Saturday, January 23, 2016

Creed: Not Necessarily a Movie Review

It was my 18th birthday when I first saw the original Rocky movie in a bug-infested lowly theatre in Angeles City, Pampanga. That was 9 years after the flick was shown in 1st class movie houses all over the world. And since then, I followed all the Rocky films for almost 4 decades.  Just minutes ago today before my day starts, I watched Creed in full, a 2015 film directed by Ryan Coogler starring Michael B. Jordan (just a namesake of the famed basketball superstar) as Adonis Johnson or simply Donny, and of course Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, the lead character of the all Rocky’s from 1 to 6. Stallone won the Best Supporting Actor Award from the Golden Globe through Creed just last week but did not thank his director and his co-star in his acceptance speech but that’s another story.

With the benefit of modern communication technology and the advancement of cyberspace, it’s now very convenient to watch movies anytime and anyplace most preferable to us. Just to let you know, except for Creed, I do not download and eventually watch newly released movies and I rather re-watch those English films I've seen when I was young maybe to reminiscent and to understand in depth a certain film, its true message, meaning and lessons that I failed to absorb and internalize or understand with my young and entertainment-focused self back then. Familiarity with Rocky movies from my time made me curious about this new, 2015 movie, a reboot actually. Creed, true enough, is a personally a nostalgically spin-off movie for me. 

I will not be reviewing Creed like what known movie critics are doing. I will not dwell on its synopsis and technical and projection and other cinematic fragments and treatments. This is not a review but more of a reflective reaction hinges on the lessons I acquire seeing this one heck of a film. (As a substitute, I would like to lead you to THIS link for an alternative read in case you are more interested in review.) Since this is more of a reflective reaction on the film, in this blog entry, I will present some of my insights, mainly built on quotes and situations from the movie as against some personal reflections.

Over and above, Sylvester Stallone kept the Rocky movie franchise pertinent and stimulating through generations and this question settles in my mind at this very moment: What are the things I have initiated in my life that would outlast me? A train of thoughts flashed through me and notable among them is how I raised my 3 wonderful God-considering and intelligent children. Two of them are now professional teachers, just like me and their nanay and they possessed gifts that can be traced to my very being. I guided them, together with my wife, to the importance of education and faith, the beauty of reading and writing and connecting with people and shared the things that I cherished when I was young including the unrecorded personal creed that I am still trying to live by.

For Mary Anne (Phycilla Rashad), past is past. Mary Anne, Apollo Creed’s widow, instead of ignoring the child Adonis (or Donny), she raised her husband’s bastard and abandoned son and gave him a good future and treated him like her own kid. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) was Rocky Balboa’s nemesis turned best friend in number of Rocky sequels. Like Mary Anne, I did not tie myself thinking my about my wasted days when I was a teenager but strived to finish my studies while working even it took me 10 years to graduate from my course. Also in one scene, Balboa pushed Johnson saying, “That bell don’t mean school’s out.  Keep going Donny.”  To add, that is exactly what I am doing in my life as a social communicator and advocate, as a family man and civil servant and as a thinker and a Catholic believer.

Our toughest opponent is our self. In another scene as you can see in the above photo, Balboa told Johnson while inside the gym as the latter looks at a mirror, “That’s the toughest opponent when you get in the ring or in life.” Well, it goes without elaborating but nice reminder too for me especially on this day. Again, to return back to my family and my children, I am part of them but they have their own identity, they have their own ring to invade, their own life to live, as Mary Anne told Donny, “You are your father’s son. You are part of him. But you don’t have to be him.” But I hope someday, I’ll see my children examining the gloves that I wore without necessarily wearing them. By the way, Adonis, who changed his surname from Johnson to Creed, on the big night of the big fight, wore his father’s trunk, given to Adonis by Mary Anne, for the world to know that he’s Apollo’s son, and whom did he pass his legacy. Creed is not only about boxing but more importantly about life's triumph, about legacy, about family.

What an increedible movie to start my day, on my birthday, today. ...

(Photo; Google)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

On Miss Universe Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach as James Bond Girl

If you are not a follower of James Bond movies, probably you are not familiar with following characters: Pussy Galore (Goldfinger, 1964), Plenty O’Toole (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971), Kissy Suzuki (You Only Live Twice, 1964) and Chew Mee (The Man With A Golden Gun, 1974). Yes they are just 4 of the 75, as of this writing, James Bond girls from over 50 years of the 007 movie series. A Bond girl is a love interest and/or female partner or antagonists of cinema’s most loved secret agent and guessing from the names I cited above, occasionally they, the girls, have names with double meanings, if not outright naughtiness. The name Kissy Suzuki for instance, titillates Filipino males.

In her TV interview aired over Good Morning America last Tuesday, Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach, the 26-year-old actress-beauty queen expressed her desire to the next Bond girl. She said, “Of course, that’s one of my dreams. Hopefully, I’d be able to do that.” Well, the idea, for now, is archive –bound for Alonzo-Wurtzbach has just started her very challenging job as Miss U.

Should this happen, Alonzo-Wurtzbach would be the second Bond girl with Filipino roots. Being the first was Rachel Grant, a half-Filipino and half-English. Grant, starred in “Die Another Day” in 2002 as Peaceful Fountains of Desire, a Chinese agent disguised as a masseuse. It is said that Grant, born September 25, 1977, specializes in Filipino martial art called Arnis under the tutelage of Dan Inosanto, real-life buddy of the late Bruce Lee.

Let us go back to Ms. Alonzo-Wurtzbach, the third Filipina to get the most coveted Miss Universe title, and her dream of becoming a Bond girl. Truly, almost all of the ingredients of a Bond lady is within her: full of glamour, sophistication, dressed in mystery and charm. She already been in 4 movies in the past namely, Kung Ako Na Lang Sana (2003), All My Life (2004) and All About Love (2006) aside from appearing in many TV soap operas, it certainly would not be very hard for her to act.

Philippines’ second Miss U, Margie Moran (now Floriendo), in case you do not know, only appeared in a movie once. Moran’s self-titled film was Oh, Margie Oh (1974), a musical comedy flick directed by Paul Silos with Victor Laurel and Celia Rodriguez as her co-starrers. Well, do I need to say that Gloria Diaz accumulated more or less seventy movies to her credit since she won the 1969 Miss Universe pageant? Most memorable of all is her first film Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (1974) as Isabel (Is this the reason why her child was named Isabelle [Daza]?) and as Matilde in Carlo J. Caparas’ Andres de Saya (1980).

Since the Bond girls are favourite topics of speculation, let us speculate what character Pia would be portraying if in case she appears as Bond girl in the future. Will she have to bed Bond (like the other Bond girl) or strongly act as a sex-appeal oozing side kick or be his brutally beautiful villain like May Day (A View To Kill, 1985)  or Xenia Onatopp (Golden Eye, 1995) with her powerful legs squeezing her preys to death. Any which way would be something to look forward to. 

If Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach would land in a Bond movie in the future, she will be the first Miss Universe to join the elite ranks of Bond girls. Who knows? But meantime, let us anticipate more about her homecoming this January 23. That will be a very great day, I know…