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Thursday, August 14, 2003
PRAISING NEMO FROM KOREA

I'm in Korea until Tuesday, and after that will actually be home in Los Angeles for nearly a month, so blogging should get back to some kind of regularity. Meanwhile, did I mention that I'm in Korea?

Love it here. People are just wonderful, food is fabulous and social (you have to eat here to know what I mean) and, honestly, Seoul 2003 makes most of the USA look like a technological third world nation. This country is unbelievably hi-tech - 90% Internet access, mobile units that function as cameras, beepers, phones, flashlights, entertainment centers and well, fashion statements. It's not at all what I expected (fill in "because I am an ignorant, isolationist-leaning, provincial American who is only fluent in English and movies.") The best part of Korea is certainly the people. There is a grave formality about the hospitality here that has left me in awe from the first day. Bowing and broad smiles. Bowing and smiles. There seems to me to be a natural warmth and joy in the Korean spirit. They love color and laughter and basically, people. And you have to love a country that has a daily spiritual meditation on the front page of the morning paper. The only downside here is the traffic. Jammed. Makes L.A. seem somehow transportationally efficient.

Okay, so back to things cultural...

Finding Nemo is the best film of the year. I apologise for letting you all know after the film has already logged $300 million in domestic boxoffice, but I generally loathe animation and always have to drag myself to see a cartoon. Pixar has been gradually converting me with their 3-D Toys and Monsters and, now, lovely South Pacific sealife. Nemo is a fabulous film on every level beginning, of course, with its framework in a terrific script.

There are two interwoven stories here, each with a significant arc for the two main characters. The most clever part of the writing is the way the writers (eek - Clare, I don't know their names and I am in a hotel lobby in Seoul so give me a break already!) have avoided the traditional cartoon character antagonist. There is no bad guy in Finding Nemo. The "antagonist" is life itself. Fantastic stuff.

If next year wasn't an election year, Finding Nemo would certainly have to get the nod for Best Picture from Oscar. Unfortunately, the industry generally gets particularly propagandistic on us every four years and so we'll probably see the principle awards go to some badly executed but earnest leftwing flicks. Or else, the Academy will reward Peter Jackson with a statue just because they didn't give it to him two years ago when they probably should have....even though I personally wouldn't give Lord of the Rings anything except a bottle of shampoo.

Sigh. In a perfect world, Pixar's little fish would take it all. Quick, dive in to your nearest cineplex if you haven't seen it yet. And that means you too, you people over eight.