Not a pin drop

My father has this almost-habit of going through different YouTube videos, watching recaps and audition performances of various singing competitions all over the world.

Well, Dad isn’t that tech-savvy but he likes good auditions and even better singers so he really took my sister’s how-to-browse-YouTube sessions by heart.

It is in one of his browsing days that he found this 16-year-old finalist at last year’s The X Factor UK. Janet Devlin.

She hits, man. Her sweetness and innocence and continuous blossoming all takes backstage when her voice comes out. In Kelly Rowland’s frequent expression, one can hear a pin drop in a room where Janet sings.

That’s what happened during her audition. Here:

See what I mean?

Throughout Janet’s time in the competition, you would see how people can change themselves from hair color to perspectives because of the desire to fulfill a dream.

Here are some more of Janet’s performances (my personal favorites). Watch them, see her grow and believe in the power of dreaming.

Janet singing “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

Janet at her Judges’ Houses Audition singing “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

Janet’s Final Performance, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol

I Paid More Attention to This

Well, who wouldn’t?

Every awards night in Hollywood is not just about who are nominated and who should win. It’s also about which designer to wear, what kind of pose to do in the red carpet, and definitely how to avoid numerous members of the fashion police especially when you know something is sort of wrong in your ensemble.

And if we’re totally honest about it, maybe we pay more attention to what is worn by whom than who actually are the best bidders at the 69th Annual Golden Globes.

Real fashion enthusiasts even collect the many looks of varied biz people and grade them depending on style, color, accessories, shoes, and the overall look.

While a totally non-enthusiast myself, I still found myself gushing over and grunting against different looks when I was browsing through the photos of them people in LA.

The best ones for me? Here:

Emma Stone

You know I’ve always loved Emma’s bubbly smile complete with deep, happy eyes. Although of course, what do we expect from someone who literally has so many of the beautiful things life has to offer (yeah, including Andrew Garfield)? And this Lanvin gown on her pretty much complements her content gait.

Evan Rachel Wood

I love the cropped hair, I love the Gucci Premiere gown, I love the feathers at the hem. And basically, I love Evan’s confidence complete with edginess.

Adam Levine and James Valentine

Let’s get this straight first, James is not a fan posing beside Adam’s wax figure. Haha! At first glance, that’s what I thought. Adam’s expression was so set he could actually be a wax figure and you won’t notice the difference. Seriously though, these two rocked their suits.

Kate Winslet

If there is one woman who would tell me it’s perfectly fine to be curvy and I would agree without a shred of doubt, it’s Kate. Seriously, you’d find it so hard not to be envious of her curves. Jenny Packham’s black-and-white creation also set off more of this envy.

Jessica Alba

Somebody tell me she hadn’t just given birth! Come on, seriously? How do you get a body like this again after giving birth? Well, it’s Jessica Alba, what else can we say. A radiant smile and a Gucci gown seemed like just an accessory to her already beautiful self.

Charlize Theron

I must admit that the first time I had ever heard of Charlize was in the trailer of her upcoming “Snow White and the Huntsman”, where she played the ever-glam Evil Queen. And ever since, I started noticing her playful but uber pretty way of dressing. This Dior gown could have eclipsed her altogether had it not been for the unusual cut and the oh-so-deep plunge.

Angelina Jolie

It’s not just the Atelier Versace, or the bright red lips, or the sky-high slit, or the cream (or is that white?) peep-toes. It’s e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! You cannot stare at Angelina Jolie looking like this and wonder just when she would ever fail to be beautiful.

They may not all be perfect, though, as in the cases of:

Freida Pinto

Freida, whose blue Prada gown sort of just overshadowed her usually alluring looks. I think she could have done better if this is more form-fitting. No problem, though, with her accessories–her smile just complements everything else.

Mila Kunis

Mila, who usually looks beautiful and vibrant (like in her Oscars 2011 gown) but is somehow lackluster in this black Dior number. I like the gown, no doubt about that, but I think it’s her sleek almost-flat do or the bored expression minus the smoky eyes that have diminished the entire look.

Sofia Vergara

Everybody scream at me now: What on earth are you saying?! And I promise I’ll take no offense. I don’t know what it is about this entire Sofia look that didn’t work quite well. Maybe it’s the cut of the gown, or the all-too detailed bottom part, or the fact that everybody else raved about the $5M jewelries. But something about Sofia walking down the red carpet looking like this seems to be off. Like she’s just passing by the way most celebrity onlookers just do.

Well, as everything in Hollywood works, there are those who will meet what is expected of them and those who will not even attempt to do so. Then, there is everybody else who just comes around looking their happiest.

The 69th Annual Golden Globes has just been concluded and in the next awards or the next year, these dresses would be forgotten quite a bit. But of course, for those who have stood out, they may have already had another time-of-their-life moment.

Did Everything Really End?

Well, I guess the answer is and will always be “No.”

Finally, I’ve found the courage to search for the videos of the thank you speeches of four of the most wonderful people in the world of film and literature: JK Rowling, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe.

Daniel Radcliffe, JK Rowling, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint (photo from cooltowear.com)

These are the speeches they’ve made in front of the rowdy crowd at the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

Now, given all of these thank you’s, I think I’m now ready to say my own.

To Dan:

Emma’s right. You were, are, and will always be the perfect Harry. You’ve no idea how we have all been thankful that you looked exactly the way Harry is described in the books. You have grown into a fantastic man who’s not afraid to say he microwaves his food. Thank you for showing us the best portrayal of being that boy with a lightning scar, that brave, brave man who has the biggest heart that enables sacrifices for so many people.

To Rupert:

Such a laid-back attitude that gets all of us mostly swooning. You have made gingers look so amazing. The loyalty that your character Ron has seems not to emanate from a book description but from within your own heart. Thank you for being such a down-to-earth man. You have so much truth within you that we all cannot help but simply be glad that you have become a part of the journey of our most favorite character.

To Emma:

You are such an inspiration to all of those girls who work so hard to improve themselves. We have seen you grow out of that bushy brown hair and mature with so much wisdom. Thank you for being very open with your thoughts and feelings, for having such intelligence that not even the spotlights can outshine. You have always known what you wanted in life and we have seen that not only in your interviews as Emma but also in your portrayal of Hermione. Just like your co-stars, you have perfected your role so much that we cannot find nor imagine someone else do it.

Lastly, to Jo:

For the most amazing writer, the only one who have bound together several nations with her fantastic talent, the woman who has not only created a magical world but a place where everybody else is encouraged to simply be their best, thank you is not enough. We have loved your creation. We have waited for our owls on the day of our eleventh birthday. And like I’ve always said, you are our Dumbledore–who have sent us again and again invitations to come to Hogwarts and be mystified by that wonderful world.

You are the kind of writer we all want to be like. You are the kind of mother whose passion so shines in her works that your love for your children is not something to be doubted. And you are the kind of woman everyone else needs to embody–honest, brave, and talented.

It’s been four months since the last film, ten years since the first movie, and a childhood’s worth of time since I’ve first set my eyes on that fateful copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Until now, I find it difficult to say goodbye.

Which may mean that it has all ended but as everybody else has predicted, we will always, always be back.

Hollywood Gossips

In one of my rare free moments in the office, I got to surf the not-so-cooperative Net and found two entertainment news that had me both excited and well, disappointed. They’re about two important stories for me, those that never ceased to make me breathlessly anxious.

But in stark contrast, one news is about an end and the other refers to an anticipated beginning.

Nobody Knows Where They Might End Up

The first article I read bore the headline: Patrick Dempsey Leaving “Grey’s”. Expectedly, I hastily clicked on it and read on.

Grey’s Anatomy is a medical drama that features the life and career of doctors at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. I’m not a big fan of TV dramas and I rarely stick with a story with as many seasons as Grey’s. But I guess the constant character and plot development are reasons enough for me to keep on hanging to every pilot episode and season finale.

Patrick Dempsey, also known to many as Derek, Dr. Shepherd, and (more popularly) McDreamy, plays the one of the lead roles in the medical drama . Six years into the role and finally, now, he’s saying he’s had enough and that after the current eighth season, he’s done.

Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd

While the news comes as a shock to everyone who’s been a McDreamy fan since the series has started, a few others claim Shepherd’s leaving opens up a lot of exciting twists to the story. Especially as we might be able to see the non-Shepherd-revolving side of Meredith Grey.

Personally, while I’m not as pro-Shepherd as most Grey’s fans are, I still believe Dempsey’s leaving the ninth season (if there will be one) will be a notable miss. He’s been a great antidote to all the immature features of the other characters.

But the buzzing departure of yet another and ultimately more important character from the said series created an entirely new dimension of reactions: the news about Ellen Pompeo herself leaving Grey’s as well after the current season.

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey

The title-bearer has left word that she might not renew her contract with the series anymore after Season 8. And while co-star Dempsey’s departure does not seem as alarming, Pompeo’s definitely is. What would Grey’s Anatomy be like without the narrative voice-overs and the heavy lines from Dr. Grey, right?

I’ve been missing out on the two most recent Grey’s seasons, but I have the great inkling of how it would feel to not see the couple go through a lot of medical discoveries and personal adversaries.

The Best of Odds

The last two essential cast of the Hunger Games has been chosen. To loud applauses and, well, equally noisy groans. I myself finds it difficult until now to sort out my feelings toward these two new casting additions.

Why? Because when I first heard that the Hunger Games will be adapted into a film, I was at best most excited about Haymitch and Cinna’s characters. These two were probably the people who made life more exciting for their fellow characters and for us, readers. They were described as eccentric, almost detached people who understood life around them. And those personifications were really lovable.

As soon as the casting call began, there were speculations of who would be playing the roles.

The names of Robert Downey, Jr, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hugh Laurie, John C. Reilly, and even Johnny Depp surfaced as possible actors to play Haymitch’s character. Noticeably, all of them has this certain rugged look that is quite perfect for Haymitch’s always-drunken state.

Christian Siriano, Hugh Dancy, and Adam Lambert (what?!) meanwhile were included in the predictions of being Cinna. I guess a lot of people came up with the idea that Cinna appears Caucasian, with a lean body, and inquisitive eyes.

While it’s actually difficult to ensure visualization of these characters looks (especially Cinna, with all his Capitol make-up on), the general aura is rather easy to feel. Which may well be the very reason that a lot of people’s reactions are all mixed up.

Take a look at Woody Harrelson, for instance:

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy

Even in his most unshaven beard, he still looks considerably cleaner than Downey Jr., or Laurie. But of course, as I’ve seen only 2012 which he’s part of, I can’t really judge what can be done with or what he can do. So, the best of luck.

As for Lenny Kravitz, I still can’t place his huge hair and considerably brown skin in my imaginations of Cinna. But I haven’t seen him act, which I guess is a plus point in terms of excitement.

He also has admirable fashion sense, as in this one:

Lenny Kravitz as Cinna

As to how he’s gonna pull off that “Twirl for me” line though, I’m not particularly sure. I’ve always figured it to be said softly, with admiration and a pure sense of love.

*sigh* I just wish they all pull it off. That’s it. I love The Hunger Games probably almost as much as Harry Potter, so a ruined movie adaptation would be more than frustrating.

And I know you all think of that, too, right?

———-

Two sets of news, two sets of surprises. This is what I love with Hollywood–surprising, exciting, endearing, and frightening all at the same time.

The Odds of Casting

When the Harry Potter movie franchise continuously hit the screens and the hearts of its fans, the trio consisting of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) was named epic for all they’re worth.

The Harry Potter Trio (snitchseeker.com)

And then came the next, well, so-called epic trio in the faces of Twilight‘s Bella (Kristen Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

The Twilight Trio (twilight-movie.org)

Now, as both franchises are on their way to the end, a new set of characters is very much anticipated. This time, it’s the trio of the latest would-be craze in town: the Hunger Games.

After much bidding and guessing, the characters of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale now have faces for the silver screen through, respectively, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.

The New Hunger Games Trio (blog.zap2it.com)

True to what the producers dream for their film, the actors are fairly new in their trade, with only one or two previous films on their sleeves. Lawrence has earned a reputation with her Winter’s Bone, Hutcherson on The Kids are All Right, and Hemsworth on The Last Song.

Personally, I can’t say yet if they made a good choice or not. I have only seen Hemsworth on-screen and, well, I was not as partial because the story was not as demanding as Hunger Games will be. But of course, I do hope they will not disappoint the ever-expectant viewers. I, myself, am looking forward to the film because I’ve read the books and definitely if several hits were made I wouldn’t be as merciful.

To date, new additions to the cast came through Amandla Stenberg as Rue, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Willow Shields as Prim Everdeen. And while I look forward to the portrayals of these three characters, my anxiety over who’s gonna play Haymitch Abernathy and President Snow tops questions over the casting call.

Ultimately, the best is hoped and expected over the much acclaimed novel by Suzanne Collins. The roles are demanding, physically and artistically. But definitely, the success of the anticipated film will not only be on the shoulders of these young actors. Much has to be done in terms of the backstage production.

And with all of these, we could only say: “May the odds be ever in their favor!”

They Say M.D. With Grace

There are reasons behind my blogging AWOL. Well, I have been only not here because this site of mine requires a lot of thinking and pondering of not very personal thoughts. Anyway, I have decided to at least pour a few pints of water onto the drought around here. And to use one of those reasons as subject.

It’s called Grey’s Anatomy.

It is a TV drama series about life and the practice of medicine and the many stories in between. The main characters are doctors, surgeons in particular, and the episodes feature many medical procedures as well as patient stories. The series is now well into its 7th season, with a handful of its original casting leaving and being replaced with a new set of characters.

And while there is a lot to talk about the series itself, I opt not to purely because I’m not yet done with all of the seasons and because it is a many and varied and complex web of stories with a lot to say in the technicalities. Which is why I have decided to name my favorite characters.

Hence, I’m naming my top 3:

3. Arizona Robbins and Addison Montgomery

Jessica Capshaw as Arizona Robbins (tvovermind.zap2it.com)

Kate Walsh as Addison Montgomery (spoiledbaby.ca)

These women ties for the third spot for a number of reasons. One, because they’re very beautiful people–the kind of beauty that is not as common and has a rich sense of character in it. Two, because I like their specialties–especially Addison’s as I find gynecological surgery a very interesting field. And three, because their personalities are a good mixture of strong womanhood and deep understanding. I also like how they both radiate something positive coupled with a confident stance and which stands out in the gloomy collection headed by Meredith Grey.

2. Alex Karev

Justin Chambers as Alex Karev (ratewall.com)

Okay, Alex Karev may not be Derek Shepherd. He may not be the most impressive doctor–and man–because he encourages a lot of swearing. He’s a jerk, for all intents and purposes and in all degrees of the word. But Alex is the kind of man who wouldn’t waste your time. He tells the truth, no matter how grisly and hurtful it might be. He deals with what he’s dealt with, winning with even the least of resources. There is a whole lot other person deep within his tough façade and getting to know that, as the season progresses, is a great treat for the viewers.

1. Miranda Bailey

Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey (greysanatomy.co.uk)

I have always thought that a more appropriate title for the series is Bailey’s Anatomy. LOL. Well, seriously, it’s either you love Miranda Bailey or you love her. She is a walking contradiction and a beautiful complexity. She’s downright nasty but she believes in people. You could never justify her character–strong and brave and superior but with every ounce of softness and personality. I especially loved her when she blocked Shepherd in the hallway as he was trying to get to Grey–Bailey in that scene was not just a resident who didn’t want her intern disturbed. I also love her many speeches, like the one she gave to George O’Malley in the fourth season: that not everything is black-and-white. And, of course, she’s the best general surgeon ever to walk Seattle Grace.

These are my favorite characters. They may not be the same as the ones in your list and they may be who you actually hate. But at the end of the day, they make up the web of stories that you can never imagine happening along the hallways of a hospital and under the fatality of a scalpel.

Ultimately, these are people that makes us realize: anatomy is never a one-way flow of blood.

(My) Top 3 JLC Movies

If you’re a Filipino, then you probably have heard of local actor John Lloyd Cruz. If you’re a Filipina, then you probably love John Lloyd Cruz.

He’s been around for sometime more than a decade now. He’s had television shows, TV commercials, and of course, movies. There have been awards thrown to him for his performances in different films and TV series. He’s been paired with more than three contemporary female lead stars. His face has been plastered across newspaper ads, billboards, and posters for the many products he has endorsed.

Which means, one way or another, you have come across him.

I have honestly been an ardent follower of this actor. For reasons that I share with my friends and my sister and almost other people. Which means I’ve seen more than a couple of his movies, the good films and the simpler ones. And just lately, I’m able to re-watch some of them again. So I kind of decided to think of the top 3 movies in which he’s starred and that I totally, totally love.

My Amnesia Girl

Source: sharebus.com

John Lloyd Cruz pairs up with Toni Gonzaga in this romantic-comedy film that is all about missing chances and getting a second shot at them. He plays Apollo, a commitment-allergic guy who left his fiancée Irene (played by Toni) at the altar on their wedding day. After a couple of years, he starts to feel ready to be committed–only to find out that he can’t just as easily because “the one” hasn’t arrived yet. Or maybe she had, but he let her go. And then fate brings him and Irene together again, when one day he saw her while doing some grocery. However, Irene cannot seem to remember him because of an accident-caused amnesia. What follows then is a comic series of gestures and actions Apollo uses to help Irene regain her memory and, ultimately, to win her back. But in the end, the lies have undone themselves. Apollo finds out Irene was just faking the illness because of her anger at him for leaving. However, time has made them both wiser and braver. Thus, a happy ending ensues when both decided to simply forgive and let love take over.

Why I Like the Movie:

I find romantic-comedies likeable if only because I strongly associate them with chick lit books: fun to watch/read but not for deep thinking. They’re good to watch when you want something that isn’t too heavy and one that you can easily understand. In particular, I like My Amnesia Girl because it’s very modern with a great amount of humor in it. A good comic addition are the “punchlines”, more popularly called “pick-up lines”. I think they’re really creative, albeit the fact that sometime in the middle part of the movie they can actually wear a viewer down. But for all of those lines to be thought of, I can only say the movie’s writers are exceptionally smart.

Why I Like Him in the Movie:

A Scene from My Amnesia Girl (palabas.tumblr.com)

This is John Lloyd Cruz like you’ve never seen him before. Lately, he’s being known not only for his acting abilities but also for his comic and cutesy antics. He has a sense of humor that isn’t too overrated, spontaneous, and non-surreal. In the movie, John Lloyd dances and sings and is totally matured and good-natured. I like that he looks different in it, almost entirely new. Most importantly, I appreciate his ability to easily connect with a new partner.

In My Life

Source: gofigures.net

The mother-and-son team-up of Vilma Santos and Luis Manzano is what John Lloyd joins to come up with a highly dramatic and infinitely artistic film as in In My Life. Shirley (Santos), Mark’s (Manzano) mother, decided to try to live in New York where her son is already living and working to supposedly ease her problematic life. She was surprised to find that Mark actually lives with his partner Noel (Cruz). She didn’t seem to approve of the relationship, and Noel, at first. But Noel did everything he could to make her feel at ease both with him and New York City at large. He and Mark went to take her around the city, show her the beautiful sites, and orient her about the life at the Big Apple. Soon, Shirley learned her way around and even found jobs she could make a living of. What seemed to be a blossoming happy life was disrupted when Mark was diagnosed with cancer, a news he shared only with Noel for fear that Shirley would be disappointed and sad. Noel’s part in the lie was what made him and Shirley fall out again, which then translated into a nasty fight after Mark suddenly died from an accident. In the end, Shirley and Noel both realized many important lessons that being with and having Mark have taught them.

Why I Like the Movie:

In My Life is a fresh and very free movie. It tackles homosexuality in an honest and objective way, without too much drama and with a sense of acceptance that not a lot of films can show. In fact, homosexuality isn’t the be-all of the movie. There are other factors, too, like the mother and son relationship, life, death, and love. I like that the film neither underrate nor overrate its actors, considering that it top-bills a veteran actress. The scenes are carried out in a fluent manner without the distracting hysterics that most modern actors use to a dismaying extent. Finally, I appreciate the parallelism that is evident in terms of the setting–New York City–and the targeted message that is freedom.

Why I Like Him in the Movie:

John Lloyd Cruz as Noel (pinoyexchange.com)

John Lloyd Cruz is a gay in this movie. If anything, I feel like this is the role that has showcased all of his abilities as an actor. Local showbiz critics used to say that you know an actor is good if what you see in him/her when he/she portrays is the character. And in this movie, I realized what that must mean. His portrayal of a gay role, which is extremely out of his usual line of characters, is laudable. He didn’t exaggerate like other actors seemed to do. I especially liked the way he dealt with his highly dramatic and heavy scene with Vilma Santos.

One More Chance

Source: definitelyfilipino.com

John Lloyd, together with his popular on-screen partner Bea Alonzo, tops this highly acclaimed story of heartache, letting go, and a second chance. Popoy (Cruz) and Basha (Alonzo) had been together for the last five years, through fits and fights, filled with both happy and sad moments all couples got. They were set to be married. But something went wrong for Basha. It was maybe her unrewarding job as an architect, or Popoy’s workaholism, or his being too controlling . . . too rational. Whatever it was, Basha knew just one thing for sure: she had to break free. And break free she did, leaving Popoy with plenty of unanswered questions. What followed was a nasty match of hurt, pain of the leaving versus pain of the one being left. Months after, Popoy finally accepted what had happened and did move on to a new, apparently healthier relationship. But a love like theirs–Popoy and Basha’s–was the kind that would hurt even more to let go even after you had decided to. The kind that would always, always make you want one more chance.

Why I Liked the Movie:

Popular scene from One More Chance (lettersformyjarahby.wordpress.com)

The movie has a certain rawness in it, the reality of a heartache, and the fact that it seems to happen even in non-fairytale-like relationships. I like how the story started in the steep fall of Popoy and Basha’s relationship, sparing the viewers of the all-too cliché first meetings of chick flicks.It was a difficult movie, especially if you can relate to any of the characters, if you can imagine yourself saying their words, if you have ever wondered about the same things. I like how the film was able to tackle the issue–breaking up and letting go–in a manner that does not fully focus on the couple involved. There are other factors, too, like the family and friends, new acquaintances, works. The movie is based on reality and has a direct way of showcasing this.

Why I Liked Him in the Movie:


John Lloyd Cruz as Popoy (kamilluh.tumblr.com)

One More Chance is, I feel, the film that had extracted so much from John Lloyd. He had a very different character in the movie, surprisingly mature, and beautifully positioned. He was able to manifest both pain and joy, to show how he could cope with any situation in any role. I guess it worked even better because he was with Bea Alonzo, with whom he had worked numerous times before. All in all, John Lloyd had even more depth in this movie.

John Lloyd Cruz is has a style that almost always surprises the viewers. He doesn’t need to portray simple boy-next-door characters to appear appealing. What makes him more noticeable then is his acting’s depth, the way he seems to emanate real emotions, with lines and words that have no doubt came from the heart.

Pair Up!

Recently, I have been seeing discussion among Tumblr users on the pairings that have happened and not happened in their favorite series/books/movies. For quite some time now, choices are being made, rationalized, and challenged. One group goes for Team Person A, another for Team Person B. Amusingly, there are those who go for neither sides being presented and choose an entirely another character relevant or not to the argument.

But I’m not here to take sides, whether or not I have interests over a particular faction. I’m here to merely voice out, or write about rather, my thoughts on these arguments. I have only three categories, by the way, as they’re the ones most prominent amongst the blogs I follow. And because they feature the eternal conflict of choosing between the best friend and the love interest.

Let’s take them one by one.

Category: The Twilight Saga

Over Which Girl: Bella Swan
The Contenders: Edward Cullen and Jacob Black

Bella is a teenage girl who moves in with her father in a small town where she meets and falls in love with Edward who, she later comes to know, belongs to a vampire coven. The story is mainly about that: vampire guy and human girl, the threats of the relationship worsened by the fatality of the supernatural. Then Bella befriends Jacob, who later develops to be a werewolf and the vampires’ archenemy. The romantic triangle becomes a default conflict especially after Bella herself realizes the kind of more-than-a-friend feeling she has for Jacob.

Edward and Bella

Why I Think it has to be Edward:

This is a difficult thought because as just himself, Edward’s character has never gained favors from me. He’s way too romantic and superbly beautiful for comfort. But for the sake of objectivity, I’d say it has to be Edward with Bella because he cares for  her. As in honest to goodness, I’ll-die-for-you, caring. And okay, maybe that’s because more than half of the threats to Bella’s life has came from Edward’s supernatural world. But the way he cares for her somehow brings out the child in Bella, which she’s never gotten while she has to take care of her mother. In a way, he complements her and since the books are written in Bella’s perspective, I like that Edward gets to bring out thoughts within her that she doesn’t find easy coming up with.

Why I Don’t Think it has to be Edward:

Because he’s too addicting for Bella. And I can’t personally ever consider that as a healthy base for a relationship. Bella can’t be her 100% self when she’s with him, either because she’s gonna get hurt or he’s gonna be uncomfortable. For me, it just defies the entire relationship to more conflict. And then everything just turns into this huge cliché that’s too tiring to let on for four solid books.

Jacob and Bella

Why I Think it has to be Jacob:

While Edward can take a bullet for Bella, Jacob can also do the same. And much more. He lets Bella be Bella. Jacob and Bella gets to be halves of a pair and still keep their own selves. He’s everything un-Edward when it comes to dealing with Bella, which somehow enables him to know what’s up with her before she even speak of it. He trusts Bella to be strong enough, which I saw those times he’d rather tell her the truth no matter how much it could hurt her.

Why I Don’t Think it has to be Jacob:

Because they’re best friends. And the argument just ends with that. You may say it’s a good point, starting off from the best friends level. But it’s not always the case. Because they become friends for being so like each other. And someday, they’d have to choose between that level of togetherness or going up a notch higher, with both options threatening to break the solidity with which they’ve built their friendship.

Category: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Over Which Girl: Katniss Everdeen
The Contenders: Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne

Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a horrid reality-show style of games where 2 kids from each of the 12 district in their country are thrown together in a dangerous arena to kill each other. The rule is simple, kill the 23 other kids and you win. This is where she allies with Peeta, the boy who’s once saved her and her family’s life with a loaf of bread. But while in the Games, they had to act like romantically taken with each other when an announcement was changed: last 2 kids from the same district to stay alive wins. This whole act troubles Katniss and amidst her reasons is Gale, her best friend (and somehow, an indicative more-than-friend) waiting for her back home.

Peeta and Katniss

Why I Think it has to be Peeta:

He nearly died protecting Katniss. If that doesn’t merit a vote, I don’t know what else. More than that, though, Peeta serves as the guy who puts Katniss’ fire out when it gets destructive. He also represents the bread that satisfies her hunger. He’s entirely different from Katniss, background and values and perspective considered. And that’s what makes him a perfect fit for her: he gets to maintain her survivor’s instinct, being the one who needs the more care, and also provides for her in the form of hope against her despondency.

Why I Don’t Think it has to be Peeta:

He slows Katniss down, softens her up, and brings out her weaknesses. And being fast, hard, and strong are all Katniss has. She’s not very talented when she’s without killer weapons. She’s not very smart when she’s not adrenaline-pumped to be. But she’s constantly fast, hard, and strong. Being with Peeta erases all that ultimately. Because being with him makes her dependent, and not even in the way he depends on her. It’s a dependence that if made habitual would never let Katniss grow further.

Gale and Katniss

Why I Think it has to be Gale:

Gale has been around the entire time Katniss is having difficulty keeping her family alive. He’s there when she breaks the law in their district and goes out for a hunt. While Peeta slows Katniss down, Gale does the opposite. He makes Katniss stronger, even if he doesn’t always have to lend her some of his strength. Gale is also a comfort to her, being the only one she gets to speak truthfully with.

Why I Don’t Think it has to be Gale:

Gale is Katniss’ best friend. Again. And if you’ve read the whole trilogy already, you would know it didn’t do both of them any good. Because it hurt them to the point that all their years of friendship just practically burned. Especially after Katniss was named Victor of the Games. Somehow, I’ve seen him jealous. Not because Katniss won and became famous, he’s not as shallow as that. But I think it’s because she got to have choices while he remained stuck with the bound life in their district. Plus he remained a constant pain for Katniss. She realized there was something she felt for him, and he knew that because knew her so much. And he used that against her. Frankly, that’s what put me off–the fact that he couldn’t be selfless enough for her.

Category: The Harry Potter Series
Over Which Girl: Hermione Granger
The Contenders: Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley

(This isn’t even 100% valid, because we all know JK Rowling has already decided not to even start this type of discussion. But because it’s being rampantly argued over, let’s do this.)

Hermione has been friends with Harry and Ron since their first year in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Mostly, the story is about Harry, his adventures with the two, his mission to get rid of the dark wizard Voldemort. On the background, is a teen story as complex as a wizarding novel. There’s Harry with girl problems and Ron with no-girl problems and Hermione with boy problems. In their sixth year together, though, realizations start coming in. By the epilogue, partners are built for life.

But at present, discussions have started to question JK Rowling’s choice. Harry-Ginny vs. Harry-Hermione vs. Ron-Hermione. I’m not thinking about the Harry-Ginny thing because it’s not very conflicting. So here goes my thoughts on the other two pairings.

Ron and Hermione

Why I Think it has to be Ron:

I side with Rowling when she said she made Ron and Hermione go together because they were complementary characters. Hermione for me doesn’t need some serious guy who’s serious about her in a serious manner. Because that’s outright boring and utterly stagnant. I think she has to be with someone who can thaw her out, someone who can make her smile even if its at stupidity’s expense, someone who can be on the receiving end of her brash caring and turn it into something very soothing. And that someone is Ron, of course. He might not be the smart, brave, daring guy who would turn Whomping Willows for her. But he’s loyal and fun and full of heart inspired by a large, loving family. And for Hermione who’s lost her parents to oblivion, that’s just who she needs.

Why I Don’t Think it has to be Ron:

Because he’s too expensive. Emotionally and mentally, that is. You’ve got to invest a lot so you can take back what you deserve. Ron seems to be on that mould, for me. And Hermione would benefit from some time off the thinking, let someone else do it for her without risking too much. I don’t think Ron can do that for her. In the long run, if you think about it, she just might be tired of all the thoughts that’s in her mind. And if we’re completely honest, when that happens, a Pensieve could do more than Ron.

Harry and Hermione

Why I Think it has to be Harry:

Because he understands her and she does him. Because she takes away from Harry the hot-headedness, the danger-loving impulse, and the messianic trait. And he gives her a lot of the credit she deserves. If we notice it, they get to be the last two together–except in the second novel–before Harry sets off alone to do the imminent life-risking. As in the 1st book, they’re left together to decipher the Potions riddle after Ron has been knocked out at wizards’ chess. As in the 3rd book, where they’ve traveled through the Time-Turner. As in the 4th book when she’s the one who stayed and helped with the Triwizard tasks when Ron was being eaten up by jealously. As in the 5th book, when they scared Umbridge off to the centaurs. As in the 7th book, when again Ron ran out on them. These are moments you’d find hard to forget when you grow old. And sometimes, I am assailed with the thought of Hermione, old beside a sleeping Ron, and thinking: “Wherever is the guy I fought Nagini for?”

Why I Don’t Think it has to be Harry:

Again, the cardinal argument: they’re best friends. Best-er friends than Ron and Harry are. Or than Ron and Hermione. All of those incidents I’ve mentioned above? Those are events you’d never get pass through if you’re with your, say, girlfriend. He’d always turn back, try to make sure Hermione isn’t captured by dark wizards even as he himself prepares for a battle with one. He’d never proceed without thinking what happens to her. And that wouldn’t have worked for Harry’s character. Not even for Hermione, because she’d know. She’d understand what has happened and she’d hate herself for it. That’s why best friends mostly don’t work being together. Because they lose the friendship that allowed them to be themselves.

Let me get down to the common denominators.

The love interests (Edward, Peeta, and Ron) are guys who doesn’t compare and parallel too much with the girls in question. That’s why they become interests. They have provoked something out of the girls that have made them, us, realize how relationships are really composed of two individuals melting together as one.

The other side (Jacob, Gale, and Harry) are the best friends who, save for Harry, have indeed thought about optioning themselves out for the girls to choose among. But they have the disadvantage of carrying with them a whole other sense of a strong relationship–friendship. And that’s a relationship that would be hard put to bring back together if shattered.

In the end, we can only assume. I can only weigh. The options have lied and have been picked by their respective writers. We can only nod at that fact, whether or not we agree.

Photo credits: Rotten Tomatoes (for the Twilight Saga and Harry Potter photos), thehungergamestribute.co.cc (for the Peeta and Katniss fan art), & theboywiththebread.tumblr.com (for the Gale and Katniss fan art).

The Expected Choices

Fairly predictable.

This was what I thought when I watched this year’s Teen Choice Awards, which was held/shown last Tuesday (here in the Philippines).

Although, I had to give it to Katy Perry–with her goofy themes and costume changes–and the Glee Guys ( Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Cory Monteith and Mark Salling) whose hosting really cooled things out.

Katy Perry in her Dark Knight costume

Katy in her Geek Chic costume

Nevertheless, I couldn’t say the whole event was something surprising, even considering the list of nominees and winners.

How predictable?

Well, for one, there were already expected intermission numbers that TCA had actually met. Justin Bieber’s prod was an example. Meaning, would you not expect him to be tapped for a performance in an event as big as TCA? Yeah, I thought so.

Even some of the winners, were fairly predictable. Of course, these included:

  • Kristen Stewart (New Moon) for Choice Actress (Fantasy)
  • Gossip Girl for Choice TV Drama and Leighton Meester for Choice TV Actress (Drama)
  • Glee for Choice TV Comedy
  • Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga for Choice Music: Male and Female Artist, respectively; and
  • Taylor Swift for Choice Music: Female Country Artist

And why are they predictable? Because TCA was, first and foremost, based on poll results. So naturally, who were more famous got the surfboard.

The same applied to the “bulk winners” like The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Vampire Diaries, Taylor Lautner, and Taylor Swift.

But then again, there were a bit of unexpected (which was why I used fairly to describe the predictability) names that were either included or, worse, not.

Take Ed Westwick and Taylor Momsen‘s cases. They weren’t even nominated. Really, the two who I could easily brand as Gossip Girl’s most brilliant were amiss.

This also went for Daniel Radcliffe‘s non-nomination. Emma Watson was at least included and paralleled with Kristen Stewart. But no, Harry Potter himself was not summoned.

Even the list of villains was not complete. Dakota Fanning, for instance? Or perhaps, Helena Bonham-Carter?

*sigh*

Nonetheless, many of the choices were appropriate. By that, I meant:

  • Liam Hemsworth, Choice Movie: Male Breakout
  • Kellan Lutz, Choice Movie: Male Scene Stealer; and
  • Ashley Greene, Choice Movie: Female Scene Stealer.

At least, not everyone was outshined (improperly).

Thus, the best hopes for next year’s Teen Choice Awards. Hopefully, the upcoming Amanda Seyfried’s Chloe and the ever-famed Inception would be given more than the justice they deserved.

Credits: Chiff.com and The Hollywood Gossip

Little Hops to the Big Shift

I can only vaguely remember sitting in class and hearing my professor talk about “little hops“. I can just as slightly recall the real definition he gave to the phrase then. If only because in the next years after that, I have learned to make sense of “little hops” in a many and varied way.

For me, now, little hops refer to the small steps people can make toward their goals. Small steps that may sometimes be insignificant but can be the most surefire of paths. Small steps that have more guarantee than big major leaps.

This thought of little hops is what I have in mind right now: while another tab in my browser is open to a webpage called BIG SHIFT/Philippines.

Big Shift Philippines

THE MANIFESTO

Or at least, that’s what the website calls its explanation of the idea behind BIG SHIFT.

The website is put up by students of The One School and some of its founders Lex Ledesma, Quark Henares, and Team Manila‘s Jowee Alviar and Mon Punzalan.

The main expectation is for the site to be an online haven of multimedia pieces as well as blog articles where people, particularly the Net community, can see and read about the “positive side” of the Philippines.

With this objective, the whole online world–especially those who have been to and are in the Philippines–are encouraged to contribute and submit their works. These may be in the form of photos, videos, or write-ups. Anything, as long as the content is aimed at capturing “the Philippines in all its splendor” (as the website itself says).

THE PRINCIPLE

Apolitical and completely devoid of any personal agenda, the Big Shift is created by the people behind it with the strong reason of wanting to help the country in being in the good books of the world.

Lex Ledesma explains, “We believe that the Philippines is often seen in a negative light by people outside of the country. International agencies cover only the calamity, corruption, coup d’etats because that is what gets people to watch their news. Good news is often overlooked and the absolute perfection of our many islands never reaches foreign shores.” (lifestyle.inquirer.net).

National pride is what Ledesma and his team feels to be the force that binds most Filipinos who are in the same quest for change and a shift in perception. This is what they shall tap along with the acclaimed artistry of many Filipinos.

They want people to acknowledge the fact that the Philippines is not just that one country in the list of corrupt nations. It is not that one country where crimes are at high rates and where rallies are always staged against the administrators. Rather, they want people to know that the Philippines, first and foremost, is composed of a multitude of definitions for the term “beautiful“.

THE STARTING POINT

Even as the website prepares for its formal launch next year, people have already taken to uploading and sharing their works. Here are some of them:

Photos:

Survivor Calaguas (By Hennesy Villaseñor)

Taal Volcano (By Jeff Arrienda)

Firedancing (By Lex Ledesma)

By Pam Pastor

Video:

Out of My Mind, Techy Romantics

If you wanna see more, visit the Big Shift Philippines. Now. 🙂 Or, for a closer look, you can go to their launch, which is set on August 12, 6PM, at Glorietta 5.

THE GOOD VIBES

The idea of Big Shift Philippines, however small others may consider it to be, is truly inspiring. Here now are young people who put up sites, not just personal blogs, that actually have bigger objectives than being simple platforms of an-almost-selfish-life-outlook type of posts.

Personally, I consider this as an effort that goes beyond the idea of photography, video-creating, and writing for the art of it. It also extends far more than harboring of good vibes. In today’s age of mouse clicks and touch pads, broadbands and modems, the Big Shift has its tracks right in reaching out to the Filipinos as well as bridging the gap of physical miles between the Philippines and the world.

If you are into photography or filming or writing, you might want to consider sharing your works with the Big Shift. It might be a little hop on your part, but together with many others who make little hops of their own, the big shift that the website envisions can actually arrive to fulfillment.

You may also visit Big Shift Philippines in:  FacebookYouTube, and Flickr.

Credits: lifestyle.inquirer.net, Big Shift Philippines