Are you a collector? Do you willy-nilly collect every piece of your favorite actor’s work without pausing to check if the piece is worth the collecting? Are you also an optimist? A movie title such as “Haunters” should stop you in your tracks since you shun anything remotely suggestive of horror, but now you pick up the DVD with an ear-to-ear grin, sure in your newly acquired bravado. Ghostly movie or not, I shall watch this just for you, Kang Dong-won!
Alas. At the one-hour mark I begin what the lizards in my room call The Thundie Wiggle. I stretch, I scrutinize the ceiling for cobwebs, I slap my face in four places.
White Tower (2007) is a drama that deserves a thoughtful and thorough review, preferably after multiple viewings.
But as I explained here, time is not on my side for now. Thus, rather than let many months slip by – the prospect of a review growing ever dimmer – I thought I should post the White Tower scribbles I wrote four years ago. Hopefully that will rekindle memories of the drama for those of us who have watched it, or jolt into “I’m going to watch it now!” action the people who have been sitting forever on it. More importantly (ha!), it will give us an opportunity to talk about Kim Myung-min. I don’t know about you, but I do miss him so.
I will divide this post into two parts: a spoiler-free overview of the drama and a spoilery discussion of Kim Myung-min’s character, Dr. Jang Joon-hyeok.
You’ll hear this statement a lot in the first episode so I might as well hit you on the head with it right off the bat:
I am a gumiho.
That’s right. I’m a bona fide liver-eating fox spirit with nine tails, all of which I’ve cleverly tucked out of sight until a full moon uncoils them, very much like how a snake charmer’s pungi coaxes forth a basketful of gyrating snakes. Gaze and be amazed!
For Part 2 of our Treasure Trove series, I’m pleased to present an eclectic selection of dramas. All of them have one thing in common: awesomeness in spades!
Oh, before you start clicking those links, here’s a public service announcement:
The four dramas are raining hotties so have a bucket handy for your drool. On a related note, the editor of the Eight Days’ subs gets first dibs on the king. (If you are going “Ha, go ahead and have him,” you ain’t seen the king and his swordsplay yet. Sexiest royal alive.)
Ever since I fell in love with Bong Joon-ho‘s Memories of Murder, I knew I had to get hold of his first movie, Barking Dogs Never Bite (a.k.a. A Higher Animal or Dog of Flanders, 2000). I looked specifically for it when I was strolling in touristy Myeongdong on my first visit to Seoul and found it easily in the second DVD store I hopped into. Joy!
(By the way, “barking dogs never bite” is commonly understood as an idiom about people who issue threats all the time but don’t make good on their word. You know, the ones who yell a lot but it’s all din and no damage. Speaking of din, my dogs bark at the mailman the moment they smell him coming a block away, but I can vouch for them never ever biting him. That doesn’t make the man like the pooches any better, alas.)
Written and directed by him, Bong Joon-ho’s debut work has been seen by a lot fewer people than his later two movies (The Host is still king in Korea in terms of tickets sold), but that doesn’t mean it’s any less well-made or entertaining. Barking Dogs Never Bite ranks up there with the likes of The Quiet Family, Guns and Talks and My Scary Girl, all of them my favorite comedies because of their blend of dark and quirky humor. All certain to elicit gasps, chortles, and even some knee-slapping.