For the past five weeks, I have been watching Stephen Chow’s movies/TV shows every week, hence, my lack in blog posts. Who is Stephen Chow? Only the best Chinese comedian/actor/director in Asia in my humble opinion. I still remember the very first time I learned how to use the internet back in 1995. One of the first things I remember looking up was Stephen Chow, which brought me to his IMDB page. I didn’t know about web addresses yet, only the search engine which at the time, was Yahoo as the home page at my college. I recall emailing my Chinese friends some instructions on how to get to his IMDB page and telling them which movies they should check out. What a great way to learn how to use the internet!
While watching his films, I would notice a lot of similarities such as scenes that involve eating noodles. Then I read an article that gave a biography of Stephen’s that said that his mother used to make him a bowl of noodles everyday when he came home from school. I also noticed that a lot of the stories he’s done are about the lower class of people and I read that he grew up in a single parent household after his father left when he was 7 years old and his mother held two jobs to raise their family of 4 as he had 2 older sisters. So it’s really nice to see him putting little elements of his childhood into the movies he does.
I really love this guy. The more I read about him, the more I appreciate his work as an actor, a writer, and a director; especially as a director. I find that if you read interviews where they have asked him about his history, you’ll find quite a genuine soul who believes that the “true heroes are the workers.” So in a lot of the movies he’s done, you will find that hero to be someone you wouldn’t normally envision as a hero. The hero in his films are usually the underdogs of society; the poor, the seemingly weak, the ones who are not universally considered attractive, desirable or smart. The heroes in his films are the ordinary people like you and me. In addition, he created a whole new genre of films called “Mo Lei Tau” which basically means “nonsense.” His movies came out at a time when the young people of Hong Kong had no voice and he gave them a voice to speak with. They became inspired by him and everyone fell in love with his films. At one point, Hong Kong’s top five movies that were out in the theaters all had Stephen Chow in them! Who can do that?!! Astonishing.
Anyway, I am excited to watch his new movie, “The Mermaid” come out this year. It is being released in Asia on the first day o Lunar New Year, 2/8/16. I was thiiiiiiiisss close to quitting my job and cashing out my vacation pay/sick pay and flying off to Hong Kong just to watch the movie in case it doesn’t come here on the same day. I eventually came to my senses and realized that a movie ticket costing over $1000 is never worth it…unless Stephen Chow is sitting there right beside you.
My favorite movie of his is “All’s Well, Ends Well” but it’s not online unfortunately except for the trailer. However, if anyone is going to check out a Stephen Chow movie for the 1st time, I would start with “All For The Winner” which was a comedic parody movie of a Chinese drama movie called “God Of Gamblers.” Only problem is, Stephen has such an outstanding command of Cantonese that his improv involves a lot of Cantonese wordplay. So while his comedy is funny, there is actually another level of comedy that most of us can’t comprehend unless we were familiar with Cantonese! For example, at around 1:25 of All For The Winner below, the english subtitle says he is calling the vending machine, “Mr. Machine.” In Cantonese, the phonetic words he is using is gei lou. In Cantonese, the word “gei” (机) also sounds like the word “gei” (基) which when put together with lou (佬) is the words they use to call someone gay. It’s actually a rather vulgar term and used only in Cantonese. However, reading the English subtitles, that joke would have gone right past you. Anutha level, bruh. Anutha level.
If you’re interested, here are some comedic scenes Stephen has done in the past. Enjoy.
King Of Comedy (1999)
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)
All For The Winner (1990)
God Of Cookery (1996)
Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)