There’s something off about the characterization of Filipino leading men and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Don’t Give Popoy A Chance
I’ve been thinking about writing this for a long while. About 7 months ago, I re-watched One More Chance with my sister and our friend, A. A mentioned how the leading man’s character, Popoy (played by John Lloyd) was the type your mom warns you about. He might have said that of most Pinoy leading men characters and not just Popoy’s.
In the course of watching One More Chance for the 3rd time I found myself annoyed with Popoy’s character. Basha could have moved on and found someone less controlling and oblivious. The tipping point for A and my sister (and that break up part of the movie) was when Popoy separated the fried chicken skin from the meat, not allowing Basha to eat it. Okay, concerned lang. Isn’t it nice of him to think of her health? Uhm yah but nah. That’s a good thing in a partner when he/she looks after you and helps you shape up. In this case, Popoy the character merely directs and decides for Basha (ie. he changes Basha’s presentation at work without her knowledge).
Of course people have flaws and so should the characters but this particular leading man lacked a redeeming quality. My sister mentioned that Popoy never even realizes why Basha broke up with him. He (though understandably) gets broken and goes on a downward spiral when they break up. Then he gets better after a while, “moving on” when he meets another girl only to fall for Basha again. Throughout the movie, I still do not feel any sympathy for Popoy and rather than being endeared to his character, I am still annoyed as ever.
Same Old, Same Old
I haven’t watched the sequel so I can’t speak about that. Considering One More Chance is an “old” movie and there have been countless romcoms that came after so I think that there’s hope for the Pinoy leading man. Always Be My Maybe was promising and it had so many good things. Yet once again I couldn’t find sympathy for Jake (played by Gerald Anderson). Supposedly, a playboy who eventually wanted to settle down with his girlfriend. Then his girlfriend would have none of it, he was too late and she’s over him so he’s this guy with hurt feelings. I mean I don’t know if I can believe that a player suddenly wants to be serious.
He’s such a typical bro. He works in his dad’s business but is dreaming to be a photographer. Okay good, I just need more depth. Just need to know more about this cookie-cutter pogi dude who seems like every Manileño.
Where Art The Leading Men?
I have to say though leading men are kind of improving. Everyone seems to love the Jadine team. I do too! Heehee. But I haven’t been religious in watching anything except for the first few episodes of OTWOL. Series have the upper hand over movies it seems when it comes to character development. Totally different format and you can show all sorts of things and reasons why this character is so and so. Might not be fair to say Clark’s character had more depth compared to Popoy’ and Jake’s because there were more chances to get to know Clark.
Yet I think it could still work. Case in point was this Kathniel movie, Crazy Beautiful You. Daniel Padilla’s character Kiko was actually very well thought of. Of course it had a tacky cheesy ending but in terms of the leading man’s character, I felt like I was more involved and that I really liked the guy. The responsible anak-sa-labas ng mayor who has to clean up after his feeling-dalaga irresponsible mom. But then he was still funny and quite endearing.
Anyway I am looking forward to watching Jodie’s movie Achy Breaky Hearts because I will get to know 2 leading men instead of 1. I’m expecting that these characters are more multi-dimensional. Or I could be biased. (Showing in Vancouver International Village Jul 8-21!!! I was not paid to promote this. I have no followers and I have yet to watch it. Haha.)
Anyway I still look forward to better characters in our Pinoy leading men. Whatever socio-economic class their character is in I hope the personality shines through. If the guy is poor, can he not be this generic poor guy? If he’s rich, can he not be this generic rich guy who stands to inherit his family’s hacienda or something?
Mahalin Ang Sariling Atin
One of my tags for this entry is #jologsmoment but in reality, I think Pinoys can aspire to make better movies and improve on the highly snubbed genre of romcoms. I kind of feel sorry for those Pinoys who automatically dismiss Pinoy movies. I mean yes I understand it can get tacky and super inane! There are enjoyable & good ones out there you just have to give it a chance. And hey, I think Hollywood produces loads of movies and most of it are crap then some good ones. I hope our industry produces even more movies to the point that the ratio of fun relatable movies to tacky ones become 5:1 at least instead of the seemingly 2:5 (I’m just making these numbers up. That’s how it seems to me. :p). Tangkilikin ang sariling atin!
That said, I’m looking forward to my sister’s film career. I will just have to ask her to make those movies for me.
Yun lang. Bow.
(images from starcinema.com)