MOVIE REVIEW: OLD SKOOL (Cia Hermosa-Jorge, 2015)

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My notes on Old Skool:

1. It’s hard to be tough on Old Skool, a well-intentioned movie that obviously wore its heart on its sleeve. The problem with it though was how it played its supposedly inspirational message with throwaway gags and juvenile humor.

2. Tessie Tomas is one of our finest actresses but her performance here was very inconsistent. There were times that she acted like Budoy when she was just a perfectly normal old woman that just wasn’t able to finish grade school.

3. In one scene, she wore a Trinidad and Tobago outfit for United Nations Day (?) complete with a headpiece full of dalandan and bananas and she acted all clumsy like Forrest Gump just stepped in class. (In another, she was obviously reading the lyrics of a song on the back of a classmate during the Christmas production.)

4. I was also confused when she mentioned that she was supposed to be the batch valedictorian before she stopped schooling and yet she couldn’t add basic fractions. Also, with the advanced learning system now, don’t they teach Calculus and algorithms as early as Kinder?

5. I was happy to see that artista notebooks (you know, the ones with Juday and Wowie on the cover) are still available. I wonder if they have an AlDub version.

6. Oh and that Microsoft Office Computer class! I suddenly remembered my Wordstar and Lotus days. I’ve mentioned this before but I’m still amazed that we had Typewriting classes back in grade school. Using an actual typewriter. I swear I hated the quick brown fox that jumped over the lazy dog.

7. Buboy Villar was good as the school bully. I wish there was no sudden change of heart because he was funnier when he made other kids cry. In contrast would be the shrill performance of Angel Aquino who basically hated life. She kept screaming every 15 minutes on the most petty stuff that I missed my morning alarm clock (read: my mother).

8. True story:

Me: “What’s HEKASI?”
Other: “Heograpiya, Kasaysayan, Agrikultura, Sining, at Sibika.”
Me: “Eh di dapat HEKAASISI?”

But seriously, di ko inabot ang HEKASI. I’m that old.

9. Styrofoam solar system! I had the exact same project in grade school! Memories!!

10. Teacher: “Ilagay ang kanang kamay sa puso. O tumitibok ba?”

Students: “Opo!!”

Teacher: “Mabuti! Kung hindi dadalhin kayo sa ospital.”

Me: “Sir, sure ka hindi sa morgue?”

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published November 7, 2015.)

100 (Chris Martinez, 2008)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on 100:

1. If you only had a hundred days left to live, what one hundred things would you do with your limited time? Scary thought for sure, but something that most of us had probably imagined.

2. Upon diagnosis of a terminal case of lymphoma, Joyce de Leon (played by the excellent Mylene Dizon) used Post-its on her wall to remind herself of her bucket list. The tasks ranged from serious responsibilities (resign, pay loans and mortgage), normal chores (clean closet, pack books), sentimental tasks (arrange photo album, visit high school), mundane stuff (food trips that included ice cream, Lapid’s chicharon, and crispy pata; kiss a stranger) and even chilling realities (pick a casket, select funeral clothes).

3. The list grew longer as she revealed her illness to family and friends. Her best friend Ruby (the delightful Eugene Domingo) added the typical BFF fun stuff (trip to HK) while her mother (the superb Tessie Tomas) wrote down normal motherly tasks (stop smoking, visit Manaoag). None of the items would be out of place in a usual bucket list. Even her fantasies (visit Europe, see the Eiffel Tower and Mona Lisa) were fulfilled via YouTube. Everything was so grounded in reality that it would be hard not to feel her pain and her fears.

4. I definitely loved the writing in this film. People talked like real human beings and even if it dealt with life and death, there were still a lot of moments that made me laugh (sometimes through the tears). One said scene involved an Ate Vi marathon. After viewing Tagos ng Dugo (where could I get a copy of this?) and Relasyon, the two friends decided to watch Pahiram ng Isang Umaga. Bad choice, obviously. They were bawling by the end that Ruby quipped “Sabi ko sa’yo dapat Darna na lang sinunod natin eh.”

Another included a skinny dipping scene that you would have to see to believe (such fearless actresses! Bravo!!).

5. I probably had a lump in my throat for the entire two hours. There was just an overall feeling of uneasiness and anxiety even if the scenes were nowhere close to being mawkish. I started choosing my own funeral songs as well when I saw her selection (Seasons of Love, really?! Mine would include The Scientist, for sure.)

6. I also understood why Tell Mommy was the hardest thing for her to do. In one scene, her mom served her veggie kare-kare without the tuwalya and any bagoong since it was bad for her health. It ended with a brutal shouting match (“Pati mga libro ko pinalitan mo. The Purpose Driven Life? Aanhin ko yun?”) followed by one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the film where Joyce apologized and said “Lahat tayo mamamatay, Ma. Mauuna lang po ako. Ng konti.” (Full disclosure: I was crying while typing this.)

7. Here’s a line that struck me a lot (delivered by Joyce’s boss upon her resignation): “Kayo talagang mga single, masyado kayong restless. You don’t know what to do with your money. You don’t know what to do with your lives.” Hurtful and yet so true.

8. The last few minutes were definitely up for interpretation. Others would argue that she didn’t die in the end and she was just at peace with herself. The rest would say that she died and ended up in paradise (given her fear that there was no life after death). Regardless of the actual meaning, the silence of the wonderfully-executed scene provided the catharsis that the audience (still with lumps in our throats) needed as well.

Rating: ★★★★★