2013 was a good year for Philippine cinema, especially if you turned your eye towards those novel indies churned out by independent film festivals such as Cinemalaya, CineFilipino, Sineng Pambansa All-Masters Edition, and the Cinema One Originals.
We swear though that this piece won't bash romantic comedies as the poison of mainstream local cinema.
It’s just that last year, learning about the struggles of the diasporic Filipino community in Israel in Hannah Espia’s Cinemalaya-winning Transit, or realizing that Star Cinema could actually fund an eye-opening crime film as Erik Matti’s OTJ, or that Pinoy melodrama as exhibited in Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati could come out as realistic and heart-shattering, give us a glimmer of hope that Philippine cinema is not dead.
Or at least has not yet run out of creativity and genius.
The film critic Jessica Zafra said in one of her column entries last year that the films of 2013 gave the Golden Age of Philippine cinema (the 1950’s to the early 1980’s ), “a stiff competition.” The great filmmakers of yesteryear, like Ishmael Bernal, Lino Brocka, and Mike De Leon, would have been proud of last year's crop of movies.
We delight in that thought, and have faith that we won’t go downhill from there.
So now we do our part. FHM puts on its smarmy, know-it-all hats on, and prescribes a few things Pinoy mainstream films should rid itself of this 2014. We begin with...
1. Any one of these over-used plots (whose endings are predictable thanks to their trailers):
A. An arrogant/affluent/womanizing boy meets an average-looking girl with a good heart (can also be a quirky or a tomboy-ish girl who in the end turns out to be beautiful after a major makeover)
(Example: John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo’s A Very Special Love, Kim Chiu and Xian Lim’s Bride for Rent, Sarah Geronimo and Gerald Anderson’s Won’t Last a Day Without You)
In case you were wondering, yes, Kathryn gets a magical makeover by this movie's end
B. A pair of best friends—a girl and a boy—realize they’ve loved each other all along but just couldn’t admit it because they’re afraid of risking their friendship...
...or their court chemistry during basketball
(Example: Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin’s Labs Kita Okay Ka Lang?, Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson’s Paano Na Kaya?, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo’s Must Be… Love, and Bea Alonzo and Dingdong Dantes’s She The One)
C. A young man, heir to his grandfather’s hacienda/company/kingdom, falls in love with a poor
(or sometimes middle-class ) beautiful woman. The young man’s family (or “matapobre”
mother or grandmother) does not approve of the relationship. Or really, any plot that depicts forbidden love.
Senyora Santibanez doesn't agree with our suggestions that much
Again, romantic films are fine. It’s a classic genre, love being a universal theme in literature and in cinema. Besides, we can’t totally obliterate the idiosyncratic love Filipinos have for romance. It’s quite inherent.
But for starters, here's what were looking for: less over-the-top drama, more realistic portrayals, and perhaps a treatment that won't make us say, "Eh napanood ko na yan eh!"
Let’s leave the Miggy Montenegro and Laida Magtalas love story in 2013.