Thoughts On…Just The 3 Of Us

Thoughts On Just The 3 Of Us Cover
Image Source: Star Cinema (youtube)

Who doesn’t want a John Lloyd-Jennylyn led romcom? John Lloyd’s the patron saint of local romance films. Jennylyn’s on a tear after winning back-to-back Best Actress awards for romance film roles. And they also have Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina at the helm? You sure as hell know I’ll be up for that. That’s three of the best things the local romcom world has to offer!

Sadly, Just The 3 Of Us was…an okay movie. It wasn’t a bad movie nor was it a game-changing movie like One More Chance or English, Only Please; something you’d expect based on the names attached to the film. It basically followed the same ebb and flow of a romcom movie: a guy and girl who are at odds with each other are forced into some weird set-up and they fall in-love. It’s still a solid premise that people can get behind, but again I was expecting more from a project that has these much successful names included. Surely you’d understand that right?

But what really disappointed me with this film was how John Lloyd still fell into the usual characterization that he has been playing in romance films for the last 10 – 12 years! You see, last year, we wrote about the John Lloyd Hypothesis. On how, John Lloyd’s characters tend to be emotionally-dependent, manipulative and broken.  It’s a lengthy piece but goddammit it’s the best and in-depth profile we’ve written.

As a self-proclaimed Lloydie-ologist, I want John Lloyd to move on from that characterization. He won’t able to test the limits of his acting talent if he plays the same type of character in every single film. And he’s actually on a roll lately with A Second Chance, Honor Thy Father and Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis. And then Just The 3 Of Us comes out of nowhere and returns JLC back to his old romcom self. Let’s see how:

(SPOILER WARNING: I’ll be spoiling a lot of stuff from the film. Better watch the movie first before you proceed.)

JLC's Old Patterns

I guess I just root for John Lloyd so much that I don’t want to see him falling back to his old patterns. He’s just too talented of an actor to always play this kind of character.

SHOUT OUTS, CALL OUTS AND WATCH OUTS

  • Here’s another way to watch the film: it’s a story of how Philippine society mistreats and pressures pregnant women. She had to beg for support from the supposed father. Also had to lie to her family about her condition so not to disappoint them.
  • JLC had the weirdest and funniest O-face I’ve seen on local media. Imma need to gif that once the movie’s available
  • If John Lloyd’s a wrestler, he’d be the perfect heel
    • Who’s a more perfect heel than JLC? Baron Geisler! Didn’t expect Baron Geisler to be Jennylyn’s ex. They went for the batugan ex rather than the “better than current” ex. Of course they needed to look for a shittier ex because JLC already treats Jennylyn horribly
  • “Kahit magswimming ako sa alak ngayon, wala kang magagawa.”
  • Did JLC’s character fall for Jennylyn’s because she pampers JLC like a mom would do?
  • Shout out to Joel Torre and his white sando. He should get an endorsement deal for white sandos
  • Do paternity tests take six weeks? What is up with that
  • JLC and Jennylyn have chemistry when they banter. It’s just bad that a big chunk of the movie had them at odds with each other
  • Of course they were able to find a way to insert Biogesic and Magic Flakes endorsements in the film
  • The film could have at least been less formulaic if at one point Jennylyn strongly considered abortion. At least the focus of the film went back to the baby rather just being used as a plot device.
  • Another disappointing thing: apparently some people on youtube have mentioned how Just The 3 Of Us‘s premise was similar to a Korean TV series.

 

Just The 3 Of Us now showing in Philippine cinemas nationwide

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Thoughts On…Just The 3 Of Us

How Not To Experience Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis

How Not To Watch Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis cover

I have to start with this: watching Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis yesterday was my first time to ever view a Lav Diaz film. I knew nothing of Lav Diaz’s style nor his previous works. All I knew was that he’s an internationally-respected director known for excessively long films. That’s it. Hele  wasn’t even in my consciousness before a week ago, when I learned that John Lloyd Cruz was part of the film. Being a self-proclaimed Lloydieologist (yeah I’m coining this), I felt the urge to watch it. The man continues to challenge his talents, and you just have to respect that. An invite from my friends on Good Friday night was the last push I needed to watch the film.

Fast forward to Saturday night, and let’s just say I wasn’t satisfied with my experience. I left the theater with a slight dead leg from all the sitting and a head messed up by all the “why????”s I thought. Most prominently were “why did the movie take 8 hours???” and “why did we need to see Basilio (Sid Lucero) digging for 5 mins?”. Don’t get me wrong, I did see positives in the movie. There were scenes and shots that made sense to me (i.e. Simoun on the raft). And I liked the idea of the universe it’s set in: a Filipinas where the lines of history, fiction and superstition intersect. I could just imagine how much stories we can mine from the universe Diaz posited. However,these were just a tiny fraction of the 8 hours we spent. Maybe it also didn’t help that I was also disappointed by my first taste of Halal Guys? Here’s a short review:

Halal Guys Falafel + Chicken Combo: Falafel felt unevenly cooked. Pita was cold.        — Two stars

While eating, I just couldn’t help the feeling that that was it. I eventually went online to find out why film critics were raving about it. In between the spoonfuls of mixed rice, diced tomatoes, onion, chicken and falafel were “huh?”s of disagreement.  I just could not see what they saw in the film. I gave up and just concluded that I’m just really basic when it comes to highbrow films.

Wait, how about JLC? Oh, John Lloyd was obviously great. Here’s a short review:

John Lloyd Cruz in Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis: Sold his role of Isagani well. Highlights include his street urchin under the bridge and eating sapsap scenes. Though his crying were suspiciously similar to his other films (see A Second Chance).                       — Four in a half stars

 

That night, I just couldn’t help the feeling that I was disappointed by Hele. I even ended up watching Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati on DVD to cleanse myself of the feeling of lugi. (A Sana Dati short review? Nah, I’ll just write another post on my thoughts on it.)

But Sana Dati wasn’t enough. Hele was still in my head. Perhaps having eight hours and five minutes staring at the black and white large screen was enough for the movie to burrow itself into my consciousness. I tried to sleep it off but it was still there. A breakfast of McDonald’s hotcakes wasn’t enough. There was just something fundamental in me that the film was protesting to. Through reading all the currently available pieces and watching a few cast and director interviews about the movie, I’ve come to realize that, maybe, I was ultimately unprepared experience the film.

In a press conference for the film that was reported by Rappler, iconic actor, Bernardo Bernardo said “Ang unang-unang masasabi ko, you learn that you don’t watch a Lav Diaz film. You experience a Lav Diaz film.”

And it is true. Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis generally broke the conventions of what I thought a film should be that I just can’t consider it to be a movie anymore. It was meant to be an experience. It was written, shot and edited to be an experience.  And just like any life experience, you need to have some kind of preparation to grasp it fully.

So here I am writing this piece in the hopes of directing people to a better way of appreciating Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis. Its imperative to guide people on how to properly experience it. This is after all, Diaz’s first film to be widely distributed locally. A lot of Filipinos would no doubt try watching it, like me. And may end up dissatisfied; like me. Or worse, reject this kind of artistry.

So here are my tips for people who are interested in watching Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis:

1. The movie is a challenge but not a #HeleChallenge

To be honest, Hele is indeed a hard sell for the casual moviegoer. So to encourage some action from the audience to watch the film, Hele is currently marketed as the #HeleChallenge because of its long runtime. A film not for the faint of heart nor for people with small bladders. Like finishing the film alone will grant you some new world perspective. Well, a part of me fell for that. I remember joking while we had lunch before the movie that they should have “I Survived Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” shirts available after the movie. A proof my superficial greatness that I wear with pride.

I don’t know how to sell this movie to the public but marketing it as #HeleChallenge is kind of problematic. Turning the experience into a social media challenge can inhibit a viewer to enjoy the movie’s depths. Social Media Savvy Sam can just go in the theater and think, “if the #challenge is to withstand the movie for 8hrs 05mins, then maybe I could just skim through it.”

Hele is a challenge because it doesn’t have the “comforts” of a mainstream film. It tries to fight against what you believe are the norms of cinema. The movie doesn’t have color, nor narration, nor background music,nor special effects. Ninety-six percent (of course a rough estimate) was shot with a static camera (you know that a scene is of importance when the camera does move). It’s a movie about a revolution but the revolution happens off-screen. Funny how this opened alongside Batman v Superman.

2. Refrain from using your left brain

This tip goes back to my experience of leaving the theater having a bajillion questions left unanswered. I remember asking my friend what was the reasoning behind the back and forth between the journeys of the two parties. Or the significance of each scene in the movie in building the finale.

Living in the information and technology age has framed our minds to process things in a problem-solution mindset. That things follow certain logic and are meant to be explained. But in truth, there are some things that are better felt than explained or rationalized.

Expecting things to be neatly explained or having rhyme or reason in Hele is a stretch. Do remember that history, mythology and fiction already coexist in this universe. Bonifacio’s death and whereabouts is as strong a myth as the belief of Bernardo Carpio’s as the ultimate weapon against the Spaniards. In other words, logic doesn’t fit that much in Hele. Instead of wondering about plot consistency of Hele, I’d like you to suspend disbelief and examine what it will make you feel instead.

 

3. (If you’re a millennial) Leave your millennial-iness at the door

In the middle of hour 1 and 2, having a sense of the movie’s pace, one of my friends and I discussed what else we could have done instead of watching the movie. Apparently, we could have roughly reached Dubai by the time the film finished. I also thought how in 8 hours I could have played The Division and powerleveled my character to level 30, or how I could have binge-watch a substantial chunck of Daredevil season 2.

During hour 6 and 7, I discussed with another friend of mine how the film is so inefficient. How so much of the movie can be trimmed so it can fit the two-hour runtime norm. How I’d basically cut Ely Buendia and his singing, Basilio’s digging, and Gregoria De Jesus’s party walking aimlessly through the dense jungle.

Lav Diaz in the same press conference mentioned above said how the 8 hours will easily pass by, especially when you immerse yourself in the film. Boy, did Lav overestimated the attention span of audiences. But somehow, of course in hindsight, I kind of understand what Diaz said. Part of the audience’s immersion into this histo-mythi-fictional world is to also feel its pace. 19th century Filipinas was far from the pace we’re used to. It adds to the authenticity (having a still camera placed at a distance) of its voyeurism wherein the audience must patiently waits for the subjects. The characters are not there to perform for an audience. Let the film take its time and your patience will be rewarded by a different experience.

(FUN FACT: I originally intended to name this piece as “How My 21st Century Brain Could Not Understand Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis“)

So that’s it. Have fun with Hele!


 

Other Observations:

  • Sapsap in English is Slipmouth fish. kewl.
  • Shout-outs
    • Joel Saracho aka Mama Lou of OTWOL as Karyo!
    • Cherie Gil and Angel Aquino for being the most beautiful Tikbalangs ever
    • Nico Antonio as part of Quiroga’s entourage
  • That Tikbalang ligaw scene  was the stuff dreams are made of
  • Indie Moneyshot: That scene where Tikbalang Angel Aquino hissed and intentionally shoved the crucifix away to get a candle from Rosario’s makeshift altar.
  • Hele’s boiled bananas is to Snow White’s magic apple
  • Indie Moneyshot 2: That scene where the Tikbalangs were making fun of the Colorum’s service
  • Awful sales pitch for the movie: Hele is when you take all the Sam and Frodo scenes in all LOTR films and multiply it by two.
How Not To Experience Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis

Binge-Watching Ideas For Long Weekends 2016

Binge-Watch Long Weekends Cover

Just in case you’re staying put at home and unsure what to watch, here are a few ideas that can help tide you through a long weekend:

Oh, and you can also check out last year’s list here.

 

1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Run-time: 630 mins (15 episodes so far)

The Gist: Watch the show’s intro theme below. It perfectly summarizes the story and the humor of the show.

Why you should watch this: There’s just so much to love in this show so I’ll name a few:

  • It’s a musical that parodies almost every single genre of music you know. From country singers weirdly singing about their daughters, to how French women make depression a sexy problem.
  • The show’s creator and star, Rachel Bloom is a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Best Actress award winner.
  • If you want some #PinoyPride fuel, Crazy Ex has two Filipino characters: the male lead, Josh Chan and his moral compass priest friend, Father Brah. Both characters are also played by Fil-Am actors Vince Rodriguez III and Rene Gube (of Ground Floor) respectively.
  • It’s a progressive show that tries to discuss mental health as well as bisexuality.

Highlights: Definitely the musical numbers. Settle For Me, I’m A Good Person and A Boy Band Made Up Of Four Joshes are my top picks. If you’re into #PinoyPride, watch the Filipino Thanksgiving episode wherein Rebecca cooks Dinuguan for Josh’s family.

 

2. The Carmichael Show

Run-time: 220 mins (10 episodes so far)

The Gist: Jerrod Carmichael and his girlfriend, Maxine contend with the meddling of Jerrod’s family in topics that cover gun control, religion and Bill Cosby

Why you should watch this: Behind the family sitcom presentation and the rapid-fire jokes, The Carmichael Show is pretty much a topical discussion of the biggest issues we face right now. Though it usually doesn’t give a concrete conclusion in the end of each episode, it does give you a full view of all the possible sides of a topic.

Highlights: Jerrod’s dad’s pop culture jokes and definitely the Bill Cosby episode (speaking of a full view without a definite conclusion).

3. Togetherness

Run-time: 286 mins (13 episodes so far)

The Gist: Togetherness tells the story of Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey), Brett’s childhood best friend Alex (Steve Zissis), and Michelle’s sister Tina (Amanda Peet).

Why you should watch this: Out of all the comedies that discuss the affluent and complex lives of Los Angelenos (You’re The Worst, Transparent, Love) Togetherness feels the earnest. There’s something with how the Duplass brothers piece together each scene to exude something so warm. Also, Alex and Brett probably has the best balanced bromance on TV aside from Dev and Arnold of Master of None.

Highlights: Season 01’s Kick The Can episode and  the awesome use of James Blake’s Wilhelm Scream in its finale.

 

4. Shake, Rattle and Roll Marathon

Run-time: roughly 1,170 mins (13 films from SRR3 to SRR15)

The Gist: The longest-running horror anthology that spooked the shit out of you when you were a kid is now available on HOOQ!

Why you should watch this: There was a time when Shake, Rattle and Roll was really good. Recent attempts in making it more family-friendly watered down its appeal. But hey, now you can watch the franchise’s progression from nightmare fuel to MMFF fodder.

Highlights: SRR III when the undin eats Ai-Ai Delas Alas’s whole body.

 

5. John Lloyd Romance Film Marathon

Run-time: roughly 630 mins (6 films namely Now That I Have You, Close To You, One More Chance, A Very Special Love, Miss You Like Crazy and My Amnesia Girl)

The Gist: In case you want to follow our John Lloyd Hypothesis, you can watch most of JLC’s films on HOOQ.

Why you should watch this: JLC’s arguably the biggest romance film guy we have. Most of us grew up idolizing him for being the sensitive, charming guy. But sadly, there’s something awfully wrong with his characters. Go through these films to see how JLC makes manipulative and emotionally dependent characters to compelling and sensitive dudes.

Highlights: Aside from One More Chance, My Amnesia Girl has the biggest grand gestures and the most emotionally dependent JLC character.

 

6. OTWOL Marathon

Well you can checkout our 10 OTWOL episodes for every OTWOL newbie if you want to relive the hit show.

Binge-Watching Ideas For Long Weekends 2016

The Streamline Podcast 008: 2015 Year In Review

Bea, Mon and Euge discuss the significant people, events and things in Philippine Pop Culture last 2015.

TV Show of ther Year

  • Master of None
  • On The Wings Of Love
  • Kalye Serye

Film of the Year

  • Heneral Luna
  • Inside Out
  • That Thing Called Tadhana
  • Star Wars Episode VII

OMG Event of The Year

  • Hasht5
  • Pulling out of the contraceptive budget
  • Metrohell – Carmageddon
  • Adele’s Comeback
  • Jon Snow’s death

Fail of the Year

  • It’s Showtime
  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Grace Poe’s Candidacy
  • Mockingjay part 2

Turnaround of the Year

  • Wally Bayola
  • Justin Bieber
  • Star Wars Episode VII
  • Gilas 3.0
  • Poy and Basha of A Second Chance

Character of the Year

  • Yaya Dub
  • Bingbong
  • Emo Kylo Ren
  • Heneral Antonio Luna
  • Finn X Poe

Person of the Year

  • Pia Wurtzbach
  • Alma Moreno
  • Pabebe Girls
  • Wally Bayola
  • Antonette Jadaone

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast either via soundcloud or iTunes and look up Lee Rosevere on fma.org!

 

The Streamline Podcast 008: 2015 Year In Review

The Streamline Podcast: Episode 007 Star Wars and MMFF 2015

The gang’s back to discuss their thoughts on Star Wars and the films of MMFF 2015 namely Honor Thy Father, My Bebe Love, All You Need Is Pag-ibig and Walang Forever.

Episode flow points:

Star Wars

  • Thoughts on Force Awakens
  • How it compares to the old films
  • The burning questions left by Force Awakens answered by Mon our resident Star Wars fan.
  • What we want to see in the next movies

 

MMFF 2015

  • Thoughts on Walang Forever and All You Need Is Pag-ibig
  • Thoughts on My Bebe Love
    • The pros and cons of the movie
  • Thoughts on Honor Thy Father
    • Elements that set it apart from the other MMFF movies
    • Some JLC fanboying/girling
    • Frustrations in Erik Matti films
    • Possible sequel or tie-in with On The Job

For our written coverage of MMFF:

 

Don’t forget to follow us on soundcloud!

And all the music used in the episode was from Lee Rosevere. You can find his other works here.

The Streamline Podcast: Episode 007 Star Wars and MMFF 2015

Thoughts On…Honor Thy Father and My Bebe Love

HTF MBL cover

For the second installment of our MMFF 2015 coverage, we watched two films that were often compared in social media, Honor Thy Father and My Bebe Love.

I’ll try to share my thoughts without spoiling the movies but, yeah, read at your own risk of getting spoiled.

HONOR THY FATHER

Honor Thy Father tells the story of Edgar (John Lloyd Cruz) trying to save his family from people who were duped to invest in his father-in-laws ponzi scheme.

  • Continues On The Job’s individual hero fighting against systemic issues theme
    • So many interesting visual cues throughout the film that highlighted its themes of “survival of the fittest” (i.e.  kids fighting for fried chicken, people jumping from a bridge to get stray money, etc.) and social stratification (i.e. Edgar watching a dog eat the scraps that he gave, Hummer vs. old truck, etc.)
    • “Tutusukin mo rin ba mga mata nila Papa?” SOOOO GOOD
  • It’s as depressing as On The Job
    • I felt the movie could have been soooooo much better if Kaye was given some form of redemption rather than being used as a plot device.
  • Yeshua’s an interesting interpretation of God’s name to use.
  • Interesting how all the other father figures aside from Edgar are either dead or incompetent
  • JOHN LLOYD CRUZ WAS DESTINED FOR INDIE MOVIES. STAR CINEMA Y U NO LET JOHN LLOYD ACT IN INDIE MOVIES????
  • After watching all the shit JLC had to do in this movie, I think he’s now the only actor who has the right to use the “Panoorin niyo po ang [pelikulang Y] ibang [actor X] ang makikita ninyo sa pelikulang ito” cliche promo
    • As much as I enjoyed Jericho’s performance in #Walang Forever, JLC should have won that Best Actor award. The guy displayed a wider acting range, and not to mention, LUMUSONG SIYA SA IMBURNAL. At partida, NANG WALANG ABS.
  • List of JLC’s Breadowns In Movies Ranked:
    1. A Second Chance’s “Can you love a failure” breakdown (painful for an egotistic man to get emasculated by his strong-willed wife)
    2. Honor Thy Father ending breakdown (a breakdown of a man trying to fight his futility)
    3. One More Chance’s “You had me at my best” breakdown (probably taught millions of male Filipino teenagers that it’s okay to cry [as long as it’s in the name of love])
    4. The Mistress’s “Ibang lalake kasama mo” breakdown (Had a good mix of anger and frustration)
    5. It Takes A Man And A Woman breakdown (had that feeling of a boy trying to look for emotional refuge when no one was available)
  • I would have loved some more backstory on Yayo Aguila’s family. It was interesting how an upper-class family was duped into a ponzi scheme
  • Masterful sound design in the bank scene.

 

MY BEBE LOVE

It’s a straight-up romcom about two couples (Vic-Ai-Ai and Maine-Alden). Nothing much to say besides that.

  • It’s not as bad as what the people in the internet say it is (I’m not even sure if they even watched it)
    • Based on the reaction of the crowd, there’s still a market for this kind of comedy movie
    • I can see an occasion when I’d be happy enough to watch this movie.
  • It was way longer than I expected (was expecting around 1hr 30mins a standard for romcoms, but this movie stretched to almost two full hours)
  • Why was Ai-Ai angry throughout the movie????
  • My Bebe Love is a movie about shoutouts
    • What’s cringeworthy in the film was blatant advertisement of brands. I do believe they earned so much from Kalye Serye (the no-commercial Tamang Panahon event) that they need not to have this much sponsors on-screen. I mean, I’ve watched Enteng Kabisote movies way back when and they didn’t have this much sponsors.
    • Here’s the list of all the sponsors we counted (22):
      1. Ber Brand Adult Plus
      2. Google (Google Search, Maps, YouTube)
      3. O+
      4. San Miguel (Pale Pilsen and Light)
      5. Glutamax
      6. Phoenix
      7. Ayala Country Club
      8. Sir George’s Bindo’s Best Print Shop
      9. Tide
      10. Goldilocks
      11. McDonald’s
      12. Talk N Text
      13. Solmux
      14. Kuse
      15. PLDT Home
      16. B Hotel
      17. Gumatay Hardware
      18. Coke
      19. Rebsico
      20. The brand that Vic and Alden wore throughout the film
      21. One Esplanade
      22. Posh Nails
    • Cameos by Eat Bulaga and other artistas
      • Lilia Cuntapay
      • Jose Manalo
      • Paolo Ballesteros
      • Ryan Yllana
      • Ryzza Mae Dizon
      • Pauleen Luna
      • Mikael Daez
      • Aegis
      • Wally Bayola (as Lola Nidora)
  • What is the definition of a family movie nowadays? This movie overtly talked about impotence and sex. Of course they used euphemisms, but still overt nonetheless.
  • I understand the development of Vic and Ai-Ai’s relationship; Maine and Alden’s, not so much
    • Justified na ba dahil love at first sight?
    • Maine and Alden could have been more effective if their characters were written better (plus pa sana sa #AlDubNation)
  • With his silent off-screen persona, I can totally see Vic Sotto as a jigsaw puzzle type of guy
  • Just echoing what Maine on twitter said: “bakit ako?”
    • Objectively speaking, I love her work on Kalye Serye and in her commercials but you can clearly see that she still needs more experience in playing a scripted character. Do I blame her? No, not at all.
    • Do I blame MMFF for giving her the Best Supporting Actress award compared to heavyweights who were more efficient in their respective movies such as Kim Molina and Nova Villa, definitely yes.
    • Don’t hate on Maine, she did what she could using her yet-honed movie talent and a so-so script. Hate on MMFF for pushing her to that pedestal of Best Supporting Actress. Kahit siya di niya nga alam kung bakit. She can win Best Support Actress or Best Actress in two or three years time, but winning it immediately with less than a year’s experience? MMFF, that’s overextending stuff.

 


 

Watch out for our full discussion on MMFF 2015 in our upcoming podcast!

Thoughts On…Honor Thy Father and My Bebe Love

A Spoiler-Free “A Second Chance” Review

A SECOND CHANCE REVIEW

I was 18 when I watched One More Chance for the first time. Back then, I wasn’t too familiar with John Lloyd and Bea’s work. I only knew them as an in-demand love team who already had some serious teleserye experience.  What drew me to the movie was how hard-hitting its trailer was. Who wouldn’t be moved by a crying John Lloyd and a crying Bea throwing down the realest lines about love? Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. One day, my blockmates and I decided to watch it after discussing our impressions of the trailer and that more and more people were recommending the movie. So after a psychology class on a Tuesday (or Thursday?) afternoon we drove to Eastwood to catch the 4-ish showing of the movie.

It wasn’t as dramatic as the trailer would have liked us to believe. Sure it had heavy moments, but it was balanced out by some form of humor (i.e. a jeep blaring Jeremiah’s Nanghihinayang, or Janus Del Prado committing suicide via overdose of shampoo). The sawi lines were just as poignant as the first time I’ve heard them in the trailer. It was also my first time to experience John Lloyd’s acting. It was natural, effortless but deeply affecting. I left the theater having this mix of emotional fatigue and excitement that I’ve never felt before in a Filipino movie. One More Chance not only converted me into a John Lloyd fan, but also a believer in Filipino cinema. It made me hopeful that Filipino cinema was more than the Enteng Kabisotes and Tanging Inas in MMFFs.

(My track record of Filipino films watched in a theater wasn’t stellar at that time. Aside from the MMFF films, the other two Filipino movies were Jolina-Marvin’s Hey Babe! and Dolphy’s Tatay Nick)

Jump to eight years after, at 26, I’d like to think I’m smarter but also almost a hundred pounds heavier. I chose to leave my market research job of five years to blog and podcast about Filipino pop culture because I wanted to do something I’m passionate about. So here I am writing my thoughts on One More Chance‘s sequel.

I was skeptical when Star Cinema first announced that a sequel to One More Chance was in production. Why now? It felt odd that Star Cinema suddenly took interest in creating a sequel to an eight year old film. Since sequels are a big thing in Hollywood, and Star Cinema knew about the film’s cultural impact, I was afraid that the sequel was just a cash grab. So even though I was excited enough to catch the first showing of its first day (by my lonesome), I still expected the worst.

If you’re coming in expecting A Second Chance to be an updated version of the original with bigger one-liners and grander romantic gestures, you’ll be disappointed. Cathy Garcia-Molina and the writers knew they needed to do something different. Something that hasn’t been done successfully in mainstream Filipino cinema, just like what the first film did eight years ago. And I’m happy that they took these risks because it made A Second Chance such an affecting and effective film.

At its core, A Second Chance was developed with the millennial audience of One More Chance in mind. The same teenagers and yuppies who watched the movie eight years ago. They knew that these people have grown up and moved on with their lives. In those eight years, these people could have graduated from school, have gotten a job, have gotten married or even have kids. The audience is much smarter and wiser than they were before. Hence, telling a straightforward rosy love story would’t cut it.  If the second movie wanted to reach the same impact the first movie had with the same audience, it must reflect the audience’s current experiences.

That’s why  I found it smart of them to have the sequel also happen eight years after the original film. Now at their late 20s or early 30s, romantic love was the least of Popoy and Basha’s problems. They’re fights mostly stem from managing finances, career issues and even their Meralco bill. These things aren’t the sexiest of problems but it doubles down on the movie’s realness. It’s a definite way to tell the audience, “Hey, the characters you’ve known and loved also grew along with you and they have the same problems as you.”

Not only were the problems in the movie more complex but the storytelling was also layered; something that a few mainstream Filipino movies have attempted to do. Because of this, the movie may seem flat or straightforward if you only take it at face value. It tries its best to provide you memeable one-liners but felt off in this kind of mature story. The movie works best when you try and notice the finer visual and dialogue details that can add to the audience’s understanding of Popoy and Basha’s marriage (i.e. Basha’s deteriorating phone, Popoy’s insistence to do his calamity-proof project)

Finally, what made ASC such an affecting movie for me was its decision to tackle opportunities and choices. It’s an appropriate theme to tackle especially when you have a millennial audience. How comfortable are we with the choices we make in life? Popoy and Basha took a risk when they got back together. Poy took a risk when he stayed in the Philippines instead of pursuing his career in Europe. They both made a choice when they got married. Both took a risk when they opened their own construction firm. We’re all confident of our life choices during the moments when we make them. But several years down the line, when reality already hits you and you’re life’s not as ideal as how you envisioned it. Or when you see other people who took risks fared better than you. Would you still be comfortable with your decisions?

OTHER THOUGHTS AND NOTES:

  • Apparently Popoy is a nickname and Basha’s a firstname
  • ASC continues JLC’s streak as an awful employer
  • Blatant in-movie product placements: 2 (medicine and crackers)
  • Note the gender dynamics between Popoy and Basha
  • I’m happy that the JLC Hypothesis didn’t happen in this movie. I’d be pretty pissed if it still happened after Basha’s emergence
  • I’m all-in for a Thursday Barkada TV series on their college days in UST. I’d like to see how Krizzy (Dimples Romana) and Kenneth (James Blanco) formed their strong relationship or what made Anj (Bea Saw) such a bitter pragmatist.
    • Bea Saw was on point in being Katherine Heigl! Star Cinema, please develop Anj’s story into a romcom.
  • Bea Alonzo had this “too tired to care” face throughout the movie. It was reminiscent of Shiri Appleby’s FTS face in UnREAL.
  • I’m not happy with the surprise star they chose to play Pedro.

 

 

A Spoiler-Free “A Second Chance” Review