I love movies. Especially scary movies. Dark movies, thrillers, and suspense-driven films are what attract me. For one thing, when I’m watching one of these movies at night, they tend to be a lot darker on the screen. Light is my biggest trigger for migraine pain. There is some kind of weird eyeball-brain connection that cruelly turns something bright and beautiful into something torturous and terrible. So, in addition to just having a taste for the darkness of the mind, I also seek the darkness for the eye.

I also like foreign movies. I prefer subtitles, because if the movie is in a language I know, I can often tell what the actors are really saying, versus what the translators are telling the viewer. It’s rarely exactly the same thing, and often, not even close. I figure the dubbing is even farther removed from the script, so I go for the movies with subtitles, if I have a choice. It probably doesn’t fit any clinical diagnosis, but I ascribe it to my OCD.

Combine my taste for darkness with my love of foreign film, and you’ll find that I often like to watch Asian thrillers. Ghost stories with the added bonus of cultural education, I think. Or not. I was watching a Korean one today, and reflecting on the differences between what I’ve seen in the people’s behavior in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cinema. I am an American who has never had the great fortune to travel to these locations, so other than history books, this is the only learning opportunity I have. I thought it was very interesting. At least, as far as actors in film are concerned, Chinese people appear blunt, to the point, no beating around the bush, and no emotion gets in the way. Japanese people appear to be exceedingly polite, absolutely no physical contact is allowed, and very little emotion is shown in public. And today with this Korean movie, it seems that Korean people are either very loud or hotheads, overly familiar with complete strangers, extremely open and welcoming, and more forgiving in the country than in the city.

Wow. I’ve made some generalizations there, haven’t i? While I was watching that Korean film and reflecting on other Asian films I’ve watched, I started thinking about how MY culture is reflected in film. If people in other countries were to watch American movies and believe that is what we all are like, I don’t think I’d be too happy. In fact, I think I’d like to smack somebody. They’d probably think of Americans:

• All Latinos (like me) are members of Mexican drug cartels. Unless the movie is from the 80’s. Then, the Latinos are from Columbian drug cartels.
• All African-Americans are either athletes, rappers, or gang bangers from the inner city. Or any combination of two of those things.
• All white people are rich, and wealthy or educated minorities are only science fiction.
• As soon as you exit the plane, train, or boat and hit American soil, officials need to hand you a firearm, because you will be taking some heavy gunfire almost immediately, and for the duration of your stay. You may want to consider Kevlar undergarments.
The US government can and will track you, and can hunt you down wherever you are. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Oh, wait. That was the Edward Snowden story on the news. Not a movie. Never mind.
• All American women are bone thin, have huge breasts, few brains, and mostly have blonde hair.
• All American men have awesome pecs, a full head of sexy hair, biceps you can swing from with a rope, and can shoot one eyeball off a fly at 1,000 meters. The hair is negotiable, if the dude is badass enough.

Heck, if all America was like that, Mr ReloVertigo and I wouldn’t have had to move all over the country for excitement all these years. He’d have been a frickin’ spy!

Yeah, I don’t think I should be buying into the generalizations I picked up on about Asia. Of course not. Please, enjoy this important video which exemplifies our simple American culture, and I think you will agree.

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