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Archives for : Awkwafina

THE BAD GUYS – FREE Virtual Activity Kit

THE BAD GUYS is in theaters Friday, April 22, 2022. To celebrate, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks has created a FREE downloadable virtual activity kit!

Link to virtual activity kit:
TheBadGuys_ActivityPack_Complete.pdf (dreamworks.com)

Nobody has ever failed so hard at trying to be good as The Bad Guys.

In the new action comedy from DreamWorks Animation, based on the New York Times best-selling book series, a crackerjack criminal crew of animal outlaws are about to attempt their most challenging con yet—becoming model citizens. 

Never have there been five friends as infamous as The Bad Guys—dashing pickpocket Mr. Wolf (Academy Award® winner Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), seen-it-all safecracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron, GLOW), chill master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson, Hot Tub Time Machine franchise), short-fused “muscle” Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos, In the Heights) and sharp-tongued expert hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina, Crazy Rich Asians), aka “Webs.” 

But when, after years of countless heists and being the world’s most-wanted villains, the gang is finally caught, Mr. Wolf brokers a deal (that he has no intention of keeping) to save them all from prison: The Bad Guys will go good. 

Under the tutelage of their mentor Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade, Paddington 2), an arrogant (but adorable!) guinea pig, The Bad Guys set out to fool the world that they’ve been transformed. Along the way, though, Mr. Wolf begins to suspect that doing good for real may give him what he’s always secretly longed for: acceptance. So when a new villain threatens the city, can Mr. Wolf persuade the rest of the gang to become … The Good Guys? 

The film co-stars Zazie Beetz (Joker), Lilly Singh (Bad Moms) and Emmy winner Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). 

Based on the blockbuster Scholastic book series by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys is directed by Pierre Perifel (animator, the Kung Fu Panda films), making his feature-directing debut. The film is produced by Damon Ross (development executive Trolls, The Boss Baby, co-producer Nacho Libre) and Rebecca Huntley (associate producer, The Boss Baby). The executive producers are Aaron Blabey, Etan Cohen and Patrick Hughes.

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Top 10 Best Films of 2021

10. West Side Story (2021)

I didn’t think we needed a remake of “West Side Story.” Turns out we needed Steven Spielberg’s remake! I’ll admit, at the start of the film I was thinking “What is happening?” I didn’t appreciate what the choreography was saying right away. But about 15 minutes into the movie, I was hooked. Spielberg created a beautiful musical with a modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale that’s sadly still relevant.

9. Pig

“Pig” is the sleeper hit that has stayed with me since viewing it earlier this year. The film follows a truffle hunter (Nicolas Cage) who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness, but must return to Portland in search of his beloved, stolen, truffle pig. I didn’t know much going into this movie, but I was quickly reminded of what a talented actor Nicolas Cage is. Even though he’s had some questionable roles, “Pig” solidifies him as one of the greats. I love the simplicity of the story, and the power behind all the performances; especially, Alex Wolff, who plays opposite Cage. You’d expect this film to go full on “John Wick”, but instead it’s more of a subtle human, drama of a man living with regret and grief.  

8. A Hero

Over the years, director Asghar Farhadi has tried to create empathy between audiences and the characters he writes. In his newest film, “A Hero”, we follow Rahim (Amir Jadidi) – A man who was in prison for unpaid debt. During his two-day leave he tries to end his prison time, but things get a little out of hand. “A Hero” is another fantastic piece of work by Farhadi. He continues to keep audiences on the edge of their seat as he constructs an intricate story that powerfully showcases manipulation through social media

7. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is another notch in the Marvel belt of quality superhero movies with fleshed out characters and heartfelt stories. In this film, Shang Chi has been secretly going by the name Shawn (Simu Liu), and spending most of his time with his best friend, Katy (Awkwafina), as a valet in San Francisco. But when they are unexpectedly attacked by his father’s terrorist organization, the Ten Rings, he is forced to return to his old home, and confront the past he so desperately tried to run away from. The film provides a well-thought-out storyline with an emotional backstory. It stuns visually with its seamless choreography and electrifying special effects. It is also the Asian-inspired action flick audiences have been needing to see as Disney continues to successfully showcase diversity and inclusion in their productions.  

6. Don’t Look Up

When two scientists (Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) discover a comet will soon destroy the Earth, they try everything they can to warn the world and prevent the destruction. But for some reason, people won’t take it seriously. What was intended to be a social commentary on climate change, happens to also relate to our current pandemic and how society chooses to deal with or ignore a global issue. Director/writer Adam McKay creates a hilarious script featuring an all-star, talented cast. The film is timely, terrifying, and laugh-out-loud funny. It’s a comical cautionary tale everyone should watch. 

5. The Last Duel

I have no idea why this film didn’t get more award attention! Jodie Comer at the very least deserves a nomination. “The Last Duel” is based on a true story set in France during the 14th century. Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) accuses Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of raping his wife, Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), and challenges him to a duel to the death. Damon and Ben Affleck reunite to write a gripping tale told from three different perspectives. With their words and Ridley Scott’s masterful vision, “The Last Duel” is a painful, but important reminder of the #MeToo survivors.

4. The Mitchells vs the Machines

“Mitchell’s vs the Machines was one of my early favorites of 2021. It follows Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), a teenager who has felt like an outcast most of her life and spends a lot of her time making funny videos. She’s lost the bond she once had with her father (Danny McBride), and is looking forward to going away for college. But, in an effort to rebuild their relationship, Katie’s dad plans a last-minute family road trip. Unfortunately, this bumpy ride finds the Mitchells in the middle of a robot apocalypse, and they become humanity’s last hope. “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is original, clever, funny, touching, and an absolute blast. This is a movie both kids and adults will connect with and enjoy.  Though Katie and her dad have had their arguments, the entire family has drifted apart by burying themselves in their electronics. Katie’s mom, Linda (Maya Rudolph), is obsessed with other families’ online personas; admiring a life she wished she had. And her brother is obsessed with everything dinosaurs. Rick is the only one in the family who hates technology and enjoys more of the outdoors. It’s enough to make you think twice before pulling out your phones when you’re spending time with your family.  

3. Our Friend

Before I gush about this film, I’m sure some of my colleagues are wondering why a movie that qualified for awards in 2020 is on my top 10 list for 2021. Well, I first saw “Our Friend” in January this year and if you check the official US theatrical release date (not TIFF or other festivals), it opened on January 22, 2021. Moving on! “Our Friend” is an incredibly moving, true story that still brings me to tears when I talk about it. Matt (Casey Affleck) and Nicole (Dakota Johnson) are a loving couple with two daughters; but when they discover Nicole has ovarian cancer, they struggle to keep their life together. When their best friend, Dane (Jason Segel) hears of the tragic news, he decides to put his own life on hold and be there for the whole family. As many times as I have seen a story about losing a loved one from cancer, I have never seen one told like this. Even though it seemed as though Dane was helping Matt and Nicole during a difficult time, in actuality, they were saving him. I think we can all relate to feeling as though a friend may not care as much as you do when you’re sick, or when you just want to feel valued. This is a beautiful portrayal of a mutually loving friendship, and the powerful affect it can have on your life.

2. Spider-Man: No Way Home

I can still remember how I felt when I first saw “Spider-Man” (2002) in theaters. I got chills, my jaw dropped a few times, and I could not stop thinking about what I had just seen. As time went on, we got more Spider-Man movies and different Spider-Man actors. I truly enjoyed them all, some more than others. But never did I think I would be treated to such a theatrical experience in 2021. I’m scared to share any details, because for those who have yet to watch, it’s best to know nothing about the plot. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” weaves together decades of characters we loved and hated to honor a true hero. Tom Holland gives his best performance to date. The film is a nostalgic gift to fans as it engages us in laughter, pulls at our heartstrings, revisits the past, and gives us hope for the future.  

1. King Richard

This probably comes as no surprise as I have raved about this movie since I first saw it. I’ve seen it 3 times, and each time I fall more in love with it. “King Richard” breaks the mold of a formulaic sports biopic. There’s a lot to learn from this film. Though it’s about the Williams sisters’ journey to greatness, it’s also a character study on a flawed man. Richard (Will Smith) is overbearing, selfish, and hard-headed. But he’s also humble, kind, and a loving father. Yes, he wants his daughters to go to Wimbledon, but his first priority for them is to do well in school and enjoy being kids. He also teaches them the importance of good sportsmanship and never forgetting where you came from.

The Best of the Rest:

11. Licorice Pizza

12. Cruella

13. Raya and the Last Dragon

14. The Lost Daughter

15. A Quiet Place Part II

16. Lady of the Manor

17. The Novice

18. House of Gucci

19. Mass

20. Language Lessons

Top 5 Worst Films of 2021

5. Without Remorse – Like a bad date with a good looking person.

4. Space Jam: A New Legacy – Do yourself a favor, just re-watch the original film and forget this exists.

3. Things Heard and Seen – What the actual hell?

2. The Comeback Trail – Luckily, for this all-star cast, most people didn’t know this ever came out.

1. Halloween Kills – An all around joke of a movie that wasn’t funny or fun.

Trevor’s Top 10

10. The Green Knight
9. Candyman
8. No Time to Die
7. The Suicide Squad
6. Don’t Look Up
5. King Richard
4. Pig
3. Spider-Man: No Way Home
2. Bo Burnham: Inside
1. Our Friend

Movie Review: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is Marvel Studios’ newest gem. Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is a skilled Kung-Fu fighter, who’s forced to confront his past and return to the Ten Rings organization he ran away from. Find out my thoughts on the film in the video below.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” opens in theaters September 3, 2021.

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Movie Review: “Raya and the Last Dragon”

“Raya and the Last Dragon” follows a warrior named Raya, whose on a mission to find the last dragon and save her world from the monsters that destroyed it. Watch the video below to see my full review of the movie.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” opens in theaters March 5 and available on Disney Plus Premier Access.

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25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards Nominees

“THE IRISHMAN” LEADS FILM NOMINATIONS FOR 25TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

NETFLIX GARNERS 61 TOTAL NOMINATIONS, HBO EARNS 33

GALA EVENT WILL AIR LIVE ON THE CW NETWORK SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2020 FROM THE BARKER HANGAR IN SANTA MONICA

 The Critics Choice Association (CCA) announced today the nominees for the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The winners will be revealed at the star-studded Critics’ Choice Awards gala, which will once again be hosted by film, television, and stage star Taye Diggs, and broadcast live on The CW Television Network on Sunday, January 12 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm ET (delayed PT).

FILM NOMINATIONS FOR THE 25TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

BEST PICTURE

1917

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Parasite

Uncut Gems

BEST ACTOR

Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory

Robert De Niro – The Irishman

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Adam Driver – Marriage Story

Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems

BEST ACTRESS

Awkwafina – The Farewell

Cynthia Erivo – Harriet

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Lupita Nyong’o – Us

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Charlize Theron – Bombshell

Renée Zellweger – Judy

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes

Al Pacino – The Irishman

Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers

Florence Pugh – Little Women

Margot Robbie – Bombshell

Zhao Shuzhen  – The Farewell

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Julia Butters – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Roman Griffin Davis – Jojo Rabbit

Noah Jupe – Honey Boy

Thomasin McKenzie – Jojo Rabbit

Shahadi Wright Joseph – Us

Archie Yates – Jojo Rabbit

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

Bombshell

The Irishman

Knives Out

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Parasite

BEST DIRECTOR

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Bong Joon Ho – Parasite

Sam Mendes – 1917

Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Rian Johnson – Knives Out

Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won – Parasite

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Lulu Wang – The Farewell

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony McCarten – The Two Popes

Todd Phillips & Scott Silver – Joker

Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

Steven Zaillian  – The Irishman

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Jarin Blaschke – The Lighthouse

Roger Deakins – 1917

Phedon Papamichael   – Ford v Ferrari

Rodrigo Prieto – The Irishman

Robert Richardson – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Lawrence Sher – Joker

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran – Joker

Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales  – 1917

Jess Gonchor, Claire Kaufman – Little Women

Lee Ha Jun – Parasite

Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Bob Shaw, Regina Graves – The Irishman

Donal Woods, Gina Cromwell – Downton Abbey

BEST EDITING

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems

Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker – Ford v Ferrari

Yang Jinmo  – Parasite

Fred Raskin – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Thelma Schoonmaker – The Irishman

Lee Smith – 1917

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Ruth E. Carter – Dolemite Is My Name

Julian Day – Rocketman

Jacqueline Durran – Little Women

Arianne Phillips – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson – The Irishman

Anna Robbins – Downton Abbey

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

Bombshell

Dolemite Is My Name

The Irishman

Joker

Judy

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Rocketman

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1917

Ad Astra

The Aeronauts

Avengers: Endgame

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

The Lion King

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Abominable

Frozen II

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

BEST ACTION MOVIE

1917

Avengers: Endgame

Ford v Ferrari

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Spider-Man: Far From Home

BEST COMEDY

Booksmart

Dolemite Is My Name

The Farewell

Jojo Rabbit

Knives Out

BEST SCI-FI OR HORROR MOVIE

Ad Astra

Avengers: Endgame

Midsommar

Us

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Atlantics

Les Misérables

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

BEST SONG

Glasgow (No Place Like Home) – Wild Rose

(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Rocketman

I’m Standing With You – Breakthrough

Into the Unknown – Frozen II

Speechless – Aladdin

Spirit – The Lion King

Stand Up – Harriet

BEST SCORE

Michael Abels – Us

Alexandre Desplat   – Little Women

Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker

Randy Newman – Marriage Story

Thomas Newman  – 1917

Robbie Robertson – The IrishmanN

TELEVISION NOMINATIONS FOR THE 25TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

BEST DRAMA SERIES

The Crown (Netflix)

David Makes Man (OWN)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Pose (FX)

Succession (HBO)

This Is Us (NBC)

Watchmen (HBO)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)

Mike Colter – Evil (CBS)

Paul Giamatti – Billions (Showtime)

Kit Harington – Game of Thrones (HBO)

Freddie Highmore – The Good Doctor (ABC)

Tobias Menzies – The Crown (Netflix)

Billy Porter – Pose (FX)

Jeremy Strong – Succession (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Olivia Colman – The Crown (Netflix)

Jodie Comer – Killing Eve (BBC America)

Nicole Kidman – Big Little Lies (HBO)

Regina King – Watchmen (HBO)

Mj Rodriguez – Pose (FX)

Sarah Snook – Succession (HBO)

Zendaya – Euphoria (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Asante Blackk – This Is Us (NBC)

Billy Crudup – The Morning Show (Apple)

Asia Kate Dillon – Billions (Showtime)

Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones (HBO)

Justin Hartley – This Is Us (NBC)

Delroy Lindo – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Tim Blake Nelson – Watchmen (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown (Netflix)

Gwendoline Christie – Game of Thrones (HBO)

Laura Dern – Big Little Lies (HBO)

Audra McDonald – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Jean Smart – Watchmen (HBO)

Meryl Streep – Big Little Lies (HBO)

Susan Kelechi Watson – This Is Us (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SERIES

Barry (HBO)

Fleabag (Amazon)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Mom (CBS)

One Day at a Time (Netflix)

PEN15 (Hulu)

Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Ted Danson – The Good Place (NBC)

Walton Goggins – The Unicorn (CBS)

Bill Hader – Barry (HBO)

Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Paul Rudd – Living with Yourself (Netflix)

Bashir Salahuddin – Sherman’s Showcase (IFC)

Ramy Youssef – Ramy (Hulu)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Christina Applegate – Dead to Me (Netflix)

Alison Brie – GLOW (Netflix)

Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Kirsten Dunst – On Becoming a God in Central Florida (Showtime)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep (HBO)

Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Fleabag (Amazon)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)

Anthony Carrigan – Barry (HBO)

William Jackson Harper – The Good Place (NBC)

Daniel Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Nico Santos – Superstore (NBC)

Andrew Scott – Fleabag (Amazon)

Henry Winkler – Barry (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

D’Arcy Carden – The Good Place (NBC)

Sian Clifford – Fleabag (Amazon)

Betty Gilpin – GLOW (Netflix)

Rita Moreno – One Day at a Time (Netflix)

Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Molly Shannon – The Other Two (Comedy Central)

BEST LIMITED SERIES

Catch-22 (Hulu)

Chernobyl (HBO)

Fosse/Verdon (FX)

The Loudest Voice (Showtime)

Unbelievable (Netflix)

When They See Us (Netflix)

Years and Years (HBO)

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Brexit (HBO)

Deadwood: The Movie (HBO)

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix)

Guava Island (Amazon)

Native Son (HBO)

Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Christopher Abbott – Catch-22 (Hulu)

Mahershala Ali – True Detective (HBO)

Russell Crowe – The Loudest Voice (Showtime)

Jared Harris – Chernobyl (HBO)

Jharrel Jerome – When They See Us (Netflix)

Sam Rockwell – Fosse/Verdon (FX)

Noah Wyle – The Red Line (CBS)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Kaitlyn Dever – Unbelievable (Netflix)

Anne Hathaway – Modern Love (Amazon)

Megan Hilty – Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)

Joey King – The Act (Hulu)

Jessie Mueller – Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)

Merritt Wever – Unbelievable (Netflix)

Michelle Williams – Fosse/Verdon (FX)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Asante Blackk – When They See Us (Netflix)

George Clooney – Catch-22 (Hulu)

John Leguizamo – When They See Us (Netflix)

Dev Patel – Modern Love (Amazon)

Jesse Plemons – El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix)

Stellan Skarsgård – Chernobyl (HBO)

Russell Tovey – Years and Years (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Patricia Arquette – The Act (Hulu)

Marsha Stephanie Blake – When They See Us (Netflix)

Toni Collette – Unbelievable (Netflix)

Niecy Nash – When They See Us (Netflix)

Margaret Qualley – Fosse/Verdon (FX)

Emma Thompson – Years and Years (HBO)

Emily Watson – Chernobyl (HBO)

BEST ANIMATED SERIES

Big Mouth (Netflix)

BoJack Horseman (Netflix)

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)

The Simpsons (Fox)

Undone (Amazon)

BEST TALK SHOW

Desus & Mero (Showtime)

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)

The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)

Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SPECIAL 

Amy Schumer: Growing (Netflix)

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright (Netflix)

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons (ABC)

Ramy Youssef: Feelings (HBO)

Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby (Netflix)

Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (Netflix)

Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (Netflix)

Interview: Director/ Writer Lulu Wang talks “The Farewell”

After seeing the trailer for “The Farewell”, I was hooked into the idea of seeing this original movie. A Chinese family lying to their grandmother, who only has months to live, and deciding to not tell her. As a way to gather before Nai Nai’s (Shuzhen Zhao) final months, the family schedules an impromptu wedding.

I can tell you now, the anticipation was warranted as the film delivers in performances, emotion and overall story.

The film is based on a real lie that director/writer, Lulu Wang, and her family came up with 6 years ago. Audiences are invited into this family gathering, and will feel as though they are sitting in on private conversations.

Lulu Wang (Writer/Director of “The Farewell”)

I sat down with Wang while she was in Dallas to promote “The Farewell”.  She explained why she wanted to share this story. “I think the set-up, first of all was so ridiculous. I felt like I needed to share it; in a way like “this is so crazy can you believe it?” It was also the humor and joy that’s juxtaposed with the grief. And how this family has such a light-hearted wonderful perspective on life, that even in the darkest moments they’ve certainly taught me to not focus on the negative and to find the joy and humor in whatever levity you can.”

No matter what culture or background you come from, anyone will be able to relate to the characters in “The Farewell”. Wang described how she wrote with such authenticity. “The key is to make them (the characters) complex and not one-sided. I didn’t set out to make anyone good or bad. I just found the things that I love about them; the things that are kind of irritating sometimes and frustrating and explored all of that.”

Though we are used to seeing Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”, “Oceans 8”) in comedic films, the actress shines in a more dramatic role as Lulu Wang’s character, Billi. Awkwafina had expressed interest in the role after reading the script, and sent Wang an impressive audition tape. “In the tape she did a couple scenes, and it was really the moments where she wasn’t even talking. She was reading with this woman off screen. And when this woman was delivering lines, Awkwafina was listening. But sometimes with actors, when they’re just listening it feels like they are just waiting for their turn to speak. I mean in real life, too, sometimes people are just waiting for their turn to speak (laughs). But with Awkwafina, you could really tell on screen that she was just listening, and processing, and she had all of this conflict just going on internally. And it was amazing that she was able to do that without saying a word,” explained Wang.

There’s a line in the film about how, “If it’s for good it’s not a lie. It’s a good lie.” Wang expressed how she felt about that quote. “I think the one thing I’ve learned from working on this film is; I set out to find an answer, but I came out on the other side realizing that it’s not about the answer. It’s really just about asking the questions. I think that I’ve just come to really respect my family’s decision (to not tell Nai Nai about her illness) and recognize that it’s not my decision to make. And I feel fortunate that it’s not my decision, because it is not an easy one to make.”

Though “The Farewell” can be sad at times, there is a lot awkward laughs throughout the film. A fun moment of comic relief is seeing different family members karaoke during the not so typical wedding scene. Wang discussed her love of karaoke and her favorite songs to perform. “I have a lot. Awkwafina has been talking a lot in the press about my Bloodhound Gang song (laughs). Which like, I didn’t start singing that until my producer started singing that, and it became like an inside joke. But I have quite a few. I really like Day Dream Believer by the Monkeys. I like some good oldies. I’ll also once in a while do like Halo by Beyonce. That’s a very good karaoke song!”

The movie expresses a powerful message recited by Nai Nai, “Life is not about what you do, it’s how you do it.” Wang discussed how she’s currently living life the way she’d hope, by trying to get the most out of every moment. “I recently watched Aziz Ansari: Right Now, which was such a great show and such great title. But in the stand-up, he says that “the only thing that matters is this moment and the people that we’re with”. I was really moved by that, because after everything he’s been through and the state of the world that were in right now. I just don’t want to make work, or do anything that continues to cause divide. Like, I don’t want to spend time fighting, and so just trying to stay level headed and enjoy the moment.”

Audiences will enjoy every moment spent during “The Farewell”. It’s a must see for the entire family.

“The Farewell” opens in select theaters on July 26!

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