Ray Fisher (Cyborg): My father called it a change engine. It was found by the British during World War I. They studied it but they couldn’t even date it, it was so old. It was shelved ‘til the night Superman died. Then she lit up like Christmas. They brought it to Star Labs where my father recognized it as a perpetual energy matrix.
Ezra Miller (Flash): That sounds cool. I thought it was like a nuclear bomb. Cyborg: A mother box destroys as it creates. It’s a cycle of life a million times faster. My father thought it was the key to unlimited energy. New formulas cellular regeneration but its too volatile to control. Ben Affleck (Batman): He used it on you.
Cyborg: I was in an accident. I should’ve died. My father thought he could use the mother box to rebuild the broken parts of me with a few cybernetic adjustments. Instead he built a living machine, maybe stronger than its host. Batman: Too much, too much life. Jason Momoa (Aquaman): What’s on your worried mind? Batman: Coordination basic cellular integrity. The human being can only absorb so much. The mother box was designed to reshape a planet. Aquaman: So?
Batman: What if you were stronger than a planet?
JUSTICE LEAGUE puts together the strongest team possible, at least in the DC Universe: Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Batman (Ben Affleck), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Flash (Ezra Miller).
LizQuen for New Close Up Ever Fresh TVC
Any superhero mega blockbuster movie in my mind is not only as good as the team up but the villain has to be just as compelling and awe-inspiring. The antihero here is the very reason why they’re coming together. That’s why even on the MARVEL side of things they’re already hyping up the enemy in Thanos.
DC Film Legacy
I’ve written this before in previous reviews BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, there’s greater pressure on DC because they have the added burden of pleasing the critics and award giving bodies as well as having to make a gazillion dollars to be called a ‘success’. MARVEL for the most part just has to make money.
Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger have either been nominated or won an Oscar for the Joker role. Christian Bale, Michael Keaton have both made their mark as Batman not to forget their directors Chris Nolan and Tim Burton. And even before those Christopher Reeve & producer Alexander Salkind have also reaped critical acclaim for SUPERMAN in the 1970s. Marlon Brando was Jor-El, Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor), THE GODFATHER novelist Mario Puzo co-wrote the screenplay. Their work was so memorable that a huge number of people to this day think of Christopher Reeve as THE Superman.
Stephen Curry Chooses Rexona, the World’s No.1 Deo
While JUSTICE LEAGUE may not necessarily be Oscar material, I feel it has more than lived up to the creative expectations. If you were to say ANY other film breached the half billion mark it would have been considered a huge success. But because of production costs along with global marketing and having to compare it with the competition apart from other DC AND Marvel titles specifically WONDER WOMAN, THE AVENGERS etc. it is seen as a box office disappointment.
Mother boxes Origin
So going back to the point of why I think it’s a creative success, one of the reasons is their usage of Mother boxes and Steppenwolf as the antagonist. The mother boxes help thresh out the origin of Cyborg. In cartoons Cyborg has come out in TEEN TITANS but his origin was never fully dealt with. As related in the lead dialogue above the mother boxes put an interesting twist to the human/cybernetic combination that is not a new concept.
Cyborg is a lot more than just a Six Million Dollar Man or ROBOCOP. Victor Stone’s exposure to mother boxes allows him to evolve and give him a direct connection with machines, both physical and ‘mental’. For the youth of today who are constantly online, seeing someone who can surf the web with the internet coming out of his hands is a power they can relate to.
Jadine Ding Dong Marian – PNB Serving You First For The Next 100 Years
The Steppenwolf character also ties together the history of the Amazons and the Atlanteans. There’s a greater appreciation of the origin stories of two JUSTICE LEAGUE members in Wonder Woman and Aquaman. That’s why Wonder woman was the one who best explained what the mother boxes are and Steppenwolf:
Gal Gadot (Diana Prince): They don’t contain power, they are power. Carried from planet to planet the mother boxes combine to form the ‘unity’ an apocalyptic power that not only destroys worlds but transforms them into the primordial house gate of Steppenwolf’s birth world. We should’ve died but we formed our own unity: Amazons, Atlanteans all the tribes of man fought side by side. Warriors of legend, allies from other worlds even the gods themselves all acted as one laying down their lives to drive Steppenwolf away. Some say it drove him mad the disgrace of his first retreat. Before our alliance would crumble the darkness would cover the earth. He vowed that he would return when it did. Left behind the mother boxes were too dangerous to be kept together. One was entrusted to the Amazons, one to the Atlanteans, both sealed and guarded secure strongholds. The box of man was buried in secret so that no tribe would be tempted to use its power. Such harmony out of such horror, it was truly an age of heroes.
In any movie I review I include either dialogue or a scene that would pique the interests of the readers. At the same time I don’t want to divulge too much that would ruin the experience of watching it. For the dialogue I have included in the lead and the explanation of Diana (alter ego of Wonder Woman), I feel having a better understanding of the mother boxes and Steppenwolf would definitely enhance the experience.
PAL – Gifts from the Heart: Noche Buena Surprise
Not included in the dialogue above are the scenes running while she related this story which included the Green Lantern race—‘allies from other worlds’ as described by Diana. It may be a teaser for a future member of JUSTICE LEAGUE, which is Green Lantern (most famous human alter ego) aka Hal Jordan.
Using Steppenwolf as the antagonist we get a better sense of how Aquaman came to be. And how the Amazons are not just parts of Greek lore but are defenders of humanity. The use of the mother boxes also drives home a theme of unity from both sides: the boxes have to come together to form a portal for Steppenwolf and the JUSTICE LEAGUE heroes have to gel as a team.
TANDUAY – Piliin Mo Ang Bubuo Sayo
Director Zack Snyder has story credit with Chris Terrio who wrote the screenplay with Joss Whedon. Story and dialogue aren’t the first things that come to mind with superhero movies but in this case they made it work. Terrio has already won an Oscar for ARGO. He also wrote: BATMAN VS SUPERMAN and the upcoming STAR WARS Episode IX, he’s also on board for JUSTICE LEAGUE 2. Interestingly enough Whedon co wrote both AVENGERS (2012) and AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON (2015).
Connected to Steppenwolf is the actor in the role: Ciaran Hinds. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and his name is pronounced KEE-rin. For most fans they know him as Mance Rayder from Game of Thrones. Rayder was an exceedingly tough, legendary leader who united the Wildlings, North of the Wall. I think that’s part of the reason why there was some dissatisfaction with not seeing him and having a CGI character instead.
The problem is the need to have Steppenwolf as physically imposing or threatening to the likes of Wonder Woman and Batman. If you can imagine Jason Momoa (Aquaman) who looks like a 6’3” bodybuilder, running back, Heavyweight UFC fighter. You have to have an antagonist who puts the fear in THEM. So in this age of 3D animation, the visual compromise was acceptable. Hinds vocal performance was powerful and scary, definitely a testament to his acting abilities.
Hilarious Ellen Adarna – Tanduay prank vid
Nielsen is an unforgettable, tall almost imposing Danish beauty. She was also one of the women offered by the devil (Al Pacino) to seduce Keanu Reeves in THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. There’s something striking in her features and blonde hair that seems to denote royalty. She was notable as the emperor’s daughter in GLADIATOR. That’s why as Queen Hippolyta, Nielsen’s performance is equally memorable. One of the scenes hinted at a Lesbian relationship. Which is understandable since they are all women who cannot leave the island of Themyscira. Hippolyta’s sister and Amazon Lieutenant Menalippe played by Dutch actress Loven Kongsli also makes an appearance here. If only for those scenes, JUSTICE LEAGUE has proven its worth.
Ray Fisher, will reprise his role in a stand-alone movie CYBORG and FLASHPOINT (with The Flash) in 2020. Fisher has a solid acting background in theater and once played Mohammad Ali in FETCH CLAY MAKE MAN. He also auditioned for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, although the part went to John Boyega. Cyborg being included in JUSTICE LEAGUE is a great way to add a hero, the younger generation can relate to.
Ezra Miller is the youngest and geekiest of the heroes as the Flash. He looks like a younger, Asian looking version of Jimmy Fallon. Miller’s quirky, self conscious and insecure version of the Flash, is again a character millennials can identify with. His performance however is a departure from his more serious dramatic roles that have earned him critical praise in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011) opposite Tilda Swinton and PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (2012) with Emma Watson. He earned a Chopard trophy in Cannes as a homicidal son in …KEVIN. Most fans will likely remember him as Credence Barebone in FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.
Ellen Adarna intrudes – Tanduay prank vid
Talking about awards, JUSTICE LEAGUE boasts of several Oscar winners (as actors): Jeremy Irons (Alfred), JK Simmons (Commissioner Gordon). Ben Affleck has two, as producer in ARGO (2012) and as screenwriter in GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997). The one weakness, however in the performances for this movie should be Affleck’s. We understand that the voice of the Batman with the mask is distorted. But he made the decision to make himself sound tougher when he’s not wearing the suit/mask. The result is closer to a bad impression of Clint Eastwood in DIRTY HARRY.
Once you can get over that, you can enjoy the rest of the movie especially with the gorgeous and strong Gal Gadot more than making up for it. Ever since WONDER WOMAN Gadot has raised the bar high for women in action films. JUSTICE LEAGUE not only continues that but allows her to ‘fight’ together with other members that makes the scenes even more complex and exciting at the same time.
In my opinion, casting Jason Momoa as Aquaman was Zack Snyder’s best decision. Aquaman isn’t necessarily the action laden, tough, superhero that attracts legions of fans –unlike Batman, Superman or even Wonder Woman. HBO’s ENTOURAGE in one of their episodes made a joke of it as Vince Chase (Adrien Grenier) was hesitant to take the role in a blockbuster film.
Enter Jason Momoa who instantly makes Aquaman, for lack of a technical term: bad ass, or bad ‘mother@#$%*!’. Momoa’s most famous role also in GAME OF THRONES is Khal Drogo. Fierce doesn’t begin to describe that role as the undefeated leader of the Dothraki. Novelist and creator George RR Martin based the Dothraki as an amalgam of real nomadic horsemen in history: the Huns, Mongols and the Apache. Unlike Affleck, Jason doesn’t have to change his voice or speech, he just looks, sounds naturally tough and intimidating. Before his breakthrough role he also played CONAN THE BARBARIAN in the 2012 remake. His look and identity is exactly what the Aquaman role needed to be taken into kick ass level and he did it.
Momoa’s Haka for Mark Hunt
There’s a video on YouTube of Jason performing the Haka a Maori war dance for Mark ‘The Super Samoan’ Hunt. Jason is friends with Hunt who is a UFC heavyweight fighter, living in Sydney, Australia. Momoa was there to shoot AQUAMAN the movie set for release in 2018. In an interview with BBC he revealed that it was director Zack Snyder’s idea to use his Polynesian heritage and covering him with tattoos for his role of Aquaman.
If you’re a fan…
The critics have not been kind, but if you’re a comic book fan who wants fast action, if you’re cartoon series fan, a Game of Thrones fan, a Millennial or just a kid in a grown up body (like me), you’re going to love JUSTICE LEAGUE.
Snyder pays homage to some of the same heroes I have apart from the DC ones. In one early montage, there’s a newspaper front page with David Bowie, Superman and Prince. Recently passed Bowie and Prince certainly seem otherworldly because of their unprecedented talent as musicians and larger than life personas. All the 12 year old in me can say is: Thank you Zack. You showed that you don’t need to wear a cape to be a hero. But it can be really fun to watch people who do.
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) was excited to get out of the Kingsman tailoring shop and have a quiet dinner with his young, loving girlfriend. Two steps from the Kingsman vehicle disguised as a black London cab, a familiar face confronts him. Charlie (Edward Holcroft) holds a gun to his neck and forces him into the car. Eggsy appears to give in, just as the car door opens he flips Charlie into the backseat and tries to electrocute him with a hidden Taser. Charlie responds, “That’s not going to work on me anymore.” Charlie’s right sleeve burns and reveals a robot arm and punches Eggsy who gets out of the way. Eggsy screams at the driver to “Just drive!” Just then Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ starts blaring out the speakers as they try to kill each other, the car runs a hundred miles per hour through London’s busy streets.
As they struggle in the back seat, Eggsy sees another car speeding beside them. The back door swings open as Eggsy hangs on. Before an oncoming car hits the door, Eggsy leaps out of the way and he lands on the door skimming on the street like a spinning surfboard. The attacker’s car following them tries to run over him. Just before he gets run over, he grabs the trunk handle, opens it and gets in. He hits Charlie through the cushion and starts the fight all over again.
Kingsman The Golden Circle has it all: cars being driven underwater, ordinary looking eyeglasses that allow video conferencing, robot dogs that tear people apart to electric lassos and bullet proof umbrellas, hands down the best action movie of the year. The first film established it as James Bond to the nth power with a little bit of Austin Powers mixed in. Golden Circle tops all that and much more.
Combining high tech action and dry British comedy had the expected result: a hit earning $192.2million worldwide after the first week of opening. In the U.S. it has already out grossed the first film. But what was even more remarkable is how it dealt with something that was perfectly relevant to Filipinos. The message seems targeted or specifically tailor made for the Philippine situation.
Nowhere in the film does it even mention the phrase or acronym EJK or extra judicial killings because it goes way further than that. The film breaks the fallacy of two very clear generalizations that have been the norm in our country: 1. All drug users are criminals 2. All criminals deserve to die.
Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons were the two comic book creators originally called The Secret Service. But both Writer/ Director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman should be praised and congratulated for making the story and dialogue for The Golden Circle beyond an action blockbuster. They injected something pertinent most especially with the current situation in our country.
Before anyone can say spoiler alert, in this section of dialogue no character is revealed to have died nor the result of their plans. It does reveal the mindset and intentions of the U.S. President convincingly played by Bruce Greenwood. The scene is after nemesis and Drug Lord of the World Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) has poisoned millions of people in America and the world with an additive in her drugs that ensures a painful death. She also offers an antidote if the President will end his War on Drugs and legitimize her business.
President (Bruce Greenwood): What I’m proposing is we appear to agree to her demands to prevent global panic. And then let the junky scum go down in flames! Hehehe Yeah! Let this Poppy cancer go down with them. No drug users, no drug trade! Win-win situation here. Chief of Staff Fox (Emily Watson): But sir we’re not talking about a handful of hostages here. We could be looking at the deaths of hundreds of millions worldwide. President: Hundreds of millions of criminals a burden to society! Am I right McCoy? General McCoy (Mark Arnold): Absolutely sir.
Chief of Staff Fox: What about people who were just experimenting or self-medicating? Functioning professionals? Kids? President: Don’t give me that crap Fox! The fact is this presidency has just won the war on drugs! General McCoy: Congratulations sir! President: Thank you! And that deserves a toast! Chief of Staff Fox: This is totally unethical sir. President: Fox shut up! McCoy declare martial law we need to maintain control. Commandeer stadiums, schools, civic centers order a press black out. Put the military on standby…
Champ (Jeff Bridges): Whether they committed a crime those people are human beings. Great God, right now Tequila is in deep freeze because of this. Whiskey (Pedro Pascal): We can’t make it personal sir. Champ: Personal? Agent we can’t stand by and let folks like him die. These people, we’re they’re only hope…
Although the President was not the direct cause of the ‘deaths’ of drug users, it is crystal clear that he is more than happy to let them die, even when he had the chance to prevent it. According to the morality, logic and common sense of the film because of this he was still criminally liable. It’s the universal consensus in laws of man – Constitutions across the world, laws of God – in different religions from thousands of years is the sacredness of human life.
If this is common sense and is a universal consensus how is it in our country that all drug addicts are considered criminals? And how is it that all criminals therefore are deserving of summary executions? How is any of that acceptable? How was it made as a viable solution to our country’s ills?
If the U.S. President in this film can be held accountable for letting people die what more if a President is the actual cause of these people’s deaths? It may not be in the millions but it’s already in the thousands here in the Philippines. Then that President is without a doubt criminally liable.
The War On Drugs is not the only political statement of the film. There are many but one of the most traditional is the use of the U.S. flag. The symbolism of inserting it in cinema is even older than Hollywood. In my Documentary Film class (many, many years ago in DLSU) was taught by Dr Doy Delmundo. He is one of the esteemed screenwriters and filmmakers in the Philippines. He showed us one of the earliest films ever produced here during the Fil-Am War of 1898.
U.S. soldiers were marching, carrying Old Glory. He talked about the positioning, front row and center. As it got closer to the camera the stars and stripes filled almost the top half of the frame. That simple composition impresses upon the viewer the dominance of America or as an emerging superpower from a silent-era documentary film.
More than a hundred years later, the theme and technique still live on albeit with more special effects. In one scene from KINGSMAN the good guys pull a ripcord releasing a parachute. Emblazoned on the whole fabric the unmistakable Stars and Stripes. The U.S. flag almost explodes on to the whole silver screen as air hits the chute expanding it. The message here is slightly changed, with America being the world’s savior.
Think and Ask Questions
Whether it’s the War on Drugs or American role in the geopolitical landscape, no one has to subscribe to any and all of the ‘political statements’ or ‘propaganda’ intentionally or unintentionally made in KINGSMAN THE GOLDEN CIRCLE. What it should do to us as viewers is make us think and ask questions. Why do we believe the things we do? What is my stand on this or that issue and why? And if a movie is able to make me think this way and ask questions while at the same time entertain using incredible action scenes with Prince and Elton John blaring in the background, then so much the better.
Guardians 1 Ending
GUARDIANS Awesome Mixtape
There’s been a recent trend in blockbusters of using music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Yes it has been done countless times before. But the recent success of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (the first one) has even more action and sci-fi flicks turning to the older hits that millennials are completely ignorant of. GUARDIANS was nominated for a Grammy, AMA & Billboard for their soundtrack while winning Best Music Supervision for Films Budgeted Over 25 Million Dollars (Dave Jordan) from Guild of Music Supervisors Awards and HMMA Best Soundtrack Album.
GUARDIANS last scene even included an old tape deck, on a space ship for that matter playing AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrel, before that scene MOONAGE DAYDREAM from David Bowie and even the Jackson’s ABC during the credits. STAR TREK BEYOND followed with Beastie Boys SABOTAGE for its climactic scene.
Crazy Elton John
KINGSMAN THE GOLDEN CIRCLE took it a step further when they actually cast one of the biggest songwriters from 70s and onward: Sir Elton John as himself. His scenes are the craziest you’ll ever see him. He plays to nearly all of his past real life tabloid exploits and emotional meltdowns dropping f-bomb after f-bomb. His fans and most people won’t be surprised at his ease in comedy. What is a revelation is his adeptness in the fight sequences. Youth of today will get a great intro to his work: DANIEL, SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT FOR FIGHTING and Trump’s favorite ROCKET MAN.
He wasn’t the only 70s icon honored too. Mark Strong who plays the gadget man Merlin had a very touching rendition of TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS by John Denver.
Official KGC trailer
Kingsman The Secret Service represented everything that’s quintessentially British from dapper suits to scotch whisky. The Golden Circle adds their American cousins in Jeff Bridges (Champ), Channing Tatum (Tequila) and Halle Berry (Ginger Ale).
Pedro Pascal is unrecognizable as cowboy/agent Whiskey. Fans know him as the Mediterranean, Middle Ages Prince Oberyn in an unknown TV series called Game of Thrones. Here he has an electric lasso. Pascal was able to transform himself looking and sounding like a young Burt Reynolds with a southern accent. Pascal was born in Chile but grew up in Orange County, California and San Antonio, Texas.
The Golden Circle may seem like pure escapism with international locations, huge stars, super visual effects and awesome soundtrack but it also has some food for thought us Pinoys are in dire need of.
As Harry Hart (Colin Firth) imparted to Whiskey: “Manners maketh man.”
My Delicate, my artist, you are the best of me.
Marty (Enzo Marcos): The girl is stolen by a band of monsters who keep her in an impenetrable fortress, enslave her and keep her from her birthright. She thinks her only way out is marrying this monster prince. Coz she feels that living with one monster is better than to live in a fortress full of them. All this time the boy plots her rescue. Toto the Publisher (Peejo Pilar): Well… Marty: So it’s a fantasy. Toto: It’s a love story. Marty: You hate it. Toto: No I don’t I haven’t cried this much since Optimus Prime died in Transformers the movie, the animated one ok?
Marty: You’re not crying. Toto: I weep inside. Marty: This story just came to me. You know? Toto: OK, OK visually its good. It’s surreal and light at the same time. I love the hero and the fact that he is flawed. He’s skinny…(looks at Marty) The girl is a victim of circumstance. She makes good of what she can. It’s just that love stories’ not the path I was headed. Marty: I know you wanted mayhem, war, chaos… Toto: Yes!
Marty: Isn’t that what love is all about?
SAVING SALLY is pretty much summed up in the dialogue above between Marty (Enzo Marcos) and his comic book publisher Toto (Peejo Pilar). The story is basically a love story but the way it is told is vastly different from any other made in the Philippines, certainly from any other entry in the MMFF (at least for 2016).
SAVING SALLY combines animation, both 2D and 3D with live action with elements of sci-fi and fantasy. This ‘film’ is the perfect example of the 180-degree turn of the Metro Manila Film Fest to give other, newer, creative minds, filmmakers a chance to tap into that lucrative Christmas market. More importantly it allows the vast majority of our kababayan to see in this case a work where a multitude of different artists like illustrators, animators, comic book artists-sketchers, painters, all come together to tell a story that anyone can relate to.
Everyone from Pixar, production places in Singapore, Korea and the U.S. even France are all aware of the talent of Filipinos in animation. In fact the producers are French: Alain De la Mata, Herve Pennequin, Catherine Jacques. These countries tap into our rich talent pool in their studios.
Oscar & Golden Globe winning INSIDE OUT (Best Animated Feature) co written and directed by Pinoy Ronnie Del Carmen with Phil Docter is only the most recent example. It’s our own audiences here who have yet to appreciate our animators, with a story and production that’s 100% Pinoy.
We can safely proclaim that SAVING SALLY has changed all that with the glowing reception by fans at the MMFF and showcasing the talent we have in animation and the excellence of the cast. The sacrifice of director Avid Llongoren over a decade to complete this dream project has been rewarding. From a short story by Charlene Sawit-Esguerra, Carlo Ledesma helped Avid Llongoren develop the screenplay. There were 2 reshoots, re casting and other problems. Anna Larrucea was originally cast as Sally.
Back in 2011, PINTAKASI produced by Gov. Imee Marcos was part of the New Wave category of the MMFF. It was a film that also combined live action with animation. That was more action oriented with monsters, demons, heroes battling it out. If you can imagine it also cast the best hip-hop dance crew in this side of the world: The Phil All Stars. The problem being it was only screened in very few cinemas and for about 3 days–total. Coming from that we see how the full exposure and support of SAVING SALLY as part of the main competition of the MMFF is beneficial to everyone concerned.
SAVING SALLY has attracted the younger audiences from kids to teens and has had relatively better commercial success. More Filipinos now have the chance to see the work of our celebrated animators. We know we have the talent, the dearth has been content, the will to create an audience for it and that’s what the MMFF has done this year.
Rhian Ramos as Sally is the perfect girl every man can fall for but even more so for every teenage geek. She is a comic book artist. She is not only obsessed with gadgets she makes them too. Sally almost fits Rhian to a tee except for the inventing gadgets part. Mr. Avid was very lucky in being able to get someone in her caliber of an actress. She’s young enough to be convincing as a teenager and yet experienced enough as an actress to portray the more complex scenes. Rhian seems to enjoy the challenge of unconventional roles that she has told GMANews of her intentions to add more indie projects for 2017.
Her adoptive parents played by Shamaine Buencamino and Archie Adamos abuse Sally both verbally and physically. We’re all familiar with Shamaine Buencamino who has done it all from lead roles to villains from TV to theater. It is Archie Adamos who seems almost unrecognizable as an upper-class terror of a father. He cleans up very well and was very convincing. He’s played a lot of bad guy parts but never in a role as big as this and gave a great account of himself. The conflict for Sally is something not expected in an animated piece. But delivering the message of how and why violence against women (VAW) is wrong is relevant more than ever.
Producers may have felt that with the casting of Rhian Ramos, she’s enough of a box office draw (which turned out to be correct). They could take a risk with newcomer Enzo Marcos. The experiment has proven to be successful. Viewers understand how Enzo’s character Marty is so in love with Sally and how he is so insecure and fearful of declaring his love for her. They both have an obsession for anime, comics, alternative film,music and the like.
Marty is the more skilled comic book artist and is looking to make it a career even before graduating art school. Sally is better at conceptualizing and making gadgets that make her life easier like improvised telescopic goggles, robot arms that iron clothes and scare off bullies.
Enzo very easily portrays Marty because they both have a creative mind. Enzo is a filmmaker who has produced music videos for Pinoy super bands KJWAN and GREYHOUNDZ, apart from being a musician himself. He has also directed TV commercials for international brands. So the need to express himself through his art, through images is something that he can fully relate to.
Enzo has also produced an interesting web series on YouTube featuring artists, performers and thinkers called MANILA REGARDLESS. Casting Enzo as Marty is very natural since he lives in that world of artists in different media. Both Marty and Sally use their love for comics, cartoons and fantasy as a way to escape their problems.
Carme Sanchez & Bodjie Pascua
Carme Sanchez is the loving mother to Marty. She can’t help but be excited about the prospect of Marty having Sally as his first girlfriend. Bodjie Pascua on the other hand is the senior geek of the family. His field of expertise is slot car racing (it’s the matchbox sized cars that go around in plastic tracks). If the movie is to be believed there is a community of racers right here in the Philippines. Dad may not be an expert in love but just like his famous TV character Kuya Bodjie, he has a lot of wisdom to impart to our unlikely hero Marty.
Visually there’s a lot going on in each scene. There are weird monsters walking by. These are bullies, villains that oppress ordinary folk like Marty. In his mind they’re monsters. Then there are the colorful animated backgrounds from skies, carnivals to the dark castle of a house Sally lives in. Responsible for the look are Lead Visual Artists Jether Amar and Jethro Razo. Credited as Supporting Art Ninjas: Peyer Raphael Mutuc, April Fonda and Joshua Tata Selo Panelo. I’m sure there are other artists that participated. These are only the tip of the iceberg that deserves praise and congratulations.
Then there’s the production side that fill the gap between animation and live action. They are crucial in making the illusion that real people can interact with animation. These are: cinematographers Rommel Sales, Odyssey Flores, Production Designers Rocketsheep Studio, Rommel Laquian and Erik Manalo and Sound master Joshua Cantillon. Director Avid learned the hard way that hard drives could crash and destroy one’s hard work (Part of the reason the project took more than 10 years). Enter I.T. Warrior Hermie Cabrito to ensure, this no longer happens.
All of these talented, hard working people have come together to drive home the idea in SAVING SALLY. And that is if you love someone you should never pass up the opportunity of showing it. As difficult it is to see, the rewards always outweigh the risk. You never know what may happen to prevent you from being with that person. From that enduring Alfred Lord Tennyson quote: “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Disgraced Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is a billionaire who managed to spout controversial statements and garner supporters enough to get to become the face of a major political party in the U.S. Rodrigo Duterte was the mayor of Davao, won on a platform of state sponsored murder who was actually elected as president in the Philippines.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot that would be similar in their backgrounds except for their habit of putting their foot in their mouth. But the importance of comparing and contrasting their statements, their thoughts and styles why they’re wrong can still benefit the electorate of America.
The many people who have been deceived by Trump’s empty promises will benefit in seeing the effect of electing someone who’s temperamentally unfit to the presidency. Here in the Philippines we have to figure out where we went wrong, would it be possible to avoid doing it again in the future. Now that Duterte is president we must at the very least find out how we can mitigate his many disastrous statements.
And unlike these two we must be able to put our thoughts in the proper context and perspective. The stakes are far higher in the U.S. election as the world’s leading superpower. Choosing the wrong leader could mean an apocalyptic third world war, if not a new nuclear arms race. There are also huge economic and geopolitical implications.
During the VP debates Senator Tim Kaine summarized it best, “If you can’t distinguish between dictatorship and leadership you have to go back to the fifth grade.” Sadly that’s exactly what happened to the Philippine electorate in our previous presidential election, Filipino voters thought that scaring people through a dictatorship is what was needed. Leadership is being able to inspire people to do the right thing. It’s easier to tear the country apart by killing people than it is to unite it under one cause.
Actress Agot Isidro very courageously pointed out the obvious by calling Pres. Duterte a ‘psychopath’ through her facebook page. In spite of her honesty and accuracy she received a wave of criticism from netizens. The reaction and even the high approval rating of Duterte are strong indications that Filipinos have a great need for voter education and political awareness.
Seeing how and why Trump has fallen from grace may be a bigger lesson for Filipinos than the rise to power of Duterte is to the American electorate. Both nations however and other budding democracies can benefit from how and why their thoughts and statements are damaging so here goes.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Trump and Duterte both have a bombshell tape that exposed their worst comments. ‘Worst’ being overtly sexist with overtones of assault if not outright rape (in the case of Duterte). We would also qualify ‘worst’ as statements made so far. As both of them may still make even worse comments in the future. The comparison here is not just from the statements themselves but more importantly how it affected each of their campaigns.
The Access Hollywood video and audio of Trump talking to TV host Billy Bush, is still very much fresh in everyone’s minds. Some of the most interesting ones: ‘grab them by the pussy’, ‘when you’re a star they let you get away with it.’ The tape is from 2005 from Trump’s guest role in a soap opera covered by Access Hollywood. The distinction from Duterte is that Trump’s comment came from what they call a ‘hot mic’. Meaning both Trump and Billy were not aware their conversation was being recorded.
The bombshell tape during Duterte’s campaign was from an actual speech that he gave as Mayor of Davao where he was addressing his constituents. It was in 1989 after a female Australian missionary Jaqueline Hamill was kidnapped, raped and then murdered. The gist of it which he related to the crowd, when he saw the remains of the Australian missionary he quipped that he wished he was the first in line to rape her ahead of the kidnappers.
The video of Duterte giving the speech naturally drew widespread condemnation. Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ambeth Ocampo added that Duterte’s comment not only hinted of rape but of necrophilia. Different embassies among them the U.S. and Australia outright condemned the candidacy of Duterte.
BOTH of these men made reprehensible comments but without a doubt comparing these two tapes, Duterte’s is far worse. Trump has the excuse of thinking that his was a private conversation while Duterte made his as an actual speech to a crowd. Even so, the rape and necrophilia laced speech of Duterte did nothing to affect his popularity. In spite of that video, he was still deemed by Filipino voters as being the next president.
In Trump’s case it was a turning point in the campaign. The hot mic tape was correctly called by his campaign as a private conversation. In a halfhearted apology Trump dismissed it as mere ‘locker room talk.’ But it was too late. Legendary actor Robert De Niro immediately posted a video online on why he wanted ‘to punch Trump in the face’. On Twitter NBA players Jamaal Crawford, CJ McCollum, NFL Jacob Tamme even CM Punk who spent most of their lives in locker rooms, as collegiate and professional athletes never heard Trump’s brand of ‘locker room talk’.
Robert Deniro on Trump
Prior to the tape Hillary was only 5 points ahead. After the tape was made public by the Washington Post and the subsequent second and third debates Hillary posted her biggest lead 50% to 38%. That gap has since closed with a CNN/ORC Poll dated October 28, 2016 at Hillary 49%, Trump at 44%.
During the second U.S. Presidential debate there was this exchange:
TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor… and we’re going to look into it, because you know what? People have been — their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
CLINTON: … Last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so I expect we’ll have millions more fact checking, because, you know, it is — it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.
TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.
Trump you’d be in jail video
In U.S. politics this was almost unheard of save for a very few exceptions. And threats like these were never made so openly. Of course no one is naïve enough to think it never happens where the President doesn’t influence cases indirectly. But the way that Trump said it also revealed his ignorance of the division of the branches of government and their roles: the executive, legislative and judiciary.
CNN political analyst David Gregory called it as “criminalizing political differences”. He explained that kind of talk was fairly common from tyrants and less developed democracies but definitely not in the U.S. Legally speaking there was no recourse for a sitting President to ask a ‘special prosecutor’ to go after political opponents.
The Philippine Situation
Theoretically in the Philippines, we’ve adopted a similar form of government from the U.S. We supposedly have the same separation of functions between branches of government. We’ve also adapted parts of the Constitution and bill of rights; we used to be a U.S. colony after all.
In reality however, the Philippine situation is different especially with a trend of political persecution in the past several Presidential administrations. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went after and prosecuted ousted President Erap Estrada for corruption. Pres. Noynoy Aquino then went after Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and EVEN Chief Justice Corona. Naturally even during the campaign President Rodrigo Duterte promised to prosecute Vice President Jejomar Binay. This extended even to Binay’s whole family who are accused to be a political dynasty and on corruption charges.
In the case of PNoy and Duterte, they actually made the threats as part of their campaign promise to clean up corruption, almost exactly the way Trump did against Hillary.
Persecution of De Lima
By the time President Duterte assumed his post, he seemed to forget his threats against Binay. There was someone else who got his ire. Senator Leila De Lima, opened up the Senate hearings on extra judicial killings that have risen alarmingly with Duterte’s assumption to power. Duterte promised to have 100,000 drug addicts, drug pushers killed in the first 100 days. By the time the senate hearings began there were already 2,300 in what the Phil National Police called Deaths Under Investigation.
The hearings intended to shed the national spotlight on what was happening in Duterte’s war on drugs. A week or so later after it began, De Lima was ousted as Senate Justice Committee Chair by the pro administration majority in the Senate. The lower house began its own investigation on anomalies in the New Bilibid Prison. The principal suspect just happens to be Leila De Lima who was Department of Justice Secretary previous to her current stint as Senator.
There’s credence to support the theory that the lower house investigation is a witch hunt out to persecute De Lima as the congressmen in the hearing are allied with President Duterte. Presidential appointee and current DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has taken the lead in the presentation of witnesses against Delima. They are composed mostly of Drug Lords already in custody seeking parole or a chance to cut prison terms.
The congressional hearings have involved a fake sex video supposedly between Delima and her ex lover a former driver and security personnel. The female in the video was later proven as someone other than Senator De Lima. The attacks on Delima’s reputation continue in media by Aguirre including publicizing her cellphone and home address. As consequence Delima has received thousands of death threats via text and calls to her cellphone from Duterte supporters who see her as obstructing the War on Drugs.
In the tyrant talk- persecuting political opponents Duterte has proven to be worse. The Donald has talked a lot of trash but has not really done anything about it.
The tyrant and dictator label doesn’t end in their criminalization of political differences. Ken Burns is a multi-awarded documentary filmmaker. His latest work DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARP’S WAR is about an American couple Waitstill & Martha Sharp who helped Jews escape persecution and death camps in Europe. Christiane Amanpour interviewed him in her show. In it Burns had an important insight with Trump, “Hitler also wanted to make Germany Great Again without backing it up or explaining how he’d do it. There’s this simplistic messaging that has become so popular.” Trump’s racist remarks against Mexicans, African Americans and other minorities also echo somewhat Hitler’s racist doctrine.
Duterte’s campaign also had a simplistic messaging of eliminating all drug lords, drug addicts by killing them as the miracle solution that would solve all the problems of Filipinos. It’s the same ‘effective playbook’ that the Nazi’s employed which Burns was referring to. Duterte also promised this would all be done within 100 days. His on again off again running mate Sen. Peter Cayetano explained that once peace and order was in place economic improvement would follow.
After several months in power, without solving the traffic crisis and other major problems Duterte revised his own 100-day deadline. He asked for 6 more months for Filipinos to feel the ‘effect’ of his magic bullet. He believes the extension is warranted as there are 4 million drug addicts. He believes the number of addicts and menace of the drug problem has been so bad that he HAS TO step up his war on drugs in the next months. Duterte said he would be ‘happy to kill 3 million addicts’. There have already been 3,600 lives lost since his term began.
IF that’s not enough Duterte was also quoted as comparing himself to Hitler. Likening his desire to kill 3 million criminals to the genocide of the Jews. “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them…At least if Germany had Hitler the Philippines would have… you know my victims, I would like to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.” He later on apologized for the comments. Ironically the pro Nazi sentiment was also echoed by his appointee to the U.N. Teddy Locsin via twitter.
Who’s worse in the Hitler connection? Although he’s not AS consistently racist as Trump, Duterte’s need to kill more people is a lot closer to the Hitler dogma. So again Duterte is worse in the Hitler Connection.
Duterte on Hitler video
LOVE PUTIN HATE OBAMA
Both Trump and Duterte have been quoted praising Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. They are also very much aligned in their dislike, sometimes violent reaction (in Duterte’s case) to U.S. President Barack Obama. This similarity only reinforces the dictatorial/tyrant tag for Trump and Duterte. Putin was a former Head of the KGB, known for jailing, persecuting and yes, assassinating political rivals. Putin also invaded territories of neighboring Ukraine and annexed Crimea. He continues to influence and meddle in the affairs of Ukraine. Trump has gone so far as to praise him for handling the Syrian crisis by supporting another dictator in Bashar Al Hassad.
Early in the Presidential campaign Putin complimented Trump. Intelligence analysts in the U.S. such as CIA director Michael Morell believe that Putin did this in order to manipulate Trump. Putin’s background as in the KGB has given him experience in exploiting mental weaknesses such as stroking Trump’s ego.
During Duterte’s recent trip to China his host Pres. Xi Jing Ping, including the whole world was shocked to hear extremely loaded statements in his speech. Duterte announced categorically that the Philippines would have a ‘separation of military and economic ties’ with its long time ally the U.S. He added, There are three of us against the world. China, Philippines, Russia.”
China meanwhile was a gracious host talked about numerous investments and new economic projects with Duterte. China however, was wisely silent about his ridiculous pronouncements. Not surprisingly when Duterte went back home, Washington asked for an official clarification to his statements made in Beijing. After some thought and advice from cabinet members, he took those statements back citing the interest of 4 million Filipino Americans working and living in the U.S.
RECOMMENDATIONS for U.S. Voters and Republican Party
The first and most important recommendation is for the American electorate, obviously because of the upcoming elections. There’s no denying that Hillary Clinton has her own issues with the 33,000 emails in a private server, questions on companies or foreign governments paying for meetings with the Clinton Foundation. With that said comparing all the facts, all the insanity and absurdity, Donald Trump is a far, far greater danger not just to the U.S. but also to the whole world if he becomes President.
Calling him temperamentally unfit to become president is a severe understatement. It is THIS danger and threat to world peace, world economic stability etc. that disqualifies him as President more than the hot mic tape. The solution is to make absolutely sure that he doesn’t become president. U.S. voters should come out in droves to absolutely reject him and vote for Hillary Clinton. You can’t waste your vote on Gary Johnson or anyone else. There has to be a strong mandate from the people that you won’t tolerate a sexist, racist and an insane candidate.
For the Republican Party once Trump loses the election, the whole party should be unanimous in kicking him out. There was never a moment when he embodied Republican values OR ideology. On those very grounds he should never have been your candidate in the first place, no matter how popular he is. His rise only divided the party almost irreparably. The hot mic issue and claims that the electoral system is rigged has even threatened your party’s control of the lower house and the Senate.
During the Vice Presidential debates everyone saw how a levelheaded, articulate and true Republican like Mike Pence would have been a far stronger candidate against Hillary. The good news is he can be your next Presidential bet. Choose Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, McCain, ANYONE except Donald Trump. IF he still wants to run as President again let him do so but not as a Republican definitely not with your financing, network and support.
RECOMMENDATIONS for Pres. Duterte
No matter how divisive the previous Presidential elections were here in the Philippines, no Filipino would want you to embarrass yourself in your foreign visits or in any speech. This is because you’re representing us. Whenever you insult or antagonize ANY country we’ve had a long friendship and alliance, the whole nation suffers.
You’re undoing the efforts of names like Carlos P. Romulo, most recently Albert Del Rosario in increasing the prestige of the Philippines in the world stage of diplomacy and international affairs. Del Rosario fought hard in The Hague, international court to defend our territorial waters from the invasion of China. After a hard fought and long legal battle we won. In one statement you cozied up to the invader and broke ties with the one superpower willing to bolster our armed forces. Last July 27, weeks before your trip to Beijing the U.S. donated 42 million pesos worth of high tech equipment including night vision goggles, bulletproof vests and bomb suits.
The first qualification as President is the ability to THINK FOR and in behalf of the welfare of the whole country. After thinking things through, gathering relevant facts, sage advice that’s when you make a speech or make major decisions. Why is it that your recent statements seem to be without planning or preparation? You have a background as a lawyer and as fiscal. For every case aren’t you supposed to know the facts? Aren’t you obligated to research pertinent laws, regulations similar cases and decisions? Any lawyer should have an obsession with reading, research and basic homework. This particular work ethic should have been ingrained in you long before you became President.
A sensible suggestion would be to have a well-crafted, effective catchphrase that you can use for every ambush interview. The best example is from former Pres. Fidel V Ramos whose catchphrase during his term “Everything is under control.”
It didn’t matter if he was being asked about the power crisis, coup threats or corruption. He would inevitably start or end with ‘everything is under control’. He explains his favorite statement as an assurance to the Filipino people that the government is aware of the problem and is doing the necessary steps to solve whatever it is. More importantly as a speaker, it puts HIM into a certain frame of mind or way of thinking and allows him to expound on the catchphrase and customize it to the current question or concern. And it worked, every single time. He was perceived as one of the most effective/problem solving presidents that we had.
Needless to say FVR also did his homework. He was known to wake up at 5am, just to read the newspapers. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was known to, if not write her own speeches, to constantly edit, re-edit and review them.
Get the best minds not just in government; hire a whole PR agency just to come up with the catchphrase. You can even ask FVR his suggestion for a new catchphrase. Most of all do your homework. You owe it to yourself; you owe it to the Filipino people to prepare conscientiously for each speech, each statement and each word that comes out of your mouth.
Immeasurable Damage of War On Drugs
There’s a reason why ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is one of the Ten Commandments. In his divine wisdom the Lord saw that you cannot make up for it. You can never bring back the life you’ve taken. The numbers are staggering. To think that not one life is taken but thousands and if it were up to you Mr. President could easily reach into the millions. All human lives swept into nothing, they’re all considered less than animals.
Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, David Bowie and Robert Downey Jr. are just some of the names of drug and alcohol dependents who rehabilitated their lives. Bourdain was a dishwasher in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Barely out of his teens he was shooting LSD and Heroin recreationally in the 70s. After cleaning himself up he became a bestselling author and TV host. He promoted his love for cuisines from around the world. His favorite region happens to be Southeast Asia and the Philippines.
David Bowie was a creative genius in music, fashion and art that transformed our whole concept of rock and roll. He was deep into cocaine and alcohol but after his rehabilitation he went on to become an even more prolific musician. As a young actor Robert Downey Jr went into rehab a total of 6 times for his cocaine addiction. After cleaning himself up, he was finally able to prove that he is one of the most talented actors of his generation among them his most iconic role as IRONMAN.
The list is long. If these people were killed summarily just because they were addicts, the world would have lost all their invaluable contributions. You would never have given them the chance to rehabilitate themselves and become productive members of society. That loss in life, the loss in human potential is something that you can’t measure.
The damage and loss doesn’t end with the life taken either. Every so often, a father, a mother, a sister or brother is shot while a young child is present. Even worse kids are shot in the crossfire accidentally. This happens over and over again because the killings frequently happen in the congested slum areas, where whole families live in small shanties. For those children who do live to see a parent, sibling or family member die a violent death, they are scarred for life. How would you expect them to deal with that trauma? In turn their relatives, barangays and whole communities are all traumatized.
Wasn’t this your intention Mr. President, to create an atmosphere of terror and fear where we are all collectively traumatized as a nation? If we do reap the benefits of your idea of law and order how will the country be able to recover from the incredible loss of human life, human potential and collective trauma?
The recommendation here is to emphasize rehabilitation over summary executions with your war on drugs. The immeasurable loss is too steep a price for the Philippines to pay. You end up destroying the lives of people you swore to protect and improve. Different donors come from China, the Catholic Church, trying to donate, raise funds and organize rehabilitation centers. They all want to help solve the problem of the drug menace while minimizing the loss of life. Make this a policy of your government before we go further down a path of destruction we can never come back from.
Hillary was seen as stiff and unemotional before the first U.S. Presidential debate. Political observers wanted her to smile often and play to the camera and be more approachable. When Trump bragged about his superior temperament over Clinton, which got laughs from the crowd. Hillary gave out a loud “Woo! Ok!” gave a quick shoulder shimmy and beaming smile that indicated very visually that she had clearly won the first debate held at Hofstra University last September 26, 2016.
Based on a CNN/ORC Poll of debate watchers 62% thought Clinton won the debate over 27% for Trump. A group of undecided voters were also assembled by CNN in the swing state of Florida. 18 out of 20 people in that group thought Hillary handily won the debate over Trump.
After the smile and shimmy she very calmly and clearly talked about how NATO stood with U.S. troops after 9/11. For every exaggeration, for every generalization, every monosyllabic nonsense from Trump like “Why not?”- In reference to blaming everything on his opponent, Hillary responded with clarity and facts.
Temperament & Ignorance of Foreign Policy
Trump repeatedly criticized the Iran proposal signed by President Obama and assailing Hillary’s temperament. She then enumerated her own role as Secretary of State, “Iran was weeks away from having enough nuclear material to form a bomb. They had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle under the Bush administration. They had built covert facilities. They had stocked them with centrifuges that were whirling away. And we had sanctioned them. I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate, but it wasn’t enough. So I spent a year-and-a-half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran.
And we did drive them to the negotiating table. And my successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition building. That’s working with other nations.”
In the same breath she gave a clear example of why Trump is unfit to be President, “The other day, I saw Donald saying that there were some Iranian sailors on a ship in the waters off of Iran, and they were taunting American sailors who were on a nearby ship. He said, you know, if they taunted our sailors, I’d blow them out of the water and start another war. That’s not good judgment.”
Apart from words, there was tremendous irony in Trumps actions, while taking numerous sips of water; he questioned the ‘stamina’ of Clinton. He also sniffled countless times almost every single time he began to speak. Which led people to wonder if he had a cold or as Steven Colbert has implied may be cocaine related.
He said, “She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.”
Hillary did not sip water once and spoke in a strong crystal clear voice. She also smiled easily perhaps at more times during any campaign engagement. She bit back, “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.” Which was followed with applause.
Hillary’s best weapon was Trump’s own words, their absurdity, incoherence and effectively used them against him. Although she was factually right she didn’t sound condescending. The actual statements of Trump are funnier than any stand up comedian could make up. But the fact that he has managed to garner supporters and has become the Republican Party’s standard-bearer takes the humor out of it with the possibility of him being elected as president.
The Donald flip-flopped on the issue of nuclear weapons. She called him out on it and had this exchange:
CLINTON: … of what we heard Donald say has been about nuclear weapons. He has said repeatedly that he didn’t care if other nations got nuclear weapons, Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia. It has been the policy of the United States, Democrats and Republicans, to do everything we could to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He even said, well, you know, if there were nuclear war in East Asia, well, you know, that’s fine… TRUMP: Wrong. CLINTON: … have a good time, folks. TRUMP: It’s lies.
CLINTON: And, in fact, his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling. That is the number-one threat we face in the world. And it becomes particularly threatening if terrorists ever get their hands on any nuclear material. So a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes, as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned. TRUMP: That line’s getting a little bit old, I must say. I would like to…
CLINTON: It’s a good one, though. It well describes the problem.
Ever since Japan was bombed at the end of World War II killing 146,000 in Hiroshima, 80,000 in Nagasaki and injuring thousands more, the world has seen the destructive power of the Atom bomb or nuclear weapons. Throughout the cold war in the 1950s to the 80s the world was under threat from the possibility of nuclear holocaust. Both the Soviet Union and the U.S. had hundreds of inter continental ballistic missiles spread around the globe. Each of them has a nuclear warhead thousands of times more powerful than the original A-bomb. There have been many pacts from Russia, the U.S. and other nations since then to decommission these extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction. Today the more nations or groups who have nuclear weapons (their proliferation) the greater the chance of humanity blowing itself up.
This is a basic concept that seems to escape Donald Trump. As a nominee, he was asked about how he would handle the problem of North Korea developing its own nuclear weapons. He responded to Anderson Cooper in a CNN Republican Presidential Town Hall suggesting that South Korea and Japan should arm themselves as well with nuclear weapons. This wild statement caused a lot of security experts such as former CIA director Michael Morell to call Donald Trump as a huge threat and risk to the U.S. if he were to be President. “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated. In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
50 former cabinet members and security experts of Republican Administrations echoed the assessment. Among them Michael V. Hayden, a former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency; John D. Negroponte, who served as the first director of national intelligence and then deputy secretary of state; and Robert B. Zoellick, another former deputy secretary of state, United States trade representative and, until 2012, president of the World Bank and Two former secretaries of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff. They all signed a letter stating Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” They warn, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”
Perhaps the most offensive comments by Trump were the ones defending his derogatory comments towards women that he tried to defend in vain. It wasn’t just the content of what he was saying but more on how he conducted himself throughout the debate. He interrupted Hillary a total of 52 times. Even when there were supposed to be designated 2-minute portions where the candidates were supposed to speak, uninterrupted.
CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said… TRUMP: I never said that.
CLINTON: …. women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.
TRUMP: I didn’t say that.
There was an audible sigh of disbelief from the crowd after Donald tried to explain himself, “You know, Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials. Some of it’s said in entertainment. Some of it’s said — somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.” He dug himself into a hole faster than he could get out of and he didn’t even realize it. Not even after the debate claiming to reporters that he did well.
Hillary also had a bombshell revelation with one of Trump’s own beauty pageant candidates. Alicia Machado of Venezuela won Miss Universe in 1997.
CLINTON: One of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name. TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this? CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado. TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this? CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado. TRUMP: Where did you find this? CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet… TRUMP: Oh, really? CLINTON: … she’s going to vote this November. (APPLAUSE)
Trump Criticizes Former Miss Universe | Alicia Machado Speaks Out
Post debate Trump never denied making those statements that are patently offensive for being not only sexist but racist as well. By calling her “Miss Housekeeping” he generalized Venezuelans and Latinos as being ‘housekeepers’. He went on the Bill O’Reilly show saying: “I will bet you if you put up and added up all the time I spoke to her, probably less than five minutes. I had nothing to do with this person, but they wanted to fire her. I saved her job because I said that’s what I was going to do. Look what happened? Look what I get out of it? I get nothing.”
Ana Navarro is a Republican Strategist and commentator and former Ambassador To the United Nations Human Rights Commission in 2001. Navarro succinctly gauged the damage of Trump’s reaction to Machado, “The Hispanic community was very familiar with Alicia Machado. We remember when this happened. We remember when she was made to work out in public like a guinea pig and calling her an eating machine. These were not allegations. This was widely covered at the time. Hell hath no fury like a Latina who was called fat. He could have admitted after the debate it was the wrong thing to do and he should have moved on. He’s got a gap with women, He’s got a gap with Hispanics. If you think destroying this woman trying to link her with all sorts of things is going to help him any, it doesn’t.” The comments were made during Anderson 360.
Ana Navarro nails Trump: He needs to work out if he wants to attack women for their weight
Jake Tapper of CNN along with several analysts was most shocked at how Hillary was able to elicit a clear admission of guilt from Trump on the Tax issue. His statement of him being ‘smart’ in NOT paying federal taxes was very categorical and mystifying that he would do so openly:
CLINTON: Well, I think you’ve seen another example of bait-and- switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly, I think, 39, 40 years of our tax returns, but everyone has done it.
We know the IRS has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you’re under audit. So you’ve got to ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks.
Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.
TRUMP: That makes me smart.
CLINTON: So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.
After the debate the New York Times revealed that Trump had a $916 million dollar loss based on a 1995 tax return. As a reaction he again made the same admission of guilt calling himself a ‘good businessman’ for not paying federal taxes. The loss goes against the very heart of the Trump claim of being an ultra successful businessman. The loss will also allow him to legally not pay federal taxes for 18 years, a claim which he denies.
Trump’s own statement on race had a grain of truth admitting that he’s attempted to mend fences with the African American community ‘the last little while’: “When you talk about healing, I think that I’ve developed very, very good relationships over the last little while with the African-American community. I think you can see that. And I feel that they really wanted me to come to that conclusion. And I think I did a great job and a great service not only for the country, but even for the president, in getting him to produce his birth certificate.”
Racism for Trump is not just a matter of making off hand comments through the campaign and through the years. His racial prejudice is something that he practiced as a real estate mogul. He was actually sued by the U.S. Justice Department as bared during the debate:
CLINTON: Well, just listen to what you heard. And clearly, as Donald just admitted, he knew he was going to stand on this debate stage, and Lester Holt was going to be asking us questions, so he tried to put the whole racist birther lie to bed.
CLINTON: But it can’t be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted, he persisted year after year, because some of his supporters, people that he was trying to bring into his fold, apparently believed it or wanted to believe it.
But, remember, Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans, and he made sure that the people who worked for him understood that was the policy. He actually was sued twice by the Justice Department. So he has a long record of engaging in racist behavior. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one. You know, Barack Obama is a man of great dignity. And I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.
But I like to remember what Michelle Obama said in her amazing speech at our Democratic National Convention: When they go low, we go high. And Barack Obama went high, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts to bring him down.
Michelle Obama: ‘When they go low, we go high’
Sometimes keeping track of the Donald’s lies can be tiresome. But others are clear and just a Tweet away. When Hillary mentioned his stand on climate change:
CLINTON: They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said, OK, if we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy. Take clean energy. Some country is going to be the clean- energy superpower of the 21st century. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.
TRUMP: I did not. I did not. I do not say that. CLINTON: I think science is real.
TRUMP: I do not say that. CLINTON: And I think it’s important that we grip this and deal with it, both at home and abroad. And here’s what we can do. We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That’s a lot of jobs; that’s a lot of new economic activity.
Trump repeatedly denied it saying you’re wrong and no. But a very quick check of his official Twitter account shows, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” The Tweet was dated Nov 6, 2012.
Sometimes the debate was more an effort in futility with Trump sounding insane or juvenile at best:
TRUMP: And I will tell you, you look at the inner cities — and I just left Detroit, and I just left Philadelphia, and I just — you know, you’ve seen me, I’ve been all over the place. You decided to stay home, and that’s OK. But I will tell you, I’ve been all over. And I’ve met some of the greatest people I’ll ever meet within these communities. And they are very, very upset with what their politicians have told them and what their politicians have done.
CLINTON: I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing. (APPLAUSE)
U.S Presidential Debate- FULL Video
U.S Presidential Debate Full Transcript from Washington Post
New York Times – Trump’s $915 million dollar debt from 1995 Tax Return
Alicia Machado talks about Trump
A Letter From G.O.P. National Security Officials Opposing Donald Trump
Full Rush Transcript: Donald Trump, CNN Milwaukee Republican Presidential Town Hall
Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
They both have unique names but have similar features. From Manila’s elite circles Leica Carpo is a former Sunday Inquirer Magazine publisher, L’Oreal Exec and now Public Relations Executive in the U.S. Her chinita eyes, luscious lips bears a striking resemblance with K-POP star Heo Solji who is a member of the group EXID. The group’s name is short for Exceed in Dreaming. Solji has the most technically polished vocals in the group. She actually started out as their vocal coach before becoming an official member.
In 2015 she won the King of Mask Singer TV competition garnering more attention for EXID. Leica however, is also a famous runner having participated in the Boston and New York Marathons as well as being a consistent triathlete.
My Delicate, we’re both otaku.
Beloved, thank you for encouraging me to write this.
Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Kuranosuke (Masaki Suda) is a handsome man, one of the most popular guys in campus. Unknown to most he is actually even prettier as a woman and loves make up and fashion. In full drag, he looked forward to the Amars group’s sukiyaki night. To this group of reclusive women he was too ‘attractive’ and fashionable. The group prohibits men in their apartment, even women who they deem intimidating, pretty and stylish. They were also all fully convinced he was female. Either way or gender he was unwelcome.
Sensing this he bit back, “How old are you women?” Chieko (Azusa Babazono) retorted, “How dare you ask a woman her age!” Still irritated Kuranosuke added, “You’re all NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) aren’t you? You’re in your 30s and yet none of you have a decent and consistent income.” A frantic Mayaya (Rina Ohta) replied, “We’re not NEET! For your information we do have a decent and consistent income…it’s called an allowance!”
PRINCESS JELLYFISH is currently showing in RED by HBO. For screening schedules click here. PRINCESS JELLYFISH is a live action film based on a successful manga (comic book serial) “Kuragehime” by Akiko Higashimura. It was such a huge hit in 2008 that it was also produced as a popular anime series that has reached the U.S. and other countries. The hit movie premiered in the Philippines at Eiga Sai 2015 organized by Japan Foundation Manila at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall.
The film version directed by Yasuhiro Kawamura is hilariously funny, touching and even romantic but goes way beyond that. The story was originally by creator Akiko Higashimura (manga) and the screenplay by Toshiya Ono. The movie is able to deal with serious aspects of the story that the animated series or the comic book versions were not able to convey and made it even more human and relatable. Anyone who has ever had any kind of insecurity will be able to see themselves in the unique and quirky characters.
On the surface, it does feel like a teenage comedy because of the directorial treatment, use of animation and effects. But it also deals with a lot of angst. In a way it explains how people become reclusive, while not necessarily judging them. People are who they are, whether or not they fit into definitions or boxes of society’s expectations.
Otaku (オタク) in Japanese slang is ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’. According to Wikiwand: “it’s a more derogatory term; seeing an “otaku” as a person unable to relate to reality… It is typically used to refer to a fan of anime/manga but can also refer to Japanese video games or Japanese culture in general. Some classify distinct groups including anime, manga, camera, automobile, idol and electronics otaku. The economic impact of otaku has been estimated to be as high as ¥2 trillion ($18 billion). According to studies published in 2013, the term has become less negative, and an increasing number of people now self-identify as otaku.”
The Amars group-5 women in the story do fall into this category. They live in an old apartment as roommates in the Amamizu district in Tokyo. Tsukimi (Rena Nounen) is an aspiring illustrator obsessed with jellyfish. Mayaya (Rina Ohta) is into medieval Samurais complete with action figures. Banba (Chizuru Ikewaki) can’t get enough of trains, trains sets and subway trains. Jiji (Tomoe Shinohara) is into Manga but also has a fetish for images of old white haired men whether drawn or photos. And Chieko (Azusa Babazono) is into Ichimatsu Dolls, a traditional Japanese doll that represent little girls or boys, correctly proportioned and usually with flesh-colored skin and glass eyes. Chieko dresses in a kimono and acts like a ‘mom’ to her dolls dressed in a similar costume.
One of the group’s common passions is food. Kuranosuke gained entry to their Sukiyaki night by bringing them Grade-A Wagyu beef. Apart from Japanese fare they love Chinese food. The most rotund of them Chieko sings a song with the lyrics “We’ll eat siomai, dumplings and Peking Duck!” They call siomai the same way we Filipinos call it. Banba and Mayaya regret not going with the others to Yokohama Chinatown crying in frustration: “They must be having Bird’s Nest soup by now!”
Hikikomori and NEET
Apart from their obsessions they are also in a way reclusive. Collectively, they all have an aversion to attractive people who are fashionable and men in general. Sometimes it can reach to paranoid proportions. In one scene, Tsukimi intended to go to a pet shop specializing in jellyfish. But since it was also in a district with students where she saw so many pretty girls. She had a panic attack where she had an impression they were all mocking her for her plain looks. She couldn’t reach the shop and had to run away.
There’s a very real phenomenon in Japan called Hikikomori (ひきこもり) literally “pulling inward, being confined”, i.e., “acute social withdrawal”) is a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement. The term hikikomori refers to both the sociological phenomenon in general and the people belonging to this societal group. Hikikomori have been described as recluses, loners, or “modern-day hermits.”- also from wikiwand.
Their apartment actually also has a 6th occupant, who the Amars group consider their sensei. She is a recluse to the point of being unnamed and unseen. They slip questions underneath her door and she replies by writing as well.
NEET or Not in Education Employment or Training is a British acronym adopted in Japan. It is a broad category some of the youth fall into because of economic factors.An article by Kaitlyn Smith–Stagnant Youth: the NEET, freeter, and hikikomori phenomena expounds on the economic and sociological factors that have given rise to NEETs and the Japanese media’s reaction to them. “In a society primarily consisting of older adults, many youth found that it became increasingly difficult to find long-term employment, and as a result many young Japanese became disenfranchised with the Japanese school-to-work system…It (Japanese media/opinion) served to ostracize and punish those who fit the NEET definition, without paying appropriate attention to the social and cultural circumstances that created them.”
Lesson in Tolerance
For Smith NEET is related to Hikikomori, “In many societies, the youth who feel isolated or rejected tend to form subgroups, to emphasize and idolize the qualities that allow them to be unique individuals. However, Japanese society places an enormous value on conformity and all individuals living and working in unity. Therefore, to those Japanese youth who find themselves unable to conform may find themselves turning to isolation. Rather than work to change themselves, they may find it easier to instead isolate themselves in their rooms, disconnected from society.”
In my view this is how PRINCESS JELLYFISH goes beyond entertainment. While we’re laughing, we learn how and why each character has their obsession, insecurities and fears. Kuranosuke loves to dress up as a woman; one of the reasons is that he is rebelling against his strict politician father. We learn that all of the Amars group members were victims of bullying in school, some of which lead to their life long insecurities.
Even the group has its own prejudices, which we now see is also wrong. We understand, accept and not judge. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the trauma we cause people when we bully them. Or if we were victimized in our youth, we should work to overcome these insecurities and fears that have affected our lives for so long.
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