I Can Speak (2017)

Profile:
Movie: I Can Speak (아이 캔 스피크)
Release Date: September 21, 2017
Runtime: 119 min.
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment, Little Big Pictures

Main Cast
Na Moon Hee – Na Ok Boon
Lee Je Hoon – Park Min Jae

Review
It was friday night, I didn’t feel like watching a drama so I was looking for a light hearted comedy movie and saw this in VIU. I had zero idea what the story would be but I clicked play. I was expecting to laugh a lot, but instead I was crying a lot (esp in the second half).

I thought this movie was just about a fussy old lady and an orphan civil servant becoming like family, but it was more than that. The first half was fun as we get to know both characters and I loved the scenes where Min Jae taught Ok Boon how to speak in English in fun ways, like playing chinese checkers or going to the bar to talk to foreigners. I also admired Ok Boon for being able to pick up English quite easily.

The second half turned serious as we get to the real reason why Ok Boon wanted to learn English. I’m not going to reveal the reason in case some people don’t want to be spoiled but the reason was heartbreaking. I was weeping especially when it was time for Ok Boon to speak in front of everyone. And I loved that Min Jae was there with her and now considered her as family.

I liked the ending – before the neighbors taught she was a busybody, but now after understanding her, she was now considered as the friendly neighborhood grandma.

Rating: 8.5/10

Homemade Love Story ep 73-88

I intentionally skipped episodes 73 to 84 because although most of the stories reached their climax, I didn’t really liked what happened — I fast forwarded a lot of scenes.

Bit Chae Woon meets her father, keeps crying and getting angry at him because Park Pil Hong keeps getting himself in trouble unintentionally – a friend asked a favor to dupe this couple into buying a used food truck. Good thing Pil Hong realized the buyers were Rahoon and Bareun and refused to scam them. Unfortunately, Chae Woon got there in time to see him. Not only that, but Seo Ah pleaded with her grandma to try and take Jae Hee’s big project away from him, just petty revenge for choosing Chae Woon over her. Grandma asked Pil Hong to do the job for her and take the fall. Pil Hong did his job and right after found out he just stole Jae Hee’s project away from him!!

Poor Jae Hee, he lost the project, his suppliers and partners are demanding money from him and got beaten up (with a little nudging from Naro that sneak!). Chae Woon tried to comfort Jae Hee the way he helped her through her darkest days but Jae Hee feels ashamed. He ended up leaving Seoul to go to Incheon for work and this caused a bit of a rift between the couple.

On the other hand, I loved how this time, James /Jung Hoo is now here for his son, willing to help him not because he thinks Jae Hee is stupid but as a worried father. I’m glad they were able to patch up and Jae Hee realizing that his father is trying to be there this time, and he should put his pride aside for once and accept his father’s help. Of course, James made it like a loan that Jae Hee needs to pay so he still keeps his pride. I really love these two characters! More than Chae Woon and her relationship with the two moms.

Chae Woon and Jae Hee finally gets married on episode 85 and until episode 88, we see everyone happy for them.

On the other hand, Hae Deun and Jun Ah are a finally trying to keep their relationship a secret but failing. Hae Deun, who doesn’t like Jung won and Seo ah finds out that Jun Ah is related to them and she is not happy. I wouldn’t be happy either. LOL. But i think she is the perfect addition to their family. She is sweet yet fiesty and will not back down on Seo ah’s brattiness. I do find it funny that Hae Deun and Jun ah may be younger than Chae Woon and Jae Hee, but I’m guessing they’re in their mid 20s, yet the drama is trying to make them so cute and adorable like college kids falling in love. They’re so in-sync with their baby talk and I love them.

Rahoon and Bareun doesn’t get a lot of screen time compared to the others, but at least they’re giving him some story near the end of the drama. We finally learn that he will be enlisting soon and he feels sad to leave his family.

Manjeong and Hwakse are my second fave couple but they slowly slipped down to third because of the stupid angst between them. They separated for a bit but now they’re back together and Hwakse is trying to win in a radio singing contest! I hope he wins!! But hold on, what is this last minute addition of a girl/third party?? Why??

Park Pil Hong finally cleaned up and got his own clothing alteration shop. Problem is he got a place so near Samgwang Villa. Uh-oh. Expect that he will get caught soon! I still don’t like Chae Woon’s attitude towards Park Pil Hong. I feel like she never gave him a chance to explain, she just kept shutting him down. And yet she cries in the corner and tries to act tough. She should just confront her dad and try to be nice to him. Maybe she’ll be surprised that he can be a good father too.

I’m still confused what will happen to Jung Hoo and Min Jae. I want them to stay divorced and friends, but I have a feeling they will end up together in the end. Poor professor Jung Hoo, he is super cute too and may cherish Min Jae more than James. (Yes, I’m still hoping for James and Sun Jeong though I know it’s a lost cause).

I still don’t care about Seo Ah and Naro. I just fast forward their scenes. I find their romantic scenes cringey. I still think that Naro is using Seo Ah although he probably fell a little bit in love with her too. Likewise I also think Seo Ah just transferred her love to Naro. Anyways, they will probably get their own happy ever after too.

Last few episodes left!!! While I’m going to be sad to see this show end, I’m also looking forward to the next weekend drama, which seems to be very intriguing. I just hope it won’t be too makjang.

Lovestruck in the City (2021)

Profile:
Drama: Lovestruck in the City (도시남녀의 사랑법)
Network: KakaoTV, Netflix
Episodes: 17
Release Date: December 22, 2020 – February 16, 2021
Runtime: Tuesday & Friday 17:00 (Kakao TV) / Tuesday & Friday 19:00 (Netflix)

Plot:
This drama explores the stories of 3 couples and the different views on various topics about love, sex, and relationships in the modern Seoul.

Main Cast
Ji Chang Wook – Park Jae Won
Kim Ji Won – Lee Eun Oh / Yoon Se A
Kim Min Suk – Choi Gyung Jun
So Ju Yeon – Suh Rini
Ryu Kyung Soo – Kang Geon
Han Ji Eun – Oh Sun Young

Review:
I had really high hopes about this drama but it was totally not what I expected. This should have been called Heartbreak in the City.

It was really hard to like a drama when I didn’t like more than half of the cast. I only liked Jaewon and Gyeongjun. I didnt like the 3 friends, and definitely disliked Sunyoung.

I’ll start with Jae won and Eun oh — which is the main couple /story line.

I think the best part of this drama were the Yang Yang scenes. It really made us feel Jaewon and Eunoh’s summer romance. Plus the cameos of Lee Sang Woo and Lee Sang Yoon. But when showing the Yangyang scenes against the current times where Eun Oh was being such a horrible woman to Jae Won, it just didn’t make sense or shall I say I felt cheated. It was super hard to like Eun Oh while I still see her break Jae won’s heart cruelly.

Ji Chang Wook as Jaewon is whiny and mopey in love and heartbreak but so cute. How can Eunoh break up with a great guy like Jaewon?? Eunoh was horrible. I can understand her. She was cheated on and lost her job, so she headed to Yang Yang wishing (and acting like a different person). But she made a lot of promises to Jae won. If she really wanted to breakup, she could have just told Jaewon the truth. Even on the phone — say “Jaewon, sorry it was just a summer romance, I had a great time but goodbye.” It would have hurt both of them, esp Jaewon but he would have the closure that he sought for 1 year!!! And she didn’t even have to steal his cameras, just remove the memory card and ship it back to him. I think Eun Oh’s actions were really stupid and hurtful. And very very selfish.

And I hate that this drama dragged the whole story about why Eunoh wont tell Jaewon what happened to her until like almost the penultimate episode. It was so frustrating. Jaewon looked like great guy. I could feel his pain when he finally met Eun Oh and realized she knew who he was all along and just kept breaking his heart. And yet Jae Won kept it a secret from her friends. He kept his distance. He respected her when she wanted to find herself. Until he finally said, let’s find yourself together (or something like that). Can you imagine if Eun Oh told him that same thing one year ago? I’m definitely sure Jae won would have said and done the same thing.

I knew this was definitely going to be a happy ending for them, but I was hoping (and I thought) the better ending was for Jaewon to accept the breakup, have closure, and find another girl who would love him as he is. Meanwhile, Eunoh will regret everything she did but she will be busy finding herself (because as they always say, you can’t love someone if you don’t even love yourself).

The second couple are Gyung Jun and Rini —
At first I thought they were so cute. They are high school sweethearts and have been together for a long time (i think the drama mentioned 7 years). But in the middle of the drama we start to see the cracks in their relationship. For some reason, Rini is too cheap, trying to live simply and seems to be happy with it. She has no stable job, prefer to just have part time jobs that gives her a lot of free time. And she has no plans of changing her lifestyle. That is good, I like that she is living hte way she wants to, but it’s a very different lifestyle from Gyung Jun. He is successful architect, he makes money, is not stingy and doesn’t mind supporting Rini if she needs to. But he hides his real feelings for Rini — he wants her to get a stable job, buy nice things for her, and proudly show her to his family. I honestly this couple wouldn’t last long, that one day Gyung Jun will blow up and break up with Rini. I cant believe Rini broke up with Gyeongjun and not the other way around, and she became the “victim”. I think Gyeongjun was patient and supported her while she was too selfish. Why be in a relationship if she was just planning to live for herself and not think of Gyung Jun? No one can stay stagnant and the same forever. The couple should be supporting each other while they grow as a person and as a couple.

I didn’t really care about Geon and Sun Young. Well, Geon can be there as the 3rd friend, but adding Sun Young to the story didn’t really add value. She was also horrible to all her exes. And her reason is because she wants to feel validated while humiliating her exes in public is a No for me.

They said there’s a possibility of season 2 with Minho’s story (and maybe a continuation of Rini/GyungJun) but I think unless they come up with a better story and a more high profile leads, I most likely wouldn’t watch it. Minho’s short story with the pretty actress was good enough closure to the drama.

Rating: 7/10

Awaken (2021)

Profile:
Drama: Awaken (낮과 밤)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: November 30, 2020 – January 19, 2021
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00

Plot:
A detective, rookie cop and ex FBI agent try to solve a series of murders, which maybe connected to the White Night Village tragedy 28 years ago.

Main Cast:
Namgoong Min – Do Jung Woo
Lee Chung Ah – Jamie Leighton
Seolhyun – Gong Hye Won
Yoon Sun Woo – Moon Jae Woong
Yoon Kyung Ho – Lee Ji Wook

Review:
Anything Namgoong Min, I will watch! I love him so much! And why are my favorite ahjussis bad guys?? I’m not used to them being bad. Anyways, this is a scifi drama so you need to adjust your viewing lens to enjoy this.

I thought the premise was interesting. Kids being experimented on a remote island. One night, people just started killing themselves. Only 7 (if i remember correctly) survived, plus 3 unknown kids. Several years later, the kids are grown up. The experiments are still ongoing and Do Jung Woo, the top test subject is a detective hell bent on taking down the White Night foundation and stop the experiments.

I think for the most part, this drama was able to tell its story, link the plots from episode 1 to episode 16 quite well, even the ending wrapped up each of the characters’ stories neatly. What they didn’t do well is to setup the full background and history of the what, who, how and why. So if you need to know everything to believe the story, then you’ll probably hate this. But if you take the story for what it is and let go some of the logic (remember, this is science fiction so imagination is required), then this is good enough.

I like Do Jung Woo – although I mostly don’t understand him – I know he’s super intelligent, but he also seems to have speed and strength and he doesn’t seem to die! At a very young age, he was able to come up with a formula to gain immortal life. Something his mother and Hye Won’s dad has been trying to solve for years. I like the twist on the pink lollipop – I’ve been wondering for 16 episodes what it was for and I liked the reveal on what it was supposed to be! I loved the piece about being a “monster” — the final act was a nice surprise as we finally understand what it means! I preferred a different ending for Jung Woo, I didn’t mind if he didn’t survive the explosion, but I guess knowing that he’s alive is good enough. I was shipping him with Hye Won — but I know it’s futile to think of any future between them.

Just to go back to the research and Jung Woo’s mom, the mom was too creepy!!! I have a lot of questions — simple ones like I was confused at first if they were real kids or test tube babies but looks like the mother really gave birth to them — but who’s the father?? The mom was too obsessed with her research I dont know when and how she would have gotten pregnant twice. Same with Gong Il Do. I even thought that maybe Hyun Hee and Il Do had the kids or maybe it was Son Min Ho but I’m glad they didn’t go the makjang route. I was shocked that the mom never aged and we later learn the reason for it, but why did it take them years to track the 3 kids??? That i couldn’t understand. how could they not know that Jung Woo is 113? He is quite visible and if the kids can recognize him, why not the foundation, Minho, Il Do or Hyun Hee? I also liked how they resolved Hyun Hee’s story — that living forever in pain and suffering is better punishment than a quick death.

Gong Hye Won – i liked her a lot, but I found it funny that she already resigned from the police force yet she was able to run around with her gun and arrest people. She’s also amazing at kicking the bad guy’s butt – it actually made me wonder if his father ever tried to inject some serums on her. I also liked that she was smart and was able to figure things out even outside the police or Jung Woo.

As for Jamie Leighton, I was intrigued by her at the start, but I never warmed up to her character, mostly because of how she treated Jung Woo – like she was so sure he was the killer etc. When the reveal showed that not only were they brother-sister, they were actually twins, I still didn’t warm up to her, and it’s because I thought she didn’t do enough to help Jung Woo. She mostly did her own investigation with Ji Wook and the third child (which I appreciated because it ran parallel to Jung Woo’s investigation on the secret lab and foundation). Even in the end, I didn’t even feel that she mourned her brother’s death. She just went back to US as if nothing earth shattering happened. I also didn’t really see her disassociate identity disorder (will call this MPD) (was it whenever she tried to stop a truck?

The actor playing Lee Ji Wook will forever be Teddy Jeong to me (from Team Bulldog). He was annoying at the start, but I also end up liking him. I still dont know how he was able to quickly figure things out, like immediately thinking that Jamie has MPD without any facts/evidence supporting his theory. I thought it was to setup the plot that Moon Jae Woong has MPD. He was also there when Jung Woo was trying to get info from Son Minho (that first time when Jungwoo was tagged as the suspect) – he filmed the whole thing yet he didn’t hear Jung Woo talk about the White Night Foundation or the name of the president. I thought that was odd that he wasn’t curious to start researching about the foundation. but i love this links to Hye Won because his investigation also helped a lot.

Moon Jae Woong – middle of the story I already knew he wasn’t the main baddie. I thought his main reason for hating the twins because they left him all alone that night was dumb. Just like what Jung Woo said, “Didn’t I tell you to wait for me?” Can you imagine if he waited, he wouldn’t have been struggling all this time and harboring a useful grudge?? And having MPD as side effect of the drug also wasn’t explained. And how did he know and remember how to use lucid dreams to do the forewarned murders just like how Jung Woo did all those years ago? I also wasn’t sure if his computer skill was due to his special ability or he was just naturally good at it? Poor Yong Shik though, thought he didn’t deserve to die like that but at least he was finally free of the third child.

Son Min Ho – although very critical to the story as the face of the White Night Foundation, I couldn’t understand why he was never held accountable for the tragedy. We also dont really have enough information on his motives, other than greed and wanting to be the chairman of the new foundation. i think he was a side villain that didn’t really matter and thought it was fitting to die as a test subject.

The main baddie — it was so obvious from the start that he was the President that Jung Woo’s reveal about him fell flat to me. What i wanted to know was the why and how. The flashbacks saw him already old, so I couldn’t understand how the drug was able to reverse his aging. I thought it was so the person will never age (like what happened to Hyun Hee) but here, he just became young, which didn’t make sense. And how can no one not recognize him as the previous president? He didn’t do any plastic surgery, so there must still be some pictures from his previous times. And how did he become chief secretary with zero background /past? and beyond wanting to have an immortal life, who were the two old people attached to the tubes? I’m guessing one is his previous wife, but who is the other one? And what’s the point of keeping them alive? So many questions, not a lot answered, but i guess that wasn’t the main point of the story. We just needed to know he is the guy funding everything. Seeing him die in his old self was satisfying.

The unsung hero of this drama, for me, is Old Man. I loved him. He seems to know everything! He’s a sniper, he can get all the info that Jung Woo needs, he even got the ambulance/get away car for Jung Woo. I’m hoping that they are still together, keeping Jung Woo company and almost like his father figure.

Rating: 8.5/10 (8 for the story, but adding +0.5 because of Namgoong Min)