Eerie: E for Effort

I am a fan of horror movies. Who isn't really? And the Philippine cinema has had its fair share of scream-worthy horror thrillers such as Sukob, Aswang (the Maricel Soriano one), and Feng Shui (the first one). I know that was just three movies and that's because I was lying when I said we've had our fair share of scream-worthy horrors. Our cinema's repertoire when it comes to this genre is a horror story on its own.

On this essay, I will tell you all the reasons why Eerie, a Star Cinema horror movie starring Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos, is such a poor attempt at revitalizing this well-loved movie genre. 

Photo from Eerie Facebook Page (link)

Let me start by summarizing what Eerie is all about:

The movie tells the story of Miss Pat (Bea Alonzo). A guidance counselor tasked to help the troubled students of Sta Lucia. Like any other school, Sta. Lucia is haunted by the ghost of the past which is causing quite a stir. Also adding to the already gloomy air of the school is Sor Alice (Charo Santos), the school's mother superior. When a student was found dead one morning, Miss Pat goes beyond her job description to uncover the truth. Even if it means that she must butt heads with forces such a Sor. Alice

Now let's talk about what Eerie is not:

1. Eerie is poorly acted. 

One would expect that acting giants such as Bea Alonzo, Charo Santos, and Jake Cuenca will truly shine in this film. To say that I am disappointed will be a colossal understatement. Bea Alonzo has garnered a reputation (and rightfully so) when it comes to acting. But here subdued, one-dimensional portrayal of an earnest guidance counselor is but a shadow of the plethora of other movie characters she had successfully portrayed. 

I was never a fan of Jake Cuenca. There is something about his demeanor that puts me off. Maybe because I feel like he takes himself way too seriously, or it's just me. Despite my personal opinion about him, I think Jake Cuenca is a good actor. And I think that his acting acumen was underused in this movie. The last few minutes of his character in the movie could have been a spectacle of his acting prowess. But I guess the director had other things in mind (like his weak attempt of a resolution)

Charo Santos is a legend, but in all honesty though, aside from her weekly letter reading at MMK and her Lav Diaz collaboration, I am not familiar with her work. One would expect that a domineering character such as Sor Alice will be played accurately by a powerful woman such as Charo Santos. Who, in her interviews for the movie, showed exceptional command. But every time she delivers her line, I find myself waiting for the screen to fade in and fade out, giving way to the week's letter sender.

Other characters were also underutilized and unnecessary.

2. Eerie is tiring.

Halfway through, I already felt the exhaustion of paying attention. Granted that my attention span is really short, I offered my full attention and it sucks that the movie did nothing to keep it. What makes it even sadder is how the story will just take a sudden, unexplained left turn to nowhere without establishing the previous route. But the saddest fact of them all is how the movie ended. The directors attempt to resolve the conflict was poorly done. His effort for a cliffhanger was poorly done. The ending made no sense.

3. Eerie missed a lot of opportunities.

I don't think horror movies should be limited to just the paranormal, metaphysical, and monsters. After all, the real monsters in this world are humans. And I almost thought that the director and I shared the same sentiments.  It would have been okay (to me, at least) if Sor Alice turned out to be the antagonist. Her iron fist rule on the school is believable and realistic. The movie could have advocated against corporal punishment (at school at least) along the way. It could have worked out that way. But no, the movie just had to include ghosts and make them liable for everything. Because horror movies work that way.

Eerie also had the opportunity to explore and expound self-harm and suicide. It could have been given a better context and a more thoughtful explanation that is both sensitive and educational. But its just part of the story and the characters back story so she could empathize with one of the characters. And that was it.

Eerie also had the opportunity to tackle school governance, fervent worshipping, and building maintenance. But no, it had to be about ghosts because it was a horror movie and horror movies do not deserve to have substance.

Eerie gets a boot from Raven
Last but not the last, Eerie should have been retitled to CR, because that is where most of the scenes were. We just had to go back to the CR every other frame because it's a horror movie. And horror movies love comfort rooms. 

I just had to come out of blogging retirement to write about this. I also had the reactivate my Facebook to let the world know about how I felt about this movie. I'm important like that.

If you have P200+ to spare and 1 hour and 41 minutes to waste, then watch this movie. If you'd rather watch the newest episode of RuPaul's Drag Race that Netflix uploads way too late that I already accidentally saw what happened, we should be friends. 

That's all.

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Cook Me: Sinigang na Hokkaido

What's a Hokkaido?

I bet that is the first question that popped into your heads after reading the title of my new blog post. Right? Like how did this awesome blogger achieved a feat such as cooking an island in Japan? What kind of mundane sorcery is this? 

Well, young people of the internet, the Hokkaido I am talking (and cooking) about today is actually a canned mackerel from my childhood. There was a time when Mega Sardines, San Marino Tuna, Highlands Corned Beef, were nothing but an idea in some businessman's brain. Growing up, our shelves (and the nearest sari-sari stores) were filled with Ligo Sardines, Argentina Corned Beef, Maling, and of course, Hokkaido Mackerel. While some of what I mentioned above still exist, it seems like the canned mackerel I grew up eating vanished, forgotten.

Hey stranger!
While grocery shopping a few days ago, I came across San Marinos own canned mackerel. Reading the label was nostalgic and brought memories of my childhood I have already forgotten. I immediately grabbed two cans and continued shopping with a smile on my face.

Today, I will be sharing a recipe perfect for that canned mackerel. And what better way to cook it than to turn a seemingly ordinary canned food into a delicious Filipino classic: Sinigang (which you all know I love)

Aside from being nostalgic, this recipe with the canned mackerel is perfect for those on a tight budget but still wants a delicious ulam. Perfect for that week before payday.

Here is what we need:
  • Canned Mackerel - any brand will do. I tried looking for the Hokkaido brand but I can't find any.
  • Your choice of Sinigang veggies. I went with ginger, gabi, tomatoes, okra, alugbati as that is what's available at the nearby sari-sari store. I would have added radish and string beans. 
  • Sinigang Mix, salt, and pepper to taste.
Here is what you need to do:
  • Saute the ginger. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes and wait for it to cook.
  • Add the gabi as is takes time to cook. Add a cup of water and the sauce of the canned mackerel. Do not include the fish meat yet as it will turn into ground meat after you're done.
  • Once the gabi is cooked, add the okra and your sinigang mix. Lower your fire to not overcook the okra.
  • Taste and adjust according to your liking. Add the alugbati(or kangkong), and the mackerel. Turn off your stove. Let the heat from the pot cook the leaf. The mackerel is already cooked so you don't have to worry about it.
  • And you're done! Good job!
Celebrate with a plate of rice, some patis (or ketchup if you're into that) and eat your problems away. Who says you can't enjoy good food without overspending? Douse them with that hot Sinigang ! And who says cooking is complicated? Throw the pot you used to cook the Sinigang at them!

Nostalgic, easy, and budget-friendly. That's about it guys. As always, thank you for visiting my blog. Drop your comments below and let me know how your dish turned out! 


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Never Not Love You: Baptism

I believe it was the great Chandra Gupta Maurya who once said that “whatever you ever you say, someone else already uttered”. And although I’m not the best historian or a quote quonnoissuer (get it?), we can all agree that this is not the best way to open a movie review. But let me again remind of the quote by two legend, icon, star that I follow with so much ardor: this is my show not yours. Let us begin.

Before we begin, let me start by saying that I am not a fan of any love team except for Adobo and Sinigang. I have too much on my plate already to make space for something as trivial as a love team. What I do love is watching movies, watching very good movies. And while the Philippine cinema is a hit and miss when it comes to making movies, we can't deny the fact that love teams can pull the crowd like the moon pulls the tide. The last sentence made no sense, I am clearly rambling here, but please bear with me; I haven't done this in a while.

Going back, I love watching movies regardless of who is/are starring in it. So when my older friends from work invited me to watch Never Not Love You starring one of the countries most controversial love team, JaDine, I said yes. 

Without spoiling the entitled masses, the movie is about a guy and a girl. Fate brought them together (it was stickers that brought them together but yeah) and they fell in love. One is a career driven breadwinner and one is a misunderstood albeit bratty artist (you guess who's who because you don't want to be spoiled right?). They navigate life as professionals, as lovers, and as individuals. And they realized what they really want in life. Exciting right? This is the most detailed synopsis I have ever done in a movie review and I have done a lot so it's saying something. 

Long story short, I love the movie. I freaking love the movie. This is my first JaDine movie, and I have never seen a single episode of their TV series. So this is basically my JaDine baptism, and it is such a good welcome to the fandom. I follow James on Instagram because he is freaking hot and good looking and I want to rent an apartment in his armpits and maybe his nether region. I also follow Nadine because her feed makes me want to elevate my Insta game. They are good as individuals, and as a couple, oh boy! They make me feels things I haven't felt since I wrote 28 poems for a crush in high school.

Jeskelerd (source)
The first few minutes of the movie gave me the kilig I need to forget about being bitter for a day. I was smiling and giggling with their banters. It wasn't forced as I can really see how much they love each other. As the movie progress, and the intensity builds up, so does my emotions. It was so real and raw, the sushi bar is jealous.

Nadine (source)
What I really loved about the movie is how not cliched it is. We are already littered with poor-rich, lost child, damsel in distress, third party, love-me-im-dying kind of TV series and movies. Never Not Love You is such a breath of fresh air. Sorta like One More Chance. The conflict is the characters themselves which is hard to overcome. Sure, JaDine is far from Bea and John Lloyd (like really, this pair is incomparable), but you have to give it to them for daring to go beyond the rom-com, cutesy-cutesy type of a movie.

Never Not Love You made me question my priorities, and I don't have that much. Do I want love? Do I want to excel in my career? Do I want a half Pinoy-half Australian sexy tattoo/graphic artist for a boyfriend? Do I want my car in black or chrome? Should I do shadows or it's overrated? Kidding aside though, the movie will really make you ask yourself: Who prefers 7-11, when you live in Manila which is littered with food choices?

Lastly, a huge shout out to Antonette Jadaone for yet another awesome movie. That Thing Called Tadhana will always have a special place in my heart, and I fear like Never Not Love You Will do too. Which leaves no space for a love life assuming I will have one, but that's a different story. Maybe Direk Tonet can make it into a movie?

So, if you have time today, or until it is showing at the cinema, please watch Never Not Love You. I know this review is all over the place and makes little to no sense, but the movie is really, really good. I don't write reviews that often, because I don't know how to. But when I do, it's because I like (sometimes I hate with so much conviction) what I saw. Give this movie a chance.


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