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The Spotless Mind

Musings of a Non-Film Reviewer. I pay, I watch, I comment.

Month

February 2016

ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE (Dan Villegas, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Always Be My Maybe:

1. This has been really bugging me ever since I heard the title: does it also remind you of Ate Mariah with a really clogged nose?

2. Even if I’m a Dan Villegas groupie (I liked all of the previous films that he directed), I was honestly prepared to hate this one simply because of my bias against Gerald Anderson. My Bebe Idol may have already moved on from her heartbreak, but I still haven’t forgiven the guy for his (supposed) philandering.

To be fair (to me), he was always the weakest link in good movies, like On the Job. I went inside the theater in full “Matitikman niya ang batas ng isang API!!” mode, already coming up with the best possible potshots. Boy, was I in for a surprise! As the dashing dumped gentleman named Jake, he was actually really good here (a huge improvement from his work in Everyday I Love You where he couldn’t even act as a guy in a coma). Titig pa lang niya matutunaw ka na. (Excuse me while I cry in a fetal position).

3. The film itself was a straightforward, light-hearted (real meaning of) romantic-comedy without a lot of cliched external conflicts. The lovebirds fell in love, they realized their true selves (one’s egotistic and the other one’s krungy, both with trust issues), and they tried to make the relationship work. There were no real third parties (hello, Gerald’s ex was a complete tuod), no typical family problems (dealing with class differences or sick parents), no career issues, etc. Everything just revolved on the “do these two people deserve each other” premise (or as one friend pointed out, “Ang simple lang ng problema nyo”). It was actually refreshing given the hugot-driven formula recently required by the genre.

4. All of the hugots were done for laughs by the wonderful Arci Munoz (as the crazy in love make-up artist Tintin) in her YouTube tutorials. Yes, she played a gorgeous MUA and we all know for a fact that most of them do look better than their celebrity clients.

Arci was scorching hot that I swear several gay men immediately forgot their Rebel Heart Tour experience as soon as she appeared onscreen. She had that beautiful alta look with a palengkera mouth (raise your hand if you suddenly thought of Marian Rivera) and matching babaeng bakla personality (as if her unicorn doll wasn’t enough of a giveaway). Also, best ASG look ever. Popoy, you were such an idiot for letting her go.

5. My favorite tip for single people on a first date: “Surface lang. Huwag mo muna ikwento yung MMK life mo.”

6. I was a bit confused when Jake showed his IG page to Tintin and his last picture with his ex showed “12 weeks ago” when he actually got dumped 6 months prior. Was that a relapse move or just a technical error?

Speaking of social media, is it true that girls are more likely to block and delete past relationships? Hey, I do that all the time!! Uhm…

7. Best use of Aegis’ Halik in a movie ever. Perfect timing. I cried laughing.

8. Tintin had an amazing set of friends in Esang (Kakai Bautista) and Andre (Ricci Chan). Kakai, as expected, was a perennial scene-stealer (best out of the blue line: “Ang dami mong utos, may patago ka?”, second best bit: the entire Wag Tularan si Tintin monologue) and Ricci has perfected the sensible gay best friend role. With friends like them, who needs a lovelife?

9. For a change, the lovers were not eating pares (if you’re a Jadaone/Villegas fanatic, you’d understand this one).

10. Shaira Luna may be a professional photographer now but she would always be the gifted Promil kid to me. Weirdly enough, I could barely recall her spiel about the human anatomy, but I always associated her with “The sun is the center of the solar system, moving around it are the planets” which was said by a different Promil kid. (FYI, I have always blamed my mom for letting me drink Nido instead of Promil and not ending up as the next Doogie Howser.)

11. I really liked the sensual photoshoot scene. Everything that Tintin said came out unintentionally funny (“Can you unzip me?”, “Anong gusto mo gawin ko?”) that if this were a Regal movie, she would definitely be removing a magic kamison.

12. Admit it, you’ve also done the wrong send technique. And when truly desperate, you would have resorted to a wrong dial as well.

13. Single friends, listen to Tintin. Always be “confidently beautiful with a wais heart”. Huwag laging hopia mani popcorn cough syrup expectorant. Char!!

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

THE FOREST (Jason Zada, 2016)

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My notes on The Forest:

1. Aokigahara Forest lies on the base of Mount Fuji in Japan and is more popularly known as Suicide Forest. According to locals, it’s a place where people left their sick or disabled family members to die during the war. Currently, it’s an infamous haunted site where depressed people committed suicide (single friends, never ever go here please).

I verified everything to be true (Google it, if you have the guts) and the folklore surrounding this, including the eerie pictures, could be the perfect fodder for nightmares. Unfortunately, this movie squandered a really interesting setting when it decided to be a typical ghost story full of cheap scares that reeked of B-movie Asian horror.

2. If you know your Hideo Nakata from your Takashi Shimizu, you’ll find this one completely derivative and repetitive. Every single Asian horror movie trope was used, most them unsuccessful in generating genuine fear. (By the way, if the only Hideo you know is Muraoka, then I suggest that you go to the nearest Bench outlet and buy an underwear that you can use to cover your eyes while watching the original versions of Ringu, The Grudge and The Eye.)

3. I still haven’t fully recovered from The Revenant and this movie further reminded me never to go camping. Ever. (As the noisy grandma in front of me put it succinctly, “Hindi ako magtatagal diyan!”)

Forget the bugs or the lack of an actual toilet. I would never be able to sleep at night inside a tent in the middle of the woods where all I could hear would be crickets, owls, wolves, and other weird (hopefully) animal sounds (and probably the beating of my agitated heart). I completely blame The Blair Witch Project for this. Now that was a true horror in the woods flick where your hyperactive imagination did all of the scaring.

4. Do twins really have this intuition (twintuition?) of knowing and feeling whatever is happening to the other? I wonder if it’s exactly the same as gut feel (or as my lola would say, “Malakas ang kutob ko”) or women’s intuition (nope, your girlfriend’s not psychic when she randomly asked you if you were sleeping with her best friend).

Anyway, my favorite pair of twins would always be Richard and Raymond Gutierrez (sorry Mary-Kate and Ashley!) not only because they were so cute in their Nestle Klim commercials but also because I envied them for riding a giant flying bibe with ease in that Manilyn Reynes classic Feel na Feel as the wonder kambal Mumbo and Jumbo.

5. Are Viewfinders still available? I remember having one as a kid and I loved getting lost in all the adventures (Europe! Disneyland! Nature!) of these magic binoculars (mistaken as a camera by most of the viewers during our screening). This just might be the closest I would ever be to exploring a forest in my lifetime.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

ZOOTOPIA (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, 2016)

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My notes on Zootopia:

1. As a kid, I wanted to be a lot of things when I grow older. I had a phase that I dreamt of becoming a fireman, another as a really intelligent teacher. I finally decided on becoming a doctor after a tough internal debate if I should actually be a dinosaur (preferably a brontosaurus). That dream (my mother’s mostly) of wearing a stethoscope officially got crushed when I saw blood and immediately fainted.

2. This film opened with a school play that showed the evolution of animals from a prey vs. predator world into one where anyone can be anything, where a rabbit named Judy Hopps (voiced by Once Upon a Time’s Ginnifer Goodwin) didn’t have to be a carrot farmer like her parents (and 275 other brothers and sisters) and actually become a police officer. Although it was still a cartoon meant for kids, its themes dealing with prejudice and acceptance were uplifting and refreshing.

3. The city of Zootopia represented different species of animals thriving with each other. The diversity could be seen with familiar human traits assigned per group that sometimes bordered on stereotypes but always grounded to reality. I loved how the buildings and doors varied to accommodate each animal type (the hamster chute, the hippo pond, the high tubes for giraffes ordering Jamba Juice) and how some famous brands were incorporated for familiarity (a bitten carrot logo on a cellphone, a mouse shopping in Mousy’s, the Zuber cab service, and the lemming bankers from Lemming Brothers Bank of course). These details would definitely fly over kids’ heads but were welcome treats for adult viewers. (My favorite throwaway joke: “Let us acknowledge the elephant in the room” and then the camera focused on an actual elephant celebrating his birthday. My second favorite throwaway joke: “What do you call a three-humped camel?” “Pregnant.”)

4. Was it just me or did Nick Wilde closely resemble The Fantastic Mr. Fox?

5. Speaking of details, one scene called for Judy and Nick to dive inside a toilet bowl and before doing so, Nick placed his phone inside a plastic bag to avoid it from getting wet. In a normal cartoon, this would have been ignored with the excuse that it was a kiddie flick where animals talked, but this film was just on point in everything.

6. The biggest source of laughs had to be the Department of Motor Vehicles run by sloths. It took forever for them to finish what they were doing that the queues never ended and most of the customers were already frustrated and impatient. Anybody who recently renewed their license or lined up for a public document (SSS Card, NBI clearance) would be able to relate. At least I could picture them as sloths if I ever got bored.

7. Pig Hero 6, Wreck-It-Rhino, Floatzen, Wrangled. Even the animal world was not free from piracy.

8. My newsfeed had been filled with hate (coming from both sides) for the last few days. Maybe it’s time we listened to a talking bunny who said, “We can’t let fear divide us. The more we try to understand each other, the more exceptional we will be.” Preach!

Rating: ★★★★★

JOY (David O. Russell, 2015)

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My notes on Joy:

1. If David O. Russell and his repetitive cast (Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Robert De Niro) had a TV equivalent, it would definitely be Ryan Murphy and his American Horror Story crew.

Joy would be American Horror Story: Freak Show, a complete mess from such a talented group and a huge letdown from their previous effort (American Hustle = American Horror Story: Coven).

Wait, so does that make Silver Linings Playbook the American Horror Story: Asylum of the series? I guess that would explain the mind-boggling accolades (an Oscar for Lawrence over Jessica Chastain and Emmanuelle Riva? Please.) I know, I sound even more bitter than my single friends last Valentine’s Day.

(Weirdly enough, this film started with the Name Game song which was also an iconic production number in Asylum.)

2. There was always a certain level of camp in these Russell movies and when this one started with the life as a telenovela metaphor (complete with a Susan Lucci cameo), I thought it would nail its theme of female empowerment with a certain degree of winking fun. Unfortunately, it got bogged down by the too obvious inspirational message (“You’re just one kitschy invention away from becoming a success!!”) that led to a predictable and phony resolution.

3. In one scene, Lawrence (playing Curacha) divided the basement with a masking tape so that her father and ex-husband would know their sides of the room. It reminded me so much of Maricel Soriano “splitting” areas and possessions with her husband Cesar Montano in Kung Kaya Mo, Kaya Ko Rin. She was so obsessed with boundaries that she even placed markers on walls, on the floor, and even inside the refrigerator (and since she bought all the grocery items, she moved them all to her side naturally). It was that kind of crazy humor sorely missing in this movie.

4. I previously mentioned my obsession with the O Shopping Channel and prior to that, the Home Shopping Network. If I actually bought everything that I wanted there (Butterfly Abs, Siluet 40, and Ab Rollers, among others), I would have been Laboracay ready as early as Christmas.

5. Seriously, how could QVC have sold that many Miracle Mops within the short timeframe given the number of customer service representatives on the phones inside the room? Did they have call centers in the Philippines that wasn’t shown? 50,000 items sold in a matter of minutes and yet some agents would complain when there were 30 calls on queue. This movie should be a requirement in Call Center Orientation.

6. Don’t you find it weird that when these characters chop off their own hair, they always end up getting a salon-ready look? I once cut my bangs and I ended up looking like I had a severe case of typhoid fever. Why don’t we have Miracle Scissors? Hey, that may be a good invention idea!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

SPOTLIGHT (Tom McCarthy, 2015)

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My notes on Spotlight:

1. In one of the many interviews in this compelling film about the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child molestation scandals, a lawyer (played by the superb Stanley Tucci) clearly summed up the overall feeling of helplessness and blind faith when he said, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse them.” Chilling words considering that this was based on a true story and the end credits specifically mentioned the cities with reported cases (Manila and Cebu, among others).

2. Kids these days will never understand all the actual research needed to complete a thesis, prior to all the advancements in technology. Information now is just one click (or a Google) away whereas before, you actually had to go to a library (physical, not virtual), sort through the card catalog (that uses the Dewey Decimal System, of course!), find the hard copy of the book, and actually read the entire thing to gather information (without the help of a CTRL+F to search for keywords). Instead of clicking links for news reports, one had to find newspaper clippings and use a microfilm viewer. You wouldn’t really know hard work unless you were a kid growing up during the pre-Internet era.

3. Since this film was set in 2001 (when Facebook was still non-existent), the group of Boston Globe reporters that wanted to do an exposé resorted to manual work (scribbling down notes, knocking on doors, visiting libraries). It was like the most boring procedural TV show and yet you didn’t want to miss every detail that they uncovered. At one point, they had to go over actual physical copies of directories, highlighting the priests that were on “sick leave” before logging the entries in what appeared to be the very first version of Excel.

(Btw, sick leave meant that guilty priests got sent to treatment facilities instead of prison. Now that was really sick.)

4. In one of the most powerful scenes here, a victim recounted the experience he had with an abusive priest. He talked about the resulting guilt and shame, the long-term trauma (some were driven to alcoholism and drug abuse) of that incident, that he was not prayed for but preyed upon, and ended his story with this question, “How do you say no to God?”. How, indeed.

5. On the flipside, one of the priests admitted that he was guilty of molesting kids but showed no remorse, with the defense that he did not get any pleasure from the said act. (And further revealed that he was also abused by another priest.) Horrors!

6. “Pedophile priests are a billion dollar liability.”

“They turned turned child abuse into a cottage industry.”

I have no words.

Rating: ★★★★☆

TUPANG LIGAW (Rod Santiago, 2016)

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My notes on Tupang Ligaw:

1. I really had no plans of watching this movie, but because of my great love for Sarah G., an R-16 rating that promised possible nudity, and just a little over one hour running time, I thought how bad could it be? (The answer was very.)

2. I hope that Matteo Guidicelli was a much better boyfriend than actor. Although he looked really good onscreen, his face barely registered any genuine emotion. His constant preening and difficulty in delivering his Filipino lines were just distracting. One scene involved a young kid aiming a loaded gun at him and he casually said, “Delikado ‘to, ok?” like he was just teaching him the dangers of tumbang preso. Can he just release a scandal, please?

3. Matteo played Abel Rosaryo and if his name wasn’t enough of a giveaway, he was the good son turned lost sheep out to seek revenge on the death of his prodigal brother at the hands of Paolo Contis’ Señor El Diablo (yup, this movie didn’t know the word subtlety) and his caricature goons. Oh, and said Diablo ruled Barrio Paraiso (ooh, at least it knew irony).

4. Barrio Paraiso was a stinkhole full of really nice people, so nice that the teens actually queued to buy their daily supply of drugs. The other characters in this forsaken town included a widowed prostitute (Ara Mina) and her young boy, an old haciendero with a borta caregiver fond of grey tank tops, and a cowboy hat-wearing priest. The said priest asked for Abel’s help because he was so concerned about his town’s current state (“Sana matulungan natin ang mga kabataan”). The next scene showed said teens…twerking. Miley Cyrus was the devil?

5. Señor El Diablo’s goons in the movie all carried machine guns that they never really used whenever Abel was around. They usually ended up pointing them at him, never firing (sayang ang bala?), and then just using them to make pukpok the bida. Seriously, these were the oppressors that ruled the poor barrio?

I bet Abel just spent a few hours watching Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon to prep for these fights. He actually put the late, great Fernando Poe, Jr. to shame by singlehandedly killing all goons in sight with his bare hands. I swear in one scene the said goons actually even lined up so that they could get punched one after the other.

6. The said R-16 rating proved to be a disappointment because it was mostly due to the constant throat-slitting. To be fair though, there were so many shots of Abel tucking the gun in the waistband of his jeans so we had more than enough glimpses of Matteo’s flawless belly. Such a tease!

7. Flashbacks galore. Every plot detail and motive needed one. I think the entire movie was actually half-flashbacks, half-action sequences.

And because the movie was so original, it had a scene where Matteo looked up at the high heavens, raised his arms, and let out a loud scream while the camera panned out for an aerial shot. (It was original because it didn’t rain.)

8. The shoddy production values were probably limited by the measly budget. The movie didn’t even bother with retakes. One scene had the camera on Matteo just waiting for his cue to speak (if that wasn’t bad enough, he still missed his cue). In another, he flipped a table out of anger but since it didn’t fully turn, he just flipped it again all in the same take.

The sound of a passing tricycle would be much louder than the actual conversation. Even a vase used in one scene was fake because it didn’t break when it was accidentally hit by a character.

The movie’s producer at least knew her priorities. She was addressed with a Ms. on the opening and closing credits. More importantly, she played a crucial role as Tiger Rose, uhm, actually her character had no bearing in the entire movie until a last minute explanation on one of the last few scenes. This reminded me so much of another producer (ahem, GMA Films) that had to be included as an extra in every scene of all her movies.

9. One of my favorite scenes here was when Ara Mina stepped out of her room that night with her boobs almost popping out of the plunging neckline of her skimpy bedazzled black dress (with matching floral clutch) and told Matteo that she was off to work and he still asked what kind of work she had.

Uh, I surely hope she wasn’t a call center agent (or worse, Team Leader).

I was already reaching for my inhaler by the time Ara replied, “Eh di sa beerhouse.”

10. Speaking of said beerhouse, the movie’s idea of being progressive was having a transgendered prostitute dance in a club full of presumably straight men. Good move for equal opportunity, right? And then the said transgender did a somersault before eating a live chicken. (Fear the wrath of the LGBT!)

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

GIRLFRIEND FOR HIRE (Vanessa de Leon, 2016

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My notes on Girlfriend for Hire:

1. It was only a couple of years ago when they showed Bride for Rent, a Star Cinema rom-com where a hilarious Kim Chiu played the beard of the wooden Xian Lim. She pretended to be his future bride because she desperately needed money and he plotted the whole charade to please his grandmother (and get his trust fund).

Girlfriend for Hire had the exact same plot. Nami (Yassi Pressman) needed scholarship money so she agreed to be the pretend girlfriend of Bryle (Andre Paras) whose desperate grandfather wanted him to continue their Stanford legacy.

Seriously though, why couldn’t these rich, decent, good-looking men land real girlfriends? Made me wonder if it was an equipment or gender issue. And why do these movies always involve renting/hiring women? May I suggest Boytoy for Lease with KC Concepcion and Piolo Pascual?

2. I found it off that Bryle kept treating Nami like shit and it was supposed to be funny and romantic. In one scene, he actually commanded her to “get down on (her) knees and give it to (him)”. In another scene, out of selos, he dragged her inside a room like Chris Brown being sweet to Rihanna. The worst was when he ate the only piece of chocolate strawberry cake that she was craving for. As a fat kid outside, I felt her physical and emotional pain.

3. I love the Yassi-Andre love team not only because they’re bagay but also because they’re not annoying actors (they even had the most genuine onscreen kiss in this movie). I guess I was surprised when the usually charming Andre was forced to let loose (eyes popping, nostrils flaring, spittle flying) and overact like he was auditioning for a The Mask sequel. In his previous (terrible) movies (Diary ng Panget, Your Place or Mine?), he was funny without even trying. I hope they get way better projects soon. Sayang ang potential.

4. I therefore conclude that the Ultimate Kakaibabe Donnalyn Bartolome is the new Nikki Valdez.

5. My favorite scenes in the movie were:

• When Bryle’s alta grandfather showed him a Powerpoint presentation (presumably made by a 6-year old) of the country’s eligible bachelorettes that he probably met in Cafe Havana

• When Nami mindlessly crossed the street under the pouring rain and Bryle almost hit her with his car and he screamed, “Anong ginagawa mo sa gitna ng ulan?” (Hindi talaga sa gitna ng kalsada??)

• When Nami took Bryle to a palengke and he had the gall to complain about his ruined outfit (white shorts and Toms) (Wait, sarado ba ang lahat ng supermarkets?)

• When Nami’s hot neighbor saw all the ingredients of pesto pasta (noodles, pesto sauce) and correctly guessed that she was preparing the said dish, she acted all shocked and asked, “Paano mo nalaman??” (Girl, it doesn’t take a chef to know that.)

6. Product placements galore. The SMDC sign (complete with Sarah G.’s face) was shown every thirty minutes. I think they even used the exact same room in The Breakup Playlist.

Also, after eating a heavy meal (three cups of rice and all), Bryle still ordered a Greenwich Barkada-Size Ultimate Overload and I knew that was what he ordered because the Greenwich delivery guy loudly said it at the door (“Hello Sir! Here’s your order of one Greenwich Barkada-Size Ultimate Overload!”). Now that got me hungry. Product placement worked.

7. You know this was a fantasy because the lovely Yassi still had her own makeover montage (when all she needed to do was comb her hair). Weirdly enough, she reminded me so much of Mailes Kanapi (please tell me I’m not crazy).

Also, Yassi preferred Andre’s baby fats over her abstastic neighbor (you immediately knew that she didn’t like hottie neighbor because she devoured an entire chicken right in front of him).

8. The last minute introduction of Shy Carlos as Bryle’s girlfriend didn’t serve any purpose except to ensure that the movie reached its quota of Viva talents.

Again, better movies for them, please!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

DEADPOOL (Tim Miller, 2016)

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My notes on Deadpool:

1. As promised, it was indeed a different kind of superhero movie from the hilarious opening credits, the outright mockery of the genre, the constant breaking of the fourth wall, the gratuitous sex and graphic violence, and down to the silly send-up of post-credits scenes. The actual structure of the movie didn’t stray that far from the superhero formula (origin story, cheesy love story with a damsel in distress, group of super friends, climactic battle scene with a felonious villain, acceptance of new identity) but the occasional profanity, crude humor, and immense self-awareness actually worked to its advantage. In the end, it was a very entertaining Marvel movie. (Were the jokes as funny after repeated viewings? Could fanboys confirm, please?)

2. Has there been another movie with opening credits of this kind? It was fun trying to match the stereotypes with the actual characters and actors (“God’s perfect idiot”, “a hot chick”, a “gratuitous cameo” that shouldn’t be a surprise to Marvel fans). The movie might have been directed by a “douchebag director” that was also an “overpaid tool” but all that money didn’t go to waste. (Kudos for acknowledging that the “real heroes here” were the writers.)

3. Inasmuch as I liked Ryan Reynolds as Van Wilder, I really thought that he could never recover from the Green Lantern disaster. After that, it was just one box office bomb after another that I already said RIP to his career after RIPD. Similar to Robert Downey, Jr., it took just one perfect role to jump-start his resurgence (US opening weekend at $135M, the biggest for an R-rated film). The fact that he openly and so gamely made fun of himself (requesting that his supersuit not be green, references to being the Sexiest Man Alive, joking about his obvious lack of talent) just made everything even funnier.

4. When is the next season of Silicon Valley? T.J. Miller (he played the bartender Weasel) may have bombed as the host of the recent Critics’ Choice Awards but he would always be one of my favorite TV geeks. And speaking of TV, I have seen the full glory of Morena Baccarin’s breasts on Homeland and they still looked glorious on the big screen (hey, I was also entitled to an R-rated comment!).

5. In one scene, Deadpool (“That sounds like a fucking franchise!”) mentioned a “fourth wall break in a fourth wall break, so that’s like 16 walls!” and my favorite ones would have to be:

• When Colossus asked him to see the Professor and he deadpanned, “Stewart or McAvoy? These timelines are so confusing!” (Preach!)

• When he visited the X-Men mansion and mentioned that he only kept seeing Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus as if “the studio couldn’t afford another X-Men”.

6. The aforementioned cheesy love story (“Your crazy matches my crazy”, huhubelles) seriously reminded me of that Lorna Tolentino early 90’s movie Gaano Kita Kamahal. I probably alienated all of you fanboys with this reference but I swear Christopher de Leon also had the same burnt face and it was a remarkable true story of love and acceptance (and thankfully no dialogue that he had a face that she could sit on). I might need to dig up my VHS copy of that film and find a working player so I can rewatch.

7. I would never look at a dish soap brand the same way again (wink, wink).

8. Can someone explain why people start leaving as soon as the end credits roll when they know for a fact that this is a Marvel movie and has a 99% chance of a post-credits scene? Please tell me that I’m not the only one annoyed whenever the said scene would start playing and then people that have already stood up would suddenly stop and block the view of those that are still seated and patiently waited for it. End of rant.

P.S. Loved the “What were you expecting? Sam Jackson in an eye patch?” joke. I do hope they cast Keira Knightley as Cable.

Rating: ★★★★☆

HOW TO BE SINGLE (Christian Ditter, 2016)

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My notes on How To Be Single:

1. I initially hated Super Fun Night, the now-cancelled ABC series that starred Rebel Wilson as a single woman just wanting to have a great time with her other single girlfriends. The show got much better when it stopped trying to poke fun at the diverse characters’ unconventional lifestyles and just focused on letting them have their much-deserved fun.

2. I felt the exact same way about this movie adapted from a Liz Tuccillo novel (she was also a writer on Sex and the City). It had a good grasp of the joys and oftentimes (frequency depended on your bitterness level) loneliness of singlehood, but it also wanted its women to apologize for acknowledging that they might actually need a man after all. Nothing’s wrong with being single and nothing’s wrong if you’re single wishing to find the perfect partner, right?

3. Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York should be used in every scene with a person relocating to New York because it’s cheery fun and I’m a certified Swiftie.

4. Dakota Johnson would always be the 50 Shades of Grey girl to me so it was a bit jarring to see her having trouble keeping a relationship and constantly getting dumped by guys that didn’t even come close to the smoldering looks, astonishing wealth, or even kinky fetish of Christian Grey. If Anastasia Steele couldn’t even land a boyfriend in this movie, what more the common tao? (Funny that her name here was Alice Kepley. I know, I have the mind of a twelve year old.)

5. I found it off though that Dakota’s character was the typical helpless woman who needed a boyfriend to reset her router or remove the foreign subtitles on her TV. That wasn’t even a dependency issue. Call customer service. Or read the manual, girl. Magagalit ang Gabriela n’yan.

6. Rebel, as expected, was the movie’s effortless scene-stealer. She was a hoot and generated the loudest laughs whether she was owning the dance floor with an arrow pointing to her crotch, peeing in a Zen garden that she thought was a kitty litter, crawling out of a taxi window, or threatening to tit-punch someone for using an emoji.

The best moment had her describing the deprived privates of Dakota:

“You have a long-term relationship pussy.”
“It looked like you dropped a hairbrush and your vagina caught it.”
“Gandalf is staring at me. No penis shall pass!”

7. “For the record, this is not me leaving. This is you pushing me away.” Did this bring back a lot of heartbreak memories?

8. The Drink Number theory stated that two people should not exceed the total drink limit between themselves (in any combination) meaning if one gets drunk after two glasses and the other after three, then they shouldn’t go over the five drink total or something will happen between them.

This is definitely not true because we all know that “as long as there is alak, there is balak” and no drinking theory can ever stop that.

9. In one scene, a character bumped into her ex’s parents and the mother said “You’re better than her (current girlfriend)”.

If you’re already happy and in a relationship, you’d be brushing this off and just laugh. If you’re still bitter, your heart will be exploding with joy and probably planning another stalking session to get him back.

10. “The thing about being single is that you should cherish it.” Now wouldn’t this be the perfect Valentine’s Day movie even if you’re watching alone (but not lonely)? Cue Hailee Steinfeld’s Love Myself.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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