We often come across people who seemingly don’t suit our almighty tastes in life — whether it’s about music, poetry, fiction, literature, pop culture, or whatever floats our own personal boat of all the things we like. It seems like human nature–or even nature itself–to criticize something as subjective as personal preferences. To criticize something that is detrimental to society, or to other people’s lives, is a criticism worth everyone’s time, as said criticism can possibly be made with objectivity, impartiality, and with a rational goal in mind, but the same cannot be said of something that relies so much on personal taste as the humanities. That would be unfair to the creative, personal freedoms of a person.
What’s the fuss all about?
I’m belting out these words because I recently (like, four hours ago) watched Imagine You and Me, the first movie of the phenomenal AlDub – (Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza). But no, I wasn’t watching just the movie (because when it was still showing, I watched it like four times). Instead, I was watching the movie with commentaries by Alden, Maine, and Director Mike Tuviera himself. It was a scene-by-scene narration of the entire movie, and that includes backstories, kilig conversations we can only imagine, and even finding some faults on some technical aspects of the film. And since we’re onto the subject of finding faults with people, let’s start from here.
Throughout the entire course of the film commentary, Alden and Maine were not just speaking to make AlDub Nation feel kilig, nor were they merely talking about backstories that will make you wish you were part of the actual set, nor was it all about the weather at Como, Italy or how sleepy they were on filming several takes of a certain scene; they were belting out real commentaries–inputs that are in fact really useful and convincing. From Maine’s short bursts of the words “cringe” to describe what she felt on that scene (some of us felt it too while watching), to real, feasible suggestions on how the scene at hand could be made better. Maine and Alden were so active in discussing the film that it sounded like a debriefing at certain points. It was a real discussion, and besides the kilig parts it really sounded like a serious discussion of what went right, what went wrong, and what could have been done, so as to be a reminder of the proverbial room for improvement not just for the film, but for Alden, Maine, and Direk Mike as well.
So why is Alden in the title?
It’s arguably in this commentary that a different side of Alden Richards, the Pambansang Bae, is being brought to the AlDub Nation–and hopefully the public–eye.
Alden, being the matinee idol that he is, is the target of criticism by non-AlDub fans. We can hear all sorts of online bashing directed to him, from criticizing his singing (especially pointing out that he’s not a singer) and dancing (not a dancer either), to the more big-tent accusations of being too baduy for them, and even taking it to the extreme: that all he has is a good-looking face, nothing more. Too bad for them, they judged too early while not being able to see Alden Richards being portrayed in a whole new light.
Throughout the entire course of the commentary, his suggestions were, to say the least, constructive: It was so exciting for me and my girlfriend to hear him say “siguro…” at some scenes, followed by a suggestion that we ourselves were discussing months ago when the movie was still being shown on theaters. His suggestions weren’t genius in the academic sense, but more importantly, he knows which elements to tweak in order to make a certain scene or sequence more appealing, more heartbreaking, more funny, or simply more tightly holding on to the heart of the audience. He was also actively contributing to direk‘s questions on a possible alternate outline: he shares what could’ve happened if he had the full hand at a certain scene, as well as revealing that he has a penchant for playing around and/or dark themes and plots, and a question on what Alden and Maine would do if there was a hypothetical sequel to the film, in which Alden’s answers greatly supported his earlier revealed knack for dark-themed storylines, with magics, wizards, and grim reapers mixed with highly fantastic plots à la Game of Thrones, which–in my personal opinion–eclipsed Maine’s short answer to the same question, which was heavily laden with chick flick romantic references albeit more doable and more realistic than that of Alden.
I know that last one was of course hypothetical, and that Alden might have been joking on that storyline (because duh, why would you follow up a successful rom-com story with something like Magic: the Gathering?), but it shows him in a completely different, possibly positive, light. His detailed answer, complete with terms, shows just how far his mind can go when it comes to stories and themes, and that when opportunity calls for it, he will fearlessly talk about it. He has an entire world–nay, universe–inside his head — something everyone of us has but chooses to abandon in favor of the more mundane things like the daily hassles of life or that pending vacation next month for the sweet escape. Alden has that imaginative mind, too, and what makes all the difference is that it never left him–or should I say, he never let it escape. I’m one who’s far from his circles but I am certain he more or less nurtures these ideas in his mind, possibly assisted by watching Game of Thrones. This creative, expansive world inside Alden’s mind is one marvelous, yet underappreciated, part of his personality–his talent, his portfolio. Most bashers are mostly just focused on what he cannot do, probably because that is what they see (or at times, choose to see) for themselves. Although they can’t be blamed. It was the first time for at least a larger part of the AlDub following to see a whole new side of Alden in this respect, and even a fan like me fell in (more) awe for seeing Alden in an entirely new dimension–a new depth.
As for Maine, she has some pretty good (and sometimes hard-hitting) commentaries on the film–in fact, some of the more concrete suggestions came from Maine–and her alternate storyline was good as well, but this isn’t something necessarily new: I believe we know Maine’s genius on writing poetry, as well as on thinking of what exact words is needed for every story. However, while it continues to amaze us, this is somewhat a fact of life for most of us. Alden’s boundless imagination is not–it’s stunningly new to me (and to you, my dear reader, give or take). It’s something worth publicizing. It’s something really worth writing about.
Alden Richards, your underrated dreamer-writer-director. Whatever he wants to do, he can be sure that the world of the humanities–film, art, literature–has a place for him.
I conceived the idea of writing this blog originally solely for introducing Alden’s hidden knack for fiction, film, and the humanities, to the world, but as the words flowed from my fingertips, I realized that, like always, AlDub is the ideal person, and that writing something solely about them somewhat automatically gives me reasons to write something that goes beyond them and everything in general.
Today, we learn that, for the most part, it is not correct to bash someone’s personal preferences, for it is something subjective. If there is an irresistible urge to criticize a person, an issue, or anything else in general, however, we need to learn everything we can about our object of criticism. Like what my professor in history once said, before taking any stand, one must have the entire context of something — in our case, one must have a full view of Alden Richards–or our object of criticism–before working on both senseless online bashing or harshly-worded scrutiny.
If we fail to know someone entirely, If we fail to investigate every possible side of a person, If we fail to contextualize everything we attempt to criticize–
–then we are just babbling too much vitriol.
P.S. featured image copyright: @klenggay04
The Imagine You and Me DVD is now available in Astroplus outlets nationwide. Besides the film, it is jam-packed with special features designed to melt your AlDub heart (or wake it up if you’re not yet part of the AlDub Nation). The movie with commentary is a must-watch: it is basically what this blog is about (plus lots more!).