March was a slower month for me posting wise. What happened was I fell down the rabbit hole and began watching a wide array of dramas and movies—some on Netflix, some on Viki, and some on Kiss Asian.
Sometimes I find it hard to commit to dramas, so I watch a little bit of everything. And sometimes I just don’t know my limits and watch more than I should. It’s a trying, delicate balance to master, but I’m trying to figure it out. I wanted to use this post to sort of be a ‘dump post’ of what I’ve recently wrapped up, what I’m currently watching, and what I plan to be watching throughout all of April in 2019.
We have lots to cover, so without further ado, lets dig into the dramas and movies! First up is everything I’ve completed and am currently watching. Upcoming dramas are at the end of the post.
Filipino Movies I Watched in March 2019.
Can’t Help Falling In Love: In a previous post where I gushed over Love Teams and in another where I talked about all of the current Filipino movies on Netflix, I mentioned that Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo were an unfamiliar pairing to me. I’m pleased to announce that I really enjoyed their acting together throughout the romantic comedy Can’t Help Falling In Love.
This is the story of Gab, who accidentally got drunk one night and ended up legally married to a total stranger. This stranger is named Dos. The problem is that she only discovers this when she’s ready to get married to her lawyer boyfriend, Jason.
Gab does everything she can to hide this embarrassing incident from Jason, so she pairs up with Dos to try and find ways to “quietly” end the marriage. But along the way, Gab develops romantic feelings for Dos and realizes her heart is a world away from Jason.
Dos is such an upbeat, genuine guy who is very kind. He is the polar opposite of Jason in every, single way. As tensions are mounting and Gab has finally fessed up to Jason, she’s ready to take a chance and be with Dos. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There is a bit of a plot twist, which meant I shed a few tears. But if you enjoy a happily ever after, you can’t go wrong with this story.
Yes, it’s not the world’s best plot, but Daniel and Kathryn’s acting kept me engaged and truly interested in their characters stories. It’s truly a good romantic comedy that has a satisfying ending.
Barcelona: A Love Untold: And the love team of Daniel and Kathryn, KathNiel, scores high marks across the board. If I loved Can’t Help But Falling In Love, I loved Barcelona: A Love Untold even more. Mia is a girl who’s come to Spain after she’s embarrassed her family by being caught cheating on a test. Her father disowns her and all Mia wants to do is move on past this mistake, so she tries to get a fresh start in Spain. Unfortunately, Mia comes from a wealthy family and she’s doesn’t have working experience.
When Mia and her roommate are suddenly evicted from their apartment, she’s completely and utterly dejected. She has no job, no money, and nowhere left to go. All she can do is return home and admit her failure to her father, which is the absolute last thing she wants to do. Mia is lucky when she crosses paths with the studious, college student Ely. He is battling his own personal demons: losing the life of his life (who ironically looks very similar to Mia) and trying to forgive his mother for abandoning him and his father for another man.
The two are quite damaged souls and I enjoyed how the story brought them closer together. Mia failed at countless jobs, but once she put her heart and full effort into it, she excelled. Ely stumbled a bit in college as he was often distracted by Mia and how she constantly lost jobs. There was just something enrapturing about Barcelona: A Love Untold.
So much of the pain, emotion, and the personal struggles was universally relatable. I won’t tell you how this one ends, but you’ll cry tears of both sadness and happiness at times. It’s a story I’m glad I took a chance on because it really showed me how capable Daniel and Kathryn were at pulling off such a moving story. While it’s not perfect, I readily recommend it.
Bride For Rent: I saw this movie back in 2015, and when it was added to Netflix recently, I felt interested in watching it again. Bride For Rent is another Filipino romantic comedy. Rocco is an irresponsible guy who accidentally gambles away an important investment. He’s embarrassed and doesn’t want to break the news to his uncle, so he’s determined to get the money and quietly resolve the issue. The problem is that his grandmother, Lala, will only give him his inheritance now if he gets married. Rocco and his friends decide to have an audition to find a woman suitable to be a fake wife.
Rocky is nothing like he imagined. She is a poor, but determined girl with a very outgoing personality. Her acting is a bit second rate at best, but somehow Rocco cajoles Rocky into agreeing to pretend to be his fake wife to satisfy Lala and get his money. Sadly, things don’t go quite as Rocco plans and he really ends up married to Rocky. Can a contract marriage turn into the real thing? You’ll have to watch to find out.
While this isn’t the best movie you’ll ever watch, Bride For Rent was a fun story. It’s not anything inventive and we’ve seen setups like this a gazillion times in romantic comedies in both books and movies, but Kim Chiu and Xian Lim make it work. This also isn’t a very serious story, but there are some good, serious, wholesome scenes with good messages.
This is one of those movies that I don’t get sick of watching, but if you like the situation with strangers getting married and living together, it’s a fun ride complete with many ups and downs.
That Thing Called Tadhana: This was another Filipino movie that was more drama than romance. The romance was a very secondary element. I did enjoy the story between Mace and Anthony, which was very unconventional. She’s at the airport and her luggage weighs too much. Mace is an emotional wreck and has to literally throw her belongs into the garbage can. Another observer and fellow Filipino, Anthony, watches the scene with his interest. He approaches Mace and asks if she’d like to put her things in his bag as he has extra room. Mace is not exactly the kindest—she’s an emotional hot mess and takes that out on kind Anthony. But Mace succumbs to defeat and finally takes Anthony up on his offer.
The two end up on the same plane and are sitting next to each other. They are both on their way back to the Philippines. But Mace is heartbroken and isn’t ready to return home yet. She ends up on this long, entertaining journey with Anthony across the Philippines. Both of them are heartbroken for different reasons, and it was nice to see how this journey healed the both of them. This wasn’t my favorite Filipino movie as I didn’t like Mace’s behavior a lot of the time and I especially didn’t like how she treated Anthony sometimes. Still, the story and message was pretty good.
I’ll say That Thing Called Tadhana has more of a low-budget, indie feel to it. It’s not a bad thing, but I thought I’d point it out. JM de Guzman and Angelica Panganiban are actors that I’ve never seen in anything before, and I think they do a decent job. I did feel it was a bit far-fetched and unbelievable that these two strangers ended up on this journey together like it was a perfectly normal, but I guess anything is possible.
JM’s character, Anthony, was my clear favorite here. I was glad I watched this one, but until the end, I had a lot of issues with Mace, which made me enjoy this one a bit less. At the end of the day, it’s a pretty good story and has a good message.
Thai Dramas I Watched in March 2019.
Bangkok Love Stories: Innocence: This is a Thai drama that was recently added to Netflix and I’ve got the up to date listing here. What can I say about Innocence? It was a bit crazy at times and sometimes felt clunky and heavy from all of the different characters we focused on. The story takes place in the Silom red light district of Bangkok.
The cast is very colorful, diverse, and wacky. I enjoyed seeing how all of these characters ended up being connected, but I can’t and won’t say that this was my favorite Thai drama because there was a lot that failed.
The BL (boy love) story line was the true slow burn story of this entire drama as it was literally resolved in the last few minutes. I was a bit irked by that. Simon and Keaton knew each other in middle school, but Simon ended up moving away and he hadn’t seen Keaton in a long time. There’s a really deep story here where the two were confused teens.
In present time, Simon is gay and has no problem showing it. Keaton, on the other hand, still isn’t ready to come to grips with his sexuality and has been sleeping with Jennista. Keaton is a personal trainer and he makes house calls to Jennista so the two can work out together. And yes, “work out together” is also a euphemism for sex as the two are often tangled together between the sheets.
Jennista could be pretty rotten and annoying at times. Keaton really was a boy toy to her, but at least she showed some humanity in the end and helped him to achieve his dreams and open his own gym. She also loosened her hold on him, which is how Simon and Keaton finally got together. They had an extreme love-hate relationship throughout most of the series, but I think of our three couples, they were the ones I was able to root for the most.
We have a teen boy, JC, who is obsessed with parkour. And when he isn’t doing that, he’s spending the rest of his time working at KFC. There’s the pestle-wielding Claudia who works at a papaya salad restaurant along. She’s a twenty-something that means business and doesn’t take anyone’s shit. Sometimes she’s a bit too much, but I can appreciate a strong female character. I liked Claudia and JC for the most part but when JC cheated on Claudia with his ex, I was done. Why are characters in dramas always so dang forgiving? And Claudia was so strong that I felt she could do better. Insert sigh here. In dramaland, why isn’t cheating like the kiss-of-death? While he was confused but a good person, JC did wrong. And really, what’s to say it won’t happen again?
There’s passive aggressive Eve and her interest in Danny, who is still obsessed with former adult bar hostess, Lin. That whole story was a disastrous train wreck and most of the time Danny pissed me off as he liked Eve but still ached to have Lin back in his life. Make a decision, Danny! Any decision will do. It was often messy, and when the three met, the drama got bumped up an obscene amount and Eve’s behavior was frustrating. I didn’t find them healthy in any way, shape, or form. There were cute moments for Eve and Danny, but I can’t say they were my favorite.
Innocence was a bit of a train wreck, but somehow I couldn’t look away. I had to keep watching. There was certainly content I enjoyed and I wouldn’t call it a complete waste of my time, but when I’m constantly shouting at my computer screen because 95% of the characters are morons, there’s a problem. Also, let’s give a shout out to Mednoon and also to the woman that worked with Claudia. I feel bad but I’m blanking on her name. At least those two characters had their lives in order. Thank the heavens.
So, the negatives were weak writing and lack of direction. Some episodes dragged so bad. While we had a colorful blend of different characters, I felt that most of them were one-note and underdeveloped. There was a lot to work with her and so little was executed decently.
If you want to watch a Thai series on Netflix, I say you’ll have much better stories with the Ugly Duckling series. This is not a drama I’ll be watching again.
K-Dramas I Finished in March 2019.
Romance is a Bonus Book. I absolutely adored EVERYTHING about this drama. And yes, I really needed ‘everything’ in caps to stress how much I enjoyed this drama. The insight into the publishing world was such a nice change of pace for a k-drama. Speaking of pace, I really loved the pacing here. I know some thought the story moved slow and wasn’t as engaging as other dramas in terms of plot and plot twists, but I loved the quieter pacing here. It really resonated with me.
As lifelong best friends, Eun Ho and Dan Yi had me captivated throughout the story. They slowly went from friends and shifted to a romance, which felt like a really natural and organic shift to me. Eun Ho has loved Dan Yi since the first time he’s laid eyes on her. It’s a major sigh of relief when Dan Yi reciprocates Eun Ho’s feelings.
Lee Jong Suk dramas are some of my favorite dramas. W – Two Worlds is one of my favorite k-dramas of all times. I love him as an editor-in-chief for a book publishing company and this drama did a good job at focusing on how hard and stressful it is to land a job in Korea—especially if you’ve taken time off of work for any reason.
And Lee Na Young is equally interesting with her character Kang Dan Yi. It was eight years since we last saw her in a drama before Romance is a Bonus Book, and I really hope we see more of her snagging leading roles in the future. I won’t rehash what I already said, but this is one of my favorite k-dramas of 2019 so far. I have previously mentioned 6 reasons you should be watching this drama.
The only thing I think was a miss for me is Kang Dan Yi’s daughter, who felt like she didn’t even exist most of the time. I think the writers could have easily taken mention of her character out of the story and it wouldn’t have really changed very much. They really didn’t think that angle all the way through. Still, this was a mostly brilliant story. It really sparked my passion for reading again.
K-Dramas I’m Currently Watching.
I Hate You Juliet is a k-drama that I’m having a hard time getting through. It’s nothing like I was expecting, which is making it harder for me to find the inspiration to continue. I won’t give up, but I think this is a drama that Lee Hong Ki should have skipped. Although there is some good content and things I can appreciate, the short episode lengths don’t really do this story any favors—in terms of both plot and character growth. I shared the good and bad over on my First Impressions post.
Touch Your Heart: I’m still muddling through this drama. And while I’m up to episode 10, I took a short break. I don’t really mind the pacing. Our leads are so dang cute together that I could watch them do nothing of interest for many episodes, but I still find myself having a hard time pressing the play button to continue watching. Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na are great at what they’re doing here, but I think some of the plot and story could use some work. I feel like we’re missing a hook. The romance is spot on and I love both of our characters growth, but my heart, oddly, feels like something (somewhere) is missing. Am I alone?
Once I start an episode, I’m all in. I just have this weird thing where I don’t want to go out of my way to press the play button. Maybe I’m mentally in a strange place or it could be my mood. Or it could be because I’m watching a smorgasbord of dramas right now. I will certainly finish Touch Your Heart because I do like it. I’m just not sure if I love it. I have six more episodes to go, so I will come back later with my final impressions.
Her Private Life
A dedicated professional, Sung Deok Mi (Park Min Young) lives for her work as an art gallery curator. Devoting herself to her work, she is exceptional in every way, save one. Beneath that cool, professional facade, Deok Mi carries a dark secret. A secret she desperately wants to keep from the world. A secret that has driven lovers away. A secret that rules every moment of her personal life…
Sung Deok Mi is the ultimate Cha Shi An (Jung Je Won) fangirl.
The devoted manager of a Shi An fansite, Deok Mi eats, breathes, and sleeps for Shi An. He is her sun, her moon. Her entire universe revolves around him.
This is the secret Deok Mi must hide from the world.
And hide it she does. At least until Ryan Gold (Kim Jae Wook), the art gallery’s new director, saunters into her life. A once famous painter, the former artist turned director considers himself an indifferent being, unconcerned with the lives of others. But when he uncovers Deok Mi’s secret, everything changes.
Based on the webtoon, “Noona Fan Dot Com” by Kim Seng Yeon, “Her Private Life” is a romantic comedy sure to make you smile.
Park Min Young. Dare I say more? This is one of my favorite leading ladies of all time. It seems that I love her in every single role she takes on. She has great chemistry with every leading man that she stars with. (My all time favorite is Healer with the dashing Ji Chang Wook.) I feel that Park Min Young really carefully reviews the scripts she receives and manages to take on a different character every time. It seems that every character is in her wheel house with her phenomenal acting skills. I don’t praise female actresses as much as I should, so this is me having a girl crush moment on Park Min Young.
I love that Her Private Life is based on a famous webtoon novel by Kim Seng Yeon. This was published on April 10th 2007 and I don’t believe this is available to read online. Bummer, I know. But if anyone has read Noon Fan Dot Com and would love to share their thoughts, I’d love to know more about the novel.
I’m extremely pumped for this drama—so much so that I really want to take it on as my next podcast recapping project. Of course, Tiff and I will have to watch the first episode and see what we think first.
A sickly man with a strong mind has spent most of his childhood in a hospital. He is involved in a case of “double jeopardy,” the principle that one cannot be tried for the same crime twice following either a conviction or an acquittal.
My main interest in Confession is Lee Jun Ho. He blew me away in Just Between Lovers and I’ve been closely following his projects ever since. This sounds slightly more “heavier” than the style of genre that I gravitate towards, but if he could capture my heart completely in Just Between Lovers, I have confidence that his character in Confession will be just as interesting.
I might go back to this post and add more dramas I might watch, but for now, this is it. I am currently watching and trying to recap episodes of Well-Intended Love (Chinese drama). So, I probably won’t start that many dramas this month. Please let me know in the comments below what you’re currently watching.
Here is a link to everything I watched back in February.