Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 Horrible Life Lessons Local Films Love to Teach You

Before you rush to the comments section wanting to tell me that "not all local movies are like that", let me save you the trouble of waiting for my response; "You don't say? Way to go Captain Obvious!"

But I'm not going to lie to you, I was a little bit cautious when I was coming up with the title for this entry. I don't want to give the impression that I do stereotype movies that way, or that I am an Americophile of sorts who looks down on local stuff. Which is why the title originally read 5 Horrible Life Lessons Yusof Haslam Movies Love to Teach you. Not so much about movies made by the said film-maker, but rather I was hoping it would convey the type of movies I'm referring to.

Plus, I get to reuse the image below.

Previously seen in Ridiculous Complaints About Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa...
But of course, not even I am that horrible a human being to pin all of those unwatchable movies on him. So I thought I'll just stick with the term "local films" and hope that you'll know what I really mean.

#5 If you do manual labour for a living, you're a failure

Let's get the obvious out of the way first. This is something that has been pointed out before by other people, but I feel like it just won't do if I don't at least say something about it. Anyway, it always bugs me to see how miserable movie characters are if their jobs do not require them to sit in front of a computer all day in an air-conditioned office.

It's not enough that they have to mope while they sell kuih, or lay bricks, or sell vegetables at the wet market. For some reason there's always the need to have that really sad-sounding piano piece playing in the background. If the character has a disability, it makes me feel even worse because they like to insinuate that handicapped people are helpless. Hey, I know a guy with Cerebral palsy who's really really jovial. Never once I felt sad when we hung out, if anything I found the guy to be pretty inspirational.

Look, I get it. Nobody likes to be poor. But the definition of "rich" and "poor" differ from one person to another. Kind of like how a thousand Ringgit diamond ring may mean a lot to an everyday guy, but it doesn't mean squat to the likes of our First Lady. So, you know... It's terrible to sell the idea that you're unsuccessful if you don't handle multimillion projects on a weekly basis.

#4 If you don't drive a fancy car, then you have no business dating

I don't share that kind of fascination most men have for fancy cars, so I find this to be baffling as hell. Is it just me, or Yusof Haslam and his son seem to have a major boner for fancy cars, going so far as having the characters in their movies drive nothing less than a Mitsubishi, even if they are living on a cop's salary. Now, please note that I'm not referring to movies like KL Drift 2 [2010] (pictured above). The genre calls for that kind of a suspension of disbelief.

What I'm referring to instead are every other Yusof Haslam movie ever made. I can't recall a specific example because I have never been able to sit through any of them, but what I can remember instead are snippets of them where all the scenes played out like a mid-'90s karaoke music video, with the male romantic lead atop the hood of his Nissan Skyline (or whatever the fuck was considered 'hip' at the time) and delivered lines that would make Bruno Mars retire with his tail between his legs.

That's just horrible because it's demeaning to both genders, implying that without the fancy car and the beautiful Bollywood-esque scenery, our two lovebirds wouldn't have any idea why they're attracted to each other in the first place. Long story short, this is romantic. This is not.

#3 If you can't date a co-worker, it's not a job worth having

I am aware that four out of every five movies are guilty of this horrible life lesson, and you could argue that it's not that absurd an idea because it does happen in real life. Sure, spend enough time in close proximity and there are bound to be strings attached. But when I saw it happen in the first two Gerak Khas movies, I couldn't help but burst out laughing because it was corny, so unnecessary, and it felt like the subplot was there just because.

It's bad enough that police in the Gerak Khas universe were severely understaffed, it was made worse by the principal characters who couldn't seem to get their priorities straight. It was like they were torn between making each other jealous or, you know... Doing their job? Even in the midst of an operation, with the adrenaline rush and all, they still had the time to hog for each other's attention and it made me wonder why did they join the police force in the first place.

Apparently (cheesy) romance is that big of a deal in our culture. Which brings me to lesson #2.

#2 Literally all is fair in love and war
Looks like the idea of rape being fun has been around long before Ombak Rindu...
Oh boy. I promised myself that I'm not going to make another Ombak Rindu reference, or another Aaron-Aziz-is-a-romantic-rapist joke. But those are the first two things that came to mind when I sat down to elaborate on this point. So I tried going back to the '90s once again, I still couldn't draw a specific example but I could at least remember a pattern all mainstream movies had at the time.

You can do literally anything from disowning your family, to adultery, to murder (what movie was the one with Ziana Zain getting stabbed, but reacted like she was having an orgasm instead? I can't recall), as long as you're doing it in the name of love. What was so horrible about this lesson was that there never was any real reason for them to be together other than the fact that it was "cinta terhalang".

Aw, c'mon. Unless you're fighting for Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt, nobody is worth killing for.

#1 If you hear voices or see "things", it's never because you're mentally ill

I had a hard time trying to figure out where to begin with this point as well, because there's just too many examples to draw from. But the conclusion is always the same; If you hear voices or see things that aren't there, it's not your fault. It simply means that you have to live with it for a while, before driving to a rural area somewhere looking for a bomoh or a dukun to exorcise you.

Forget therapists or psychiatrists, those fellas would do nothing but ask you questions whereas a bomoh would run his hands all over you, using a tasbih like it was a magical wand or something. So ladies and gents, if you see someone who's all delirious or crazy-ish, don't be so quick to judge. It's just that they literally have a demon in their system.

6 comments:

Az said...

Oh may I add one more, please?

Typically, in local films/drama, the good leading lady is usually naive, helpless, inappropriately 'lemah lembut'/shy and dependent on their partners. They can never seem to think or fend for themselves when in trouble.

And the evil lady character is normally successful, independent and outspoken. These characters have always been associated with wild women for some reason. =P

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

LOL... Yeah, and that stigma kind of carries over to real life as well. A lot of guys seem intimidated of successful ladies.

Zulfahmi said...

IF you're a leader/CEO of a business company, u'll die of a heart attack...


or if u drive when your heart is broken, u'll crash and die...

T-Boy said...

Yeah, well, with regards to point #1, what do you suggest? You hear voices and see “things”, no one believes you, you spend years — YEARS living with the stigma of being “gila”, and when someone does take notice, it’s to subject you to completely inadequate mental care and treatment that only extends to the distribution of drugs and little else?

As realistic it is, that’s not much of a movie.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

@T-Boy
1. Are you at all familiar with the concept of humour?

2. You don't need ghosts to make a good horror movie. Hitchcock did it, the first Saw movie was excellent. I'd give more examples, but you get the idea.

Nothing wrong with making tahyul ghost movies, but since it became like a staple for local movies, I feel like I gotta at least say something.

RedSun said...

another great post by mamu!! heheheheh

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