<>Summer's over. It's a rainy morning in mid-May and I just realized that almost everyone has skipped town and I'm left to my own devices. What to do. What to do.
I went to see BFF (Best Friends Forever), the new Sharon Cuneta-Ai Ai de las Alas Oprah-style female bonding movie about friendship, family, and other women's issues (i.e. weight, sex, marriage, motherhood.) Sad to say, I had no BFF of my own to drag to this unabashedly baduy chick flick. Also, I would never drag a friend and make her suffer through kenkoy dance sequences that come out of nowhere, dizzy camera moves, cheap editing tricks, and lots of lame jokes. And before you start hating on me, realize that I have no BF to drag to the movies, either. It's a sad, sad day when I get a little baked in the car and drive to the mall and watch a Sharon Cuneta movie alone.
Anyway. In BFF, Sharon plays a plump, loving housewife and mom whose sleazy husband is cheating on her with a vampy aerobics instructor who eventually becomes her friend. Sleazy husband: John Estrada. Brilliant casting. Vampy aerobics instructor: Ai-Ai de las Alas, looking like a morcon in her Cosmo girl clubwear from the '90s outfits. Again, brilliant casting. Gina Pareño's in it, too, and she's fierce as ever. Remember her as Sharon's mom in Bukas Luluhod ang Mga Tala? I'm so glad she's getting lots of work. There's a chubby kid in the style of Vandolph who is the butt of many fat jokes. (A bit insensitive, I think.) And the best part: Gabby Concepcion in a thirty second cameo in the end. Hubba hubba.
That's really all you need to know.
Oh wait. Chokolait, my favorite gay-in-tinfoil, plays a supporting role as Ate Shawee's majordomo-slash-alalay. Love him to bits. He's like the art school version of Roderick Paulate.
I've got lots of silent sympathy for Sharon Cuneta because she's looking kind of bloated and if there's anyone who knows bloated it's me. Honestly. Who cares if Sharon's as big as a house? She can sit on all of us because she's fabulously wealthy, she's got that amazing career, plus she's a wife and mother, and she is after all The Mega Star. I think she's awesome.
However, I think the movie is awful. Why does she need to do stuff like this when she's already doing quality films like Crying Ladies and Caregiver? Of course even if I think BFF sucks, the theater was full on a random Tuesday afternoon. People were laughing at the jokes.
Oh well, towel. This supposedly feel-good flick isn't helping my end-of-summer blues. What to do. What to do.
PART 2: The Age of Innocence
So this sent me on a Sharon Cuneta You Tube video binge that lasted a day and a half and half a box of pralines from The Pen. It's pure indulgence, but what's a girl to do in this weather?
Somewhere on You Tube there's a video of Sharon's eighteenth birthday. She's giggly and girly in a super frothy pink dress, greeting her guests with an unfailing smile. Escort: Rowell Santiago. The first dance is with her father. I realized that not only was she a child star, she was also the Mayor's Daughter.
Then there's a multi-part vide of her very public fairy tale wedding to Gabby Concepcion. Check out Ninong Ferdinand Marcos (circa 1984) looking a bit like a stuffed frog in a barong kneeling behind Sharon and Gabby at the altar. Sharon looks really tired and fragile at her wedding, reminding me a bit of Princess Di and Grace Kelly at their own very public fairy tale weddings. Gabby looks really nervous, too. Poor kids, they had no idea what was coming.
To get into the spirit of things, I watched the Sharon-Gabby 1981 movie PS I Love You. I'm pretty sure I watched it as a kid (I was around five years old) but I saw it with a whole new appreciation as an adult.
In PS I Love You, Sharon plays Kristine, the unica hija of widow Amanda Tuazon played by Boots Anson Roa (looking absolutely stunning in this movie). Kristine is a sweet and dutiful daughter until one day she falls in love with the hopelessly coño and hopelessly cute Gabby Concepcion, son of The Enemy. The Enemy is a slick Eddie Garcia (who directed the film), looking super dapper in tight suits and a pair of funky glasses.
And while Sharon and Gabby are saccharine in their youth and innocence, they are also super adorable. How can we resist Gabby Concepcion lounging on his Superman pillows, looking all hunky and lost? Or Sharon in her high waist jeans and fifteen year old puppy dog eyes?
Was life so different back then? Sharon was skinny, Gabby spoke with an American accent, and everyone was zipping around in a Benz. There's Barbara Perez looking absolutely gorgeous as a rich matron married to mestizo businessman Tony Carreon. Bless his heart, good old Tony speaks Spanish in this movie without looking like a poser or sounding pretentious. My secret favorite is Nova Villa, who plays the ubiquitous well meaning tita. She has a priceless scene involving yoga poses and a black leotard. And then there's a cocktail party scene where George Canseco is playing Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal on a baby grand, while Manila's crème-de-la-crème sit politely in gowns and watch. I mean, who does that anymore?
My favorite part of the movie is watching Barbara Perez and Boots Anson Roa having an elegant conversation at the Nenita F. Garcia Orchid Shop, two good Makati matronas buying orchids. (It's around 35 seconds into the video):
Actually, that's not true. My favorite part of the movie is in the end: Sharon and Gabby are reunited and walk hand in hand through the grassy fields at magic hour. The music swells. That's the way I want to remember them.
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