My Year in Movies (Part 1 of 2)

Okay, you guys, it’s my favorite time of the year again: listing down movies!

Every year, I rank my favorite films. I usually decide on a whim that’s why I never posted one. And only last winter did I start to finally list every movie I have ever watched on a notebook and rated them according to personal taste. I plucked 27 out of those hundred films that had garnered five stars and ranked them accordingly. Altogether, it’s a difficult task to do especially when I have a century of films to select and watch and contemplate on, and a variety of genres and countries producing them.

Usually, The Patrick Awards nominate five or six entries at a time but I have watched too many great and excellent films and it’s too difficult for me to narrow these 27 down. Star Wars (episodes IV, V, VI) didn’t even make it.

The photos are not mine. I do not own them. Photo credits belong to its own respective studios/company/person.

126. The Immigrant (2013) by James Gray

A story about an immigrant who gets fooled by a suave young man who is actually a pimp? Uhm, that’s my favorite plot. It’s a tragic and familiar plot especially in the Philippines, a third-world country, where we know it happens and everyone turns a blind eye about it.

It’s also important to me because it depicts a woman who has lost her innocence, her entire world, and ultimately her home. Add Jouaquin Phoenix’s and Marion Cotillard’s brilliant performances, and period clothes—1920’s New York City, and poof! You created my favorite movie.

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  1. Schindler’s List (1993) by Steven Spielberg

One of my recently watched films and one that is so heartbreaking. Two of my favorite white men actors Ralph Fiennes whom I loved in The Reader and Liam Neeson (Taken, duh) star in it. Filmed in black and white, cleverly colored in some scenes and later on in the finale, the film tackles on war, Jews, and the Nazis. Spielberg was the perfect director for it because he knows how to handle such delicate historical material.

Added note: I’ve decided to watch it after The Amazing Race visited Krakow, Poland when Oskar Schindler helped thousands of Jews from getting killed during the war. This is a not-known fact but I secretly like war films.

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  1. There’s Something About Mary (1998) by Peter and Bobby Farrelly

If you want to see Cameron Diaz’s best performance and in her prime years, you should see this classic rom-com. My Aunt who rarely talked about good ‘ole films said during lunch that she never forgot the beauty of Cameron Diaz and that it’s a wonderful film. Because this was an old film and I was thinking of her taste in films when she was younger—I decided to see it.

And she was right—Cameron Diaz is one of the prettiest faces in Hollywood and I had no doubt why she is successful now. I’ve always thought of her as an old actress who lost her Hollywood charm and now makes dirty movies (Bad Teacher). But here in this, hilarious movie, she charms us and she makes our hearts pound with her grace and performance.

Here are two funny memorable scenes: Ben Stiller’s character accidentally zips his entire balls and goes to the hospital on his prom date’s bathroom and everyone checked it out.

In the middle of the movie, he masturbates before seeing Diaz’s character. When he comes, he couldn’t find ‘it’ anywhere. Cameron Diaz then knocks and enter the scene and thinks that it’s ‘hair gel’ on his ear and put some in her hair, and all throughout Ben Stiller keeps looking at her hair. It’s so wicked.

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My favorite scene because of the lights
  1. The Theory of Everything (2014) by James Marsh

I was already infatuated with Eddie Redmayne’s role in Les Miserables. Then, he comes out as Stephen Hawking in a more brilliant performance. Then, next year, I’ll be watching The Danish Girl where he will play a transgender. Is it me or is Redmayne’s filmography excellent? But of course, Felicity Jones is a wonderful surprise. In addition to that is a wonderful production design and cinematography. What makes this film brilliant is the accurate depiction of the famous scientist’s life and her personal life.

But up until now, I still don’t know the answer to: what is the Theory of Everything?

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  1. Mommy (2014) by Xavier Dolan

Xavier Dolan is my favorite discovery director this year. He’s like my French, more ambitious, and more successful version of me. The story is about a slightly-mentally-ill son and mother relationship, plus a kind neighbor. Dolan has the same actors since his first film I Killed My Mother. But I think this is the more polished version of it. The film was shot in 1:1 aspect ratio so you know it’s extra special. I cried like a bitch in one of the scenes at the end.

P.S. He ended the film with a Lana del Rey song so I knew at that time he was going to be my favorite.

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  1. Zero Dark Thirty (2012) by Kathryn Bigelow

One quiet night in our winter break in 2015, I watched Jessica Chastain make her movie debut to my life. And oh my god, this movie was exhilarating. This is like the female take on the previous year’s Argo which is my movie of the year in 2013. Note that this is a war film yet again and I’m not trying to make up some cool fact about me. I do love war films.

It’s about a woman from CIA and her mission to find Osama Bin Laden and kill him following the 9/11 terrorism  attacks. It has this beautiful cinematography, highlighting the sand dunes and the darkness of it all. (The night vision goggles part was epic in technical and visual effects.) [Insert 100 emoji] War does not have any winners and the pictures of the innocent shown were heartbreaking. I preferred this than American Sniper which did not make it to this list because I find that there’s really nothing new to contribute to the genre of war films except maybe Bradley Cooper’s performance on that film and that one specific scene when it was all clouded with sands and confusing. Fury could have been in this list but I haven’t watched it in its entirety.

Speaking of Chastain, Xavier Dolan, the hot French director I’ve been telling you about earlier, and a bunch of other well-known American actors are collaborating for a movie!

  1. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) & 2: The Legend Continues (2013) by Adam McKay

One of the craziest movies ever made. It’s the only comedy film that has a sequel that is as good as the first one as far as I could remember. Ron Burgundy, I’ve been told, is a character off a Saturday Night Live sketch, who is a reporter, flawed, terrible and a sex maniac. And the entire gang of ex-SNL players are here to play. It’s completely over-the-top and absurd and that’s why I loved them. Steve Carell is here as Brick and he plays a dumb person. I watched this in the middle of schooling so I definitely laughed the stress out of me.

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  1. The Graduate (1967) by Mike Nichols

What I love about extremely old films is that they do not have too many multiple plots and take their time to explore a single one: an affair with an older woman then falls in love with her daughter. In The Graduate, considered a classic, we find ourselves forced in the situation with a character very much ourselves. We are forced to take Mrs. Robinson home, and have an affair with her because we’re horny twentysomethings out of college. Also, the cinematography’s excellent. It was wonderfully shot. I’d like to take it as inspiration. The music is also to die for: a bunch of Simon & Garfunkel are played all throughout, and not just the instrumental but the entire song with lyrics: Hello darkness, my old friend…

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  1. The Skeleton Twins (2014) by Craig Johnson

Kristen Wiig, in any movie, is brilliant as seen in Welcome to Me which almost made it in the list, and Bridesmaids. If we’re going to add Bill Hader, another beloved SNL alum, then that movie is worth the watch. The Skeleton Twins tackles mental illness when Hader’s gay character decides to take his own life then fails. This event brings his sister back to his life, recreating memories as scars resurface and Wiig’s character deals with her marriage. This movie is so warm to the heart and I’d like to recommend it to anybody feeling down. In addition to that is another great cinematographer Reed Morano who also filmed Kill Your Darlings.

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  1. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) by Chris Columbus

The photos above are from The Mindy Project. Context: Mindy is looking for a new nanny for her baby. Also, why is everyone not watching this show? It’s freaking hilarious.

With the wake of Robin Williams death, I’ve decided together with my little cousins to watch this classic. I’ve known Williams from Jumanji which was on repeat when I was a child and Dead Poets Society which I watched during my first year in college that ignited my interest in Walt Whitman and poetry itself. And with glassy eyes, I’ve decided this film was one of the important films for it deals directly with divorce and family in general.

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  1. Whiplash (2014) by Damien Chazelle

Watched this three times! I recommended this to my family and some of them loved it and some did not because it’s ‘violent’ and ‘over-the-top’. This Oscar-nominated film is about an abusive mentor and a passionate student of music. The musical score on this film is also something to commend but it’s J.K. Simmons’ performance that probably made the film more powerful than it already is.

  1. Interstellar (2014) by Christopher Nolan

When I got my hands on this movie, I wanted to take a peek first before I sleep. It was 2AM anyway but oh my god, I slept at 5am on a school night because of this. It was gripping, equipped with beautiful CGI, and has this heartwarming tale of being lost and being found. Also, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway are here.

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  1. Inglorious Basterds (2005) by Quentin Tarantino

You can definitely cannot go wrong with a Quentin Tarantino film, starring Christoph Waltz as a Nazi and Brad Pitt as one of the soldiers. Is it me or does Waltz like portraying creepy men (like in Big Eyes)? But Waltz deserved that Oscar win especially in that farm scene which I loved the most. Also, BJ Novak makes a cameo. And that French girl, oh my god. Yes, another war film.

Pulp Fiction, another Tarantino film, did not made it to the list but I enjoyed it immensely as well – it was a four stars I think.

Well, that ends our first part in films in review. I am tired and my writing has degraded. On January, I’ll be posting the second part so stay tune to The Patrick Awards.

To give you a sneak peek, here are a few movies in the second part of My Year in Movies: Boogie Nights, The Matrix, The Black Swan…

Youtube the trailers or Wikipedia the movies. X

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Feminism Through Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez, singer, songwriter, Justin Bieber’s love of his life, and actress, whom I adored since Wizards of Waverly Place, yes, you guys–I dare say, a feminist or at least I think so.

Now, I’m not going to quote anything from The Norton Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism which is the right thing to do actually. I’m just going to assume you know what feminism is all about and summarizing it to: the equality for both genders by empowering first the woman who has been oppressed for centuries and even until now in some cases (this explanation is for people who keeps on asking ‘why call it feminism if it’s about equality?’). Now, we have female presidents, CEOs, and security guards, thank God. Not only does this patriarchal society oppresses women but it also pressures men to resort to stereotypical machismo (abs, jaws, and H&M) that they themselves helped stigmatized.

I know it may seem like it but I’m not perfect so please feel free to shoot me some counterarguments in here and offer more perspectives here. More importantly, my subject-position is male so I’m vulnerable to inaccuracy but I hope I am offering a rich perspective on this. I’m not only trying to defend Selena Gomez in this blog entry but I’m also letting everyone know my strong feelings on feminism and gender-power relations. (I’m going to take a class on Gender and Media next semester, I’m stoked)

A bit of background: People had argued that Selena Gomez is an anti-feminist icon because of her songs that usually deal with being submissive to the man that she loves. In Come and Get It, it’s the lyric I’ll be sitting right here real patient… (a clear demonstration of a damsel in distress, an archetype made) with the chorus chanting When you’re ready, come and get it (na-na-na-na na-na-na-na). Lorde, member of Taylor Swift’s squad who had also had a small Twitter feud with Nicki Minaj about feminism as well, bashed Gomez in an interview regarding about this and the latter backlashed with non-verbatim “that’s not girl-power, you should support women.”

I have a problem with this feminism as a trope to support all women. Because not all women are good people. That’s it. There’s a bad fruit in every basket. So,  maybe I neither sided with Gomez and Lorde.

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With the release of her new album Revival and my growing consciousness and concern to gender-relations, thanks to my professors and friends and no thanks to my family (who keeps on forcing the concept that colors have genders: blue is for boys and pink is for girls), I’ve realized something in her lyrics I want to look good for you, good for you, [moans/squeaks I’m not sure what sound she made] in her lead single Good For You. It’s a pretty sexy rad song about a girl who wants to look good for her boyfriend.

Also, Selena Gomez naked in her album cover doesn’t help in portraying a strong woman. Some argued it was for the look of vulnerability–an honest portrayal of a woman without bullshit, natural and all, loving her skin and being comfortable with it. Some said it was because she’s trying create some shock factor because well that’s what men wants and, what can I say, sex sells (and I deeply believe in this, more with Freud and this later). But who knows what it really means?

If you do not know, there are different waves or kinds of feminism. And I’m not sure how my counterarguments fall into a specific one.

First of all, regardless of gender, you actually submit yourself to the love of your life fully IF he or she is the love of your life so there’s really nothing wrong with being submissive. (Because, let’s face it, no two people can be equal–that’s why communism sucks–but  we have to offer equal opportunities either way).

If your argument is that she should be submissive because she is female, please go back to the Middle Ages where you belong. That is incredibly sexist because you’re basing your opinion because of the sex (gender, not the intercourse). Note this: if any opinion is based on the fact that it is because of he’s male or she’s female like say: he needs to learn construction because it’s masculine or I let her sit on the train because she’s female, that’s called sexism. How about use this other perspectives: he needs to learn construction because we need help in the house and I’ve got a lot in my plate right now to handle one more task or I let her sit on the train because she looks tired and I’m not.

Good For You is a song for her boyfriend–not necessarily for all men. A person wants to look good for the other person so they could get really horny and have intense sex. People do not realize this as much but the word ‘sexy’ refers to something that could make you want to have sex or something viable for sex.

Second point, feminism is all about the awareness of power. If Selena Gomez says Come and Get It, she’s not saying I’m a damsel in distress I need your help, she could be saying come and get it I’m horny I’m trying to seduce you – to manipulate you into sex – that’s feminism (though a little blunt). Again, this is all about awareness. She’s saying I know that you want to be with me so you have to earn it by coming to get me.

If a woman does not know that she is in fact being objectified say a sexy actress biting a cheeseburger in a sexy lingerie outfit and agrees doing the thing for money, she’s a victim of a patriarchal society taking advantage of her femininity, diminishing her femininity whose only purpose is sex. Now if a woman knows about her being objectified and yet projects herself as a sexy burger-eating half-naked-in-commericials girl, she’s using her femininity as a weapon whose purpose is to use her sex to manipulate men.

This leads us to the conclusion that we are not really that qualified to call if someone is being objectified if we do not contextualize anything, if we do not consider the tiny little details, based everything on what we see on the cover. We cannot really know  if Selena Gomez is a feminist or I’m just assuming that she is. I guess, how we conjure this assumptions is a reflection of how we really are. Maybe interpretations are always personal.

I have defended Lana del Rey against some claims that she is anti-feminist because of her lyrics: it’s you, it’s you, it’s all for you. Everything I do it’s all for you. And just apply the concepts I’ve shared with you to that.

Also, Same Old Love by Selena Gomez is in my top 5 song of the year. It’s uber-catchy.

Bye, guys. X

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P.S. I will now take a shower.

The Bitch is Back!

 

So I’ve realized something: Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter are taking all over my life and it’s turning into a bad thing. I’m slowly quitting them one by one.

For one, productivity. This year, I’ve been uber-busy, balancing romantic relationships one at a time with my ambitious competitive literary career and keeping up with family and friendships. Especially now that I’m in my last year in college. And the last thing I need is 2 hours of scrolling down my Facebook when there is a deadline waiting for me.

Two, other people’s bullshit. I have realized that I can’t really take other people’s bullshit. There are so many things I hate seeing in the internet but I do understand why people want to let us see them: like your bleeding leg or the 9th picture of your baby today. I hate it because I understand where they are coming from. I understand other people’s bullshit and some part of me should not.

Slightly the last: I am very insecure. I may be the person you despise because of this but, I admit, I care about the number of my likes or retweets. (Here’s the thing: I use the percentage, instead of numbers, because it’s more accurate that way) I get extremely sad when I thought about this hilarious, ridiculous tweet for two days only to find out no one even liked it so I had to delete it and tweet it again. My friend says it’s all about the timing of the entry and it is partly true.

And I just find that, that’s actually sad about me: that my happiness depends on a virtual number of approval, that I get validation from people who don’t even talk to me in real-time and real-life, even from people I have never known. In WordPress, since not everyone’s in WordPress, I don’t have to worry about the number of likes or reblogs, which makes me even happier and more carefree.

I have to get over this slight mental defect. I’ll be coming back in Twitter in February. In Instagram, maybe one or two years–I’m not sure. On Facebook, I’ll be online but I’ll be posting less because I’m back to blogging!

I have realized the importance of keeping a journal, writing down or capturing a moment, only recently, thanks to Julie Delpy’s character in the Before Sunset movie. I wish I had memories to look back from five years ago. I only have my Facebook accounts and my Twitter or Instagram to look for them which isn’t a bad thing actually but I find that blogging and keeping a journal is more organized, well-thought, and longer than 140 characters, giving this leeway for creativity and shit like that.

And if people really want to know what’s up with me, instead of randomly coming across a picture of me in their Facebook feed, they would intentionally write the URL of my blog and that’s kind of nice to know.

I’m hoping to have the best year-ender events. 2015 has been an awfully great year for me and I’m kind of afraid that 2016 will be a slow, uneventful one. Have a great holiday season and know that I love you, you stranger!

Check out these possible blog entry titles I’m working on: Feminism Through Selena Gomez, The Namesake Book Review, The Last of my UST, Welcome to my Room!, and How to Deal With Haters. These have been going around my head for months now. I have so much to talk about! . X

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