Hangover II in Bangkok, new movie | Bangkok Post: learning

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Hangover II in Bangkok, new movie

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Bangkok Post film reviewer Kong Rithee says Hangover II is one of the worst sequels he's ever seen, but it's set in Thailand and is drawing big crowds. 

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Click button to listen to Hangover II in Bangkok and rightclick to download


Click button to listen to Part 2: Hangover II in Bangkok and rightclick to download

MOVIE REVIEW: Unleashing the monster by Kong Rithdee


If you have a demon inside you, move to Bangkok. "This city suits me," says Stu, the ill-fated American groom-to-be who has, in his own words, a weakness for prostitutes, male or female, or anything else.

Bangkok, he implies, has unleashed the monster in him. Stu is getting married to a Thai bride who speaks only English, perhaps because she's played by a Chinese-American Jamie Chung. Damn, Stu should've known better; if he's having a stag party, if he's so fearful that the stag party would turn out to be a calamity of an irredeemable proportion, like in The Hangover I, why has he come to Thailand? Is he completely daft, just like the whole movie

Vulgar
and stupid, cinematically, geographically and culturally, The Hangover Part II is one of the worst sequels I've ever seen. Vulgarity and stupidity in itself is fine, as long as it is redeemed by something, like the ability to entertain, which is not quite the case here. But we'll get to that later. Without intending to perhaps, what's interesting is that The Hangover II is honest about the dark allure that our Lost-Angel-ist has on foreigners who suspect there are demons lurking in them. Once Bangkok has you in its grip, it won't let you go, says Paul Giamatti himself, playing a gangster. Could you agree more?

There's a sort of quiet pride from the authority that the film, a sequel of a blockbuster, chose Thailand as its location, and that's a real wonder. The law requires a foreign film production to submit a script for approval, and I'm amazed that the film board got something lost in translation. I'm not being nationalistic; I just said that the film is honest about the way some foreigners perceive this country. But when the film board green-lighted a film that features a monk (robed curiously like a Burmese monk, though he's obviously a Thai monk in the story) being given a fake blow-job by a monkey - repeat, a monkey - and a transvestite hooker recounting a saucy episode in which he shoots his sperm into the orifice of Stu (poor Stu), and the same transvestite playing that unfortunate gag about the meaning of 'Bangkok' (Bang-kok, with the stress on the latter syllable), I wonder if, all of the sudden, the tourism people here have grown unconditionally liberal and open-minded. Come to Thailand, we'll unleash your demon, and then something else too.

Like The Beach has shown before, Thailand is a place where anything is possible, especially for non-Thais. There seems to be two facets of Thailand in The Hangover II (and in many films shot here): the Thailand of the Vietnam War years - the tawdry bars, the women, the claws of the night - and the Thailand of the official tourism brochure: the beaches, the luxurious resorts, the rooftop restaurants. Both are true, and both are the extremely superficial ways to see the country, any country. Then there are the elephants. There's a shot in the film, in Chinatown, that encapsulates the undying image of Thailand as the world perceives us, and through which we're happy to be perceived: the shot of the flummoxed Americans flanked by a decorated elephant and a group of Buddhist monks, all in the glorious squalor of f***ing Bangkok

A brief note here: In 1927, Merian C Cooper, who later made the original King Kong, was the first American to shoot a feature film in Thailand. The film was called Chang. Eighty-four years later, it's still difficult to find a foreign film shot here that doesn't contain at least one shot of the beast. And monks too. It's as if the film board would approve any film that has those two props, never mind the gross, infantile jokes that come in between.

To preserve our dignity, the censor board (which is different from the film board that permitted the shoot) did its part in preserving our dignity by putting mosaics on breasts and penises. I thought those days were over. I thought if we had the guts to allow the film to be shot here, then at least let it show what it has shot. This is salt-rubbing on a festering wound. Anyway, the film is rated 18-plus, though I would not advise anybody of any age to go see it.

The Hangover II seems intent on defying any atom of common sense. It's a comedy, of course, but that doesn't mean it can do anything and expect us to treat it as a laugh. The same gang - Bradley Cooper as Phil, Zach Galifianakis as Alan, and Justin Bartha as Doug - arrive in Thailand for the beachfront wedding between Stu (Ed Helms) and his English-speaking Siamese bride. It looks like Krabi, though it's never mentioned exactly. Two nights before the ceremony, the same fate as Part I revisits them as they get drunk and wake up in a seedy Bangkok hotel. Yes, at midnight they're in the South, and in the morning they're in the capital. Apparently, they got here by BOAT, via the Gulf of Thailand. It's not just a suspension of disbelief, as scholars used to say, it's a suspension of intelligence

The rest is a mishmash of juvenile adventure - the film wouldn't work even if it was set in Canada or Somalia. The gang has to find the missing brother of the bride before they can go back to the wedding, and they get involved with thugs, drug dealers, harlots and monks. There's a scene when the friends apparently travel to a Chiang Mai monastery and back in an hour by the narrative time. All of these wouldn't matter if the jokes worked, or if the sordid wit and spontaneous recklessness the first film were exploited for a fraction. The proliferation of bad taste is noted as a sub-genre of modern cinema, or at least Hollywood cinema, and sometimes it's funny and even subversive, like the early Kevin Smith films, but certainly not here, when the sole intent is to make a poor-quality film and capitalise on the popularity of the original.

Exotic,
Buddhist, elephant-infested, cosmopolitan, everybody-speak-English Thailand is not a character here; it's just a prop. The sole merit of the film is its offhand observations of the anything-goes attitude here. Yes, the demon has been unleashed, and the first things it devours are Stu, Phil, Alan, Doug and everybody and everything in this unnecessary film.

(Source: Bangkok Post, MOVIE REVIEW, Unleashing the monster, 27/05/2011, Kong Rithdee, link)

Bangkok Nightlife Vocabulary

hangover - the bad feeling that a person has after a night of heavy drinking (symptoms include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst, depression, and anxiety), "hypoglycemia, dehydration, acetaldehyde intoxication, and glutamine rebound are all theorized causes of hangover symptoms" (See Wikipedia)

The Hangover - a 2009 movie made in the US about some guys who have a bachelor's party (stag party) and "who awake in Las Vegas after a bachelor party to find they have no memory of the previous night's events and are missing their friend Doug (Bartha) whose wedding is scheduled to occur the next day. The story was partially inspired by the filmmakers' real-life misadventures"(See Wikipedia)

The Hangover II -
the sequel to the first film "The Hangover" which is reviewed above (See Wikipedia)
sequel - the next movie in a series of movies

prostitute - a woman or man in the business of having sex for money (See Wikipedia)
weakness for prostitutes - he likes to use prostitutes (but he knows this is bad and he should not do it) (another example: she had a weakness for chocolate ice cream but she was trying to lose weight)

stag party - bachelor party, the wild party that a man about to be married has with his friends (as his last taste of freedom before married life)
groom - the man who is married in a marriage ceremony

unleash - to release suddenly a strong, uncontrollable and usually destructive force ปล่อย
demon - an evil spirit ปีศาจ

claws - the sharp curved end of a front leg of some animal's toes อุ้งมือ อุ้งเท้า
claws of the night - imagine: a wild animal or monster pulling you into its violent grip and holding you tight and eating you 

grip - to have a strong affect on something ได้รับผลกระทบ
lurking
- wait secretly, planning to do something bad ซุ่ม ซ่อน หลบอยู่

fate - the unplanned things that happen to a person by chance, especially unpleasant things ชะตากรรม
ill-fated - not lucky

vulgar - is rude, shows sex or sexual parts of the body in bad taste, low 
allure - attraction, the pleasing or exciting quality that something has

calamity - a bad event or serious accident causing damage or suffering เหตุการณ์ที่เลวร้าย
calamity of an irredeemable proportion - a bad event that can never be recovered from
daft -
having strange, impractical, even stupid, behaviour

fake - made to look like something real in order to trick people ปลอม ที่ทำปลอม, ปลอมแปลง
blow-job - a form of sex: sucking on another man's penis, also known as "oral sex" (See Wikipedia)
transvestite - a cross-dresser, a man who dresses up like a woman (See Wikipedia)
hooker -
a prostitute
gangster - a member of a group of criminals
saucy - referring to sex, especially in a humorous way ทะลึ่ง,ซุ่มซ่าม

sperm - a special type of cell produced by male sex organs that can enter a female egg and fertilize it thus producing a baby (interesting fact: "the human sperm cell is haploid, so that its 23 chromosomes can join the 23 chromosomes of the female egg to form a diploid cell" with a full 46 chromosomes) (See Wikipedia)

orifice - a hole in the body (mouth, ears, anus, nose, etc)
gag -
a joke
unfortunate gag - a joke that is not really funny (better if they had not told the joke)

lost in translation - meaning that is lost when translating what someone said from one language to another language

condition - something that must happen or exist before another thing can happen (example: one condition for being a monk is agreeing never to drink alcohol)
unconditionally - without conditions
liberal - giving or allowing a lot of something, generous
open-minded - accepting of ideas that are different from your own ideas

luxurious
- very comfortable and expensive ฟุ่มเฟือย, โอ่อ่า หรูหรา
rooftop - the outside surface of the roof of a building หลังคา
image - the picture of something that people have in their mind, what people think about something ภาพลักษณ์
undying image - an unforgettable memory, a picture that people have in their minds of something (that they will never forget)

flummoxed
- confused and do not know what to say or do
glorious - deserving great admiration, praise and honor รุ่งเรือง
flanked by - have on both sides 

props - objects used by the actors performing in a play or film เครื่องมือ
gross - extreme and unreasonable เลวร้าย
infantile - like a small baby or child
infantile jokes - silly jokes like those told by small children

guts
- courage, being brave
wound - an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged, usually seriously บาดเจ็บ บาดแผล
festering wound -
when a wound becomes infected thus becoming worse and more dangerous
salt-rubbing on a festering wound - rubbing salt on an infected wound makes it hurt even more (meaning: the person is already insulted and hurt, and there is further insult and injury) 

intent - your plan or purpose จุดประสงค์
intent on - have as your plan

defy - don't do what you are told to do, refuse to behave in the way someone wants you to behave
common
- done or shared by most people  
common sense - behaving in a practical and a reasonable sensible way (in a natural way that also makes sense)
defy common sense - do something stupid

treat it as a laugh - accept it as a laugh, regard it as a laugh (and not as an insult)

capital
- the city that is the center of government in a country (example: Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, Washington D.C. is the capital of the US)
seedy - dirty, messy, have a bad reputation (said in disapproval)

suspension - stopping for a period of time (temporarily)
suspension of disbelief - willing suspension of disbelief, when you stop trying to believe the story for a period of time (for example, while you are watching a movie), "a formula for justifying the use of fantastic or non-realistic elements in literature. It was put forth in English by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a "human interest and a semblance of truth" into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative" (See Wikipedia)

scholars - people who study a subject in detail (such as college professors and researchers) and who are therefore experts in the subject
intelligence - how smart (or not) you are

mishmash -
a disorganized mixture of different things
juvenile (adjective) - done like a child, related to children
adventure - an unusual, exciting and possibly dangerous activity such as a journey or experience, or the excitement produced by such an activity การผจญภัย
thugs - violent people and criminals
drug dealers - criminals whose illegal business is selling drugs
harlots - prostitutes

sordid - dirty
spontaneous - happening or done in a natural, often sudden way, without any planning or without being forced ซึ่งเป็นไปตามธรรมชาติ, เป็นไปเอง, ซึ่งเกิดขึ้นเอง, โดยสัญชาตญาณ
recklessness - were not careful, acted in a way that causes accidents and harm to others ความสะเพร่า ความมักง่าย ,ความไม่ยั้งคิด

proliferation - creating a lot of something

taste - the things that a person likes and prefers
bad taste - when the things a person likes are not good (lowly things)
proliferation of bad taste -
creating a lot of things that in bad taste (that are low things)

subversive - acting so as to destroy something (such as a government, political system or even whole society)

exotic - unusual and interesting because it comes from a distant far-away country
infested - when something like insects, rats (or some other unpleasant creature) is present in a place in large numbers causing damage
cosmopolitan - a place with people from many different places and cultures (therefore open to new ideas and ways of doing things)

attitude - the way you think and feel about something, as shown in behaviour
anything-goes attitude - not being overly strict, controlling, critical, or complaining about what happens (the "mai ben rai" attitude that Thailand is famous for)
devours - eats quickly and ferociously (like a wild animal)

General Vocabulary

X suits Y - X is good in situation Y or with person Y
worst - most + bad
redeemed - made something or someone seem less bad กู้ชื่อเสียง
intend - want something to happen, want some result from actions
Without intending to - did not want this to happen (but it did happen after their action)

suspect - to believe that something is true, especially something bad สงสัย

female
- of a woman สำหรับผู้หญิง
X implies Y -
if X, then Y

pride - feeling good and satisfied about what people close to you have achieved (example: pride in your daughter's high grades, about an accomplishment) ความภาคภูมิใจ
authority - power อำนาจ
blockbuster - a very popular movie (many people go and watch the movie)
submit - to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
approval - official permission การอนุมัต
film board - the government organization that checks the content of movies and assigns a rating (limiting the age groups that can watch it) and sometimes bans a film completely

nationalism -
the philosophy of loving your country (often to excess, which usually means either: 1. hating other countries, or 2. believing your country is better than others)
nationalistic
(adjective)

perceive - to come to an opinion about something, or have a belief about something รับรู้
green-lighted - oked, given permission to start a project, given permission to go ahead with the project, given the go ahead
recounting - telling a story
episode - one of the single parts into which a story is divided, especially when it is broadcast on the television or radio ตอน

stress - to emphasise; to state something strongly ย้ำ to emphasis the importance of something เน้น 
syllable - one sound unit of a word (containing initial consonants, one vowel and maybe final consonants, for example: th-i-nk) (See Wikipedia)

facet - one single part or aspect of something
shoot a film - make a film (use a movie camera to record all the scenes of the film)

official
- approved by the government or some authority ที่เป็นทางการ
brochure - a thin book with pictures and photos that gives you information about a product or service
official tourism brochure - a brochure for tourists made by the government

feature - to include someone or something as an important part ทำให้เด่น
preserve - to keep something as it is, especially in order to prevent it from being damaged or destroyed ทำให้คงอยู่, สงวน
dignity - acting in a in a way that makes people respect you
censor - person or organisation who examines media and removes parts it doesn't want the public to hear
censor board - the government organization that censors (and cuts parts out of) films
putting mosaics on breasts and penises - covering them in the movie so they cannot be seen by people (censorship)

comedy
- a (type of) film, play or book which is intentionally funny either in its characters or its action ความตลกขบขัน
ceremony - a formal public event งานพิธี

apparently - based only on what you have seen, heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly ตามที่ได้รู้มา
monastery - the place where monks live
narrative time - time in the story (which may not match reality)
wouldn't matter - a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน
wit - the ability to use words in a clever and humorous way คำพูดหรือข้อเขียนที่แสดงเชาวน์ปัญญา

exploited
- use someone for your own gain and possibly harm them
genre -
a particular type of film, literature, painting, music or some other art form
sub-genre
- an even smaller classification (category, type, kind) than a genre (genre broken into several sub-genres)
Hollywood cinema -
big expensive profit-making movies made in the US

sole - only เดี่ยวๆ
sole intent - only purpose
capitalize on - make use of (to gain some advantage or benefit)

merit - the advantages and other goods points about something
offhand - said without checking the facts or truth of something
observations - something you have learned by watching and thinking about something
offhand observations - reaction to something you see (said without checking facts or doing any research to ensure accuracy)

feature film - the main long film (when there are also short films being shown) (See Google Definitions)

Chang - a 1927 documentary film about a poor farmer in Isan and his daily struggle for survival in the jungle (See Wikipedia)

Kevin Smith films - a filmmaker and comic book author in the US known for the creation of an alternative universe known as the View Askewniverse (See Wikipedia)


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