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December 29th , 2003

The Catch of the Day
or "Why I put up with crap"

     Yay, another year is over. In that time, LoveHKFilm.com has upped its ranking from the 956th most popular HK Cinema website to the 472nd, meaning we're really climbing that ladder. If we can get to 234th place by 2005, we'll officially be on a tear. Let's all clap facetiously. I'd like to thank my parents, the rest of my extended family, and the multitudes of people who visit this website for their periodic fill of Hong Kong Cinema related crap. Those who DO NOT stop here will receive absolutely no well-wishes, but are encouraged to drop by the LoveHKFilm.com offices in sunny Los Angeles to pick up a free DVD, the caveat being that if they actually do stop by this page their claim to the free DVD will be null and void. So to get your free DVD you CANNOT read these words. Woohoo! Loophole!
     Yes, there's a catch to everything. And as I've certainly learned this year, the catches can suck. The Life with Kozo columns/diatribes have been a constant fixture of this site for over a year, but since that fateful day in August where the site hit 1000 reviews, the column has gone completely to hell, only to be replaced by a deafening silence—or worse, anti-Miramax screaming from the masses who are STILL upset over Shaolin Soccer, a movie we've all seen like 50,000 times. Real life committments and fatigue got in the way of running this site, and the catch for that was absolutely no Life with Kozo columns. *sniff*
     Even worse, the site has only logged 42 new reviews since August, which is even more alarming in light of the site having clocked 900 reviews by March of 2003. That means March to August, a span of 6 months, gave us 100 reviews. However, August to January, a span of 5 months, produced only 42, 5 of which are arriving with this very update. The sum total of all of these figures is this: we're simply not able to do what we used to do. Or rather, I'm not able to do what I used to do. Time has grown short, days have grown shorter, and the impending future threatens our very existence.
     Basically, it's not going to get any easier.
     This is not a new thought. Instead, it's something that's been kicking around for quite a while. Anyone who's read a previous Life with Kozo knows this: if we aren't making fun of Ekin Cheng, we're grousing about how much time it takes to run this wacky web site. Such grousing is usually followed by a few positive "Cheer up, pal!" e-mails and some "Stop yer bitching!" gripes from those who don't like webmasters who bitch. After all, I get to meet lots of cool HK celebrities, get free DVDs, and am rich and powerful beyond my wildest dreams. But there's a catch: none of that is true. LoveHKFilm.com gets nothing free, I don't know any HK celebrities (SO STOP ASKING ME HOW TO CONTACT THEM. EVEN IF YOUR REASONS ARE NOBLE OR HEART-WRENCHING, I CAN DO NOTHING.), and I'm only rich and powerful in the world of online gaming. And, to be honest, I'm a nameless schmoe there too.
     But the site is still here. Weird.
     It all starts with love. The name of this site implies some sort of affection, and in fact, I have frequently professed to "loving" Hong Kong Cinema. Such a declaration is actually not easy to come by. After all, this is an industry who's given us such fine cinematic wonders as China Strike Force, Para Para Sakura and My Dream Girl. There's also nearly the entire filmography of Wong Jing to consider, and the multitudes of crappy Category III "movies" which serve absolutely no purpose, not even as coasters for your coffee table. To be able to watch all those films—no, to make it your personal responsiblity to see and write about films of such inept cinematic quality as Feel 100% 2003 would imply that one either loves the stuff, or is simply a glutton for punishment. I prefer to think the former reason, but the latter is gaining ground.
     Proof of my masochism lies NOT with my choice of films (though that could be a whole other column right there). Proof lies in other things, for example: why do I put up with the crappy e-mail I get? Aside from the usual e-mails asking me to stop making fun of Ekin Cheng, or asking how to contact Shu Qi, there are also the mail requesting some sort of favor, i.e. "send me all the pictures you have of [insert celebrity here]", or my new fave: "Where can I download Hong Kong movies for free?" Let's get this straight: if I love HK Film, why would I actively promote the pirating and theft of it? In every way, the downloading of pirated HK Cinema is WORSE than our pals at Miramax slicing up our favorite films and then sitting on them for years on end.
Sure, what Miramax does also sucks, but debating that point is useless by now. If they want to get all possessive over their films, that's fine. My suggestion: go get the original DVDs or VCDs anyway. No matter how much Disney kicks and screams, there will be a way for you to get a legitimate, uncut version of the film you want to see. Just pay for it, for gods sake.
     Then there are the suggestions, which sometimes request far more than a simple film to be reviewed. Some people want different code implented, sweeping format changes, or simply the re-evaluation of a film which they liked, but we hated. Requests for "partnership" aren't much better, because they inevitably come down to this: "Link to our site and/or give us permission to use your content/reviews. In return, we will give you...a link!" That's right, in exchange for the content stored within, I will receive even more traffic, which leads to more e-mail and probably more headaches when I discover my review for Sex and Zen 2 (a poorly-written fluff piece penned when I was 22) stored on some porn site as advertisement for a download of the same film.
     But hey, I guess that's the catch. I put this site up because I love HK Film and I love to write—or at least string a bunch of words into semi-coherent sentences. I don't really feel like quitting, though the "responsibility" I have to my readership and the Internet at large can be tiresome. But keeping the site up invites people to write in and ask for this, and ask for that, or call me out for my poor treatment of their favorite idol, or request advertisement for their new line of Infernal Affairs-inspired cotton swabs. Or maybe they want my help to sell more DVDs on their website. In return I will get a free DVD SOMEDAY. That DVD is subject to approval by x-retailer's governing board, and may not necessarily be a new film, or even a film. As a result, I expect a free DVD of "Railroaded: Train Crashes and Collateral Damage on the World's Wildlife". Yay, just what I wanted.
     Still, they're right about one thing: I should quit my bitching. If I don't want the attention, or the annoying e-mails, or the weirdos wanting to contact x-popstar ("Because I love him and am a big fan, and I want to thank him for bringing so much to my life!"), I should just shut the whole works down and do something more constructive, like design fishing lures or studying the fine art of color coordination. Sadly, the site's current Internet ranking means we're going to get e-mail, and numerous requests to help sell DVDs or a special pill which will help "power up" for the ladies.
Yep, I lied at the opening. LoveHKFilm.com's HK Cinema site ranking is actually MUCH, MUCH higher than 956 (think barely double digits), and to be honest, ranking that high can be somewhat gratifying. I can take solace in the knowledge that even though I get paid zippo, I may have actually accomplished something. Yeah, the actual accomplishment is as valuable as a paper car, but it's something not everyone could do. I may die poor, alone and with a lot of crappy DVDs, but hey, my web site is popular.
     And the catch is I have to put up with crap.

-- Kozo, 12/29/2003

 
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The Featured Graphic
Near the top on the list of actresses the Webmaster would like to see act in a Hong Kong movie again is Carman Lee, who once upon a time was a fixture of many Johnnie To movies. Since making a flurry of pictures back in 1997 (six, four of which involved Johnnie To and his Milky Way Film Productions), Lee stopped making Hong Kong films. She continues to make Mainland Chinese television serials, but quite honestly, we wish she would come back.
 
 
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The opinions expressed within are merely the musings of the Webmaster, and as such should be taken with the requisite grain of salt. If you disagree with an expressed opinion please feel free to contact him here. If you feel he has insulted your favorite popstar, you can still contact him. However, your chances of receiving a reply will be reduced by half.
     
 
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