Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng

Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and Shoecomics.com.

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for ShoeComics.com. His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

Photo: Mitt Romney Breaking Ground at Public Broadcasting Station, 2005

| Wed Oct. 10, 2012 3:28 PM PDT

Yes, we've all heard and seen the meme: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney loves Big Bird and PBS, but still pledges to cut off government funding, due to the fact that PBS is a drain on the federal budget and requires money borrowed from China to stay afloat. (No.)

Here's a photo of then-Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, at a WGBH groundbreaking ceremony in Brighton, Boston back in 2005:

WGBH is  WGBHWGBH provides non-commercial educational public radio and television, and is a PBS member station. WGBH.orgClick here to read about how Gov. Romney signed a bill that would later ensure millions of dollars in funding for nefarious, budget-killing public TV in Massachusetts for years to come.

And in case you were wondering, yes, WGBH does indeed carry Sesame Street.

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ABC's "Nashville": A Shameless, Sexy Fall Drama, With Country Songs & Dirty Politics

| Mon Oct. 8, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

Country songs, dysfunctional families, Southern accents, sex, and big-city politics.

That could be the elevator pitch for Nashville, a nighttime soap opera debuting this Wednesday (10 p.m. Eastern) on ABC. The show jumps right into the Tennessee-fried swagger and sleaze in its first hour. The pilot, directed by political documentarian R.J. Cutler and penned by Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri, introduces the swelling feud between 40-something music icon Rayna James (played by the fantastic Connie Britton), and 20-something country-pop seductress Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere, returning to television).

"Movie & An Argument" Podcast: 'Pitch Perfect,' Liam Neeson & Mindy Kaling Edition

| Fri Oct. 5, 2012 11:12 AM PDT

On this week's episode of A Movie & An Argument, With Alyssa Rosenberg & Asawin Suebsaeng, we discuss (scroll down for audio):

Listen here:

Each week, I'll be sitting down to chat with ThinkProgress critic Alyssa Rosenberg (who also does killer work at The Atlantic and Slate's "Double X"). We'll talk, argue, and laugh about the latest movies, television shows, and pop-cultural nonsense—with some politics thrown in just for the hell of it.

Alyssa describes herself as being "equally devoted to the Star Wars expanded universe and Barbara Stanwyck, to Better Off Ted and Deadwood." I (everyone calls me Swin) am a devoted lover of low-brow dark humor, Yuengling, and movies with high body counts. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and tune in during the weeks to come.

We'll be featuring guests on the program, and also taking listeners' questions, so feel free to Tweet them at me here, and we'll see if we can get to them during a show.

Thank you for listening!

Click here for more movie and TV features from Mother Jones. To read more of Asawin's reviews, click here.

To find more episodes of this podcast in the iTunes store, click here.

To check out Alyssa's Bloggingheads show, click here.

"Taken 2" Did Not Taken My Breath Away

| Fri Oct. 5, 2012 7:17 AM PDT
Takening.

Taken 2
20th Century Fox
92 minutes

Taken 2 is an unqualified dud, and it has taken two hours of my life that I will never get back. Despite being the sequel to 2008's Taken (which is forever awesome) and starring the elder statesman of ass-kicking Liam Neeson, this entry into the series is nothing to be taken seriously.

In the first film, Kim Mills (Maggie Grace), daughter of good-natured CIA torturer Bryan (Liam Neeson and Liam Neeson's stunt double) was taken by human-trafficking Albanians and chauvinist Arabs. He eventually un-takens her, using his very particular set of skills; namely the ability to massacre ethnic caricatures at will. In the second film, the families of the slaughtered Albanian stereotypes have taken it upon themselves to plot brutal vengeance. And so Bryan and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) get taken, too, in Taken 2.

I was taken aback by the conspicuous sparseness of the action; the set pieces that do crop up are lazily staged and disjointed. All of the actors seem listless and detached, like many scenes were shot during coffee breaks taken during other, better movies. (Also, in Taken 2, Bryan and Kim at one point attack an American embassy, which may seem somewhat tone-deaf to viewers who have been watching the news lately.)

Taken together, the movie is an hour-and-a-half stretch of anti-climax. If you haven't taken two Provigil right before walking into that dark theater to see Taken 2, you risk slipping into a spout of narcolepsy. Do not allow yourself to get taken to Taken 2.

Never again will I take the original for granted.

Take a look at the international trailer for part deux, regardless:

** To take a serious tack for a minute: If box office returns are good enough to warrant another installment, what would it be called?

  • Taken 3D?
  • 3 Take 3 Taken?
  • Taken 3: The Retakening?
  • Tomado Tres?
  • Took?
  • RELEASE THE TAKEN??

Unless the studio hires a champ like William Friedkin to take over and make the series wonderful again, I have zero interest in finding out.

Taken 2 gets a wide release on Friday, October 5. The film is rated PG-13 for generic Takening. Click here for local showtimes and tickets.

Click here for more movie and TV features from Mother Jones.

To read more of Asawin's reviews, click here.

To listen to the weekly movie and pop-culture podcast that Asawin co-hosts with ThinkProgress critic Alyssa Rosenberg, click here.

"Pitch Perfect": An A Cappella Girl-Power Movie That Won't Make The Viewer Regret Life

| Fri Oct. 5, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

Pitch Perfect
Universal Pictures
112 minutes

The movie includes a cabal of incessantly mocked "deaf Jews." It makes a shameless rape-whistle joke. It features a prolonged sequence in which a naked, cowering college girl is harassed by another naked college girl in a cold dormhouse shower. And then there's a scene toward the end of a woman spewing a couple gallons of projectile vomit (like she's in a Sam Raimi movie) at a gathering of several other young women, thus instigating an orgy of kick fighting, and causing a petite Korean with limited social skills to collapse into the plashet of lady bile and spontaneously start to snow-angel.

Am I describing an old John Waters film? Maybe the next Broken Lizard movie? David Lynch's sudden foray into teen comedy, perhaps?

Nope. That was the newly released Pitch Perfect, a cuddly PG-13 rated movie that's all about self-discovery and a cappella remixes of Kelly Clarkson and other top-40 fixtures.

And despite this less-than-flattering description, I can't recommend it highly enough.

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