It’s that time of the year again not just for Christmas but also for that money-making scam called the Metro Manila Film Festival where most films are poorly written, capitalizing on love teams, no structure, no plot and bad casting.

I am not writing this because of the news that Erik Matti’s film ‘Honor Thy Father’ got the disqualification notice from the people running the MMFF. I have yet to see the film to be honest and I have also read the news that it was shown in other film festivals within the Philippines and internationally which is why it was disqualified from the best picture category. The problem I have right now is how to save money to see how good it is. I am now jealous of my friend who has seen it and really got me curious by the people who are raving about it from social media.

If I’m going to share a terrible experience of the MMFF, I would like to share what happened to me last year in the province, Christmas time with the relatives from the mother side. In which my family together with our relatives there watched separate MMFF films in a mall that has good ambiance with Batman’s sidekick almost owning the place. That year, I thought ‘Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles’ would make it there since the leading star is Dingdong Dantes but no. Some celebrities are just too influential that their movie could really take the rest of the cinemas. Since the place didn’t have much shops the way it has here in their Metro Manila branches for me to just go window shopping, I watched ‘My Big Bossing’ with some of my relatives while my other relatives watched Vice Ganda and Kris Aquino’s son in the other cinema. The experience was horrible. That experience was just as bad as the time when I watched ‘Scary Movie 5’ instead of watching Iron Man 3 again with my dad and sister after watching it with my cousin. I don’t have the official count on how much brain cells were lost after watching Vic Sotto and Ryza Mae in three different stories but the experience was worth a flash of neuralyzer courtesy of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Let me go to the point where the MMFF is no place for serious films or artistic films. I really hate that this has to happen every year. The parade is already that pathetic and causing traffic terribly every year. This is not Cinemalaya, Cannes or even the Oscars where every film is almost a work of art. You won’t see a film like a caliber of Brocka, Bernal, de Leon in this festival. It has always been a festival for the low quality films and for people who don’t make an effort to find meaning in a film and see why a good story like that was written. They are using their influence to make people dumber every year.

This is the very reason why people saved money to watch Star Wars before it was pulled out of the theaters. This is the reason why that other John Lloyd Cruz movie with Bea Alonzo was released earlier before this scam so that Star Cinema could have another business venture with Vice Ganda and Kris Aquino and the very reason why ‘The Revenant and ‘The Hateful Eight’ are not yet shown at this time of year here in the Philippines. Well the Philippines right now is not the only place where Star Wars or any other foreign film will be making money and showing why their films are truly trending worldwide and why the script or footage leaked.

I don’t really want to rant the way Lourd de Veyra did years ago over that Bossing movie in his column on but I’m just happy to see how Maria Ozawa works in ‘Nilalang’ directed by Pedring Lopez with Cesar Montano that tackles about an evil Japanese spirit from the sixteen hundreds that’s always in a bloodlust and possess people. I watched it with my family because my dad is obviously a Robin Padilla fan which he won’t just admit it. I am not being insensitive when I said that too bad Robin Padilla backed out of this because of his wife’s condition. He should have just finished it but what can I do, Cesar Montano finished it and did it way better than Robin. Aubrey Miles could have got a longer screen time than the guy who got possessed then butchered her in the film even Yam Concepcion. What I didn’t like about the film is the slow build-up but overall it’s still worth spending your aginaldo or Christmas bonus and if you are really into action it’s the movie to watch.

In my years of existence there’s not a year that the usual suspects of the MMFF have been absent from Bossing to Krissy, Vice, Mother Lily Monteverde’s films as such. Some anthologies of Regal films have discontinued and some have just begun. Some movies of Regal films are just too obvious that they are spinoffs of that anthology. I’m really surprised that this year, former Laguna governor E.R. Ejercito or George Estregan (Whatever you may call him) did not banner himself again in another gangster film and as much as I liked “Asiong” in 2011, repeating another concept is not that really good if you ask me after failing so hard to make a good image out Emilio Aguinaldo after Asiong Salonga. I even think he just took a break after he got the boot from COMELEC for overspending during his last campaign for governor of Laguna and now out of office. He probably got tired also of not winning best actor too after Asiong. The trend won’t simply end but man do people get tired of seeing the same faces, the same storyline every year?! I’m sure tired of seeing some of them every day of my life.

This is why if we were only rich, I would always ask my parents to go to the US for one week every Christmas season not just for the snow but also to watch the movies that needs to be seen because there’s not much films that you can watch in the MMFF.

There are only a few films worth watching again in the Metro Manila Film Festival. One of those was Robin Padilla in ’10,000 Hours’ and again because my dad is a Robin Padilla fan. It was the only film I know that was truly good from cinematography, the script, and acting despite the fact that is was based from the story of former senator Panfilo Lacson’s exile or hiding for some people when he was hunted down by the authorities. Although the entire story was purely fiction, Lacson’s story was worth writing. Of course there’s ‘Asiong’ which truly revived the action film genre in the Philippines in 2011. It’s just too bad that the movie is E.R. Ejercito’s one-hit wonder. It’s only right in this portion that E.R. as a leading man is okay but not really okay, and why? Because the guy is known better as a villain or sometimes sidekick in Robin Padilla’s early films, bad guy to Ronnie Ricketts or Bong Revilla from the late 1980s to the 1990s. Which is why during the MMFF, I’m always after action films. It doesn’t matter what studio made it or the production made behind it.

I just want to get rid myself of the crappy film entries by Star Cinema, Regal, and M-Zet. The only time that I can watch a serious film as good as ‘Honor Thy Father’, ‘Nilalang’ or ‘Thy Womb’ is when I read the reviews or when my father plans to watch something that he sees good in the MMFF. So please if you people are kind enough please don’t give any torrent copies the way ‘Heneral Luna’  was viewed for some, just buy me lunch and a ticket for ‘Honor Thy Father’ and I’ll pay you back any way I can in 2016 after seeing the movie.