That ‘WTF just happened???’ moment.

I haven’t been blogging lately because I got busy. Or lazy. Or both. :lol: But after finishing It’s OK To Be Not OK (the Netflix version of the title, which I am going to adopt for this write-up; the direct translation from the Korean title is Psycho, But It’s OK), I just feel that I have to write about it. Don’t expect a lengthy, romantic prose nor interpretations of symbolism nor anything like that. This is just me in my usual Agent P self, being shallow and all. :razz:

So here it is.

Mini-review: It’s OK To Be Not OK

***I’ll try my best to keep this spoiler-free even if, I think, I’m the last one in my universe to have seen this drama. But just in case, WARNING: There might be SPOILERS.

True confession: I was kinda afraid to watch It’s OK To Be Not OK (IOTBNO). I’ve been looking forward to it, being such a sucker for anything Kim Soo Hyun. However, I’m more of a binge-watcher. I have this thing about waiting for the original run to end – or at the very least, be on its last two episodes – before I start watching because I hate having to wait a week before I know what happens next. I painstakingly avoided looking at posts related to IOTBNO to avoid spoilers. Which is not an easy task, especially when the drama blew up. Nearly everyone on my social media feeds are talking about it, even raving about it as The. Best. K-Drama. EVERRRRR. It became more difficult when even Alden Richards, whom every move I follow religiously, is posting about it.

Eventually, it almost suffered the Meteor Garden Sickness with me. But mine was more of apprehensions rather than the usual, “everyone is watching it and I want to be different” sort of thing. What if I end up getting disappointed or shortchanged? I’m OK if it’s something like DOTS or CLOY which I didn’t mind at all if I ended up not raving about it. This drama has one of my absolute favorite actors on the cast, and is being fanboyed over by another one of my absolute favorite actors. To be disappointed about it would be devastating for me.

But, the other favorite actor, Alden Richards, is raving about it. Alden, who barely had interest in watching Korean dramas even if people are practically pushing him to watch one, is even Tweeting/Instagramming about it. What’s the big deal? So, despite being stumped with work deadlines, I started watching IOTBNO before the last episode was released.

Unlike my usual trend when watching K-dramas that interest me, it took me a week to finish the first 12 episodes. Yes, the work deadlines got in the way, but if I’m engrossed with a K-drama I usually devote a day or two to binge-watch and then just worry about cramming for deadlines later. :razz: (Don’t try this at home, kids. Pawang propesyunal po lamang ang nakakagawa n’on.) And then there’s the problem of my home internet connection acting up for a day or two. Still, I don’t usually let those things get in the way of my eagerness to watch a K-drama. For some reason, I was fine with watching IOTNBO one or two episodes at a time and not on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad nor boring. The pacing was just right, the acting was superb, and Kim Soo Hyun is drop dead gorgeous, I always end up muttering “bakit apaka-pogi mong bata ka?” at every close-up of his face. :dream: I’m just not getting the usual reactions that I see on social media as regards every episode of IOTNBO. To quote them American Idol judges, it’s just alright for me.

This part terrified me. Why didn’t I react the same way as they did? Why am I not shedding tears towards the scenes or episodes which, they said, were surefire tearjerkers? Am I really that dead inside?

Still, it didn’t dampen my interest and continued watching. For three reasons:
(1) The drama’s overall theme of the dark reality behind fairy tales;
(2) It tackles mental health issues, for which I could somewhat relate;
(3) Kim Soo Hyun. Of course.

And then, it happened. The end of Episode 13. The part that made me hit that ‘Pause’ button and yell, “WHAT THE F***?!?!?!?!” in full volume at 1:30 in the morning. :whoa:

After that, I simply could not stop watching. I binge watched until the end and finished just as the sun was rising this morning. It took me a good 30 minutes before I was able to sleep because my adrenaline level was so high, it took a lot of convincing myself to get some zzz’s first in order to stop myself from turning my laptop on and start blogging.

I finally understood what they were saying about this drama’s every scene being essential to the entire story. From Episode 14 thereon, I told myself that I should’ve paid more attention to the first 13. Every little thing was nicely wrapped up in the last three episodes. The writing was brilliant. The direction was brilliant. The ACTING was super-brilliant. I was stunned, amazed, to say the least. I don’t remember ever being floored by a K-drama like this before.

My entire experience watching It’s OK To Be Not OK taught me, first-hand, one of the lessons they tackled here: do not judge quickly without knowing the full story first.

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Just a side note as regards Alden Richards and It’s OK To Be Not OK.

I’m not just saying this because I’m his fan, he’s a fan of IOTBNO, and the drama is super popular: By the middle of Episode 1, I immediately thought that Alden Richards is perfect for the role of Moon Gang Tae. The entire character screams ALDEN RICHARDS. It actually screamed RICHARD REYES FAULKERSON, JR. to me, but I cannot elaborate, lest I be called feeling close or worse, overly delusional. Which, Agent P has always been from as far as the Rain era, so what the heck am I saying? :lmao:

Mind you, I had this thought way before Alden revealed in an interview last Friday that he became interested in IOTBNO because one of the GMA Drama writers recommended it to him and told him that he’s fit for the Moon Gang Tae role. Yes, I’m flexing something for which I have no proof, but remember which blog you’re reading. :glee:

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Quarantine viewing No. 6: Moon-Sun, revisited.

(Note: The English translation of the drama’s title has many incarnations, but for this blog I’ll be using the Netflix version since I saw it there.)

Out of the many new and not-so-new but I haven’t seen Korean (and non-Korean) series out there, I ended up watching Moon Embracing The Sun again. For some reason, Back in Time (시간을 거슬러) from the Moon-Sun OST kept playing in my head for several days even if I’ve never listened to it since what… 2012 or 2013? It’s weird, but I took it as a sign that I should go and watch Moon-Sun again. It’s been about eight years since I last saw it, after all. Thankfully, the show is on Netflix so I didn’t have to rummage through my old files anymore.


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Quarantine viewing No. 4: Hyena.

There’s always that one moment when someone recommends something out of the blue, you decide to check it out with no expectations whatsoever, and you end up with a pleasant surprise. Hyena belongs to that category.

Out of the many recommendations from various friends, two people mentioned this K-drama to me: one is a colleague who said that she and her daughter liked it; and another from a friend from the K-entertainment (and at some point, Alden) fandom who bravely described it as, “better than the popular ones”. This second one piqued my interest. I know her taste. She won’t recommend something that’s not, at the very least, interesting to watch.

Another factor: Joo Jihoon is in this drama. I’m still on Joo Jihoon Fangirl Mode after Kingdom 2 and the Along With The Gods movies (I’ll devote a separate blog for the movies I saw during ECQ) so Hyena really should be next on my list.

The premise might not sound too attractive for the general viewing public. The story is about lawyers, so the automatic reaction is, “legal drama = too serious = BORING.” At least, that was my initial apprehension. First of all, it’s not a serious drama in the sense that it’s actually a comedy to some extent. Half of the scenes are light and oftentimes cute. May kilig factor rin, but not in the usual Rom-Com fashion. It’s Rom-Com for adults. No pabebe kissing here, folks. :naughty: Which should be expected because, hello, Joo Jihoon AND Kim Hye Soo. If you’re familiar with their work, you should never expect to see dead fish kissing in Hyena.

But since it’s a legal drama, it requires a lot of focus and concentration from the viewers, especially those of us who heavily depend on subtitles. I lost count of the number of times I had to hit ‘Rewind’ because I mistakenly checked my phone for incoming messages and missed a crucial line or two. And in this drama, every freakin’ line or two MUST be understood because you will miss the plot twist, you’ll end up asking yourself WTH just happened. Each episode is filled with that, and you must remember everything they said, who appeared in what episode and how did they fit in the story because it will all come back again at some point in the series. They won’t even help you with the usual repeated scenes in flashbacks which are, surprisingly and a pleasant one at that, quite few here.

I know it doesn’t sound attractive right now (of the ayokong mag-isip variety), but I sometimes think we need these types of dramas that stimulate our brains. Especially when we’re on quarantine.

Anyway, I’m amazed when I did my research and found that the writer is a rookie (although Hancinema listed two projects and her first one was another legal drama in 2015). :shock: I can’t believe that a rookie can come up with something as polished as this. She probably has a legal background, given that her two dramas are both about lawyers?

I also read that Hyena was first offered to Song Hye Kyo, who declined it. I’m glad that she did. :razz: Don’t get me wrong, I’m an SHK fan. But I simply don’t think she’s fit for the role. She could be feisty (see: Full House and Descendants of the Sun) but still a bit… sweet? On the other hand, Kim Hye Soo is just PERFECT for this. She’s a great actress, she’s sexy – at age 50, no less! – and she has electrifying sexual chemistry with Joo Jihoon. Well, both of them, individually, have electrifying sex appeal, regardless. It just blended so well on this drama.

As for Joo Jihoon, what can I say. That man has now entered my list of competent Korean actors who are not just pretty faces. The guy can really act. :clap: Such a dashing debonair, too. When women swoon over him, you just understand why. That innate Royal Aura still works even if it isn’t a sageuk drama.

Viewers of Kingdom would be delighted to know that the actor who played the bumbling Beom Pal is in this drama, too.

So. Dare I follow what my friend said and say that Hyena is better than the popular ones? I say, HELL YEAH.

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Quarantine viewing No. 2: Bollywood.

Continuing on with my Enhanced Community Quarantine series…

This extended homestay should’ve been my opportunity to catch up on my K-drama series backlogsssssss. However, we’re not exactly on vacation. In fact, my deadlines are tighter than ever. :stretcher: I can’t fully devote my time and attention on K-dramas but my brain needs to take breaks sometimes. I needed something long enough to fill in those breaks but not too long a diversion from work. The answer? Bollywood movies.

I have my own library of Bollywood films that I like but I’ve already seen them all. Fortunately, Netflix has a wide selection of movies from India. So far, I’ve seen the following movies during the ECQ period:

1. Dil Dhadakne Do – I saw this from a friend’s post on Facebook and decided to check it out. Priyanka Chopra is in it and I like her. (Bonus: Aamir Khan is, apparently, in this movie, too.) The plot seems interesting, too. Thankfully, it did not disappoint. The almost three-hour running time did not feel like three hours at all. The family conflicts are very familiar even on a non-Indian setting.

2. Jai Mummy Di – I just picked this one from the similar titles under Dil Dhadakne Do because of its seemingly simple storyline. It’s actually quite funny. I don’t know anyone from the cast but it still piqued my interest. I also wondered what caused the rift between the moms, which they didn’t reveal until the very last scene.

3. Om Shanti Om – this one, I picked because I’ve seen both leads (Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone) in other movies. It’s on the cheesy side – well, nearly all Bollywood romance movies are – but it’s also fun. Trying to spot the other famous Bollywood artists who made cameos is an added bonus. Plus points for me: Abishek Bachchan (aka. Aishwariya Rai’s husband)’s cameo. I just adore that guy. :dream: Also, watch out for the long music video halfway through the movie which included an all-star cast of famous Indian actors and actresses like Priyanka Chopra and Salman Khan. The featured song is so catchy. I can still sing “Ohm Shanti Oooohm…” days after watching the movie.

4. Andaz Apna Apna (ongoing) – I chose this movie because of the leads. It’s a double whammy of Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. While watching this, I couldn’t help but think how quickly the quality of Bollywood movies has improved. Andaz Apna Apna is from 1994, yet it looked like it was filmed in the early 80’s. By 2000-2001, Bollywood movies have already evolved into those glossy productions that can rival those made in Hollywood.

I still haven’t finished this movie, and I’m not sure if I will. It’s too over-the-top for me. I’ve already seen Aamir and Salman in much better movies with much, much better acting, so I don’t think I can still stand the cheesiness of this one. Just in case you’re new to this scene and is still interested to see this one: Watch it before Bajrangi Bhaijaan or any of Aamir Khan’s blockbusters from Lagaan onwards for maximum appreciation.

5. Next on my queue, and it’s not exactly Bollywood: Slumdog Millionaire. I’ve already seen it years ago, but seeing Anil Kapoor on Dil Dhadakne Do reminded me that he was on Slumdog Millionaire, so I rummaged through my movie library for the file (note: it’s not on Netflix). I remember seeing this before I started watching Bollywood movies, so let’s see if I’ll still enjoy it the same way I did before.

Any recommendations for good Bollywood films I must check out?

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Quarantine viewing, No. 1: Crash Landing On You.

Since we’re still on Enhanced Quarantine brought about by COVID-19 and I do have a lot of time on my hands, I’ll be writing a series of blogs on what I have been watching while stuck at home. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep my word on this. I oftentimes get lazy, ya know. :hihihi:

Side note: I initially thought that this should be No. 2 since Kingdom 2 is No. 1, but I realized that I technically binge-watched Kingdom 2 before the quarantine started. Therefore, this is really No. 1.

Mini-review: Crash Landing On You

***SPOILER ALERT***, although I really might not need it. I think I’m the only one left in my universe who hasn’t seen CLOY. :lol:

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