By Elton James Gagni, Senior Editorial Associate
Since the enhanced community quarantine took effect, we’ve gotten creative with our ways of coping. While work from home keeps us busy most of the time, we also need to learn to set boundaries as we continue to tread uncharted waters.
As the saying goes, it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Well, it has certainly been more and for me, it’s watching at least one film after work just to cleanse and relax my mind from writing articles and handling a crisis. Here are some recommendations that I keep coming back to and hopefully, these titles would help you laugh a little, outstress you from work, tease your mind, or simply keep your feelings in check.
I’m Drunk, I Love You (2017)
As far as mainstream Filipino romantic comedies go, I’m Drunk, I Love You shies away from the usual grand gestures and dramatic lines, and ultimately keeps it fresh, real, and simple. It captivates you to be part of the fun and also aspire to have the kind of friendship that they have. It may be one of the most chill romcoms out there in terms of narrative and storytelling, but it still packs a punch with their hugot lines, tucked in nicely between moments and conversations.
Our natural curiosity towards the unknown is what keeps Interstellar relevant up to this day. While we’ve had numerous features on space exploration, no other film has done it as much justice as Interstellar. Set during a time when the Earth is slowly succumbing to death, it tackles the lengths that a parent would go to keep their children safe, and let them have a brighter future, even if it’s on another planet.
While everyone loves Frozen, let’s not forget Coco and its take on family and traditions. Set during the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead, this film focuses on Miguel’s journey to become a musician, even if it’s against his family. Finding himself in the land of the dead, Miguel must now search for a way to come back and still pursue music or risk being one of the dead permanently. Also, prepare for waterworks, especially when Remember Me finally kicks in.
Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) (2016)
Considered as one of Japan’s most successful animated films, Your Name perfectly combines the beauty of Japanese animation, an unconventional love story, and superb musical scoring. Your Name is about highschool students Mitsuha and Taki who have recurring incidents of switching bodies when they wake up. While they’ve grown fond of living each other’s lives, what happens when it suddenly stops after a meteor crash?
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
I believe we can all agree that Thor: Ragnarok is one of the best, if not the best, non-Avengers film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Why is this part of the list? Well, here are five amazing reasons: (1) Chris Hemsworth as MCU’s resident funny man Thor; (2) Tom Hiddleston as the sly and shady Loki; (3) Tessa Thompson as the drunk kickass Valkyrie; (4) the one and only Cate Blanchett as the Goddess of Death Hela; (5) Taika Waititi. Enough said.
While five may be a short list, here are some honorable mentions that are also worth going back to:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The struggle of adapting books to screen has always been the faithfulness to the source material. Luckily, the silver screen version of The Hunger Games did not disappoint, but the most praise-worthy is the second film, Catching Fire. If you’ve read the book, you’d be amazed at how each scene pans out. It’s as if you see the pages flipping right before your eyes. From the Victory Tour to Katniss’ wedding dress reveal, even the entire 75th Quarter Quell, everything was perfect to a tee.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
From one adaptation to another, The Devil Wears Prada gives you a glance of what happens in the fashion industry, on the surface at the very least. From Miranda Priestly’s (Meryl Streep) eloquence to the overall story and production, the film has earned praises from critics for improving on the book. While Anne Hathaway was one of the lead stars, it was Streep and Emily Blunt who took home praises for their effective and scene-stealing performances.
Fresh from its winning streak, Parasite feels like a timely film to watch, given the social commentary it presents. For those unfamiliar, Parasite tells the story of how an impoverished family climbs the social ladder by latching on to a rich family, until the consequences of their actions come to haunt them. Fiction as it may be, many see the film as a reflection of society and the invisible lines we’ve created to divide ourselves in classes, dictating privileges, opportunities, even our respective futures.
Four Sisters and a Wedding (2013)
From a Korean family, let’s meet the Salazars who the Philippines is most proud of. Four Sisters and a Wedding continues to resonate with the people’s hearts because of its accurate portrayal of the complex relationships of a typical Filipino family. Mixed with different quirks and nuances, it balanced out comedic banters and big dramatic moments. It is an emotional and cheesy journey with a strong semblance of family at its core.
Finally, a film that I’m extremely proud of because it’s the first time that my dad didn’t fall asleep in the cinema. BuyBust is a social commentary on the administration’s war on drugs, showcased through a buy bust operation gone wrong. Similar to Parasite, BuyBust presents a fictional reality that holds water because of the short but powerful exchange between Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis) and Biggie Chen (Arjo Atayde). Why is it on the list? Because of its relevant message and also for the adrenaline junkies out there.
Watching films or reading books offer you an opportunity to be transported to different worlds, places, and narratives. Just like music, they can be a form of escape, a way to disconnect from reality even for just an hour or two, and relieve you of the stress or pressure that you feel from work.
We may have different ways of coping, especially in the midst of this pandemic, but the important thing is we keep ourselves and the people around us in check. And with the relentless heat of the summer season taking over, always remember to keep your water bottle close to stay hydrated while you add these films to your watchlist.