Ang tapang ni Sue Ramirez bilang Adela/Stephanie/Marie/(your hooker alias is your first pet + street name). Ganitong klaseng marupokpok (sorry, sex worker) role ang di gagawin ng mga contemporaries niya sa takot na mawalan ng Modess endorsement deal. Pero siya deadma lang at todo emote habang pinapakain ang kanyang sushi sa mga DOM.

Hindi ko alam saang mundo nag-e-exist ang realidad daw na ito. Nagpuputa si Adela kasi wala siyang ibang skills para kumita ng pera pero wala lang sa kanya magbayad ng 1k para sa ilang oras ng cuddling. Girl, di mo man lang ba naisip kung ano ang isinubo mo para dyan? (At may scene pa na nagtapon siya ng 1000 peso bills sa balcony ng condo niya na parang siya si Old Rose sa Titanic na nagtapon ng Heart of the Ocean.)

Tapos ibinahay niya si Ram (RK Bagatsing) and acted as his mentor slash bugaw with the condition na hindi siya titigasan sa kanya (and syempre bawal ma-in love, although alam naman natin lahat saan ito mapupunta bilang kasama ang Migraine ng Moonstar 88 sa soundtrack).

Nung una akala ko magiging Pretty Woman ang story, except na call boy din si Richard Gere. Pero with Adela’s purple wig and statement na ang pokpok ay hindi nagsasabi ng totoong pangalan, na-realize ko na mas gusto niya ang Closer feels as a Pinoy romcom. Yung ultimo pagtatahi meron hugot (“Minsan kapag ayaw pumasok, sabihan mo lang ng I love you at papasok din yan.”). Nyek.

Ang unfortunate kasi may dalang lungkot ang love story ng dalawang mahirap na pokpok trying to salvage whatever’s left of their dignity. Kahit medyo na-bother ako na puro matrona ang clientele ni Ram para matuloy ang love story. Magandang layer sana na tanggap din ni Adela na pumapatol siya sa bakla, no?

Sayang din kasi malakas ang chemisty nina Sue at RK at may dalang kilig yung slow dance nila sa kalsada under the neon warmth of the red light district (bilang hindi nag-JS Prom si Ram). Kaso kulang talaga eh. Kung sila nga walang paki at tuloy ang landian kahit may nag-ra-raid na sa motmot nila eh mas lalo ako walang paki sa kanila. Go lang humayo kayo at magpaka-pokpok.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: NOTTING HILL (Roger Michell, 1999)



My notes on Notting Hill:

1. No matter how many times I tried to repress the memory, I would never forget that I once played Julia Roberts as Anna Scott for a skit about absolute love (how apt!) in a college Philosophy class. Long story short, I couldn’t make the Hugh Grant character William Thacker believable since I obviously lacked his puppy eyes and boyish charm so our group leader thought of reversing the gender roles where I ended up voicing (since I apparently wasn’t too pretty to be Anna as well) the female part.

We recreated that entire iconic bookstore scene and I delivered the “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy…” line with an awkward high pitch that sounded like Lani Mercado’s wicked witch in the Sleeping Beauty episode of Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang. Our presentation obviously bombed (all those confused looks would continue to haunt me in my dreams) and I walked out of that class feeling like Vivian in Pretty Woman getting thrown out of a posh boutique in Rodeo Drive (and since this was real life, I didn’t even get a redemption scene).

2. Julia may have won her Oscar for Erin Brockovich, but her performance here would probably be my most favorite. Sure, the woman with the (then $15M) megawatt smile was basically playing another version of her rich and famous, A-list celebrity persona, but the fact that she gamely poked fun at herself (loved it when Anna pointed at her nose and chin when asked about her cosmetic surgeries) and revealed the sadness beneath all the fame and glory was really admirable.

Her Anna character was also completely flawed (and actually bordered on being despicable with just the way he treated William) and yet I still really, really wanted to be her friend (to the point that it would also be an honor for me to have her in my loo). Her best scene was at the dinner table where everyone was trying to win that last brownie and her face displayed the longing to experience the kind of love that the mortals (er, William and his friends) had.

3. Speaking of that dinner scene, I could easily pinpoint the part where I would immediately start sobbing every single time I’d watch this film. It was when Bella (Gina McKee) explained that she deserved the last brownie for having the saddest life because she was stuck in a wheelchair and could not bear kids. This was followed by a shot of her husband Max (Tim McInnerny) silently giving her this look of genuine love. Romantic or not, we all deserved someone just like him.

(Their other scenes that made me bawl my eyes out: when he carried her upstairs for the night when William decided to sleep over at their house and when he couldn’t afford to leave her during the climactic chase scene and carried her inside the car. Hala, just thinking of these made me teary-eyed again!)

4. A lot of people would probably knock this film down for being too formulaic to a fault, but it shamelessly peddled itself as a fairy tale so I didn’t mind at all (“This is the stuff that happens in dreams, not in real life.”) A huge Hollywood star falling in love with a commoner who looked like Hugh would be the ultimate fantasy, right?

Comical meet cute, set of kooky friends (Rhys Ifans’ Spike as the standout, course), soundtrack of sappy love songs (Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing At All >>> Alison Krauss’ version tbh), final romantic declaration of love, all tropes utilized to maximum effect. It was surreal, but nice.

5. I had a (fortunately) short phase where I pretended to be a charming Brit ala Hugh and ended up sounding like a post-Kabbalah Madonna. I replaced my “Susmaryosep” with “Whoopsie daisy” and “Ay tae!” with “Shickity brickity”, but those didn’t stick. Foreign catchphrases and accents were never really my thing. I couldn’t even properly imitate an American accent when I worked as a call center agent that resulted to one customer referring to me as a weird Hawaiian guy.

6. Spot the cameos: Matthew Modine! Alec Baldwin! Mischa Barton! Emily Mortimer!

7. That one long take of Ain’t No Sunshine with the changing seasons was really lovely. I would one day be able to visit Portobello Road Market and that iconic blue door. Who would be willing to fund my London trip?

8. “For June who loved this garden. From Joseph who always sat beside her.”

“Some people do spend their whole lives together.” ❤️❤️❤️

9. I didn’t really need this film to make me realize that some people could influence you to do something better or be a better person even if they had hurt you, but it was nice to be reminded of this with every viewing. #whogoat

10. “The fame thing isn’t really real, you know?”

A huge star ready to give up everything for love? Your move, Bebe Idol Sarah G. Rooting for your happy fairy tale ending as well.

Rating: ★★★★★