Monking around on the big screen

Monking around on the big screen

New movie about funny monk is big hit at a time of monks fighting with monks, power battles & money scandals in the Sangha.


Monking around on the big screen

Kong Rithdee

Men in saffron robes are a force to be reckoned with; in life, in headline news, and in Thai cinema.

At a time when monks scuffle with monks, and sometimes with the authorities, a new Thai film about a funny monk is raking it in at the cinemas.


Luang Pee Jazz 4G
(or Brother Jazz, the "4G" part is just nonsensical) made over 20 million baht when it opened last Wednesday, on a public holiday.

Over the following few days, the monk comedy didn't manage to sustain the same momentum

As of Sunday, it has made around 60 million baht.

The film is likely to touch 90 or 100 million in a week or thereabout, and it is already the highest-  grossing Thai movie of the year so far.


What is it about funny monks that touch a chord with Thai audiences?

Luang Pee Jazz, is produced by Pachara Anon and directed by Poj Paset and stars Jazz Chuancheun, an in demand young comedian known for his quick wit and repertoire of innuendoes.

He plays a misbehaving vocational school student who enters the monkhood in the province, then arrives to learn Dhamma in Bangkok.


There's not much of a story.

Like many Thai films on monks, this one is made up of strings of gags built upon the personality of the young, almost cool - looking monk and his encounter with society.

One memorable scene has the monk address three busty models, their cleavages threatening to overflow, as he teaches them about proper conduct through wordplay and a mild hint of sexual tease.

Otherwise, it's the two dek wat -- the monk's sidekicks -- who dish out the banter.


In the past 10 years, there have been many monk comedy films that have become major hits.

It started with Luang Pee Teng in 2005, in which comedian Teng Terdterng plays a bumbling rascal who finds his calling as a monk.

The film made a whopping 140 million baht.

Teng's style of deadpan comedy -- naturally a monk should stay straight-faced even when he delivers the punch line -- became a benchmark.

The film spawned two sequels, the first featuring rapper Joey Boy in the lead role as a monk who peppers his sermon with hip hop verses. The next had Krissada Sukosol Clapp, a singer and actor, playing the monk.


Funny monks are a relatively new trend in Thai movies.

In the 60s and 70s, monks in movies were always depicted as the ultimate moral force.

They were the pillars in the village community.

They mediated disputes, ended violence and found resolutions to problems, they purged demons and restored order.

In various versions of Mae Nak Phrakanong -- the legendary Thai ghost story -- a revered monk defeated the wrathful ghost and drove home the Buddhist / superstitious hegemony (control).

In the film Pai Daeng (1979), adapted from MR Kukrit Pramoj's satirical novel, a monk debates communism with a man drawn toward the red (of communism).

In those old films, monks also offered humour, but not the absurd, farcical hilarity that we often see today in many monk movies.


Rather, monks in old films had the personality of odd uncles and wise old men with an adorable eccentricity.

The most famous of these was the Luang Ta (Grandfather Abbot) series from 1980, starring National Artist Lor Tok in the lead role.

Usually, the narrative concerns a "temple boy" and the kind, funny abbot, a narrative that drew on the experience of many men in rural areas.

Still, the funny monks are here. As real monks are in the news for all the wrong reasons -- from power battles to money scandals -- maybe we just like watching cinematic monks doing humorous skits. What a relief.

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  • abbot (noun): the head monk at a temple - เจ้าอาวาส
  • absurd (adj.): completely ridiculous; not logical and sensible - ไร้สาระ, ไร้ความหมาย, ที่ไม่เป็นเหตุเป็นผล
  • actor (noun): a person in a drama on TV, a movie or on stage - นักแสดงชาย
  • adapt: to change something to suit different conditions or uses - ทำให้เหมาะ, ทำให้เข้ากับ, ปรับ
  • address: a formal speech - คำปราศรัย
  • adorable: cute, looks nice in a way that makes you like them a lot -
  • audience: the group of people gathered in one place to watch or listen to a play, film, someone speaking, etc. - ผู้ชม
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • banter: friendly conversation in which people tell jokes and laugh at each other - การล้อ,การล้อเล่น,การหยอกเย้า
  • battle: a fight; serious disagreement, strong competition, etc. - การต่อสู้
  • benchmark (noun): a standard that other things can be compared to, for example, to calculate prices - ตัวเปรียบเทียบ; การวัดเปรียบเทียบสมรรถนะเกณฑ์มาตรฐานหมายถึง การทดสอบเพื่อวัดความสามารถในการประมวลผล หรือการทำงานของ โปรแกรมใดโปรแกรมหนึ่ง หรืออุปกรณ์คอมพิวเตอร์ชนิดใดชนิดหนึ่ง โดยเทียบเคียงกับเกณฑ์มาตรฐาน
  • bumble: to do something incorrectly with many mistakes - กระทำผิดอย่างมาก
  • busty: having big breasts; having a big bust -
  • calling: the work or job that is meant for you to do your whole life; that matches your skills and interests -
  • cinematic (adj): connected with films/movies and how they are made - เกี่ยวกับภาพยนต์
  • cleavage: the area between two breasts that can be seen, not covered by shirt - ร่องอก
  • comedian: a person whose job is to make people laugh by telling jokes and funny stories or by copying the behaviour or speech of famous people - นักแสดงตลก
  • comedy: a (type of) film, play or book which is intentionally funny either in its characters or its action - ความตลกขบขัน
  • community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน
  • concern: to be about - เกี่ยวกับ
  • conduct: the way someone behaves, especially in relation to particular rules or accepted ways of behaving - ความประพฤติ
  • cool: used to show that you really like something because it is fashionable, attractive and often different - ดีเลิศ (คำสแลง)
  • deadpan: pretending to be serious when you are not - ทำเป็นเอาจริงเอาจัง
  • debate: a discussion in which people or groups state different opinions about a subject - การอภิปราย, การโต้วาที, การถกเถียง
  • defeat: to win a victory over someone in a fight, war or competition - ชนะ, ปราบ
  • demon: an evil spirit - ปีศาจ
  • depict: to represent or show something in a picture or story - พรรณนา, บรรยายให้เห็นภาพ
  • Dhamma (noun): Buddhist teaching, known as the truth taught by the Buddha - ธรรมะ
  • dish out (verb): to give out (esp. in large amounts), to give out strong criticism or punishment - แจกจ่าย
  • dispute: a serious disagreement - ข้อโต้แย้ง
  • drew on: used -
  • eccentricity: something strange about a person's behaviour or habits -
  • encounter: to experience something, especially something unpleasant or difficult, while you are trying to do something else - เจอ, ประสบ
  • experience (verb): to have something happen to you or to live through some event - ประสบ
  • farcical: a situation or event that is silly because it is very badly organised, unsuccessful, or unfair - เรื่องตลก
  • feature: to include someone or something as an important part - ทำให้เด่น
  • force (noun): an effect that causes things to move in a particular way - กำลังแรง, แรงบังคับ
  • force to be reckoned with: something powerful and difficult to manage -
  • gag: to prevent someone from speaking or saying something -
  • gross (verb): to earn money, used for films and other entertainment -
  • headline: the title of a newspaper story that is printed in large letters - ข่าวพาดหัว
  • hegemony: control; having restraining or governing influence over; to check; to counteract; to restrain; to regulate; to govern; to overpower - จัดการ, ควบคุม
  • hilarity (noun): humour - ความสนุกสนานเฮฮา,ความร่าเริง
  • hint: to say or do something that shows, but not directly, what is meant - แย้ม
  • hip hop (noun): a type of music that developed among African-American musicians using rap and samples (=short pieces of recorded music or sound) that are repeated and combined with musical instruments -
  • hit: very popular -
  • humorous: funny and entertaining; showing a sense of humour - ตลก,ขบขัน
  • humour: the ability to find things funny, the way in which people see that some things are funny or the quality of being funny - ความตลกขบขัน
  • in demand: wanted by many people - เป็นที่ต้องการตัวของหลาย ๆ คน
  • innuendo: saying things with a second possible meaning, often as a joke -
  • known for: famous for -
  • lead: the main part in a play, film/movie, etc; the person who plays this part - ตัวเอก, นางเอก, พระเอก
  • legendary: mentioned in stories from ancient times - ซึ่งเป็นนิทาน,ซึ่งเป็นตำนาน
  • looking: the way somebody/something looks; the appearance of somebody/something - รูปร่างหน้าตา
  • major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก
  • manage (verb): to succeed in doing something; to deal with something - สำเร็จ,จัดการได้สำเร็จ, ทำได้สำเร็จ
  • mediate: to talk to two separate people or groups involved in a disagreement to try to help them to agree or find a solution to their problems - ไกล่เกลี่ย
  • memorable: likely to be remembered or worth remembering - ซึ่งมีค่าน่าจดจำ, โดดเด่น
  • mild: not strong - เบา, ไม่หนัก, ไม่รุนแรง
  • misbehaving (adj): doing something in an improper or bad way - ประพฤติตัวไม่เหมาะสม, ประพฤติผิด
  • model (noun): a person who wears clothes to show them to customers - นางแบบ
  • momentum: progress or development that is becoming faster or stronger - แรงผลักดัน
  • monkhood: the fact of being a monk - เพศพระภิกษุ, เพศบรรพชิต, ความเป็นพระ
  • moral: relating to right and wrong and the way that people should behave - ทางศีลธรรม, เกี่ยวกับความรู้สึกผิดชอบชั่วดี
  • narrative: a description of events, especially in a story or novel - เรื่องเล่า
  • National Artist: a title given to Thai artists and musicians who have done important work to preserve and extend Thai culture and arts - ศิลปินแห่งชาติ
  • nonsensical: of ideas, behaviour, or statements that are not true or sensible - ไม่มีสาระ, ไร้สาระ
  • novel: a story long enough to fill a complete book, in which the characters and events are usually imaginary - นวนิยาย
  • odd: strange or unexpected - แปลก
  • order: a situation in which everything is well organized or arranged - ความเป็นระเบียบเรียบร้อย
  • overflow: (of a river or body of water) to flood the land next to it - เอ่อล้น, ไหลล้น
  • pepper: to make interesting; to spice up -
  • personality: the part of a person that makes them behave in a particular way in social situations, e.g., in friendly or unfriendly way, or in a confident or shy way - บุคลิกลักษณะ  ลักษณะเฉพาะตน
  • pillar: a very important member or part of a group, organization, system, etc - แกนนำสำคัญ
  • power (noun): political control of a country or an area; having a lot of influence and authority to control people and situations - อำนาจ
  • proper: actual or real - จริง (พระราชพิธีพระราชทานเพลิงพระศพจริง)
  • province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
  • public holiday (noun): a day that the government makes into a holiday when people do not have to work - วันหยุดราชการ
  • punch line: the main funny part of a joke that makes people laugh -
  • purge: to remove, often violently - กำจัด
  • raking it in: making a lot of money; raking in a lot of money -
  • rapper: a person who speaks the words of a rap song, a type of popular music with a fast strong rhythm and words which are spoken fast, not sung -
  • rascal (noun): a person, especially a child or man, who shows a lack of respect for other people and enjoys playing tricks on them - คนพาล, คนโกง
  • reason (noun): why something happened or exists - เหตุผล
  • relatively: somewhat; in comparison with someone or something similar - ค่อนข้าง
  • relief: a feeling of happiness that something unpleasant has not happened or has ended - การผ่อนคลาย
  • repertoire: all the music or plays, etc. that you can do or perform or that you know - บทเพลงซึ่งเป็นที่รู้จักดี
  • resolution: solving a problem, or to finding a satisfactory way of dealing with it - การแก้ไขปัญหา
  • restore: to bring back to good condition - ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
  • revered: highly respected and admired - ซึ่งแสดงความเคารพนับถือ
  • robe: a long loose outer piece of clothing - เสื้อคลุมยาว
  • role: an actor's part in a film or play - บทละคร
  • rural: connected with the countryside outside big towns and cities  - ในชนบท, บ้านนอก
  • saffron (noun): a bright yellow powder made from crocus flowers, used in cooking to give colour to food - ผงสีเหลืองอมส้มทำจากดอก Crocus
  • satirical (adj): using satire (humour showing faults or weaknesses) to criticize somebody/something - เสียดสี,เปรียบเปรย,เหน็บแนม,ถากถาง,เยาะเย้ย
  • scandal (noun): a situation in which people behave in a dishonest or immoral way that shocks people - เรื่องอื้อฉาว
  • scene: a part of a film/movie, play or book in which the action happens in one place or is of one particular type - ฉาก, ตอน
  • scuffle: a short and sudden fight, especially one involving a small number of people - การต่อสู้กันอุตลุด
  • sequel (noun): a book, film/movie, play, etc. that continues the story of an earlier one - เรื่องราวที่ติดตามมา
  • sermon: a talk on a moral or religious subject, usually given by a religious leader during a service - การเทศนา
  • sexual: connected with a person's sexual desires - เรื่องทางเพศ, ลักษณะทางเพศ
  • sidekick (noun): a person who helps another more important or more intelligent person - เพื่อนร่วมงาน
  • skit (noun): a short play or drama - ละครสั้น, เรื่องล้อเลียน
  • society (noun): people in general, living together in communities - สังคม
  • spawn: to create - ก่อตัวขึ้นเป็นจำนวนมาก
  • straight-faced: without revealing emotions in your face -
  • string: a series of similar or connected events that happen one after the other - การเรียงต่อเนื่องของเหตุการณ์หรือสิ่งต่างๆ
  • superstitious: believing in the power of magic or luck - เชื่อโชคลาง
  • sustain: to keep someone alive; to give someone strength, energy, or hope - ทำให้มีชีวิตต่อไป, ทำให้มีต่อไป
  • tease: to say something to someone in order to have fun by embarrassing or annoying them slightly in either a friendly or an unkind way - หยอกล้อ, ยั่วเย้า
  • thereabout: around this; approximately this; roughly this -
  • threaten: to say you might or will do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something - ขู่
  • touch a chord with: do or say something so that people are like or are interesting in something; say something so that people can understand and relate to it -
  • trend: a gradual change or development that produces a particular result   - ทิศทาง แนวโน้ม
  • ultimate: most extreme; best, worst, greatest, most important, etc - ที่สุด
  • uncle: the brother of your mother or father; the husband of your aunt - ลุง, อาผู้ชาย, น้าผู้ชาย
  • various: several different - หลากหลาย, ซึ่งแตกต่างกัน
  • verse (noun): a group of lines that form a unit in a poem or song - ตอนสั้น ๆ
  • version: a particular form of something which varies slightly from other forms of the same thing - ชุด, เวอร์ชั่น
  • violence: physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย
  • vocational school: a school that focuses on providing the skills necessary for particular jobs - สถานศึกษาวิชาชีพ โรงเรียนอาชีวศึกษา
  • whopping (adj): very large - ใหญ่โต
  • wit: the ability to make people laugh with or without using words - คำพูดหรือข้อเขียนที่แสดงเชาวน์ปัญญา, ไหวพริบ
  • wordplay: when you joke about the meanings of words, especially in a clever way - การเล่นสำนวน
  • wrathful: full of extreme anger ความโกรธเคือง -
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