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It may not be the best local film I've seen this year that title goes to Respeto , but Patay Na Si Hesus was the most fun I ever had with a Filipino film this By sticking a giant middle finger to the things that our culture deems sacred, the film became a hilarious exploration of the Filipino human condition in the absence of any spiritual or divine perception.

A lot of the jokes landed for me and more, despite the fact that most of the dialogue isn't even in my native tongue.

Most of it is in Bisaya Nonetheless, this impect yet charming little film is such a remarkable experience for me at the cinema, one that I could hopefully relive through a DVD release.

I look forward to rewatching this in the future. Wonder Woman I didn't expect much coming into a showing of a superhero origin film, knowing that Wonder Woman is in the company of critically panned Batman and Superman films, but the positive word-of-mouth gave me the least bit of hope.

That said, watching the film, I got a lot more than just hope. I normally think that superhero films aren't my type of thing except when they're directed by Chris Nolan , so Wonder Woman came as a surprise and how much it stayed with me.

This is a story of a woman who never stopped believing in the power of love. It is Diana's optimism that truly hit a chord in me, perfectly blended with her well-executed love story with Steve.

The "No Man's Land" sequence alone left me stunned, but the ending left me in shambles. I felt like I'm a stronger and more powerful person after it all.

While the fast pacing this season was in stark contrast to the slow plot movement of the previous one, it still wasn't the perfect balance that the show was able to achieve in its much stronger years.

Season 4 comes to mind However, it's undeniable that one particular episode this season was perhaps the best the show has ever done yet.

It's a given that Game of Thrones could deliver the most thrilling action sequences. But there's something particularly special about "The Spoils of War" that left its audience confused in the best way possible.

Sure enough, at this point in the show, a lot of people were already rooting for Daenerys and her dear dragons.

So it was a genius decision to have the episode be centered around the perspective of Jamie Lannister, a previously despicable character who is just starting to get his redemption, and ultimately the underdog in this upcoming battle.

It's not like he has three dragons or anything So when Darnerys arrives at the scene to start the loot train attack, there was a part of me that was rooting for Daenerys, sure, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself rooting for Jamie as well.

That internal battle itself added fuel to the already intense happenings on screen, leaving me in a state of great emotional exhaustion after it's over.

The episode started out innocent enough, but that twist ending felt like a knife being twisted in my heart.

I was in tears. Meanwhile, the penultimate episode, "Time's Arrow", was a masterclass on compelling storytelling, perhaps an all new high for a show that has already proven itself to push creative boundaries.

Another brilliant twist to this season's narrative turned the show's central arc to its head, leading to one of the most positive notes that the series has taken.

Let's face it, I've loved this show for being so dark and depressing in its previous seasons. But the end of the fourth season felt like a tiny ray of light at the end of the tunnel that I never knew I needed.

Melodrama by Lorde Every year, I always find myself obsessed with one album by an artist that I take it with me in my daily activities. In , it was by Taylor Swift.

This year, no other album has been as fantastic of a companion as Lorde's Melodrama. I've always thought of listening to an artist's entire album as like sitting down with a friend at a coffee shop and exchanging stories and aspirations.

Melodrama feels a lot like that and more. Lorde took me in an emotional journey through her own heartbreak and somehow got me dancing insanely crazy on the dance floor too.

That's the power of the Lorde taking over me. The main feeling within the album is intoxication -- with love, with alcohol, with youth.

Every song is wrapped in a gorgeous rhythm that, once unwrapped, unravels itself to be full of emotional turmoil and wisdom at the same time.

Lorde is truly one of the most insightful artists working today, with her creative force taking me by storm. No wonder I listened to the entire album for three weeks straight.

Perhaps it's the internalized homophobia that made me want to avoid the show altogether. But once I was past that, I found a show so entertaining and so endearing at the same time that I could hardly survive a day without watching an episode.

It's done a lot of things for me. One, it made me see the craft of drag as more than just a bunch of make-up; it takes a lot of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent to pull it off with flying colors.

It's never as easy as it looks. If it ever looked easy, it's because the people behind them do it make it so effortless.

Two, it got me to realize how much America's Next Top Model pales in comparison to this. Sorry, Tyra Three, I got to see that behind the snarky drag queens are people who have their own stories to tell.

Four, lip-syncing seems to be the most fun thing to do in the world that I even like to do it in the shower now, until you have to lip-sync for your life.

Honestly, the show is so good, I don't know how it still hasn't cured the whole world of homophobia. Sidenote: it's also good to know where a lot of the GIFs on Twitter come from.

The last season of Girls was not as good as I hoped it would be. Coming after the show's strongest season yet, I can see why it had a difficult task on its back.

The show could've ended in its fifth season and it would've been flawless. But I love this show so much that I would just willingly accept any more time with it.

Thankfully, there are still a couple of great episodes this season to serve as the show's parting gift to its small but dedicated viewership.

It's about these messy people who have become a reflection of me and my closest friends. I watched their ups and downs and saw them as my own.

I achieved a level of intimacy with this show that is very hard to come by. It has invaded my creative headspace and personal reflections for the longest time; I wanted to achieve the same tone in my own scripts and have their resilience in my real life.

Needless to say, this show became my life for quite some time. Ask my best friends, they know it And yet, saying goodbye to it wasn't as painful as I would've expected.

On a personal note, the show ended at the perfect timing for me, the year after I graduated from college, when I had to get a job and grow up, when I watched my own closest friendships spread across different locations.

A goodbye to the show was also a goodbye to my younger, more naive self. A goodbye to these characters also meant a goodbye to the parts of myself they reflected.

It helped that "Goodbye Tour", the penultimate episode of the show and acknowledged by some as the true series finale, was a success in staying true to the show's identity while also taking it to a more matured direction.

I could go on forever just talking about this show, but ultimately its end also made me more welcoming of other inspirations that aren't about twentysomething girls living in Brooklyn.

It was my farewell from this show that cleared up room in my heart for the top five in this list, ushering in new opportunities for creative growth.

There is no perfect way to say goodbye to someone you love, but this came pretty close. Goodbye, Girls. Lady Bird A late addition to the list, Lady Bird came swooping through the last leg of my year and blew away its competition.

At its most affecting, the film exemplifies the true power of film. It elevates the way you see your own reality. Greta Gerwig told this story with the kind of finesse I rarely experience in coming of age films: a masterful guiding hand through the ebbs and flows of growing up as a teenager.

It was like I went through that period of my life again, but this time with Gerwig's charming and witty perspective.

Not only is it very well-made in pretty much all of its technical aspects; it also left me feeling warm and hopeful about my own relationship with my parents.

It made me believe in love and kindness despite my emotional turmoil. This is undoubtedly my favorite film from Creatively speaking, Lady Bird is the exactly the kind of film I've always wanted to write.

I didn't even realize before watching it that this is the kind of story I've always wanted to tell in a script I was working on.

Lady Bird brought me out of my creative rut and got me reworking that script, more inspired than ever. La La Land , Moonlight , and Arrival This trifecta of films barged into my life early in and changed my life forever.

Hyperbole or not, La La Land , Moonlight , and Arrival all had tremendous impacts on my personal and creative life for their own reasons.

Arrival mindfucked me and left me disoriented on whether or not I even understood the film. But I was sure of my awe and amazement to such a magnificent piece of sci-fi filmmaking, a powerful statement on what science fiction could truly be.

To this day, I still have moments when Arrival would pop into my head and I would mull over the film's scenes and themes in amazement.

Moonlight opened up a cinematic world full of love and empathy amidst a challenging world through the eyes of a personally resonant character, Chiron.

Like Lady Bird , Moonlight elevated my worldview and made me look at my own life a little differently, perhaps in a more loving and more hopeful manner.

La La Land reintroduced me to the magic of cinema. Its dazzling musical sequences left me feeling like a little child watching a magic show, with an infinite sense of curiosity for the film.

Not only is it bewilderingly gorgeous, it also dealt with a topic too close to my heart: the pursuit of passion versus practicality.

La La Land tackled this with depth and creative flare like I've never seen before. Three very different films yet they all strike in me only one very important feeling: that films are my reason to live.

Again, another hyperbole perhaps, but this trifecta helped me get through some of the toughest moments of my life this year, the year when I've nearly given up on my dreams in pursuit of stable adulthood.

Without these movies, I can't imagine even making it to the end of the year. Due to these fearless cinematic efforts, I find myself pursuing more and more fearless efforts too: first and foremost, keeping myself alive.

It's one of those moments when I feel that the art has seen right through me, and I've been found out, guilty as charged. When a story just hits me so personally, I tend to feel a bit of shame that my deepest unexplained desires and pains have been enunciated in the most beautiful way possible.

This is also how I felt about Moonlight Shame, but also a sense of belonging. Several times throughout the novel I had to stop and touch my chest, after a heavy feeling of warmth touched me inside, making me feel like I belonged to the universe of emotions created by Andre Aciman.

That's the novel before I even got to see the film. Luca Guadagnino's adaption is something else entirely. Aside from being a cerebral experience, the story of Call Me By Your Name became a stunning audio-visual one as well.

The adaptation from the first person perspective of the novel to film was flawless. The film has encouraged me to embrace my feelings - both good and bad.

It's brimming with such tenderness in its approach to human experience that it's hard not to feel that the situation was true to my very core.

In those moments, instead of shaming myself for all the feelings I've developed, Call Me By Your Name made me feel thankful about having and embracing my soul.

I remember those nights of me, sitting at the bus with the heaviest feeling in my chest, looking at my phone, and contemplating what to do next.

I knew that if I chose to listen to an episode of Modern Love , I would be overwhelmed by its kindness in narrating relationships and identity, that I could easily get out of my emotional rut.

It was during those nights that I realized that I can take full control of my anxities and negative thoughts as long as I have the right outlet to help me heal.

Modern Love provided me with another option on how I could handle my inner demons. Before, I guess the choice was always to just be defeated.

But it was Modern Love that left me feeling hopeful and inspired about the world around me. There's so much love to be shared and discovered, and I would be missing out if I let my negativities take over.

Thanks to a series of minute podcast episodes on my phone, that's when I knew I've become a stronger person.

Blade Runner and Blade Runner In my years of experience in film appreciation, it's not everyday that I come across a film that makes me feel like I lived through it.

Sure enough, some of the films above made me feel that way. But what makes Blade Runner and Blade Runner an extraordinary experience is just how far removed it is from my own environment.

They exist in a wholly different plane from a different time and place. And yet the cinematic experience felt very personal.

It felt like I was having a dialogue with every ounce of the films' existence. Sure, their visuals were stunning, but what I didn't expect was how much I could bring my own pathos amidst the neon lights and breahtaking cinematography.

Art is life, and life is art. For months after seeing these films, I was able to look around my own world and see its mundanity leveled up to the Blade Runner aesthetic.

How hard could it be, when at some point, I brought my heart and soul and inner truth to their gritty world and it was welcomed with artistic finesse.

These Blade Runner films made me feel like a child again, discovering a bright new world that I could claim as mine. They got me excited about cinema as an artform, how the beauty of it could be transformed from a mere story to a life-affirming experience.

I even started questioning whether or not I was a replicant myself, perhaps more than just part of the entertainment, it felt like the natural way to examine myself and the life I've had so far.

But replicant or not, much like Deckard and K, I could still lead a life of fulfillment and meaning in my own terms, flying cars and all.

That was the idea I needed to internalize, and it proved why these two Blade Runner truly films defined my year.

One of my earliest memories from is watching Making a Murderer just to see what the hype was all about, and then getting absolutely obsessed with it.

But in the case of Making a Murderer , I got so intrigued with the whole story that I've lost track how many episodes I've already watched in a day.

I even remember, after I got tired of sitting, that I would open Netflix on my iPad instead so I could watch it lying down. I was so drawn to the mystery of the case; it got so complicated that after finishing the season, there were still plenty of unanswered questions.

But the thing that really stuck with me is how apparent injustice was to the whole situation. The answer: very far, and very long.

Only that part was answered, and to this day, his case is not even completely closed yet. I would be thrilled to see a second season.

The fourth season felt like it was going full circle with the first season. First is the episode count. With this season only composed of six episodes, the show managed to tell a small-scale character-driven story.

Even though I found the ten-episode format a much better platform for the show's more ambitious storytelling, it's hard to dislike this fourth season.

The first three episodes felt like they were cramming so much of the closure the show was aiming for, but the second set of episodes more than made up for it.

The episode, "Degustation," where Josh has dinner with his parents, could've been a real snoozefest.

Instead, it was done with care and complexity to do justice to their interesting family dynamics. Then, "Burrito Bowl" came after, which was heart-wrenching episode that showed how much the show is capable of emotional poignance.

The season finale, "Souvlaki," is a fitting end not just to the season, but to the entire series as a whole.

Of course, not every story was given a neat little ending. After all, that's not what you would expect from this show.

Instead, this potential series finale is a portrayal of how our beloved characters seem to be in a place in their lives where we haven't seen them before.

So much so that if the series were to continue with another season, it would feel like an entirely different show already. That's why I can gladly embrace this season as the show's last.

Oh My Ghost. My venture into Korean drama for the first time after a very long time came as quite a surprise. I didn't think I could ever get myself to watch Korean dramas again, but with the help from a good friend who's also a K-drama connoisseur, I found myself hooked to Oh My Ghost in no time.

At first it was the outlandish concept that got me interested: a virgin ghost possesses a shy girl, which suddenly makes the shy girl all horny and clingy to her handsome boss, Kang Sun Woo.

Its ridiculous concept that was handled very well with so much hilarity and a tight narrative.

The show managed to make the most out of its theme, while embracing its concept 'til the very end. This episode run of the series was an emotional roller coaster that couldn't be matched by most English comedies on TV today.

I haven't had such a strong connection to an artist ever since my Taylor Swift phase of But there's something about Carly Rae Jepsen's upbeat approach to her music that still manages to be a meaningful musical experience.

I have to admit; I've always had this idea that Jepsen's music were just a more basic version of Swift's, that her music are upbeat but empty.

But wow, I'm dead wrong about that. Her Emotion album, for one, is such an accomplished piece of artistry from beginning to end, with every song hitting the right emotional tones.

Emotion Side B is a little shorted, with only a total of eight songs, but that's what makes it a very tight and concise piece of work.

In a matter of 28 minutes, Jepsen is able to take you along into her romantic psyche with memorable beats and rhythm.

With these albums, Jepsen has suddenly become one of my favorite artists of today. I look forward to hearing more of her music in the future.

Perhaps even more so than Taylor Swift's. Sure it's formulaic, and perhaps a little predictable. But to me, there's nothing more beautiful than watching young people go through the motions of their youth and then finding themselves falling in love.

The film could've easily gone wrong in so many aspects. After all, we've seen how much local rom-coms could be screwed up.

But in the case of VKJ, everything fell into place, and the result is absolutely beautiful. Sure, the MMFF went through a lot of changes this year, but I'm glad they got to maintain that sort of tradition where there's at least one well-executed rom-com in the lineup.

WalangForever last year, and English Only, Please the year before that But this is the film that really hit it out of the park for me.

I found myself gushing like a little girl with the perfect pairing of Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto.

The film has already made it into one of my favorite local films of all time. While "Kissing Your Sister" will be remembered as the more innovative effort, I think "Mother" will probably go down as a classic.

Every single second of the episode worked towards building one great joke after another, and I almost couldn't believe that it was all happening in the context of Selina Meyers' mother's critical condition.

It was the perfect way to portray Selina's character as the extremely terrible person that she truly is. Not only was the episode hilarious, I could also tell that the plot was structured so well that I'm gonna remember this episode when I think about how to properly structure a comedic TV episode.

It's Veep at its finest. I went into the screening of Brooklyn expecting to see a typical period piece with nothing to offer me except gorgeous costumes, set designs, and eargasmic accents.

But instead, at the end of the film, I found myself deeply affected by the story of Ellis, an Irish woman who moves to Brooklyn, New York in hopes of a better life for herself, leaving her family behind.

I can't even begin telling you how much this topic resonates with me, and Brooklyn carries its theme on its shoulders with such grace and finesse.

I remember sitting at the theater as the credits rolled: I was pleasantly surprised by how moved I felt.

The film shows how much impact a simple story can have as long as it's well-told and true to human nature. While The Big Short and Spotlight were considered the best films from , I consider Brooklyn to be my personal favorite.

In fact, I'm even considering adding the film to my favorite films of all time. And I'm sure I'll be watching Brooklyn more and more in the years to come.

I've always had some kind of disconnect with Looking the series. I found the San Francisco setting to be too different from the urban lifestyle I've come to know, and that the characters were the type of people I've never met in real life.

I kept on watching for two seasons because I can actually see a tiny part of myself in Patrick, the main character.

While I may have not gone through what he went through in a span of 16 episodes, I've felt that I understood his desire for a deep connection, even if that means making terrible decisions at times.

And that's also why the show's series finale, a TV movie, was such a nice payoff. By focusing on Patrick and his future, Looking finally shines some light into Patrick's development that left me feeling extremely hopeful.

For the first time, I saw that Patrick might actually be capable of happiness for once, and that gives me hope that I could be too.

Die Beautiful The best film out of the MMFF films I've seen in is this brilliant character study about a transgender woman whose life was full of beauty and love.

It was mostly getting a lot of buzz for Paolo Ballesteros' and Christian Bables' stellar performances, and rightfully so.

But what truly stayed with me about the film is that it encapsulates the future of Filipino cinema. It's well-made, progressive, and empathic to someone who could've been viewed by society as just another funny bakla who cross-dresses.

It paints a wonderful picture of a flawed human with no hint of judgment whatsoever. I have this hope that a lot of Filipino went to see it and ended up with a deeper understanding of the trans community in the country as more than just hairdressers and beauty queens.

I have hope that people saw the humanity in this story, that they would get a wonderful lesson in empathy. How this film hasn't ignited a movement is beyond me.

I myself love analyzing and writing about TV shows, but when it comes to Mad Men, it's hard to put into words why the show is so brilliant.

I've been gravitated towards the show for four seasons now, and it's pretty amazing every step of the way. One thing I can say though is that the characters are well-developed.

The fourth season episode, "The Suitcase," in particular, is such some of the finest piece of television I've ever watched.

Don and Peggy have always had an interesting non-sexual relationship, and for that to come to its full realization in this episode makes the episode the most memorable episode for me so far.

Their chemistry remained platonic, and that gave way for them to truly bring out their vulnerabilities in the most honest way possible.

It's a masterclass in TV drama writing. I thought I've had enough of TV shows about white people trying to find their way into the world, until I got to watch the second and third season of Transparent.

The first season was nothing special for me, and I didn't understand why it was even called a comedy in the first place.

But I remember seeing the first episode of season two called "Kina Hora," and I was charmed by the sudden flashback in the middle of the wedding dance sequence.

I enjoyed that scene in particular, and the next thing I know, I was hooked again to the whole series.

Not only did they try something different for the second season, but it also helped me look at the Pfeffermans in a much deeper sense.

Their imperfections and complexities are what makes them so amazing to watch. I've grown attached to most of the characters, despite the fact that I have pretty much nothing in common with rich white Jews living in California.

And then the third season kicked in. I got to watch the first episode called "Elizah," which got me hooked even more, because the episode was a display of the show's willingness to dive into an even deeper context: existential dread.

That someone like Maura, at her age, is still struggling with happiness was so appealing to me. Meanwhile, the rest of the Pfefferman clan were also thrown into situations where they got to question their respective places in the bigger picture, and Rabbi Racquel goes through the toughest time of her spiritual life.

The whole third season felt like a brilliant exploration of spirituality that was wrapped up by a spellbinding song number performed by Judith Light.

That very last sequence gave me chills, and putting that into the context of the whole season made me realize even more that this show is truly astounding.

I don't know if there's anything else left to say about these episodes. After several average episodes in season 6, I felt like the season was about to become the weakest from the show ever.

And then these two episodes came in, and all I could think about was how wrong I truly was. I will keep watching that sequence over and over again throughout the years!

All those slow-moving episodes totally paid off in ways that go beyond my wildest imaginations. No other show on TV can do this.

No other show on TV has this much power to leave the audience scarred and amazed at the same time. The fact that this is just a set-up for the bigger things to come amazes me even more.

What does this show have in store for us in its last two seasons? I'm dying to find out. BoJack Horseman seasons 2 and 3. Perhaps the most relatable person on TV right now is surprisingly a horse.

BoJack Horseman's portrayal of existential dread is so well-done that it all feels like a warm hug. Or a sad song played while you're in the shower and it made you sob and sob, and you can't understand why.

Sure enough, the sad sitcom or "sadcom" has almost become an entire genre in itself, and BoJack Horseman might just be at the top of the heap.

Every episode of the second and third season is incredibly well done and executed, and it's no surprise that the show has gotten plenty of critical acclaim.

The show's standalone episode, "Fish Out of Water", is probably the best episode of any show from What's even greater about it all is that BoJack is such a despicable character, and yet the show manages to make him a character that you can empathize with.

I've come to see so much of myself in BoJack at times that it's hard to even see that BoJack is a horse.

In fact, BoJack Horseman is so well done that BoJack may even be the most human character on television today. The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything The book may very well be known as that book that Andrew Garfield was caught holding that one time by a paparazzi.

But to me, The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything has been such a wonderful read that has informed not just my religious life, but a lot of the other aspects of my day-to-day life as well.

It probably sounds cheesy, but the book transformed my spiritual life. From the simple and mundane things to the big picture questions, this book has a unique way of giving me a wider introspection about almost everything.

It also helps a lot that I bought this book after my 5-day silent retreat, which meant that I was most likely still in the middle of a spiritual high.

Nevertheless, the book will always be relevant to someone like me who's always in search of a deeper meaning. Especially knowing that spirituality isn't a big topic in social media and popular culture, I like that I have this book to go back to whenever I want to recharge my spiritual life.

The Jesuits taught me a lot during my college years, and this book is no different. I actually haven't finished reading the book, yet I've already had a lot of significant insights that help me in becoming a better and more loving person.

The first season brought me immense joy. The second season went on a darker direction, but was still pretty good.

The third season was mediocre, but it brought us arguable the best episode of the series, "Beach House".

The fourth season had some good moments here and there, but ended up feeling loose and directionless. It was probably the worst season of the show ever.

But then again, this low moment for the show may be part of the reason why the fifth season just got so good. In fact, the fifth season was great enough to be considered to be the best season of the show ever.

Not only did it bring some outstanding episodes such as "Japan", "The Panic in Central Park", "Love Stories", and "I Love You, Baby", but it also gave us some of the most satisfying developments to the main characters.

I love this show for the very reason of seeing flawed people struggle through their twenties, and so developments in these characters are hard to come by.

That was still up and about this season, only it gave me hope that at some point these flawed people may be able to figure it out.

Hannah's speech at The Moth was probably her best moment at the entire series that I myself hope that I have a similar moment of creativity and authenticity in th future, an experience that liberates me and makes me giddy about being nobody else but myself.

It used to be that my imagined scenarious were so vivid; I was very particular about the details of the setting and of course my profession.

But at this very moment in my life, I don't have any detail in mind. Is it abroad? Is it in Manila? Am I working as an engineer?

Or am I working as something else entirely? I have no clue. There is one image though that I can imagine. It's me, walking along a crowded street, and smiling.

I'm wearing nice clothes, the kind of yuppie fashion that I've always wanted to pull off. I don't know why I'm smiling.

I don't know where I'm headed. There's a sense of certainty and uncertainty at the same. Perhaps it's that I'm very certain with myself, my identity, my dreams and desires, but I'm uncertain of what's next.

I'm still learning how to live with that uncertainty. Yes, I know the fear will always be there. But I think my deepend relationship with God has helped me cope with this.

I'm learning to trust Him more and more each day. It used to be that I could imagine my future so clearly, and I would just ask Him to make it happen for me.

And when it didn't happen, I ended being lost and angry. Now I'm working on a different approach, one where I let God work His way into my imagination.

It's okay if I don't have the details down pat; I'm sure he'll fill up the rest of it in reality. And I know it'll be pretty good too.

The Revenant 7. Bridge of Spies 6. Room 5. The Martian 4. Mad Max: Fury Road 3. Spotlight 2. Brooklyn 1. This year, I was able to expose myself to several types of media, which paved the way for a wide experience on the art of storytelling.

Some stuck with me the most. Here is a list of books, movies, TV series, TV episodes, and songs that helped shape my creative mind this Others may hate it, since it portrays Hanna at her most immature.

For me, however, the episode was brilliant in that it also showed how her friends are not so far off on that immaturity scale. The episode also shows how Hanna dealt with her biggest heartbreak yet: coming home to her and Adam's apartment and finding out that Adam has a new girlfriend.

While her friends come to her rescue, what really saved Hanna in the end was a mature conversation with Adam, as well as Marnie knowing how to pull Hanna off her emotional rut, which both resulted to some of this season's best moments.

Heneral Luna I remember the distinct feeling of watching this movie in the cinema: a wonderful combination of terror and joy.

Terror, because the movie successfully conveyed its narrative, with all the brutality and cruelty that came with it. Joy, because this is not like something I'd ever seen in a local movie before.

Finally, here is a movie that encapsulates the brilliant filmmaking talent that just hasn't been prevalent in the industry yet. But gladly, Heneral Luna took everyone by storm this year, proving that local cinema doesn't just have to be a string of terrible romantic comedies or overwrought dramas about extramarital affairs.

I hope that Heneral Luna is just the beginning. I was close to giving up on the show: some plots felt contrived, certain arcs seemed like they're going nowhere.

But this winter finale pretty much changed my mind. Everything that I questioned about this season so far was brought up on the table and was integrated for a heartstopping episode.

Most of the plots that they pretty much left hanging the entire season was integrated into this season's mystery.

Furthermore, I've also criticized this show for always trying to shock its audience that sometimes nothing ends up shocking at all.

But in this episode, their shocks and surprises were all earned. Then there's the cliffhanger in the end that got me excited for this season's continuation in February next year.

I admire it for being able to combine a sense of wonder and at the same time some of the deepest musings about life and love.

It helped that "Goodbye Tour", the penultimate episode of the show and acknowledged by some as the true series finale, was a success in staying true to the show's identity while also taking it to a more matured direction.

I could go on forever just talking about this show, but ultimately its end also made me more welcoming of other inspirations that aren't about twentysomething girls living in Brooklyn.

It was my farewell from this show that cleared up room in my heart for the top five in this list, ushering in new opportunities for creative growth.

There is no perfect way to say goodbye to someone you love, but this came pretty close. Goodbye, Girls. Lady Bird A late addition to the list, Lady Bird came swooping through the last leg of my year and blew away its competition.

At its most affecting, the film exemplifies the true power of film. It elevates the way you see your own reality. Greta Gerwig told this story with the kind of finesse I rarely experience in coming of age films: a masterful guiding hand through the ebbs and flows of growing up as a teenager.

It was like I went through that period of my life again, but this time with Gerwig's charming and witty perspective.

Not only is it very well-made in pretty much all of its technical aspects; it also left me feeling warm and hopeful about my own relationship with my parents.

It made me believe in love and kindness despite my emotional turmoil. This is undoubtedly my favorite film from Creatively speaking, Lady Bird is the exactly the kind of film I've always wanted to write.

I didn't even realize before watching it that this is the kind of story I've always wanted to tell in a script I was working on.

Lady Bird brought me out of my creative rut and got me reworking that script, more inspired than ever.

La La Land , Moonlight , and Arrival This trifecta of films barged into my life early in and changed my life forever. Hyperbole or not, La La Land , Moonlight , and Arrival all had tremendous impacts on my personal and creative life for their own reasons.

Arrival mindfucked me and left me disoriented on whether or not I even understood the film. But I was sure of my awe and amazement to such a magnificent piece of sci-fi filmmaking, a powerful statement on what science fiction could truly be.

To this day, I still have moments when Arrival would pop into my head and I would mull over the film's scenes and themes in amazement.

Moonlight opened up a cinematic world full of love and empathy amidst a challenging world through the eyes of a personally resonant character, Chiron.

Like Lady Bird , Moonlight elevated my worldview and made me look at my own life a little differently, perhaps in a more loving and more hopeful manner.

La La Land reintroduced me to the magic of cinema. Its dazzling musical sequences left me feeling like a little child watching a magic show, with an infinite sense of curiosity for the film.

Not only is it bewilderingly gorgeous, it also dealt with a topic too close to my heart: the pursuit of passion versus practicality. La La Land tackled this with depth and creative flare like I've never seen before.

Three very different films yet they all strike in me only one very important feeling: that films are my reason to live.

Again, another hyperbole perhaps, but this trifecta helped me get through some of the toughest moments of my life this year, the year when I've nearly given up on my dreams in pursuit of stable adulthood.

Without these movies, I can't imagine even making it to the end of the year. Due to these fearless cinematic efforts, I find myself pursuing more and more fearless efforts too: first and foremost, keeping myself alive.

It's one of those moments when I feel that the art has seen right through me, and I've been found out, guilty as charged. When a story just hits me so personally, I tend to feel a bit of shame that my deepest unexplained desires and pains have been enunciated in the most beautiful way possible.

This is also how I felt about Moonlight Shame, but also a sense of belonging. Several times throughout the novel I had to stop and touch my chest, after a heavy feeling of warmth touched me inside, making me feel like I belonged to the universe of emotions created by Andre Aciman.

That's the novel before I even got to see the film. Luca Guadagnino's adaption is something else entirely. Aside from being a cerebral experience, the story of Call Me By Your Name became a stunning audio-visual one as well.

The adaptation from the first person perspective of the novel to film was flawless. The film has encouraged me to embrace my feelings - both good and bad.

It's brimming with such tenderness in its approach to human experience that it's hard not to feel that the situation was true to my very core.

In those moments, instead of shaming myself for all the feelings I've developed, Call Me By Your Name made me feel thankful about having and embracing my soul.

I remember those nights of me, sitting at the bus with the heaviest feeling in my chest, looking at my phone, and contemplating what to do next.

I knew that if I chose to listen to an episode of Modern Love , I would be overwhelmed by its kindness in narrating relationships and identity, that I could easily get out of my emotional rut.

It was during those nights that I realized that I can take full control of my anxities and negative thoughts as long as I have the right outlet to help me heal.

Modern Love provided me with another option on how I could handle my inner demons. Before, I guess the choice was always to just be defeated.

But it was Modern Love that left me feeling hopeful and inspired about the world around me. There's so much love to be shared and discovered, and I would be missing out if I let my negativities take over.

Thanks to a series of minute podcast episodes on my phone, that's when I knew I've become a stronger person. Blade Runner and Blade Runner In my years of experience in film appreciation, it's not everyday that I come across a film that makes me feel like I lived through it.

Sure enough, some of the films above made me feel that way. But what makes Blade Runner and Blade Runner an extraordinary experience is just how far removed it is from my own environment.

They exist in a wholly different plane from a different time and place. And yet the cinematic experience felt very personal.

It felt like I was having a dialogue with every ounce of the films' existence. Sure, their visuals were stunning, but what I didn't expect was how much I could bring my own pathos amidst the neon lights and breahtaking cinematography.

Art is life, and life is art. For months after seeing these films, I was able to look around my own world and see its mundanity leveled up to the Blade Runner aesthetic.

How hard could it be, when at some point, I brought my heart and soul and inner truth to their gritty world and it was welcomed with artistic finesse.

These Blade Runner films made me feel like a child again, discovering a bright new world that I could claim as mine. They got me excited about cinema as an artform, how the beauty of it could be transformed from a mere story to a life-affirming experience.

I even started questioning whether or not I was a replicant myself, perhaps more than just part of the entertainment, it felt like the natural way to examine myself and the life I've had so far.

But replicant or not, much like Deckard and K, I could still lead a life of fulfillment and meaning in my own terms, flying cars and all.

That was the idea I needed to internalize, and it proved why these two Blade Runner truly films defined my year.

One of my earliest memories from is watching Making a Murderer just to see what the hype was all about, and then getting absolutely obsessed with it.

But in the case of Making a Murderer , I got so intrigued with the whole story that I've lost track how many episodes I've already watched in a day.

I even remember, after I got tired of sitting, that I would open Netflix on my iPad instead so I could watch it lying down.

I was so drawn to the mystery of the case; it got so complicated that after finishing the season, there were still plenty of unanswered questions.

But the thing that really stuck with me is how apparent injustice was to the whole situation. The answer: very far, and very long.

Only that part was answered, and to this day, his case is not even completely closed yet. I would be thrilled to see a second season.

The fourth season felt like it was going full circle with the first season. First is the episode count. With this season only composed of six episodes, the show managed to tell a small-scale character-driven story.

Even though I found the ten-episode format a much better platform for the show's more ambitious storytelling, it's hard to dislike this fourth season.

The first three episodes felt like they were cramming so much of the closure the show was aiming for, but the second set of episodes more than made up for it.

The episode, "Degustation," where Josh has dinner with his parents, could've been a real snoozefest. Instead, it was done with care and complexity to do justice to their interesting family dynamics.

Then, "Burrito Bowl" came after, which was heart-wrenching episode that showed how much the show is capable of emotional poignance. The season finale, "Souvlaki," is a fitting end not just to the season, but to the entire series as a whole.

Of course, not every story was given a neat little ending. After all, that's not what you would expect from this show. Instead, this potential series finale is a portrayal of how our beloved characters seem to be in a place in their lives where we haven't seen them before.

So much so that if the series were to continue with another season, it would feel like an entirely different show already. That's why I can gladly embrace this season as the show's last.

Oh My Ghost. My venture into Korean drama for the first time after a very long time came as quite a surprise. I didn't think I could ever get myself to watch Korean dramas again, but with the help from a good friend who's also a K-drama connoisseur, I found myself hooked to Oh My Ghost in no time.

At first it was the outlandish concept that got me interested: a virgin ghost possesses a shy girl, which suddenly makes the shy girl all horny and clingy to her handsome boss, Kang Sun Woo.

Its ridiculous concept that was handled very well with so much hilarity and a tight narrative. The show managed to make the most out of its theme, while embracing its concept 'til the very end.

This episode run of the series was an emotional roller coaster that couldn't be matched by most English comedies on TV today.

I haven't had such a strong connection to an artist ever since my Taylor Swift phase of But there's something about Carly Rae Jepsen's upbeat approach to her music that still manages to be a meaningful musical experience.

I have to admit; I've always had this idea that Jepsen's music were just a more basic version of Swift's, that her music are upbeat but empty.

But wow, I'm dead wrong about that. Her Emotion album, for one, is such an accomplished piece of artistry from beginning to end, with every song hitting the right emotional tones.

Emotion Side B is a little shorted, with only a total of eight songs, but that's what makes it a very tight and concise piece of work.

In a matter of 28 minutes, Jepsen is able to take you along into her romantic psyche with memorable beats and rhythm.

With these albums, Jepsen has suddenly become one of my favorite artists of today. I look forward to hearing more of her music in the future.

Perhaps even more so than Taylor Swift's. Sure it's formulaic, and perhaps a little predictable. But to me, there's nothing more beautiful than watching young people go through the motions of their youth and then finding themselves falling in love.

The film could've easily gone wrong in so many aspects. After all, we've seen how much local rom-coms could be screwed up.

But in the case of VKJ, everything fell into place, and the result is absolutely beautiful. Sure, the MMFF went through a lot of changes this year, but I'm glad they got to maintain that sort of tradition where there's at least one well-executed rom-com in the lineup.

WalangForever last year, and English Only, Please the year before that But this is the film that really hit it out of the park for me.

I found myself gushing like a little girl with the perfect pairing of Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto.

The film has already made it into one of my favorite local films of all time. While "Kissing Your Sister" will be remembered as the more innovative effort, I think "Mother" will probably go down as a classic.

Every single second of the episode worked towards building one great joke after another, and I almost couldn't believe that it was all happening in the context of Selina Meyers' mother's critical condition.

It was the perfect way to portray Selina's character as the extremely terrible person that she truly is.

Not only was the episode hilarious, I could also tell that the plot was structured so well that I'm gonna remember this episode when I think about how to properly structure a comedic TV episode.

It's Veep at its finest. I went into the screening of Brooklyn expecting to see a typical period piece with nothing to offer me except gorgeous costumes, set designs, and eargasmic accents.

But instead, at the end of the film, I found myself deeply affected by the story of Ellis, an Irish woman who moves to Brooklyn, New York in hopes of a better life for herself, leaving her family behind.

I can't even begin telling you how much this topic resonates with me, and Brooklyn carries its theme on its shoulders with such grace and finesse.

I remember sitting at the theater as the credits rolled: I was pleasantly surprised by how moved I felt. The film shows how much impact a simple story can have as long as it's well-told and true to human nature.

While The Big Short and Spotlight were considered the best films from , I consider Brooklyn to be my personal favorite.

In fact, I'm even considering adding the film to my favorite films of all time. And I'm sure I'll be watching Brooklyn more and more in the years to come.

I've always had some kind of disconnect with Looking the series. I found the San Francisco setting to be too different from the urban lifestyle I've come to know, and that the characters were the type of people I've never met in real life.

I kept on watching for two seasons because I can actually see a tiny part of myself in Patrick, the main character. While I may have not gone through what he went through in a span of 16 episodes, I've felt that I understood his desire for a deep connection, even if that means making terrible decisions at times.

And that's also why the show's series finale, a TV movie, was such a nice payoff. By focusing on Patrick and his future, Looking finally shines some light into Patrick's development that left me feeling extremely hopeful.

For the first time, I saw that Patrick might actually be capable of happiness for once, and that gives me hope that I could be too.

Die Beautiful The best film out of the MMFF films I've seen in is this brilliant character study about a transgender woman whose life was full of beauty and love.

It was mostly getting a lot of buzz for Paolo Ballesteros' and Christian Bables' stellar performances, and rightfully so.

But what truly stayed with me about the film is that it encapsulates the future of Filipino cinema. It's well-made, progressive, and empathic to someone who could've been viewed by society as just another funny bakla who cross-dresses.

It paints a wonderful picture of a flawed human with no hint of judgment whatsoever. I have this hope that a lot of Filipino went to see it and ended up with a deeper understanding of the trans community in the country as more than just hairdressers and beauty queens.

I have hope that people saw the humanity in this story, that they would get a wonderful lesson in empathy. How this film hasn't ignited a movement is beyond me.

I myself love analyzing and writing about TV shows, but when it comes to Mad Men, it's hard to put into words why the show is so brilliant.

I've been gravitated towards the show for four seasons now, and it's pretty amazing every step of the way.

One thing I can say though is that the characters are well-developed. The fourth season episode, "The Suitcase," in particular, is such some of the finest piece of television I've ever watched.

Don and Peggy have always had an interesting non-sexual relationship, and for that to come to its full realization in this episode makes the episode the most memorable episode for me so far.

Their chemistry remained platonic, and that gave way for them to truly bring out their vulnerabilities in the most honest way possible.

It's a masterclass in TV drama writing. I thought I've had enough of TV shows about white people trying to find their way into the world, until I got to watch the second and third season of Transparent.

The first season was nothing special for me, and I didn't understand why it was even called a comedy in the first place. But I remember seeing the first episode of season two called "Kina Hora," and I was charmed by the sudden flashback in the middle of the wedding dance sequence.

I enjoyed that scene in particular, and the next thing I know, I was hooked again to the whole series. Not only did they try something different for the second season, but it also helped me look at the Pfeffermans in a much deeper sense.

Their imperfections and complexities are what makes them so amazing to watch. I've grown attached to most of the characters, despite the fact that I have pretty much nothing in common with rich white Jews living in California.

And then the third season kicked in. I got to watch the first episode called "Elizah," which got me hooked even more, because the episode was a display of the show's willingness to dive into an even deeper context: existential dread.

That someone like Maura, at her age, is still struggling with happiness was so appealing to me. Meanwhile, the rest of the Pfefferman clan were also thrown into situations where they got to question their respective places in the bigger picture, and Rabbi Racquel goes through the toughest time of her spiritual life.

The whole third season felt like a brilliant exploration of spirituality that was wrapped up by a spellbinding song number performed by Judith Light.

That very last sequence gave me chills, and putting that into the context of the whole season made me realize even more that this show is truly astounding.

I don't know if there's anything else left to say about these episodes. After several average episodes in season 6, I felt like the season was about to become the weakest from the show ever.

And then these two episodes came in, and all I could think about was how wrong I truly was. I will keep watching that sequence over and over again throughout the years!

All those slow-moving episodes totally paid off in ways that go beyond my wildest imaginations. No other show on TV can do this. No other show on TV has this much power to leave the audience scarred and amazed at the same time.

The fact that this is just a set-up for the bigger things to come amazes me even more. What does this show have in store for us in its last two seasons?

I'm dying to find out. BoJack Horseman seasons 2 and 3. Perhaps the most relatable person on TV right now is surprisingly a horse.

BoJack Horseman's portrayal of existential dread is so well-done that it all feels like a warm hug. Or a sad song played while you're in the shower and it made you sob and sob, and you can't understand why.

Sure enough, the sad sitcom or "sadcom" has almost become an entire genre in itself, and BoJack Horseman might just be at the top of the heap.

Every episode of the second and third season is incredibly well done and executed, and it's no surprise that the show has gotten plenty of critical acclaim.

The show's standalone episode, "Fish Out of Water", is probably the best episode of any show from What's even greater about it all is that BoJack is such a despicable character, and yet the show manages to make him a character that you can empathize with.

I've come to see so much of myself in BoJack at times that it's hard to even see that BoJack is a horse.

In fact, BoJack Horseman is so well done that BoJack may even be the most human character on television today. The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything The book may very well be known as that book that Andrew Garfield was caught holding that one time by a paparazzi.

But to me, The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything has been such a wonderful read that has informed not just my religious life, but a lot of the other aspects of my day-to-day life as well.

It probably sounds cheesy, but the book transformed my spiritual life. From the simple and mundane things to the big picture questions, this book has a unique way of giving me a wider introspection about almost everything.

It also helps a lot that I bought this book after my 5-day silent retreat, which meant that I was most likely still in the middle of a spiritual high.

Nevertheless, the book will always be relevant to someone like me who's always in search of a deeper meaning.

Especially knowing that spirituality isn't a big topic in social media and popular culture, I like that I have this book to go back to whenever I want to recharge my spiritual life.

The Jesuits taught me a lot during my college years, and this book is no different. I actually haven't finished reading the book, yet I've already had a lot of significant insights that help me in becoming a better and more loving person.

The first season brought me immense joy. The second season went on a darker direction, but was still pretty good.

The third season was mediocre, but it brought us arguable the best episode of the series, "Beach House". The fourth season had some good moments here and there, but ended up feeling loose and directionless.

It was probably the worst season of the show ever. But then again, this low moment for the show may be part of the reason why the fifth season just got so good.

In fact, the fifth season was great enough to be considered to be the best season of the show ever. Not only did it bring some outstanding episodes such as "Japan", "The Panic in Central Park", "Love Stories", and "I Love You, Baby", but it also gave us some of the most satisfying developments to the main characters.

I love this show for the very reason of seeing flawed people struggle through their twenties, and so developments in these characters are hard to come by.

That was still up and about this season, only it gave me hope that at some point these flawed people may be able to figure it out.

Hannah's speech at The Moth was probably her best moment at the entire series that I myself hope that I have a similar moment of creativity and authenticity in th future, an experience that liberates me and makes me giddy about being nobody else but myself.

It used to be that my imagined scenarious were so vivid; I was very particular about the details of the setting and of course my profession.

But at this very moment in my life, I don't have any detail in mind. Is it abroad? Is it in Manila? Am I working as an engineer?

Or am I working as something else entirely? I have no clue. There is one image though that I can imagine. It's me, walking along a crowded street, and smiling.

I'm wearing nice clothes, the kind of yuppie fashion that I've always wanted to pull off. I don't know why I'm smiling.

I don't know where I'm headed. There's a sense of certainty and uncertainty at the same. Perhaps it's that I'm very certain with myself, my identity, my dreams and desires, but I'm uncertain of what's next.

I'm still learning how to live with that uncertainty. Yes, I know the fear will always be there. But I think my deepend relationship with God has helped me cope with this.

I'm learning to trust Him more and more each day. It used to be that I could imagine my future so clearly, and I would just ask Him to make it happen for me.

And when it didn't happen, I ended being lost and angry. Now I'm working on a different approach, one where I let God work His way into my imagination.

It's okay if I don't have the details down pat; I'm sure he'll fill up the rest of it in reality. And I know it'll be pretty good too.

The Revenant 7. Bridge of Spies 6. Room 5. The Martian 4. Mad Max: Fury Road 3. Spotlight 2. Brooklyn 1. This year, I was able to expose myself to several types of media, which paved the way for a wide experience on the art of storytelling.

Some stuck with me the most. Here is a list of books, movies, TV series, TV episodes, and songs that helped shape my creative mind this Others may hate it, since it portrays Hanna at her most immature.

For me, however, the episode was brilliant in that it also showed how her friends are not so far off on that immaturity scale.

The episode also shows how Hanna dealt with her biggest heartbreak yet: coming home to her and Adam's apartment and finding out that Adam has a new girlfriend.

While her friends come to her rescue, what really saved Hanna in the end was a mature conversation with Adam, as well as Marnie knowing how to pull Hanna off her emotional rut, which both resulted to some of this season's best moments.

Heneral Luna I remember the distinct feeling of watching this movie in the cinema: a wonderful combination of terror and joy.

Terror, because the movie successfully conveyed its narrative, with all the brutality and cruelty that came with it. Joy, because this is not like something I'd ever seen in a local movie before.

Finally, here is a movie that encapsulates the brilliant filmmaking talent that just hasn't been prevalent in the industry yet.

But gladly, Heneral Luna took everyone by storm this year, proving that local cinema doesn't just have to be a string of terrible romantic comedies or overwrought dramas about extramarital affairs.

I hope that Heneral Luna is just the beginning. I was close to giving up on the show: some plots felt contrived, certain arcs seemed like they're going nowhere.

But this winter finale pretty much changed my mind. Everything that I questioned about this season so far was brought up on the table and was integrated for a heartstopping episode.

Most of the plots that they pretty much left hanging the entire season was integrated into this season's mystery. Furthermore, I've also criticized this show for always trying to shock its audience that sometimes nothing ends up shocking at all.

But in this episode, their shocks and surprises were all earned. Then there's the cliffhanger in the end that got me excited for this season's continuation in February next year.

I admire it for being able to combine a sense of wonder and at the same time some of the deepest musings about life and love. Sure, it could be labeled as a children's book, but I'd say I could read this at any point in my adult life, and it would still amuse me.

In fact, I love this book so much I decided to own a copy of it in four different languages. I'm gonna treasure this book and carry it with me for the days that I'll forget what it's like to love.

But there's this episode, "Puff Pastry Pizza," which stuck with me for very personal reasons. Critics may not love it as much as I do, since there wasn't really much going on here.

It just portrays Josh's hook-up with a stranger, Ben. The sexual stuff is the last thing I cared about, however. Something about how Josh connects with Ben that really struck me.

Their intimate conversations, how comfortable they are sharing about each other's lives, seemed like something I wish I could have in a romantic pursuit.

Mind you, Josh was still dating someone else when this happened. But by the end of the episode, when Josh went back to his boyfriend, I was rooting against their relationship and was wishing Josh would just go back to Ben.

This novel is no exception. Murakami is able to paint you an image of not just the physical details, but also the emotional nuances.

The story of Tsukuru Tazaki was more than just a narrative; it's a brilliant emotional journey into his psyche.

It's like I can open this book again any time if I'm looking to experience loss of innocence, heartbreak, and what it's like to regain one's humanity at a time when it's the hardest to do so.

The first season itself was very hard to resist: consistently charming and funny, with a tight unwavering narrative. So when the first season ended with a cliffhanger, I couldn't help but still give their second season a chance.

And I'm glad I did. The first eight episodes of the season were at par with the first season, keeping their ideas fresh and exciting to watch.

Not to mention, this is the only comedy that has had me in tears for almost every episode. Sure, tears from laughing mostly, but Jane's relationship with her mother and her abuela never fails to warm my heart.

I tried choosing one episode in particular that I love, but I found that I can't decide, since every episode of the series always helps to move the story forward.

Jane The Virgin is one of the most consistent episode series on television right now, and that needs to be acknowledged more. It's one of the best comedies in television today: smart, funny, and brutally honest.

I love the series in general, but I had such a profound connection to this particular episode in season 3 called "New Year's Eve.

Louie struggles with it for a little while, and after the death of previous love interest right before his eyes, he finds himself searching for meaning once more.

This theme of the episode resonated with me and made such a huge mark on my worldview. Thanks, Louie.

I'm about to finish the show's third season, and I can still say that my statement rings true. So if the show itself is that kind of romantic partner, then it's no wonder that my first date with this show, the pilot episode titled "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," is close to an ideal first date as well.

After spending some time with it, I could already see all the good traits I mentioned, all the while keeping me intrigued and just absolutely craving to know more.

I can't stop looking at it. I could just listen to it talk forever. This, right here, is exactly the reason why I got into more TV shows this year than movies.

I'll never forget most especially how this first date made me feel: a kind of curiosity for something new, at the same time being assured I'll never be disappointed.

My blossoming relationship with Mad Men is definitely one for the ages. Even if the show ended this year after seven seasons 6.

I didn't think much of it, until I realized a couple days later that it's all I could think about. That photo. How it made me feel.

What if it's gonna be different this time? So soon enough, I found myself texting my old flame once more, after losing touch for months.

Good thing I got a reply. We talked for a couple of days. Until one day we just lost touch again, for the same reasons as before. I felt that he's uninterested.

I had to let all these feelings go, one more time. All this happened amidst Adele's sudden reappearance into pop culture with her new album, What can I say?

Adele made me do it. Or rather, her emotionally affecting music made me do it. It's true. Adele's album is all about that nostalgia, reaching out to an old flame, perhaps reconnecting, and it influenced me in making my decisions.

It could even be any other song from the album. Not that I recommend such a thing; it's just that, it was one way I got to witness how art can truly affect my life.

In retrospect, even though nothing happened with my old flame ever again, it seems like such a beautiful human thing to experience.

Game of Thrones For so long I didn't want to ride on this bandwagon. I was so convinced this Medieval era bullshit was not my cup of tea.

But thank goodness, I have a good friend who did nothing but insist that I watch this show. I have to admit, the first few episodes were hard to get through, since there's so much mythology behind it that it's easy to get lost.

Good thing I had my friend next to me, explaining the background stories and filling the holes I couldn't understand.

So by the middle of the first season, I was hooked.

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For the first time, I saw that Patrick might actually be capable of happiness for once, and that gives me hope that I could be too.

Die Beautiful The best film out of the MMFF films I've seen in is this brilliant character study about a transgender woman whose life was full of beauty and love.

It was mostly getting a lot of buzz for Paolo Ballesteros' and Christian Bables' stellar performances, and rightfully so.

But what truly stayed with me about the film is that it encapsulates the future of Filipino cinema. It's well-made, progressive, and empathic to someone who could've been viewed by society as just another funny bakla who cross-dresses.

It paints a wonderful picture of a flawed human with no hint of judgment whatsoever. I have this hope that a lot of Filipino went to see it and ended up with a deeper understanding of the trans community in the country as more than just hairdressers and beauty queens.

I have hope that people saw the humanity in this story, that they would get a wonderful lesson in empathy.

How this film hasn't ignited a movement is beyond me. I myself love analyzing and writing about TV shows, but when it comes to Mad Men, it's hard to put into words why the show is so brilliant.

I've been gravitated towards the show for four seasons now, and it's pretty amazing every step of the way. One thing I can say though is that the characters are well-developed.

The fourth season episode, "The Suitcase," in particular, is such some of the finest piece of television I've ever watched.

Don and Peggy have always had an interesting non-sexual relationship, and for that to come to its full realization in this episode makes the episode the most memorable episode for me so far.

Their chemistry remained platonic, and that gave way for them to truly bring out their vulnerabilities in the most honest way possible.

It's a masterclass in TV drama writing. I thought I've had enough of TV shows about white people trying to find their way into the world, until I got to watch the second and third season of Transparent.

The first season was nothing special for me, and I didn't understand why it was even called a comedy in the first place. But I remember seeing the first episode of season two called "Kina Hora," and I was charmed by the sudden flashback in the middle of the wedding dance sequence.

I enjoyed that scene in particular, and the next thing I know, I was hooked again to the whole series.

Not only did they try something different for the second season, but it also helped me look at the Pfeffermans in a much deeper sense.

Their imperfections and complexities are what makes them so amazing to watch. I've grown attached to most of the characters, despite the fact that I have pretty much nothing in common with rich white Jews living in California.

And then the third season kicked in. I got to watch the first episode called "Elizah," which got me hooked even more, because the episode was a display of the show's willingness to dive into an even deeper context: existential dread.

That someone like Maura, at her age, is still struggling with happiness was so appealing to me.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Pfefferman clan were also thrown into situations where they got to question their respective places in the bigger picture, and Rabbi Racquel goes through the toughest time of her spiritual life.

The whole third season felt like a brilliant exploration of spirituality that was wrapped up by a spellbinding song number performed by Judith Light.

That very last sequence gave me chills, and putting that into the context of the whole season made me realize even more that this show is truly astounding.

I don't know if there's anything else left to say about these episodes. After several average episodes in season 6, I felt like the season was about to become the weakest from the show ever.

And then these two episodes came in, and all I could think about was how wrong I truly was. I will keep watching that sequence over and over again throughout the years!

All those slow-moving episodes totally paid off in ways that go beyond my wildest imaginations. No other show on TV can do this.

No other show on TV has this much power to leave the audience scarred and amazed at the same time. The fact that this is just a set-up for the bigger things to come amazes me even more.

What does this show have in store for us in its last two seasons? I'm dying to find out. BoJack Horseman seasons 2 and 3. Perhaps the most relatable person on TV right now is surprisingly a horse.

BoJack Horseman's portrayal of existential dread is so well-done that it all feels like a warm hug.

Or a sad song played while you're in the shower and it made you sob and sob, and you can't understand why.

Sure enough, the sad sitcom or "sadcom" has almost become an entire genre in itself, and BoJack Horseman might just be at the top of the heap.

Every episode of the second and third season is incredibly well done and executed, and it's no surprise that the show has gotten plenty of critical acclaim.

The show's standalone episode, "Fish Out of Water", is probably the best episode of any show from What's even greater about it all is that BoJack is such a despicable character, and yet the show manages to make him a character that you can empathize with.

I've come to see so much of myself in BoJack at times that it's hard to even see that BoJack is a horse. In fact, BoJack Horseman is so well done that BoJack may even be the most human character on television today.

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything The book may very well be known as that book that Andrew Garfield was caught holding that one time by a paparazzi.

But to me, The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything has been such a wonderful read that has informed not just my religious life, but a lot of the other aspects of my day-to-day life as well.

It probably sounds cheesy, but the book transformed my spiritual life. From the simple and mundane things to the big picture questions, this book has a unique way of giving me a wider introspection about almost everything.

It also helps a lot that I bought this book after my 5-day silent retreat, which meant that I was most likely still in the middle of a spiritual high.

Nevertheless, the book will always be relevant to someone like me who's always in search of a deeper meaning. Especially knowing that spirituality isn't a big topic in social media and popular culture, I like that I have this book to go back to whenever I want to recharge my spiritual life.

The Jesuits taught me a lot during my college years, and this book is no different. I actually haven't finished reading the book, yet I've already had a lot of significant insights that help me in becoming a better and more loving person.

The first season brought me immense joy. The second season went on a darker direction, but was still pretty good.

The third season was mediocre, but it brought us arguable the best episode of the series, "Beach House".

The fourth season had some good moments here and there, but ended up feeling loose and directionless. It was probably the worst season of the show ever.

But then again, this low moment for the show may be part of the reason why the fifth season just got so good. In fact, the fifth season was great enough to be considered to be the best season of the show ever.

Not only did it bring some outstanding episodes such as "Japan", "The Panic in Central Park", "Love Stories", and "I Love You, Baby", but it also gave us some of the most satisfying developments to the main characters.

I love this show for the very reason of seeing flawed people struggle through their twenties, and so developments in these characters are hard to come by.

That was still up and about this season, only it gave me hope that at some point these flawed people may be able to figure it out.

Hannah's speech at The Moth was probably her best moment at the entire series that I myself hope that I have a similar moment of creativity and authenticity in th future, an experience that liberates me and makes me giddy about being nobody else but myself.

It used to be that my imagined scenarious were so vivid; I was very particular about the details of the setting and of course my profession.

But at this very moment in my life, I don't have any detail in mind. Is it abroad? Is it in Manila? Am I working as an engineer?

Or am I working as something else entirely? I have no clue. There is one image though that I can imagine.

It's me, walking along a crowded street, and smiling. I'm wearing nice clothes, the kind of yuppie fashion that I've always wanted to pull off.

I don't know why I'm smiling. I don't know where I'm headed. There's a sense of certainty and uncertainty at the same.

Perhaps it's that I'm very certain with myself, my identity, my dreams and desires, but I'm uncertain of what's next. I'm still learning how to live with that uncertainty.

Yes, I know the fear will always be there. But I think my deepend relationship with God has helped me cope with this.

I'm learning to trust Him more and more each day. It used to be that I could imagine my future so clearly, and I would just ask Him to make it happen for me.

And when it didn't happen, I ended being lost and angry. Now I'm working on a different approach, one where I let God work His way into my imagination.

It's okay if I don't have the details down pat; I'm sure he'll fill up the rest of it in reality.

And I know it'll be pretty good too. The Revenant 7. Bridge of Spies 6. Room 5. The Martian 4. Mad Max: Fury Road 3.

Spotlight 2. Brooklyn 1. This year, I was able to expose myself to several types of media, which paved the way for a wide experience on the art of storytelling.

Some stuck with me the most. Here is a list of books, movies, TV series, TV episodes, and songs that helped shape my creative mind this Others may hate it, since it portrays Hanna at her most immature.

For me, however, the episode was brilliant in that it also showed how her friends are not so far off on that immaturity scale. The episode also shows how Hanna dealt with her biggest heartbreak yet: coming home to her and Adam's apartment and finding out that Adam has a new girlfriend.

While her friends come to her rescue, what really saved Hanna in the end was a mature conversation with Adam, as well as Marnie knowing how to pull Hanna off her emotional rut, which both resulted to some of this season's best moments.

Heneral Luna I remember the distinct feeling of watching this movie in the cinema: a wonderful combination of terror and joy.

Terror, because the movie successfully conveyed its narrative, with all the brutality and cruelty that came with it. Joy, because this is not like something I'd ever seen in a local movie before.

Finally, here is a movie that encapsulates the brilliant filmmaking talent that just hasn't been prevalent in the industry yet.

But gladly, Heneral Luna took everyone by storm this year, proving that local cinema doesn't just have to be a string of terrible romantic comedies or overwrought dramas about extramarital affairs.

I hope that Heneral Luna is just the beginning. I was close to giving up on the show: some plots felt contrived, certain arcs seemed like they're going nowhere.

But this winter finale pretty much changed my mind. Everything that I questioned about this season so far was brought up on the table and was integrated for a heartstopping episode.

Most of the plots that they pretty much left hanging the entire season was integrated into this season's mystery. Furthermore, I've also criticized this show for always trying to shock its audience that sometimes nothing ends up shocking at all.

But in this episode, their shocks and surprises were all earned. Then there's the cliffhanger in the end that got me excited for this season's continuation in February next year.

I admire it for being able to combine a sense of wonder and at the same time some of the deepest musings about life and love. Sure, it could be labeled as a children's book, but I'd say I could read this at any point in my adult life, and it would still amuse me.

In fact, I love this book so much I decided to own a copy of it in four different languages. I'm gonna treasure this book and carry it with me for the days that I'll forget what it's like to love.

But there's this episode, "Puff Pastry Pizza," which stuck with me for very personal reasons. Critics may not love it as much as I do, since there wasn't really much going on here.

It just portrays Josh's hook-up with a stranger, Ben. The sexual stuff is the last thing I cared about, however. Something about how Josh connects with Ben that really struck me.

Their intimate conversations, how comfortable they are sharing about each other's lives, seemed like something I wish I could have in a romantic pursuit.

Mind you, Josh was still dating someone else when this happened. But by the end of the episode, when Josh went back to his boyfriend, I was rooting against their relationship and was wishing Josh would just go back to Ben.

This novel is no exception. Murakami is able to paint you an image of not just the physical details, but also the emotional nuances. The story of Tsukuru Tazaki was more than just a narrative; it's a brilliant emotional journey into his psyche.

It's like I can open this book again any time if I'm looking to experience loss of innocence, heartbreak, and what it's like to regain one's humanity at a time when it's the hardest to do so.

The first season itself was very hard to resist: consistently charming and funny, with a tight unwavering narrative. So when the first season ended with a cliffhanger, I couldn't help but still give their second season a chance.

And I'm glad I did. The first eight episodes of the season were at par with the first season, keeping their ideas fresh and exciting to watch.

Not to mention, this is the only comedy that has had me in tears for almost every episode. Sure, tears from laughing mostly, but Jane's relationship with her mother and her abuela never fails to warm my heart.

I tried choosing one episode in particular that I love, but I found that I can't decide, since every episode of the series always helps to move the story forward.

Jane The Virgin is one of the most consistent episode series on television right now, and that needs to be acknowledged more.

It's one of the best comedies in television today: smart, funny, and brutally honest. I love the series in general, but I had such a profound connection to this particular episode in season 3 called "New Year's Eve.

Louie struggles with it for a little while, and after the death of previous love interest right before his eyes, he finds himself searching for meaning once more.

This theme of the episode resonated with me and made such a huge mark on my worldview. Thanks, Louie. I'm about to finish the show's third season, and I can still say that my statement rings true.

So if the show itself is that kind of romantic partner, then it's no wonder that my first date with this show, the pilot episode titled "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," is close to an ideal first date as well.

After spending some time with it, I could already see all the good traits I mentioned, all the while keeping me intrigued and just absolutely craving to know more.

I can't stop looking at it. I could just listen to it talk forever. This, right here, is exactly the reason why I got into more TV shows this year than movies.

I'll never forget most especially how this first date made me feel: a kind of curiosity for something new, at the same time being assured I'll never be disappointed.

My blossoming relationship with Mad Men is definitely one for the ages. Even if the show ended this year after seven seasons 6.

I didn't think much of it, until I realized a couple days later that it's all I could think about. That photo.

How it made me feel. What if it's gonna be different this time? So soon enough, I found myself texting my old flame once more, after losing touch for months.

Good thing I got a reply. We talked for a couple of days. Until one day we just lost touch again, for the same reasons as before.

I felt that he's uninterested. I had to let all these feelings go, one more time. All this happened amidst Adele's sudden reappearance into pop culture with her new album, What can I say?

Adele made me do it. Or rather, her emotionally affecting music made me do it. It's true.

Adele's album is all about that nostalgia, reaching out to an old flame, perhaps reconnecting, and it influenced me in making my decisions.

It could even be any other song from the album. Not that I recommend such a thing; it's just that, it was one way I got to witness how art can truly affect my life.

In retrospect, even though nothing happened with my old flame ever again, it seems like such a beautiful human thing to experience. Game of Thrones For so long I didn't want to ride on this bandwagon.

I was so convinced this Medieval era bullshit was not my cup of tea. But thank goodness, I have a good friend who did nothing but insist that I watch this show.

I have to admit, the first few episodes were hard to get through, since there's so much mythology behind it that it's easy to get lost.

Good thing I had my friend next to me, explaining the background stories and filling the holes I couldn't understand. So by the middle of the first season, I was hooked.

It has such a grand story that watching an episode is always an escape to a whole other world. The narrative has become so complex that there are no clear-cut protagonists and antagonists.

By the end of season 2, I find myself thinking a lot about the show even in moments when I'm not watching it. I'm constantly curious as to where the story would go.

Since I started with this show late, I'm watching these early episodes with already some knowledge on certain events in the later seasons.

But that doesn't stop me from constantly being intrigued. I have to keep on watching, because suddenly something tells me I must know where this will go.

I've grown especially fond of particular characters, thanks to their brilliant actors: Peter Dinklage for playing the smartass Tyrion Lannister, Lena Headey for playing the love-to-hate character Cersei Lannister, and most especially Emilia Clarke for playing Daenerys Targaryen, whose story I'm excited to see move forward the most.

I'm only getting started with the third season, and I know I will see this thing through. Lost I've longed to watch this show for a long time now.

Around five years ago, the final season was being promoted, and I was so intrigued by it that I read all about it online.

I couldn't understand everything. A lot of things were going on, and I knew I wouldn't be able to absorb everything unless I get to actually watch the show.

Now that I'm finally watching it, I can say I'm getting so much more than I expected. I'm deeply satisfied by how rich the show is in its storytelling and character developments.

I've seen the first four seasons now, and this show just always season after season. The fourth season feels like a different show compared to its third, to its second, etc.

That's what makes it so addicting. I know I'm always in for something new with Lost. Critics have pointed out that the show's writers seem to have no idea on where to take the show, that there are too many mysteries brought up but never solved, etc.

Despite these flaws, I can confidently say that Lost is one TV show that will truly stick with me forever. When I pay enough thought and attention to this show, I find that it's rich in big picture ideas, how everything happens for a reason, how we could all rise from our past decisions, and how, in being completely lost, we could even find ourselves.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris I've yet to finish reading David Sedaris' book of essays, but I've read enough in this book to know how much it's going to influence my own writing style.

You see I've been trying to write nonfiction pieces for a while now, but coming across Sedaris' book made me re-think how I approach this writing thing: that I should have more experience and then be observant about it.

It made me more reflective of the things happening around me, even the little things. It is in Sedaris' writing style that I learned how to look at even the most mundane things and twist it into something entertaining and perhaps even a starting point to look at something deeper.

This book just overflows with the richness of Sedaris' day-to-day life. It has influenced me to look at my day-to-day life as well, always in search of things and events that I could ponder on.

Believe it or not, this has got me excited to live my life. It helped me get out of that rut I was in just a year ago when I didn't feel like life is worth living.

Now I'm not saying that life is suddenly worth living; I'm saying thanks to Sedaris' book, I'm excited about a life that's worth writing about.

For now, maybe that's all I need. Perhaps it was the influence of a close friend of mine who's a devout Swiftie, but something about her album resonated with me on a very personal level.

Then there's "Blank Space," just as I have the same kind of openness to romantic pursuits. By the end of my internship, I was getting over my failed pursuits, and "Clean" couldn't explain any better what I was feeling.

Sex and the City TV series For a while after compiling this list, I was wondering how a virgin like me could put Sex and the City at the top of it.

It doesn't quite make sense on the surface level. It's beyond that. It's a dream come true. I'm well aware that this is not something that actually happens in real life; that's what makes watching this show even more entertaining: a form of an escape to what seems to be paradise.

While it doesn't make sense to aspire to have Carrie Bradshaw's impossible life, I tried to emulate her in other aspects: her writing style.

Not that I'm suddenly into writing about sex because I wasn't having any ; it's more on how Carrie is able to look at her situation at hand, and turn it into a reflection of something much bigger ideas on love and romance.

It influenced me so much that I've come to look at my everyday life as an opportunity to do the same. Everyday is another opportunity to observe my ordinary life, and see how that can take me to big-picture reflections.

While Carrie pondered about love and romance, I pondered on friendships, spirituality, sexuality, among other things.

Her writing voice made it so much easier to zoom in on my life, then zoom out to other themes by asking questions that don't lead to particular answers.

Instead, questions raised pave the way to more options on what could happen next. Without this show, I think I would've lost my sense of wonder and eagerness to be alive.

It probably sounds ridiculous to say this, but this show saved my life. Log in No account? Create an account.

Remember me. Facebook Twitter Google. January 1st, , pm. December 31st, , am. During the majority of my adolescent years, I was heavily exposed to American media.

American movies, TV shows, and novels were my life during those formative years. So growing up, all I ever wanted to be was become like the guys I watched: white, middle-class, cultured, individualistic.

My male role models were always the good-looking white men who hardly struggled for what they want because life would always go their way. Having said that, getting to watch Crazy Rich Asians was an out-of-body experience.

Here I got to see the set of values and culture that I grew up with minus the extravagance, of course getting the Hollywood romance movie treatment.

It was so disorienting and satisfying at the same time. Here I saw Nick who literally could replace any other white male role model I've had in the past and it would make more sense.

If I had watched this film when I was younger, I probably would've grown up with a totally different mindset, with more careful regard for my family and traditions.

But still, it's not too late. I love this film because it seamlessly integrates traditional Asian values with the American mindset, while maintaining love and respect for both.

It's a rare cinematic feat that I will truly cherish forever. Hereditary I haven't always been a fan of horror for the sole reason that they can deprive me of a good night's sleep for a whole month.

Looking at you, Paranormal Activity So I've always avoided this genre, all the while thinking that every horror film is just the same: a nightmare to be avoided at all costs.

But the hype surrounding Hereditary when it first came out in the US really snatched my attention. Not only was it brutally terrifying, but it was also very well-made, to a point that some people called it a masterpiece.

So when it had a local screening, I knew I had to brave through my cowardice and watch it at the cinema. My first time watching it was uncomfortable: the audience didn't know how to react to this odd piece of a movie.

It ruined the cinematic experience for me, but some parts of it stayed with me -- enough to convince me to give it another watch at home when I got the chance.

That was when I knew this is the best film of for me. Everything about it was so well crafted. It's a finely tuned piece of art that will go down in history as an iconic horror film.

On a more personal note, I love this movie for pushing its central family relationship to the extreme.

Having a hostile relationship with your mother be the source of horror is truly the narrative choice I didn't know I needed to experience in It was almost cathartic in the worst way possible.

Pose season 1 Despite its brief season with only eight episodes , Pose managed to make maximum impact through heartfelt storylines, endearing characters, and an enormous soul.

This is a show about people I've rarely seen on TV. They've mostly stayed at the fringes of history. I didn't know just how important it was to see these people and their stories with the kind of storytelling treatment that they deserve.

Like I said, I've always been exposed to white America for the majority of my teenage years. Now it feels like an honor and a privilege to watch minority stories, because they are more relevant to me personally.

For the longest time, I didn't even know these stories existed. My encounter with Pose this year is a great reminder that widening my perspective through film and TV is always an ongoing process, and I'm most definitely in the right path.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara It took me the whole year to finish this novel, making it the only book I read for I can't blame myself though; this is one hell of a stressful book to get through.

I was initially interested in it because of the group of friends post-college drifting through their early twenties. While there was some of that during the early pages, I can't deny that that's not what the book was ultimately about.

This is about the cruelty of the world to an innocent and brilliant young man. I wouldn't want to go through the details of it, but the true magic of A Little Life lies in its generosity in letting us into the heart and soul of its complex characters.

These are characters whose lives and deaths I got to know so well, they might as well be real people. I hope to meet all of them one day because they have provided me some wonderful insights about the human condition that I will always take with me as I grow older: that no matter how hard life gets, I'll always have in me the capacity to love and forgive.

I thought that was only in my adolescent years, but I thought wrong. But apart from that similarity between us, I've also wanted to model myself after him in other ways: the way he dresses, the way he talks, the way he thinks.

He pretty much cemented himself in my life as one of my gay icons. The fact that he has a strong attachment to his best friend, Grace Adler, makes the show resonate even more.

Their relationship is, of course, central to the show. Watching the show puts me back into that time when I had the sense of comfort being around her all the time.

Whenever I'm feeling lost, I think about this show to get a sense again of who I was and who I could be.

Love, Simon I've been talking about role models a lot, and this is exactly why I think representation matters. I want to be able to understand my identity in the context of this medium that is so close to my heart.

Films have taught me so much about the world and humanity, that I don't think I would be alive today if not with the guiding hands of movies.

That's how much it means to me. And so imagine my delight when I saw Love, Simon for the first time at the cinema.

Never before have I ever felt so seen by a film. Love, Simon broke that wall, smashed it into dush, and blew it right to my eyes that it made me cry like a baby.

I will never forget the moment I saw this in the cinema. I felt seen. I felt loved. I felt like I could be a beacon of light and love into this world.

Queer Eye. Role models are a recurring theme on this list, and no other piece of media this year has shown me role models better than Queer Eye.

The Fab Five gave me a standard on what I could be to other people in my life. Sure, I've helped out friends in what to wear, but Queer Eye made it clear that I could be so much more.

As I watched each one of these beautiful, confident, smart, well-dressed, and helpful gays bring out the best in the people they were helping, I felt myself wanting to become just like them.

After every episode, I find myself recharged and energized, like I could walk into any situation in my life and beam with such charisma and positivity that I never had before.

To this day, I still can't fully explain this Queer Eye effect on me. But this has become my go-to show when I feel empty or when an identity crisis is setting in.

This show has anchored me. Knowing that I live in a world that can break down my identity for the sake of conformity, Queer Eye is a reminder to hold on to those parts of myself that I've been ashamed of.

It's only when I keep myself authentic that I can truly be of help to others. I can be the best version of myself and help bring out the same for everyone in my life.

That is a mission I'm willing to take on. December 31st, , pm. Blade Runner and Blade Runner In my years of experience in film appreciation, it's not everyday that I come across a film that makes me feel like I lived through it.

May 7th, , pm. Making a Murderer season 1 One of my earliest memories from is watching Making a Murderer just to see what the hype was all about, and then getting absolutely obsessed with it.

Please Like Me season 4 The fourth season felt like it was going full circle with the first season. Oh My Ghost My venture into Korean drama for the first time after a very long time came as quite a surprise.

After several average episodes in season 6, I felt like the season was about to become the weakest from the show ever. And then these two episodes came in, and all I could think about was how wrong I truly was.

I will keep watching that sequence over and over again throughout the years! All those slow-moving episodes totally paid off in ways that go beyond my wildest imaginations.

No other show on TV can do this. No other show on TV has this much power to leave the audience scarred and amazed at the same time.

The fact that this is just a set-up for the bigger things to come amazes me even more. What does this show have in store for us in its last two seasons?

I'm dying to find out. BoJack Horseman seasons 2 and 3. Perhaps the most relatable person on TV right now is surprisingly a horse.

BoJack Horseman's portrayal of existential dread is so well-done that it all feels like a warm hug.

Or a sad song played while you're in the shower and it made you sob and sob, and you can't understand why. Sure enough, the sad sitcom or "sadcom" has almost become an entire genre in itself, and BoJack Horseman might just be at the top of the heap.

Every episode of the second and third season is incredibly well done and executed, and it's no surprise that the show has gotten plenty of critical acclaim.

The show's standalone episode, "Fish Out of Water", is probably the best episode of any show from What's even greater about it all is that BoJack is such a despicable character, and yet the show manages to make him a character that you can empathize with.

I've come to see so much of myself in BoJack at times that it's hard to even see that BoJack is a horse. In fact, BoJack Horseman is so well done that BoJack may even be the most human character on television today.

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything The book may very well be known as that book that Andrew Garfield was caught holding that one time by a paparazzi.

But to me, The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything has been such a wonderful read that has informed not just my religious life, but a lot of the other aspects of my day-to-day life as well.

It probably sounds cheesy, but the book transformed my spiritual life. From the simple and mundane things to the big picture questions, this book has a unique way of giving me a wider introspection about almost everything.

It also helps a lot that I bought this book after my 5-day silent retreat, which meant that I was most likely still in the middle of a spiritual high.

Nevertheless, the book will always be relevant to someone like me who's always in search of a deeper meaning.

Especially knowing that spirituality isn't a big topic in social media and popular culture, I like that I have this book to go back to whenever I want to recharge my spiritual life.

The Jesuits taught me a lot during my college years, and this book is no different. I actually haven't finished reading the book, yet I've already had a lot of significant insights that help me in becoming a better and more loving person.

The first season brought me immense joy. The second season went on a darker direction, but was still pretty good.

The third season was mediocre, but it brought us arguable the best episode of the series, "Beach House".

The fourth season had some good moments here and there, but ended up feeling loose and directionless. It was probably the worst season of the show ever.

But then again, this low moment for the show may be part of the reason why the fifth season just got so good.

In fact, the fifth season was great enough to be considered to be the best season of the show ever. Not only did it bring some outstanding episodes such as "Japan", "The Panic in Central Park", "Love Stories", and "I Love You, Baby", but it also gave us some of the most satisfying developments to the main characters.

I love this show for the very reason of seeing flawed people struggle through their twenties, and so developments in these characters are hard to come by.

That was still up and about this season, only it gave me hope that at some point these flawed people may be able to figure it out. Hannah's speech at The Moth was probably her best moment at the entire series that I myself hope that I have a similar moment of creativity and authenticity in th future, an experience that liberates me and makes me giddy about being nobody else but myself.

It used to be that my imagined scenarious were so vivid; I was very particular about the details of the setting and of course my profession.

But at this very moment in my life, I don't have any detail in mind. Is it abroad? Is it in Manila? Am I working as an engineer?

Or am I working as something else entirely? I have no clue. There is one image though that I can imagine. It's me, walking along a crowded street, and smiling.

I'm wearing nice clothes, the kind of yuppie fashion that I've always wanted to pull off. I don't know why I'm smiling.

I don't know where I'm headed. There's a sense of certainty and uncertainty at the same. Perhaps it's that I'm very certain with myself, my identity, my dreams and desires, but I'm uncertain of what's next.

I'm still learning how to live with that uncertainty. Yes, I know the fear will always be there. But I think my deepend relationship with God has helped me cope with this.

I'm learning to trust Him more and more each day. It used to be that I could imagine my future so clearly, and I would just ask Him to make it happen for me.

And when it didn't happen, I ended being lost and angry. Now I'm working on a different approach, one where I let God work His way into my imagination.

It's okay if I don't have the details down pat; I'm sure he'll fill up the rest of it in reality.

And I know it'll be pretty good too. The Revenant 7. Bridge of Spies 6. Room 5. The Martian 4. Mad Max: Fury Road 3.

Spotlight 2. Brooklyn 1. This year, I was able to expose myself to several types of media, which paved the way for a wide experience on the art of storytelling.

Some stuck with me the most. Here is a list of books, movies, TV series, TV episodes, and songs that helped shape my creative mind this Others may hate it, since it portrays Hanna at her most immature.

For me, however, the episode was brilliant in that it also showed how her friends are not so far off on that immaturity scale.

The episode also shows how Hanna dealt with her biggest heartbreak yet: coming home to her and Adam's apartment and finding out that Adam has a new girlfriend.

While her friends come to her rescue, what really saved Hanna in the end was a mature conversation with Adam, as well as Marnie knowing how to pull Hanna off her emotional rut, which both resulted to some of this season's best moments.

Heneral Luna I remember the distinct feeling of watching this movie in the cinema: a wonderful combination of terror and joy.

Terror, because the movie successfully conveyed its narrative, with all the brutality and cruelty that came with it. Joy, because this is not like something I'd ever seen in a local movie before.

Finally, here is a movie that encapsulates the brilliant filmmaking talent that just hasn't been prevalent in the industry yet.

But gladly, Heneral Luna took everyone by storm this year, proving that local cinema doesn't just have to be a string of terrible romantic comedies or overwrought dramas about extramarital affairs.

I hope that Heneral Luna is just the beginning. I was close to giving up on the show: some plots felt contrived, certain arcs seemed like they're going nowhere.

But this winter finale pretty much changed my mind. Everything that I questioned about this season so far was brought up on the table and was integrated for a heartstopping episode.

Most of the plots that they pretty much left hanging the entire season was integrated into this season's mystery. Furthermore, I've also criticized this show for always trying to shock its audience that sometimes nothing ends up shocking at all.

But in this episode, their shocks and surprises were all earned. Then there's the cliffhanger in the end that got me excited for this season's continuation in February next year.

I admire it for being able to combine a sense of wonder and at the same time some of the deepest musings about life and love.

Sure, it could be labeled as a children's book, but I'd say I could read this at any point in my adult life, and it would still amuse me.

In fact, I love this book so much I decided to own a copy of it in four different languages. I'm gonna treasure this book and carry it with me for the days that I'll forget what it's like to love.

But there's this episode, "Puff Pastry Pizza," which stuck with me for very personal reasons. Critics may not love it as much as I do, since there wasn't really much going on here.

It just portrays Josh's hook-up with a stranger, Ben. The sexual stuff is the last thing I cared about, however. Something about how Josh connects with Ben that really struck me.

Their intimate conversations, how comfortable they are sharing about each other's lives, seemed like something I wish I could have in a romantic pursuit.

Mind you, Josh was still dating someone else when this happened. But by the end of the episode, when Josh went back to his boyfriend, I was rooting against their relationship and was wishing Josh would just go back to Ben.

This novel is no exception. Murakami is able to paint you an image of not just the physical details, but also the emotional nuances.

The story of Tsukuru Tazaki was more than just a narrative; it's a brilliant emotional journey into his psyche.

It's like I can open this book again any time if I'm looking to experience loss of innocence, heartbreak, and what it's like to regain one's humanity at a time when it's the hardest to do so.

The first season itself was very hard to resist: consistently charming and funny, with a tight unwavering narrative.

So when the first season ended with a cliffhanger, I couldn't help but still give their second season a chance.

And I'm glad I did. The first eight episodes of the season were at par with the first season, keeping their ideas fresh and exciting to watch.

Not to mention, this is the only comedy that has had me in tears for almost every episode. Sure, tears from laughing mostly, but Jane's relationship with her mother and her abuela never fails to warm my heart.

I tried choosing one episode in particular that I love, but I found that I can't decide, since every episode of the series always helps to move the story forward.

Jane The Virgin is one of the most consistent episode series on television right now, and that needs to be acknowledged more. It's one of the best comedies in television today: smart, funny, and brutally honest.

I love the series in general, but I had such a profound connection to this particular episode in season 3 called "New Year's Eve.

Louie struggles with it for a little while, and after the death of previous love interest right before his eyes, he finds himself searching for meaning once more.

This theme of the episode resonated with me and made such a huge mark on my worldview. Thanks, Louie.

I'm about to finish the show's third season, and I can still say that my statement rings true. So if the show itself is that kind of romantic partner, then it's no wonder that my first date with this show, the pilot episode titled "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," is close to an ideal first date as well.

After spending some time with it, I could already see all the good traits I mentioned, all the while keeping me intrigued and just absolutely craving to know more.

I can't stop looking at it. I could just listen to it talk forever. This, right here, is exactly the reason why I got into more TV shows this year than movies.

I'll never forget most especially how this first date made me feel: a kind of curiosity for something new, at the same time being assured I'll never be disappointed.

My blossoming relationship with Mad Men is definitely one for the ages. Even if the show ended this year after seven seasons 6.

I didn't think much of it, until I realized a couple days later that it's all I could think about. That photo. How it made me feel. What if it's gonna be different this time?

So soon enough, I found myself texting my old flame once more, after losing touch for months. Good thing I got a reply.

We talked for a couple of days. Until one day we just lost touch again, for the same reasons as before. I felt that he's uninterested.

I had to let all these feelings go, one more time. All this happened amidst Adele's sudden reappearance into pop culture with her new album, What can I say?

Adele made me do it. Or rather, her emotionally affecting music made me do it. It's true. Adele's album is all about that nostalgia, reaching out to an old flame, perhaps reconnecting, and it influenced me in making my decisions.

It could even be any other song from the album. Not that I recommend such a thing; it's just that, it was one way I got to witness how art can truly affect my life.

In retrospect, even though nothing happened with my old flame ever again, it seems like such a beautiful human thing to experience.

Game of Thrones For so long I didn't want to ride on this bandwagon. I was so convinced this Medieval era bullshit was not my cup of tea.

But thank goodness, I have a good friend who did nothing but insist that I watch this show. I have to admit, the first few episodes were hard to get through, since there's so much mythology behind it that it's easy to get lost.

Good thing I had my friend next to me, explaining the background stories and filling the holes I couldn't understand. So by the middle of the first season, I was hooked.

It has such a grand story that watching an episode is always an escape to a whole other world. The narrative has become so complex that there are no clear-cut protagonists and antagonists.

By the end of season 2, I find myself thinking a lot about the show even in moments when I'm not watching it. I'm constantly curious as to where the story would go.

Since I started with this show late, I'm watching these early episodes with already some knowledge on certain events in the later seasons.

But that doesn't stop me from constantly being intrigued. I have to keep on watching, because suddenly something tells me I must know where this will go.

I've grown especially fond of particular characters, thanks to their brilliant actors: Peter Dinklage for playing the smartass Tyrion Lannister, Lena Headey for playing the love-to-hate character Cersei Lannister, and most especially Emilia Clarke for playing Daenerys Targaryen, whose story I'm excited to see move forward the most.

I'm only getting started with the third season, and I know I will see this thing through. Lost I've longed to watch this show for a long time now.

Around five years ago, the final season was being promoted, and I was so intrigued by it that I read all about it online.

I couldn't understand everything. A lot of things were going on, and I knew I wouldn't be able to absorb everything unless I get to actually watch the show.

Now that I'm finally watching it, I can say I'm getting so much more than I expected. I'm deeply satisfied by how rich the show is in its storytelling and character developments.

I've seen the first four seasons now, and this show just always season after season. The fourth season feels like a different show compared to its third, to its second, etc.

That's what makes it so addicting. I know I'm always in for something new with Lost. Critics have pointed out that the show's writers seem to have no idea on where to take the show, that there are too many mysteries brought up but never solved, etc.

Despite these flaws, I can confidently say that Lost is one TV show that will truly stick with me forever. When I pay enough thought and attention to this show, I find that it's rich in big picture ideas, how everything happens for a reason, how we could all rise from our past decisions, and how, in being completely lost, we could even find ourselves.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris I've yet to finish reading David Sedaris' book of essays, but I've read enough in this book to know how much it's going to influence my own writing style.

You see I've been trying to write nonfiction pieces for a while now, but coming across Sedaris' book made me re-think how I approach this writing thing: that I should have more experience and then be observant about it.

It made me more reflective of the things happening around me, even the little things. It is in Sedaris' writing style that I learned how to look at even the most mundane things and twist it into something entertaining and perhaps even a starting point to look at something deeper.

This book just overflows with the richness of Sedaris' day-to-day life. It has influenced me to look at my day-to-day life as well, always in search of things and events that I could ponder on.

Believe it or not, this has got me excited to live my life. It helped me get out of that rut I was in just a year ago when I didn't feel like life is worth living.

Now I'm not saying that life is suddenly worth living; I'm saying thanks to Sedaris' book, I'm excited about a life that's worth writing about.

For now, maybe that's all I need. Perhaps it was the influence of a close friend of mine who's a devout Swiftie, but something about her album resonated with me on a very personal level.

Then there's "Blank Space," just as I have the same kind of openness to romantic pursuits. By the end of my internship, I was getting over my failed pursuits, and "Clean" couldn't explain any better what I was feeling.

Sex and the City TV series For a while after compiling this list, I was wondering how a virgin like me could put Sex and the City at the top of it.

It doesn't quite make sense on the surface level. It's beyond that. It's a dream come true. I'm well aware that this is not something that actually happens in real life; that's what makes watching this show even more entertaining: a form of an escape to what seems to be paradise.

While it doesn't make sense to aspire to have Carrie Bradshaw's impossible life, I tried to emulate her in other aspects: her writing style.

Not that I'm suddenly into writing about sex because I wasn't having any ; it's more on how Carrie is able to look at her situation at hand, and turn it into a reflection of something much bigger ideas on love and romance.

It influenced me so much that I've come to look at my everyday life as an opportunity to do the same. Everyday is another opportunity to observe my ordinary life, and see how that can take me to big-picture reflections.

While Carrie pondered about love and romance, I pondered on friendships, spirituality, sexuality, among other things.

Her writing voice made it so much easier to zoom in on my life, then zoom out to other themes by asking questions that don't lead to particular answers.

Instead, questions raised pave the way to more options on what could happen next. Without this show, I think I would've lost my sense of wonder and eagerness to be alive.

It probably sounds ridiculous to say this, but this show saved my life. Log in No account? Create an account. Remember me. Facebook Twitter Google.

January 1st, , pm. December 31st, , am. During the majority of my adolescent years, I was heavily exposed to American media. American movies, TV shows, and novels were my life during those formative years.

So growing up, all I ever wanted to be was become like the guys I watched: white, middle-class, cultured, individualistic.

My male role models were always the good-looking white men who hardly struggled for what they want because life would always go their way.

Having said that, getting to watch Crazy Rich Asians was an out-of-body experience. Here I got to see the set of values and culture that I grew up with minus the extravagance, of course getting the Hollywood romance movie treatment.

It was so disorienting and satisfying at the same time. Here I saw Nick who literally could replace any other white male role model I've had in the past and it would make more sense.

If I had watched this film when I was younger, I probably would've grown up with a totally different mindset, with more careful regard for my family and traditions.

But still, it's not too late. I love this film because it seamlessly integrates traditional Asian values with the American mindset, while maintaining love and respect for both.

It's a rare cinematic feat that I will truly cherish forever. Hereditary I haven't always been a fan of horror for the sole reason that they can deprive me of a good night's sleep for a whole month.

Looking at you, Paranormal Activity So I've always avoided this genre, all the while thinking that every horror film is just the same: a nightmare to be avoided at all costs.

But the hype surrounding Hereditary when it first came out in the US really snatched my attention. Not only was it brutally terrifying, but it was also very well-made, to a point that some people called it a masterpiece.

So when it had a local screening, I knew I had to brave through my cowardice and watch it at the cinema.

My first time watching it was uncomfortable: the audience didn't know how to react to this odd piece of a movie.

It ruined the cinematic experience for me, but some parts of it stayed with me -- enough to convince me to give it another watch at home when I got the chance.

That was when I knew this is the best film of for me. Everything about it was so well crafted. It's a finely tuned piece of art that will go down in history as an iconic horror film.

On a more personal note, I love this movie for pushing its central family relationship to the extreme. Having a hostile relationship with your mother be the source of horror is truly the narrative choice I didn't know I needed to experience in It was almost cathartic in the worst way possible.

Pose season 1 Despite its brief season with only eight episodes , Pose managed to make maximum impact through heartfelt storylines, endearing characters, and an enormous soul.

This is a show about people I've rarely seen on TV. They've mostly stayed at the fringes of history. I didn't know just how important it was to see these people and their stories with the kind of storytelling treatment that they deserve.

Like I said, I've always been exposed to white America for the majority of my teenage years. Now it feels like an honor and a privilege to watch minority stories, because they are more relevant to me personally.

For the longest time, I didn't even know these stories existed. My encounter with Pose this year is a great reminder that widening my perspective through film and TV is always an ongoing process, and I'm most definitely in the right path.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara It took me the whole year to finish this novel, making it the only book I read for I can't blame myself though; this is one hell of a stressful book to get through.

I was initially interested in it because of the group of friends post-college drifting through their early twenties.

While there was some of that during the early pages, I can't deny that that's not what the book was ultimately about.

This is about the cruelty of the world to an innocent and brilliant young man. I wouldn't want to go through the details of it, but the true magic of A Little Life lies in its generosity in letting us into the heart and soul of its complex characters.

These are characters whose lives and deaths I got to know so well, they might as well be real people.

I hope to meet all of them one day because they have provided me some wonderful insights about the human condition that I will always take with me as I grow older: that no matter how hard life gets, I'll always have in me the capacity to love and forgive.

I thought that was only in my adolescent years, but I thought wrong. But apart from that similarity between us, I've also wanted to model myself after him in other ways: the way he dresses, the way he talks, the way he thinks.

He pretty much cemented himself in my life as one of my gay icons. The fact that he has a strong attachment to his best friend, Grace Adler, makes the show resonate even more.

Their relationship is, of course, central to the show. Watching the show puts me back into that time when I had the sense of comfort being around her all the time.

Whenever I'm feeling lost, I think about this show to get a sense again of who I was and who I could be. Love, Simon I've been talking about role models a lot, and this is exactly why I think representation matters.

I want to be able to understand my identity in the context of this medium that is so close to my heart. Films have taught me so much about the world and humanity, that I don't think I would be alive today if not with the guiding hands of movies.

That's how much it means to me. And so imagine my delight when I saw Love, Simon for the first time at the cinema.

Never before have I ever felt so seen by a film. Love, Simon broke that wall, smashed it into dush, and blew it right to my eyes that it made me cry like a baby.

I will never forget the moment I saw this in the cinema. I felt seen. I felt loved. I felt like I could be a beacon of light and love into this world.

Queer Eye. Role models are a recurring theme on this list, and no other piece of media this year has shown me role models better than Queer Eye.

The Fab Five gave me a standard on what I could be to other people in my life. Sure, I've helped out friends in what to wear, but Queer Eye made it clear that I could be so much more.

As I watched each one of these beautiful, confident, smart, well-dressed, and helpful gays bring out the best in the people they were helping, I felt myself wanting to become just like them.

After every episode, I find myself recharged and energized, like I could walk into any situation in my life and beam with such charisma and positivity that I never had before.

To this day, I still can't fully explain this Queer Eye effect on me. But this has become my go-to show when I feel empty or when an identity crisis is setting in.

This show has anchored me. Knowing that I live in a world that can break down my identity for the sake of conformity, Queer Eye is a reminder to hold on to those parts of myself that I've been ashamed of.

It's only when I keep myself authentic that I can truly be of help to others. I can be the best version of myself and help bring out the same for everyone in my life.

That is a mission I'm willing to take on. December 31st, , pm. Blade Runner and Blade Runner In my years of experience in film appreciation, it's not everyday that I come across a film that makes me feel like I lived through it.

May 7th, , pm. Making a Murderer season 1 One of my earliest memories from is watching Making a Murderer just to see what the hype was all about, and then getting absolutely obsessed with it.

Please Like Me season 4 The fourth season felt like it was going full circle with the first season. Oh My Ghost My venture into Korean drama for the first time after a very long time came as quite a surprise.

I'm not the type of TV viewer that binge-watches shows for days. The show's subject matter, The Bachelor -type of reality dating show, is addicting in itself, but this behind-the-scenes into that world is even more intriguing.

By stripping the reality show of the glitz and glamour, it's reduced to the malevolent vanity of it all. The first season was flawless to me; every episode was such a thrill to watch.

It was nearly impossible to get my eyes off the show. The second wasn't as strong, especially in some of the plot choices, but it was still extremely entertaining.

Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer are fantastic together, and they both exude the type of strong independent and complex women like never before seen on TV.

I hope to see the show comeback in its best form for its upcoming third season. Tags walangforever. November 2nd, , am. I try to imagine my future, and I don't even know where to begin anymore.

October 31st, , am. It's been a long time since I last posted an entry here; eight months to be exact. A lot has happened since then.

I went through finishing my undergraduate thesis with blood, sweat and tears, then I graduated from college, then I earned my ECE license.

And so after going through all that hell, I'm back to my home here in San Pablo City, Laguna, leaving Manila for good for now. I don't know why I felt the need to blog in this platform again.

I've been more active in my Wordpress account that contains my more formal essays Maybe I want to catch up with myself?

I know it sounds ridiculous to "catch up" with one's self, since you're always with yourself, but I guess that hasn't been the case fo rme for quite some time now.

Espcially during the times when I was reviewing for my board exam, those excruciating six months, I was merely going through the motions, doing what I knew I had to do, in order to survive.

But I didn't feel like I was actually there. I had to detach myself from my very own situation so that I can avoid making terrible choices that could hurt the people around me.

So in a way, the past couple of months have been an out-of-body experience for me. It's only now that I'm really checking in on myself.

Let's see. No full-time job yet, no place to stay in Manila I don't plan on staying here in Laguna forever , no romantic pursuits. I guess on a superficial level, I'm close to being nothing, a bum, a financial parasite to my family.

But on a much deeper level, I'm doing great. It took a little bit of time to adjust myself from all the stress of engineering to my optimism with regards to my passion for writing and film.

I told my parents I don't plan to work 'til January next year, which is fine for them, thankfully.

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