6 BALLOONS (Marja-Lewis Ryan, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on 6 Balloons:

1. In The One with the Boobies episode of Friends, Phoebe had a date named Roger who psychoanalyzed Chandler as a person that masked his depression and sadness through constant humor and sarcasm (“I wouldn’t want to be there when the laughter stops”). Even with the prominence of the sad clown trope, I was continually surprised by comedians that would play against type and turn in credible (sometimes even incredible) dramatic performances (Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, Mo’Nique in Precious, Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, just to name a few). Our very own Comedy King made me bawl my eyes out by bravely playing a loving gay foster parent in Ang Tatay Kong Nanay.

2. I was all the more excited when I saw this Netflix movie where Abbi Jacobson (one half of my favorite power couple in Broad City) actually tried to take on a more serious role. Even in that TV series, her Abbi Abrams was more straightfaced and rational compared to the always wild and crazy Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer), but that made her funnier and even more endearing.

Sadly, this wasn’t the right vehicle to draw out her more sensitive side. Whenever her character Katie delivered a line that should have been solemn or earnest, I was waiting for her to crack up and mock what she just said Abbi-style. At least her effort for reinvention was commendable.

3. One thing that I really liked in this depressing drama was Dave Franco’s authentic portrayal of a person with substance abuse issues. His Seth was torn between the need to change his lifestyle for the love of his young kid, and his apparent heroin addiction. It was disturbing (he cleaned his syringe with toilet water!!) to see him go through this entire spectrum of emotions while he brutally battled his subsequent relapse (zoned out and depressed at the start, then sweaty, shaking, and desperate for a fix in the middle, and finally high and playful after his hit towards the end).

As somebody addicted to Coke (Coca-Cola hala!) whose mouth would go dry and hands all clammy after not getting a drink of my favorite ice cold soda every six hours, I couldn’t even imagine the pain and suffering that these people would go through to overcome their drug dependency.

4. I completely understood that Katie loved her younger brother so much that she was willing to do anything to help, but I just didn’t get why she made these really foolish decisions along the way. Why would she even bring a child with her when she tried to score some drugs in what looked like the scariest part of the neighborhood? Why would she leave the poor kid alone in the vehicle with an obviously sick person? Even if her brother was physically suffering, why did she act as an enabler and even agreed to buy him needles in a pharmacy?

I might be too quick (self-righteous?) to judge and maybe the entire point of this movie was that drug addiction was really a family disease, but I ended up getting stressed and frustrated with every terrible choice that she made.

(Side note: The young girl must have been a fan of Monsters Inc. because of her strange fascination with the word “Kitty”.)

5. Jane Kaczmarek had a brief appearance here as their mother and I was reminded yet again that she was criminally robbed of an Emmy for her brilliant turn as a fierce and controlling matriarch in Malcolm in the Middle.

(Also, I found it funny that the actor who played her husband in this movie closely resembled Bryan Cranston.)

6. So Katie broke the pharmacy’s glass door with their own bathroom keys, hit some posts while driving away, and we were expected to laugh along at the apparent silliness of these events? Why??

7. Instead of paying attention to that cheesy audio book about leaking boats, she should have listened more to her talking GPS navigator (it even asked her to “turn around” when she entered that drug-infested street).

Now why couldn’t my Waze be more like that whenever I was headed to the nearest KFC?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

WHY HIM? (John Hamburg, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Why Him?:

1. Bryan Cranston obviously earned enough goodwill from Breaking Bad that allowed him to headline inane comedies like this and still keep his star status and self-respect (or at least his four Best Drama Actor Emmys). Although he would forever be known as the iconic Walter White, he actually displayed some wonderful comic timing playing Hal in Malcolm in the Middle. This movie could have been a welcome break from playing a morally reprehensible character (and being intentionally funny for a change), but seeing him get sprayed on the face by toilet water from a high-tech bidet was just too embarrassing.

2. I had always wanted an updated remake (read: millennial version) of Father of the Bride (a concerned father being overly protective of his unica hija) and I thought this was going to be it. Instead, this played very much like a reverse Meet the Parents with the entire family trooping over to the mansion of the fiancé (a spacey James Franco, prone to showing his ass and pubes) who also happened to be a tech millionaire (so rich that he owned an art installation of a dead moose suspended in its own urine). Gross? Yes. Funny? Not really.

And as expected, everybody would be drowning in that pool of urine and somebody would also unfortunately (?) discover the meaning of teabagging.

3. Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blaise was here as Franco’s personal executive chef and he served the weirdest dishes like edible soil with plankton foam and edible paper with bear meat. It was a funny stab on artisanal menus and mostly worked. Seeing Cranston chew on newspaper clippings reminded me of the time I ate a lot of the White Rabbit rice paper (too hard to remove, why bother?).

4. “Don’t touch anything!” was the exact same warning my mom would tell us whenever we would visit another person’s house. Sound advice given that those wooden spoons hanging on the wall might actually cost thousands of pesos.

5. In one scene, Cranston was trying to figure out the password of Franco’s laptop so he tried all sorts of dirty combinations (“StephaniesAss”). It reminded me of the time when I would receive the new passwords of my associates that got locked out of their systems and I would be shocked to see that their old ones were “sextoy123”, “dwn2fck” or the direct to the point “iluvsex”. All of them got the spanking that they deserved.

6. Hearing Caley Cuoco as the Siri-like voice system of the mansion made me realize that I still hadn’t fully decided on who should narrate my life story. I just scratched off Morgan Freeman from the list because he had done almost everything. I guess that left me with the wonderfully deep and scratchy pipes of Shohreh Aghdashloo. Unless of course that SM Malinag kid wasn’t available (“Twee dey seyl! See yo dorr!”).

7. In this Pornhub era, does anyone still not know the meaning of double dicking and bukkake? (You don’t? Stay away from Google! NSFW!)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆