More Films That Did Not Make It

When I started this, I thought I would just be listing some films that meant a lot to me.  Things have obviously changed – as I have revisited films and investigate further I have found new films that have made the “list”.  And my film watching odyssey continues, new films are watched and some make the list, and some don’t.

There have been a couple of films recently that have been worthy of comment, but that don’t deserve their own place on the top list.

You Are My Sunshine” is an interesting beast.  Korean Cinema is You_Are_My_Sunshine_film_poster well known for its mega-emotional “weepie” movies – indeed a couple have made the list.  This one is based on a true story, and reminds me very much of a Hallmark Channel Movie/Serial.  By this I mean we have an extended story, beautifully filmed and well acted, that reaches a crisis halfway through, and descends into a veil of tears until the end.  And which remains strangely uninvolving.

This is the story of a simple farmer (played by “Man Who Was A Superman’s Hwang Jeon-min) who has reached a point in his live where he feels all that is missing in his life is marriage.  He meets and falls in love with a “Tabang Girl”/Karaoke Hostess (oh ok, you are right – a Prostitute), Eun-ha (the quite brilliant Jeon Do-yeon).

The first half of the movie deals with their courtship.  He is aware, and does not care about her line of work.  She initially finds his attentions somewhat unwelcome, but about an hour in they are married, and things look rosy.

Then the shit hits the fan.

Eun-ha’s past comes back to haunt her, and to be honest if you see the trailer you will know that she runs away, returns to Prostitution, becomes HIV positive and becomes quite the national Pariah.

Each half of the film is fine, I just wish we spent a little longer seeing the couple happy together in the middle – it would give the final 40 minutes of the film some stronger foundations.

It looks nice, beautifully acted, it is even based on a true story.  But I never got emotionally involved, which makes it a narrow miss.

Sad Movie” is well, exactly as it describes itself.  It tells four semi-001842 connected (some more peripherally connected than others, but they do all cross over in some way) tales of relationships.  Three are romantic, one is about a mother and a young son.  On their own each story would be horribly trite and cliché, but together it works rather well.  It reminds me of a British movie (think “Love Actually”) more than anything, and has an especially strong Korean Cast with many faces familiar to people who have seen the films on the list.

But it fails.

Every story ends in tears.  No-one is redeemed.  No-one gets a happy ending.  And with four stories, and numerous characters, surely one could have gained something over the 2 hours we spend with them.

Dasepo Naughty Girls” is sex comedy based on a poDasepo%20naughty%20girlspular webcomic.   It matches its original format by being almost episodic, a collection of sketches that do tell something quite cohesive.  It looks wonderful, bright and fun.  Some of it is actually rather funny indeed.  But it is far too long, and I stopped laughing long before the end.  The characters are also quite hackneyed, with rarely anything new to say.  I think I was disappointed by the film rather than hated it though – but the lesson is – just because an Asian film gets a UK DVD release, it does not necessarily mean it is any good!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Han-Byul says:

    re: Sad Movie. All valid points here Stephen, except one where you might want to look a little closer. Well okay, considering its nature you may not bother again but still… each and every story has a point, and by the end of each, although it may not be a happy ending, I think what you'll notice is that the characters have all grown in some way. Shin Min Ah has finally learned to face rejection, and will likely be brave enough to reach for love again, Cha Tae Hyun has come to realise what was in front of him all along, his love has moved on, and he must too. Before this he was almost blind, oblivious and pretty pathetic really. These may be hard lessons, but not pointless. I've read many reviews say that the rug is pulled out from under both the audience and the characters but if they dig a little deeper they'll find more to it than that.

    Only problem I had was the video tape thing at the end between Su Jeong and Jung Woo Sung. Unlikely. Both were good though.

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  2. ElPeevio says:

    Han-Byul, of course you are correct. In my defence, the nature of these capsule-type reviews sometimes stops me exploring things, and I might make an ill-considered or badly delivered snap judgement. Yes, absolutely the characters all grown and learn as the movie progresses. And I realise that life is not one happy Frank Capra moment 🙂 In fact I would go much further with your assesment. Shin Min-ah certainly learns that despite rejection she can love again. Cha Tae Hyun has grown more than most characters – yes he was wasting his life in all sorts of ways, and did cut a patheic figure – but I think he has also learned the value of getting of his arse and actually doing something with his life. I hope also that he realses that he is not a bad chap in the final analysis (most of the people he delivered the break up messages to were repellant indiviuals!). The mother and son were obviously able to reconnect. Maybe only Su Jeong and Jung Woo Sung failed to get any kind of closure or personal growth.

    I would have also liked to have seen Shin Min-ah's reaction to the death of her “Brother-in-law” – they did seem close.

    There are plenty of other things I enjoyed too – the Greek Chorus of Dwarves, the clever on screen graphics to show Sign Language, emails and TXT messages.

    In fact that seemed to be an important message of the film. Did you notice how few of the characters actually “spoke” to each other? So much of the communication was performed via other means – emails, txt, signing, video, diaries, via 3rd Parties and so on. Even when they did sit down with each other – so much was left unsaid.

    I had some discomfort with the final videotype scene as well. I thought it was both disturbing that it existed, but also that Su Jeong was asked to watch it. That was until I saw something this week about the people who knew they were going to die in the World Trade Centre during the 9/11 attacks. It turns out that lots of phone calls to loved ones were recorded, by people who knew they were about to die. In many case these people were calm and rational, and just sending out that last message of love and goodbye. Personally, I found the fact that the messages were recorded and made available unsettling, but maybe that final scene is not as far-fetched as we think.

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