Quick recommendation of a little jewel: Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a fantastic and super funny horror comedy. My wife and I are big horror movie fans so we enjoyed the hell out of this one. It’s a great spoof / twist on the typical “college kids go camping” setup that so many horror films have. I give it 8 out of 10, highly recommended. Check out the trailer:
Tag Archives | horror
My wife’s cousin from Xi’An arrived yesterday. She’s with us for a couple of days to brush up her english. My wife told me in the beginning that this will help her to get into a Hong Kong university. But by now I’ve found out much more about this topic, and it’s really scary what’s going on.
In Europe, or at least Germany, you kind of have two years to prove how good you are. The exam scores of the last two school years are more or less deciding to what kind of university you can go to. Here in China, a two day long exam decides your future. It’s held in the last month of your last year in school. That’s nuts, in my humble opinion!
Let’s say you’re a good student in China. You learn hard and well. But you’re nervous easily. So you go to the university exam for two days and you’re so nervous that you mess it up. Then it’s over! You can either spend another year and repeat the test, or you can apply for 2nd or 3rd grade universities. And here’s the horror: Chinese companies value you much more then in other countries on your university. They care a lot about the place you’ve studied. So, if you perform bad in the final exam test, kiss your future goodbye.
But that’s only half of the craziness. What’s almost more insane is the fact, that you have to apply to universities without knowing your final score. No, you have to calculate your score yourself first. When you finish the exam, you’ll receive a sheet with all the right answers and a paper for applying to universities. Then you go home, you try to remember what you wrote in the exam and you score yourself!
Once you have your final score, you look at what universities might accept you – but they don’t really tell you what kind of score you need to have. You have to check what kind of score ranges they took in the past and you have to guess if you’re in that range. Example: You calculated that you final score is 500 out of 600. So you check around, and you find out that University X in Shanghai accepted students with 475 points or more. Then you can try to apply there.
But it’s a gamble, really: If you have bad luck, the university maybe only accepts students with 510 points or more this year. Then you can only get accepted there if too little people applied – and that’s almost never the case. What’s even worse is if you calculate your own score way too low – maybe you really have 500 points, but you’re calculating defensive and give yourself only 400. Then you can never apply to a good university, because of the fact that you don’t know for sure what your score really is! Is that totally crazy or what??!
Whoever invented this system must be a sadistic fuck, really.
Last written point is the case with my wife’s cousin. She performed well but calculated her score way too low and thus applied to far worse universities than she could actually go to. Another problem is, once you’ve applied for three universities, you can’t ‘switch’ to others anymore. You’re out. Take it or leave it. So she can now study in a 2nd grade university and forget about ever getting a really good job in the future – or she can try to get into a Hong Kong or foreign university. Or waste another year of her life, repeating the exam and try gambling again. If her parents couldn’t afford a foreign university she’d be stuck with going to the universities she picked, now.
I hope China changes this system in the near future, it’s really not fair. And a person shouldn’t be judged by a two day test, everyone has a bad day every once in a while. And knowing that this test decides your future puts probably an insane amount of pressure on you, so you’re even less able to focus on it. Evil!
No Country For Old Men was this year’s winner at the academy awards, telling the story of an aged cop in a Texas that is getting more and more violent and out of control. Of course, it showed again the mistakes of normal people and how these mistakes can cost them their lives, as featured before in Fargo. The Coens really like to show us how stupid we are sometimes.
If I had to make a movie similar to No Country For Old Men in Shanghai, I would change the title to No Country For Weak Men. What happened yesterday explains this:
After shopping around a bit on Huahai road with beautiful sunshine and a nice dinner at a low-budget italian restaurant keychain, my wife and I headed home to Pudong by subway in the evening. We had just changed to line 2 at people square and were in a pretty empty wagon, when a guy all of a sudden lost his consciousness and fell down on the ground, hitting his head on my wife’s back during that fall. What happened then really made me sad and angry.
Nobody, nobody at all moved or did anything. Everyone sat or stand around, of course
looking staring at that poor guy, but doing nothing. We went on our knees and tried to wake that guy, shaking him a bit and talking to him. He didn’t react at all. Finally, finally one person got down to the ground with us and helped us to put that dude back on his feet, trying to bring him back.
Then things got stranger – the guy, obviously overtired or sick or whatever, was unable to stand. He wouldn’t have fallen down on the ground if he was okay, right? So you would expect that somebody would get up and give his damn seat to him so that he could get better. Nobody, nobody stood up.
At least not for half a minute, which is is quite a long time, considered you are trying to keep a 60 kilograms heavy person on his feet. Finally, finally a young woman stood up and told us to put him in his seat. Everyone in the wagon was watching that guy and us lifting him, and nobody gave their seat to us, except a woman. There were like 5 guys in their 20’s sitting around on their seats staring at the event. So, so sad.
I’ve experienced a fair amount of bullshit in and around Shanghai in the last years, but never ever had I experienced something this bitter before.
Warning! The following post is rather… ‘rough’ and makes multiple use of the s-word. And the d-word. Now you’ll probably want to read it even more, huh?
So this whole mess started almost a month ago, but I didn’t want to write about it before it was over. Now my stomach is back in order, I can eat whatever I want whenever I want without having to run to the nearest toilet within minutes after shoving food down.
I think it was June 26th. I woke up with a stomach ache that made me think that somebody cut out some of my internal organs while I was sleeping. Diarrhea followed eventually, and, obviously, I thought the meat from the muslim where I often eat 8 kuai noodles was a sick dog or something else then whatever is normal. Stomach ache in China is not uncommon, especially if you live on a budget and don’t go to fancy clean restaurants every day. So I ate nothing but rice, manto (this disgusting chinese bread) and salty crackers for three days. Didn’t help, stomach was still moving a lot, diarrhea was still there, too. So I made quite possibly the worst decision in my whole life: I went to a chinese hospital from the government. NEVER! AGAIN! It is called the ‘Shanghai Oriental Hospital’ in Pudong.
This is probably worth a article itself, but needs to mentioned: When you go to a hospital, you buy in advance the ticket for your doctor’s check. In advance! What! How the hell are they going to know how much time I will use, how difficult it will be to treat me – in advance? Are you kidding me! That’s how they treat you there, like you buy your ten minutes of care and then they send you to do something. It’s really like on a farm there, the customers are cows and the doctors the farmers. Horrible.
Then it got worse. They gave me a small cup, like twice the size of a Maotai cup, and told me to shit in there. Of course they didn’t have western toilet seats but these horrible old ones where you have to bend down in order not to shit on your pants, so I was looking like a chinese acrobat, trying to aim for the cup and not falling backwards into the shit-hole at the same time. After minutes of pushing and keeping the balance I managed to fill it. So I went back out, hiding the cup with my hands. Why would I hide it? Because it was friggin’ transparent and I felt horribly embarrassed to show my diarrhea shit to the other sick people in the waiting room. I headed straight back to the people who gave me the cup and wanted to give it to them. ‘You need to buy a ticket for the shit-checking analysis.’ What! YOU TELL ME THAT NOW?! If my wife wouldn’t have been there with me, I would have had to run back to the counter in the main entrance hall to buy that ticket – with my shit in a cup! INSANE!
So my wife went instead, came back 10 minutes later, and they finally took that cup away from me. Goddamn you! I went there for getting better, and the more time I spend there, the worse I felt. After they analyzed my shit and my blood they told me that I’d need a injection of some salt-water or whatever that was. Also, they made me buy medicine for 80 kuai. Later on I would find out through a german doctor that one of the medicine tablets they gave me was antibiotics and completely wrong, only worsening my diarrhea. They thought I had salmonella but I didn’t! All I had was some sort of stomach disorder. You can imagine that over the next two weeks I didn’t get better at all, only worse. So I googled up a german doctor who actually took the time to check me out with her hands, trying to see if one of my organs hurt. Nobody even dared to touch me in that messed up hospital. The german doctor also took a look at the shit analysis from the chinese hospital and started wondering why they would give me antibiotics – the analysis showed perfectly clear that I had no bacteria at all in my stomach!
In the end, I got medicine for 6 kuai, 6 kuai! from the german doctor. That was all that I needed. Not a injection with salt water, not 80 kuai antibiotics, just some stomach-calming pills, that’s all. But I guess it’s better to f*ck up the complete system with antibiotics then to actually use a brain. Thank you again, chinese hospital, I’ll never see you again! FYI: The german doctor’s office name is ‘Body and Soul‘.
Passive killing, anyone?
To quote Laurie Holden’s character Cybil Bennett from the movie Silent Hill, a couple of seconds before insane cult-people burn her like a witch in dark european ages: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?
Yepp, that’s fun. I love spam!
I went to the Shanghai Film Art Center on friday for accreditation, like I posted earlier. On saturday the horror started: I went first to the press conference in Pudong, where I managed to take some pictures of Michelle Rodriguez (‘LOST’) and Nathan Fillion (‘FIREFLY’, ‘SERENITY’). Michelle Rodriguez told the journalists that she loved ‘CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON’ while Nathan Fillion stops zapping the television as soon as he encounters the great ‘KUNG FU HUSTLE’ from Stephen Chow on a channel. That was all fine, no problems. But what do you want to do at a Film Festival as a journalist? Watch as many movies as possible and write one review after the other. So after the press conference I headed to the Film Art Center in Puxi, by taxi to save time, I wanted to see the screening of MAPADO 2 at 1:30 p.m.. But I couldn’t get in. I had a press badge alright, but no one told me that the journalists can only see some movies. I started reading through the ‘Guide For Journalists’ that I got when I accredited, and damn, it said there that journalists can only see movies for the ‘JinJue Award competition’. So I went to the press office to figure out which movies I could see since the movies where not marked as JinJue or not at all. 15 minutes later a woman printed me out 3 pages of movies that I would be able to see. None of these were interesting, so I asked if I could get tickets for the movies that I wanted to review. 90% were sold out already. Nice!
So I said to myself, forget the festival, make some pictures from the red carpet ceremony and that’s it. No, sir, not without invitation. So I went back to the press office to get a invitation for the red carpet ceremony. I sat there for 45 minutes and waited like they told me, when finally a guy showed up and told me that I can’t go there since I ‘only’ work for a magazine and not a daily newspaper. Great!
Here’s some advice for you, dear SIFF organizers. I have been to the Festival de Cannes and many other ones in Germany. You give the journalists one card that allows them everything. You don’t mess around with your best friends like that. We had planned to publish more than two full pages of my coverage from the festival, now there won’t be anything in it at all. Get rid of this stupid bureaucracy and make sure journalists enjoy the festival rather than to send them around and make them wait for hours. You want to become the chinese Cannes, SIFF? You have a damn long way to go. I’ll try again next year.
In the picture above you see that I eventually got a press card for the SIFF, the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival. But what a hussle! When I went to the Festival de Cannes two years ago, they asked me for a bunch of stuff that I had to submit there – by mail, printed out! It seemed much easier for the SIFF – from the website at least – until I stood in front of the accreditation table and was asked for a chinese press card. A what? I got a german one, but not a chinese one. Knowing the chinese bureaucracy, I almost gave the festival mentally up, knowing that it would probably take months to get one. But thank god the guys there were cool, and after a small talk with the boss including a small presentation of my previous work that they really didn’t seem to care about they allowed me to register anyway. Lucky me! After I got my badge I headed with two guys from New York to the International Conference thing in Pudong, where we attended the SIFF press conference. There I learned that a word doesn’t make something international since the whole conference was in chinese and without translators. But a friendly journalist told me every once in a while what they were talking about while I was playing around with my camera: That they invited Julia Roberts but that they don’t know if she really comes since she is shooting at the moment and other stuff. Not that interesting. Tomorrow things get hotter when the stars finally show themselves. So let me get my sleep now and check back tomorrow for nude pictures of Sharon Stone walking the red carpet. Here’s one more pic to prove that I really was at the press conference: