appeal that worked so well in the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon series. Evans leans heavily on cartoonish physical comedy, and this film lacks the sarcastic and satirical bite of the others. The jokes rely variously on culture clash, going undercover, and later, when Eddie gets a taste of the medallion’s powers, invincibility. But they are at once predictable and not very funny. Watson’s goofiness might appeal to the kiddie crowd, but to everyone else, he’s a sniveling and incompetent prick, and even Chan looks a little fed up.
The addition of Claire Forlani as Eddie’s love interest and fellow officer, Nicole, doesn’t help. Forlani, looking like a waifish Angelina Jolie, can kick some ass, but she and Chan force affection, ending up with more awkward moments together than tender ones. The rest of the cast, which include heavyweights Anthony Wong and John Rhys-Davies, are similarly out of place. No one seems quite comfortable being on set or around each other. Then again, it might be the awful script. I’d cringe too if I had to say things like, “You and I will live forever. We are the lords of time!” The only pleasant surprise turns out to be Christy Chung, who plays Arthur’s devoted wife and who has a few tricks up her sleeve.
The sluggish acting ends up affecting the action sequences, directed by Sammo Hung. Chan’s martial arts acrobatics seem to be on the wane as he is noticeably aided by wirework. I don’t object to that so much; he’s still fitter now than I will ever be. But the action is lackluster and unoriginal, inserted out of necessity rather than creative storytelling. That’s the problem with this film generally. There’s nothing fun or lively here. Skip it, guilt free, for some of Chan’s more popular hits.
Prod: Alfred Cheung 張堅庭
Dir: Gordon Chan 陳嘉上
Writer: Gordon Chan 陳嘉上; Alfred Cheung 張堅庭; Bennett Davlin; Paul Wheeler; Bey Logan
Cast: Jackie Chan 成龍; Lee Evans; Claire Forlani; Alexander Bao; Julian Sands; John Rhys-Davies; Anthony Wong 黃秋生; Christy Chung 鍾麗緹; Alfred Cheung 張堅庭; Nicholas Tse 謝霆鋒; Edison Chen 陳冠希
Time: 88 min
Lang: English, some Cantonese and Mandarin
Country: Hong Kong, United States
In time with the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese Moon Festival, SM Cinema is hosting the Chinese Film Festival in select branches from September 5 to September 9. This partnership between the Chinese Embassy of the Philippines and SM Cinema aims to promote cultural understanding between China and the Philippines.
The free screenings showcase innovative Chinese films of high artistic value that gears towards Filipinos’ understanding of Chinese cultural diversity and heritage. The Chinese Film Festival will be showcased in SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM San Lazaro and SM Manila.
The premiere, attended by representatives from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines and SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. was highlighted by a presentation of the Angeles University Concert Chorus, who flawlessly performed traditional and contemporary Chinese songs.
Among the award winning films to be shown are:
Back to 1942 (winner, International Rome Film Festival, HK Awards): A deadly drought in 1942 takes its toll on central China’s Henan province during the war against Japan. ( synopsis from imdb)
Caught in the Web: A young woman is victimized by a massive viral internet campaign.
The Grandmaster (winner, 50th Golden Horse Awards, 33rd HK Film Awards: The story of martial arts master Ip Man, who trained Bruce Lee. The film stars Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung. (synopsis from imdb)
Say Yes: A romance fantasy based on the Japanese drama 101st Marriage Proposal.
Full Circle: Lao Ge prepares to enter a retirement home with a suitcase, a picture of his wife and a potted plant. He’s had a difficult 20 years with his estranged son, who has recently married. Lao Ge leaves his son with 200,000 yuan to pay the downpayment on an apartment. At the retirement home, Lao Ge’s friend Lao Chou, who has bladder cancer, prepares for a concert in Tienjin.(asianwiki)
Little Big Soldier: Written, starred and produced by Jackie Chan, about an old soldier kidnaps a young general of an enemy state and takes him on a long journey to collect the reward. The film also stars Taiwanese superstar Wang Leehom. (imdb)
Aftershock: A mother’s choice shapes the lives of her children after the Great Tangshan Earthquake that struck China in 1976.
Chinese actor, Jackie Chan and Lancelot Imasuen lead others to the 11th Abuja International Film Festival.
Two films by Chinese movie superstar, Jackie Chan and Nollywood director, Lancelot Imasuen, will premiere at the 11th Abuja International Film Festival, scheduled to take place in the Federal Capital Territory between September 23 and 26.
The films, titled Chinese Zodiac and Invasion 1897, respectively, will also compete with others for awards in four categories, at least, during the festival. Described as the third highest grossing indigenous film in China, Chinese Zodiac is Chan’s last action movie and the one that has earned the popular actor and director two Guinness World Records for the Most Stunts Performed by a Living Actor and Most Credits in One Movie awards.
On the other hand, Invasion 1897 is an epic film that calls attention to the controversy surrounding the existence of ancient Benin artifacts, believed to have been stolen during the invasion of the Benin Empire by the British in 1897, in museums scattered around the world.
Both films are epics with a similar historical thread running through them. They will be shown to guests during the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival at the Silverbird Cinemas in the FCT.
The theme of this year’s edition of the AIFF is Celebrating 100 years of the film in Nigeria. Often described as the largest and longest running independent film festival in West Africa, the event will feature the screening of over 60 cutting-edge films from around the world, with a special focus on films from Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
Also, there will be screenings in schools around Abuja where cinemas are non-existent, as well as discussions and a master-class workshop programme featuring local and international filmmakers and industry professionals.
Meanwhile, the management of the AIFF formally announced the appointment of Nollywood actor, Fred Amata, as the new Director of the festival.
Amata takes over from Fidelis Duker, who is the founder of the film festival and its first director since 2004.
Reflecting on the highpoints of the annual event in the last 10 years, in an interview, Duker said, “For me, the climax was the 2013 edition of the festival. That was when we had the largest number of guests from different parts of the world. We had close to 50 top notch filmmakers, actors and actresses, as well as over 2,000 guests attending the event. That year’s event went beyond a film festival to attain the status of a full-blown carnival. Apart from the seminars and mini-conferences, there was so much networking among the guests and of course, much partying.
“One of the things I discovered during the film festival last year was that people also come to such an event to party. When they spend some time watching films in the day, they go out to party at night. I think the event affords many guests, especially the hardworking ones among them, the opportunity to unwind, too. For this reason, we have decided to create avenues for partying in this year’s programme.”
Also recalling the hurdles that he had to scale during his tenure as the director of the festival, he continued, “After organising the festival for two years, I felt like stopping it at a point for want of sponsorship. Most of our previous editions of the festival have not been sponsorship driven in a sense that corporate bodies and individuals are yet to understand why they should invest in such events. Even now, it is still difficult getting corporate organisations to fund the festival. I went to a corporate organisation recently and I was asked to explain what a film festival means to a marketing director.
“Although this is a challenge to us, we are building the structures that can take us through such difficulties in the future. One of the secrets of the success of similar festivals or award events in Nigeria is that the organisers are connected to the right people in the right places. It is not about what you are able to accomplish, which makes it quite sad. But we will not be discouraged. We will continue to strive for excellence, in spite of the obvious odds.”
Duker noted with pride that the major goal of the AIFF, which was to create an authentic film festival in Nigeria, had been fulfilled.
“We have always wanted to make the AIFF the referent point for films. I think we have been able to achieve this. Today, the festival is accepted by many Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora,” he said.
Nigerian films and actors clearly dominated the list of nominees for awards in 13 categories- which was also announced on Tuesday – in this year’s festival. The closing ceremony is expected to be attended by President Goodluck Jonathan and members of his cabinet.
This Rush Hour DVD Combo Pack is only $9.99?!? That’s incredible.
I came to Walmart to buy dog food and dish detergent, but little did I know that I’d run across the find of the century, nestled in that Walmart DVD display crammed between those two other Walmart DVD displays. Holy shit! Just check it out.
The madcap, yet emotionally touching, adventures of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are mine to own for $9.99? Let me break that down. $9.99 divided by 3 is $3.33. That’s $3.33 per Rush Hour movie. That’s MORE than doable. That’s probably the best deal I’ve ever seen.
This might be the greatest thing that anyone could ever buy, really. What else can you unearth that has a price as evenly distributed across a product as all three (the Rush Hour trilogy I should say,) for $9.99. That’s about 5 ½ hours of entertainment, for just $9.99. I’m almost rendered speechless.
As I said, I came in here to buy dog food and dish detergent and nothing else, but it’s just a testament to the fucking steal that is $9.99 for all three Rush Hour films (the Rush Hour saga), that I walked away with the Rush Hour DVD Combo Pack. One might say “Do you really need that right now?” but one could answer that hypothetical question with a question of their own: “When would one find something better?” I married my wife knowing that I’d never find a partner as dedicated and wonderful as her, and even that wasn’t planning for the future as well as I’d be doing when the cashier scans the Rush Hour DVD Combo Pack and hands it to me for me to enjoy over and over again. You may never find something this worthy of the American dollar.
At certain points in your life, you’ll be forced to make choices. And you might not want to make these choices because you question them. You question that way that they’ll affect your life, and this is really the great turmoil of human existence. But when you come across something like the Rush Hour DVD Combo Pack, it’s like everything becomes simple. For the first time in your complicated, busy life, things become black and white. The choice is made before you even walked into the store. There’s something comforting with that kind of destiny.
As I said, guys. I was there to buy dog food and dish detergent. I didn’t plan on spending the extra $9.99, but some higher power, whether it be God or some other deity entirely, certainly did. And so I picked it up, looked at the picture of Jackie Chan folding his arms and Chris Tucker doing a hilarious martial arts kick, and I went with it. There’s something beautiful about the things that fate hands you sometimes, and the Rush Hour DVD Combo Pack is certainly one of those things.
This is the first Jackie Chan movie I watched at the cinema and I did like it a lot more back then. As I stated in an earlier review, I’m sorta over the martial arts genre but I still enjoy watching Jackie kick ass still. Not to impressed by the characters in this movie tho but it still has its moments (my favorite scene is the thug in the appartment that refuse to go down then ends up crying when he stands there with a wrench).
This is also one of the last movies I saw Anita Mui (may she rest in peace). Some familiar faces if you watch a lot of JC movies actually. The uncle (Bill Tung) I’ve seen in quite a few… feels weird to see them speak as it’s dubbed but that’s just in the start. I’m not all that impressed by the editing in at the end of the movie tho it does have that signature behind the scenes in the end credits which is cool at least. Some cool fight sequences in this one too. Been about 2 decades since I watched this last.
Doubt I’ll see it again but since it was on Netflix I found it hard to ignore this time. Jackie will always be one of my lifetime heroes. Rumble is directed by Stanley Tong who also did Police Story 3 (Supercop) and 4 (First Strike). I like both those better than this tho…
..I rate this movie 6/10 stars..
- City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
- Every Word – Ellie Marney
- Skinjob – Bruce McCabe
i. Bloodlines – Richelle Mead
ii. The Golden Lily – Richelle Mead
iii. The Indigo Spell – Richelle Mead
iv. The Fiery Heart – Richelle Mead
- Silver Shadows – Richelle Mead
- Looking For Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
- Goose – Dawn O’Porter
- Run – Gregg Olsen
- Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaira
- Stoner – John Williams
- The Wrong Girl – Zoë Foster
- A Fatal Tide – Steve Sailah
- Murder in Mississippi – John Safran
- Elianne – Judy Nunn
- Being Jade – Kate Belle
- Martha in the Mirror – Justin Richards
- Shining Darkness – Mark Michalowski
- The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Divergent – Veronica Roth
- Insurgent – Veronica Roth
- Allegiant – Veronica Roth
- The Messenger – Markus Zusak
- Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
- The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons
- Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
- NOS4R2 – Joe Hill
- The Gospel of Loki – Joanne M. Harris
- Hades – Candice Fox
- Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
- Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
- Are You Seeing Me? – Darren Groth
- Masquerade – Kylie Fornasier
I’m currently sitting in the refectory at uni, surrounded by people who aren’t currently crippled by stomach cramps, nausea, and the need to run for the bathroom every forty-five minutes or so. So I feel like I’m justified in being a bit of a social pariah today. Well, that, plus I really needed to get this written. Every time I’ve tried over the past two days my body has just flat out rejected the idea. I figured now is probably my best option, given that I’ve spent the past three and a half hours doing lecture catch-up and I have three and a half hours until my next tute. Plus, I’ve managed to eat a sausage on bread (that I paid $1 for) and a teeny, delicious soy mocha without getting cramps that cause me to break out in hot and cold chills so I think I’m set.
Now, onto business.
Are You Seeing Me? was a beautiful way to restore my faith in the written word after the train wreck that was A Fatal Tide. Not only was it brilliant, but the two main characters were based in Brisbane, my home town. So whenever Groth talked about suburbs and landmarks, I actually could envision the places he were talking about.
Our two protagonists are Perry and Justine Richter. Twins who have had to deal with the premature death of their father at the hands of cancer and the abrupt abandonment of their mother when they were young. All of this, plus Perry was born with a “brain condition” that means he struggles with a lot of the things that you and I may take for granted: social interactions, crowds, anxiety.
Groth tells this story from both Perry and Justine’s perspectives, which I found lovely. I don’t know if any of you have read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, but that book was told entirely from Christopher’s POV. Christopher, while I don’t believe it is stated outright, lived with severe Asperger’s for his entire life. In actual fact, his story is very similar to the Richter twins': absentee mother, devoted father. While Curious Incident was an incredible novel, it was hard to read too much all at once because Christopher’s character was just so overwhelming. There was no respite from the daily struggles Christopher went through and so the novel was heart-wrenching most of the way through.
With Are You Seeing Me? we got Justine’s POV as well as Perry’s and it was a beautiful counterbalance. Not only this but we got insight into the father’s mind as well, through a journal he kept right up until his dying day for Justine’s 18th birthday. (He did try and keep one for Perry too, but writing about Perry’s struggles growing up got too painful for him. The Richter father is a beautiful human being and we never actually get to meet him).
Groth created two extraordinary characters who could not be more different, not only for the for obvious reasons, but also through the way he wrote the characters. We could tell the voices apart with no trouble and that takes some serious skill. We also could see a little into the backstory of the characters without Groth having to explicitly tell us. With Justine, she made constant references to “capital L” Literature and so we get the sense that she is incredibly well-educated despite not being at school (it comes out later that Justine dropped out of uni in order to look after Perry and her dad). We also get glimpses of the struggles Perry has in social situations. Much like Christopher in Curious Incident, he describes a person’s actions and makes inferences about their emotions, if he can. If he can’t, we do the rest. It’s beautifully done.
I just want to talk about Groth’s writing style for a second. He is the Australian John Green, only slightly more sedate. I can’t remember who said it, but someone once described Green’s writing style as “it just seems as though he’s aiming for a bumper sticker with every sentence”. Which is, unfortunately, accurate. Groth, however, just has this subtle way of subverting the readers’ expectations of how a sentence will end. If I flick to a random page, I’ll find you a quote:
Two minutes later, we are suspended high above the PNE, the two of us together in a cage, defying gravity, looking out over a city that doesn’t know it is being watched.
pg 215, Perry
Beautiful. right? Just gorgeous.
There are so many things I want to talk about with this novel, things that are so intrinsic to its genius, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. I’ve already rambled a bit, haven’t I? So I’ll try and keep this brief.
The title of the book, Are You Seeing Me? is the question Justine and Perry ask each other; more so Justine than Perry. When Perry is in trouble, suffering from his acute anxiety in a situation he doesn’t understand, Justine tries to avert it by getting in his face, putting her hands on his shoulders or his face, forcing him to look at her and ask him “are you seeing me?”. It calms him down because he has something to focus on. Perry asks Justine while they are at the fish market and Justine immediately asks him why her catching a fish is so important to him.
Oh! Sidebar, OK, so Perry and Justine are from Brisbane but they venture to Canada for a two week holiday to Canada before Perry goes into an assisted living centre back in Brisbane. It’s a chance for the two of them to spend as much time together as they can before Perry moves away. There’s also an ulterior motive to Justine taking Perry overseas but if I tell you that, it’ll give the game away. So the “fish market” I just talked about is one of the pit stops on the Richer’s Canadian holiday.
The bond between the twins is simply wonderful. We never see Justine become frustrated or angry with Perry (well, once, but she was strung out with worry so we let that slide) and we only ever see Perry respond with love to Justine. He hates her tears and they create a tidal wave of anxiety in him that triggers an episode. It is such an honest, simple love that it warms your heart, it really does. And then, when Perry explains to us why he wants to go to Fair Go (the assisted living centre) it damn well brings you to tears. Most of the books I read are all about the love of, well, a lover or friends, but this one is about family first and foremost. And I love it.
Something that really drives home how acute Perry’s anxiety can be are these scenes Groth writes in the middle of a relatively normal scene, where the world turns topsy turvy. When Perry’s at the PNE (The Canadian – can’t remember which town now – version of the Ekka in Brisbane), he starts feeling anxious and before he breaks down, he is seeing all of the roller coasters fall apart, collapse, spin out of control, and kill people. It was an inspired move on Groth’s part because instead of describing Perry’s physiological symptoms, we get his mental state as anxiety takes hold. It helps us to understand him more as a character, what he fears, what he sees as a hero, etc. It was just such a lovely touch.
“What is it about sea monsters, Pez? Why are you into them so much?”
It’s not something I’ve ever been asked before – not by Justine or Dad or the teachers I had at school. Thinking about the answer takes a few minutes. Justine doesn’t stare, doesn’t repeat the question. She knows I need a moment to think and organise a response. By the time I am ready to reply, she’s cleaned up our table and the rubbish is in the bin.
“There are two reasons,” I say. “The first is because they are excellent at hiding. They’ve survived for thousands of years and no one has caught them. And the second reason is they’ve learned to survive even though the world is confusing and difficult for them.”
Doesn’t that just melt your heart? It did mine. See, Perry is fixated on a few things: earthquakes, Jackie Chan, sea monsters. But this explanation just broke me. Because he is being totally honest and that is exactly how he feels. He’s not trying to garner support or sympathy, he’s stating a fact. Just like he does when he talks about how much he loves his sister. Perry’s character is just amazing. The world needs more people like Perry Richter.
OK, so I’ve gone on for far too long now. I know it, you know it, and you’ve probably abandoned me by this point, but I just want to make one last point.
Perry has a brain condition that can cause him to feel anxious or upset in different places and circumstances. He has trouble with people – mixing with them and communicating with them – and it sometimes results in inappropriate behaviours. I appreciate your understanding and patience.
Justine repeats this speech quite a few times throughout the course of the novel. It’s her way of paving the road for Perry in a world that is too narrow-minded to accept him for who he is. I found myself skim-reading this speech quite a few times in the early pages but then I forced myself to read each and every word, each and every time. Because Groth repeated those words for a reason. Justine would have absolutely have had to say this at least a few times every day that she and Perry went out into society. It became a knee-jerk reaction for her, but she meant it every time. So, in order to better understand Justine’s plight, I made sure I was right there with her whenever she made her speech. As Perry’s carer, it was a necessity. One she didn’t particularly enjoy, but did anyway. And so, I thought it only fair that I should listen (or read) her speech every time she made it. It makes Justine’s character all the more real.
This book explores so much more than just Perry’s mental state and the twins’ relationship. It explores society, all the different shades of relationships, our perceptions, Australia, Canada, dreams, heroism, anxiety, disease, survival, and love. But I can’t talk about all of those points here. I’ll bore you all to death. So here’s my last plea: read this book. If you love John Green, you will love this novel. And the Aussie bits? References to places you’ve never heard of? Just think of them as a tiny vacation for your imagination.
Oh, alright, just one more quote:
Love is reliable. You can depend on it.
The Taiwanese actor arrested on drug charges along with the son of Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan was released Friday after two weeks in detention, amid a broad anti-drug crackdown in China‘s capital that has ensnared several celebrities.
Kai Ko emerged from a Beijing detention center before dawn and into a scrum of reporters from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Followed to his hotel by the press pack, a visibly agitated Ko challenged one reporter to a fight before retreating inside an elevator.
Kai was considerably more composed at an afternoon news conference in which he appeared with his parents and agent and apologized for smoking marijuana.
“I was wrong on this issue. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for it. I was wrong,” Kai said.
“I never realized that Kai Ko is more than just a name for myself. It also means a lot to those who support and love me. It was out of my expectations that anything concerning ‘Kai Ko’ could have such a big impact on others,” he said, before bowing with his parents and agent in a sign of contrition.
The 23-year-old was arrested on Aug. 14 along with Jaycee Chan, son of the Hong Kong martial arts superstar. The arrests drew enormous media attention in the Chinese-speaking world and Kai’s news conference came amid speculation about how his career as an entertainer and brand spokesman might be affected.
Police said both actors tested positive for marijuana and admitted using the drug, and that 100 grams (3.53 ounces) of it were taken from Chan’s home.
While Ko was given a sentence of 14 days in administrative detention — standard for those caught doing drugs — 31-year-old Jaycee Chan remains in detention and faces a potentially much heftier penalty for having shared drugs with others.
Chan, whose mother is former Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-jiao, was raised in Los Angeles and has appeared in about 20 films, most of them low-budget Hong Kong and mainland Chinese productions.
Jackie Chan has publicly apologized for his son’s drug use and pledged to work with him on his recovery.
Ko, whose real name is Ko Chen-tung, rode to fame after his 2011 coming-of-age film “You Are the Apple of My Eye.” The role won him a Best New Performer award at the Golden Horse film awards in Taiwan, considered the most prestigious in Chinese-language cinema.
Ko also played the boyfriend of one of the protagonists in China-produced “Tiny Times 3.0,” a huge hit with young female audiences that knocked “Transformers 4” from the No. 1 spot in the mainland’s box office last month.
The arrests of Ko and Chan came amid a major offensive against drug-related crime in Beijing that has seen a 53.2 percent rise in investigations in the city to more than 1,800 since January, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
More than 8,400 suspects have been detained during that time, an increase of 78.7-percent over the same period last year, Xinhua said.