Showing posts with label cha tae hyun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cha tae hyun. Show all posts

13 February 2021

K Drama Review: The Producers (2015)

After watching (and super loving) My Mister, Oppa and I are suffering from a bad case of IU hangover. Pretty much like what I felt after watching Hyun Bin on Crash Landing on You. To soothe our broken hearts, we picked another IU drama to watch. And while it was not on the same level as My Mister, I would have to say that it served its purpose of satisfying our longing for IU. :D

Plot


The Producers tells the story of two childhood best friends who are both KBS producers, Ra Joon Mo (Cha Tae Hyun of My Sassy Girl and Hometown Flex), main production director (PD) of 2 Days 1 Night, and Tak Ye Jin (Gong Hyo Jin), main PD of Music Bank. Joon Mo has a new staff, Baek Seung Chan (Kim Soo Hyun who had a cameo in CLOY and I didn't even realize it until Oppa pointed it out to me), who develops a serious noona crush on Ye Jin. Completing our main cast is Cindy (IU), a popular singer known for her rude attitude but unexpectedly falls for Seung Chan. While the show is called The Producers, it actually focuses more on the lives of our four main leads - how they bicker with, fall for, help, and save each other. 

Things I Loved

Kim Soo Hyun as Baek Seung Chan

This was our first ever full Kim Soo Hyun drama. And while we started out without any expectations, we ended up liking (maybe even loving) him. Even Oppa was impressed with his extensive filmography, which we only learned about maybe halfway into the show. 

Kim Soo Hyun was funny and credible as a gullible guy. Although Oppa found his comedy quite slapstick, I'm much easier to please, hence, Seung Chan made me laugh. Some of my favorites were when he never gave way to Cindy whenever they played rock, paper, scissors even though Cindy would already tell him her choice. As a result, Cindy had to carry heavy luggage. That sports day scene where everyone was telling him not to make a goal during the football match so that the boss' team will win was also hilarious. I had a fun time wondering if Seung Chan was just really competitive or he was naturally slow in picking things up.

Being a newbie, Seung Chan projected this kind and submissive image. On the contrary, however, he had a very naughty/petty side too. He deleted the Nim (Korean honorific term like Mr. or Madam) on Lee Seung Gi's (Vagabond and Hometown Flex) door sign because he didn't like how he was being too close to Ye Jin. In another scene, after eating spicy lunch, Seung Chan got mints for everyone except the senior PD who wanted to set up Ye Jin on a blind date. It was also funny when Seung Chan got a can of soda for their boss but he shook it so it would explode upon opening all because the boss was intimating that their show was going to be cancelled. Yes, these might actually be problematic in a real workplace but I found them funny in the context of dramaland.  

I was pretty neutral to Kim Soo Hyun during the first few episodes. But he won me over with his noona crush on Ye Jin. I loved how he was so gentle, sensitive, and overprotective when it came to her. That scene in episode 6 where he hugged her while she was crying so that people won't see her face really made my heart melt. And how he acted like her bodyguard when Cindy's fans were attacking Ye Jin. I also loved how he looked like a giddy child whenever he was around Ye Jin, especially when he saw their accidental playground photo from the past. He absolutely loved following her around and doing stuff for her. And I felt so bad for him everytime he saw Joon Mo and Ye Jin together. I saw the feeling of defeat in his eyes, knowing that he could never be on Joon Mo's level. 

I also loved how grounded Seung Chan was even if a huge celebrity like Cindy liked him. And while he did not really like her back, he never pushed her away. He was always respectful of her. He was there for her and he even gave her advice when needed like when they were in the theme park. He was a kind guy, over-all. 

I loved how Kim Soo Hyun gave Seung Chan the prettiest smiles and the most heartbreaking tears (especially when Ye Jin rejected him). 

It was very fitting that the voice over spiel in the ending was mostly given to Seung Chan. He deserved it because he grew so much as a person after he started working. And the ghost side story was quite interesting too. 

IU as Cindy

When we super love the first drama we watch for an actor/actress, we often have a hard time dissociating him/her from that character. Or we have a hard time liking him/her as much in the succeeding dramas because it's too difficult to top that high standard he/she set in the first drama. I was concerned that we would have the same problem with IU after loving everything about her in My Mister. But she proved me wrong. IU must be a really great actress because the transition from her very subdued/melancholic Ji An in My Mister to her two-faced nice on-cam but bitch off-cam Cindy in this show was seamless. 

I loved fierce Cindy. I super loved how she pushed back when CEO Byun (Na Young Hee of What Happens to My Family, Worlds Within, and CLOY) wanted to bring in a newbie to replace her. She fought back but you can also see fear in her. And she didn't have to say it aloud - IU's very expressive eyes and face did all the work. I also loved her restraint. She probably hated her CEO so much (I wanted nothing less than imprisonment for her because of what she did), yet she still showed respect until the end. She did not mince words and you felt the pain (and anger?) in what she said but she still delivered everything politely. 

Although Cindy projected a rude image, I felt her pain and sadness about not having family and friends. Her character probably resonates with other idols - working non-stop since their debut, having no friends outside the industry, management treating them like commodities, etc. As they say, that might be the price you have to pay for fame. 

Another thing I loved about Cindy was her one-sided love for Seung Chan. It was painful to watch because Seung Chan did not reciprocate her feelings. I badly wanted him to be by her side so that at least one aspect of her life would be happy. But I loved how Cindy was such a fighter. She persisted in pursuing Seung Chan, without being too clingy or pushy. 

And while Seung Chan doubted Cindy's sincerity, I felt it. Especially in her final performance for the Music Bank where she thanked Joon Mo, Ye Jin, and Seung Chan. I also loved how she took that selfie with Ye Jin (even if she was not really fond of her) to make her fans back off. 

My most favorite Cindy moment would probably the one where the 2 Days 1 Night crew surprised her after she was accused of lying about her parents' identity. I felt all of her emotions there - the fear, sadness, worry, and anger of losing everything she worked hard for and the relief that despite everything, there were still people who believed in her. 

I loved how we see in the finale that Cindy was starting anew minus her toxic CEO. And how it hinted that things might be looking up for Seung Chan and Cindy. :)

While Cindy won't top Ji An of My Mister, this was definitely another entertaining IU character. 

The Main Leads


Although they had very few scenes together, I loved it when our four main leads were together. That Of Course game in Joon Mo's house was hilarious. I also loved their theme park outing. They had good chemistry and they were funny together. :) 

Things That Were Just Okay

Gong Hyo Jin as Ye Jin


I believe Gong Hyo Jin is a popular actress but this is the first time we watched her. I started out feeling neutral towards Ye Jin but she did grown on me eventually - especially after Joon Mo mishandled her confession. I felt so bad for her but I admired how she carried on despite that humiliating experience. 

I found Ye Jin funny - especially when she claimed that she can read people's feelings well but she was actually gullible about how Seung Chan felt towards her. She just thought he loved movies and interior decorating that's why he wanted to watch a movie with her and help her re-arrange her home. 

Just like Cindy, Ye Jin always appeared tough. Deep inside, however, she was very kind-hearted. I loved how she didn't sleep just to find that footage that would help Cindy refute that issue about her parents. 

I loved that Ye Jin finally got her happy ending with Joon Mo. She deserved it after all her heartbreaks. 

Cha Tae Hyun as Joon Mo


We already know that Tae Hyun's funny after seeing him on Sassy Girl and Hometown Flex. And he did not disappoint us here. I guess he's just naturally funny. I especially loved how Joon Mo always made very inaccurate predictions (or more like how he always predicted the exact opposite of what will happen). 

Although Joon Mo seems indifferent, he's actually very kind-hearted. I loved how he genuinely cared for his talents like Yoo Na (Na Hae Ryung) and Cindy. He was willing to risk losing his program just to show his talents that he was on their side. 

I also loved the bits of drama that Tae Hyun showed us here - like his confusion as he slowly realized that Ye Jin might be taken away from him. And that confession to Ye Jin was just so heartfelt. 

Other Characters

Here are some of the characters we also liked and/or we've watched in other shows. 

Oppa loved the cute writer Wang Min Jung (Go Bo Gyeol) of the 2 Days 1 Night team. 

We also loved watching our adopted Filipina Sandara Park (2NE1) with Blackpink Ji Soo, Kang Seung Yoon (Prison Playbook), Kim Min Jae, and Boyfriend Minwoo as IU's co-stars in 2 Days 1 Night. 

We saw Park Hyuk Kwon (A Taxi Driver and Something in the Rain) as Kim Tae Ho, one of Joon Mo's bosses. An Se Ha of She Was Pretty would also pop up here and there as a manager. 

My Oppa List member Park Bo Gum (Wonderful Days, Reply 1988, Encounter, and Record of Youth) also had a cameo as Music Bank's host. 

Our favorite grandma, Youn Yuh Jung (Ireland, Worlds Within, and Wonderful Days), whom we are watching now on Youn's Stay, also had a cameo as one of the previous hosts of 2 Days 1 Night. 

It was nice to see another Oppa List member, Ryu Jun Yeol (Reply 1988 and A Taxi Driver), as one of Seung Chan's fellow KBS newbie. 

Go Ara also (Reply 1994, Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol, Ms. Hammurabi, and Hospital Playlist) had a cameo as IU's supposed best friend. 

It was also funny to watch Kim Da Jung (Kim Sun A of Reply 1997) as the poker faced assistant of Ye Jin who always wore revealing clothes and claimed that she was close with a lot of idols. She didn't seem to care but she actually got Ye Jin's back like when Cindy's fans were bashing her. 

Execution

Over all, the show was just okay. It would probably be more fun to watch if you follow KBS shows because there were a number of references made to them. 

There was an attempt to make this like a mockumentary and I was fine with it in general. It didn't really interfere with the story's flow. 

I liked the analogies. Like when Joon Mo's show took a break to make way for a new show and it was juxtaposed to how Joon Mo might need to take a break from Ye Jin to give way to the new guy, Seung Chan, and how Joon Mo said that the old one must step up in order to defeat the new one. 

I loved how the chief director finally showed some spine during the finale when he pushed back against CEO Byun. 

The show had its funny moments too like when the main leads were together and when Joon Mo and Ye Jin had dinner with Seung Chan's family (Kim Jong Soo of Extreme Job and Vagabond as Seung Chan's dad). 

Things That Were Not So Okay

One of the things that I really didn't enjoy was the love story between Yang Mi (Ye Ji Won of Do Do Sol Sol) and Stefano. I just felt that it didn't really add anything substantial to the story. 

The show also had the tendency to be quite wordy, which was very noticeable since I came from the very quiet My Mister. 

And although the show can be quite entertaining, don't expect it to be logical all the time. They had some arguments that didn't really flow fluidly. 

Probably the biggest downside to the show was that it focused more on the personal lives of the producers and not their jobs as producers. Yes, we got glimpses of their shoots and work during the beginning and the last episodes. But most of the time, the show focused on the characters' personal lives. The story was okay but if you're expecting this to give you a peek on things that happen behind-the-scenes, then you might be disappointed. 

Music

Music was okay. We especially loved Cindy's heartfelt version of Heart during her final performance for Music Bank. 

Oppa says...3.6 promoted to 3.9 because of IU. 

Noona says....4. 


09 November 2020

K Movie Review: My Sassy Girl (2001)

My Sassy Girl will always be special to me because it was my first ever exposure to Korean entertainment.  Princess Hours was my gateway drama but I watched My Sassy Girl way before that. I probably watched it around 2002. I remember that I loved it because of Pachelbel's Canon. I recall an abusive girl and a very patient and submissive guy. All the rest were blurry. 

I remembered it again when I watched Hometown Flex and found out that one of its host, Cha Tae Hyun, was the lead actor in My Sassy Girl. 

I was in the mood for something romantic after watching all the released episodes of DoDoSolSolLaLaSol. I was still feeling giddy because of Lee Jae Wook and I needed help to get by until the next episode comes out. 

Story


The story begins when Gyeon Woo (Tae Hyun) rescued a drunk girl (Jun Ji Hyun, aka Gianna Jun) who was about to fall into the train tracks. I only realized that The Girl had no name when I started writing this. The two were an unlikely couple. 

Gyeon Woo was a carefree and immature guy who lacked confidence. Although he was already in his mid-20s, his mom still nagged him. 

The Girl, on the other hand. was an angry and abusive (both physically and verbally) one. She never backed down and she always spoke her mind (against predators and litterbugs to name a few). She seemed depressed about something but she never talked about it. 

Despite their differences, the two eventually got together. Nothing formal but The Girl did demand a 100th day celebration. The Girl asked Gyeon Woo to do crazy things and he always obliged. He had to give her a flower during her class and wear her high heels, among others. 

The Girl's parents did not seem to approve of Gyeon Woo, allegedly because she had no future with him. The Girl broke up with Gyeon Woo in a very dramatic and heartbreaking manner. They wrote letters to each other and they buried them in a time capsule beside a tree in some mountain. They agreed to meet again in two years to read the letters. 

Although he was probably very confused and hurt, Gyeon Woo respected The Girl's decision. He waited patiently for two years. He went back to the tree as per their agreement but The Girl never showed up. He read her letter and he found out that The Girl's boyfriend passed away. The day she met Gyeon Woo was her boyfriend's first death anniversary. She broke up with Gyeon Woo because she felt that she has not totally moved on from the other guy. Gyeon Woo reminded her so much of her boyfriend and she thought it was unfair that she would be with Gyeon Woo without healing fully yet.  

The Girl went back after a year and she learned that Gyeon Woo still visited the tree once in a while. The old tree was struck by a lightning and Gyeon Woo even planted a new one because he knew that The Girl would miss the tree. 

When The Girl finally felt ready to see Gyeon Woo again, she could no longer reach him. But you can't really fight fate. Two people meant for each other will always find their way back into each other. The Girl finally agreed to a blind date set up by the mom of her deceased boyfriend. Gyeon Woo finally agreed to meet his aunt who loved squishing his face because he reminded her so much of her deceased son. Gyeon Woo's mom had been nagging him to meet his aunt since the start of the move but he kept on making excuses. Yes, Gyeon Woo was the cousin of The Girl's deceased boyfriend. And by the time the film ends, the two were already holding each other's hands. 

The Good and Some Bad Stuff

Some people might find the verbal and physical abuse quite excessive. The film could have probably done away with some of the abusive stuff. However, if you consider the year when this film was released and the character of The Girl, it might be difficult to imagine The Girl not being that abusive. I somehow feel that her actions were essential to drive home the point that she was depressed and was using her anger to hide it. 

Some stuff did not seem logical. Like how Gyeon Woo managed to move to the other mountain when they were burying the time capsule. Or how Gyeon Woo managed to replant a full grown tree. But the good stuff were enough to make me ignore these things. 

I admit that the feeling I got after watching the film this time was different. Some 20 years ago, I probably still looked at the world with rose-tinted glasses. But I know better this time (I think). Although the feelings might not have been as intense as before, the film still gave me those good and swoony vibes. 

I was surprised that Pachelbel's Canon was not played as prominently as I remembered from the first time I watched it. Back then, everyone was so crazy about this music because of My Sassy Girl. It was apparently just played during that one scene when Gyeon Woo brought The Girl a flower in her class and then a bit towards the end. But I remain crazy in love with this music. It was still very soothing and pleasant to the ears. 

My other favorite part of the movie was when Gyeon Woo told The Girl's blind date about 10 rules he needed to remember if he wanted to date The Girl. That was just the sweetest. That was testament of how well he knew The Girl and how he deeply and truly cared for her. Even if he could not have her, he still wanted her to be happy. Here's a link to that scene. 

Gyeon Woo was not extremely good looking. But his kind and pure heart made him very endearing. It was so heartwarming to see man who was flexible enough to adjust to what The Girl wanted. He did not simply adjust but he even bent over backwards for her. It was not just with the physical stuff like wearing her shoes, carrying her home when she was drunk, bringing her flowers in class, etc. 

What made Gyeon Woo perfect in my eyes was his willingness to be The Girl's shock absorber. Although he was madly in love with The Girl, he remained grounded. He knew that The Girl was grieving about something. And he acknowledged that once her grief is cured, she might no longer need him in her life. He respected that she needed him and he was willingly there for her. But when his time was up, he did not resist.  And he never asked her to explain herself. The Girl never had to tell Gyeon Woo what she was going through. He just stood by her side, no questions asked. But as I mentioned above, Gyeon Woo is the ideal. Someone we all long for but would probably never meet in real life. 

I totally forgot about the serendipitous ending. And watching it again made me realize how brilliant it was. That seemingly harmless nagging by Gyeon Woo's mom for him to meet his aunt was apparently not irrelevant at all. It was a very essential part of the story. 

Would things have been easier for Gyeon Woo and The Girl if they met right away through the mom/aunt? I don't think so. It would have felt contrived. The Girl had obviously not moved on yet at that point. Gyeon Woo might have resented her for using him to move on from his cousin. And if they broke up after that initial meeting, their relationship would have probably been irreparable. There might have been no reason for them to get back together again because they might have hurt each other too much. I believe that the timing was perfect for everything that happened. This time around, there were no longer barriers that would get in the way of their love story. 

Yes, the feeling I got from watching My Sassy Girl was different this time around but it was still a beautiful one. This film is a great reminder that love (with a little help from fate) is a wonderful thing. Let me leave you with this beautiful song from the movie. 


Oppa says...4.2.

Noona says...4. 


28 September 2020

K Shows Review: tvN Summer Variety Shows - Hometown Flex, House on Wheels, and Summer Vacation (2020)

Our family watches TV during meals. For Oppa and I, that's usually the only time we get to watch TV. We normally watch the news or some sports shows. In the past few months, when Oppa and I began watching K dramas together, we began exploring Korean channels as well. Oppa just thought of checking out these channels one dinner time and we've been hooked ever since. Our little boy enjoys watching these Korean shows with us too. 

The first channel we watched was tvN so it became our sort of default Korean channel. They're showing a couple of variety shows, probably because it's summer time in Korea and we've grown fond of some of them. I thought we'd write short reviews for each for our future reference. :) 

Hometown Flex

Hometown Flex (2020) - MyDramaList

Hometown Flex is hosted by Lee Seung Gi and Cha Tae Hyun. For each episode, they have guest celebrities who come from the same province. They go back to that province and help their guests reminisce about their past. 

We've watched Seung Gi in Vagabond. I was already impressed with him there. But I was even more impressed with him after watching Hometown Flex. He's such a funny guy. 

I though I didn't know Tae Hyun. But turns out he was the lead actor in My Sassy Girl, my first ever exposure to Korean entertainment. He looks more quiet than Seung Gi but he's just as funny. 

Although we were not able to watch all of the episodes, we really enjoyed those that we were able to catch. It greatly helped that the hosts were naturally funny so it was easy to build rapport with their guests. Even the shy guests had no choice but to engage with everyone else because the hosts were very friendly and warm. 

One of the episodes we loved was the Cheongju episode that featured Han Hyo Joo and Lee Beom Soo. It was funny when the Cheongju guys were defending how they communicate - you have to ask them three times before you can get their real answer such as when you're asking them if they want to meet with you. Hyo Joo was so charming and Beom Soo was very funny. 

Probably the funniest episode that we watched was the Daejeon one featuring international golfer Park Se Ri and actors Kim Jun Ho and Han Da Gam. Se Ri and Jun Ho were so funny, especially when they were bickering. Their games were super hilarious too. I loved their Daejeon song. You can find it towards the end of this video.

 


We loved the show because it was both funny and nostalgic. It was great to see these stars visiting their old schools and homes and meeting with old teachers and friends. It's always nice to look back to where all these celebrities came from before they became popular. And the picturesque scenes were just so lovely to look at. 

Oppa says...4.5.

Noona says...4.5.

House on Wheels

House on Wheels.jpg

House on Wheels is a show hosted by Sung Dong Il, Kim Hee Won, and Yeo Jin Goo. The three guys drive a trailer to some secluded place in the countryside. They park the trailer near mountains or lakes and spend some time there with their celebrity guests who are friends with at least one of the hosts. 

We love Dong Il from Reply 1988Reply 1994, Prison Playbook, and Ms. Hammurabi. I've seen Hee Won in Angry Mom, where he played a really scary character. It was very refreshing to see him in a chill and laidback show. 

We're not familiar with Jin Goo but we've grown fond of him, probably because he's the youngest among the three and while they loved to tease him, they also cared for him like their baby. 

Like all of the other variety shows, we were not able to watch all of the episodes of House on Wheels. But we know that all of them were nice and fun, judging by the chemistry of the three hosts and how warm they were to their guests. 

House On Wheels” PD Tells Story About Yeo Jin Goo Personally Inviting IU As  A Guest | Soompi 

We loved the episode with IU. For someone very popular, she was so kind, sweet, simple, and down to earth. She starred in Hotel del Luna with Jin Goo and it was quite obvious that the hosts were "shipping" the two of them. IU was so cute and unassuming. :)

We also loved the episode with Jung Eun Ji, Dong Il's daughter in Reply 1997. It was so evident that Dong Il loved her so much and he was so proud of her as his first daughter. They were so sweet and affectionate towards each other. And Dong Il revealed that he loved Eun Ji so much because he knew she was good to her parents. Dong Il is such a loving father. :)

Oppa was able to watch the first episode where Lee Hye Ri and Ra Mi Ran of Reply 1988 were the guests. He said the show was very funny too. 

It was hilarious to see the hosts tease each other. I loved that episode where Hee Won was so proud of the tteokbokki he made for his friends but it didn't turn out okay. And that episode where Hee Won and Dong Il failed to guess the dish that Jin Goo cooked. And that fishing episode where Dong Il was bragging about how he always goes fishing but he was the only one among the hosts and guest who was not able to catch anything. 

It's very easy to love House on Wheels. It was so relaxing to see the hosts with their friends enjoying some time with nature. It was also nice to learn about the stories behind those friendships. For an industry where they say you can't have permanent friends, it was great to know that such strong bonds can actually be formed and maintained. 

Oppa says...4.4.

Noona says...4.5.

Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation (2020) poster

Summer Vacation is hosted by Jung Yu Mi and Choi Woo Shik. The two friends lived in a house in Goseong in Gangwon province for around 20 days. They had celebrity friends come over to visit them. Concept is pretty much similar to House on Wheels, except that they're not moving to different places. 

Prior to this show, we did not know Yu Mi and Woo Shik. We were totally clueless about them. But we've grown to love them. 

Yu Mi is so nice and cute. She's so pretty regardless of what she wears or how she fixes herself. She has a very charming and smiling face. 

Woo Shik is like your funny but lazy little brother. He's cute and adorable. 

We loved the episode with Lee Sun Gyun (Woo Shik's co-star in Parasite) and Park Hee Soon. The two guys were so hardworking. They cooked, cleaned, washed the dishes, etc. Yu Mi and Woo Shik were so pampered when they had these two as their guests. 

We also loved the episode with Ahn Sohee (the hosts' co-star in Train to Busan) and Yong Bin. Sohee was so cute and it was obvious that Woo Shik liked her. Their banters were so funny. 

tvN Asia - Summer Vacation Special Clip - Ppoppi | Facebook

Our son's most favorite character in Summer Vacation would have to be Poppi, the dog. We've seen him grow in just a matter of few days. He was initially wary of Yu Mi but he eventually warmed up to her as well. We're just concerned how Poppi handled Yu Mi and Woo Shik's departure. 

We've read some bad reviews about the show, primarily due to some historical/cultural concerns. But since we are not experts in Korean history and culture, we are not going to comment on those things. 

Over all, we loved the show. It was refreshing to see these celebrities in their natural form, i.e., they're not acting some character. We loved Woo Shik and Yu Mi's chemistry. We loved them both so much that we were finally able to watch Parasite and Train to Busan. It was nice to see them do  normal things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, and entertaining guests. 

Oppa says...4.7.

Noona says...4.5. 

We'll really miss watching these variety shows. They've been replaced by new shows that don't seem as fun and interesting. Dong Il mentioned that there will be another season for House on Wheels. Woo Shik wanted a winter vacation. :D Well, we're hoping that we'll get to see more of these shows again soon. :)