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Top 10 Shows and Films to Celebrate APAHM (The Correct Way!)

May 01, 2020

Editor’s Picks | By: Kennith Everett 

Happy Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month!

APAHM stands for Asian/Pacific Heritage month and according to the U.S. Department of Education, “It was first designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week by President Carter under Public Law 95–419 in 1978. In 1992, it was designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by President Bush under Public Law 102–450.

10. Kung Fu Hustle (功夫) 

Kung Fu Hustle (2005) 

Kung Fu Hustle, directed by Stephen Chow, is a cult-classic when it comes to Asian Cinema. This film is perfect chaos in the way it’s directed. Chow has a unique touch with film and this movie is a mixture of comedy, drama and action. Kung Fu Hustle, even 15 years later, is still kicking butt and taking no prisoners!

9. Dear Ex (誰先愛上他的)

Dear Ex (2018)

Dear Ex, co-directed by Mag Hsu & Hsu Chih-yen, is a wonderful film that explores the dynamism of relationships in Taiwan. The film explores LGBTQIA+ identity and the bond between a teen and his father’s lover. As a winner of the 55th Golden Horse Awards for “Best Film Editing,” I would prepare a tissue, or two, before I sit down to watch. 

8. Death Note (デスノート)

Death Note (2006)

Death Note, originally a manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba, is an anime directed by Tetsurō Araki, that has developed a cult following over the years. This anime is dark and moody unfortunately there is only one season but with a plot that is engaging and refined you’ll find yourself having to navigate the series slowly. P.S. This is a recommendation for the original anime, not the Netflix original movie released in 2017. 

7. Reply 1997 (응답하라) 

Reply 1997 (2012)

Imagine you’re in Busan, South Korea, but in the 90s, this is what the series Reply 1997, as directed by Shin Won-ho, explores. An old group of friends are reunited by a tragedy and they begin to bond again over old memories. This series is wonderful because it feels like an exploration into what life was like on the other side of the world during such a booming decade, the 90s. Once you finish this series, there are other years this series explores such as: Reply 1994 & Reply 1988.

6. Train to Busan (부산행)

Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan, directed by Yeon Sang-Ho, is a Korean Horror-Suspense film that has won numerous awards for it’s cinematography and performances a like. Train to Busan is one of my favorite movies because I actually had the pleasure of watching it for the first time while on the KTX to Busan from Seoul, South Korea. It has a great plot and tells a story which, at times, is hard to get from modern horror films. I definitely recommend watching this with a pillow to cover your eyes if it gets to intense for you. 

5. Moana 

Moana (2016)

Yes… it’s a Disney film, but I do have to give credit where credit is due. Moana, co-directed by Ron Clements & John Musker is a masterpiece and a prize for Polynesians all over the world. This story follows Moana, daughter of the chief in their village, as she sets out as the chosen one to save her entire village from potential disaster. It’s a great movie, with wonderful music and a definite must watch. 

4. Ajin: Demi-Human (亜人)

Ajin (2016) 

Ajin, originally a manga written by Gamon Sakurai, is a Netflix exclusive anime directed by Hiroyuki Seshita. This anime is dark and dreary but a perfect execution of what a great anime should be. The series is animated quite beautifully and the plot is just as beautiful. If you like anime and haven’t seen this series yet you must get to it! 

3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (卧虎藏龙)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, directed by Ang Lee, has to be crowned the film that revolutionized Kung Fu movies in the US and put movies like this on the map. This film is all the action and drama that one little heart can desire. Who would have thought that 20 years later it would still make it to the top of a list? 

2. Rush Hour (1,2 & 3)

Rush Hour (1998)

Rush Hour, now considered a legacy trilogy, has to be one of the top action comedies ever in American history, what makes it even better is that Jackie Chan is an Asian-American sweetheart. I recommend all three of the films. Though I do have a favorite I won’t ruin the surprise by saying it before you watch. 

1. Mulan (1998) 

Mulan (1998)

Mulan is not only, THE BEST DISNEY PRINCESS, but also a cinematic masterpiece. The story of a young woman replacing her father in a milatary draft and then going on to save the entire country is a story of bravery, willpower and Mulan is a real She-Ro. I didn’t think I would place this movie so high but to think about how a movie like this inspired so many young Asian-American girls to grow up with a message that they can do anything anyone else can do and despite how others feel if you show up and do the work you to has the potential to change the world! 

Don't forget to say "Asian-Pacific On Demand" to check out our new Asian-Pacific destination on Contour! 

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