Pass the Popcorn

So, here we are, at the end of what has been a crazy ride. 198 movies I’ve never seen before for 2011. Incredibly awful score, considering my set goal of 365 – but then, who’s keeping score, eh?

I told a friend about this once.

Me (circa December 2010): “Hey, I’m going to try to watch a new movie everyday next year.”
Him: “…Why?”

I shrugged. At the time, there wasn’t really a reason. I’m not particularly sure what I had in mind when I embarked on this Project 365 – only the acceptance of the fact that idleness and I get along like Krispy Kremes go together with diets. I’m the type of person who likes to be kept busy, and this did precisely that. It gave me something to do besides aimlessly surfing the Web, reading about a hundred article on Google Reader before realizing that, lo and behold, it’s two in the morning. It wasn’t much of a stretch since I watch movies all the time. I guess it was only halfway through – say, about fifty movies in – where the value of what I was doing really started to sink in. It hit me that I wasn’t doing anything particularly groundbreaking – just that I was doing it on steroids. And it led me to think about why we watch movies, and what that says about us. I mean, when you think about, it’s only us humans who have this desire for entertainment, this need to be amused and moved. Sure, my dog plays happily with a chew toy, but he doesn’t care much for watching some other dog participate in canine recreational activities. And yet there I was, watching people onscreen everyday (almost!) for a year.

Moviegoers at Baghdad's first 4-D cinema

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A Happy-Flappy-Good-Vibes-All-The-Way Playlist

Generally, the best way to wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and an extra bounce to your step is to find out that work has been canceled, class has been suspended, and all other stressful engagements have been called off. The smell of bacon sizzling in the pan would be a welcome bonus. However, on days when you hit that snooze button extra violently and drag yourself out of bed extra groggily, facing the rest of the day can seem like a challenge akin to climbing Mt. Everest in flip-flops. We’ve all been there.

The best way to prevent this is to do what the doctor prescribed and spend a few more hours in bed. Sleep is always the healthy option. Of course, this isn’t always possible, and when that’s the case, you can chuck the doctor’s orders and do what I do – fake it til you feel it, with a little help from some ear candy.

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The Principle of Non-Intervention

A few days ago, the most prestigious university in the country released the list of accepted applicants for AY 2012-2013. Of the more than 50,000 applicants, less than a fifth passed. Many take the test, only a chosen few get in. This particular university is among the last of the schools to release their entrance exam results, after they were held late last year. In between the test and the results is a desolate land filled with fear, hope, anticipation, desire. Breaths are held and fingers are crossed in this limbo. Such is the rite of passage for the majority of high school seniors.

I was ecstatic that my sister passed all four schools and gotten into the courses she had applied to. The suspense is over, and now the difficulty of making a choice that will potentially change her life forever is at hand. She hasn’t made a final decision yet, but we all know her heart is set. Except for maybe my brother, who wants me to persuade/force/influence my sister to take up a “practical” course. Acceptable choices include Management Engineering, Business Administration, and Accounting. A BS, rather than the less profitable BA. Courses that will make money. Courses with a bottom line and a corner office. Courses with a “future”.

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Why I Never Hang Out In Coffee Shops

I dislike bossa nova. It’s a personal thing – it’s just not my cup of tea.

But I dislike even more how I seem to be hearing it everywhere (and I do mean everywhere!). I once spent two hours in a coffee shop, waiting for a friend to arrive. It was one of the most terrifying things in the world for me to discover that there is a bossa nova cover for everything.

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#1ForFun Is #1ForCountry

It's more fun in the Philippines

Much has been said about the Philippines’ new tourism campaign, but allow me to join in the *ahem* fun. It’s been three days since the Department of Tourism launched the new campaign, igniting a passionate debate both against and in defense of #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines. I always enjoy talking about politics, but when criticism stops being constructive and becomes destructive, it’s no longer a healthy discussion, is it? Obviously, I am #1ForFun, and I’d like to tell you why.

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2011: It’s A Wrap! (Sort of)

When you look back on 2011, I hope you look back with love.

2011 was when you spent three hours walking around the city, searching for an obscure pizzeria that only he had ever heard of (and which you suspect no longer exists, if it ever really did). The side streets seemed like some lost and unknown kingdom, and you two were there to uncover its secrets. Or maybe just each other’s secrets. You talked and talked and talked, and it felt like you would never run out of things to say. An endless stretch of sidewalk and a nonstop stream of conversation, and you didn’t even give a fuck about the pizza.

2011 was when you locked eyes across the dark, crowded room, and you just knew that he and you would be something special. You were so busy falling all over the dance floor that you didn’t even notice you were falling in love, under the strobe lights and booming bass. “I looked at you and I knew I had to meet you,” he said. So he did. And from the first time your hands touched, there was that electric feel that seemed to warm you from your toes to your nose. It was maybe the first time you ever truly believed in destiny, because how else could you explain it: you could have been anywhere. And yet there you were.

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How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love…Animal Print Harem Pants

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, he talked about innovators and how this group of people basically create and perpetuate our concept of cool. While I hardly think of myself as one of these adventurous folks, I do identify with the early innovators, the more cautious people who keep an eye on trends and are a little more discerning about what to try. I’ve always been one of the first people to get on the train, so to speak. But it’s not easy to know which trends will catch on and which will die out faster than you can quote Andy Warhol.

Case in point: remember Google Wave? I was a fan. It was really more of a Google Ripple, in the end. So you can understand my hesitation when Google+ rolled out.

Here are some other things that I’ve resisted, even fought, and then, embraced:

  • Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against quiet little movies or indie darlings. I just wasn’t that excited to spend time with a movie where (basically) nothing happens – no major plot twist, no major drama, no major anything. (See that poster?) The first fifteen minutes made me quit on this movie, twice.

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The Bucket Hindi List

I’m quite a forgetful person. I forget small things – grocery items, phone numbers, where I put my pen. I’ve forgotten the name of my elementary PhysEd teacher (who didn’t like me very much, even though it’s really not my fault that I wasn’t born a natural athlete). I’ve forgotten the name of that floating restaurant in Hong Kong with the yummy crabs. Don’t worry, I remember important things.

Or do I.

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A Starry Night Over Mordor (Or, how everyone loves Van Gogh)

This is my favorite painting.

If this seems familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it before. You have, trust me. Maybe not in person (you can see it with your own eyes at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan), and maybe not in its original form. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Vincent Van Gogh’s magnum opus. Some people prefer Starry Night Over The Rhone, but for sheer emotion and beauty, I go to The Starry Night. I could get lost in the swirls of blue and white. Now, I’m no art major, so I won’t go into the technical details of the painting. But I will go into into its various reincarnations in pop culture.

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Is Hollywood Creatively Bankrupt? (Or, how I keep running into Spiderman at the cinemas)

Spiderman is ruling Hollywood, and if it isn’t him – well, it sure feels that way. In 2002, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire brought your friendly neighborhood webslinging wall crawler to the cinemas, and it has since spawned two sequels, released in 2004 and 2007. It’s a fun franchise, to be sure – but do we really need to “reboot” it in less that five years? Yes, The Amazing Spider-Man, set for a 2012 release (and with a 2014 sequel already in the works), will combine the talents of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans, but…isn’t there someone else we could make a movie about?

What is the most creative Hollywood blockbuster you’ve seen in the past few years? One with a plot that feels fresh, like it hasn’t been rehashed or remade to shreds. Think about it. Most people would say Christopher Nolan’s Inception, or maybe Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Now think about the movie line-up for 2011. Here’s a small selection of the released and upcoming movies for the year:

The Hangover Part II; Cars 2; Paranormal Activity 3; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol; Spy Kids: All The Time In The World In 4D; Fast Five; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Try something else. Think about the number of superhero movies out there (or what I like to call the rise of the Marvel/DC comic book movie empire).

Thor; Captain America: The First Avenger; Green Lantern; X-Men: First Class

Why is Hollywood doing this? Has it become creatively bankrupt? Have we run out of good ideas? Is this a black hole of creativity?

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