Lite Rock

26 Jul 2011 (Tue) at 1:31 am 15 comments

Rakenrol: Hapipaks

Rocking their roles.

Director: Quark Henares
Cast: Jason Abalos, Glaiza de Castro, Alwyn Uytingco, Ketchup Eusebio, Matet de Leon, Diether Ocampo

How could a film on the alternative be so… mainstream?

I won’t lie. Rakenrol was horrible. Even though I love Pinoy rock, even though I love Jason Abalos, even though ngayon lang ako nagka-crush kay Alwyn Uytingco, man, I really felt like walking out of the film’s screening at CCP. (And trust me, I can watch horrible films and not feel that walkout urge.)

I mean, goodness gracious, I really felt offended. If there was any director who could make a film on this topic, it was Quark Henares. Prince of the NU 107 and Belo Medical Group empires, only he has all the resources, all the connections, everything within reach to make a truly wonderful film about the Pinoy rock scene. And he wasted it. Wasted it.

Rakenrol: Diego and Quark

The writers: Diego Castillo of Sandwich and Quark Henares of Us-2 Evil-0.

The trailer caught my attention. It was a very good trailer; it showed off the film’s main elements, good production qualities, and great cast. It had all the makings of a good coming-of-age rock film, something like a Pinoy Almost Famous. (Okay, my expectations weren’t THAT high but you know what I mean. Maybe more The School of Rock?)

These weren’t unrealistic expectations. Rakenrol had the resources to mobilize the best of Pinoy rock. The sad thing is that all the film does is use them as cameos. In fact, I can safely say that this is a film composed of strung-together cameos. Ely Buendia, the filmmaker-turned-rock-icon, swoops in the middle of the third act to deliver this gratuitous didactic inspirational speech. Ebe Dancel and other Pinoy rockers appear as… drinking buddies. What we have for a storyline is a very conventional newbie-band-coming-to-terms storyline, told in a very I-could’ve-seen-this-on-TV way (boy has a secret crush on girl, tells it through music, etc etc.).

Rakenrol: Concert Poster

Concert poster for Rakenrol's after party, featuring the fictional band Hapipaks.

The main characters—bassist Odie (Jason Abalos), vocalist Irene (Glaiza de Castro), lead guitar Mo (Ketchup Eusebio) and drummer Junfour (Alwyn Uytingco)—were generally well-acted. The sound was okay, the script had its good moments. Ricardo Cepeda had an amusing, but also confusing cameo. There’s also the obligatory ridiculing of death metal dudes, emo guys, and hipsters. Matet de Leon (as herself) is a treat; she’s probably the best cameo in the film.

Rakenrol: Pogi Rock

Pogi Rock caricature: Jacci Rocha and his band Baron Munchausen.

Rakenrol: Emo caricature

Emo caricature: Odie as the post-breakup emo guy.

Granting the direction sucks, but what is even more annoying is the film’s whole approach to “art.” In every other scene, art is the punchline. Whether in the form of self-absorbed pogi rocker Jacci Rocha (Diether Ocampo) repeatedly crooning “art is the extension of your soooulll,” or the starving irrational artistic roommate (Jun Sabayton) wailing over the destruction of his “conceptual” installation, or the flamboyant gay director (Ramon Bautista) and his “art na art” music video. Seriously, what is Quark Henares’ beef with art?

The irony of Rakenrol is that it’s about art and artists (and seeing the cast and crew list, made by artists as well), but it takes every opportunity to bash art-making. It employs exaggerated “artiste” caricatures—straw men who, of course, are promptly bashed and criticized to death by the lead characters. False dilemma. Convenient punchline.

The whole thing ends with a musical performance, of course, over a montage showing how each character has grown and changed, liberally sprinkled with inspirational quotable quotes. Go figure.

Sure, it’s entertaining and could even be a fun watch for Pinoy rock fans. But it’s such a fluff piece that one has to wonder—is it really an ode to Pinoy rock? Or is it just a grand flaunting of Henares’ insider industry position and impressive social network? #

Rakenrol: Alwyn

Junfour. Cute mo pala pag long hair, Alwyn.


Entry filed under: Edgar Allan Paule, Filipino films, Full length films. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Moneymaking Everybody Needs a Shipwreck Once in a While

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cathy  |  26 Jul 2011 (Tue) at 2:16 pm

    Hmmm. Interesting review: “Fluff piece, Buendia’s gratuitous inspirational speech; art bashing, false dilemma.” I wouldn’t mind seeing this industry through an insider’s all-access pass. I guess the thing here is, each narrative string should work within a whole story. Am gonna watch this if it makes the commercial movie circuit.

  • 2. Edgar Allan Paule  |  27 Jul 2011 (Wed) at 12:52 am

    It hits theaters August 10. Go, see it. :)

  • 3. rhett_kapuso3  |  27 Jul 2011 (Wed) at 2:24 pm

    the movie was self-indulgent and self-important. it alienated me as a viewer. i almost walked out of the movie. the humor was offensive to people who play in showbands. but it is a quark henares movie, the mission of which is to ridicule people who are passionate about their art. this movie has douchebag written all over it.

  • 4. Edgar Allan Paule  |  27 Jul 2011 (Wed) at 2:36 pm

    @rhett, you’re right.

  • 5. kinoman  |  27 Jul 2011 (Wed) at 4:31 pm

    connections > talent …. ’nuff said

  • 6. elyista_bob  |  27 Jul 2011 (Wed) at 4:33 pm

    “Or is it just a grand flaunting of Henares’ insider industry position and impressive social network?” MISMO. >=0

  • 7. Cat Cruz  |  27 Jul 2011 (Wed) at 4:51 pm

    nag-enjoy naman ako sa pelikula na ito. Pero tama kayo. i agree with ur comments. totoo ba na si jacky rocha is based on vj mark abaya????!

  • 8. Nico Quejano  |  28 Jul 2011 (Thu) at 11:49 am

    Ako, i disagree. If i can, hehe. I love Rakenrol, in fact this movie made me feel something i haven’t felt in a longest time, Love for Pinoy Rock. As oppose to rhett_kapuso3’s statment, it did the exact opposite to me. it was engaging to me. i felt connected not only with the characters, but the songs, the cameos, even the pictures and bars they went to. And it wasn’t art making that was bashed, it was the pretentious trying hard to be profound people. i know some of them and sarap naman talaga pagsasampalin. hehe

    sorry, but i really love the movie.

  • 9. Oslo  |  28 Jul 2011 (Thu) at 1:58 pm

    wala namang masama sa pagiging profound. sana nga mas matalino pa ang Pinoy Rock, hindi lang palaging tyngkol sa ligawan and rakrakan. kailangan nang mag-mature ang pinoy rock. huwag matakot maging profound. pangit tingnan ang 40-year old eraserhead na ang mga tema ng mga kanta ay ligawan pa rin. Pinoy Rock needs to grow lang.

  • 10. thebaklareview  |  29 Jul 2011 (Fri) at 3:53 am

    why begrudge a filmmaker of his connections? don’t all filmmakers in one way or another use resources available to them? furthermore, would we really want to live in a world where showbiz nepotism does not beget a sofia coppola, gwyneth paltrow, jaden smith…?

  • 11. Nico Quejano  |  29 Jul 2011 (Fri) at 7:05 pm

    i think Pinoy Rock is profound. even the eraserheads before the split was actually profound. ang nakakainis yung trying-hard-to-be profound people. mga name-droppers, may hangers-on, nakabasa lang ng literary crit book, kala mo kung sino na. yung mga ganun.

  • 12. Visual Velocity  |  31 Jul 2011 (Sun) at 1:15 am

    I was torn between watching this and Gayuma in Cinemalaya. i chose Gayuma. Although it wasn’t that good, I had no regrets watching it.

  • 13. Edgar Allan Paule  |  31 Jul 2011 (Sun) at 9:45 pm

    @Cat: I don’t know but he was there at the premiere diba? :-)

    @Nico: I think their representation of “paprofound, pretentious” people was too… weird. Even pretentious people would laugh at those characters. I hate pretentious people as well, but they don’t talk THAT obvious.

    @thebaklareview: I’m not begrudging the filmmaker because of his connections. There’s a difference between using one’s social network (which, as you mentioned, all filmmakers do) and flaunting it. The social network’s supposed to complement/accentuate the film. In this case, I think it was the film that highlights the social network.

  • 14. Rakenrol « Pinoy Rebyu  |  23 Oct 2011 (Sun) at 9:32 am

    […] “The irony of Rakenrol is that it’s about art and artists (and seeing the cast and crew list, made by artists as well), but it takes every opportunity to bash art-making. It employs exaggerated “artiste” caricatures—straw men who, of course, are promptly bashed and criticized to death by the lead characters.” (Read full review) […]

  • 15. cookie  |  29 Aug 2012 (Wed) at 2:29 am

    Pag sinabi kasing indie sa pilipinas and I guess anywhere else, pa profound at palalim kuno. I guess its ‘thing’ especially for pinoy rockers (e.g blanco, buendia) and their fans. Di naman lahat pero marami. Magsulat kala mo magaling, puro highfalutin words ang gagamitin akala ganun ang ok na style. Unless you have the command of the english language like jessica zafra I suggest wag masyadong snarky (cough lourd cough de veyra cough). Isa pa to si Quark, sana unahin muna ang magandang storya, simple lang naman kelangan, di masyadong pacute at pa-‘cool.’ Just tell a good story.

    It’s no wonder na a lot of these ‘indie’ films are garbage kasi pa-‘indie’ parati. Before trying to be different just try to be good first. Just because its unique doesnt mean its good.

    Idol ko parin ang e-heads at si ely pero im not a teenager anymore. I can see through BS. Ang dami nyan sa pinoy rock scene . I guess pag counter culture may need talaga to define yourself. A very adolescent thing but you see these rockers grow old and just get worse. I applaud yung kabanda nil Ely na sila Buddy, Raymund and Marcus to some extent.Relaks lang, di nagpapakaalternative.Dami kasi rocekrs think theyre cooler than life haha.

    The film was a testament to pinoy rock’s pretentiousness. Sana naman matutuo mga artista natin wag masyadong OA. DI naman stage to. Sayang. Here’s hoping that we can see the rise of new filipino directors na hindi pretentious and just want to tell a good story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Viewer Discretion is Ours

This is a blog focusing on (but certainly not limited to) Philippine cinema and visual culture. Spoilers are to be expected in the reviews. That's pretty much it.

Discrétions Archivées

View Us Elsewhere

Viewer Discretion is a proud contributor to Sinewaya

Viewer Discretion is a proud contributor to Sinewaya, a film blog from the Philippines featuring critical essays on film, media and society.

Yup, View Us Elsewhere

Edgar Allan Paule is a proud spinner on Hang the DJ

Edgar Allan Paule is also a contributor to Hang the DJ, a Filipino music blog for music lovers and by music lovers.

Ask me a question!

I'm on Interrogate me, dude.

Viewer’s Viewers

Facebook Discretion

Edgar Allan Paule

Create Your Badge

I'm online once in a while, and I need new friends! Add me up! :-)

Enter your email address to subscribe to Viewer Discretion and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: