- What’s a film you consider overrated, and what’s a related or similar film you consider underrated?
Grease. I liked it quite a lot when I was a kid. As a grown-up, I now find it unwatchable. Bad dialogue. Bad acting. Bad message. Even though Olivia Newton-John is hot as heck, it’s just not worth it. A stupid movie. Another John Travolta film, Battlefield Earth, is one of the lowest-rated films of all time, considered a bomb even among bombs. I saw it in the theater and actually kind of like it. I’m not kidding, and I’m not just trying to be contrarian. I genuinely think it’s pretty good.
- What’s overrated about the area in which you live, and what’s underrated about it?
I live in Honolulu, one of the most overromanticized cities in this country (yes, Waikiki is in Honolulu). It’s not that overrated, but it is overrated. The neighborhood where I live, Kalihi, is a working-class immigrant town, very Filipino, very Micronesian. It’s easy for a lot of people to think of it as a poor community, which it certainly is. But with that certain lack of sophistication comes a bunch of other stuff you don’t see unless you live in the midst of it. There’s a strip mall near my house, and I’ve often said that the best and worse thing about it is that nobody gets dressed up go to there. Worst. And best. These are good people I call neighbors.
- Whose talent or skill is overrated, and whose is underrated?
I think I’ll go with musicians here. Adele is an unquestionably gifted singer, but is she that good? I don’t think so. She’s not better than the other really good singers, but she gets most of the love, like she’s some new goddess of singing. Not only do I find her singing merely very good, but her songs are kind of boring. Then there’s Bruce Springsteen. He’s no Adele, but then Adele is no Bruce. Springsteen does amazing things with his voice sometimes, and he doesn’t get enough credit for being exactly the right voice for the songs he sings. Which he writes. Something I don’t think Adele can claim.
- What item in the supermarket is overrated, and what’s underrated?
I’ll jump on the anti-kale bandwagon. Kale has its uses, but I seriously don’t think anyone loves it as much as its hype. And people seem to be missing the boat on baby bok choi, something that’s simple and easy to prepare, yet it doesn’t show up on nearly as many menus as kale, despite its being delicious.
- What’s utterly terrific except for one or two things?
I finally got to the last few episodes of the One Day at a Time remake, and it’s at the same time really good and really bad. Smart and stupid, and I don’t mean stupid in a good way. One moment it has you rolling your eyes and reaching for a vomit bag. Thirty seconds later, it rips your lungs out. I’m baffled. More on this later; it needs a whole bunch of words I haven’t come up with.