I Love You, Goodbye (Laurice Guillen, 2009) January 3, 2010Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Festival, Noypi.
Kim to Derek, her bones projecting themselves very well, “Don’t you find me attractive?” (Hands down, the runaway winner of the best movie line of 2009)
Directed by Laurice Guillen
Cast: Angelica Panganiban, Gabby Concepcion, Derek Ramsay, Kim Chiu
In the Church of England—this I lift from the dictionary—a vicar is “a person acting as priest of a parish in place of the rector, or as representative of a religious community to which tithes belong”. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church describes it as “an ecclesiastic representing the pope or a bishop”. “The Pope uses the title Vicarius Christi,” Wikipedia adds, “meaning the vicar of Jesus Christ”. As you see it is quite a sacred word, something that holds power albeit secondary. In common usage, the vicar is “a person who acts in place of another”; like a substitute or a deputy. It doesn’t take a genius to know that it is where the adjective “vicarious” is derived from, the adjective used to mean something “performed, exercised, received, or suffered in place of another” or “felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others”. There is no one-word appropriate synonym for “vicarious”; it seems that any close word fails to capture its essence. In Pushing Daisies literature, though, “vicarious” could also mean the “by-proxy-high-five” Chuck and Ned once show to express their excitement, to which Emerson Cod, the vicar, answers with “by-proxy-vomit”.
So I devoted a long paragraph just to introduce the word, which in a way not only describes I Love You, Goodbye and the agony of seeing it, but also applies to all Star Cinema movies released in the last ten years. Vicarious also seems fit to describe the feeling I had after seeing the movie—that while I was not thoroughly angered, I felt that I watched something that was not there, like all the emotions I felt are just felt for me, like all the thoughts I had inside the theater are just plain submission to that said vicariousness. Pardon my use of jargon, but the experiences of the four amoebic characters are shown “without utilizing real emotions” and “without undergoing the tedious sublimation and distillation of true feelings”. In short, their experiences never passed through because they were fakes; and early cognition already sorted them out from the real. Like a profound idea, it dawned on me that Star Cinema are creators of cyborgs; we just think we feel that way because their robots are acting that way, replicating the emotions they should feel, which they really don’t possess, and which by virtue of intention we should also feel while watching them (I suppose when we’re dead). The writers and the crew all help to create them but in totality they are just mere buttons of the toy, doing what is ordered.
I Love You, Goodbye is too stiff to be enjoyed, too humorless to pass as entertainment (except for Matet and Ketchup, who, after realizing I was robbed of enjoyment, have led me to believe that Star Cinema are keen on creating obligatory side characters who are way, way, way more interesting than their inutile main characters), and too lifeless to even call it a movie. Guillen attempts to make the flashbacks appear like old-school melodramas—like something that will make the present-day narrative replete with interest—that after being aware of their backstories, we expect to see the characters in a different light, but no. The narrative only becomes as stale as any moldy bread, and worse, we get to eat it. After seeing I Love You, Goodbye, now I know what go suck a lemon means; and what an unpleasant way to know the unpleasant answer. Even Kim Chiu asking Derek Ramsay ”Don’t you find me an attractive?” which in the trailer sounds funny and thought-provoking, falls flat like a flat chest. The story aims to be turbulent but only comes out flatulent, turgid like a bloated corpse. The ending is likewise a nightmare like no other. And if I should make a late suggestion, they should have omitted that comma in the title, for purposes of logic.
Never has it sounded so true: it’s a whole lot better to support bright people making stupid works than see stupid people attempting to look bright. Case rested.