Let's Not Use Parasite as Motivation to Add a Washington State Tax

The pictures above are of Los Angeles, but Seattle has tent city issues with the homeless, too

For the most part I stay out of commenting on politics but when it comes to adding taxes we don’t have in Washington State? Um, no.

The tent cities listed above are not from Washington State, they are from Los Angeles, California another very liberal state. We also have a huge homeless problem inside the city of Seattle and Tacoma. Two cities that are close to where I live. Here are pictures from Seattle:

Seattle homeless pictures

You probably don’t see this mentioned as much around the world when Seattle is mentioned. You see the Seattle Center and iconic Space Needle. You likely don’t see the pictures of the homeless living in tents in Seattle pictured above.

The news stories are out there, you can follow them on Google News if you use the right keywords.

What we don’t have in Washington is a state tax.

What’s powerful about his report is that he isn’t advocating for new government programs or subsidies for anyone; he just wants to change who pays. His report advocates scrapping all of our sales, property and business taxes — all would go to zero — and replacing them with a simple, flat 10.4% state and local income tax with a $15,000 deduction. So a family of four working the gig economy and making, say, $25,000 a year — kind of like the one featured in “Parasite” — would pay about $3,000 less per year than it does now.

Seattle is so far gone on inequality we’re beyond the movie ‘Parasite’ | The Seattle Times

The bolding above in the quote is mine. Movies like Parasite can raise issues in real life, but Parasite isn’t non-fiction, it’s not an answer to how economic disparity should be resolved in a real world city. The article using this fantasy movie as suggested motivation of “how bad it could be” is preposterous.

The author of The Seattle Times article references Parasite a second time in the article toward the end:

We’ve fractured into such disparate camps that the one probably couldn’t get close enough to the other to feed on its resources even if it tried — as happens so wrenchingly in “Parasite.”

The Seattle Times

Scare tactics.

I’ve outlined my issues with Parasite, see: 20+ Parasite Reviews – A Curious Class Exercise In Social Irony and Cruelty

You can’t solve real world problems with movies. Can you be inspired to change something based on a movie? I’m not even sure that’s possible. There are very different realities between movies and real life. In movies most everything is bent, twisted and amplified for dramatic license within a couple hours of run time. In real life, it isn’t always so dramatic and cannot be resolved so quickly and neatly.

It’s extremely unlikely Parasite could happen exactly as depicted in the movie in real life. Bong Joon Ho wouldn’t even suggest that, I’m guessing. Impossible? No.

My biggest problem with Parasite is that it expertly showed a problem and yet offered no real solution. In real life you have to find solutions to problem someday, somehow.

Seattle has many problems, but solving them with adding a new statewide tax that we’ve never had isn’t the solution.

When it comes to state governments and politics, they only know one thing: more taxes for everybody! Only, it’s not for everybody because the biggest money earners (the giant corporations) get corporate tax loopholes that reduce and in some cases eliminate their tax burden. Go research how much Amazon pays in corporate income tax in Washington State.

The issue with poverty isn’t going to be solved by adding a state tax. It just means we’re going to add another tax that impacts every Washington state citizen outside the big cities. Citizens state-wide be subsidizing taxes for the city of Seattle, where the homeless problem is the worst. While Seattle has the biggest population in the state, the rest of the state combined has way more people than the city of Seattle.

The politicians have been trying to add a state tax for years and by and large majority the citizens of this state keep voting “no.” This has zero to do with helping to balance the social inequity in the city.

We don’t believe there will be fiscal responsibility with the additional tax revenue.

I would welcome a state tax if I honestly thought the money would be managed by state government correctly.

We used to have a huge tax surplus in this state, we used to have $25 car tab renewals and due to poor mismanagement by the state government, we no longer have these perks. One of my car tabs costs almost $300/year when I voted to have $25 tabs.

Politicians don’t add taxes and then take them away. We’ve been down the road where adding taxes to everybody in the state to solve the problems of a couple major cities doesn’t seem either equitable or fair.

Meanwhile, there are various corporate business incentive taxes. Why do large tech companies in this state pay so little taxes? Because of the jobs they bring into the state, that’s supposed to be the answer.

Amazon doesn’t need tax incentives. They can take all their low paying warehouse jobs to some other state. Sure, they pay executives handsomely.

This is a complicated business problem. How to take the tax revenue from the state and divide it up equally when too many people live in too small a geographic footprint. Grifters, drugs, all the bad crime a city doesn’t want moves in with poverty. It’s a very real problem, but my solution to fixing the problem is simple: tax corporate business more.

It’s laughable that when more taxes are requested, it’s always mainstream America that is asked to pay more while businesses get tax breaks and incentives over the fear that they will “leave the state.” You know what? Leave then. Pack up your bags and move to another state. Take the low paying jobs with you.

And, please, let’s not use movies as motivation to add more taxes.

CONGRATS to Bong Joon Ho First To Win 4 Oscars Since Walt Disney in 1954

The wonderful, amazing true story of Bong Joon Ho winning 4 Oscars for Parasite

Parasite ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Last night something magical happened at the Oscars 92nd Annual Awards ceremony. It was edge of your seat TV watching the night progress for Bong Joon Ho. The writer and director just kept winning and winning. He won the first award, which he wasn’t expecting to win, for the best screenplay and gave a heartfelt speech, some in English most through an interpreter.

Then he won the one that everybody expected he’d win: Best International Film. That was the one he probably prepared a speech for. He graciously accepted that award.

But then he won another shocking award against the likes of Martin Scorsese and Sam Mendes for Best Director. Now, he gave a truly inspiring speech from the heart.

The last award of the night for Best Picture came and I had a suspicion that the way the night was going it might fall Bong’s way — and it did.

Wow!

In the Academy’s 92nd year, it finally gave its greatest prize of Best Picture to a non-English-language film. Parasite ultimately took four trophies—the most of the night—earning whoops, cheers, and a standing ovation from the crowd at the Dolby Theater. Parasite’s first Oscar was the first trophy to ever go to a Korean film; the movie went on to shatter many more records. Bong has tied Walt Disney as the only person to win four awards on a given night (Disney did it in 1954, and three were for short films). “Thank you. I will drink until next morning, thank you,” Bong said after taking Best Director.

‘Parasite’ and Bong Joon Ho Showed the Oscars Can Still Be Magic – The Atlantic

Now, those who’ve read my Parasite review and more detailed critique know that I didn’t love the film, but it’s impossible not to like Bong Joon Ho and to be excited for what he accomplished. None of it will change my opinion on the film nor the fact that I wanted 1917 to win the Best Film and I thought Parasite was a long shot, but I’m very happy for Bong Joon Ho, the cast, crew and everybody involved in Parasite.

I also think it’s very cool in a day and age where everybody is crying about fairness that we saw a film that wasn’t even in English win four Oscars including Best Picture. That is cool as hell. It shows that quality matters and enough people loved this film to make this night special for the team behind Parasite.

Congratulations!

Black-and-White Parasite Screening in Select US Theaters

Parasite ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (color version)

I’m a huge fan of black and white (B&W) films. Bong Joon Ho apparently is, too, and has released a version of Parasite in B&W.

“I’m extremely happy to present ‘Parasite’ in black and white and have it play on the big screen,” Bong said in a statement. “It will be fascinating to see how the viewing experience changes when an identical film is presented in black and white. I watched the black-and-white version twice now, and at times the film felt more like a fable and gave me the strange sense that I was watching a story from old times. The second time I watched it, the film felt more realistic and sharp as if I was being cut by a blade. It also further highlighted the actors’ performances and seemed to revolve more around the characters.

Bong Joon Ho’s Black-and-White ‘Parasite’ Gets U.S. Release Date | IndieWire

Desaturation makes shadows, light and corners come to life in all new ways. The Twilight Zone despite numerous reboots and a movie has never been the same in color, so much that I was delighted to see that Jordan Peele re-released the new Twilight Zone episodes on CBS All Access in black and white — and, yes, it improved the stories.

Letterboxd is getting on board with the promotion today by offering a black and white version of their website:

It’s jarring seeing a color website in full black and white

Not every story, TV show or movie should be in black and white. Can you imagine if Schindler’s List was in color? Conversely, I wouldn’t like Jaws or Star Wars as much in black and white. Perry Mason is another TV show that needs to be in black and white. They did the TV movies of Perry Mason in color and they failed from a cinematography feel.

Would you like to see Parasite in black and white?

Am a little on the fence about seeing Parasite again, but definitely curious if I’d like it better than the color version. It is very possible, because there were some cool scenes in that movie that used some shadows and lighting that would show up better, I think. Might wait for streaming rather than try and track down a big screen version, but maybe I’ll go. Definitely like that it is being re-released in B&W.

What about you? Do you think a black and white version can improve your overall opinion of a movie that is originally shot in color?

20+ Parasite Reviews – A Curious Class Exercise In Social Irony and Cruelty

Saw Parasite ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and, based on the amount of critic love, and the fact that it won the prestigious Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, I was expecting it to be jaw-dropping amazing — but for me it was not.

Sure, it’s creative, it might even be a little genius in that it makes the viewer think both during and after the film, but is it among the greatest films ever made?

Sorry, no.

It is cynical, mostly unfunny — except for a small few scenes like the sewer overflow scene (loved that!) — sometimes meanders and was filled with unlikable characters and subtext that were supposed to make the viewer think it was amazingly clever, but obviously tried too hard.

“Parasite” has picked up the kind of praise from critics and audiences that make it one of the relatively rare foreign-language films that looks to have real potential across multiple categories in the Academy Awards. Nominations in the best film and best director categories are genuine prospects.

‘Parasite’ to Pass $10 Million North American Box Office This Weekend – Variety

Yes, I’m definitely in the minority on this film. Way in the minority as you’ll see from numerous praiseworthy reviews below. Some are giving this perfect scores. It has a 99% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m just asking: is this movie as good as Gone With The Wind? (90% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Seriously?

It’s a bummer when I’m on the opposite side of enjoying something that many others love. I also think critics too often fawn too much over movies simply because they are artsy, experimental and/or unusual, not because cinematically they tell fresh, engaging stories.

At least this time I liked the movie, just didn’t love it. Ad Astra ⭐️ and
Hustlers ⭐️½  I pretty much hated both of those. And in Hustlers case, I was on the opposite side of box office sales (it performed pretty well).

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Parasite. It is creative and clearly there was talent involved in the film. I just needed some light to go with the darkness. Films like this one and Joker⭐️⭐️⭐️½  that just dwell on the dark with no light. I mean what were the redeeming qualities of these people at the end? What were the character arc from either the scammers or the scammed? There were none. It was just rich vs. poor and both were unlikable. I couldn’t root for either social class.

And perhaps that’s the story Bong Joon-Ho wanted to tell: for there to be neither side to root for. Just a searing social commentary on behavior having little to do with economics.

I don’t mind sad films that are supposed to be sad. I’m OK crying at films when they are designed to make me cry. I just want comedies — even black comedies — to make me laugh, rather than feel like it was all just cruel and unusual punishment. What’s funny about class warfare where both classes are unlikable?

When a movie is presented to make me feel one way but makes me feel another, I am not a huge fan of this deception. Being off balance as the viewer is important, yes, because predictable stories are no fun, but if you go to a comedy you want to laugh. The sewer scene aside, I couldn’t smile much here. The guy sitting next to me sort of made this grunting chuckle sound throughout the film. The rest of the theater attendees were dead silent.

Nobody stood up and applauded when it was over. Shouldn’t at least somebody in the audience have done that? It was like watching a movie at the cemetery.

(The audience did applaud at the end of Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Here is a comment I almost left on another reviewer’s blog comments and pulled back, in response to debating if we need likable characters in a movie:

We root against characters we dislike and root for characters we like. That’s an innate viewer trait, yes? It’s the reason we want ROCKY to beat Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago. It’s why Hans Gruber’s devious plot in DIEHARD must be foiled by John Maclane. We want Marty Mcfly and Doc to foil Biff Tannen’s bullying tactics in BACK TO THE FUTURE.

But in PARASITE I can’t root for either side. I can only root that they all fail at what they are doing … for the entire movie.

None of the characters have any arcs, which is what I look for in movies that I LOVE. What about the social circumstance changed any of these characters? Nothing. So, at the end it is just the director saying, “no redemption for either economic class.” Is that really true or even realistic in life?

Yes it’s just the movies and we should suspend our belief at times. It doesn’t have to be real to be enjoyed. I get all that and to some degree I agree, but this film is intentionally trying to skewer social economic disparity. It does it without having any opinion of its own. It just picks a cynical angle and exploits it. That is the point, it seems.

There are some wonderful rich people (Fred Rogers was one of them, in his undying work educating children) and wonderful human beings that are poor (Harriet Tubman was a slave who freed herself and then spent her life freeing other slaves — she was as poor as you can be). So, throughout history we have characters on both sides of the economic extreme who are good people. I would have loved this movie if just one of the characters had some positive or at least illuminating arc.

Instead, the director just makes a film expressing cruelty and economic despair with no solution or even perceived solution, just commentary that we as viewers are supposed to say, “Yes, that’s just the way it is.” No, it’s not. So that’s what took me away from loving this movie.

Comment I decided not to leave on another movie reviewer’s blog

Again, I’m not saying I didn’t like Parasite. I did, gave it three stars which means I recommend to others to see it. That in and of itself is a compliment. I think it did a number of things creatively, but just wish there had been one character having a redeeming arc of some sort. Some glimmer of hope.

We have enough depressed, disturbed people in society right now. We need films that show some glimmer of hope for people at the end, not just bleak, barren hopelessness. I’m not saying every movie needs a happy ending, but movies that don’t offer any conclusion outside presenting “here’s a problem with these two disparate economic classes — they both are flawed.” What is so enlightening or awe-inspiring about that?

If you’re on the fence, I do recommend seeing Parasite and judging for yourself.

Other Blogger Reviews

Now that you know my opinion and why, let’s see what others think.

Recommended

  • Trang / Bookidote: “This movie should be studied in school because the storytelling is compelling and a masterwork. You will, laugh, shiver, stress with the characters.”
  • Jarred Jzyk: “I think it’s a masterpiece and definitely one of my favorite movies of 2019 so far. It’s virtually flawless in almost every way from start to finish. From the direction to the characters to the story and everything from a technical aspect.”
  • Fullerton Observer: “…is well over two hours long and not all audiences will enjoy this unusual film spoken in Korean with English subtitles. Also, its startling tonal shifts can be off-putting. But adventuresome audiences may find this movie worth their time and worthy of discussion.”
  • David Ferguson: “What begins as a devastating social satire morphs into a wild and crazy time of violence … without losing its general theme. A comedy of familial con artists bursts into a violent class thriller – the price to pay for unearned comfort. The film is not just unpredictable, it smacks us with a jarring twist.”
  • Screen Zealots: “…is one of the most intriguing, intelligent, and disturbing films of the year. It’s also one of the best.”
  • Fresh Film Takes: “To infect my mind with creative inspiration I have been ruminating over ever since my initial viewing, the film finds its hook and raises the temperature to boiling heights.”
  • The Movie Files: “Everything you may have heard is true, both about the quality of the film (it’s a straight-up masterpiece)”
  • Jordan Woodson’s Reviews: “It is a masterfully crafted movie with an impacting message that brings Bong Joon Ho to elite-filmmaking status.”
  • eggylettuce: “…a fantastic movie and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. It rides a fine line between upbeat comedy and gritty thriller and it does so effortlessly, spanning multiple genres with ease while covering some very serious topical themes whilst never hitting you over the head with anything.”
  • A. Leon: “Extremely recommended with a warning. This is not light fare. You won’t be able to separate the plot from the social commentary, which is there without ever becoming a hurdle or a nuisance.”
  • Saigon Geeks: “I guess this is what they call a Dark Comedy. But the real reason I enjoyed it was because it was a breath of fresh air, I could follow the plot but I had no idea where the story was going. Usually I don’t like that kind of thing, but maybe because I stepped into the cinema with zero expectations, anything is better than zero…?”
  • Essential Movies: “…my expectations were so high that I was worried I’ll get disappointed in the end but that’s not what happened and after watching it I can say that Parasite is easily one of the best movies I’ve ever seen (I’m 20 I haven’t seen that many though).”
  • Chicago Indie Critics: “I’ve seen Parasite twice and I cannot wait to see it again.  Led by Bong Joon-Ho’s masterful direction, stellar performances, and technical greatness, Parasite is one of the very best movies of 2019 and a movie unlike any you have seen before.”
  • Jeremy Koh: “It is a movie that will inevitably get under your skin and take up space in your head long after the credits have rolled.”
  • Hector Valverde: “It’s flooring not just how much, but how synergistically and open to interpretation Joon-ho crafts his film, particularly in his impressive ongoing visual motif contrasting the power disparity between high and low height levels.”
  • Matt Stephen: “…is unmistakably the work of a master of the craft addressing a borderless plight.”
  • Dylan McDermot: ” is easily one of the best films I’ve seen in the past few years. It is an incredibly creative story of class and diversity told in an engaging narrative that hooked me from start to finish. If foreign films aren’t your thing or you don’t like subtitles, I highly recommend you stretch yourself and try something new.”
  • simplyjorge: “…a movie that must be watched without having very much knowledge of it in the first place in order to see all the twists and turns unfold in the movie. I would have to give this movie a rating of 5/5 with zero issues in my opinion.”
  • Rachel’s Reviews: “The director trusts the viewers and the film he has crafted enough to not feel the need to hold your hand through every metaphor of the story. It’s definitely a movie that has stayed with me and one I hope to be able to watch again soon.”
  • Heather’s Hot Takes: “…unfolds in such a surprising and clever way.It dares to venture into the most brutal and darkest of places, making it unlike anything I have experienced before. It’s brilliant.”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

Pat H. left his very first review and didn’t like Parasite
  • R.L Terry: “I had incredibly high expectations for this film based upon everything I was hearing and reading, but it just didn’t do it for me. After the brilliant first half of excellently crafted suspense, foreshadowing, and plot setup, the second half loses the intrigue and just takes one convoluted turn after another for the sake of complicating the plot in an effort to make it say more than it actually does.”
  • greatmartin: “I left the theatre glad I didn’t walk out but at the same time I really can’t see recommending it while, on the other hand, Allen thought it was a classic whodunit.”

NOTE: I liked and followed most, if not all, of the blogger’s linked above. I don’t care who disagrees with me (or I disagree with) and enjoy reading other moviegoers’s opinions, including dissenting ones, on films. Echo chambers are to be avoided.