Tuesday, May 12, 2020

5 Favorite Columns and Episodes

by Mark Ahn
“We all began as something else.”

In celebration of F This Movie! hitting double digits in age to cap off a pretty good decade of movies, I took a look back to highlight five of my favorite columns and episodes. No particular order:

1. Podcast: Riddick
It’s not necessarily the best, or the longest, or the most award winning, but this one sticks out in my memory as one of the most fun. And why wouldn’t it? Patrick and I have long shared a love for slightly overcooked sci-fi, action, and all things Vin Diesel, and the Riddick movies are all of that wrapped up into one. The Vin Diesel love has spread to the rest of the site, and it makes sense because, as we discuss on this particular episode, Vin Diesel is a man who tries to fully inhabit his passions, no matter how nerdy it may be or how incongruous it may seem to his tough guy exterior. He totally understands what “movie love for movie lovers” means.

2. Review: Fist of Legend
One of our first columns on kung-fu movies, and a fun one to write about because I love it, and still love it, so much. It will probably forever hold the gold standard for no-frills hand-to-hand combat because it has everything I’m looking for: real action between insanely talented, athletic performers, no camera tricks, little speed ramping, little wirework, and narratively motivated. I mean look at this. LOOK AT IT:

It’s maybe the third or fourth best fight of the movie! It’s so great.

3. Podcast: Our Favorite Fight Scenes
Speaking of kung-fu and action movies in general, we got to talk about a whole mess of them in this episode, including FTM Hall of Famers like Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Scott Adkins, Zoe Bell, John Woo, and long action takes. It captures the spirit of what I love about FTM, which is the site’s ability to recreate the rambly movie discussions you would have with your friends on the car ride home or outside of the theater, where you excitedly talk about not just what you watched but it reminds you of. Incredibly, we did this in a mostly pre-John Wick world? Also, it gave us a great idea for a future version of this episode but for gunfights.

4. Review: Memories of Murder
Although a recent one, I could only have written about this one recently, despite the movie coming out in 2003. If you were to say, back in 2003, that not only would director Bong Joon-ho be one of the most respected directors in the world, or that a Korean language film would win Best Picture, but that Korea in general would take over popular culture, nobody would have believed you. As a Korean-American, I didn’t set out to watch movies because of my Korean heritage, but, like Director Bong, I got into it because of the American movies of my youth. To have the culture of my birth, which to me is so familiar but so small, become the focus of so much positive artistic attention is wild to think about. I didn’t ever really want to write about Korean movies, nor feel like I have to, but I’m proud that there’s something credible out there to embrace, which is part of the larger conversation we’ve been having in our culture about representation in popular media, FTM included. I wouldn’t have written about this movie back in 2003 because I never would have had access to it; it’s special to have a space to talk about it, and it reminds me of all the other people who deserve that same attention. I’d like to think FTM is trying to be a part of that, as well.

5. Column: Favorite Things about My Friendship with Patrick
The origin story is not complex. Patrick’s wife, Erika, and I work together, and we started talking about movies, laughed at each other’s jokes. She introduces me to her lovely husband, we all laugh at each other’s jokes, and Patrick asks me to come on this little movie podcast he’s starting. I get to come talk and write about movies? What Patrick doesn’t know is that I would pay him to let me do that. This particular column talks about how my friendship with one of the kindest, humblest people I know has pulled me deeper into an artform and a passion than I ever could have gone on my own. It’s connected me with friends and movies (which are almost like friends) that forced me to grow and change and think about how and why I do things, and that’s truly one of the most loving things that a friendship can offer to anyone. Thanks Patrick, and thanks FTM crew and community. I hope we keep doing this for so many more years, but even if we don’t, I know that I’ve received so much that I’ll never forget.


  1. The line that got me here? "What Patrick doesn't know is that I would pay him to let me do that." I totally agree.

    Thanks for putting this all into words, Mark, and also for pointing me in the direction of some fun podcasts I missed! You can probably guess which one I'm listening to first... oh yeah, Riddick!

    1. It's like that podcast was just waiting for you to come along! It's funny how often that happens around here. Thanks for the love!

  2. Replies
    1. I mean, we haven't even gotten into Dark Fury or Riddick 4. There's so much ground to cover.

    2. They should find a way to bring back Radha

    3. She's too busy being Melinda. And Melinda.

  3. I'm always excited when I see there's a new Ahn episode! It's probably because of your love for "overcooked sci-fi" and action, that it generally ends up being a movie/topic that I appreciate.

    The Riddick episode is one of my favourites. After watching Bloodshot a couple weeks ago, and knowing that Vin Diesel is one of my kids favourite actors (we've seen The Pacifier 3 times!), it dawned on me that I've never shared Riddick with them. I guess a couple years ago I was thinking they were too young, but not anymore. I'm due to rewatch them as well.

    The "favourite fight scenes" episode was a favourite too. The Predators one as well. I should rewatch Fist Of Legend with the kids! The fight scene you posted the YouTube video of is great. I love the Western music that accompanies it. I'm slowly trying to ease them into Kung-Fu movies. We watched The Forbidden Kingdom (2005) with Jet Li and Jackie Chan, which while not being as good as it could have been, was a good entry because it was geared slightly towards younger viewers and, importantly, they were speaking English. The kids loved it, although the significance of Li and Chan being in the same movie was perhaps lost on them. Two titans of martial arts movies! In the SAME MOVIE!

    Also, if you haven't seen it, I urge you to watch Fearless (2006). I think it has to be my favourite martial arts action movie. Watch the the directors cut! The theatrical version is vastly different, with the whole ending of the movie moved to the beginning (because Western audiences need some action in the first 5 minutes or they'll grow bored..I guess). Don't worry, there's plenty of action, and a nice arc of discovering oneself and doing martial arts for the correct reasons.