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LAist Movie Review: 1,000 Years of Good Prayers

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Look at this photo for two hours and you start to get the idea. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

People must think it's really hard to lead a cult. Navigating those large crowds into giving you their money, spending sleepless nights convincing the weak-minded to do your most obscure bidding, only to have them all kill themselves at a moment's notice. Actually, most of that does sound pretty hard; except the suicide bit. Here's the trick: if you ever develop an unstable bloodlust that can only be satiated by stopping the neural processes inside the brains of large groups of people, get a copy of the movie 1,000 Years of Good Prayers and send out an Evite.

Assuming you're not a zombie (if you are, let's hang out - I know a spot on Pico that will feed you all the sesos you could want), you will find no redeemable quality to this movie, beyond it's ability to euthanize. The sad part is that 1,000 Years isn't bad in that way that makes movies like Strange Brew so good. It's actually bad. Coming in at a shade over two hours, one might be better spending their time debating the importance of subtlety to Flavor Flav. Anything, really.

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Primarily, 1,000 Years concerns an aging Chinese gentleman as he flies to Spokane, Washington to meet his Americanized daughter. Initially, the reason for this visit is unclear (and unneeded!), as the father-daughter relationship plows full-steam ahead into such natural topics as the spelling of a gas station sign. After comfortably falling into line as the doting father figure who is convinced his child doesn't eat enough, actor Henry O manages to squirm and stammer on screen for the next hour and a half. Even the bountiful and beautiful-sounding exchanges in Mandarin come across as stilted and stale in directorWayne Wang's hands. If you are interested in Wayne Wang's burgeoning repertoire, please see also: Maid in Manhattan, Because of Winn-Dixie, or the sure fire Queen Latifah hit Last Holiday.

As the film plods along, and most viewers have gleefully gone to Home Depot, purchased, and then kicked their own bucket, 1,000 Years attempts to find closure in a single conversation regarding the oppressive nature of Communism and true love. Whether or not this conversation has a long-lasting impact on either participant is wholly unnecessary; just know that at no point since the opening credits has this film been closer to dying. Another ten minutes and wham! You're out of the theatre and back onto the streets, looking for a drink to sober you up. Unless you took the above advice and had a movie night with it. In which case, you'd better go buy a lot of garbage bags, because you'll have some cleaning up to do.

Depending on your level of masochism, you may want to take time out of your busy Yelp reviewing schedule to check out 1,000 Years of Good Prayers, but probably not. If you are the sadist, you may enjoy bringing a friend, or making it a date movie. However, if you dislike carpet stains or piles of loved ones in an advanced state of boredom decay, please take the common advice and do not try this film at home.