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Big Dreams, Little Tokyo
Big Dreams Little Tokyo
Actors: James Kyson Lee, Dave Boyle, Rachel Morihiro, Jayson Watabe, Pepe Serna
Director: David Boyle
Genres: Comedy
UR     2008     1hr 26min

Boyd, a self-proclaimed businessman convinced he's Japanese, and his roommate Jerome, a sluggish but affable Japanese-American sumo wrestler, have big dreams for themselves. Together, the two travel door-to-door by tandem ...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: James Kyson Lee, Dave Boyle, Rachel Morihiro, Jayson Watabe, Pepe Serna
Director: David Boyle
Genres: Comedy
Sub-Genres: Romantic Comedies
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 07/22/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 26min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Japanese, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A culturally-conflicted Chaplin for the 21st century
ShriDurga | 08/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Big Dreams, Little Tokyo is a quirky and refreshing comedy of cross-cultural misunderstanding and the search for identity.

Boyd Wilson is a young, white American who wants nothing more than to be Japanese. With Chaplinesque sincerity, he confounds native Japanese with his perfect language skills, and puzzles others with his mimicry of outward forms of Japanese behavior, including the standard dark business suit and briefcase, oiled-hair, black-rimmed glasses, exaggerated bowing, and what one Japanese describes as his "poker face." Unlike his successful father, who appears in the occasional letter to remind his son that it's never shameful to work for someone else, the young Wilson struggles to build his business empire hawking copies of his language textbook, offering English lessons to Japanese immigrants, and hustling corporate translation work. He's not very successful at any, and so to reduce expenses takes in a roommate, another conflicted young American, this one of Japanese extraction. Jerome (Jason Watabe) was always too Asian-looking to be accepted as an American and dreams now of being a sumo wrestler. He lives with Boyd not only because he's also penniless, but also for the free Japanese lessons.

Together the pair stumble through a number of misadventures teaching language lessons, starting a catering business, and translating corporate negotiations, while a charmingly-played, slow-developing romance blossoms between Boyd and one of his Japanese students. Many of the gags are predictable, which in the end is not terribly disappointing as what really makes this film work are the actors, especially Dave Boyle as Boyd. When was the last time you saw a North American or European movie about Japan in which a non-Japanese could speak authentic Japanese? Besides the authentic linguistic skills, the performances seem unaffected, a genuineness that comes from Boyle and Watabe having lived the conflicts of their characters. The pair first met in Sydney, Australia working as missionaries for the Mormom church. Living among the immigrant Japanese community, they mastered the cultural skills of Japan while dreaming of making movies on their return to the United States.

If you've lived in Japan or among Japanese, you'll find lots of familiar humor in this film. You'll also appreciate the sensitive portrayal of both Japanese and American culture and most likely look forward to the newest project from this pair, a film currently titled White on Rice, slated for release in 2009.

#"
Funny, smart, and witty
the better half | honolulu, hi | 10/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw BIG DREAMS, LITTLE TOKYO at the Movie Museum this past weekend. As someone who has edited many translations and who works for a journal that focuses on the Asia-Pacific region, I found much in it to appreciate and enjoy.

BIG DREAMS was directed by Dave Boyle, who also plays the main character, Boyd Wilson. Boyd is a young man who is not Japanese but who is fluent in the language and has the mannerisms and traits of a Japanese stereotype, including an obsequious manner and a determination to make a success of himself.

Set in Japantown in California, the film revolves around Boyd's inability to get people to take him seriously as a translator, bilingual teacher, and author of a book titled THE POWER OF WORDS. When the film starts, he has been failing for a while. His desire to succeed is as strong as his nature is subservient, however, and the two push and pull him throughout the film. A subplot involves Jerome, Boyd's roommate and a Japanese American guy with a burning desire--but little promise--to become a sumo wrestler. The two are losers who are trying to make their dreams come true.

BIG DREAMS is funny, smart, and witty, and though Boyd is nerdy and clumsy, he eventually wins our sympathy and our admiration. We are cheering for him as he attempts Olympic leaps over the obstacles in his path."
Amazing!
L. Knight | Tucson, AZ USA | 07/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I watched the movie at the AFI film festival, and it is a breath of fresh air! I walked out of the movie smiling and I can't wait to watch it again on DVD!
It is a must buy for the entire family!"
Not A Bad Movie At All
C. Wieninger | Maine | 08/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"For a non-Hollywood movie, this Indie film is pretty darn good. The story is fun and easy to follow, the characters are lovable, and it's actually very true in its portrayal of the cultural differences between Americans and Japanese. The director also mentioned in an interview that the budget for the movie was very, very small, which meant that the actors in the movie were cast for their love of the characters and not for the paycheck.

All-in-all, I'd say that this is a great movie with a lovable plot and amazing actors portraying deep, rich characters. Definitely a must-see."