Aaron Yoo Thursday 12th June 2008 Scrabble Under The Stars to benefit St Jude Research Hospital Goldstein Estate in Beverly Hills Los Angeles, California
When war breaks out, the Nomura family is enjoying a happy middle-class life in 1940s L.A. All that changes when the internment order arrives, and soon Mom (Judi Ongg), Dad (Masatoshi Nakamura), older brother Lane (Leonardo Nam), and younger brother Lyle (Aaron Yoo) find themselves in a drafty barracks in the middle of a desert somewhere in the American west. While most everyone tries to adapt with dignity, the volatile Lyle, who has been robbed not only of his baseball scholarship but also his beloved jazz music, simmers with rage. He's even more outraged when he learns that Lane has volunteered to fight with the 442nd division, the famous all Japanese-American unit that went on to glory in European fighting. Why would Lane want to fight for the same army that has machine guns trained on him day and night in the camp?
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The film's beginning will not allay your fears. Kale (LaBeouf) and his dad (Matt Craven) are fishing. Knee-deep in a lake and surrounded by mountains, they share a particularly cheesy father-son moment. We see that he's not just Kale's father, he is his friend. The relationship is so clichéd and the setting so cloyingly idyllic, that one wants to run for the (admittedly beautiful-looking) hills. However, before you go to switch off the Hallmark channel, Caruso offs the dad in a car accident just brutal enough to forgive what came before and dissolve some preconceptions. It's a pretty good move (although not quite Janet Leigh in the Bates Motel shower) and sets us up for a film that effectively handles and plays its audience.
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