Wajahat Ali

The Calm Before the Storm Spotlight On: A five-year-old Pakistani American kid speaking Urdu with an assortment of English words to pepper his rhetoric. Those words were limited to three:

1) “Shut up!” A phrase commonly deployed by the dictator, my mother, to silence all of my unruly verbal dissent.
2) “Uh oh Pasghettio” A fobby butchering of “uh oh spaghettio” by a portly child, which was deemed “cute” during my youth and “disturbing” as I became older.
3) “Idiot”: A loving term of endearment used by the dictator to admonish the portly Pakistani American child after any and all perceived wrongdoings.

ASCENT to Purgatory

I awoke one day to find my parental units, mother and father, casually taking me for “a ride” to a “nice place”… or so they said.

Ice cream store? No. Toys R’ Us, where a kid can be a kid if he has access to a platinum visa card? No. Comic Book Store? Sorry, but no Spiderman today. Instead, we pull into a foreboding driveway of a large, ominous brown building. Since I was a 5-year-old Fob near illiterate I missed the sign, which glared, “Child’s Hideaway.”

My spidey sense hits 3. Continue reading


** [TWO STARS, Opening May 30th Nationwide]


Driving to the “Sex and the City: The Movie” premiere, I felt like Morgan Spurlock, the director of “Super Size Me” who foolishly consumed fast food for 30 days; a man voluntarily condemning himself to masochistic pain for sake of a cultural experiment. Even before entering, the publicity coordinator, who knows me and the other frequent movie critics, said, “Dude, you’re like one of 6 guys in the entire movie theatre.”

“Fantastic,” I replied sarcastically. Upon entering the theater and surveying the audience, I realized he was incorrect. I was one of the 21 men out of the 250 highly giddy and anxious women. The air brimmed with suffocating excitable estrogen. As a heterosexual dude, I felt outnumbered, out gunned, and – like a midget on a NBA basketball court – displaced.

I was flabbergasted by what I witnessed: an entire audience of women representing every age, color, ethnicity and financial status behaving like 12 year old girls before a NSYNC concert. Some women dressed up like they were attending the opening of a San Francisco club – dressed to the nines and sporting “do me” heels. I overheard the following comments: “I am prepared for awesomeness!” “I feel exquisite right now!” “Oh, my god! I can’t wait for my girls!” Continue reading



An Exclusive Interview with Wajahat Ali

“Who the heck is Ron Paul?” asked many Americans over the course of the past year. The 70 year old, Texas Congressman’s name and face adorned web pages, blogs, email spams, posters and pamphlets throughout the nation. Out of nowhere, the Republican Presidential candidate appeared on television for the Primary debates giving blunt, hard hitting, no nonsense answers and lacerating jabs. He criticized fellow candidates for their foreign policy, corporate cronyism, and support of “big” government. His candid demeanor, especially in calling out the Administration for its failure in Iraq, helped win him over many independents, jaded Republicans, and “on the fence” liberals who found his voice a refreshing and legitimate “third option.” He dominates the Internet search engines, wins most of the online polls, maintains an overwhelming presence on Youtube, and recently scored a number one bestseller with his manifesto: “Ron Paul: The Revolution.” Through independent, grass roots activism, his campaign received over $6 million dollars making it the largest one-day fundraiser in U.S. political history.

However, his detractors suggest Ron Paul is more of an “internet sensation” than a practical solution. His followers are seen as mindless and rabid “acolytes” whose repetitive mantra of “smaller government, de-regulations, pro free market” is naïve and blind to the economic and political realities of the world. Mostly, people suggest Congressman Paul’s rhetoric is simply old school libertarianism masquerading as a “revolution.” Regardless of your opinion, most admire his willingness to speak his mind. In this interview, he discusses a gamut of subjects in his characteristically frank and honest demeanor.

For nearly an hour, we tackled The Republican Party, President Bush’s legacy, Obama, Illegal Immigration, Abortion, Race in America, Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Gay Marriage, the Housing Crisis, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the American Media.

ALI: Many people are asking: “Are you still in the race?”

PAUL: Well, technically I am. I mean there’s not much of a race since McCain has all the votes. But I am participating. And we still try to get his votes. Like yesterday we got 15% in Oregon [Primary] and that represents a solid base that we have.

ALI: Next logical question, why still stay in the race? Continue reading

Wajahat Ali’s NO B.S. Guide to The Bar Exam: Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bar (kind of, but not really)

Salaams and hello. My name is Wajahat Ali, a recently licensed Attorney at Law and successful 2007 July Bar Applicant. This is my uncensored, unadulterated, blunt, candid, unsolicited approach to tackling the Bar exam. As a person who recently went through the trenches only to emerge alive and victorious, please note that all of this is a collection of hard earned wisdom. I’ve added personal anecdotes and examples, as well as tips and hints from my more competent and savvy peers and elders who’ve gone through your “Bar trek.” I hope this is useful for you, and if it isn’t, well, you didn’t pay me, so stop complaining…punks.

Also, this guide is rated PG-13. I use naughty language from time to time.


You are stuck in a forest. You see an illuminated path, a yellow brick road with a giant, fluorescent EXIT sign. You sigh relief. You begin walking on the path. Suddenly, a behemoth, shit covered bear appears on the path in front of you.

To misquote Keanu Reeves from that classic piece of celluloid Speed: “You encounter a shit covered bear on the road blocking your path. What do you do? What – do- you- do?!?!

Your natural answer as a virgin Bar examinee is to quote yet another classic Keanu line – this one taken from The Matrix – and reply, “Whoa!”

The correct answer to the question is this: You permanently knock out the beast by beating the ever living shit out of it, while knowing the bear will undoubtedly beat you within an inch of your life

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bar Exam is that shit covered bear that you must wrestle, beat down, choke hold and ultimately dominate.

It is possible. It has been done. It can be done. It is not rocket science. You need not even be smart or gifted or talented to accomplish the task. YOU WILL DO IT.



Wajahat Ali

**1/2 (Two and a Half Stars)

“How much of human life is lost in wait,” muses a character towards the end of the highly anticipated, twenty years in the making Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Although I lack the wisdom to answer the philosophical question, after watching the premiere of the sequel, however, I can say much of the original wit and frenetic energy of the series is lost in a muddled and confused screenplay.

Before you hurl violent and colorful language in my direction, please note this humble reviewer can confidently recommend the movie as an overall enjoyable and rather entertaining, if disappointing, successor to one of the most beloved adventure series in modern cinema.

A movie like Indiana Jones cannot be judged by any ordinary critical standard precisely due to its immensely influential and universally beloved cultural status as an apex of escapsist entertainment. Who doesn’t recognize Harrison Ford in that famous fedora cracking his whip while outrunning nefarious Nazis? Who can’t hum John Williams’ catchy theme? Who hasn’t seen at least one of the three Indy movies? Precisely due to the twenty year anticipation and the elevated benchmark of Raiders of the Lost Arc, a new Indiana Jones movie has to be more than a simple National Treasure or Mummy retread.

George Lucas, wisely learning from his Stars Wars prequels, urged all to “lower their expectations” and to remember that Indy Jones is “just a movie.” Audiences would be prudent to heed his wisdom.

Rest assured, however, that the main attraction, Harrison Ford, fits as comfortably in the title role as he did nearly 20 years ago. Ford’s charisma, which audiences haven’t seen in nearly ten years due to his disastrous film choices, dominates the movie and makes you forgive the laborious and disjointed screenplay by David Koepp. From the moment he appears on screen (within the first 3 minutes), the filmmakers remind you even though the man has aged, he still retains his wry athleticism and surly, wise-ass barbs.

The plot involves some ridiculous mumbo jumbo about returning a rare and powerful “crystal skull,” which may or may not have alien origins, to its “rightful” place comfortably hidden in an exotic and perilous Peru jungle. Too bad that the script feels it necessary to spend painfully long stretches of screen time on dull and convoluted narrative exposition that simply forces characters to explain ridiculous plot mechanics that the audience neither understands nor cares about. Furthermore, Koepp’s screenplays unsuccessfully attempts to stitch together different genres, tones and moods, but is unable to unite them elegantly under a unified theme or coherent narrative. Each Indiana Jones movie has some sort of a central dramatic arc: the first one was anchored by the Indiana Jones-Marion Riverwood relationship in thwarting “evil,” the second had Indy selflessly liberating innocent slave children from a tyrannical Kali-cult, and the third stressed reconciliation between father and son.

The new one appears to stress a “return” to one’s true passions and roots, a full circle allowing Indy to learn from his past mistakes (certain unrequited “romantic” choices and family legacies) and embrace that reckless curiousity and daredevil adventurism of his youth. Unfortunately, these themes take far too long to emerge in a truly invigorating and exciting fashion. Indy Jones movies are beloved precisely because they move; they are relentless in their energy, irregardless of the inanity of the logic, plot or dialogue. You forgive the garish cariacatures and violence of Temple of Doom mainly because you’re fascinated by the sheer audacity and lunacy of the proceedings. You forgive the tongue in cheek “jokey” tone of The Last Crusade because of the wonderful chemistry and sense of fun developed by Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. Boredom and stasis are absolutely unforgivable in any Indy Jones picture.

About an hour into the movie I actually wrote down “boring” during another dull, exposition patch where nothing happens, and what does happen lacks any sense of urgency, danger or excitement: it reminded me of scenes from the perfunctory Da Vinci Code.

The first hour and twenty minutes of the movie are hodgebodge and, dare I say, intermittently dull. Shia Lebouf’s introduction as Mutt at least introduces a sparkle of energy in the entire proceedings. His youth and arrogance is a foil for the elder Ford to get in some great cantankerous rants and quips. Thankfully, the introduction of another character (you should have guessed it by the ads) finally establishes the tone and relationships in the movie as a sort of “Indy Jones Family Adventure.” From that point onward, the last 40 minutes are an injection of old school Spielbergian cinematics highlighted by an excellent, but at times too hokey and CGI dependent, jeep chase sequence. We also meet voracious, killer red ants, a giant snake, fencing heroes atop of CGI jeeps, an obligatory Indy fist fight sequence, and a rather silly and protracted ending which reveals the origins of the mysterious Crystal Skull.

If it seems I’m too harsh on the movie it’s because I love my Indiana Jones movies. I’ve seen all of them nearly a dozen times. I have fond memories of being horrified and fascinated by monkey brains when I was 4, and I recall dragging my uncle to the Last Crusade when I was 9. To this day, Raiders remains one of the best and perfectly executed examples of the action adventure genre with all principles hitting key notes. I just wish the screenplay would’ve been given another two or three edits to streamline the unnecessarily complicated and dull plot, amp up the tension, and create a more unified vision and theme.

As it stands, this is the weakest entry of the series. That being said, it’s a thrill to see Ford coming back to his signature character. Despite the film’s glaring problems, you can’t help but feel giddy knowing you’ve revisted one of cinema’s most beloved icons.

TWO AND A HALF STARS. [Enjoyable but disappointing]