Saturday, January 16, 2010

Missing Tiudypie

God, I miss her so much.

How I ache for those times I should've, could've been with her. But wasn't. Because of what? What what what?

How I wish I could've listened to her more, tried more -- to understand why she did the things she did. Why she loved too much even though it hurt her.

(our pic taken at her house, back in college)

I want to be with her for one last time. Just make up for lost time.

But Lord, God, you have your ways. And I cannot question that.

How is she Lord? Is she okay, is she happy? Does she watch over us? Can you tell her I'm sorry? Can you tell her I still love her, never stopped loving her and knowing she's the best friend in the world?

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Today my best friend died. And I know nothing will ever be the same again.

My heart is aching and breaking. She left this world too soon.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Falling for the Zohan

When You Don't Mess with the Zohan premiered last 2008, comedy fans and escapists like me trooped to the cinema and almost fell off our chairs laughing. Ironic and improbable as it was, Zohan (played by Adam Sandler) is a tough Israeli Commander who fakes his death to pursue his dream of becoming a hair-stylist in New York.

Still, I always felt guilty behind my laughter because I didn't agree with the overall politics of the film. Looking at it in a critical way, given the history of the Middle East and America, Zohan was created to distantiate the American citizen from his fear of stereotypi
cal, dark-haired, bearded and terrorist Middle Eastern man. Zohan might have been an anti-terrorist go-to-guy, but he never thought twice in employing violent tactics to get ahead of his enemies. Worse, Zohan is reduced to dreaming the American dream. And this is the country that has decades of history of warfare and injustice against the Middle East, reasoning that it's counter-terrorism. In the end, the film producers conceal the truth and naturalize the wars and racism in the form of an amusing and hilarious comedy film.

But film texts and politics aside, a recent experience made me remember Zohan, the straight, sex machine hair-stylist, whose got hundreds of older women lining up for a hair cut and more. The sex part was an exaggeration and green humor device I suppose. But I guess the logic was that these women loved Zohan because here's a guy who knew how to make a woman not only look beautiful, but also feel beautiful.

Last weekend, I think I might have found my Zohan. :-)
Fate led me to a an upper-class type parlor is Metropolis, Ortigas. My Zohan (for the purposes of this article, I'll call him this way) was sporting a tight collared shirt, a hairstyle too funky and hip to be a straight guy's. A leather bag full of scissors and hairstyling what-not strapped to his bulging chest, my Zohan cleared his throat and smiled as the receptionist introduced us. My Zohan was too masculine to be gay!

There was no seductive, sizzling shampooing experience. But it was just sexy the way he said, "Ako bahala"("Leave it to me") to my "Uhm, I have no idea what to do with my hair".

Smooth and silky-- this was Zohan's motto, in the film that is.

And that is what my Zohan exactly did. He dyed my hair light brown, fit to my fair skin, he said. Then softened the the bristles and tassles with a good old warm hot oil treatment. But the best part was, the cutting of hair!

He was in control, concentrating on the task at hand. He cut, then gazed at me, lifted a pile of hair, stared then cut again. But always, always, glancing at me with an abrupt gaze. And I just knew this guy, My Zohan, is a sensitive woman's man, who knew important it was for a girl to feel beautiful. Forget those guys who laughed and hissed at their girlfriend's 30-minute powder room break! Who didn't give a damn if it's a light blue chiffon dress or a silky red ensemble. Or didn't even notice his girl's got a new hair style. Here is a guy who finally understood.

When he applied his finishing touches and unhooked the white gown, I had to stop myself from demanding more, "Pakiiklian pa nga!" I was devastated it had to end. And I knew all there was left to do was give him a hearty tip and the sweetest smile I could muster.

And now I just can't wait for my hair to grow back and find another reason to visit my Zohan for another beauty session.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Love You, Goodbye

First things first. Let me clarify that this is not a movie review.

This is what I have resolved not to write once I stepped out of the movie house, with my face furrowed with a mixture of disdain and disbelief. Besides, it's not even an hour's worth of writing!

But you are now, you say.

Again, this is not a review. I write this on behalf of my responsibility as an intelligent viewer and a graduate of Filmmaking in U.P. Diliman. I do this because I’m a concerned citizen.

Sure, just like everyone else who paid the expensive tickets, I was deceived that the film, though in its obvious commercial/mainstream value, still has a great story to tell. I also felt it was interesting to see how Angelica Panganiban's thespian skills have evolved since Santa Santita. And yeah, it didn't hurt Derek Ramsey is such a catch!

In the film, Angelica Panganiban is Leizl, a coffee shop barista living in with Dr. Adrian (played by Gabby Concepcion). Adrian is a rich man, soon to be divorced to his ex-wife, played by Angel Aquino.

Early on in the film, the all-too-familiar theme of economic status difference is revealed. Adrian's mom is the quintessential matriarch, who thinks poor Leizl is just after her son's money. Boohoo. Leizl appears to carry on, believing that Adrian's love is enough, even as Adrian's daughter Issa (Kim Chiu) apparently loathe her and did not waste any screen time to show her predictable bratty, attention-hungry portrayal.

But hang on, viewer! This is not the story altogether. Surely, there's a twist. And sweet and obedient as Leizl is (like a puppy on her sugar daddy's lap!), a poor girl like her certainly has ghosts in her closet. In a long, seemingly unending, distasteful flashback, we find out that two years ago, Leizl was madly in love with Gary (played by real-life boyfriend Derek Ramsay), a struggling, lower-class and blue-collared worker like her. They were happy and had the grandest plans for a bright future ahead. In a few days, they were off to work in a cruise ship, to earn lots of moolah. Only one test to go and they were off. Unfortunately, Leizl wasn’t able to jump off the boat out of an anxiety attack. Gary is furious and leaves for the cruise ship, without even saying goodbye. This left poor Leizl heart-broken and lonely.

Without even attempting to heal on her own, Leizl finds solace in the arms of Adrian, who, coincidentally is the doctor who treated her for her anxiety attack (note that Adrian was a heart surgeon in the film. To the writers, did you actually do some research?).

When Gary comes back to the Philippines for Leizl, our protagonist is torn between him and Adrian. It is in these parts that I find Leizl's characterization offensive. At first, she was seemingly loyal to Adrian. But when Adrian became aloof and cold-hearted to her one day, Leizl was quick to jump ship and have sex with her ex. When both men propose marriage to her, Leizl chooses Gary over Adrian.

I Love You Goodbye is portraying a Filipina heroine as someone who is subordinate to men, and relies her happiness and identity to men. Shown as weak, fickle and impulsive, Leizl is an object that men compete for. They brandish their shiny cars, riches and diamond rings to win the woman's affection and eventually, love. And yes, a woman's woes and aches can be erased when the church bells ring and a man finally marries her.

When Gary doesn't show up at their meeting place to elope, Leizl is again a mess. But, well, there's a guy waiting for me at home, Leizl thinks. I might as well marry this guy.

Just as the film was about to end with Leizl's conlusion to marry her "second choice, it is revealed that Gary died on his way to meet Leizl. And Adrian was the informant who reported his death. I guess this is the part they say the film resembled Unfaithful. Leizl confronts Adrian, who confesses that he knew for some time about Leizl's affair. That in his jealousy, he confronted Gary to walk away and leave him and his future bride alone. But in an illogical, hilarious and contrived twist of fate, Gary is ran over by a speeding car.

And for the final blow of it all, I Love You Goodbye concludes with a happy ending. A utopian world, that might as well have been a scene in twilight zone, where all is forgiven and forgotten.

And love simply conquered all, smoothing out the edges, erasing all the evil in the world.

The characters can smile all they want, but it cannot fool me and the rest of the moviegoers. Again, Star Cinema shows us how their cowardice in telling genuine stories and reflecting the realities of life.

Instead, their example and the rest of the rotten films of MMFF 2010 are constant insults to the great films produced in MMFF in the past. Remember Mike de Leon’s “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising” (1977) and “Kisapmata” (1981), Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala” (1982), Lino Brocka’s “Ina Ka Ng Anak Mo” (1979), and Chito Roño’s “Dekada ’70” (2002).

Wake up, movie big wigs! It's time to put your money and influence to good use. Revive Philippine Cinema's golden era now!