Monday, January 30, 2006


I'm inspired to write up a top ten movie list of 2005. I won't go into much detail like I did in last year's post , mainly because as I was looking up what was made in 2005, I only viewed a fraction of what I really wanted to go see. This list could be much better, and I'm not too thrilled about writing it (I just feel it a little necessary). I just didn't have the cash this year to go to the box office, so I'm adding in movies I saw on video as well as one's I've seen this month but were made in 2005. Otherwise, my top ten will look even more pathetic that it does already.

10. Lord of War - I never saw the ending, but I'm sure I would put this as my tenth favorite movie of 2005. It was interesting, twistedly humorous, and had to do with guns. I thought it was an interesting view on war and why wars still happen today.

09. War of the Worlds - Though I love Spielberg and his style in movie-making, War of the Worlds only made it ninth. The story was really interesting till after Tim Robbins enters the scene, then it got insanely crazy - it was almost like watching a high budget episode of The Twilight Zone. I didn't like how it ended either as far as closure went. The character's development was good at the beginning, but then it seemed to hit a brick wall all of a sudden and left stuff hanging.

08. Cinderella Man - I remember someone noting how having Russell Crowe in the lead acting role and Ron Howard directing made this movie A Beautiful Mind 2. It was pretty funny. Anyhow, this is the sports drama movie of the year for me. I liked Ron's edgy approach to filming a boxing match, and again Crowe almost convinced me in the movie that he is a real sweet guy in real life.

07. The Great Raid - More WWII movies! Yes! Good movie about a rescue mission that took place in the Philippines. I liked it because it showed the importance of a good plan and higher commanding officers who don't do much grunt work, but they are definitely needed behind the lines. Also, historical war movies will always have a special place in my heart.

06. Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith - Redeeming close to the Star Wars prequels. Unfortunately, Hayden's acting still wasn't top notch, and Natalie became a helpless, mourning "housewife." Ewan was really good, though. I still think Lucas can't write, but can think up really good story. The "You're breaking my heart" and "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" lines brought a smile and a groan to my confused face. Sometimes I wonder if Lucas is doing it on purpose like Jessica Simpson seems to act like a total moron on purpose. But then I realize he isn't...just like Jessica isn't.

05. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - These movies just get better and better, especially with that little touch of Dawson's Creek in them. Adventure, magic, high school drama - it's all good, baby! No, really. This movie is a very good watch, and it doesn't feel like 2+ hours when you're watching it.

04. Crash - The quality of this movie isn't only found in the ensemble cast. The story, the way it's told, and the issues it addresses is disturbing and really gets you thinking about how you view people. The movie does give a hope in the end, but it's still hard to grasp that hope when you think about it after the credits are done rolling. Movies that make you think afterwards are always great in my book.

03. Batman Begins - The Batman movement is starting up again, and this movie is the reason why. The origin of Batman is a good story, and it's taken too long for someone to make a movie dedicated to that story. The casting was awesome too, and I can't wait to see them return in the next film...except maybe for Katie Holmes, though she was good eye candy.

02. Sin City - Another movie based on a comic book (or graphic novel...whatever), and I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it's brutal, it's gruesome, it has nudity, and there are really disturbing images in this movie, but I feel that they were necessary parts for the plot and story. The violence and nudity wasn't thrown in just to get a couple more people in the theatre seats. A lot of people didn't see what the point of the movie was, but I thought the idea of vengeance justice and what is right and what is wrong to do was very interesting...even if I don't agree with them at all. The movie is also visually intoxicating with its special effects and how still images were adapted to motion picture.

01. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Heh, what a strong contrast from the runner-up. I was very pleased with this movie because I was so scared that it would butcher the book to pieces. Everything in the movie did the exact opposite and was a strong movie adaptation to the book. There were a few added scenes I could do without and more screen time was needed for Aslan. All in all, however, it was a great movie. The Christian themes were definitely there, though you would have to look for them (the book is no different), so I'm glad that no one made an effort to try to take them out. Not that they could, really; Lewis just had so much of it in the story that it wouldn't be the same story without them. Anyway, it was the movie I enjoyed the most from 2005.

And there you have it. There were A LOT of other movies that I wanted to see. I'm sure if I saw movies like King Kong, Walk the Line, and Munich, they would have a place on the top ten, but this is just how it is. Booooo!

Go to David's list and Oli's list to see what they liked and didn't like last year.

Here is the list of movies I saw that were released in 2005:

The 40 Year Old Virgin, Assault on Precinct 13, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Brothers Grimm, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Coach Carter, The Constant Gardener, Corpse Bride, The Family Stone, Four Brothers, Guess Who, Hitch, Hostage, Ice Princess, In Good Company, In Her Shoes, Just Like Heaven, Kingdom of Heaven, The Longest Yard, Madagascar, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Must Love Dogs, The Pacifier, The Ring 2, The Skeleton Key, Stealth, Unleashed, Wedding Crashers

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lem Returns

I'm back in Ventura, California. I arrived in San Francisco on Friday. I drove down today. The only thing I have to say about the trip back is this: After watching four movies in a row, drinking one bottle of white wine, drinking one bottle of sake, and eating two airplane meals, I learned that choosing to watch four movies in a row, drink one bottle of white wine, drink one bottle of sake, and eat two airplane meals instead of sleeping is a grave mistake.

Now for a random Chuck Norris fact. (I have the guys to thank for finding this.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

From beach to mountains; from shorts to pants.

The family took a long weekend and spent time in at the Zambales beach for a couple days, then Baguio city for a couple more days. Actually, spent probably a little more than a day at each location; the bulk of our trip was probably spent driving. Nevertheless, it was a nice trip and we enjoyed total relaxation at the beach and being total tourists in Baguio.

The Malabuyo kids at the beach. Typical sibling pose. (I love it!)

Oli and I excited about the Baguio market.

I won't write a whole blog about our trip because I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (and I'm incredibly lazy right now). Again, Oli has put up a lot of pics of the trip on his Flickr account under the "Zambales Beach" and "Baguio" sets.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Init dito!

So it’s the fourth day of 2006. It doesn’t really mean a thing to me as it would to a lot people – people who speak of resolutions or starting over. I find resolutions to be futile, and one day that starts a new calendar year by no means wipes your past clean so you can rebuild your life. However, New Year’s Day does mark that it’s been 2006 years (give or take) since our Christ’s birth, and that is something to always remember. I also like to see it as one more year closer to the Second Coming, which is an overly optimistic way of seeing things since we have no idea when that day will be, but this is one thing I have no problem being optimistic over.

New Year 2006 was also a marker for three full years where I didn’t visit the Philippines. Kuya, Oli, and I spoke several months ago about visiting during the holiday season, and it slowly got more and more serious as the months went by. Unfortunately, Kuya and his family weren’t able to come, but Oli and I had the privilege of going. So Oli and I took off in the late morning of Dec. 30, and arrived in Manila just before the birth of 2006. We wanted to get back to Auntie Emily’s house before the fireworks kicked off, but we ended up driving the roads as bottle rockets, OG’s, fire fountains, and cobras (small fireworks chained together to explode in quick sequence) lit up the streets. Smoke and debris filled the roads; it looked like a war field.

We arrived at Auntie Emily’s around 12:30 am, where the party was still going on. The loudness of Filipino chatter and the high volume of the TV made me feel right at home. I sat down at the dining table and immediately grabbed a plate to serve myself some authentic Filipino food goodness. Half the things I had no idea was, but I ate it anyway. It all tasted fine if not good, even when I found out one of the dishes was ox tongue, which gave me the thought that most of what people think tastes bad is purely based on the knowledge of the food. I always thought it was strange when people don’t eat food if they see the head of the animal. It’s still fish. It’s still beef. It’s still pork. What difference does it make if you can see its face? The ox tongue was still good, the taste doesn’t change just because I know it’s ox tongue or not.

Anyway, we left the house to my parent’s place around 1:30 am. There we opened up the Balikbayan boxes we brought with us. Throughout our missionary years, Balikbayan boxes have become a sort of giant goody bag from the States. It’s filled with State-side candy, clothes, canned and packaged food, and other things that you can’t buy here in the Philippines. Most of the stuff is provided by our relatives, so opening up these boxes can’t wait till the morning.

We pulled out the Christmas presents from friends and family from the States, and Mom, Dad, and Rachel opened them all and loved them. Mom and Dad especially liked the Caleb photo album that Kuya and Chesney put together for them, and Rachel loved her new dress from Auntie Nene.

That was our first few hours in Manila.

The past few days consisted of visiting Mom and Dad’s church, having the relatives come over to Mom and Dad’s for dinner, and going to Greenhills Mall where Oli and I hung out with Khup and Nem and had dinner at Chili’s there – one of the several restaurants that we considered very nice places to dine way back in high school.

It’s been a lot of fun being with the family and being able to participate in their everyday living. Rachel made a friend here who is very much like her best friend back in Escondido, so it’s almost like visiting them in So Cal…except the Philippines rocks and So Cal is only so so. Ha!

This weekend we go to Baguio, but till then we are heading to Mega Mall to enjoy the five stories of Philippine retail goodness. Yes!

If you want to see pictures, Oli has posted our day-by-day living of our trip on his Flickr account.

P.S. I dropped my camera on its lens back at the SF airport. I do this a lot, so I wasn’t too worried, but I picked it up to find that the UV filter cracked in two places. Luckily, the actual lens is perfectly fine. The only problem now is I think the UV filter bent on the inside because it’s now jammed onto my lens and I can’t get it off. I’ll have to take it to a shop to get it off…or stick it into a vice. I suppose either option would work.