Aloha! Hawaii on my mind… what’s your fave movie(s) set in America’s tropical paradise?

Happy Monday, everybody! Well, as I mentioned on my monthly roundup, I’ll be off for a two-week vacation to my hometown Jakarta and then Hawaii on our way back to Minnesota. So in less than two weeks, I’ll be arriving in Hawaii, Kauai to be specific. This will be my second time in Hawaii as I went to Honolulu when I was about 13 with my family, but my first time on Kauai island.

Anini Beach – the closest beach to our resort

It’s no surprise that America’s tropical paradise has been a popular spot for the movies and TV shows. I grew up watching Tom Selleck in his indecently short shorts in Magnum P.I. and I think my brothers like watching the original Hawaii Five-O. I quite like the current remake on CBS as well though I haven’t been watching it much lately (I’m horrible with keeping up w/ TV shows!)

FromHeretoEternityAs far as movies go, there seems to be a ton of films set in Hawaii. The busy Hawaii Film Office calls the islands ‘Hollywood’s Tropical Backlot.’ Perhaps the generous production tax credit makes it a welcoming place for filming, on top of the welcoming climate and spectacular locations of course. From classics like From Here to Eternity, Blue Hawaii, and Tora! Tora! Tora! to contemporary ones like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Punch Drunk Love, Pearl Harbor and Oscar-nominated The Descendants, there have been some popular films set on the islands. Even some of the non-CGI scenes of Avatar were shot in Hawaii. As this site pointed out, the two leads of the movie actually filmed some scenes on location in order to “… give them all a taste of how the scenes would feel if they were being shot in a real rain forest.”

JurassicParkFallsJust on Kauai alone, there are a dozen movies set on the fourth largest island on the archipelago (per Of course the most notable one being Jurassic Park (though the theme park was filmed in the family-owned Kualoa Ranch in Oahu island). I can’t wait to take the helicopter ride to Manawaiopuna Falls, or the Jurassic Park Falls as it’s become known for. The breathtaking 360-foot high falls is in my list of memorable waterfalls in the movies I made almost exactly a year ago. I need to rewatch that movie one of these days, it’s one of my fave movies of the 90s and surely on my top 10 from Spielberg.

My top three movies set in Hawaii (of the ones I have seen so far) would include Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and The Descendants. Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor would make my worst, ahah.

So now your turn. What are your top three movies set in Hawaii?

Tube Watch: Five Reasons I Watch Hawaii Five-0

Monday nights are actually one of my favorite week nights. Y’know why? ‘Cause it’s time for my favorite show of the season. Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit it, I LOVE Hawaii Five-0! I’ve only seen maybe one episode of the original, so it’s not exactly a nostalgia thing apart from the memorable theme song. Here are five reasons why:

1. The great ensemble cast

If you’d say I have a crush on Alex O’Loughlin, then you wouldn’t be wrong 🙂 His role as Steve McGarrett certainly the main draw for me initially as I was a big fan of Moonlight, but now I love the entire members of Five-0. I adore Scott Caan as Danny ‘Dano’ Williams, his tie-wearing, Jersey-loving attitude is the perfect antithesis to the sports nut and intensely bad-ass McGarrett. I also love the fact that this show had not one but TWO Asian actors in the major roles, LOST’s Daniel Day Kim as the disgraced cop Chin Ho Kelly and Battlestar Galactica alum Grace Park as Kalakaua, who’s also Chin’s cousin, as the youngest Five-0 recruitee. The four of them have a wonderful, dynamic camaraderie and they look like they enjoy each others’ company on the set.

2. The fun action-packed episodes
The fast-paced script keeps the show moving swiftly — perhaps almost too quick to follow all the details of some of the more complicated cases — that it’s never boring. Though not every episode is created equal, you can always rely on a decent amount of suspense along with the witty banters. The episode where Chin is strapped with a bomb necklace kept me on my toes and was awesome to see the team rally to save their beloved partner. It certainly helps that all of the cast look believably fit for all the physical stuff.

3. The humor
I love that O’Loughlin and Caan have a great chemistry together. Looks like they’ve been best pals forever when they make the show because their friendship feels natural. Despite the constant teasing — Danny often thinks Steve is a bit of a neanderthal for his brash, shoot-’em-up temper, and Steve always makes fun of uptight dress code as the only cop in Hawaii wearing a tie on the job — y’know they like each other a lot and would probably take a bullet for each other. The witty banter between them are the show’s highlights I always look forward to.

4. The continuing storyline

O'Loughlin w/ Taryn Manning

Though every episode has its own unique plot, there’s a constant thread of McGarrett’s back-story involving his father’s murder that makes for a good character development. I like how with each episode, we’re given a bit more clues that would hopefully get Steve closer to finding his dad’s killer. There were a couple of episodes of Steve’s visiting relative finding out about the tool box left by their dad that ended up getting her kidnapped. I don’t know if they’re going to bring back Taryn Manning as the straight-talkin’ kid sister in future episodes. I sure hope so, because I think she’s one of the better guest stars on the show (eons better than Rick Springfield!). Oh, I also like the main suspect of the case, a guy by the name of Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), who proves to be a sinister villain that REALLY gets under McGarrett’s skin.

Besides Steve’s ongoing case, there’s also the subplot about Danno’s young daughter and ex-wife who live on the island, which keep us guessing whether they’d get back together. The stuff about Chin-Ho’s past and the real reason he’s kicked off the force is pretty intriguing, too.

5. The gorgeous, escapism island setting

I’d like to think that the island setting itself sort of distinguish Five-0 from the run-of-the-mill crime procedural show. The show might as well double as a Hawaii tourism video as every episode it makes me want to book a trip to that amazing island. The gorgeous beaches, the big waves, the lush mountains… the Hawaiian scenery is practically the star of the show itself. I also love that they use local actors for most of the recurring cast members, my favorite has got to be the big jolly teddy bear of a guy Kamekona, played by amateur sumo wrestler Taylor Wili. He makes me smile every time he appears on screen.

So there you have it. Five-0 is entertaining, enjoyable,  and fun! What else could you ask for on Monday nights?

Are you a fan of the show? If not, what’s YOUR must-see show(s) this season?

Friday Guilty Pleasure Flix: CBS’ Vampire Show Moonlight

Happy Friday, all! Time for another guilty pleasure post I’d say… wow, the last guilty pleasure flix post I did was The Saint nearly a year ago.

I didn’t exactly have a specific movie in mind but it just so happens that my friend at work lent me her Moonlight dvd yesterday, so voila! Why limit it to movies as we all have our own guilty pleasure tv shows, don’t we? Well Moonlight was the quintessential guilty pleasure for me, as it’s not exactly the best-written show and it’s often too slick for its own good. But oh man, there hasn’t been a show since that’s as addictive. Every week I’d be tuning in and when it’s over I couldn’t wait for the next episode! Aussie Alex O’Loughlin was the main draw for me obviously, though he isn’t the most expressive actor, he somehow fits the role of the vampire detective like a glove!

A fan-made Youtube video lists 8 Things They Love About Moonlight that capture all the reasons I love the show. The main addictive factor is the romance between the vampire hero Mick St. John and his human love interest, reporter Beth Turner (as in ‘turn her’ get it? 🙂 ) played by the lovely and talented Brit Sophia Myles. Their forbidden romance is the pièce de résistance of any vampire love story and Alex and Sophia got the chemistry thing right, oh la la! Just check out one of my favorite episodes below after Beth took black crystal, an ecstasy-type drug made out of vampire blood:

As if that weren’t scorching enough, throw in the ‘ex-wife’ Coraline (played by Shannyn Sossamon) who’s as psychotic and obsessive as she is sultry. She’s the one who turned Mick into a vampire and somehow came back from the ‘dead’ and masquerading as Beth’s photojournalist, Morgan. The retro flashback scenes of Mick/Coraline are pretty fun to watch and often the sexiest episodes of the show (see below when Mick attempts to expose Morgan’s true identity). There’s also the suave and witty BFF Josef (played with aplomb by Jason Dohring), the seen-all, been-there-done-that 410-year old vampire who works as hedge fund manager by day. His scenes w/ Mick is always full of amusing repartee.

Oh and the soundtrack is pretty great, too. Moonlight‘s peppered w/ awesome songs every episode from The Fray, Evanescence, Jamie Cullum, Lapush, Fauxliage, etc. People have been posting ’em on YouTube and one of my faves is Let It Go by Canadian band Fauxliage.

I was so bummed out when CBS yanked it out in mid 2008, and frankly it was pretty dumb on CBS’ part IMO. As I said previously in my farewell post to Three Rivers (Alex’s show post Moonlight), it’s hugely ironic that it got canceled right at the massive upsurge of the Twilight hysteria. Ever since then, two vampire TV shows have gained popularity: HBO’s True Blood and WB’s The Vampire Diaries. The first cater to adults with its more risqué scenes; whilst the other is geared for teens. That means Moonlight would fit right in between the two as the only vampire show for its demographic on network TV.

Anyway, let bygones be bygones I guess. O’Loughlin is now starring in another CBS show Hawaii Five-O, and I think that one has been more well-received than his previous two CBS shows. But parts of me still miss Moonlight… ah well, at least I’ve got the dvd to go back to.

Ok now your turn, what’s your guilty pleasure TV show(s) or favorite show that’s been canceled? If you’re a fan of Moonlight, I’d love to hear it, too!

TV-Watching Mondays: Chuck, The Event & Hawaii Five O

With the Fall season upon us, all kinds of new shows are coming out of the woodwork. For some reason, my TV watching has dropped significantly the past few years. In the 90s I watched a ton of ’em: Wings, Frasier, Friends, News Radio… man, those were fun! But last night I spent a whole THREE hours straight in front of the telly with my hubby, something we haven’t done in ages.

Chuck Season 4
I caught on to this one in the second season, but I kind of tuned out about halfway into the 3rd season for whatever reason, despite Brandon Routh being on the show. But when the news of Timothy Dalton guest-starring for a few episodes on Season 4, I can’t help but tuning back in! Plus, Chuck is a fun show to watch anyway, Zach Levi is such an adorable dorky spy and his co-stars are pretty great, too: especially  his doofus BFF Morgan (Joshua Gomez), the endearingly burly Casey (Adam Baldwin), and his love interest, the sexy but lethal Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski). Season 4 promises to be more action-packed and mystery-laden, with Linda Hamilton also guest stars as Chuck’s spy mother (well, what else, a housewife?). Dalton’s character’s supposed to be a mysterious stranger who has a history with her. Chuck exec producer Josh Schwartz promises a big arc for his character… well, according to his Tweet anyway: “So excited that Timothy Dalton is going to be on CHUCK! First Bond I saw in theaters and a great comic actor as well. Big arc!!!” Bring ’em on, Josh! I can’t wait!!

Check out this fun fan-vid tribute to Dalton joining Chuck:

Hawaii Five 0
Season Premiere

The only reason this show is even on my radar is Alex O’Loughlin. If you follow FC long enough, I have a soft spot for this Aussie, so his shows are pretty much the only ones I’ve been watching: Moonlight, Three Rivers, but CBS kept canceling them! I wasn’t too bummed about the 2nd one being canceled, it was pretty dull and whoever hired people like O’Loughlin AND Daniel Henney only to put ’em in hospital scrubs definitely have no business being a casting agent! Well, looks like third time is the charm for the Aussie looker. First a vampire detective, then a doctor, now a fearless Navy SEAL officer Steve McGarrett. This role suits him nicely, nothing too dramatic, but PLENTY of opportunities to flex his muscles. Plus, eye candy alone won’t make a good show. Luckily he’s got a fun chemistry with his partner, Detective Danny “Danno” Williams, a sardonic Jersey cop played by Scott Caan, who’s got a similar on-screen wisecracking’ persona as his dad James.

Nice to see two Asian actors got pretty decent roles here, too. Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim (who didn’t have to move from Hawaii from his last job) and Battlestar Galactica’s Grace Park round up the cast, and the four of them make a good team. Well, the pilot was a blast, so suffice to say, I’ll keep on watching. Fingers crossed this show will be around for a while!!

P.S. O’Loughlin isn’t the only former vampire on the show last night. James Marsters, who played a blond vampire in Buffy, guest starred as the villain. So during the fight scene, I kept expecting their fangs would come out 😀

The Event Season Premiere

Good thing I don’t watch any TV so I hadn’t been bombarded by all the promos for the hyped-up new shows. I actually noticed this one from their radio promo, so at the end of Chuck, I was curious enough to stay and watch. Billed as a conspiracy thriller, it follows a young man named Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, the son of late actor John Ritter) who, while investigating the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend, begins to discover the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. I’m guessing the ‘cover up’ is alien in nature, which would be cool as I like sci-fi thrillers. What’s more audacious than having an extraterrestrial group saving the President of the United States? So it’s kind of like Independence Day meets West Wing meets 24 😀

The Event‘s cast look pretty familiar, Blair Underwood plays a Black (or is he supposed to be Hispanic? His name is Martinez??), as well ER alum Laura Innes, Gilmore Girls‘ Scott Patterson and that guy from the horror flick Candyman. NBC definitely needs a hit like Heroes a few years back, and it’s obvious they’re hoping this would be the new Lost. I gotta admit I was pretty intrigued after the pilot, but not sure I’ll have the patience to see what the “event” is actually all about. We’ll see.


Well, did you watch any of these last night? What shows are you watching this Fall season?