Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

Mexican Pie (and then some):

W hen you see the first scene of Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), you might think you have this movie pegged. Two teens are screwing -- noisily, nastily, and clumsily -- below a poster of that cult-movie classic, Harold and Maude . A panting discussion commences: Promise me you won't fuck any Italians, says the boyfriend to the girlfriend. Ah-ha! , you might think. It's a standard formula: possession, jealousy, and a the betrayal of teen love for a horny/funny May-December romance. But though director Alfonso Cuaron's film has the makings of a raunchy teen comedy à la American Pie -- fueled by the funk of hormones, farts, and pot smoke -- it delivers much more. Y Tu Mama Tambien is only masquerading as a dirty road-trip movie; it's really going for social commentary, for a meditation on youth, dreams, and mortality. Even the sex here is more profound, more real. There's no Merchant-Ivory polite moaning and expertly choreographed caresses to be found, much less charmless...

A Dollar Short

T he Web site of Democratic Congressman George Miller of California features a touching photo of the signing of the education reform bill at an Ohio school on January 8. Flanked by beaming African-American children, Miller, Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, and Republican Congressman John Boehner of Ohio -- three of the bill's four authors -- stand with Education Secretary Rod Paige in a happy barbershop quartet of bipartisan unity. George W. Bush, the self-proclaimed "education president," is also beaming, pen in hand, as he prepares to sign the historic No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Just five weeks later, however, Bush wiped the smiles off those faces (at least the Democratic ones) by submitting his 2003 budget proposal, which came in $90 million shy of the commitments the education-reform act set forth. His Democratic partners on the legislation have rallied furiously in response. With a congressional battle to restore the funding still to come, Kennedy asked...

Shoes Off:

A h, Barbie: feminist whipping girl, delight of fashion-forward children, she of the flowing flaxen mane, booboisie charms, and impossibly pointed feet. Barbie's been doing some soul-searching lately, which is what happens when a parent dies. Her creator, Ruth Handler, passed away recently, sparking a wave of nostalgia and introspection on the part of those who played with Barbie, hated Barbie, loved Barbie, or some combination thereof. What does Barbie mean to us now? Does Barbie enforce oppressive gender, racial, heterosexual, and consumerist norms or is she just a toy? And why don't her shoes ever stay on? In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I've written mean things about Barbie before, (at my previous job at a feminist newspaper). Not really, really mean things, but it wouldn't have surprised a reader to find out that I had scalped the only Barbie I ever owned. I just took a test at www.thespark.com that says I'm a man, so what do you expect? When I was a kid,...

Hurts So Good:

Elvis Costello is not dead. He's just been reincarnated in stranger and stranger shapes over the course of his decades-long career: from punk and singer-songwriter to fusionist and haute artiste. With the just-released When I Was Cruel , Costello has reappeared in what seems to be, upon first listen, a retro-form: Elvis the rocker, the bilious nerd with the poison pen. We've missed that side of him. Sure, the last six years without a straight-up Costello album have been interesting. We've gotten collaborations with opera singers, jazz ensembles, and old-schoolers like Burt Bacharach. But Cruel is better, filled with both the coiled menace and rhythmic drive of his best early work, and the experimental edge his artsy wanderings have brought. Critics will be tempted to say that Costello has reverted to his old ways, punching out rock songs with venomous lyrics and catchy hooks. But his period of musical exploration has indelibly altered his songwriting. Tango riffs, sampling, wild horn...

John Leguizamo's Next Show:

W ith a title like "Sexaholix...A Love Story," John Leguizamo 's recent one-man special on HBO gives us fair warning what we're in for: a one-two punch of cute raunchiness and unabashed romanticism; and a comedic enactment of the pull between yowling boy id and wised-up man love. But for the post- There's Something About Mary and - American Pie crowd, these dichotomies are familiar ground, and all the interest shifts to the gray area represented by the title's ellipses. How will our hero-as-character navigate between raging testosterone and happily ever after? How will our hero-as-performer balance funny smut with true emotion? It takes a subtle actor to pull that off, and John Leguizamo isn't that actor this time around. But he's so appealing, so talented, so hard-working -- such a whirling dervish of wild gesticulations, butt gyrations, and impersonations -- that somehow we don't mind waiting for the truly great performance that's sure to come. As an actor, Leguizamo has appeared as...

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