Friday, December 23, 2005

Eh-hum # 79

(December 23, Friday) Nag-text si Lin...bakit kaya?

I thought it was an emergency...thank God it wasn't (and It was the first time I laughed while using the office phone...which, by the way, is not something you should do on a daily basis); she was just asking my "permission" to watch King Kong...alone. While at the mall, I've also asked her to do some last minute christmas shopping...for the 'rents. In doing so, I ran the risk of telling her where my secret stash of cash is (since she put me on speaker phone, my brother heard it as well; I can now picture him drawing a map leading to the "hidden treasure").

Sure, I said, afterall, me being busy at work and the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), this the last chance she could watch the mega ape movie remake by Peter Jackson. Perhaps I could catch the movie at HBO in say...two years time. Eh-hum. Speaking of movies, I was again suppose to write something down on Hayao Miyazaki, however, since I already mentioned the MMFF, might as well say something about that and my thoughts on Pinoy flicks and stars in general.

The last pinoy movie I watched was Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, which I watched with my brother. I found the movie bittersweet, compelling and funny...and most importantly, original. Moreover, this movie showed what correct casting can do for a film and potential (and existing) movie stars. An example would be Ping Medina, who I would say is the anti-Pinoy mainstream star. Just in case you have been sleeping under a rock, Pinoy TV shows and movies have been dominated by mestizos and mestizas; you can rarely see a tanned actor or actress taking the lead. In this case, Nora Aunor is an exception, whose physical attributes is the opposite of the luminous screen idols during the Sampaguita days.

Well, its one thing to be a mestizo, how about acting wise? Unfortunately, I have observed that its okay that you will ultimately burst a vein while trying to convey a simple emotion, just as long as you are pretty (the term is actually applicable to both girls and boys). Packaging is important, talent can be a bonus. Today's teenage stars are dominantly tisoys and tisays, having at least a kolehiyala accent (much better if they came from abroad, with a Western pedigree to boot) and must belong to a loveteam. Going back to Mr. Medina, perhaps he can proved that one needs not have chestnut brown hair, rosy white complexion and a loveteam partner to make it big in the Pinoy entertainment scene. Of course, that is not to say that he does not have a certain appeal. Like his father (remarkable and yet underrated veteran actor Pen Medina), he has that "something"...whatever it is, I cannot explain it in words. Basta.

Aside from hiring them for their looks, the trend of becoming an artista via reality shows is I think a poor way of choosing future stars. I prefer the old fashion way: study the craft and hone your skills in either the stage or the rising Pinoy indie industry. I think reality shows does not bring out their real capabilities (or lack thereof) in acting/singing since text voting by (future) fans is such a huge percentage. Plus, the tasks given are more like dares. Another concern are the movies themselves. Some of the plots are ripoffs from Western/American films (my example would be that movie with Maricel Soriano and Cesar Montano with a plot similar to True Lies). Did I need mention my disdain for the fantaserye Encantadia which copied sacred elements from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillon? It is increasingly evident that the storylines and dialogues are inferior to the special effects (like Exodus starring Sen. Revilla). It is unfortunate that some plots are already overused that one can actually predict how a movie or a tv show will end. MMFF is more of a popularity race that an exhibition of quality films. Hello, floats with their stars waving, throwing out goodies to the public. A few years back, I remember this film about AIDS who entered the MMFF who had no float and was not given much attention. Gimme a break, they should rename the MMFF as a Family Movie Festival...since movies on realistic themes such as AIDS have no place.

Why does this bother me? It somehow reflects that type of society that we have here; one which values what is pleasing to the eyes and caters to our mostly quixotic sides. Moreover, the industry has given emphasis on movies that would rake in a lot of money by hiring pretty but untalented actors and loveteams. And please, don't get me started on those sexy stars. What could save this? How about smart moviegoers/consumers and the Pinoy indie scene. When we watched Ang Pagdadalaga, less than half of the cinema was filled. For it to get noticed, the movie needed to receive awards abroad. With movies like these being ignored, one should not be surprised why I would rather watch King Kong.

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