adjective | \’slõ\
Every time Our Illustrious Mayor mentions the federal government, Justin Trudeau, or the province, we slow things down.
Finding Mr. Right (aka: Beijing Meets Seattle and Bei Jing yu shang Xi Ya Tu), according to the Internet Movie Database:
“City girl Jiajia is traveling to Seattle to give birth to the son who’s going to help her win over her rich, married boyfriend. Armed with his unlimited credit card and the singular goal of bringing a little U.S. citizen back to Beijing, Jiajia knows how to play this game of modern love. But when Jiajia arrives in Seattle, the city which inspired her favorite movie Sleepless in Seattle, nothing goes right: she’s stuck sharing a small house with two other pregnant ladies, she has trouble reaching her boyfriend on the phone, and eventually, even the credit card stops working. To top that off, the only person willing to spend time with her is her driver Frank. Frank is the opposite of everything she ever wanted in a man … or could he be exactly the kind of guy she really needs?”
A China-produced knock-off of a cliché-addled Hollywood rom-com featuring unlikeable lead characters, Finding Mr. Right comes off as a lifestyle advert targeted at the People’s Republic of the Recently Enriched. At least I think so; I confess I could only endure a few minutes before succumbing to an aesthetic toxic shock.
I risked such exposure following the Globe & Mail’s “Beijing meets Seattle: Rom-com sets off Asian buying spree.” In particular:
“The screenplay for the film (its English title is Finding Mr. Right) could almost have been written by Seattle real estate agents; it was that much of a boon to the market.”
“It was ‘massive advertising, and there has been a lot of response,’ said Dean Jones, chief executive officer of Seattle real-estate company Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, which has a team of agents (the ‘Asia Desk’) fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and other Asian languages to cater to the continuing, broadening influx of buyers.
“Originally from Vancouver, Mr. Jones said that Seattle is following a similar pattern as Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Vancouver’s reputation as a hedge city, that is, a relatively safe bet for property investors who can afford it, has spilled over to Seattle with its comparatively lower prices (30 to 50 per cent lower than Vancouver, Seattle realtors say).”
While it goes unmentioned in the article, there’s another Vancouver-connection regarding the movie. Other than a few scenes in Beijing, and a very few establishing shots of Seattle, Finding Mr. Right/Beijing Meets Seattle was filmed entirely in and around Vancouver.
So, while real estate shills and pundits and their political affiliates dismiss the influence of Chinese money on the Vancouver market, the city serves as both a discount production centre for extended advertisements of Pacific Northwest Coast property for Mainland China and a source of human capital to serve that market. Beijing meets Seattle, with Vancouver serving as a kind of relationship facilitator. Or pimp, if you prefer.
Finding Mr. Right performer Wei Tang shilling lifestyle at YVR:
A poem comprised of unsolicited Vision Vancouver mass email subject lines re: the transit plebiscite.
Today is the Day
I’m voting Yes
A vote on Metro Vancouver’s future
Spread the word!
On transit, here’s what you can do!
Yes to accountability, yes for better transit!
Will you stand with us on transit?
Congestion is a safety issue
Have you voted yet?
Did you get your ballot?
Today’s the last day
Transit: Today is the day
It’s a cast of thousands!
The story opens with the driver of the 135 and …. whoosh! He thunders past, running roughshod over delicate concepts like ”full” and “bus stop.”
Here’s the operator of the 19, trying to run the red, but stopping short, his ass hanging out in the intersection -blocking pedestrian and car traffic- because an 8 and another 19 already lay claim to the curb ahead.
Hey! Why settle for one CEO, when you can have two at twice the price?
There’s also the Board, Kevin Falcon’s gift-that-keeps-on-giving. These Faceless Ones put me in mind of Bill Hick’s routine about the Gideons: “Ever met one? No! Ever see one? NO! What are these people? Ninjas?” Ninjas -with monthly driving allowances.
And the oligarchs, of course. I imagine them perched on generously apportioned bundles of $500 bills, beady-eyed, salivating, ready to pounce. Ready to tear Broadway a borehole, to gut and annihilate and unleash the cranes on the remains.
Speaking of which, even “Expo Jimmy” makes a cameo. And nothing says guardian of the public good like the 86 year-old local chapter president of The Global Elite.
There’s a lot of Fifth Business in this tale, roles being neither Hero nor Heroine, Confidante nor Villain, but for that no (more or) less essential to bringing about the denouement.
And so, enter the Civic Officials, heralded by emails and a stale rehash of recent election tactics: “Will you pledge your support?” What’s with all the pledging? When did we start taking our cues from The Waltons?
There’s an admission price, of course. While it seems modest, those of means all appear to have comps.
Nah, I’ll pass. I prefer something with a stronger narrative, and more convincing characters.