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He Trashed Hundreds Of Films In His Career. But 13 Years Ago, He Angrily Stood Up For One.

Back in 2002, a tiny indie film called "Better Luck Tomorrow" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Financed on maxed-out credit cards, cast with (then) unknown Asian-American actors, and directed by a n00b just a few years removed from film school, "BLT" seemed destined for a life of obscurity.

"Better Luck Tomorrow" was a film about bored, high-achieving Asian-American high school students who get caught up in the thrill of petty crime and end up in a little too deep for their own good.

By all accounts, the initial feedback was positive, but in an industry fueled by hype and buzz, a "moderately positive" audience response is the kiss of death.


It was kind of like "Do The Right Thing," which director Justin Lin cites as an influence, in that what "BLT" does best is present reality without spoon-feeding the audience a moral conclusion. These kids are just bored suburban kids, making questionable decisions guided by very loose moral compasses.

If these were a bunch of white kids, it would have just been a typical, angsty teen movie. But with Asian-Americans in the main roles, this film was definitely bucking stereotypes.

So what happened at Sundance?

After a few unremarkable screenings, the cast and crew went into their third screening knowing they needed a strong showing. And here's the part that Sundance dreams are made of:

At the end of the screening, an audience member complimented them for a well-made film but proceeded to berate them for wasting their talents portraying Asian-Americans in such a poor light.

There's some back and forth between the cast members and the audience, and just as the staff are about to usher people out, an unlikely spokesman stood up from the crowd and went off on a mic-dropping rant. That spokesman? Roger Ebert.

Film critic Roger Ebert stood up and defended the film:

"And what I find very offensive and condescending about your statement is nobody would say to a bunch of white filmmakers, 'How could you do this to your people?' ... Asian-American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. They do not have to 'represent' their people." — Roger Ebert

*mic drop*

Ebert called out a huge double standard in the entertainment industry.

When Justin Bieber acts the way Justin Bieber does, he's not considered a disgrace to white people; he's just a plain old run-of-the-mill teen popstar burnout. Ebert nails it on the head when he says that we never hold white filmmakers to the same standard, and Asian-American filmmakers ought to be able to make whatever the hell kind of film they want to make. Nobody slams Al Pacino or Robert De Niro or Steven Spielberg or James Cameron for making ALL white people look bad.

It's also worth noting Ebert pulls off one of the most epic executions of air quotes ever caught on camera. I mean look at that! Any kind of verbal smackdown should work in those air quotes at the end.


Instant argument-winner right here, folks.

All of this matters because Ebert's rant made "BLT" one of the most talked about films at the festival.

On top of that, "BLT" eventually became the first acquisition by MTV Films. And? That fledgling director Justin Lin went on to direct a bunch of other films you may have heard of — like "The Fast and the Furious" 3 through 6 — and was credited with reviving that franchise.

  • Justin Lin has entered the rarefied area of directors who have crossed the billion-dollar box office mark, and he's NOW DIRECTING THE NEXT STAR TREK. (Sorry, geeked out.)
  • John Cho went on to star in "Harold and Kumar," another stereotype-shattering role, and the unfortunately recently canceled TV series "Selfie."
  • Sung Kang starred in The "Fast and Furious" franchises as Han. (Which, incidentally, was the name of his character in "BLT"; many have speculated perhaps "BLT" Han grew up to become "Fast and Furious" Han.)
  • Justin Lin's assistant Evan Jackson Leong went on to direct the "Linsanity" documentary.

The branches spread far and wide. It's not a stretch to say this was a watershed moment in Asian-American film history.

Would Justin Lin's talent have risen to the top anyway? I'd hope so. But because of Roger Ebert's boldness, Lin opened the door for a new generation of Asian-American talent.

We have a long way to go, but it was a good moment.

And we're not out of the woods just yet.


More recently, the soon-to-premiere show "Fresh Off the Boat" is already getting blowback from white people on Twitter about how poorly it's going to represent the Asian community or how racist it's going to be. For what it's worth, watching the previews, it actually seems creepily close to my own experiencesmoving to the United States from Taiwan.


At the end of the day, it's about allowing our people to be represented in three dimensions rather than as shorthand for stereotypes.

Sure, I knew a lot of high-achieving, smart, well-mannered Asian-Americans. But I also knew plenty of thugs, jocks, beauty queens, math nerds, saints, and sinners. We should have the right to be who we are, and we should have the right to tell our stories, no matter how flawed. It's precisely in those flaws where life's most interesting stories are waiting to be told. Everyone else gets to tell theirs; we just want to tell ours.

So thank you Ebert. Two thumbs up from over here.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying.

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Health

Doctor explains why he checks a dead patient's Facebook before notifying their parents

Louis M. Profeta MD explains why he looks at the social media accounts of dead patients before talking their parents.

Photo from Tedx Talk on YouTube.

He checks on your Facebook page.

Losing a loved one is easily the worst moment you'll face in your life. But it can also affect the doctors who have to break it to a patient's friends and family. Louis M. Profeta MD, an Emergency Physician at St. Vincent Emergency Physicians in Indianapolis, Indiana, recently took to LinkedIn to share the reason he looks at a patient's Facebook page before telling their parents they've passed.

The post, titled "I'll Look at Your Facebook Profile Before I Tell Your Mother You're Dead," has attracted thousands of likes and comments.

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A mother confronts her daughter for judging her friend's weight.

A 42-year-old mother wondered whether she did the right thing by disciplining her 18-year-old daughter, Abby, who disinvited a friend from vacation because of her weight. The mother asked people on Reddit for their opinion.

For some background, Abby had struggled with her weight for many years, so she went to her mother for help. The two set up a program where Abby was given a reward for every milestone she achieved.

“Four months ago, she asked that I don't get her any more rewards and add it up to her birthday gift, and for her gift she wants a vacation I will pay for, for her and her friends instead of the huge party I had promised for her 18th. I said OK,” the mother wrote.

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This is the best mother-daughter chat about the tampon aisle ever. Period.

A hilarious conversation about "the vagina zone" turned into an important message about patriarchy from mother to daughter.

A mother and daughter discuss period products.


Belinda Hankins and her 13-year-old daughter, Bella, seem to have a great relationship, one that is often played out over text message.

Sure they play around like most teens and parents do, but in between the joking and stealing of desserts, they're incredibly open and honest with each other. This is key, especially since Melinda is a single parent and thus is the designated teacher of "the ways of the world."

But, wow, she is a champ at doing just that in the chillest way possible. Of course, it helps having an incredibly self-aware daughter who has grown up knowing she can be super real with her mom.

Case in point, this truly epic text exchange took place over the weekend while Bella was hunting for tampons at the store.

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Health

27-year-old who died of cancer left behind final advice that left the internet in tears

"Don't feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life. You might want a mediocre life and that is so OK."

Photo courtesy of Remembering Holly Butcher/Facebook used with permission.

Holly Butcher left behind her best life advice before she passed away at 27.

The world said goodbye to Holly Butcher, a 27-year-old woman from Grafton, Australia.

Butcher had been battling Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that predominantly affects young people. In a statement posted on Butcher's memorialized Facebook account, her brother, Dean, and partner, Luke, confirmed the heartbreaking news to friends.

"It is with great sadness that we announce Holly's passing in the early hours of this morning," they wrote on Jan. 4, 2018. "After enduring so much, it was finally time for her to say goodbye to us all. The end was short and peaceful; she looked serene when we kissed her forehead and said our final farewells. As you would expect, Holly prepared a short message for you all, which will be posted above."

Butcher's message, which Dean and Luke did, in fact, post publicly shortly thereafter, has brought the internet to tears.

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They've blinded us with science.

Stock photos of any job are usually delightful cringey. Sure, sometimes they sort of get the essence of a job, but a lot of the time the interpretation is downright cartoonish. One glance and it becomes abundantly clear that for some careers, we have no freakin’ clue what it is that people do.

Dr. Kit Chapman, an award-winning science journalist and academic at Falmouth University in the U.K., recently held an impromptu contest on Twitter where viewers could vote on which photos were the best of the worst when it came to jobs in scientific fields.

According to Chapman’s entries, a day in the life of a scientist includes poking syringes into chickens, wearing a lab coat (unless you’re a “sexy” scientist, then you wear lingerie) and holding vials of colored liquid. Lots and lots of vials.

Of course, where each image is 100% inaccurate, they are 100% giggle inducing. Take a look below at some of the contenders.

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