Sometimes Netflix really hits the nail on the head when it comes to recommending movies for me, and sometimes it really misses. In the case of The Curiosity of Chance, it was a complete hit! I wasn’t sure how I would like it at first, but in the end, I adored the film.
Ever rent a movie expecting one thing, and get something totally different? A movie that you perhaps had low expectations for that surpassed your initial thoughts and blew you out of the water? The Sensei is one such movie.
From Netflix: After punks at school hand him a savage beating, gay teen McClain Evans (Michael O’Laskey II) secretly begins martial arts training with Karen O’Neil (director Diana Lee Inosanto), a woman who has her own axe to grind with the narrow-minded rural community. But as Evans learns to stand up to prejudice and hate, the boy and his sensei unleash a firestorm of controversy in their small Colorado town.
When I rented this DVD, my thought was precisely this: Oh, a gay karate kid movie, awesome! I loved Karate Kid in all of its incarnations, and I love movies with gay characters, so I thought it would be perfect. I figured it would be low budget but that didn’t bother me. When the film started, I thought it was going to be cheesy. But once an older McClain starts to tell the story and goes back eight years to how his life changed and essentially began, I was swept away.
Set primarily during 1985, the story is about gay teen McClain who is savagely between by town homophobes in the school locker room. He has been trying to get lessons from the local martial arts studio but is turned away. Enter the studio owner’s female family member who has been gone many years. After a plea from McClain’s mother, she agrees to teach him, to give him a fighting chance.
It’s not perfect. McClain is still tormented by bullies both young and old, and the sensei, Karen, has her own demons to confront. In one particularly hard scene, both Karen and McClain are bleeding from an attack and she shys away from him, not wanting to be touched. This is where the twist comes in.
At this point in history, the AIDs crisis is huge. It was considered a gay disease and many people thought they could catch it just from touching someone gay. Obviously today we know this is different, just as we know it can affect anyone and everyone.
This movie takes preconceived notions and stereotypes and throws most of them out the door. The end is so heartbreaking and beautiful it left me crying and speechless for several minutes. I was absolutely blown away.
I am so glad I thought so little of this film at first, because it showed me just how beautiful and surprising some things can be. It has gone from a one time chance rental to a movie I will be buying for my shelves. Trust me. Take the chance and rent this. You won’t regret it.
For those who haven’t heard of the film, it is based on the book of the same title by Isaac Marion. After a former student shared a trailer for the film, I knew I had to see it. I didn’t know it was a book. When I stumbled upon the book at the store, I bought it and devoured it in a night. It was fantastic! (See my review here.)
When my friend mentioned she had the tickets, I jumped at the chance and was able to bring my two sisters, who also enjoyed the film.
If you’ve read the book and are expecting it to be the same, stop. It’s very different. However, despite the differences, I thought the film was just as good as the book, just in a different way. I loved the portrayal of R, and while I was annoyed that the actress chosen for Nora was not black (like she is in the book), I thought the actress was decent in the role.
But it’s R that really shines. The actor that plays him is fantastic. There’s very little dialogue from him. At least, words that come out of his mouth. Most of what we hear from him comes from his thoughts. And let me tell you, between him and M, I was laughing a lot. The whole theater was.
The film is well done, too. When R starts to change, it is subtle at first, but if viewers pay attention, you can definitely see as he starts to speak a little more clearly, becomes a little less pale, and walks a little more like a human.
Any fan of zombie films should check it out. Yes, it’s a romance, but it’s also a comedy. Check it out when it comes to theaters on February 1st!
I finally saw the Avengers movie on Sunday. And then again on Monday.
It was amazing.
So amazing, in fact, it has taken over the top spot in my favorite movies. Yes, that’s right, Transformers, move over. Bumblebee, I still love you, but Hawkeye was just too amazing… too… HAWKEYE! for me to keep Transformers up there.
For those that haven’t seen it, why not?! There is so much humor in it. The one-lines are HILARIOUS. Thor is hysterical. The banter between Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America is incredible, and the fight between Thor and Hulk is just legendary.
And then you have Hawkeye being all incredible with his amazing bow and awesome arrows and SHOOTING OVER HIS SHOULDER WITHOUT LOOKING.
Have I mentioned I love Hawkeye?
And let’s not forget Black Widow. She’s kickass. I typically do not like female characters because of how they’re portrayed, but she was fantastic. I liked that she had a bit of a softer side when it came to Hawkeye, but at the same time was a strong, fierce woman. And she tricks Loki, the trickster god. What’s NOT to love about that?
If you do go, stay through the entire credits. The final scene is a riot, even if no words are spoken. And of course there is a teaser for a sequel in there. Can I say I want it right now? Because… I want it right now.
Okay, so we have Captain America, Thor, Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk… and Captain America 2, Thor 2, and Iron Man 3 in the works. Can I get a Hawkeye movie, please? 😀