Motel

Motel

5.0 1
Director: Michael Kang

Cast: Jeffrey Chyau, Sung Kang, Jade Wu

     
 

Writer-director Michael Kang makes his feature debut with the coming-of-age comedy, The Motel. Newcomer Jeffrey Chyau stars as Ernest Chin, a chubby 13 year-old Chinese-American boy whose mother (Jade Wu) runs a sleazy motel in upstate New York. The clientele of The Motel are predominantly prostitutes and their johns, which spurs Ernest's budding sexualSee more details below

Overview

Writer-director Michael Kang makes his feature debut with the coming-of-age comedy, The Motel. Newcomer Jeffrey Chyau stars as Ernest Chin, a chubby 13 year-old Chinese-American boy whose mother (Jade Wu) runs a sleazy motel in upstate New York. The clientele of The Motel are predominantly prostitutes and their johns, which spurs Ernest's budding sexual curiosity. When he's not cleaning rooms, eavesdropping on guests, avoiding the local bully, or tormenting his little sister Katie (Alexis Chin), Ernest harbors a crush on Christine (Samantha Futerman), who works at a nearby Chinese restaurant. Ernest has entered a writing contest at school with a story about his unhappy life at The Motel, and won an honorable mention. His scornful mother thinks his writing is a waste of time, and Ernest doesn't want her to see the story for fear that it will anger her. He's a social misfit, so he's intrigued when Sam Kim (Sung Kang of Better Luck Tomorrow), a Korean-American guest who frequently brings home prostitutes, befriends him. Sam takes Ernest under his wing, teaching him to drive and offering him his wisdom regarding women. Of course, Sam turns out to have his own serious issues with the opposite sex, and his advice to Ernest about Christine may not be exactly what the boy needs. Kang won the Asian American International Film Festival screenwriting competition with his script for The Motel in 2001, and the completed film was shown at the festival in 2005. The script was workshopped at the Sundance labs, where filmmaker Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) signed on as a producer.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Coming-of-age comedies are a dime a dozen, but Michael Kang's The Motel is specific and detailed enough to separate itself from the pack. In its depiction of a timid pubescent misfit, the film has been compared to Todd Solondz's Welcome to the Dollhouse, but while Kang's film is sometimes painfully honest and discomfiting in its humor, there's an underlying humanity to the film that Dollhouse lacks. Scenes like the one where Ernest (Jeffrey Chyau) is forced to kiss the local bully's younger sister are hilarious in their awkwardness, without ever devolving to genuine cruelty. Characters that initially seem like caricatures, like Sam Kim (Sung Kang), the Korean hipster Lothario, and Ernest's penny-pinching, no-nonsense mother (played by Jade Wu) eventually reveal hidden depths, while young Ernest's relationships with them and with Christine (Samantha Futerman), the slightly older girl he pines for, develop in an unexpected, but completely believable way. Tremendous credit is due, not just to the strong cast, but to Kang's wonderfully nuanced, mature, and witty script. It's always refreshing to see a filmmaker tackle the traumatic nature of adolescence in such a serious, respectful, and empathic manner, and Kang's take also allows for belly laughs that arise organically from the material. A disciplined young filmmaker, he never lets his talent for comedy overwhelm the essential emotional integrity of his story.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/30/2007
UPC:
0660200314521
Original Release:
2005
Rating:
NR
Source:
Palm Pictures / Umvd
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:16:00

Special Features

Behind the scenes featurette; Director's picks; Commentary track with director Michael Kang and actors Jeffrey Chyau and Sung Kang; US theatrical trailer; Previews; Weblink; 5.1 surround sound

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeffrey Chyau Ernest Chin
Sung Kang Sam Kim
Jade Wu Ahma Chin
Samantha Futerman Christine
Stephen Chen Gung Gung
Alexis Chang Katie Chin
Conor J. White Roy
Jackson Budinger Jess
Clint Jordan Walter
Eleanor Hutchins Gina
Ron Domingo Hank
Jackie Nova Shakira
Jake Holbrook Toby
Ian Boyd Jimmy
Glen Brackenridge Cheap Ass Naked Man

Technical Credits
Michael Kang Director,Screenwriter
Miguel Arteta Producer
Sarah Beers Costumes/Costume Designer
Karin Chien Producer
Matthew Greenfield Producer
Cecily Kaston Asst. Director
Gina Kwon Producer
Nathan Larson Score Composer
David Leonard Editor
Lisa Leone Cinematographer
Richard Shapiro Executive Producer
Esther Shapiro Executive Producer
Edie Shapiro Executive Producer
Colleen Sharp Editor
Susan Shopmaker Casting
Ernesto Solo Production Designer
Reilly Steele Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Motel
1. Motel Rules [4:43]
2. After School Work [3:41]
3. Secrets of the Orient [3:45]
4. Enter Sam [3:57]
5. Puberty Sucks [3:48]
6. New Friends [4:05]
7. People Take Naps [4:11]
8. It's Not Fair [4:34]
9. A Game of Catch [3:43]
10. Covering for a Friend [4:31]
11. Driving Lesson [3:31]
12. I Want To Be Happy [5:55]
13. "It's Cool" [3:38]
14. You Gotta Do Something [3:01]
15. "This Is Awesome" [4:25]
16. The Essay [2:34]
17. Losing a Friend [7:19]
18. Credits [4:20]

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