Monday, January 15, 2018

Fight My Way

Episodes: 16
This story follows a group of friends in their thirties. They are all not living the life they want to live and struggle with their less-than-satisfactory situations. They are underdogs with big dreams and passions but are unable to achieve them. Go Dong Man and Choi Ae Ra are childhood friends who grew up together. Their relationship dynamic hasn't changed since they were children-- they care for one another, they bully one another, and they often argue. However, as both begin to pursue their dreams one more time, romantic feelings begin to develop.  

This year I will be trying to watch wholesome, positive dramas more often. I ended the year with "Because This Is My First Life" and I felt like my life changed. It showed me the struggles of life and the obstacles we face as women in careers, families, and relationships. It also showed me that it was okay to not know what you're doing and that things will figure themselves out eventually. After this drama, I was kind of in a drama slump. I skimmed through other dramas and just didn't feel for any of them. It took a while to find another drama that made me feel the same way and I finally decided to watch this. This drama is basically a mixture of "Because This Is My First Life" and "Reply 1997". I really enjoyed "Fight My Way". The acting, the chemistry between actors, and the story line were all very enjoyable for me. This drama did have it's share of cliche moments but the actors were very charming and charismatic in their roles, making it much more easier to watch. I would recommend this drama because it is a good mixture of romance and comedy while still showing you a slice of reality.
       Choi Ae Ra and Go Dong Man had a very interesting relationship and I really liked watching them together. While I understood Ae Ra's reasoning for not wanting Dong Man to fight toward the end, it also threw me off. Dong Man's dream has always been to fight and to redeem himself. While he has always supported Ae Ra's dreams, I felt as though Ae Ra should have returned the favor and made him feel less alone. Ae Ra was scared of him hurting himself but by refusing to stand by him toward the end, it made her seem unreliable when Dong Man spends the entire drama being there for her to rely on. As for their friends who were dating one another, I have some more things to say. I love that Ae Ra's friend grew as a person and became more independent with what she experienced in her relationship. As for the man, I have a lot more to say. I noticed that many commentators pointed out that he didn't actually cheat and they questioned why he was being treated as a cheater. Emotionally cheating is just as severe as physically cheating. It is not the fact that he has a tendency to play white knight that is the issue. The issue was him swaying emotionally, disregarding the person is he dating to conflict over someone he isn't, and also hiding things from his significant other. Why hide if he has nothing to hide? He was unfaithful emotionally.
       The other aspects that I didn't enjoy in this drama as much was the whole story line with Ae Ra's mother and also with Dong Man's ex-girlfriend coming back to try to win him back. It just seemed a little unlikely to me. So as I mentioned before, it was sort of cliche for these story lines. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Because This Is My First Life

Episodes: 16
Yoon Ji Ho is a single woman in her early thirties struggling to be a drama writer. She hardly earns enough to get a place on her own yet she is forced out of her home when she discovers that her little brother got his girlfriend pregnant and was married. Living in a patriarchal family, the house was under her brother's name and Ji Ho was forced to find a place for herself away from the married couple. Her two girl friends helped her look around for a house to live in and found one that was within her budget and also required her to move in as quickly as she can (as the landlord needed a tenant). Ji Ho moved in expecting her landlord to be a woman and after a few days she came to discover that she was living with a male landlord and not a female one.
     This was also shocking to the landlord, Nam Sae Hee, who thought that his new tenant was a man the entire time as well. He is also in his thirties but he has a stable job and he bought his own house. However, the house has mortgage and he spends most of his life living a mundane lifestyle and calculating how much he has to pay back and how he will live his life paying the debt back. However, living with Ji Ho and getting into a contract marriage with her would lead him to experience new things and help him open up to love again.
      This story also follows the careers and love lives of Ji Ho's two girl friends. This is a drama that shows a realistic take on life, love, and all the obstacles one must face.

           This drama is definitely the best Korean drama I've watched in a while. I have slowly started falling out of love with many of the cliche love stories seen in dramas. However, this drama gave a very refreshing take on romance, friendship, and family. I enjoyed this a lot because I saw similar relationships and stories reflected in those around me. This is definitely a great drama for those to watch in their early twenties to thirties. It makes you reflect so much on yourself and the life you have led up to this point and it makes you want to do better. 
       I loved the relationship dynamic between all the couples. It showed healthy, supportive relationships and it also showed the selfish side of relationships. Everyone has to learn to grow with another person and at times you have to learn to forgive certain situations because everyone is just human. I loved how it allowed people to see stories from both sides in a relationship and it showed how every relationship is different. Just because relationships differ from one another doesn't make one better or worse. The relationships in this drama showed the importance of understanding and compromise. I loved the support seen in romantic relationships, in friendships, and also between women in this show. No one tried to tear one another down and everyone tried to help one another rise to the top. The women were all so different from one another in this drama as well and it was great to see the diversity in character and interactions. It was really enjoyable. 
           Great show about working toward your dreams/careers, dealing with different relationships, and growing into a better person. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS DRAMA! 

Favorite episodes: 
Ep 5: The Mom's letter made me cry
Ep 6: The conversation between the mom and Nam Sae Hee was really touching, modern, and realistic.
Ep 7: The marriage issue between her friend and bf is so funny; realistic and interesting relationship dynamic
Ep 8: The dancing scene was so funny
Ep 11: The kimchi scene and also the way he lit up when he saw her. The kiss scene was also so cute.
Ep 12: I love how he admires her and supports her and is genuinely impressed if shes better than him at certain things
Ep 14: The interactions between the ex and Ji Ho was so refreshing. I love seeing women build one another up instead of tear one another down.
Also Sae Hee meeting Ji Ho's sexual assaulter and piecing the situation together was really refreshing as well.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

While You Were Sleeping

Episodes: 16
          Nam Hong Joo is a young woman who started having dreams that predicted the future at a young age. She is constantly haunted by these dreams and struggles with her moral compass as she has never been able to stop any bad event from happening. Forced into a shell, she lives at home with her mother and the two of them run a small restaurant together. Things start changing in Nam Hong Joo's life when Jung Jae Chan moves into the home across the street. Jung Jae Chan is a rookie prosecutor who is just learning the ropes of his new job. The two do not get along at first due to Nam Hong Joo's bad attempt to avoid a future event she saw in her dream. However, when the dreams start to affect Jung Jae Chan's life, the two are forced to work things out together. 
         One day, Jung Jae Chan had a dream about an accident involving Hong Joo and her boyfriend at the time, Lee Yoo Beom (a manipulative and ruthless attorney who knows Jae Chan from when he was younger). Feeling strange about the dream, Jae Chan decides to interfere with the events that would happen and ended up saving the lives of Hong Joo and the young police officer, Han Woo Tak. After this incident, Jae Chan, Hong Joo, and Woo Tak begin to have dreams about each other and future events that would affect them and they begin to work together to prevent bad events and to help one another.

         This was an enjoyable drama and it actually made me cry at the last episode. Any drama that can bring me to tears now is often considered a good drama to me. I like things that make me feel and that ending was sad, happy, and beautiful all in one. There were however moments where scenes dragged in the middle and there were times where I questioned the chemistry and compatibility between the leads. However, I enjoyed it nonetheless. Lee Jong Suk's acting, without a doubt, is still amazing. The prosecutor's acting was also amazing in this drama and it was great to see him take on more serious roles (he was the comedy relief in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon).
          I love how fitting the OST was to the drama and the concept for this drama was really interesting. I just wish that this could've expanded further and explore the concept a bit more at times. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I just wish our cute second lead could have found someone who would love him back the same way he loved Hong Joo. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pretty Li Hui Zhen

Episodes: 40
This is the Chinese remake of the Korean drama "She Was Pretty." The story follows a woman named Li Hui Zhen who is clumsy, messy, and unlucky in life. As a child, she was very beautiful but after her family went through bankruptcy, it took a toll on her physical appearance greatly as she struggled to support herself and help her family. One day her childhood friend Bai Hao Yu comes back to China and attempts to find Li Hui Zhen. When Li Hui Zhen saw that the childhood "fatty" friend became an extremely attractive and successful man, she suddenly felt ashamed of her current state. Hoping to leave only beautiful memories and impressions of herself with Bai Hao Yu, she asks her stylish and attractive best friend, Xia Qiao, to take her place. At first, it was supposed to be a white lie where Xia Qiao meets him and then tells him she's going to study abroad so they can't meet in the future. However, things get complicated when Xia Qiao becomes touched by Bai Hao Yu's love and when Li Hui Zhen gets an internship at the company Immortal only to find that Bai Hao Yu is her new boss. As Hui Zhen continues to try to hide her true identity, she has constant interactions with a fellow coworker Lin Yi Mu who is interested in her and with Bao Hao Yu who constantly berates her for incompetence. 

    I actually enjoyed watching this drama because it was fun, light-hearted, and also fairly realistic. I love watching characters who are all good at heart but struggle internally with their moral compasses. It is also refreshing to watch characters manage to balance life, romance, and their careers. The support everyone showed one another and the constant idea of having to work for what you want was constantly seen throughout the drama. The main reason I enjoyed this drama was probably because it made me want to be a better person and work harder for the things that I want.
     I also love the friendships in this drama. Every decision and action the characters made, no matter how selfish, were all somewhat rooted in good intentions. It was hard for me to hate anyone in this drama and I heard that the friendships in this drama felt more realistic in comparison to the Korean version. There are many people who really like the Korean version and I have not watched it yet. However, I did enjoy this drama despite many complaining about the similarities, differences, and character/plot changes.
      This drama gave me a severe case of second-lead-syndrome. I really couldn't see the first male lead be the actual love interest. He was so biased toward Li Hui Zhen and I didn't like how he could treat someone like trash the moment he finds out they aren't Li Hui Zhen. Throughout the entire drama, the redeeming point for him was that he fell in love with Li Hui Zhen without knowing that she was his childhood sweetheart. However, it doesn't change the fact that he treated her poorly before that and it doesn't change the way he treated Xia Qiao after finding out she had been lying to him about her being Li Hui Zhen. I loved Lin Yi Mu because he treated Hui Zhen well from the beginning and liked her for who she was, not how she looked and not because of what her identity meant to him.

Favorite episodes:
- All of the scenes with Hui Zhen and Xia Qiao being close friends because they are actually friendship goals and it's actually fairly realistic to how a lot of girls love/treat their best friends.
Ep 15: Bai Hao Yu following Hui Zhen because he starts piecing things together
Ep 24: Wasn't that spectacular of an episode but this was when Hui Zhen gets a transformation
Ep 26: Lin Yi Mu went out and bought Hui Zhen a bag and he shopped for days just for her. I found this so sweet and at this point I was already suffering from second-lead-syndrome hard.
Ep 31: Bai Hao Yu drinks one glass and passes out. It's so comedic.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Once Upon A Time (Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms) (Movie)


       For those who have seen my previous post about the drama version of this, you will know that I loved the complex plot and characters. I absolutely love the story behind Three Lives, Three Worlds and would recommend that drama to anyone who wants to get into a new historical-fantasy drama. So when I heard about the movie version, I was excited to see it and I finally got around to it! This movie was actually not bad but I would definitely not recommend this to people who do not know the story of Three Lives, Three Worlds. I would only recommend you watch this after watching the drama so you can understand the plot. When I first watched the drama, despite all the details and extra episodes that allowed me to catch on, I was still confused every now and then. This movie obviously had to cut down on a lot and improvise scenes to fit in with the scenario and I feel like if you watch this before knowing the story, you'll be left very confused and staring at all the gaps in the story.
       This was very beautiful still and I thought the actors and actresses in this movie were gorgeous (they had some of my favorite people on the cast -- Liu Yi Fei and Yang Yang). They did a great job conveying their emotions and were very professional in their acting. However, despite loving the actors, I still preferred the drama version more. Mostly because 1) It was the first one I watched, 2) it had more details to the story I love the most, 3) the ending was way more satisfying and on a happier note (the movie was more of a cliffhanger left for you to imagine what happens next--but would be very confusing if you didn't understand what was going on with Mo Yuan and Ye Hua looking alike).

The King's Woman

Episodes: 48
       Gongsun Li (aka Li Er) is the granddaughter of the military commander Gongsun Yu. Taught how to fight at a young age, Li Er grows up with the other disciples of her grandfather. Eventually, she falls in love with one of the boys she grew up training with. However, their romance is not as simple as they would have hoped it to be. When Li Er was a little girl, she meets and rescues the young Ying Zheng from assassins. Ying Zheng forever held that childhood memory to heart and when he coincidentally runs into Li Er again, he uses his power and authority to make her his. In a world of revenge, romance, passion, and politics, the characters slowly weave the threads of their fate  together as they navigate through obstacles with caution and emotion. 

        I enjoyed this drama for the most part but I also had problems with it as well. I felt that the beginning of this drama kind of dragged and there were a lot of times you have to sit through information dumps or story buildups/political buildups. However, as the drama went on, it started picking up and you start enjoying the characters a lot more because of their distinct personalities, life goals, and dilemmas. At the end, however, the characters that you come to like (the emperor in particular) seems to change and become filled with rage and trust issues. For both the audience and for Li Er, it was like having the rose glasses removed on the "improved" Ying Zheng. While I didn't like how inconsistent and shady the characters felt toward the end (where's the loyalty? where's the trust? you can't trust anyone!!), I did feel the ending was perfect. Many people hated the ending because it was unsatisfying and depressing. However, I expected this kind of end and I actually couldn't see it ending in any other way. At that point, happily ever after truly did feel impossible. 
          I loved the cast because they all did a great job playing their roles. Dilraba Dilmurat is such a gorgeous woman and I've seen a few of her previous dramas already. This is the first drama I'm watching where she is the main lead and I believe she did a fairly good job (although the voice pairing in some crying scenes and stuff did not do her justice). Vin Zhang is also very attractive. It was certainly nice to see these two actors work together after appearing as side characters in Three Lives Three Worlds. Out of the three love interests that Li Er had in this drama, I preferred Han Shen over everyone (and he wasn't even the second lead! He was the third lead!). I feel like Han Shen truly loved Li Er for who she is and was willing to sacrifice all that he wants or has to keep her happy and safe. The emperor's true feelings toward the end of the drama showed that he didn't wholeheartedly love, trust, and support Li Er. He was good at acting like he did when he was actually filled with jealousy over the fact that Li Er loved Jing Ke before him and had a child with Jing Ke. As for Jing Ke, his inability to sacrifice the goal of revenge and assassinating the king for Li Er's needs of a quiet lifestyle show how incompatible they would've been in the long run. His reaction and anger toward Li Er after being lied to about Tian Ming being the Emperor's son also said a lot about his character. Both the emperor and Jing Ke loved Li Er for what she meant to them and what she did for them---but none of them ever considered what they could do for Li Er that is actually what she wants. Han Shen, on the other hand, risked his life time and time again to protect Li Er from harm's way. He supported all of Li Er's decisions and risked his life for her child regardless of whose child it was. At the same time, he was always worrying about Li Er's safety and happiness above all things. Even at the very end, it was still about what more he could do for Li Er and how to protect her child, Tian Ming. I loved Han Shen the most out of the three men and I was very sad about it the entire drama whenever he was there for her as she focused on either the emperor or Jing Ke. 
        The OST of this drama was also very beautiful. I don't know the name of it yet (I will update when I do find out), but there is a very sad-feeling song sung by a woman and it is my absolute favorite song so far. 

Favorite Episodes:
Ep 10: Feeding dates
Ep 22: The King watched her sleep and comforted her from her nightmare all gently.
Ep 23: When she accepted the kiss
Ep 48: epic last episode (may be disappointing to some but I enjoyed it)

(There were also a lot of other scenes I enjoyed but I didn't list them out so this will have to do :) )

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Beauty Inside (Movie)

       This movie was very strange and I don't really know how to feel about it. It had a cute ending and there were some good actors featured in this movie. However, the plot and romance didn't strike me as that interesting. It certainly had a good concept but I feel like the execution may have been a bit poor and not very realistic. This movie is about a man named Woo Jin who suffers from a condition in which he will always wake up as someone completely different--sometimes an attractive man, sometimes an old man, sometimes a woman, and sometimes even a foreigner. Falling in love and forming long-term relationships with anyone is difficult for him. However, one day, he comes across a beautiful woman named Yi Soo and he reveals his secret to her in hopes of them working out. After taking some time to accept the situation, she eventually accepts it and falls in love with him. Every day she wakes up to a different person and every day she must realize that she may never know who he is the next day. Eventually, Yi Soo's mental health is severely strained by the relationship and Woo Jin's constantly changing physical identity. This movie shows what it is to fall in love with a person for who they are and not what they look like. It also shows how their relationship was hard for Yi Soo because she never knows which person it is she loves because she can't identify his personality based on one's outer appearance. 
       While this movie was cute and had a cute ending, I did feel a bit upset about how they didn't dive deeper into how they are going to have others accept their relationship. How do they explain this to the people around Yi Soo? How are they going to work out? Is there any way to stop this weird thing? The movie sort of ends on a note of them figuring it out and working it out with the situation. But I couldn't help but feel like it is only a matter of time before more complications come up when people around Yi Soo question who her boyfriend is, when Yi Soo once again struggles with who he is and what she feels, and so forth.