Book: Deadma Walking

"Deadma Walking"

John and Mark are gay beshies for life whose friendship is put to the test when one of them has a terminal illness and asks the other to help him stage his fake death, wake, and funeral as his dying wish. The result is a comedy of ‘deadly’ proportions.

There aren’t a lot of instances when one would say that the movie adaptation is better than the book it originated from. But this is definitely one of those instances.

Deadma Walking was one of the more entertaining films during the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival–which is why, when my friend A Messy Desk gave me a copy of the published screenplay that film was based of, I immediately started reading it…and started applauding the changes made to the material to make it more palatable to viewers.

It’s not that the original material was bad… It’s just very heavy-handed. And it misses a lot of opportunities at the same time. That said, the final film version also manages to miss the same opportunities–but the actors really do a lot to save the screenplay’s less-than-stellar parts.

But this isn’t supposed to be a comparison. I’m writing about the version that was published–which is different from the one people got to see on screen, and is also different from the one that won an award.

Deadma Walking, the published screenplay, is a work in progress. The emotional meat of the story is there, and the characters of John and Mark are funny enough that you’ll be able to latch on to their crazy antics. But most of the time, it felt like reading a person’s inner thoughts without filters. It rambles. On and on. And there are a lot of plot developments that need to happen earlier, but don’t.

It’s a good screenplay, to be completely fair. It’s just doesn’t feel like a final draft. Just one that needed to exist because an editor was probably breathing down the writer’s neck, to get him to cough up a version before a printer’s deadline.

Final verdict? If you’re going to read this book, make sure to lower your expectations.

Book: Wickedmouth Unang Putok

"Wickedmouth: Unang Putok"

If I were to translate the title, I’d call it: Wicked Mouth, the First Bang. Why not explosion? Because, for some reason, I don’t think the author was referring to an explosive entrance when he thought of the title. Although, if you color that green….

Wickedmouth, the book, is basically a collection of recollections by an author whose mind is seeped in sexual innuendos…and blatant sexual thoughts. If there’s a book I would compare it to, it would be the very first Bob Ong book: ABNKKBSNPLAKo. Except with an R-18 tag, instead of the PG-13 that Bob Ong would’ve gotten.

Actually, the book comes with a parental advisory for explicit content.

A little warning if you do decide to buy this book. The humor gets some getting used to. Wickedmouth isn’t your typical funny “memoir.” It’s mean, it’s green, and it’s unapologetic. If you can’t find the fun in other people’s misfortunes, this book might not be for you.

I think I’m secure enough with my moral compass that I can admit finding most of the book funny. Because, it is. In a dark way. The book’s voice is basically that secret voice you use with your closest friends when you talk about someone you don’t like–or someone you’re very close with that you’ve become very comfortable with playfully bashing each other.

I wouldn’t want to be friends with the author though.

Wickedmouth is available in local bookstores. I found (and bought) my copy from National Bookstore.

Event: The Morning Rush Book 2 Launch

"The Morning Rush Top 10 Book 2 Launch"

And here we go.

Last week I was invited by Summit Books to attend the book launch for the second The Morning Rush Top 10 compilation book. You already know what I think about the book, as it’s been out in the market since late last year, so I’ll stick with the event for this post.

Just like last year’s launch for the first book, it was held at the Activity Center of Robinsons Galleria. Unlike last year’s event though, there was no separate venue for the bloggers and press to conduct their interviews. On the plus side, the excitement and energy of the radio DJs fans are palpable as you mingle with them; but, on the other hand, you’d also feel sorry for them as they’re left out of the cordoned area as priority was given to the press and family members attending the event.

Not that I should complain, because I was one of the lucky few allowed inside. But speaking as a fan, getting left out in the cold while supporting your idols is not the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

As for the program prepared for the event… It’s short. Which is nice. It heads straight to the point of the event, which is the autograph-signing. But, again with the but, I wish there were more time for the radio hosts to be more candid with their fans. I understand that that’s just not possible with the time constraints and the venue restrictions–but, speaking again as a fan, that’s what we usually come to events for. To have that small candid moment with our idols.

I guess I am complaining a little. For the fans. But don’t get me wrong. I applaud Summit Books for what they’re doing. These autograph-signing events are still opportunities for fans to spend time with their idols, and to get to know each other.

But I still prefer how the first book launch was handled, with the press and family members separate from the fans, just so the fans can have more of the kikay barkada without having to share the spotlight with people who already have an unfair advantage at meeting said idols.

That said, people still had fun at the event–as evidenced by this:

Before I completely end this, here’s Summit Book’s press release about the event:

Last February 3, 2012, Summit Books brought back the sequel to the best seller The Best of Chico and Delamar’s The Morning Rush Top 10 — this time, bringing the entire barkada along with The Best of Chico, Delamar, and Gino’s The Morning Rush Top 10, Book 2 in Robinsons Galleria Activity Center. Monster RX 93.1’s The Morning Rush radio jocks excitingly talked about their book, answered questions from the media and fans present at the launch, and happily signed copies of their book.

Compiling over 100 Top 10 pee-in-your-pants funny lists, this hilarious book showcases the naughtiest and wittiest responses and jokes coming from–where else?–no other than the show’s avid listeners, the Rushers.

The Morning Rush Top 10 Book 2 will definitely make you LOLA (Laugh Out Loud Alone) with pages filled with the craziest and naughtiest topics and illustrations on a wide range of topics–from the 3 B’s (bitchiness, boys, and bekis), to that (sometimes happy, sometimes bitter) 4-letter word, to something a little more in need of parental guidance, and to just about anything you can think of–they even have superheroes in stor for you! The Best of Chico, Delamar, and Gino’s The Morning Rush Top 10, Book 2 is so addictive that we’re sure you won’t be able to put it down until you finish reading it!

The Best of Chico, Delamar, and Gino’s The Morning Rush Top 10, Book 2 is available in bookstores for only PhP 195.

Movie: Sosy Problems

"Sosy Problems"

Sosy Problems tells about four rich, famous and gorgeous ladies who have one major problem: their favorite hangout place, The Polo Club, is in danger of being demolished and its owners are planning to build a not-so-sosy mall in its place.  The ladies will join forces and combine their resources in order to bring the demolition to a halt.  They will risk everything – even their poise and composure – to send their message across.” — courtesy of GMA Social Media press release

The Metro Manila Film Festival has begun, and because my relatives deemed this Christmas the perfect time for an out-of-the-country getaway, I found myself free from the obligation of attending a family reunion–and able to watch half of this year’s film festival line-up! In no particular order, I have already seen Si Agimat, Si Enteng Kabisote, at Ako; Sosy Problems; Shake Rattle and Roll 14; and, Thy Womb. I thought it would be best to start my Metro Manila Film Festival week here on Taking a Break with the most entertaining movie: Sosy Problems.

The quoted press release above is a little too nice for me, so let me try to use a different description for the film.

Sosy Problems is the story of four very rich, and very spoiled girls who deem status more important than anything else in life. We have Lizzie (Rhian Ramos) who bosses people as if she owns their souls; Danielle (Bianca King) who continues to live large even after her family has lost all their money; and then there’s Margaux (Solenn Heusaff) and Claudia (Heart Evangelista) who are best friends–against their rival mothers’ wishes. The latter two are more hanger-ons than anything else though, their story is more supportive of the bigger arc than solo ventures into self-discovery.

Now, the film is very entertaining–but it is not without faults. The story-telling is a little uneven, especially with the equal screen time being given to all four female leads. The characters of Lizzie and Danielle has more meat to their stories, but because of the equal screen exposure, they don’t feel fully fleshed out. Whereas Margaux and Claudia feel like they have too many filler scenes–and yet feel under-developed.

There’s also the problem of us jumping into the middle of their lives, but feeling as if all their stories had just begun. The conceit of the show is that a joke of a journalist was assigned to chronicle their every day lives; and it just so happened to coincide with the girls losing their favorite hangout…to a social-climbing wench who wants to turn their high-class club into a mall for the masses. That’s forgivable. The not-so forgivable? Danielle’s love story that starts in the middle of the movie, and yet develops mostly off-screen; the rivalry between Margaux and Claudia that begins on-screen, but develops and blows up off-screen; and Lizzie’s monsterrific tendencies against her provincial relatives being told instead of shown.

I could go on and on about what could’ve been done better, but in the end, this film succeeded where the three other films I watched didn’t. It managed to be entertaining.

Rhian Ramos, who first revealed her comedic chops in My Kontrabida Girl, solidifies her comic cred with her cheeky turn as Lizzie. Her portrayal as the head bitch of the four friends is effortless, and yet she doesn’t come off grating or annoying. Instead, she makes her character’s over-reactions funny.

Supporting players Mylene Dizon, Cherie Gil and Agot Isidro unleashes the full extent of their campiness in this film–and it makes their funny scenes funnier. Mylene Dizon’s Bernice steals her every scene, and the one she shares with Ruffa Gutierrez is definitely a highlight; Cherie Gil’s French-spewing former beauty queen role is deliciously devious with a side of crazy; and Agot Isidro is laugh-out-loud funny with her unapologetic take on a headstrong provincial socialite.

The film has a tendency to be over the top, but that’s what makes it entertaining. You know you shouldn’t take anything seriously. And because of that, out of the four Metro Manila Film Festival entries I’ve seen so far, this is the one I would not hesitate to recommend.

This Christmas, pick the movie that won’t depress or disappoint you. Pick the funny movie. Pick Sosy Problems.

Book: Is It Just Me?

"Is It Just Me?"

Of all the books on the shelf, just look wahat you’ve gone and picked up! Give yoruself a round of applause, even if you’re in public. I dare you. What a lovely moment that would be. I advocate that as much as adults galloping or people wandering into an optician to try on the most unflattering and amusing glasses for no good reason. It’s what I call ‘making your own fun’. Because you have to really, don’t you? Let’s face it, life does have a tendency to throw up difficulties…

That’s not a lot to go on, I know, when deciding to buy a book. But I didn’t really need to rely on a book synopsis to know that I will enjoy reading Miranda Hart’s sort-of autobiographical book that’s also trying to be a self-help book.

Is It Just Me? is Miss Hart’s recounting of her attempts at navigating life–and, for the most part, failing humorously.

I admit, the only reason I even bought this book was because I was seriously missing my dose of Miranda-flavored laughs. Ever since I saw a clip of her sitcom on YouTube, I was hooked. Her humor might be a little self-depreciating at times, but she wears her freak flag high. She’s proud of who she is and who she has become, so you don’t feel bad for laughing at her mistakes and other mishaps. Because you feel like you’re laughing with her, instead of at her.

And if you enjoy watching her sitcom, you’re bound to enjoy the book as much as you do the television series. It’s basically the same thing, except, instead of watching, you’re reading what’s going on. Oh, and the fact that the sitcom’s fictional, and the events in the book really did happen in real life. Or so our dear author chum writes.

One thing though. Miranda really does write for a specific audience–the British variety. Fortunately for me, I’m pretty up-and-up with British po culture, having grown up with a preference for British music (thanks to Smash Hits and Top of the Pops), and having been exposed to a lot of British telly (in the past, and even until now). Also by preference. I don’t think the rest of the world’s population can say the same thing. I doubt if, my sister for instance, would get most of the things I found funny in the book. And that’s even after the fact that she also enjoys Miranda’s sitcom.

Also, the book has a tendency to be quite tiring. Not in a bad way. It’s just that, as a reader, I got caught up with the author’s excitement. And after reading each chapter, I kept finding myself in need of a lie down.

The good thing is, this being a biography of sorts, there’s not really a lot of room for cliffhanger-type chapter endings. You can put the book down. And in fact, the book might even have been more enjoyable for me had I opted to put it down from time to time.

But that’s just me.

Let’s see what other people have said about Miranda Hart’s Is It Just Me?:
Jason’s Book Reviews (which I must link, because–look at what the blog’s called!)
The Big Issue