Eugene Cho

the movie that influenced you – the sequel

Yesterday, I asked this blog community to post some of their most influential films.  Reading people’s contributions got me thinking all day about some of those films.  I shared four on my entry yesterday and am adding a few more to comprise my Top 10 ‘most influential films’ today for the heck of it. 

One of the films is JoyLuck Club because it hits home in many ways. I just couldn’t measure up to my older brothers.  I’m embarrassed to say that I cried like a baby when I saw this film since this hurts my street cred as an ultimate fighter angry asian man.  But oh well.  Here’s the ‘Best Quality Heart’ scene from YouTube.  Anyone else?

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll have to share our lists of all time favorite films and ‘favorite chick flicks.’ Anyway, here’s my Ten Most Influential Films in no particular order.  Feel free to add a few more on yesterday’s entry or here.

Shawshank Redemption:  I love this film.  I love Morgan Freeman and his voice.  And this is one of the movies I can see again and again.  The reason why this film influences me:  HOPE.

Do the Right Thing: First of many Spike Lee films I love.  This film kept the entire theater audience absolutely silent when the film ended.  It’s the only time I’ve ever seen that happen.

Matrix:  I don’t think I’ve ever been so mesmerized by a film.  Amongst the current 20-30 year olds, this is probably the referred film.  Right?

Clockwork Orange:  This and Oldboy is up there amongst the most disturbing films I have ever seen.  The * with this film is that my 7th grade teacher [in public school] showed our class this film.  If you’ve ever seen this, you’re probably asking yourself, “What the heck?!” 

Exactly.  I have only seen that film once in 7th grade but it still – to this day – haunts me.

The Passion of Christ:  Not an enjoyable film.  Have only seen it twice but one of the most influential for simple reason that it doesn’t hold back in the depiction of the suffering of Christ.  In my opinion, this film is a gift to the community of faith and should be seen by all.  When people complain that it’s too violent…exactly.

Enter the Dragon:  Two words: Bruce Lee.  Another two words:  Kicks Ass.  He’s the first Asian person I ever saw on the big screen.  Just seeing that was empowerment.

Joyluck Club:  see above.

Field of Dreams:  I don’t know why I liked this film so much.  But maybe it’s because it draws many parallels in my life.  For that matter, I love most sports films such as The Natural, Chariots of Fire, and Hoosiers.

The Mission:  Robert de Niro and the music.  Inspiring.  And perhaps one of the most amazing scenes of grace when Robert de Niro carries his burden up the mountain…

Taekukgi:  [otherwise called, ‘The Brotherhood of War’] For the simple reason that it’s the Korean version of Saving Private Ryan but more personal since my parents are from the land now called North Korea.   Cried quietly with my wife after this film.  This is my #1 film on my Top 10 Korean film list.  Other great war films like Blackhawk Down, Full Metal Jacket, and SP Ryan have been memorable for the simple reason that they make me yearn and pray for peace.

Filed under: entertainment, ,

25 Responses

  1. oh I loved The Joy Luck Club, but I have to say I liked the book better than the movie. But Rosalind Chao is always great to watch…

  2. Phyllis says:

    joy luck club is the best!
    other great “chick flicks”: steel magnolias, fried green tomatoes – these all deal with those complicated relationships between women…
    i also really liked serendipty – that love conquers in the end
    dead poets’ society: even though it’s all about guys, there is something there that resonates, esp with the asian girl growing up with all those expectations…
    pride & prejudice: not the keira knightly version… bc who doesn’t want to be in love with mr. darcy?
    love actually: bc who does not want mr. darcy to learn porteguese and propose to her in front of her whole village???
    finally, anne of green gables – the all time favorite movie for all girls of all ages! she’s something fierce yet is still all woman. and she’s imperfect, which makes her so perfect! a definite must see if you are a girl/woman!

  3. gracerules says:

    Here are some chick flicks to think about:

    Love Actually – So many stories – so many happy endings!!!
    You’ve Got Mail – Finding true love where you least expect it.
    The Holiday – Kate Winslet’s monologues are great and Cameron Diaz and Jude Law sizzle together.
    My Best Friends Wedding – Lots of laughs and the restaurant scene where they all sing “I Say A Little Prayer” is a classic.
    Sleepless In Seattle – Meg Ryan at her best!
    Step Mom – A real tear jerker.
    Dirty Dancing – We still use the line “nobody puts baby in a corner” and laugh about getting even by dancing:>)
    An Officer and A Gentleman – This is the movie that made so many women fall in love with Richard Gere.
    When Harry Met Sally – Funny and sweet. The restaurant scene where Meg demonstrates how women can fake it is hilarious.
    Father Of The Bride – Funny and sentimental. Steve Martin and Diane Keaton are hilarious…oh, and I love the wedding planner character!
    Top Gun – A chick flick that my husband actually likes! Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis have great chemistry.
    Jerry MacQuire – It catches you from the first scene and has some great one liners: “Show Me The Money” and “You had me at hello”
    Titanic – True romance!
    City Of Angels – Love and tragedy!
    What Women Want – Mel Gibson is fantastic – especially love the singing and dancing scene he does.
    The Notebook – You need a box of Kleenex but it is worth it.

  4. Jenny says:

    Roy and I watched Tae Guk Gi last night. I also cried at the end. It was more graphic war scenes than I usually watch (I listened to a lot with my eyes closed) but the story of the two brothers and all that they go through is amazing. Hard to watch, but so glad I did.

  5. eugenecho says:

    send me your chick flicks for a future entry. i think my post was confusing…

  6. Randall says:

    News flash, guys like “chick flicks” as well…at least I do.

    Some of my favorites:
    (I don’t know if they all qualify as chick flicks but they’re movies that make me sad to be single…which is getting rarer and rarer the older I get)
    Say Anything – I want to be Lloyd Dobler when I grow up
    Before Sunrise – the “sequel” was okay, but Sunrise is luminous and amazing. If you haven’t seen this, stop reading this blog and find yourself a copy NOW!
    As Good As It Gets
    and finally, the guy version of the chick flick: Swingers – I remember watching this with a bunch of my guy friends on Valentine’s day along with an abundance of pizza and beer.

    Oh, and Joy Luck Club (the book and the movie) makes me cry like a hungry baby everytime.

  7. Jin says:

    Return of Dragon: Two words: Chuck Norris

  8. Capt Ralph says:

    Ohhh, Eugene, this is NOT what you asked for but, here goes………………………I am NOT totally anti-movie. I see about one a year. Karl-Peter and Rachel treated their parents to “Quantum Of Solace” last weekend. I liked it; good for the comparison with past 007 flicks. Haven’t seen them all but familiar with the genre. I also enjoyed the last “Indiana Jones” episode, just for nostalgia.

    However, I believe the movie has replace the “Preacher” for many. Just my own philosophy, that Hollywood is now teaching by parable. Not necessarily that the increase in movie attendance is directly related to the downturn in church attendance. Whether the message is subltle on not, too many get their life guideposts from the movies they watch.

    Sorry that the “old man” has to throw cold water on an otherwise pleasurable activity. Just a caution!

    Thanks for listening,

  9. Daniel Azuma says:

    Today, somewhere, a seventh grade teacher is getting fired. “What the heck?!?!”

  10. billy says:

    i don’t mean to be mean but could it be that some blogger/ministers are a little narcissistic?

  11. Dadofiandi says:

    Thanks for trying to make me cry at work.

  12. eugenecho says:

    @capt ralph: exactly. i agree with you. hollywood has become the new preacher. however, i think there’s also some needed self-examination by the preachers of the Church. why? because we’ve become mediocre communicators…

    @billy: umm, i have a picture of myself on my blog banner. of course i’m a little narcissistic. hope all is well as SPU.

  13. Daniel says:

    This post reminds us all that sequels just aren’t as good as the original. :)

  14. Randall says:

    @Pastor Eugene: sorry about that…didn’t see your entry until after I posted mine.

    @Capt Ralph: I think you hit the nail on the head. People are getting their world view from what they see in theaters (and on the television). Personally, I think this is the fault of churches not telling the compelling story of the Gospel in a compelling way. We have a story that needs to be heard but we need to tell it in a fresh, new way.

    I’ve been reading Andy Crouch’s new book Culture Making and he makes the case that we need to go beyond just critiquing culture or consuming culture or creating a sub-culture (like the Christian Entertainment Industry). We need to be creators of culture. As to how this works or looks, well I haven’t gotten to that part of the book yet but I’m really looking forward to it!

  15. hamster says:

    Two movies that are towards the top of my list for being memorable that I haven’t seen mentioned:

    Crash — redemption in so many forms
    The Last Emperor — overwhelming

  16. gracerules says:

    Eugene – so sorry about jumping the gun on the chick flick list – please feel free to go ahead and delete my comment since it doesn’t fit in with the discussion (how embarrassing!)

  17. Dadofiandi says:

    @Capt Ralph, @Randall Our world view is made of up so many things, our upbringing, our experiences, our culture etc. Often times a point will be made in a medium that reinforces a Biblical principal that I may already know, but either have forgotten or gives a new perspective. Similarly some sermons affect me less than other people and visa versa.
    As far as a downturn in church attendance I can only speak for myself and some of my friends why I/we don’t attend “church” with regularity or at all, it has little to do with tv or movies, in fact some don’t own tv’s. But that is a discussion for a different post.
    @eugenecho I have never been to your church, so I hope you don’t feel disparaged by my remarks, but in fact from what I know of it represents more of what I believe a church should be.

  18. daphne says:

    I don’t know how much it has influenced my life, but Pieces of April is an awesome movie about Family, trust, & love.

  19. mary says:

    For me, reading The Joy Luck Club (and subsequently seeing the movie) was like encountering a kindred spirit. I still remember reading the book for the first time as a teenager and realizing that much of it seemed extracted from my own thoughts or dialog with my Chinese father. I was so excited I even underlined these passages in the book! I think the book and the movie also helped me understand my father in a different way, and for that reason I am grateful.

  20. […] may have missed in the past or remind me of something I haven’t seen in a while.  Because of Eugene’s list I have already decided that I am going to watch The Joy Luck Club this […]

  21. Carol says:

    I’m probably the only one that hasn’t seen “The Joy Luck Club” so perhaps my comments are out of context. But after watching the film clip I was struck by how this scene fit so well with my seminary class on “Spirituality, Shame and Grace” (going to GFES). So after watching the clip I’ve been reflecting on how we can misunderstand (and therefore “mis-receive”) intent and motive. I was reminded that we often have not understood God’s intent, His love for us and for others because it is received through the filter of not measuring up (trust me I know what I’m talking about), not being good enough. I could go on, but won’t! Thanks for sharing it with us… Yes I’m going to watch the movie (after Dec. 12 — when the semester is done!:)

  22. Ben C says:

    how can you cry watching that?

  23. amanda says:

    Chick flicks:

    The Notebook: My fiance made fun of this movie prior to seeing it. When I finally sat him down to watch it, he was crying by the end, holding me, and saying, “I will love you forever.”

    When Harry Met Sally: The diner scene is classic! And the scene where he finally says, “When you know who you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” And all the cute little couples spread throughout the movie!

    Sleepless in Seattle: Another Meg Ryan classic!

    Enchanted: For the Disney princess in all of us!

    Titanic: I saw this the week it came out (in 8th grade) and cried during the *previews* because I knew Leo DiCaprio died. I saw this again a few months ago and was pleasantly reminded what a wonderful movie it is.

    Amelie: I said this in a previous post, but I watch this movie to remind myself there is still magic in this world.

    City of Angels: I cry like a baby every time!

  24. amanda says:

    @eugenecho: oh yeah! i saw A Clockwork Orange in a 10th grade film class. It haunts me too!!

  25. Scooter says:

    Forgive me, I’m new here…first time offender if you will:)

    Movies…Currently Americas foremost form of “entertainment”.

    It’s been a long week and I just don’t have the energy or time to do the is it Good vs Evil thing.

    In the spirit of “Lighten UP!” :)….

    Dear host,
    I like what I’ve seen so far, thank you!

    Movies that have influenced me…

    “The Deer Hunter”…the Russian roulette scenes really messed with me for a long time. No other cinematic experience I’ve had has come close to touching me on that level…it really disturbed me! (Dear host I realize you might take exception with portrayals in this film and I mean no disrespect)

    “Brave Heart”…freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedoooooooooom!!! I think that says it all.

    Bruce Lee. He hit the American culture when I was in high school. I was mesmerized…we did multiple “Bruce Lee maratons” as drive in theaters would show groups of his films at a time. It’s been fun to see his appeal to live on as my sons brought home a boxed set of his films when they were in high school. They watched it repeatedly He has a special talent and athleticism that many have tried to emulate. In my opinion nobody has come close though. Did you ever see him in any of the cheesy “Green Lantern” episodes?

    There, another “old man” has spoken. Old like I remember when “Everybody was Kung Fu fighting! Them cats were fast as lightening…”

    love to all

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One Day’s Wages

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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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