Friday, July 28, 2017

260. The Best Hit 최고의 한방 (2017) Korean

Yoon Si Yoon, Lee Se Young, Kim Min Jae, Cha Tae Hyun, Yoon Son Ha

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: A

This show had so much potential.  But it was all over the place.  I think it took too much on itself and then couldn't follow through.  There were so many wonderful characters and situations, but it ended up being just typical and slapped together at the end.  It's a lower middle on my range of disappointment vs. liking of the four dramas early summer dramas we watched together.

It was a weird but interesting premise to start off with.  It started with Ji Hoon (Kim Min Jae) narrating it, so we though his part in the plot would remain important.  In fact Yoo Hyun Jae (Yoon Si Yoon) wasn't introduced in the first few episodes, except at the very end.  There were so many plots that were supposed to be tied together, I wished they had all stayed that important.  I wanted to see way more Bo Hee and Kwang Jae.  I was always down for more Grandpa and Granddaughter stuff too.  Instead, they focused on the love triangle between father and son in a super awkward and lopsided way that was reminiscent of Reply 1988, meaning it gave Lizabreff some Jung Hwan Syndrome.  Well, I guess it was a modified second lead syndrome, because they focused so much on Ji Hoon being in love with Woo Seung while Hyun Jae was falling in love with modern technology, that she ended up shipping them too much.  It's easy to forget the three accidental kisses in one episode at the beginning because they were way too comical to be believed.  The problem was they didn't balance or pace the show well so we didn't know who to root for.  Even I (a die hard Yoon Si Yoon Fan- team Hyun Jae the whole time) would have been fine if Ji Hoon had won, because of how unbalanced the love story was.  The real OTP was Hyun Jae and his phone.  Or even just the BroTP- Hyun Jae and Kwang Jae.

There were so many plots that I wanted to see more of that just fizzled out.  Bo Hee's quest to reenter the entertainment field and her devotion to Hyun Jae (her baby daddy).  Kwang Jae's long time love for Bo Hee, which could have been a pretty funny "love triangle" since 93 Hyun Jae was pre-baby daddy Hyun Jae.  Even Ji Hoon wanting to be an idol sort of fizzled out of importance when all of the sudden it became completely and only about the main couple.  It all went down hill when Woo Seung moved out and Hyun Jae started working at Star Punch.... well not completely, it was still fun and cute.  I loved all the interactions between Hyun Jae and Young Jae.  Him always using his office, etc.  That is just when the focus really got skewed.  It seemed like they sacrificed the purity of the story to the rating gods and turned it into a blase romcom (not that Yoonie in love will ever be blase, he's the cutest thing in all creation).

I just wanted there to be way more focus on Hyun Jae and why he was there, where the money went, and why he did what he did in 93, what happened in 94, and why he disappeared and died.  They managed to cover all of that, but with way less focus and screen time than I wanted.  Kind of rushed it.  Although the meeting of 93 and 94 might have been my favorite thing ever.  Hyun Jae and Hyun Jae is a beautiful thing.  They were the same person, yet not, because they had had different experiences, separate from each other.  Was that too much of a spoiler?  It was a tiny spoiler.  I don't regret that though, because this show doesn't make that much sense the way it jumps around and forgets to update you on people and stuff.  It was almost as bad as a 50 episoder that only had 16 episodes, except it would have been way too draggy if it had been longer.... unless they suddenly wrote it better and gave plenty of time for all the story lines and characters and didn't try to confuse us as to who the OTP was, etc.

So this wasn't as gross of a disappointment as Lookout was (still angry and crying, what the heck!) for me anyway.  Maybe Lizabreff feels differently, as a Team Ji Hoon Girl, but it was definitely not all it could have been, and that's sad.  At least it was still funny and cute until the end, even if it didn't make as much sense.  You all know I would watch any show for Yoon Si Yoon no matter what anyway (literally have a post dedicated to that...)  So points for casting my Yoonie?  JK, I will also watch anything for Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Min Jae too... so great cast, interesting premise, and writing.... wth?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Korean Movie Night: Hyung, aka My Annoying Brother, 형 (2016) Korean

Jo Jung Suk, Do Kyung Soo, Park Shin Hye

Movie rating: 8/10     Neck score: A

Can I just say that the genres assigned to Korean movies are all lies?  They say it's a comedy, and then you're crying by the end.  Such liars!  Well, I guess that's why this one is labelled a comedy drama, which seems like a walking contradiction, but trust me, it does it and does it well.  The situation itself is both comedic and sad, as it is about a conman (Jo Jung Suk) who uses his younger brother's sudden blindness as an excuse to get out on parole.  To make matters worse, his younger brother (Do Kyung Soo) was a judo athlete training for the Olympics when the injury happened.  Talk about depressing right there, but then there is the conman comedic element that makes it also weirdly funny.  It's just a mix of lots of emotions.  Plus you have some of my favorite actors.  I have always had nothing but praise for both of these boys, and their brotherly chemistry is the best.  Bromance between real brothers is the best.  I love seeing families coming together.  I was super impressed with Kyung Soo's ability to act blind.  I believed it.  I also loved how they look enough alike to be half brothers.   They were just great.  Park Shin Hye was... okay.  Like usual.  I liked the pace of the story, as well as the comedy.  The timing was pretty great.  Then the emotions!  Wah!  So many emotions!  All the emotions in the world!  I think I might have felt them all!  Haha, maybe an exaggeration, but hey, I am obsessed with these boys.  Jo Jung Suk makes me feel things.  It was definitely a good one that I would recommend watching, especially if you happen to love these boys as much as I do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

265. Ode to Joy 欢乐颂 (2016) Chinese

Liu Tao, Jiang Xin, Wang Zi Wen, Yang Zi, Bridgette Qiao Xin

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A

I started on this late, as I saw everyone tweeting about season 2, but I had been planning on watching it since back when I watched When a Snail Falls in Love.  But it was better than I thought it would be, because it is a girl power show.  The show is about the girls and not necessarily about the romance.  It takes forever for them to introduce the men, and I love it.  It totally passes the Bechdel Test as it certainly has more than two women in it and they all talk to each other about things besides men.  Not that they don't talk about men, they certainly do that too, but that is not necessarily what the show is about.  It is about their friendships, family, struggles, growth, and also about love.

It is about five women who live on the 22nd floor of the Ode to Joy apartment building.  Three of them are roommates renting the middle apartment.  The other two own the apartments on either end.  Each comes from a very different background and each has a very different personality.  I found myself relating to Andie and Xiao Qu the most, but I still related and loved them all.  I related to Andie's logical frankness, and Xiao Qu's not caring and saying/doing whatever she wants attitude.  I see myself in Guan Guan as I overwork myself and never actually try to get in a relationship.  I'm definitely Ying Ying when she is pulling those faces and bouncing off the walls to cheer people up.  I related the least to Fan Jie, as she's a drama queen, but I still can see myself being the mother hen advice giver all the same.  And who isn't a little materialistic, huh?  Basically what I'm saying is that I loved them all and I cared about them all.

I also loved how it addressed issues that women face in general and especially in China.  Issues such as male/son favoritism, marriage over careers, materialism, and cyber bullying, as well as other general problems such as whistle blowing, becoming a full time employee, blind dates, adoption, and mental illness.  This also meant that I was going to get super angry that these situations existed and that our girls had to struggle through them.  I practically screamed every time that Fan's family was on screen.  They're the worst!

It was definitely not a perfect drama.  It is prone to be over dramatic, and the need for a narrator to tell us the inner thoughts of our girls was a bit silly.  I was a bit wary of how they talked about mental illness and how big a deal it was.  But overall I just loved it and was super excited for season two, which I started the minute I had finished season one.  That was weird.  Talk about change in tone and filters.  But if you are looking for a good girl show (not a perfect one, but still progressive) then I do recommend this one.

255. Suspicious Partner 수상한 파트너 (2017) Korean

Ji Chang Wook, Nam Ji Hyun, Choi Tae Joon, Nara

Drama Rating: 7/10     Neck Score: A+

Okay!  Here we have a solid middle candidate for how well we liked the four early summer dramas we watched together.  While this one started off fairly solid, it had problems in the middle.  I also really wanted to know how DF got that the plot was about a murderer with amnesia, because that didn't happen until way later and not enough for it to be the main plot point.  It was confusing (how did they know!?!).  The first couple of episodes, setting up the premise of her being framed for murder, were great.  The draggy part in the middle where Bong Hee's favorite line was "나 때문에!" and running away from Ji Wook... not so great.  It got old really fast.  Which was sad, because as a character she was the the best at first, but she became the worst by the end.

You know who was the best the entire time?  MANTIS!  I am pretty in love with Dong Ha.  He is a pretty amazing actor.  From Last to Chief Kim, he's proven he can be anyone and show such emotion with such subtle expressions.  This one was no exception.  How could he such a sympathetic and complicated person AGAIN?!?  He was what I watched for as soon as he came on, especially when the times got draggy.

Another surprise favorite was Choi Tae Joon, who was so annoying in Missing Nine, but so great in this.  I love this actor, but his character as murderous Tae Ho was a little much, but he was just an adorable loving puppy in this one, and from his fake annoying laugh to his actual good advice, he was the best.  I did think his story got a little shafted, but since I loved him, I forgave it.

Oh, and obviously Ji Chang Wook was unreasonably hot, cute and gave the best cuddle hugs.

The good part was that the ending totally made up for the slowness in the middle.  It wrapped up well, and with a decent twist, and then gave us a good denouement that was just cute and perfect after all the craziness.  It was a nice change, after some other dramas left us with a sour taste and ridiculous ending (still crying over Lookout).  This is a decently cute and fun murder romcom.  It's hard to do, but in the end, I guess it worked out, if you can forgive the middle stupidity.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

257. Fight My Way 쌈 마이웨이 (2017) Korean

Park Seo Joon, Kim Ji Won, Ahn Jae Hong, Song Ha Yoon

Drama Rating: 8/10     Neck Score: A

I would have to say that this one probably wins the prize of being consistently good and the best ending out of our four dramas we watched together.  It never got too bad, and the ending was really cute.  I was probably the most satisfied with this one's resolution.  It also had a good ending that didn't involve stereotypes such as weddings, etc.  It also had a lot of shirtless Park Seo Joon, so bonus points.

The part I loved the best about this one was the characters.  They were just the best.  I loved seeing them grow as they figured out what they wanted in life, both in their careers and romantically.  We started off with expectations, and we were met with some surprises, which was nice.  It was funny, and hard, and relateable, all the things.  There were some characters that we liked more than others.  Joo Man just needed to be punched in the face a lot sooner than he was.  Baked Potato (Seol Hee) was just the cutest, but I loved her when she put her foot down the best.  Ae Ra and Dong Man were probably one of my favorite OTPs of all time.  Like seriously, they were the best.  I especially just loved Ae Ra so much!  But Coach-nim was obviously my favorite character.  (I LOVE Kim Sung Oh!)  But that ex-girlfriend bitca could have just not existed.  I was over her before she first came on the scene.  However my hatred of her probably made the scene where she lost that much better, but I didn't like how she had to help fix things in the end.  Probably the worst part of the ending, in my opinion.  She just was the worst.

I loved that it was fairly equally about the four friends, and that it wasn't just about relationship problems, but about life problems.  No one was completely right and no one completely wrong.  It was messy and had to be worked out.  Overall it was funny and cute and a bit motivating too.  Plus, Kim Sung Oh in a tanktop, serving soondae.  Um, yes!

258. Lookout 파수꾼 (2017) Korean

Lee Si Young, Kim Young Kwang, Kim Tae Hoon, Kim Seul Gi, Kim Ki Bum

Drama Rating: 6/10     Neck Score: A++

Of the four dramas that Lizabreff, Curdy and I were watching together, this one was my favorite.  It has it all.  An amazing bad-a female lead, a shady morally ambiguous secret male lead, awesome hackers who are the best (separate and together), some really hateable bad guys, and an unrealistically attractive priest.  I was so invested.  And it stay consistently good most of the time, until the very end, where all the sudden no one acted like themselves and they were all tricked by everything they should have seen through and it was embarrassingly bad.  It turned into a blame session where everyone wanted to take the blame and we started chanting "나 때문에!" to the tune of War of Hormones by BTS in that part where they are blaming women and hormones for the way they are.  So yeah, what a disappointment.  It was bitter, it was hard.  I loved this show so much and it betrayed me at the last minute.  It was like they gave up in the last two episodes and just slapped something together.  I didn't mind how they wrapped everything up in the end, I just hated how it got to that point.

It makes it hard because now I feel like I can't recommend it to anyone, because I would have to say "it's amazing until the last two episodes and then it really sucks" kind of like Reply 1988.  But in all fairness, it still deserves some love for those first 14 episodes (or 28, since they are doing those new short episodes).  It was a great revenge, crime drama with a puppet master, bad prosecutors, crazy wildcard police detectives gone rogue, and a wonderful bromance and romance.  Also, Kim Young Kwang's hair deserves an award.  As does his suits.  He is so despicable, yet so likable too.  And I just loved Lee Si Young with all my little heart!  She's a freaking goddess!  And my Ki Bum and Seul Gi were just so precious and perfect!  Best OTP ever!  It was also really weird seeing Kim Tae Hoon being so righteous.  He usually doesn't get to play roles like that often.  Bah!  It was so good until they ruined it at the end!   So, yeah.  I'm a little upset that my favorite ended up last in the ending department.  Boooooo!

263. Wednesday at 3:30 수요일 오후 3시 30분 (2017) Korean

Hong Bin, Jin Ki Joo, Ahn Bo Hyun, Cha Jung Won

Drama Rating: 5/10     Neck Score: A+

Hong Bin!  I've missed you so!  You're so delightfully cute and bad at acting.  Delightfully so.  He just makes me giggle whenever he's on screen.  Especially if he is supposed to be serious or whatever.  This show was pretty awful and ridiculous.  But we still 100% binge watched it and loved it because of our Beanie.  His character was supposed to be sassy, which was hilarious, because he couldn't really be sassy to that girl.  He's too much of a muffin, really.  It was so awkward the way the show was written, but it was also to unbearably cute that we just went along with it.  All the adorable dates right at 3:30.  Man, I wish I had a Beanie to take me out every Wednesday at 3:30, and a job that would let me just take off every week for like an hour, NBD.  Man, that thunderstorm holding hands over the puppy scene though, hahaha.  It just made us laugh out loud the whole way through.  It was very enjoyable, but not because it was good, just because it was cute and fluffy and we all love our Hong Bin.  I'm sure the rest of Vixx didn't let him live this down, except they were also probably jealous that he got to kiss that noona.  I do have to say that the second leads were pretty lame.  We called them Discount Zhoumi and Discount Kim So Eun.  They were both pretty lame and manipulative.  I did like the second second female lead, who was dating the second male lead.  She was actually pretty cool for a change.  Anyway, if you want a short fluffy thing, this is it.  If you want actual good acting/writing/drama this is definitely not it.  But for 10 short episodes, you might as well.  Its less than the length of a movie, and barely any commitment at all.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

264. Circle: Two Worlds Connected 써클 : 이어진 두 세계 (2017) Korean

Yeo Jin Goo, Kong Seung Yeon, An Woo Yeon, Kim Kang Woo, Lee Ki Kwang

Drama Rating: 9.5/10     Neck Score: A+

Omofreakingosh!  So good!  I loved it so much!  Moral and ethical dilemmas!  Aliens!  Conspiracy theories!  Neuroscience!  So much good stuff!  Including our future world detective's fine neck!  So much to love in this show!  It's also only 12 episodes, so there is no rooms for dragging, and it never does.  We have a lovely parallel plot between what is happening in 2017 and what is happening in 2037, and the two connected stories only build off of each other, rather than spoiling the other.  We find out things about the same time, as the two stories are really connected.  It was super clever of them.  We have so many ethical and moral dilemmas, such as the purpose of memories.  Are they like cancer cells that are hurting us even though they are part of life?  Or are they the things that make us who we are?  So many possibilities.  I literally burned through the episodes as fast as I could (because I started after it finished), which actually was a moderate pace because there is so much mind blowing content that I did need to take it at a reasonable pace so my head wouldn't literally explode, except that was also hard, because I needed to know what was going to happen next like right away!  Soooooo gooooood!  It was the kind that you don't find very often.  A little golden nugget of goodness.  I recommend to all!  LOVED IT!  I want to tell you all the things I loved about it, but I also don't want to give you any spoilers because that really would ruin this one.  Suspense and surprise are the best with this one.  Let your brain work hard to figure out the mysteries with both worlds.  But I will tell you some things I did like.

I loved both twins.  I just thought they were great.  I actually loved all the police, which is weird, right?  I especially loved our main future world detective, who's neck was so fine I had to comment on it once a day.  Mmm that jawline though.  I loved the plot and the mystery.  I actually loved the bad guys too, because in true K-Drama fashion, it was full of moral ambiguity and you could relate to and understand them all, even if you thought they were wrong or bad for how they were trying to achieve their dreams.

So basically I loved everything?