Thursday, September 22, 2005

Grim Brothers Grimm

What to bring to enjoy The Brothers Grimm:

1. P120.00
2. Mile-long patience
3. Generous supply of sense of humor
4. Zero knowledge on who the real Brothers Grimm were
5. Empty bladder
6. Happy three friends

Now on with the critique:

I did not enter SM Megamall’s Cinema 3 empty handed (if you want to be literal, empty headed). Some time ago, my friend, Nikka, lent me an old copy of the National Geographics Magazine featuring the Brothers Grimm. Since this happened “some time ago” the data in my memory have already started to rust. However, this is what I was able to retain: Jacob and Will were not the only Brothers Grimm. While they were the ones who wrote the tales, their other brother (I’m not sure if it’s “brothers”) did the illustrations for their stories. Unlike in the movie where they hired non-Grimm acting cons, the Grimm business was more family-run in real life. I do not remember reading that they were fraudulent supernatural element slayers. And I never got the impression that the brothers were capable of displaying dumbness in public, even dumbness relative to their time. They may be eccentric--after all coming up with fairytales requires a major thinking out of the box--but eccentricity is nowhere near dumbness. I could not imagine a Grimm saying nonsense because of alcohol intoxication, or snuggling with two women at once, or being dragged in the cobblestone streets of Germany in his sleepwear in the middle of the night. It was really lame sacrificing the brothers’ dignity in pursuit of comedy. I really hope that the producers of the movie have good relations with the Grimm family because the way I see it, they’d have a lot of explaining to do. And if I myself am a Grimm, it would take more than explanations to appease me from the commercial blasphemy done to my ancestors.

I’ve expressed many times my lack of fondness towards Matt Damon. Not that he’s a bad actor, in fact he’s good. I just don’t like his face. Fortunately in this movie, he did not look like his usual self so I would have forgotten that it was him had it not for his Stuck On You (his kambal-tuko movie with Greg Kinnear) acting. (Does he have to do this every time he plays someone else’s brother?) On the other hand, Heath Ledger with his macho voice, accent included, was not his gorgeous self. One, he looked like a balding Eric Quizon, and no woman today thinks Eric Quizon is sexy--maybe some man will but not a woman. And two, he sways too much. If I did not know it was him, I’d think it really was Eric Quizon!

To be fair (This is my attempt to substitute “in fairness.”), I have to say that the movie had its funny points. Unfortunately the lines that were supposed to be funny did not work on the audience that night. The way the majority of the audience reacted (or did not react) to the punch lines was quite disappointing. I had to restrain myself from blurting out loud, “Hey, come on you guys! Matt and Heath are really trying hard here; you could at least laugh! Words can be funny too, even better than slaps.”

The Brothers Grimm would have been full of climaxes had it not for the rising actions falling before even reaching their peaks. Fifteen minutes after the movie begins, a viewer will start searching for an “umph”--something the movie came short of. Bladders can be an accurate “umph” gauge. I, for example, despise visiting the loo in between a movie, this is regardless of how filled my bladder is. But in the case of The Brothers Grimm, nothing kept me still on my seat. No element made me forget my need to pee. And when I did excuse myself for a while, I did not miss anything. It was as if time stopped and the characters’ lives paused, thus nothing big or small happened to them the whole time I was gone.

Not even the movie’s being post modern would justify its constipated climaxes. Angelica (Lean Headly), although pretty, tried hard to project that there was something special about her. She did not enjoy the grandness of her character because by the time her importance in the movie was revealed, she had already lost consciousness (I wonder if it was due to boredom). The same movement was adopted by the film’s other supposedly good points.

Yes the film had visual effects--some great, some too obvious--but hey, we see visual effects everyday! Think telefantasia. Special effects nowadays are just as present and just as important as costumes. If they’re executed well, we say, “wow!” But visual effects no longer work as the major source of “umph.” Visual spectacle ceased being so after Steven Spielberg made three movies starring computer generated images of dinosaurs.

The movies worst aspect can be summed up by this expression which I have to borrow from my officemate, “Them Americans!” I got the feeling that the makers of this film did not care much about the treatment of their characters because they were not Americans. The Germans ended up looking like dugyutin gullible citizens while the French were portrayed as psychotic barbarians. I don’t know what to make of the Germans since they were really oppressed during the Brothers’ time. Their poverty may have resulted in lack of proper hygiene and illiteracy. But then the French could have been barbaric without being psychotic. Just look at Imelda Marcos. She was once barbaric, looting millions of Filipinos billions of dollars, but since in her realm, she never did anything wrong, she managed to project that she was not at all psychotic.

Another “them Americans” moment: You will see that as the movie progresses, it was Heath Ledger’s character that was the more appropriate love interest for Angelica. Of course Matt Damon had to go between them. Probably to entertain myself, I whispered to my friend, “Uy, Dubai! (Aga-Claudine-John Loyd triangle)” Ledger was even the one who administered the kiss the reversed Angelica’s death. But Angelica kissed back Damon instead. Was it because Damon is an American and Ledger is an Australian? Let’s ask the producers who decided to change their minds in the end. Probably to neutralize the Americans-get-the-girl-in-the-end tension, Angelica kisses both Damon and Ledger. I think it was both on the lips which makes it, not redeeming but utterly gross.

What now is the movie’s redeeming value? Of course, they’re the fairytale elements embedded in every sequence. Identifying them feels like answering Alex Quebec’s questions for a hundred or so. And finally, although this has nothing to do with the film, watching the Brothers Grimm would not have been a worthwhile activity if it were not for my three friends to whom I owe this piece: Kistna, Joy and Arjane. The end.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rare Moments

It is but rare for me to show up on time for my personal, no-business-involved engagements. Last Saturday was one of those moments. I arrived before my friend did at the place where we were set to meet. Then we proceeded on meeting the rest of our friends in which case we came late because we were sidetracked along the way.

The attendance of my friends at our get-together last weekend is pretty much encouraging--seven out of thirteen. More than half made it despite the lack of careful planning and a clear list of our day’s activities. And no one was in a real hurry to leave that I got to spent more than 12 hours with them--something I haven’t done in a long time.

The weather had the most amazing behavior last weekend. You see, the weather almost always threatens my scheduled volt-in with my friends. It must have given up because however bad weather forecasts go, we choose not to mind them anyway.

This reminds me of another set of rare moments. It was rainy in this rare moment but I went on with my spontaneous outing with my berx (yes, that’s what we call ourselves). Despite months, even years, of living in Los Baños, I never got to go on an exclusively-for-berx swim at any of Los Baños’ resorts. Then came that rare day in July when Leng, Joan, and I splashed and screamed in a Los Baños pool. I swear; if you’re stressed out, go for a swim, preferably one with slides--the longer, the better. Forget poise. Push kids aside. Let your ass glide. Scream! The key is letting out your most unpretentious scream. Stress is gone in seconds.

More on that day in July. After the swim, a change in venue was needed in order to regroup with more berx. By this time Kate joined us three and we headed off to Pacita, San Pedro, Laguna via a fully packed jeepney speeding through South Super highway at 8 o’ clock p.m. If you think that is scary, wait till you read this.

We, four travelers, have no idea when to get off the jeepney. Arjane, another berk and native of Pacita told us to meet her at Mc Donald's. (Note to everyone: Food chains and convenient stores do not make good landmarks.) Like the four wise men, we looked at the heavens for that big M sign. Leng and I saw one so we got off, only to find out that such M stands for Mc Donald's Biñan. Ooops, wrong Branch! Up to the jeepney again. Apparently traffic is not exclusive to EDSA. Even the small streets of Biñan (or San Pedro?) have their share of congested paths. And it was as action-packed.

A guy passed by and almost got hit by the red pick-up at the tail of our jeepney. Must be a marathon athlete, I thought. Then came another man, just as fast but was carrying a bag. My heart started to bang. And bang it went--not my heart but a gun. My inference was confirmed because a few seconds later a man carrying a gun appeared and stood directly opposite our jeepney. He fired another shot. Had he lowered the angle of his arm, I would have seen blood that night. A mighty being saved us that night because we survived the trip, found the correct Mc Donald’s branch, reunited with Lowny and Arjane, and slept over at the Hatulan Mansion with all our limbs and organs intact.

Back to the almost present. The day with my berx ended with the movie, The Brothers Grimm. (The promised review for that film is well underway.) We rarely see any movie together. And what do you know? Inside the theater with us was That’s Entertainment’s very own, Jovit Moya! Now that’s rare indeed!

***Count how many times I mentioned “rare” in this article. Text me your answer and win a prize. Text RARE

***WARNING: Prizes do not include anything that will make you rich!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Random thoughts that are 2 weekends overdue

Last weekend I spent at least two hours with four youthful British guys. They are Paul, John, George, and Ringgo. Paul is the pretty boy. He can be naughty sometimes but he manages to execute his mischievousness with the grace of a future “Sir.” John is a bit elusive but he has a subtle sense of humor which is kind of cute. Although he is British, he looks a bit Chinito; it is impossible for him not to look great with an oriental girl. I didn’t see much of George because had sore throat that day, and so he was left inside his hotel room most of the time. However he, too, never failed to make me laugh maybe because he was also funny--and it helps that he looks like Vic Sotto. Ringgo is probably the goofiest among the four. He’d put in all his energy just to elicit laughs. I worry about him though. He seems to have a severe fixation with the oral stage of the psycho-sexual cycle. He couldn’t last a minute without a cigar in his mouth.

What these guys have in common aside from their sense of humor, funny haircut, and British accent is probably their love for music. They even have a band. Collectively they call themselves the “Beatles.” I don’t know if it is a good idea naming yourself after a class of six-legged creatures but I know that they make good music—the band, that is. With the music they’ve created, I’d say their songs will last long, maybe even more than five decades. And they too may outlive their names. They’d probably even set a record as the longest living insect on earth.

* * *

Still last weekend, I braved Katipunan Avenue. (Is it an Avenue?) I never felt welcome in that place. All I see are roads, luxurious cars, and establishments that inarguably make big money. Nothing there makes me feel like I belong—not even Jollibee or National Bookstore. And for some reason, it always rains whenever I’m there! Some force probably thinks I don’t feel the place is hostile enough for me; it exhausts all possible means to drive me away, to make me not like the place. In the stormy, almost flooding sidewalks of Katipunan, I saw something I can relate to: cooked Japanese corn. I smiled and bought five. After two jeepney rides (both rides required minimum fare) and while inside a dry shelter I anticipated consuming my hot cob of yellow corn (of course, I gave away the other four). To my dismay, the hot corn I had at hand was nowhere near yellow. I don’t even think it’s Japanese. The last ticket that would have made me like Katipunan was, for lack of a better term, fraudulent. I’m starting to feel I am not designed to become a Katipunero, at least not any time soon.

* * *

While in the company of girls younger than I am, a critical question which required thorough pondering came up, “how did your first kiss feel like?” Now, that’s a loaded question! It assumes that the one being interrogated had already been kissed. I could have objected to that question and the judge would have sustained my plea. The question circled around the group until it reached me. What is a Josie Gellar to say? “Hindi nag-aaply sa akin ang tanong na ‘yan.” I wasn’t being sarcastic with my answer; I was plainly being honest. And for some reason, I felt like a 25-year-old old maid. Not that I agree that old maids are supposed to be treated like lower life forms (check out my stand in The One That Did Not Make It) but I suddenly felt the stigma brought about by such title closing in on me. I quickly reviewed why, again, despite my silver jubilee on earth, I do not have a REAL guy of my own—thus preventing me from receiving a thimble. Here are my excuses. One, I’ve been a child, oh I don’t know, maybe for 25 years! Like what I’ve said before, not all Peter Pans are boys and not all girls are Wendys. I happened to be one of the special ones who managed to cross the no-growing up-boundaries. Two, I haven’t found I guy I can stand who at the same time can stand me. Three, I don’t believe in courtship—supposedly the first step in building a relationship. I don’t see the point in impressing the wooed party when in the end you’ll show an alternate you, one exactly opposite the entity the wooed party thought you were. Four, I am not well-gifted when it comes to handling sexual tension. (“Sexual tension” is a term used in literature to describe the awkward air between two people coming from two different sexes. It has nothing to do with the sexual act. This is for all the non-literary, green-minded people out there.) Sure I can be friends with guys and carry normal conversations with those Martians, but once “malisya” is introduced you’d see me running away. Maybe it’s not because I am afraid. It’s more of my way of doing the good thing. I swear, I could be the most wicked love team critic and I am especially harsh when it comes to my very own potential love team. God knows I don’t need another set of sins to add to my list. Five, and maybe the last, although I may sound like a bitter, cold, and frigid person by now, I’d still claim I’m a romantic. Ironically, I think that romance is petty and temporary, so I choose to channel my passion to writing and to living. (Yoda's note: No fun, are you?) I’d rather make my life productive. If I get involved with a single person, my passion will be shared by one. If I stay as I am, my passion will be enjoyed by the great majority. I’m going for the nobler option.

I’ll stop now before I say too much.


shitless, bullshit-less attack on the crappiness of courtship. brilliant.
am actually trying to figure it out myself here in non-courtshiplandia. it's either you date me, or you get away from me. right?
hurrah for sexual tension--in the comm arts context, of course
Posted by: Nikka | September 21, 2005 05:19 AM