I just saw "The Last Samurai" with my sister. I still remember the first time I saw a preview for it. We used to call the movie, "The White Samurai," and I remember thinking, "Oh GOD. Another 'white man goes to a foreign place and brings his wisdom' movie."
It's not that good movies with the "lone, wise, white man" don't exist. It's just that movies like that can easily piss a lot of people off. And I'm sure there are some people who saw this movie and hated it, just because Japanese people were in it and were portrayed as being Japanese. It's likely that there was a Chinese person or two in the cast. In fact, one of our family friends is in the movie, and he's only half-Japanese. That probably pisses some people off as well. You know, like Chow-Yun Fat's role in "The King and I." Or Garrett Wang playing Harry Kim in "Voyager." But I'll give Harry Kim the benefit of the doubt. I'm SURE he got his surname from some long-lost Korean relative. :) We all look the same, anyway.
I know people who get upset whenever an Asian ends up being stereotyped in a movie in any way. And some can get upset anytime an Asian is even *in* a movie, or when anything even related to Asian people is voiced out loud -- unless, of course, an Asian person originated the comment.
Hell, even I get upset when I see derogatory stereotyping (e.g. Breakfast at Tiffany's). But when the stereotype is done "properly," I end up laughing, because many stereotypes can be funny if viewed in the right light.
I'll do some stereotyping here: people are stupid. I mean, some people are, anyway. There were six brutish, Ugly Americans sitting behind us. They weren't "typical" Ugly Americans (you know, the ones that you might see causing a racket in a foreign country by loudly bringing our culture with them when they travel); instead, they had accents and would occasionally speak in another language. The problem was that they were speaking into their cell phones, and were chatting/laughing/being rude for most of the movie. I couldn't understand half of what they were saying, but a lot of it involved talking about porn and letting out big, brute laughs. Wendy and I actually got up and switched seats... and ended up sitting not far in front of a man who kept making unintelligible comments throughout the rest of the movie. People kept telling him to shut up and go home. Yippee.
So it wasn't quite the perfect night at the movies.
I have vindictive moments when I wish harm upon people. I know it's not right, but I can't help it.
So yeah, I liked the movie a lot. I'm not sure what else I'm trying to say. Mostly, I just wanted to say that I hated those guys in the theater, and that I hope that someone breaks their arms. :)