Sci-fi isn’t really my cup of tea, I admit. I rarely watch sci-fi films or dramas, and even though I subscribe to the belief that we are not alone in the universe, I’m not easily lured into watching alien-related stuff. I did pick up Glitch, however, because I liked both lead actresses Jeon Yeobeen and Nana’s works I’ve recently watched (Vincenzo and Into the Ring, respectively), and I was curious about how they’d play off of each other’s energies.
But while they delivered chemistry in spades (you should have made it gay, Netflix, just saying!), the storytelling was a clunky mess.
Okay, listen: I am instantly drawn to anything that presents stories of life and death, especially ones that create worlds and hypotheses about the afterlife. Tomorrow fits the bill, and I quickly put it on my Netflix watch list even if it took me months to actually be in the right headspace to consume it.
Honestly, anything KDrama and KPop would be a huge draw for me, and Flip The Script looked like a promising queer romance between two young KDrama actresses who were supposed to be rivals in a TV show. What’s not to get excited about?
Reading Kaith C. Cimafranca’s Take Two reminded me of those cozy Star Cinema rom-coms in the 90s where stakes weren’t as high, but you still root for the main characters really hard. In Take Two, now-Canadian resident VJ meets her TOTGA (she will deny this if you call him that, btw) at a party 19 years after she left the Philippines to start anew. Marco instantly feels how aloof VJ is, but he doesn’t seem to mind, and we understand this little dynamic of theirs as the story brings us back and forth from their college years to the present.
The drama’s premise was promising. I admit it got me hooked the first time I read it, and I was expecting a lot of Squad 38-esque hijinks, led once again by the brilliant Seo Inguk. But alas, everything turned out to be a hot mess from the third episode on. I came in for Inguk and stayed for Inguk, but honestly if I weren’t watch partying this with anyone, I would have dropped this very early on. (Thanks for keeping me company, Jay.)
Thoroughly enjoyed this drama through its light and tender moments to the ones that made me hold my breath because oh-my-god-I-cannot-believe-this-is-happening-right-now. I don’t have the authority to speak on the autism representation in this drama, but I will say I appreciate that there were more people in Woo Youngwoo’s circle who were supportive and understanding of her situation. This is in comparison to the KDrama Good Doctor (2013), which featured the trials and triumphs of an autistic pediatrician new to the medical field. I had rewatched Good Doctor while waiting for the new Extraordinary Attorney Woo episodes to drop, and it meant so much to me that Youngwoo wasn’t surrounded by too many people whose first instinct is to yell at her for being different. This is not to say we didn’t meet characters like this, but compared to Good Doctor’s Park Sion, Youngwoo had better people on her side.
I’ve been noticing how iWant has been producing new and original streaming content for the past year, but it’s only this year I’ve actually tried watching them because Bagman was really good. I’ve yet to try John en Martian too, but last week, I was able to watch their latest offering, MOMOL Nights, which starred Kim Molina and Kit Thompson.
(Be warned: The following review contains spoilers. Scroll down at your own risk.)
iWant didn’t have to work hard to sell me this because 1) I adore Kim, and; 2) the trailer had rom-com beats, which I really liked. <3 Did I want to watch it? HELL YES. But was it a romance? That remained to be seen.
In case you’re wondering why the second question was important, here’s a quick explanation: As a romance author, I am very particular about certain media (books, movies, etc) being branded as a romance when they are very clearly not. Romancelandia’s rule is simple: If it doesn’t have a happy ending, it’s NOT romance.
So is MOMOL Nights a romance? Yes. And here are some things I liked about it:
Our leading lady, Peng. I’m just gonna go straight to the point: I love Peng. The way she was written and portrayed just worked for me. You can totally imagine having a friend like Peng—lovable and honest, still reeling from a recent heartbreak but willing to open herself up again for love. Or just sex. Kim Molina has always impressed me with her acting chops, and she didn’t disappoint me here. If it were another actress playing Peng, I’m not sure she would have come off as awkwardly cute…which was one of the things Marco (Kit Thompson) loved about her.
It’s sex positive. In the year of our Lord 2019, a lot of people still frown upon casual sex like it’s something to be ashamed of. And it’s REALLY not. (I’m saying this with exceptions, though, because if you’re married or in an exclusive relationship and you’re still enjoying casual sex with someone else, you’re just downright trash.) Just like it says in the movie, “Sex is not dirty. It’s being human.” I like that MOMOL Nights was able to show a woman being comfortable with her sexuality and just going for what she wants without feeling guilty about it. (Although there were casual hints of slutshaming from her friends, which confused me a bit because hey, looking for someone to MOMOL was their idea.)
It promotes safe sex! It’s only a small fraction of the entire movie, but I appreciated that the screenwriter/s put it there. Practice safe sex, kids.
The MOMOL rules. There are a LOT, but one of my favorites is, essentially, Do not hook up with someone who’s spoken for. Simple, but ethical. I’m all for fulfilling a basic need, but not at the expense of someone else, please.
And now for the things that didn’t quite work for me:
Our leading man, Marco. He’s easy on the eyes, yes. And I agreed with Peng when she said when Marco speaks, everything sounds so nice. But I felt Kit Thompson was underutilized in this movie, which resulted to an underdeveloped character. Him talking about his personal loss didn’t quite do it for me. I wanted to see him do more—for and with Peng—so that the ending feels well earned.
Peng’s friends. I liked them in the beginning, when they were supportive of Peng’s forays into MOMOLand (oops, my fingers slipped). But somewhere in the middle, I found them quite mean, which confused me because they knew Peng and her tendency to look for something more than sex. Why then, would they berate her for having feelings toward the guy she hooked up with? They could have talked her out of it in a more…encouraging way, I think, not in a way that dismissed her feelings.
Consent, or the lack thereof. Okay, listen. Just because someone agrees to have sex with you doesn’t mean they’ve given you explicit consent to take photos of them while sleeping. Just. No. Ever heard of those pick-up artists who have sex with random women and take photos and videos with them while having sex and after sex? Disgusting, right? I had that icky feeling when both Peng and Marco were shown taken pictures of their sleeping partners. Please, people. Don’t do that.
AJ doesn’t know the name of the girl she last had a one-night stand with, but damn if the Universe wasn’t a prankster, bringing Jackie back into her life and throwing in AJ’s ex-boyfriend in the mix, too.
Isabel, a CEO-in-training and heiress to a cosmetics company, needs to hire an assistant, stat. What happens when the eligible applicant in front of her is the same man she was in bed with the night before?
MMA fighter Niccolo and snarky feminist Rose have nothing in common. Save maybe for that insanely hot night in Vegas.
All of the book recommendations may also be found on romanceclassbooks.com and are available for purchase in print during our events and straight from the authors. For questions on any of the books, feel free to leave a comment below.
Curtains have opened once again for one of my favorite Filipino musicals, Mula sa Buwan, and I AM ECSTATIC! I always thought it was a shame the runs for this show were extremely short, so I’m really happy they’re producing a total of sixteen shows now (well, down to twelve now, because they’ve already opened last Friday). I caught yesterday’s 3PM show, and here’s a list of notable things I loved in this rerun:
As Rak of Aegis enjoyed a couple of successful runs, Sa Wakas returned with a vengeance and Ako si Josephine had its initial run. It kept me wondering how much longer I had to wait till someone picked up The Eraserheads’ rich discography and turned it into a blockbuster of a musical.
Not for long, said the universe.
Because in January 2018, posters asking “Kamukha mo ba si Paraluman?” and “Magaling ka bang sumayaw, mapa-boogie man o cha-cha?” (with a font and color scheme mimicking The Eraserheads’ first album cover) littered my Facebook feed, and in millennial-speak, FAM, I WAS SHOOKETH. I messaged my theatre-going buddies and in a few minutes decided we would buy tickets immediately when they started selling. (We did wait a few weeks in reality, because funds. Tickets at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater ain’t cheap, fam.)
And finally — last night, my high school barkada and I went on a trip down memory lane, together with Hector, Emman, Anthony, and Joy. And the music that was the soundtrack to many of our high school ups and downs.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Soon after Blackbox Productions’ Mula sa Buwan returned for a two-weekend run last February 18, I saw social media posts comparing the musical to the recently-released Jollibee “Vow” ad. But while the trope was definitely similar, the Cyrano de Bergerac retelling was SO much more than that. (In millenial-speak, it was simply SO EXTRA.)
This December 2016 review of Mula sa Buwan will tell you just how much I loved the show when I first saw it, and just when I thought I couldn’t possibly fall in love with it a little more, they went ahead and proved me wrong. I love it when that happens.