Top Ten Films That Stayed With Me

Date posted on November 27, 2014

My super belated post. Not sure if this really is the Top TEN films that made a mark on me, but without thinking too long, this is the ten that came up. When posting the “Top 10 movies that stuck with you” was all the rage, I didn’t have to think long for my Top 3. It was immediately decided. Got too busy to busy to post mine and only got reminded again now that Jurassic World’s trailer is out (wow!).

1) My Best Friend’s Wedding
2) Aladdin
3) Jurassic Park
4) The Usual Suspects
5) Cutting Edge
6) The End of the Affair
7) Aswang
8) The History Boys
9) Shake, Rattle & Roll II
10) Dancer in the Dark

It’s obvious that most of these films came out when I was a kid or in High School – so they really stuck with me, obviously.

One notable movie also stuck with me, but for the wrong reasons. My best friend in grade school, Amado and I snuck out of Zobel during school hours to go to ATC (Alabang Twin Cinema pa, I think). It was an “unofficial” cut cause it was actually Fair week in Zobel, so we didn’t really have classes that day, but I still felt like such a rebel riding the jeep out of AAV to watch a movie during school hours cause it was my first time to leave school premises alone.

We had extra money, so we decided to watch a movie. We saw “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” which I enjoyed immensely. But it was more memorable cause halfway through the movie, a grown up man sat two seats away to my left and started pleasuring himself… TO RICK MORANIS LOOKING FOR HIS SHRUNKEN KIDS, WTF?!? I was too scared to acknowledge him or tell Amado about it, so I tried my best to ignore him and focused on Rick Moranis’ extreme close ups until the stranger probably got so offended no on was paying him attention and eventually left.

Round up (with spoilers!):
1) My Best Friend’s Wedding – I’m a Julia Roberts fan… still am. Notting Hill is a close 11. Best romcom anti-heroine ever. Possibly her most charming film… I will always stop to watch this movie through when I catch it on TV.

My Best Friend's Wedding - The moment passes you by


2) I memorized the Aladdin soundtrack weeks before the movie even came out. It was the same for Beauty and The Beast. But I didn’t fantasize being Beast, or Belle, or Gaston, like I did with Aladdin. It worth noting that among the slew of Disney hits, this was the one that featured a male HUMAN lead (so no, it still trumps Lion King). Kaya siguro it resonated a lot with me. I still feel slightly pasaway when I watch Aladdin. Sarap remembering how I dreamed that I, too, was a diamond in the rough. (Big bonus watching Lea Salonga perform it on television in the Oscars)



3) Jurassic Park defines the Cinema Experience for me. Watching it was MAGIC, and how wonderful it was. I was in AWE of the dinosaurs. I was totally with the characters jumping from my seat, getting scared witless, and in total relief when they finally got on that chopper in the end (and intrigued what it could mean when I saw those pterodactyls flying alongside). I saw it four (or five times ata) in the cinema. I was in High School then, so you know that meant much (gastos!). I bought the cassette tape soundtrack even and until now, I still have the main theme memorized – tanana-na-na… tanana-na-na… (which is the same strains used in the Jurassic World trailer, in case you didn’t know). It wasn’t ET or Jaws or Indiana Jones that made me a fan of Spielberg. It was this movie.

Jurassic Park

4) Keyser Soze! I saw The Usual Suspects either with Search In or LSYC friends back in High School… but I certainly remember it was the second to the last or the LFS in ATC. This movie stands out as the one that first made me aware of brilliant Plot Twists as a potent narrative device. How great twists can be when done right. This is also the first time that an actor made a mark on me for his performance so much that I took note of his name – Kevin Spacey, who was unknown to me until then.

The Usual Suspects


5) I believe Cutting Edge is the first movie that I saw on my own. I didn’t know anything about it when I decided to buy a ticket to its screening. I was waiting for my Tita to pick me up and had more than two hours to spare, so I watched. I was drawn to it cause of Moira Kelly’s profile on the poster (gorgeously staring at DB Sweeney on the right of the poster). I may have been in Grade 6. And wow, how I fell in love (though I doubt I knew how that truly felt back then). I believe it was the first time I felt kilig, and kilig from a movie. Ang cute ni Moira Kelly! She came to my consciousness ahead of Winona Ryder and always believed Winona looked like her, and not the other way around. That scene when she decided she will do the pamchenko routine in the end – during the routine itself!!! – because she’s learned to trust DB’s character na – classic! Toe pick!

Cutting Edge

The End of the Affair6) The End of the Affair was… wow, bigat, heart-wrenching. It was a profound experience watching this back when I was in college. Betrayal story times two. And how brilliant is it to turn an affair on its head by making the lover act like the possessive partner, and to have God as the third party? One of my most favourite films of all time. And again, that movie that made me take note of an actor and her performance. This time, the great Julianne Moore. Remember that scene when she was on her knees, praying after the bomb dropped, and SOON AS she whispered her desperate bargain to God, Ralph Fiennes calls out from behind her. The camera tracks to the right and reveals Ralph, alive. GOOSEBUMPS! every. f*cking. time.


7) AswangI loved horror and fantasy Pinoy films when I was a kid. Aswang had the best ensemble you can ever gather in a Pinoy horror film – Janice de Belen, Manilyn Reynes, Aiza Seguerra, Berting Labra, Joey Marquez, Mary Walter, and of course, Lilia Cuntapay. Because of this film, I fantasized about aswang adventures when visiting new places (here, it was a town called Talisay). How the movie started with a straight up murder-massacre but eventually evolve into a small town horror story is genius – complete with Tiktiks, Shape Shifters, Manananggal… as well as tips on how to prevent an aswang from getting back to her house before sunrise. Obviously, the only effective way to kill it, duh! The Peque-Lore(-Don Escudero) team at their very best!


The History Boys8) The History Boys perfectly illustrates the straightforward emotional complexity that theatre manages to capture despite the constraints it suffers compared to film. Which is possibly why the emotions are intensely magnified when it was effectively translated to film (and successful effectiveness is not always assured). I’ve always believed film to be the more comfortable medium for such stories. While most of my contemporaries would cite “Dead Poets Society” (which I also loved) as their definitive teenage coming of age story, I was always more partial to The History Boys. There was a subtle element of darkness to to the story and the character relationships seemed more dangerously real. Take note na rin that this coming of age film came out when I was in my mid-twenties na. Late bloomer ako, hehe…


9) Shake, Rattle & Roll II is a feast. The best trilogy in Pinoy Cinema, I think. The mix of the stories are perfect, as well as its casting (again with Janice de Belen and Manilyn Reynes, but this time with Carmina Villaroel, Eric Quizon, Joey Marquez, Vangie Labalan, Ana Roces, Richard Gomez and Rez Cortez). I have so much more to say about how I love it, but this trailer is just so perfect I’d let it do the talking. (Don’t you just love it when trailers that show all the best bits, but the movie’s so great that you don’t mind anymore?)


Dancer in the Dark10) When I first saw Dancer in the Dark, it was heartbreaking. I thought it would be hard to watch it again. I’ve only seen it less than 5 times even though I have the DVD. But I remember much of it vividly. The first time I got so impressed by Lars Von Trier. One of the films that proved to me how truly powerful films can be, and the vast potential it has in telling stories. Again, what I said about performances. This time, Bjork! Who’d’ve thunk? I’m thinking about watching it again now, and already my heart is breaking remembering Bjork’s performance and that tragic ending.


How lucky am I to be working in this industry I belong to? For the precious opportunity to make the same mark on other people with the films or episodes I write or direct 🙂