One year after.

It’s been a year since Alden Richards staged his Adrenaline Rush concert. It’s also been a year since I came out of the closet and told the world about the state of my mental health.

Around this time last year, I was seriously contemplating on retiring as an active fan. Adrenaline Rush was supposed to be my last hurrah, so to speak. One year, a couple of drama series and a movie after, guess what… I’m far more active than before. :razz: What happened?

I’ve pondered through it and listed down my random thoughts and realizations from the past 12 months since that fateful night on September 21, 2018:

1. It IS possible to fangirl alone and enjoy it.

Yes, it is far more difficult if you don’t belong to any fan group, especially in the Alden fandom where belonging to a fan club/group is the most guaranteed and convenient way to collect your Alden moments. Fight me on this, it’s the truth and we all know it. I was once an FC member, ya know. :blink: Now that I no longer belong to any group, I would have to fight my way and double-triple the efforts just to have the perks that I used to enjoy when I was still with an FC. Sometimes I get lucky, oftentimes I don’t. But that’s just how the way things are.

However, fangirling alone has its perks. I am free to move and ‘strategize’. I don’t have to seek permission from anyone before doing things like set visits, or even taking a selfie with Alden. I can share my own thoughts and opinions without compromising my group. I am only accountable towards Alden and no one else.

It could get lonely sometimes, but that’s just normal. There are things that still need a lot of getting used to, such as being treated like I don’t belong there (yep, that still happens). I just have to constantly remind myself that it’s not about me; it’s just all part of fandom politics. Myself is just too stubborn to listen sometimes (sometimes??? :tounge: ).

2. It’s OK to be paranoid, but not too much.

One of the things I acquired from all the things I went through as an Alden fan is extreme paranoia. As a result, I became elusive towards people in this fandom, in general. I am elusive by default because I’m an introvert. I’m not good at dealing with strangers. But once the ice breaks, it’s all good from there. Once it’s all good, I have the tendency to be too trusting. I end up trusting the wrong people. In the world of fandom politics, ‘trust’ is a very big word.

I got stabbed in the back multiple times in a span of what… 3 years? I guess you can’t blame me if I have trust issues. My trust issues evolved into extreme paranoia.

With the recent developments in the fandom, things have changed. I’m still awkward towards some, particularly those who used to shade and bash me on socmed, but I now get to exchange pleasantries with people whom I used to distance myself from (or they distanced themselves from me). It’s all good. However, I still need to constantly remind myself to be cautious and not to trust too much. The fandom politics is still there, after all. :blink:

3. Don’t give everything for your idol. Save some for yourself.

Alden said something along these lines in one of his speeches at a recent fan event. I can totally relate with what he said.

People who know me over the years know that I’m a very passionate and devoted fan. Heck, if I give the same passion towards my work as I do with fangirling, I’m either at a higher position by now, or got killed/ate death threats for breakfast. :grin: (Aren’t we glad that I’m not as passionate at work? hehe) But there came a point when my daily life gets affected by what’s happening with my idol and the fandom. I had to suffer from emotional and psychological distress before I realized that I should not let my entire being be consumed by fangirling. I learned the lesson the hard way. I still get random bouts of sadness every now and then, but I’m just a person with a mental health issue. It comes with the territory.

So guys and gals, remember this: We become fans of a celebrity in order to take a break from the rigors of our daily lives. They are supposed to be our stress-relievers. If they become the source of stress, take a step back and re-evaluate. Don’t worry if your idol is like Alden, he’ll understand why you need to take a break. He’s unselfish that way. :smile:

4. Remind myself where I really belong.

There are times when I feel like I don’t belong anywhere in this fandom, like I’m not good enough to be his fan. Whenever it happens, I get sad. Extremely sad, and question my entire existence. I got this a lot particularly during HLG promotions. I felt like I’m being slapped in the face of the fact that if you don’t belong to a recognized fan group, you don’t belong, period. In order to cope, I had to constantly remind myself that I declared at the beginning of 2019 that I’m just going to do it the normal way and fangirl from a distance. However, stubborn Agent P is stubborn and doesn’t listen to reason. Thus, the sudden bouts of extreme sadness and loss of self-confidence.

Recent events have told to me that what I feel is not necessarily what it really is. So now, I have to re-calibrate my declaration and re-define where I really belong. I do belong somewhere in this fandom. It’s not ‘from a distance’, not a far one, anyway. To hell with anyone who tells me otherwise. :blink:

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Hit, Love, Goodbye.

Here’s something I used to do a lot but I haven’t been doing lately: a totally random K-pop post. :oops:

I’ve written before that my current K-pop bias is the group SEVENTEEN. (I wrote a short background of how I got into the group at my SEVENTEEN Ideal Cut in Manila Aftermath report.) The group has just released their latest single, HIT, and it was AWESOME. I mean, I am not a fan of EDM but for some reason, this song just caught me hook, line and sinker. I feel like clubbing after this. Mind you, I hate clubbing.

I’ve also been spending time watching reaction videos to this MV and they all had one thing in common: after the video, they just sat there dumbfounded and out of words to say.

It suddenly it hit me: there’s a recent thing which had the same effect on me and practically everyone who saw it.

That recent thing? The movie Hello, Love, Goodbye.

I distinctly remember the premiere night, how everyone just sat through the end credits as if it’s a Marvel movie, waiting for what will happen next. We strutted out of the cinema with eyes glazed, asking ourselves and each other what the heck did we just experience. It’s simply mind-blowing. We were all dumbfounded, we just found ourselves grasping for tickets to the next screening. And the next. And the next.

Fortunately for SEVENTEEN’s Hit, all I have to do is to hit ‘reload’ to see it again. And again. And again.

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No goodbyes.

Aka. A (hopefully) spoiler-free mini-review of Hello, Love, Goodbye

I wasn’t prepared to write about Hello, Love, Goodbye this early.

I went to last night’s by-invitation-only premiere with the intention of just showing my support outside the cinema, as I don’t have a ticket. Then, a friend informed me that another friend was able to pull some strings and managed to score tickets at the last minute. I was one of the lucky few who were able to see the movie ahead of the general public. Hence, this mini-review.

I’ll try my best to keep things spoiler-free for those who haven’t seen the movie yet.

1. Let’s talk about the technicals first. The utilization of a Thai film production house for post-production is very evident if you’ve been regularly watching movies produced by Star Cinema. The color grading is different. I’m used to seeing vivid colors in Star Cinema films. On HLG, the colors are more on the subdued, sepia side. Which, for me, perfectly captures what the story is all about, as well as the real feel of Hong Kong. From the way the scenes are framed up to the production design, even the songs included in the soundtrack, everything fits.

2. Cancel out whatever theories you’ve formulated in your head based on the teaser and trailers. If you’ve heard stories – fabricated or otherwise – about the plot or certain scenes, throw them out of the window. This is a love story, yes. But love stories aren’t limited to romantic love, and this is exactly what the movie is saying. There’s family love, and also self-love. It’s not one-dimensional.

Also, while the movie is not short on hilarious and kilig moments, it’s not a rom-com. And it’s most definitely NOT pabebe.

3. Speaking of pabebe: Kathryn’s critics have branded her as a pabebe actress, and to be quite honest, I agree to a certain extent. This is coming from someone who has seen practically all KathNiel movies. Prior to The Hows Of Us, the one whom I’ve always thought to have grown so much in the field of acting was Daniel Padilla. Then THOU came along, and while there was a very noticeable change in Kath’s acting, the one who still caught my attention was Daniel. Despite two Best Actress trophies won for THOU, I still didn’t see the “bagong Kathryn Bernardo” that they were talking about. (Sorry, just being honest here.)

For me, the “bagong Kathryn Bernardo” has truly arrived in Hello, Love, Goodbye.

I mean, WOW. The sacrifices that she had to endure to fully absorb the Joy character really paid off. One look at her eyes and you’ll feel her pain. One look at her face and you’ll see her changing. Even her diction which I had always found to be pabebe-ish is gone. Now I can truly say that Kathryn Bernardo is one of the best actresses of this generation.

4. As for the one who’s also being called a Pabebe Actor by his critics: well, I’ve always known Alden Richards to be one heck of an actor. It’s the reason why I became a fan. I know what he can do and he is most certainly more than just Pambansang Bae. After seeing HLG, I’m like looking at a brand new actor. Yes, he CAN do more. He has mastered the Art of Pakilig, but it’s a different kind of pakilig here. It’s not just the charms. As Ethan, there’s a certain mystery in his aura that when he finally let go and opened up, you just find yourself being uncontrollably drawn towards him the way Joy has.

Also, if you’ve only known him as Alden Richards of Kalyeserye in all his wholesome goodness, prepare to be in shock for like, 20 minutes or so. Actually, it’s been several hours and I still couldn’t get over it. This, despite me knowing that KSAlden isn’t really the real Alden. I’m shocked because I didn’t expect to see it on this film.

5. Come to think of it, it’s the same with Kathryn. Frankly, I was totally floored that I spent the first quarter of the movie clutching my armrest and screaming internally because I couldn’t take what I’m seeing on the screen. In a good way. It was raw, it was totally unexpected from these two actors, and one particular scene was so beautifully (and shockingly) executed, you’d end up hungry and wanting for more (in Ethan’s words, “nagutom ako”).

But all that shock factor is just an introduction to the characters. They let us in to their pain and struggles, and when they had to go through the ordeal of choosing what to do with their lives, we, the audience, also go through that same ordeal. We felt their pain. Director Cathy Garcia-Molina is not just a master storyteller, she’s also a genius in drawing out raw emotions from her actors. Kathryn and Alden delivered master performances under her helm.

6. I’ve seen majority of Star Cinema’s previous movies about OFWs, particularly Anak which was also set in Hong Kong. It might be the same scenario but the stories are definitely different. HLG truly has a millennial feel.

As with all Cathy Garcia-Molina/Carmi Raymundo films, HLG is filled with one-liners that will end up on the list of Classic Movie Lines that becomes the film’s trademark. Although I cringe at some of Ethan’s pick-up lines, but I think that’s the point. We’re supposed to cringe at his random cheesiness.

7. Supporting cast: you could never go wrong with ever-reliable actors like Joross Gamboa (trademark one-liners galore), Kakai Bautista and Jeffrey Tam. Maymay Entrata is endearing as Joy’s cousin Mary Dale, and Lovely Abella certainly didn’t look and act like a newbie beside Kakai and Kathryn. We should see more of Maricel Laxa; she had two scenes in the movie but it didn’t go unnoticed. The revelation for me was Jameson Blake. It’s my first time to see him act and I was pleasantly surprised that he was able to duke it out in the acting department alongside Alden and Lito Pimentel, who are both amazing actors. Jameson just has to improve on his delivery of Tagalog lines (he still has a hint of American twang) and he will go much further as an actor.

The thing that I like about HLG is, everyone in the cast is indispensable. If you take out one of them, it won’t work as well as it did.

8. That ending.

Echoing what most of the people who came out of the cinema after the movie said: can we have the sequel by tomorrow? Please? Don’t make us suffer like this! :cry:

As I was traversing my way home, I was pondering on what other movie had the same feel as how the story of Joy and Ethan unfolded. I came up with…

Sana Maulit Muli. Yes, the Aga Muhlach-Lea Salonga starrer which is now a cult classic.

Do you agree?

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