2014 BEST, SO-SO AND BAD MOVIES I’VE WATCHED… SO FAR

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It is a great year for movies and awesomness. It is a fun filled year for sequels, spin-offs and original stories alike and the movie industry has never been so booming. From January up to July, I’ve watched and rated some of the best, so-so and bad movies, although technically I haven’t watched all of the films in the past six months (and still continues to watch).

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By far, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my top pic for this year because of the reason that it’s not just pure action, stunning visual effects and acting but also it comprises of an in-depth story that focuses on trust and betrayal in an entirely whole new level, although Marvel did a really, really great job on Guardians of the Galaxy but what lacked was the deep story that CapAm has.

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Divergent was a great shocker for me, I never liked watching it on the big screen because as a dystopian themed novel turned movie: The Hunger Games is still my favorite and repetitive theme films don’t really entice me. But then again, I was amazed by the good story it has. The film tied up with X-Men:DoFP because it has the element of a good storytelling, except for a fact that Divergent was less in directing and acting, while DoFP was less in impact.

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Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans was undeniably great. With its uniqueness that reinvented a whole new kind of storytelling and bizarre setting; it’s the one to beat when it comes to Best Original Screenplay.

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Lucy on the other hand has no great story but was totally amusing and it’s one of the best there is in 2014, as well as 300: Rise of an Empire and the hilarious A Million Ways to Die in the West.

In the bad movies I’ve seen so far, there are two blockbuster hits that I kind of question why people will still be enticed to watch these kind of cinematic cliché? And I’m talking about the same-old-same-old story of Transformers: Age of Extinction which didn’t differ from all other Michael Bay films and in addition was a total mess, and it was very noisy! The Amazing Spiderman 2 was not of the exception as well. After Sony’s months and months of pushing the promotion to an epic level, the film was an epic fail. Story was so bad it’s so stupid and cliché, as well as the visual effects that looked like a computer game.

 

Below is the complete list of what I’ve watched so far with their one to five star rating, according to Best, So-So (in good sense), So-So (in bad sense) and Bad movies, together with some links of my full movie review.

 

BEST

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – ★★★★★

DIVERGENT – ★★★★ 1/2

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST -★★★★ 1/2

SNOWPIERCER – ★★★★

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – ★★★★

LUCY - ★★★ ½

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE –  ★★★ 1/2

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST – ★★★

 

SO-SO (in almost a good sense)

NON STOP – ★★★ 1/2

PURGE: ANARCHY – ★★★

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 – ★★★

LEGO MOVIE – ★★

NOAH – ★★

NEIGHBORS – ★★

TRANSCENDENCE – ★★

THE OTHER WOMAN – ★★

 

 

SO-SO (in almost a bad sense)

MALEFICENT - ★★ 1/2

13 SINS – ★ 1/2

UNDER THE SKIN – ★★

POMPEII – ★★

OCULUS – ★★

BLENDED -★★

ROBOCOP – ★

THE EXPENDABLES 3 – ★

 

BAD

A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 – ★ 1/2

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION – ★ 1/2

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 - ★

THE HUNGOVER GAMES – NONE (it’s really, really bad)

 

What movies in the past six months you did like and didn’t like? What movies did I miss? :)

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LUCY MOVIE REVIEW | PLUS A MARVEL PLEA

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- ★★★1/2 out of 5 stars

We all know Scarlett Johansson is the best kick-ass heroine-female action star of this decade starting from Iron Man 2 up to the latest Captain America: The Winter Soldier and she’s on a new film that promises not just some ass kickin’ but also some wondrous hypothesis.

THE MOVIE

Lucy is a movie about the theory of the brain’s 10% usage and exploring the 100% of it but of course it is with a story plus twists.

To be direct, the film doesn’t have a solid story to tell. It’s more of a seminar on the hypothesis slash added action and drama plus Scarlett Johansson, but let me also tell you that it is very amusing. It’s not the kind of movie which you don’t have to worry thinking “Would this have a very intense story and action?” because the film really gets your attention from the theory itself evolving from 1 to 100 percent to the resolution they did in the climax and denouement that will leave you having the thought that this might be real, but it’s totally fiction; so that’s why the movie is amusing. It kind of reminds me of one of my favorite films last year which was Now You See Me which totally didn’t have that strong plot to tell, but was a total amusement and will get stuck in your head.

The humor in the film was exactly what completed the formula in creating this amusing film, and Lucy was surely on top of that.

Scarlett Johansson is really da bomb. On the onset of the film, I have this fear that when Scarlet will show of action scenes like never before, it will dilute the taste of any Marvel film she will be in because we’ve seen enough in this film. Thankfully, there wasn’t really that much action for her because her character needs not to due to the existing power she already have and there’s no need for a Black Widow style combat… which is very, very sexy… but hey, I’m gay.

A MARVEL PLEA

This was a shock. On the first day of the film being shown in the Philippines was on a Wednesday and my partner and I entered the cinema late and when we came in, we were surprised on how jam-packed it is! I mean, it’s on a weekday, and even Iron Man 3, which screened six out of eight cinemas way back then didn’t even have plenty of people running around just to watch it on the first day; also Guardians of the Galaxy, which screened a week before Lucy, didn’t even fill the entire seats. I was surprised and bewildered at the same time… we didn’t even have a seat not until the twentieth minute of the film.

This just goes to show that Scarlett Johansson’s year is 2014, and when I read about Kevin Feige (producer of Marvel Studios) saying that a female superhero film (especially Black Widow), is not yet ready, in addition “timing is everything”… I felt like he’s somehow wrong about that one because from the showing date abroad: it’s been number one in the box office, also the public’s reception of the film that stars Scarlett is quite effective because they know that she can do these action sequences that will look so cool, that even Charlie’s Angels needed to retire from being one… (Just kidding, I love Charlie’s Angels). Well, maybe because they have no firm story for Black Widow yet, but Feige could’ve reasoned that way. I mean, Scarlett is one hell of an action star and we need a Black Widow movie SOON!!!

OVERALL

Anyway, overall this film was very much entertaining and amusing. The film’s length is just enough and not dragging compared to other movies which has the same theme but forces its story to be more dramatic, ending up not in the nonsense bin.

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY MOVIE REVIEW [NO SPOILER]

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- ★★★★ out of 5 stars

This year has been the most fun filled movie experience and I’ve never been more anticipated than these Marvel movies starting off with Captain America: The Winter Soldier which blew me off with a great cast, action and story.

I’m always happy about Marvel being the top franchise nowadays, and after CapAm, I’ve never been more excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy.

First of all, Hi Chris Prat, I loved you from the day you were chubby and I am crazy for you now that you have an awesome body. *woot *woot

Anyhow, Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel Studios movie, along with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor which delves deeper into the galaxy with more characters and common places comic geeks should know about.

After watching the movie, I can really say, “That’s how you do a movie.”

A movie has different elements and ingredients for it to work, and Marvel surely took a gamble on GotGalaxy since this is really not a famous comic book superhero, I didn’t even know them when they released it in Comic Con a year or two ago. But, Marvel surely knows that the comic version of GotGalaxy has shallow storyline, unlike other comics, but is critical upon creating the cinematic universe: and that’s what happened here in the film.

It all worked out!

I love the cast. The cast was so good and great and comical-wise, it was the best and they complement each other. I feared for a fact that the casting was so huge, one of them might get overshadowed by the others, and I was expecting for Drax The Destroyer (Dave Batista) or Gamora (Zoe Saldana) or Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel) to be overshadowed by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Rocket Raccoon (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), but I was surprised how intense Gamora is as an assassin, and how ignorantly funny Drax, plus the innocently hilarious Groot. All of the five characters were so hilarious from start of the movie to the end. Even when the tone became serious, there was always a punchline towards the end of it that will kill you will laughter.

Although we know for a fact that GotGalaxy has no really strong material, and I have to agree that the movie doesn’t give you that 12 Years a Slave story treatment, No, it’s a start to finish one point to the other: A chase of getting the infinity stone.

But what the hell when you have a very strong cast and great action scenes plus enticing directing? I also loved the fact that there’s an underlying drama within the characters that’s deep and sensible and sequelable (if there’s any word which I know there isn’t).

Speaking of directing, James Gunn, the director, did a great, great job for pulling this movie off. He did massively good that gives you a film of total entertainment.

Kudos to Marvel for always gambling on these kind of movies.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy is an American Marvel Studios film directed by James Gunn starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista plus voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. The film was released August 1 worldwide and July 31st in the Philippines.

 

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SURPRISED: NOT YOUR ORDINARY PACUTE TEEN MOVIE | SHE’S DATING THE GANGSTER MOVIE REVIEW

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- ★★★★

First of all (I have to be defensive about this but…) I’m NOT a fan of Daniel and Kathryn’s love team and I was really hesitant when my partner asked me to watch it, but what changed my mind was that this film was directed by one my favorite directors which gave me one of my favorite Filipino films of all time: One More Chance and she is Cathy Garcia-Molina. Yet, the fact still remains that it was a KathNiel movie still bugs me a bit.

But after watching She’s Dating a Gangster, I could say that it was a “WOW”.

But first let me break the bad, okay, good and the WOW elements in the film.

 

STORY, MAKE-UP, PRODUCTION AND COSTUME

Story-wise, the film started with the pa cute effect Daniel and Kathryn was destined to do. A bit shallow, confusing, corny and cheesy and to be honest, the costume they wore that’s supposed to be on the 80s were a bit off and discombobulated to the real fashion of that era. They were too pretty and too handsome. Was it maybe because of the High Definition camera used? Or was it really poor in production? In that sense, it never captured the 80s feel. But I don’t think any Pinoy films nowadays have captured a past era using costumes and make-up.

Anyhow, as the story progresses and when we got into the middle part: I realized that there’s a depth that captures my attention and gives focus to the story itself. The entire confusing introduction made all sense and you want more answers in the upcoming remaining minutes of the film. And also, I can see the effort of building a good movie on that moment.

And at the very end, it all sums up to giving you an entire emotional bittersweet love affair that will surely crush your heart into pieces.

It captures a love that is sacrificial and deep that in the end will always have a happy end no matter what. The story is just good.

There were really some fun moments in the movie but nothing beats the KathNiel fans that whenever Daniel appears to look pa cute on screen, everyone around is just going wild which gave my partner and I a noisy but hilarious cinematic experience.

 

ACTING

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting for Daniel Padilla to improve and be an effective character. I was shocked even on the first few minutes of the film; he already showed intense characterization that even my partner and I did not fathom.

And to Daniel’s mini-brilliance comes Kathryn’s mini-annoyance. Well, probably because she has to be quirky and all and it’s just so regular of her to do that and that maybe is the reason why we can’t see any improvement in her. But then, she’s still good when she shed’s tears (evil).

 

A RICHARD GOMEZ AND DAWN ZULUETA MOVIE

Yes… when you get to the ending, the part where Richard and Dawn’s characters did meet: they stole the scene from everyone including Daniel and Kathryn even when it’s just seven minutes long! The buildup of the story up to that specific ending makes you think that this film is not just some typical teen movie that you watch and puke right after but it’s the movie you should give focus to and wait for the very heartbreaking yet satisfying ending.

And it was all because of Richard and Dawn’s chemistry and pure acting. Maybe it’s because they’re veteran (they should really be good at it by now) and it was just so believable that it made me cry which I really did not expect to.

The scene where Richard and Dawn’s character meet eye to eye, and everything else was in slow motion, captured the real emotions of bitterness, confusion, loneliness and happiness… everything was just good until Dawn spoke of a one-word liner: “GANGSTER” that made everything in the movie fits like a puzzle which tugs your heart and will bring you tears to the eyes.

Another TBH, I am a CharDawn fan… die hard. UGH!

And because of this, I think it’s about time that ABS-CBN should produce a CharDawn film with great, great, great story and has to be handled well by a director like Garcia-Molina because it will surely be a huge hit not just for matured people, but also for young adults out there.

 

OVERALL

Overall, the movie is really good because it has a deeper sense of storytelling that differs from every one generation storyline films we’ve seen and Cathy Garcia-Molina definitely knows how to pull our heartstrings.

 

She’s Dating a Gangster is produced and released by Star Cinema and was directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina. Starring Danieel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo with Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta.

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TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION MOVIE REVIEW

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- ★1/2 stars out of 5 stars

The glorious franchise of Michael Bay’s Transformers, now has reached to the 4th and still giving us the typical kind.

Transformers: Age of Extinction was screened last Wednesday here in the Philippines and I’ve seen it last night and what it left me was that of the same old, same feel Transformers 1, 2 and 3.

With the new cast members including Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yaeger, Nicola Peltz as his daughter, Tessa, Jack Reynor as Shane plus Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci in the film.

The movie picks up five years after the disastrous Chicago battle in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, leaving all behind including the original cast.

The movie has the same style as with any other Transformers movie, and it somehow did not translate very well. Just like the other three, Age of Extinction has a very, very interesting and captivating beginning that will make you focus well on the screen but only for a short amount of time because you’ll end up getting bored with the middle part and then it has the explosive ending… literally, with all the action going from here to there which to be honest kinds of heavy in a not-so-good sense.

Michael Bay should be thankful for the exciting ending that tolerated all the heavy action and numerous unnecessary scenes. Some of the humor felt like pushed to the limits of corny-ish, but still, there was the humor that we all loved in a Michael Bay film especially Transformers.

As to be said, the action sequences were too huge and heavy that it did felt like too much and there could’ve been some scenes where they could just cut it out from the final movie.

Although the film was only two hours and thirty; it did feel like three hours or more, and unfortunately, it’s similar with the other films: long and tiring.

A quick comparison between a Michael Bay film and a James Cameron film. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that when you watch Titanic or Avatar, it doesn’t feel three hours long, on the other hand, Michael Bay’s Transformer Series felt like it’s three which is bizarre.

I can conclude that long-takes (which Cameron does) make the movie shorter, and as you can see in Transformers, in just one minute or less, it changes from one scene to the other and there are plenty of settings included which feels like the movie drags too long that it has so many things in it.

I did not appreciate the fact that it was just another Michael Bay film and it did not step up to another level of storytelling. Although CGI-wise, it’s a WOW (except for the shooting star in one scene which was really, really ugly).

But I cannot delete the fact that there are some parts that kept me in excitement and gave the chills because of some really cool sequences, but only if the film crew could step it up a notch a bit.

If I reward this with a top 4 from all the Transformers movies, I think this is next to the first film. This is not the best, it’s not the worst, it’s also not OKAY.

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction is an American film directed by Michael Bay and a fourth film of the Transformers series which stars Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, and Peter Cullen as the voice of Optimus Prime. 

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 MOVIE REVIEW

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-★★★ out of 5

“Tumultuous. Better than its predecessor.”

 

I’m not a fan of the first How to Train Your Dragon movie, although it has good points with it; it just doesn’t suit up with my taste. But there are elements in the first film that are sequel-able (I just made that up) that could create a new franchise that will be good enough for the adults in the rating of G or PG.

HTTYD 2 levels up to a whole new discovery of new places and characters that are relevant to the story. Adding up Cate Blanchett who played as Valka, who is the long lost mother of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), which plays a vital role in the film. Kit Harrington who played as the helpless villain turned ally, Eret, who gave the entire movie another reason to laugh. And, Djimon Hounsou who played the vicious villain Drago.

I love the fact that the new characters feels appropriate and not pushed, because there are times when sequels add more characters, it tends to be like incompatible ending up for them not to shine in some ways that you can just take them away from the movie and still not hurting the plot because they’re just unnecessary. Even when characters have superpowers/machines like a rhino machine or capable of handling electricity; and if they’re not focused, writers might as well scratch them off the script; they’re USELESS.

The humor is quite right, although I wished to have more to compensate the dragging moments in the film. Humor is totally related to animated feature, most especially on rated G films because they are targeting more on the young audience and of course, these people are tend not to really focus on the story itself, but to the color, animation, action and humor. If I were a kid watching the two films: I would honestly have a bad time with it. And for a fact that most comic moments in the movie are rated PG; I mean, who laughs about girls going gaga over huge muscles? Of course it would be us, adults. But still, as an adult, I have a good laugh.

The story is deeper compared to the first film, because it’s much more dangerous now than it was. The villain, Drogo, is a dragon master capable of doing evil and there’s a sense of danger there. The theme of Good versus Evil is evident throughout and that’s good because it still reminds us to check our values.

I also love the fact that it’s a family movie. The first one was a total adventure, but this one, it focuses on how important it is to have a family, to be complete and happy. The film almost got me on my feels, man, and there’s a part there where you can just put regret on the entire screen and I just love it.

The film for me is tumultuous. Better than its predecessor.

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is an American animated movie starring Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, America Herrera, Jonah Hill and Djimon Hounsou. The film is directed by Dean DeBlois and was released June 11, 2014 in the Philippines.

DEAR TAYLOR SWIFT

 

 

 

 

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Dear Taylor,

 

My name is Don; I’ve been an avid fan of yours ever since I laid my ears on the very first song that became an instant hit here in the Philippines. And ever since, your songs have always been a therapy, theme songs and best of all, my best friend.

I’m writing this because I’m just so sad that I did not make it to your Red Concert in Manila. It’s very unfortunate; however, in my absence in that stadium is the presence of the memories running back through your songs I’m listening now.

The impact of the lyrics told to me became the instant advice; some became the sudden realization; and some became the voice that words can’t be described on my own.

 

Remember the time when you said ‘I can see it now’? I did, and always have been daydreaming of a future together with someone I really like even when I just met him. It takes me years ahead, flash forward to the times that it’s supposed to be, which I’m hoping to be. It’s a rollercoaster ride; ups and downs, loving and saying goodbyes, yet still lasts forever until we get old thinking he’s the best thing that’s ever been mine. Yeah, I saw it.

Those uncharted moments when everything is just so uninteresting but then I suddenly saw this guy in the crowd and no words to describe it but, ‘It was enchanting’. It’s the best of the best feelings: first enchanting meetings, in which you felt sparks and never letting go. I was just wonderstruck walking back way home thinking about that same guy over and over; blushing and laughing. Then, I remembered looking straight at that guy and telling him the exact words I held back in my mind that you also said, ‘Please don’t be in love with someone else, please don’t have somebody waiting on you.’ And at that moment, everything felt flawless.

When you correlated emotions to the colors Blue, Grey and Red… it was just the perfect metaphor for the strong and inaudible emotions I felt for the times I fell in love. You told me that.

And on the saddest experiences in my life; falling in love and getting hurt and just being sad about it… you were just there, saying the words even I can’t dare think or ponder about. When you were helping me reminisce the beautiful past of a failed relationship in exact words like ‘wind in my hair, I was there, I remember it all too well’. Maybe my relationship got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much and surely that relationship was a masterpiece until he tore it all apart. I was a crumpled up piece of paper lying, broken hearted… just like what you descrribed.

Another sad experience was regretting something and wished for him to come back like he would if this life was a movie and true to what you said: freedom ain’t nothing but just missing that person… I would surely go back to that month all the time and make it all right.

Remember the times when you were with me on my path for revenge? When I felt like it was too unfair on my part that he left me with someone he doesn’t even know that much? It really felt like sabotage. And you helped me with my revenge by saying ‘sophistication isn’t what you wear and what you know’ and ‘no amount of vintage dresses gives you dignity’ which truly describes that person who looked clueless but totally bitching her way to him. She might have him, but I’d always have the last word. Whatever.

When I had just the worst relationship ever, and people are asking me if we’d get back, and I’m just like, ‘We’re NEVER EVER EVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER’, and just dance about it instead… which will be awkward. Haha!

Then on my high school days… let’s add college days, where every guy I loved felt like someone I will never touch because I’m just invisible in his heart. The times where they liked some girls but I know deeply that they will never love this guy the way I will love him though. It’s hyperly hopeless romantic.

Those times when I was so deeply in love but you just couldn’t push it through because of hurtful things happened, and on that very separation stage; you have his number and you just wished to call him because you miss him and you want everything back, but you just can’t because you can’t risk another goodbye… yeah, I almost do.

But the fact that you just taught me to fall in love, get hurt and rise back to your feet, take risks and just be fearless became the best principle you taught me. I learned to take it slow, capture moments, remember it, dance in the rain, just fall in love, head-first, fearless.

Those funny times where we thought, daydreaming of things like ranting to a wedding and telling the guy not to marry that girl because she’s not worth it, because I am. It was just so hilarious, I couldn’t help myself. You said to me, ‘Speak now, or forever hold your peace’, and instantly I became the person who tells people what I feel the need to be told.

When falling in love will often be not to the right person, when knocking on someone’s door might be trouble, and you have no one to blame but only you. When loving someone who only thinks of himself instead of the relationship. It was just the worst!

When realizing that I have grown up, we have grown up, and looking back not on the happy thoughts but on the hurtful things we’ve been through and looking in the future for more of it: it’s just so scary, wishing we would just never grow up? But you can’t.

Whenever my partner and I fight; I always remember the things that you said that were exactly describing me whenever it happens. The words like, ‘I said ‘leave’ but all I really want is you’ and ‘when I left I wanted you to chase after me’. It’s really stupid and predictable, but that’s me and that’s what loving someone’s supposed to be, chasing, isn’t it? Then words scramble in my mind trying to get out of my mouth like the things you said in that song yet all you wanted to say is ‘I need you.’

And with that, I just told my partner “STAY, STAY, STAY”. Haha! It’s all so crazy… falling in love.

Those memories when I was with a guy who was too vain about himself and did not make me happy which all ended, and I was never really hoping to fall in love again; everything was just dark and for the past months all I thought that love has ever done was to break, burn and end… but then, eventually, you will meet that one guy that will take it all away, appreciate you, love you and laugh at your jokes… and you suddenly realize: you watched love begin again.

When you told me that falling in love worlds away is falling in love in the cruelest way was just so true, especially when my partner was gone away for days.

Love really is a ruthless game unless you play it good and right.

And then there’s when we hang out together in our twenties but we don’t know anything about life and it’s AWESOME. We were happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way. Doing crazy things with friends and just dancing our hearts away singing to the song we know and just be awkward about it. And you told me, ‘Everything will be alright if we just keep dancing like we’re 22.’ And we realized that life will just fall into place in the right time.

 

I have to admit, my heart shattered just by watching videos of you having your concert in Manila and not being able to be there, jumping around and screaming my lungs out still I know one day we’ll meet and tell you stories about everything that I just told here. And I know you’ll make songs that will surely be the next theme songs of my life and love, will inspire and most especially will be my new best friends.

Cheers! And keep it coming!

 

Your crazy fan,

Don

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