Posted by: nastypen | January 9, 2007

The Reason I Started to Watch Movies Alone

Faye returned a stash of DVD’s she borrowed from me. One of the films she borrowed is a favorite of mine: Louis Malle‘s Pretty Baby.

This film was seen on the year I was born. And it starred a very young Brooke Shields as a child prostitute. People usually cite Jodie Foster‘s gritty young street walker in Martin Scorsese‘s Taxi Driver. But I think Brooke’s portrayal of a daughter of a prostitute living inside a brothel is more harrowing and complex.

Lovely photograph

The plot was the turn of the 20th Century New Orleans. A photographer shows up in a renowned brothel to take photos of the prostitutes. He sees Brooke’s character being primped to be a woman of pleasure. One of the most fantastic scenes in the movie was the auctioning of the young virgin. It reminded me of the anthopological stereotype of natives offering the virgin to the volcano to appease the goddess. Brooke Shields was just 12 years old at the time this film was shot.

The movie caused a lot of outrage because it had some nudity. Susan Sarandon is in the film, too. She’s Brooke’s whore mom. Sarandon is reported to have given brooke a pair of thongs for Brooke’s nude scenes. Those scenes were deleted from the cinema release. Yet, they were put together again for the DVD release. I was sick to my stomach at such a blatant portrayal of sexuality and I know these things do happen.

I like the photograph of the mother and daughter in the film. Both were in their chemise and the mother’s hand over the daughter’s shoulder while the daughter wraps her arm around the mom’s waist, their eyes straight to the lens, at once burning for a fight and at the same time hallowed out by experiences not saddled by ordinary folk.

Pretty Baby is one of those films you have to watch before you die to rid of youselves of the simple narratives Hollywood and Mother Lily‘s moron-movie machinery spew. Sure, Pretty Baby has pretty straightforward story, easy to grasp, yet, the subject matter is the one that is very hard to digest. But, do realize, that somewhere in this big bad world of ours, this story is being played out in even worse conditions.

But this is not the reason I started to watch movies alone. The abovementioned film is connected though. Why? Because I have seen Pretty Baby before. Not the exact film with Brooke Shields et al. But it was a Tagalog film rip-off.

1990, I was still in elementary. My best friend then was Jon-jon. He and I got along since nursery because he speaks Tagalog. He and I grew up in two schools in Cebu and to speak in Tagalog is to alienate yourselves. It was easy for him to adapt to Cebuano. It took me much later to utter a Cebuano sentence.

So, anyway, Jon-jon was bored and wanted to watch a film. I wanted to watch Godfather III. I remeber watching parts 1 and 2 with my dad and it was one of those very few bonding moments with the old man. He would lean over to me and smile and point to the screen and mutter, “Did you hear that? ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?’ That’s true, sonny boy!” So, I suggested that. Jon-jon just winced and made a face.

He had a crush then with Aiko Melendez. He pointed at this marquee and yelled, “That! I want to see that!” It was a movie starring Aiko Melendez, Eric Quizon, Aga Mulach and Gloria Diaz entitled My Pretty Baby.

My Pretty Baby?!?! I remembered feeling like about to puke as we entered the cinema and lying with broken voices that we’re 18. The lady at the tickets booth couldn’t give a sh*t about our age. I just rushed to the cinema.

I sat through the film being weirded out by Gloria Diaz cavorting with a young Aga Muhlach, who portrays a student with matriculation from his “bed performances” with Diaz. One of the searing scenes for me was when she leapt to kiss Aga and used her foot to slam the door at Aiko’s face. I thought the script was a bit tired of having a mother-daughter fight about morality, or youth vs experience, idealism vs. pragmatism. At such a young age, I got easily bored by the film’s hackneyed message.

Oh yes, Aiko was sold by her own mother to Eddie Garcia, who was a rich customer of Diaz. The rape scene was by the numbers and over the top. At the end, there must be karmic retribution. Garcia’s character suffers a stroke and paralysed at the left side. I was laughing at his face, reminded me of a constipated teacher unable to fart.

Eric Quizon was the saviour/boyfriend of Aiko. Their scene by the waterfalls (with him wearing something like an electric blue trunks) made me almost rush off to the washroom and retch because I thought even then that Quizon is a iskriming peygot (“screaming faggot” as one tranny pronounces it).

So, after the movie, I rushed out of the cinema and sought refuge by buying some comics. When I got home, my elder sister rushed to me and said, “One of my classmates saw you!!! He saw you!!!! He was eating at the restaurant near the cinema and saw you come out from wathching that…that movie!” Her eyes were wide and face all tight from the sheer embarrassment that her little brother watched that….that movie. It did not get any better when I told her that I wanted to watch Godfather III but lost out because Jon-jon wanted to watch that…that movie.


After that, I resolved that I can watch movies alone. I don’t need to drag in friends/companions who happen to enjoy sh*tfest films to watch my misery flicks, which I absolutely enjoy.

I never replaced Francis Ford Coppola for Aiko Melendez.

Never Again.

As God is my witness.



  1. Well, I forced your darling sister to watch a Carmina Villaroel-Rustom Padilla mushfest. Hehehe. Ain’t karma grand?

  2. i hope i can get a copy of pretty baby!

  3. I rather watch the GodFather Trilogy Bro Bear!!!

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