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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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. 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.

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. 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.

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