Speed Reviews # 2: Emily in Paris, Soul, The Savage Truth.. stuff from Nov 2020 – Jan 2021

Here comes another speed reviews compilation of selected media I’ve consumed these past three months (November-ish 2020 – January 2021). Please note I don’t often follow the trends. I’ve not watched Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, or any South Korean series. I either pick stuff that nobody knows or chick-flicky type of stuff.

Books

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, Clarissa Goenawan -I’m reading a lot of Asian novels lately. This is my first one of Goenawan. The story touches on diverse topics from suicide, mental health issues, mystery, fantasy, transgender, bullying, etc. It’s a beautifully written character study of a college student who committed suicide, how the people in her life were deeply affected by her death, and how their own life stories shaped their connections and reactions to her passing. Goenawan does have a lot of potential as a writer and I look forward to reading more of her works. 

Rating: 4/5

Kim Ji-Young, born 1982, Cho Nam Joo – This is the story of Kim Ji Young’s life, from her birth up to her descent into mental struggles. It gave readers a glimpse of the unfair and abusive conditions that South Korean women go through, in the context Ji Young’s generation (Gen Y / Millenial). These were caused by the deeply-rooted patriarchy that’s still present in Asia, and the long-held norms and customs of SK culture. The version that I read is a direct translation from the SK version. It could be because of the translation that the story felt flat and stiff. Besides the storytelling, I was left wanting to know more about what happened after Ji Young’s descent to madness. I wish it was written similar to The Bell Jar, where Plath (RIP) shared the protagonist’s journey to healing. Overall, it had a good and relatable premise, but I wanted more. 

Rating: 3/5

The Savage Truth, Greg Savage – I just finished this book as I write this. Love! I’ve read a lot of articles, watched learning courses, videos about Agency Recruitment life. This is the only book that addresses many issues we face as Recruiters, including things that management would want to avoid. Mr. Savage gave me a confidence boost that despite all the crap and challenges, our jobs are noble and worthwhile. 

Rating: 5/5

TV Series

Emily in Paris, Netflix – Do not come at me. Yes, I’m aware that many people hated this show. I even watched Youtube videos dedicated to ripping the series to shreds. However, on a particularly not so good week, I went on to Netflix in an attempt to find something light-hearted, “no need to think so much series” and chose Emily in Paris. So how did I manage to mildly like the series? Exactly what I said earlier, Don’t Think, Just Watch. It’s so not realistic and I kinda felt bad for Emily too. However, I think she proved she can take things in stride and I am looking forward to watching S2, in the moments where I just want to be entertained and not think. 

Rating: 3/5

Virgin River, Netflix – Love, love, love. I randomly selected Virgin River on my list of no-frills series last year. It’s one of those Starting Over types of drama in a cottage core setting. There are enough storylines to keep the series going (for now). It’s drama but not over the top, campy, too unrealistic, stuff that I grew up watching in the Philippines. Happy that they’re getting a lot of streams and are renewed for S3 with the whole cast returning. 

Rating: 5/5. 

Movies

Hayop Ka! (You Animal!), Netflix – This is a Filipino Netflix original whose story (I feel) semi-capitalizes on poverty porn that Filipino movies are known for internationally. Characters are based on animals (Think Bojack Horseman), hence the title. Perfume Saleslady (a Cat) is in a steady relationship with a Janitor (a Dog), and they live a working-class life. She becomes infatuated and gets into an affair with a millionaire (a Siberian Husky) and faces its consequences. I like this because of its attempt in animation and makes me hopeful about Filipino’s capabilities to produce animated films. The storyline, I would say still very typical Filipino, which I hope can be improved. 

For additional context, Hayop Ka! is a Filipino expression used when you are mad at someone whom you thought did something so outrageous and so low, it’s inhumane (e.g. having an affair). Hence, you tell the other person Hayop Ka!

Rating: 3.5/5

Soul, Pixar – First movie we watched in 2021 in a movie theatre. Not particularly fond of animated series from Disney / Pixar but liked this one,(along with Inside Out). It’s about a Soul trying to get back to Earth to fulfill his dream job. It’s a reminder that our lives are not defined solely by the big moments and success. My partner and I watched a review dissing this movie and I do agree to some extent, especially with how they ended the movie. But again, the aim was for me to be entertained and it helped me feel what I am trying to feel about life in general. 

Rating: 4/5

Dark Waters, Focus Features – Loved this movie. It seems like this didn’t get a lot of buzz though. It’s a real-life story of a Lawyer who risked his career and family life to help sue the Number One Chemical company in the world for what they did to a community in West Virginia, US. Probably one of the few successful high-profile cases that show you how huge big corporation’s powers are, and it takes years, A LOT of money, endurance, sacrifice, resilience, and determination is needed to get justice in this world. 

Rating: 5/5

As usual, I’m happy to receive recommendations on any chick flick type of media on the comments below!

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