blogger, Non-Film Oriented, Writer's Block Miseries

As I Stand Here

One of the things I like to do on weekends is to take photographs of strangers. And photographs of things in general. I like to jog on weekends too so I take photographs of co-joggers and myself in sweat.

A photograph of myself in sweat is not something I’d like to share to you in particular. It’s not as interesting as the next photographs you would see in this post.

Just like Zooey Deschanel’s character in Yes Man, I too love to take photographs during my jogging trips. While I was warming up, I took a snap shot of this place in Quezon City that I haven’t been able to dwell into. I’ve been here so many times that I haven’t been able to notice this. Like most of us, I guess I’ve been too busy to take in what we see, even in just a little few seconds. And so, I took in a little less than five seconds. A lone tree that was perhaps pushed by the change of weather yet it chose not to die —- instead, it chose to grow it’s leaves even more and adapted to the change of times.

How many of you out there (yes you, whoever you are reading) who’s gotten this dream of dying? Well perhaps a ratio of about 7 out of 10 have dreamed of finding themselves dying (in whatever instance or situation that occurs into) or perhaps 7 out of 10 have NOT dreamed of finding themselves dying (sorry, my bad of insinuating this thought..). Well, I’ve found myself dying in a number of dreams, but the most similar thought is finding myself floating into some realm of surrealism. Much like floating into a painting that looks real (much like the first photograph). A painting that contains several mountains and a few splashing rivers of several different colors. After that dream, I always find myself wondering if that might be true. Yes. After waking up to that dream I always find myself wondering before praying or even while brushing (or not brushing??) my teeth just to start the day. What if that’s how the after life looks like? What if we wake up to a little bright light and find ourselves momentarily drifting off, off to see the ones we love and hate getting stuck on earth, not even caring to wave us off goodbye or laughing at us for just drifting off to some estrange world? And after seeing all this beauty of the earth, we’re drifted off into a world filled with anger and hate, rage and fear, of loathing and jealousy? Fire into fire into fire?

Well I guess you’d either laugh at me now or say ‘whoa’?! I know, it’s too hard to digest. But that’s how I feel whenever I’m looking at something this beautiful. I stand there and wonder how we never get to just stand there and look. And listen to the birds chirping. And feel the dampness of the sunny wind whirling all over us. I guess I just got too busy.

We’ve all gotten too busy.

So the question is, have we really been to busy to even care? Have we been too old enough to tell ourselves that we know the answers to everything.. or have we just been old enough to tell ourselves that we don’t know and that we don’t care? Oh come on, that’s not how we’ve been taught in school, right? Haven’t we all been taught to keep asking?

Writer's Block Miseries


Sometimes when people don’t understand each other, they just falter and give up.

Some people remember things, some people stick to things, and some people stick to the memory of a person. Or a cat. Or their favorite teacher’s name. Or a book. Or a character from a book.

I remember everything, although I very much would like to forget everything. It comes back to me like a recurring dream. This one would come back to me like a recurring daydream. Like by the time I get home from work, that one hour or forty-five minute drive home (depending if I went home early or I was on overtime) would be like daybreak. Everything you’re not supposed to think about you begin to think about. Like cars crashing into the Commonwealth highway, a car about to collide into our bus from nowhere, a person knocking into my door at ten thirty just to bother my sleep, and then the afternoon sunlight hitting my eyes on that unforgettable afternoon.

In this mini daydream of mine, which I repeatedly have almost everyday as far as I can remember is on that instance wherein I am found sitting in a dewy grass, it’s in the afternoon and I stare at the trees where the sun creeps and peeks like a kid in hiding. I am waiting for someone, and this someone is someone I keep remembering almost once a week, once a month, once in every quarter of the month. He walks into this serene picture, carrying two bottles of water and looks down on me with that reassuring smile. I haven’t seen him in a while and I’m not planning on seeing him any soon. But the problem with people you try best to forget is that their faces are the last thing that disappear.

And so, as I post this slightly personal post, my only desire is to completely forget. But as I say goodbye to that only beautiful memory of that person, I would like to say ‘thanks’ as well. And formally, goodbye. I hope this message reaches across.

I just hope so.

Books to Movies, Semi-bad films

#428: Water for Elephants

May 8, 2011

After his son forgets to visit him at the nursing home, ninety year old Jacob Jankowski (played by Hal Holbrook, Into The Wild) decides to go to the circus on the later time of the night. Two circus workers find him standing in front of the circus getting drenched in the rain and invites him to come inside. He then informs one of the co-workers named Charlie played by Paul Schneider (was also in Elizabethtown) his story of what it was like to be part of a one of the greatest shows on earth, the Benzini Brother’s Circus in 1931,who’s also intrigued by the how the famous Circus is also infamous for it’s disaster. The story then goes into a flashback to the Great Depression wherein a young Jacob Jankowski, played by Robert Pattinson (Twilight, How To Be, Little Ashes) a Cornell student back then studies to become a veterinarian and soon after taking his final exams learns that his parents dies in a fatal car crash. Jacob decides to leave school, saddened by the loss of his parents whom also leaves him with a huge debt and no house to live. After walking and walking, leaving his future to whatever awaits for him far away from his old home, he jumps into a moving train where he meets Camel and a group of sweaty men who offers him a job on the train.

The next morning he realizes he’s hitched a ride in the famous Benzini Brothers Circus train, after having breakfast he does unusual jobs like cleaning out horse poop and staring at the workers build the huge Circus tent. Yes, same as us, he too stares out in amazement (instead of helping out..) at how the huge tent is built. Same as any young man or woman who ventures out in a new world, Jacob is amazed at how this alternate universe begins, where everything is possible from flying trapezes and women breathing and blowing fire.

He then meets the show’s star, a white horse and a couple more horses being cared for by the showmaster’s wife Marlene (Witherspoon, who somewhat looks like Marlene Dietrich). He attempts to help her out with his knowledge on animals but she strays away, for fear that her husband might catch them perhaps.

The show’s showmaster August is played by Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, Green Lantern, and will later show in 2011’s Carnage) who yet again portrays a backstabbing, creepy evil villain who seems nice at first. Yes, I feel like a little girl afraid of a man who might’ve killed my parents in my dreams but seem like a very kind gentleman in real life whenever I see Christoph Waltz play his character. That seems to be the effect. But it’s fine, and it works in this film as well.

My several complains about this film does not include the fact that Robert Pattinson plays the part. For anyone who have not seen his earlier works (Little Ashes, How To Be, well his stint in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Remember Me, and a very funny but weirdly played role in Love and Distrust.), I tell you that he really is potentially good. This film lacks a bit of development between Jacob’s parents and him. We don’t get to see much of a family thing here, except for a few smiles and then kaput, they die from a car crash. I know, I know it’s so that we can get to the point straight away on how Jacob meets the love of his life in a time when everything was still being crafted as a pill for complications.

This Reese-Rob tag team works—- in five minutes. And then we remember they used to play as mother and son in “Vanity Fair”. Although they’re both great actors, you just somehow couldn’t put a finger on it. Even the Christoph-Reese battered couple, thank god they were placed in roles wherein they somehow hate each other. Otherwise, it might’ve been a solution for me to walk out of the theatre.

The interaction though with the animals were great and commendable. The feeling of being in a 1930’s circus is there, with the big close ups and wonderful costumes and stunts. The film is quite a visual to the eye, but I feel like I’d rather read the book.

Classics, The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff

Good Morning Sunday, Good day Purple Rose of Cairo

#329: Purple Rose of Cairo

25 September 2011

When I saw the title of this along with all the other DVDs I had in store for this list, I instantly thought of deserts in the sahara in a drama about two star crossed lovers. But eventually, after viewing Annie Hall (again) and Stardust Memories just a couple of days ago, my sister told me “you’ve got to see Purple Rose of Cairo. It’s Woody Allen’s as well. A person from a 1930’s film gets out of a film..” and then everything went blurry afterwards. The cue words were Woody Allen and 1930s.

I had planned this several days ago but only had the time this morning after a long sleep. Woody Allen writes and directs this 1985 American Comedy-drama film starring Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, Edward Herrman, Jason Wood, and Deborah Rush. Set in the depression era, a clumsy Cecilia who works as a waitress in a local diner loves watching the movies to take her away from her unhappily married life.

One evening she watches a new film called The Purple Rose of Cairo. As she sits through the film we’re shown snipets of the film as well. It appears to be the story of a rich man playwright (Hermann) who goes to an exotic trip to Egypt along with his friends (Wood and Rush). On one of their trips in Egypt’s famous places, they meet an archaelogist Tom Baxter (Daniels) who guides them through to a few more interesting places and facts about Egypt. Tom is then invited along with them to go on a “madcap Manhattan weekend” where he falls in love with a nightclub singer Kitty Haynes (played by Karen Akers).

Cecilia returns back to her normal life the next day feeling enchanted with the film’s setting. She invites her sister to watch the film again. She tries to invite her husband who doesn’t seem to be the least interested in anything but playing dice, drinking, and giving her a “whack” afterwards. She sees the film anyway by herself several times. As the film goes into the scene wherein Tom is invited on the Manhattan suite, as he delivers his lines with a little glance here and there towards Cecilia. Later on he tells her in front of everyone “Boy, you must love this film don’t ya?” she wonders if it’s her he’s talking to. Apparently it is. “You must’ve seen this film five times!” he says and then goes out of the screen and walks up to her like a normal person.

Woody Allen makes our dreams come true in this classic, tragic hit. Tragedies are his cup of coffee and a drag of smoke as he directs Mia Farrow and Jeff Daniels perfectly. I loved Mia Farrow in this film. She proved to be very irritatingly clumsy, vulnerable and impeccable. Jeff Daniels cannot be set aside as he portrays both the fictional character Tom Baxter and the real actor Gil Shepard. He kind of repeats his performance as Tom in the film Pleasantville wherein he naively explores a new world outside the fourth wall. Tom Baxter, being the character that was created as a minor character who plays an important part of continuing the story towards the next scene where they have to go to the club where he has to meet the cabaret’s singer, Kitty, whom he’ll end up marrying at the end of the film in this film, felt his breaking out as a feeling of rebellion and freedom.

As he breaks free, he invites Cecilia to come live with him and make love with him and fall in love forever. As tempting as this may sound, Cecilia makes him aware that this cannot happen as he is only fictional. My favorite part is when they kiss on a stuck carousel and Tom thinks that the lights would fade out into a different scene where they would then make love. Jeff Daniels is effective as the naive Tom, even with the way he tries to act like a 1930s tour guide character makes the film a bit sardonically funny.

As the “minor” character ends up missing from the screen, which causes a conundrum at the theater mainly because the even bigger characters need him, the theater manager can’t attempt to shut down the picture, otherwise the Tom Baxter character would disappear forever, meaning loss in sales in all the other theaters that play the film and would cause more and more insanity all over the town. And most importantly, this would make or break the career of the actor who plays the character. And so they contact Gil Shepard to come find the character in the small town, and he ends up meeting Cecilia in a local coffee shop. She confesses that she knows where the Tom Baxter character is hiding.

I liked this film so much that I enjoyed listening to its every dialogue. It enriches a cinema lover’s extreme admiration with the movies and a woman’s final attempt at redeeming her miserable life. Interesting enough, we never get to feel Woody Allen’s presence in the male lead actors, but once again he plays god in terms of making us feel the difficulty of choice. In this case of Cecilia’s, at the end of the film, she chooses as the uncertain heroine of the whole film, whether to come with Tom and live a happily predictable life, or with Gil Shepard who can give her a life she never had with her husband. In the end, she chooses a painful path that leads her going back to the movies all by herself.