MOVIE REVIEW: ONLY YOU (Norman Jewison, 1994)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Only You:

1. Everything I know about fate and destiny I learned from the great philosopher Zenaida Seva. When Faith (Marisa Tomei, doing her quirkiest impression of 90’s Meg Ryan) found out that her soulmate‘s name was Damon Bradley, she should have heeded her fortune teller’s advice that “the truth is you make your own destiny” (or better put, “Hindi hawak ng mga bituin ang ating kapalaran. Gabay lamang sila. Meron tayong free will. Gamitin natin ito”).

Seriously, what girl in her right mind would abandon her currently happy, soon-to-be-married life and fly away to a far-off place like Rome just because she needed to find her (Ouija board-) destined half?

2. Faith (who should have been named Gullible instead) obviously suffered from the 90’s Rom-Com Lead Syndrome. She was supposed to be an endearing heroine, but came off as incredibly annoying.

As a teacher, she seemed to have misunderstood Plato’s belief on destiny. I learned more from our Araling Panlipunan instructor who discussed the importance of eating vegetables to prevent a hemorrhoidectomy.

As a future bride, she was too critical of her fiancé’s work. Did she really have to mock him as a mere foot doctor? He was named Dwayne Johnson for crying out loud. Who wouldn’t want to be Mrs. Dr. The Rock?

As a romantic looking for love, she kept rejecting the possible “The One”s for very superficial reasons (not good-looking enough, or a fan of Van Damme movies). Her sister-in-law Kate (the more likable Bonnie Hunt) described her best when she said: “I think we need professional help… like a psychiatrist.”

3. I might have liked this a couple of decades back when I still had my rose-colored, heart-shaped glasses on, but what felt cute before felt completely problematic this time around. I was very critical of Kita Kita for romanticizing the stalker concept so this one wouldn’t be getting a free pass just because the creep happened to be a young Robert Downey, Jr.

Not even his gorgeous lashes that rivaled those of the late Isabel Granada could make me change my mind. (“Kapag panget eh stalker. Kapag gwapo eh admirer.” Uh, nope.) His Peter was a vile opportunist who took advantage of another person’s kagagahan for a chance to cop a feel. 

And why would he immediately say “I’m in love with you” within minutes of meeting her? When he mentioned that Damon Bradley could end up as a “jerk and pervert whose mind is infested with dark thoughts”, he was merely describing himself.

4. “Love songs are just a cruel hoax that feed people’s fantasies.” Sounded straight out of, wait this was in the 90’s so, uhm, Donahue? (For those scratching their heads, he was the less salacious version of Jerry Springer who in turn was the less classy version of Oprah Winfrey.)

5. It might just be a cultural thing, but I knew Faith’s forthcoming wedding was doomed the moment she tried on her dress. And speaking of wedding dress, how was she able to easily pass through airport security wearing that poofy outfit?

6. Note to self: Look for a copy of Roman Holiday.

7. When Faith’s brother revealed that he tricked her into believing that Damon Bradley was her soulmate, I felt really sad that she was surrounded by the most terrible, lying, emotionally abusive men. Why was she such a sociopath magnet?

8. If you were still having doubts that Peter was a disgusting excuse of a human, never forget that he had his bare feet up on a plane seat. Ugh! The 90’s had a really weird notion of a dream guy, no?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: GOYO: ANG BATANG HENERAL (Jerrold Tarog, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral:

1. One of the first Tagalog poems I learned as a kid was taught to me by my grandfather (be forewarned, it wasn’t one of his shining moments) and it involved the bad boy of Philippine History (no, not Ace Vergel nor Robin Padilla). It went something like: “Andres Bonifacio, a-tapang a-tao. A-putok a-baril, hindi a-atakbo. A-putol a-utin, a-takbo a-tulin.” This humorous take on a national hero might sound disrespectful to some, but it was exactly how I felt with this ongoing Araling Panlipunan Trilogy of Jerrold Tarog that started with the puñeta-filled Heneral Luna.

Both films seemed to have been made as easily-digestible History nuggets because nobody really wanted to sit through a boring lecture. And so we got an abrasive, menacing portrayal of a general in the first film who would deliver some occasionally amusing Cesar Montano quips that the audience could laugh at while this second one had a subservient and confused young general who left a trail of broken hearts (and panties) like he was the first official fuccboi of the country.

2. I never knew that Gregorio del Pilar (Paulo Avelino, medyo malamya) was such a bland and uninteresting character whose life didn’t really merit a biopic. I’d always thought he was this glorious hero who took his last stand (and not a literal one) in the Battle of Tirad Pass. I’m sure there was more to him as the youngest general other than being a Don Juan.

Unfortunately, the fictional (right?) Joven Hernando (Arron Villaflor, who sounded like his testicles hadn’t descended yet) summed up the first hour best when he asked “Bakit puro romansa at panunuyo?”. It was obvious that Goyo (and in turn Avelino, with his gorgeous brown eyes that sparkled in the sunlight; wait, why wasn’t he moreno?) was so swoon-worthy that women would actually have a shade showdown while comparing themselves to mangoes (“Ako hinog, ikaw totoong bulok” or something equally icky to that effect). But shouldn’t there have been more to him than that?

I walked out of the theater with the takeaway that his only contribution in our rich history was a last minute realization that he had been Emilio Aguinaldo’s (Mon Confiado, great as always) lapdog. Yun na yun?

Seriously, Goyo the character couldn’t even serve as the crucial voiceover (read: voice of reason) in his own film.

3. I felt bad that the talented Carlo Aquino (who played Vicente Enriquez) couldn’t secure a lead role in this franchise (was it because he looked so cute and tiny like a keychain?). I did like the underlying homoerotic tension between him and Joven (because why else was he so protective of him?). And was I the only one that sensed this blooming “bromance” between Joven and Juan del Pilar (Carlo Cruz)? Ooh, a love triangle! (Or was that just some wishful thinking?)

Side note: That tampisaw sa batis scene. Not complaining at all.

4. I honestly couldn’t stand the acting of the kid that played Angelito so I wouldn’t even bother mentioning his name here. His lines consisted merely of cries of anguish/despair (“Kuyaaaaahhh!”, “Tamaaaah naaaahh!”) and he still couldn’t deliver them properly. Didn’t he learn anything from his Kuya Manuel Bernal (Art Acuña)? Awoooooo!!

5. Miss Granny reference: I was a bit disappointed that after all those pictures taken by the same photographer (Jojit Lorenzo) of the Forever Young Portrait Studio, Goyo didn’t turn into a Goyito (given his age though, if he turned fifty years younger, then he’d still be a sperm and this would have been a completely different kind of movie).

6. Bitterness 101 – Exhibit A:

Felicidad (Empress Schuck) to ex-jowa: “Kumusta?”

Goyo: “Mabuti! Ikaw?”

Felicidad: (deadma) (walk-out)

Move on, move on din pag may time. (Uso pa ba ‘to?)

7. Was the slang term “goyo” or “nagoyo” actually after the flirtatious general? I need the real etymology of this word please! My futile Google search led me to “weneklek” and “kukurikapu” instead.

8. Every peso of the movie’s reported Php160M budget was in full display here with its lush cinematography (that amazing shot of the troops marching on the mountainside during sunset, the magical Shape of Water-like underwater scene) and great production design.

9. I was excited to see the Battle of Tirad Pass especially with its dramatic twist of a local Igorot betraying the Philippine troops, but it didn’t really showcase anything interesting. It was just a lengthy sequence of some Pinoy mestiso actors pretending to be a bunch of American soldiers running around until they finally annihilated the locals. It was also odd that they continued to mine humor in such a serious situation (“Nakagat lang yan ng langgam sa bayag!”, “May bangin dyan!” and then a couple of Pinoy soldiers comically fell off a cliff, “Kam! Amerikan Welkam!”).

Even del Pilar’s death felt very anticlimactic (and un-heroic). Like a Superman film where Clark Kent never really wore his red trunks and cape because he was better off as a regular person. (But we paid to watch Superman, didn’t we?)

10. Burning questions:

• How long could one survive munching on just sugar cane? (Because you know, inflation.)

• The soldier named Daclan was actually Matt Daclan, right?

• Why couldn’t Apolinario Mabini (Epy Quizon) get his own movie? Echapwera na naman?

• During the mid-credits scene with a latex-faced, older Aguinaldo (still played by Confiado), why was the older Manuel Quezon on the poster played by a latex-faced TJ Trinidad? Were they not confident enough with the acting skills of Benjamin Alves?

• Wait, was the film trying to equate Emilio Aguinaldo with our current President? So did that make Goyo a misguided, egotistical, famewhore general who loved hogging the limelight (read: mahilig magpa-pogi)? Now I get my complete lack of interest.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆