7 songs that are so underrated compared to their artists

Some artists have songs that blow up the charts, but those over-commercially-successful works seem to overshadow their other soulful creative tracks. Here are the 7 gems that I find way more worthy of attention, from artists that already have (way too much of) your attention.

  1. Tears in the rain – The Weeknd

There was a time The Weeknd was the underrated guy with a pineapple on his head. Now that he’s become a motherfucking starboy, and not just any mainstream sensation, he’s also one of the most critically acclaimed young artists of this decade (like, the next Michael Jackson!). People have been flocking to his channel, digging through all stuff they could find on YouTube for his earlier melancholic sounds. Though I won’t join the herb that whine about how he is not delivering the dark, poignant vibe as he used to, I do resonate more with his earlier works. “Tears in the rain” is the gem that I’m so thankful I did not miss. Starting with a passage of rhythmic beats that gives out the ominous feelings of a storm coming, the song continues as vocal falls down like a pouring rain of emotions “They all feel the same”, followed by streams of beats complimented with Abel’s expressive voice. The song will make you feel like standing in the showering rain, missing someone you lost. It’s an aesthetic feeling is not so easy to find in today’s pop songs.

2. Perfect – Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez, oh, Selena. It’s either her clean, scandal-free life, her smart sense of fashion, or her on-off dramas with that blond Canadian guy (who happens to be quite famous himself), those are the things that draw my attention to her. Other than that, I rarely see Selena as an artist, honestly. I actually enjoy many of her songs though, only that Selena’s voice is not one that could attach a “professional” badge. Magically how, she has managed to transform from a Disney princess to a chart topper today, and her music has evolved significantly over time – “Come and get it”, “The heart wants what it wants”, “Good for you”, “Same old love”, “Can’t keep my hands to myself” have been repeated many times on my iPod. Oh, then I’ve not mentioned, another song that should’ve captured more attention for Selena, “Perfect”, a soothing contemporary ballad that touches on the subject of “the third person”. Loving someone could hurt badly, especially when we have to see them love someone else. As emotional as the song goes, Selena’s thin yet vulnerable vocal suits quite well with the theme and rhythm, producing a surprisingly beautiful combo that you might wanna feed your ears every night, if you feel yourself in the story she’s telling.

3. Lost – Katy Perry

Katy Perry could sing all about California gurls, or roaring in a jungle, or tapping up on future life, nothing could portray her naked soul as well as her ballads. While Katy’s live vocal ability has always been somewhat of a controversy, her recording tracks has some unique demeanor that presses the very right buttons in me. I don’t remember how I stumbled on Lost, but this is the sound that I wish to hear more from Katy. The heart-breaking lyrics complimented by her fractured vocal seems to push the vulnerability within the song to a sorrowful, breath-taking climax.

4. Mona Lisa – Britney Spears

I’ve got a favorite tee that says “If Britney could survive 2007, you can handle today.” 2007 was Britney’s year, and it was not a good one. Maybe it also was the year Hollywood paparazzi had the biggest Thanksgiving meal ever. Her downfall was making headlines everywhere, and she came from national sweetheart to, mmm, I’m not sure what to call then. It was an entertaining show for tabloids, but it was heartbreaking for people who loved Princess of Pop.

Now, this song (kind of) came out way before that downfall. While Britney’s crisis is linked by conspiracy theorists to Illuminati, her efforts to break away from that (theorized) prison had been predicted since the mysterious missing of an album called “Original Doll”. It’s a bizarre story, but hey, I’m just gonna talk about the song, which never really made its way to be released. Taken out from that lost album, Mona Lisa is an eerie pop song, with haunting lyrics. No one knows for sure what Britney was singing about in this track, only that this would fit perfectly fine with crazy theories out there on her career success. Anyway, this is a good song, which arguably could’ve added a fair share into Spears’ collection of hits.

5. Just a little bit of your heart – Ariana Grande

Written by Harry Styles, how could this song not swoon-able? Yet, Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart has never been an official single, and that’s why it is less known than her other hits. Ariana, however, seemed to never miss a chance to show off this melodious ballad, including her Grammy’s performance. Touching up on the subject of unrequited love, Ariana sings about loving someone that clearly is giving his attention to someone else, yet all she is asking for is a little bit of his heart. Oh, love. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a dangerous kind of drugs that is not only legal, but also romanticized and praised by artists and mainstream media. If only there was an antidote for it, since humans will forever be stupid enough to get addicted, and then hurt. That’s the reason these beautiful love songs exist.

6. Drowning shadows – Sam Smith

There’s no one like Sam Smith. He can sing about a one-night stand, and it still sounds like the sweetest, most romantic love song. I think I feel Sam – when you’re highly emotional and sensitive, every little incident could bring down a shower of feelings; everyone that passes by your heart leaves a deep mark; every moment drowning deep in thinking would result in an epiphany.

Drowning Shadows, as described by Sam, is the saddest song he’s ever written. Now, I’ve listened to just a few of his, and though most of them are devastatingly sad, I believe him. The saddest thing in love is not necessarily a breakup, but sometimes, well, a lot of times, it’s not being in love when we desperately wish to. Drowning shadows is literally about having too much of casual sex but it never fills the void inside. It’s not something that many souls in love can relate to, but still Sam’s magical voice could send even darkness to heaven, and transform the most casual part of love life into a beautiful palette of melancholic sounds.

7. Last flowers – Radiohead

When I first heard Last Flowers, I literally had goosebumps. It was in the movie Confessions, and though the movie gives goosebumps itself, this piece of music just takes the eerie feelings to another level. The alluring melody flows in the vein like an addictive drug that sets you free from earthly matters. There were days I did nothing but lying on the ground in this music, eyes shut and brain turns up. And all of a sudden, a tear runs out of the corner of my eye. Nothing explained. Nothing needs explaining. It just happened.

Last Flowers was included in the bonus tracks of In Rainbows, Radiohead’s widely critically acclaimed album in 2007. From what I see, the song is like an underdog. It could’ve done better, but then it’s just there, included as bonus, and not many people have really associated Radiohead with it. Underrated as it is, Last Flowers becomes priceless for music junkies who have found it. Like me. It feels like nirvana sometimes. So magical what music can do to our souls.

Dạ Ly


30 days of book challenge


Day 1 – Best book you read last year

It was a tough year and I honestly did not have a lot of time to read (what a shame!), but I would give the winner cups to Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and Hey Whipple, Squeeze it! by Luke Sullivan. The two book pretty much say a lot about my year huh? It was all about Advertising and how to thrive and stand out. If you’re not working in the industry, then Hey Whipple would not be really on point. (If you are though, have you really NOT read it?). But Outliers is definitely a must-read for everyone. Very entertaining and enlightening! How lucky I badged in my housemate’s room and grabbed any book on her bed.

Day 02 – Books that you’ve read more than 3 times

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the first book and the last book, since one is magical and happy, and the other is dark and tear-jerking as hell. And I think I’ve re-read some parts of Life of Pi (Yann Martel) a lot of times.

Oh, and how can I forget Norwegian wood (Haruki Murakami)? I think I could rehearse many erotic scenes and witty dialogues in my mind lolz.


Day 03 – Your favorite series

Harry Potter, no argument.


Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series

I’d go for The Deathly Hallows. The Fire Goblet is a very close runner-up.

Many Harry Potter fans would agree with me on this, I bet.


Day 05 – A book that makes you happy

Ahh, such a touch call. Books make me happy generally, even the ones that make me cry. Do I really have to pick? OK, then here are the best (possibly):

  • Thuong Nho Muoi Hai (Twelve Months of Nostalgia) by Vu Bang. The author wrote it when he was living in Saigon, estranged from his own family in Northern Vietnam. He missed Northern culture so much, and the book perfectly reflected all the love, the hatred and the nostalgia. It just feels like my own heart talking. I had to bring the book with me when I first moved out to Saigon last year, to feel a little bit home.
  •  Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. This is the modern fairy tale, no doubt!
  •  De Men phieu luu ki (Adventures of a Cricket) by To Hoai. When the author passed away, I felt like a part of my childhood just died.


Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. I read it six, seven years ago, and yet I still can’t shake off the darkness. It is a slow book, and from my own experience I haven’t found many of my friends that have read, or enjoyed it. Sometimes it just feels a little bit too lonely to be in this world.


Day 07 – Most underrated book

I have no clue. I’ve got like two or three candidates here, but they are all mangas, so no.


Day 08 – Most overrated book

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Not that I did not enjoy the book, but I just did not get the hype about it. Like, Hello by Adele is a good song but I don’t see how it’s better than her previous works (and personally I prefered Writings on the wall by Sam Smith, released roughly at the same time). Avatar was an OK movie on many standards, then how the hell did it get so much recognition? Then The Alchemist. Entertaining, maybe. But phenomenal and enlightening, really?

First, about the hidden messages, they are not very hidden in the book to be honest. They are all laid bare right on the surface, right on the words. I’d prefer books that keep me digging a little deeper. Moreover, most of the messages sound too positive and optimistic, which turns the book into some kind of self-help tutorial. Go for it! Dream it! The whole universe will listen! Come on, you know what? Those things may well be true, but only if you’ve shed enough tears and sweats to figure that out for yourself. A book can’t tell you everything about life. You’ve got to find your own treasure, that’s the real story of life.


Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I did not expect to like any book at that moment actually (you seem to be very ignorant when under depression), but turns out the reading the book was a very pleasant experience.  

Also, Su that ve quang cao (The truths about Advertising) by Thai Quan & Truong Tiep Trung.  Short, solid, witty and funny. You may as well enjoy it even if you’re not in the business.


Day 10 – Favorite classic book

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

And OK, I first read it because I’m a fan of Haruki Murakami, but The Great Gatsby is truly a masterpiece. Trust me I read it twice!


Day 11 – A book you hated

Well well, hate is a strong word. I don’t ever want to use “hate” for books. Uhm, but let’s think. Do I ever hate a book I read? I may say Chinese romance novels, but I’ve never read any of them so I’ve got no credits to say so. May I say I hate all textbooks?

I only had a terrible experience with reading when I tried And then there were none by Agatha Christie. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the novel. It was phenomenal and incredibly clever, but the translation killed all the mood. I literally wanted to scratch out the book because of some stupid Google translation. Still, the story is marvellous. You may have enjoyed the TV series lately, but the book is so further an experience.

So no, I don’t have a book that I hate. In fact, if I hated a book I would’ve stopped right after ten pages. Same treatment for people.


Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore

I am a faithful, loyal book lover. I don’t dump books I love.


Day 13 – Your favorite writer

Haruki Murakami.

F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Nguyen Huy Thiep.

Vu Bang.

Stephen D. Levitt & Steven J. Dubner.


Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer

This is interesting.

Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the shore. I don’t see the hype about 1Q84 after already getting high with this masterpiece.

F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby. I have not read other books by Fitzgerald to be honest, but they are on my list.

Nguyen Huy Thiep – Khong Co Vua (There is no King) the short story.

Vu Bang – Mon La Mien Nam (Bizarre Foods of the South)

Stephen D. Levitt & Steven J. Dubner – Superfreakonomics   


Day 15 – Favorite male character

OK, this may be awkward. I don’t want to admit it, but my favorite male character comes from an erotic story that I’ve been following. The author of the story is a genius in the way he/she builds up characters, and I am quite obsessed with this particular villain. His name is Lord Arlington from The Rebellious Slave. He’s handsome, gorgeous, smart, powerful, manipulative, mind-controlling, and most importantly crazy sexy,  the alpha male devil that women often fantasize about.

And I beg you, don’t google the story haha.


Day 16 – Favorite female character

Midori from Norwegian wood. Oh my sexy, moon-eyed Midori. Someday I’m gonna find a Toru, and I’d be head over heels in love with him the way Midori was. If we could all live like Midori, life’d be all the more easier.


Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

_The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger_

“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”

_Life of Pi, Yann Martel_

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you

The Alchemist, for one. And Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. I expected Kitchen to be a dark criminal tale, but it turned out to be a romantic story. Not that it was bad, but quite a bummer for me.


Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie

The Great Gatsby the movie is a very good adaptation. Harry Potter is nowhere near the level of the book, but still you can’t get a better cast than the amazing one we had.

Life of Pi, well, I’m not gonna argue with the academy. Of course Lee Ahn did a terrific job picturing the story on the big screen, and yeah, my Richard Parker looks badass.

Day 20 – Favorite romance book

The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa. It was brutal and heart-breaking, yet love blossoms in a hopeless place. Love, Lust and Life were portrayed to the best. I did not put the book down even for one minute. It was not romantic by Hollywood standard, but it was truly romantic for me.

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood

Chu Bong trong lang Ca (The Goby of the Fish Village). I don’t remember the author, nor can I find this anywhere in the Internet. A very good story though. I’m surprised it’s not more famous.

Day 22 – Favorite book you own

Duh, many of them.
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

I want to finish the 1Q84 trilogy but haven’t had the time. And I’m keeping an eye on Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch.
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read

69 by Ryu Murakami. It’s NOT an erotic book, OK?  It’s just a very, very interesting book that I just don’t happen to know anyone who’s read it.


Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most

Midori in Norwegian wood. I’m currently in love with a guy just the way Midori is with Toru Watanabe. And just like her, getting naked on the floor with him is *cough* pretty much all I think about.

Other than that I see myself in Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye.


Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something

Superfreakonomics. It changed my opinion about pretty much everything, from prostitution to climate change!

(Oh the good old days I read books on Economics!!!)


Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

The ending of And then there were none by Agatha Christie. Genius!

And Life of Pi has a great and surprising revealing moment, too.


Day 28 – Favorite title

Y tuong nay la cua chung minh (This is our idea) by Huynh Vinh Son. Being a variation of a kid song title, the book name sounds catchy, easy to remember, and absolutely cute. So is the book.


Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

What book does everyone hate? I have no idea.

I may count Hundred years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) as one. Of course, a Nobel novel is in no way universally hated, but my friends used to say they don’t find it very interesting. I had a great time with it though. (I did not get all the metaphors to be honest. I plan to try my luck with it another time).


Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

Truyen Kieu by Nguyen Du. And I am NOT kidding.

[Da Ly’s list] Movies you should’ve watched, but just didn’t

How many movies do you see a year? You may be the one that is first in line at the box office every time a blockbuster is out, or, your laptop could be just stuffed with illegal flicks from The Pirate Bay (the site is not dead by the way. God bless us outlaws!), or your home DVD collection could be hell of a pride. But let’s face it, there are more movies than you can ever see. More than WE can ever see. Thus we now rely on the critics, the IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and tons of tweets and facebook comments to help decide which movie is gonna be a three hour torture, and which one is just totally worth a shot. Well, they do help. Still, there are gems you could hardly find among all those shiny high-budget studio works  – the silence that you have to really pay attention to perceive among all the squeaky sounds. Here is a list of movies I believe you should come pick up and start to enjoy, as they simply did not find a way to approach you before.

  1. Half Nelson

(A film by Ryan Fleck, starring Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps)

Ryan Gosling’s most critically acclaimed performance to date is, surprisingly, in an independent movie that easily was one of his least successful ones in term of box office. That is not necessarily a problem though: Half Nelson earned Ryan Gosling an Academy nomination for Best actor in a leading role that year. Portraying an inspiring middle school teacher slash basketball coach, who at the same time was struggling with his own drug addiction, Gosling totally pulled off a unique kind of protagonist: vulnerable, problamatic, unstable, very flawed, but likeable. If you have seen him as no more than a “photoshopped body” or just that guy from The Notebook, well, you’d be in awe. This kind of role explains why Gosling, being Hollywood’s hottest sex symbol, garners respect and credits from the critics. half-nelson

  1. Vertical Rays of the Sun

(A film by Tran Anh Hung, starring Tran Nu Yen Khe, Nhu Quynh, Le Khanh)

Tran Anh Hung is the director that would make you say “He’s truly an artist.” His movies are simply works of art. Beautifully capturing the beckoning summer of Hanoi, Tran Anh Hung’s Vertical Rays is a magnificient and vibrant painting of the ancient city’s lifestyle and people, where their love, their hope and despair seem to melt into the sunlights that are embracing them. Trinh Cong Son’s music adds a sense of nostalgia to the movie that no other music could have done that perfectly. grFd2ksxPxLNEnV6E4KJv5DIMss

  1. Transamerica

(A film by Duncan Tucker, starring Fecility Huffman, Kevin Zegers)

Weird, funny and witty, Transamerica finds an amazing way to wrap its sensitive theme and heartbreaking incidents inside a comedy. A comedy about LGBT sounds like it would end up a sexist and offensive cliché, but Transamerica proves that it could go far in portraying dramas in a very pleasant way. The movie centered around Bree Osbourne, a man that is going through the last stage of turning into a woman; he later finds out he had a son with a girl he dated long ago, and the boy is now an orphan, lurking around corners prostituing. Through the course of the movie, the chemistry between the awkward father-son pair is the thing that makes this film astoundingly memorable. TRANSAMERICA, Kevin Zegers, Felicity Huffman, 2005, ©IFC Films

  1. Sunshine

(A film by Danny Boyle, starring Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans)

High-functioning addicts seem to be a creative mine for film makers, since there are many layers to explore about the character. Years after Gosling’s Half Nelson, Chris Evans took the role in movie Puncture as Mike Weiss, also an addict struggling in his profession as a lawyer. Evans’ performance also was a pleasantly surprising revelation of his true talent, and that he’s so much more than a teen flicks hottie, or comics book superheroes. Mike Weiss could be considered Evans’ best acting so far, but it is still second to his best, though very little known, work in Danny Boyle’s Sunshine. Released before the director’s big Oscar hit Slumdog Millionaire, this sci-fi movie did not gain as much recognition as it truly deserved, though it is regarded by many film bugs as Danny Boyle’s best work, and even one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. It is about a crew of seven astronauts with a critical mission whose result would end or save the world: reactivate the then dying Sun with a nuclear bomb. Many twists and dramatic turns happen during two hours of the movie, including situations that challenge humanity and compassion, which perfectly reflect human psychology and inner thirst. If you think Interstella was great, well, it was, but you just have not seen Sunshine. sunshine460

  1. Zodiac

(A film by David Fincher, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo)

Did you see the names of the stars? Before making blockbusters, Downey had always been the apple in the critics’ eyes. He is just a genius. Zodiac is a thriller based on a true story, the kind of movies that would give you goosebumps and haunt you long after seeing it. The fact that it did not become a big hit as it should have simply just makes people who have seen it feel more proud “I’ve seen it. It was awesome. You just don’t know.” zodiac

  1. The Place Beyond the Pines

(A film by Derek Cianfrance, starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper)

Gosling and Cooper packed into one movie – do I hear the world swooning? Well, Gosling was steamingly hot in a very James Dean kind of way, but apparently his role is not supposed to be the perfect man, and so is Cooper’s character. Shaking up the cinematic doldrums of early spring, The Place Beyond The Pines is an epic film centered on pivotal moments in the lives of the working-class who “wake up every morning and go to bed each night with the same question hanging over their heads: how are they going to make ends meet?” Derek Cianfrance seems to know well how to touch greatness with this theme, since his devastating drama Blue Valentine, also a collaboration with Gosling, was a sad and heart-breaking song about working people, too. x950 Dạ Ly


There are good films and there are bad films. Sometimes it’s not totally a lame idea to show a bad movie to your friends, for at least you guys will have something in common to spit on. Vice versa, a good movie does not guarantee a comfortable night. Oh no. In some cases it would leave you speechless. Literally. Well, film makers could be too daring for our nerves; some of their crazy works never cease to surprise us mundane viewers. Following the last part of this post, here’s a list of four more movies that may bring the giant elephant into your room.

  1. Requiem for a dream

(A film by Darren Aronofsky, starring Jared Leto)

Before his award winning role in Dallas Buyer Club (in which he was phenomenal), to me Jared Leto had always been the lead vocal of 30 seconds to Mars. Hence it came as quite a surprise that he did star in remarkable movies before (remember American Psycho, and that dude Paul Allen that Christian Bale’s character Patrick Bateman killed with an axe?), and some of the roles are insanely challenging. Well, Requiem for a dream deserves to be listed in one of his finest performances so far.

Personally I like the movie. It’s a heart-wrenching and provoking portrayal of the rough and naked face of drug addiction, yet it manages to deliver some good dark humors. The story starts simple: four people, closely related, hold some dream of their own, but somehow end up pursuing dreams through drugs, and finally pay the price neither of them, nor the viewers, could see coming. While I strongly recommend the film (if you also have a taste in audacious and intense works like I do), I suggest avoiding it at your slumber party at all cost. The dark quality would bring your mood down, not to mention some dreadfully disturbing scenes that not anyone can easily digest.

Well, unless your group may enjoy some glimpses of girl on girl sex party. (in which case, what a cool gang you have buddy!)

  1. The Reader

(A film by Stephen Daldry, starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes)

Have you seen Titanic? Yes? Well, then Kate Winslet’s superb performance in The Reader is the kind of thing that would make you forget about Rose Bukater. Start off as a bizarre romance between a teenage boy and a grown-up woman, The Reader takes unexpected turns and develops into a depressing anthem of human sins, shame and sorrows, relating to one of the most tragic incident in the history: The World War II. Beautifully framed with the astonishing charm of Germany, along with the actors’ outstanding performances, The Reader is a must-see for any movie bug. But again, not suitable for group watching. If you want romance, come to chick flicks. If you want war, come to superheroes. If you want hot sex, well, there’s a plenty of other Hollywood, or not so Hollywood, choices (again, what a cool gang you have). The Reader offers you all of the above, but the sorrow lingers in you after the last scene would not be something you’d expect for a movie date night.

  1. 12 years a slave

(A film by Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor)

Academy materials are not usually for friends’ fun bonding in the first place. Then about 12 years a slave, do you want to spend over two hours watching people cruelly being raped, tortured, whipped to near death or thrown into the sea? It is over two hours that feels like 12 years of extreme pains and stresses, facing one of human’s darkest and most  shameful eras. Slavery is a serious issue that in no way should be brought into your party table.

  1. Visitor Q

(A film by Takashi Miike, starring Kenichi Endo, Shungicu Uchida, Kazushi Watanabe)

After Visitor Q, there are two questions you can confidently answer:

  1. How sick and bizarre can Japan be?
  2. How sick is too much sick you can endure?

Visitor Q definitely raises the barrier of what could shock me to one level higher. Well, now I am pretty sure nothing in cinema can shock me anymore, because the most disturbing and fucked-up matters I already experienced in Visitor Q. It’s sickeningly funny. It’s sickeningly dark. It’s sickeningly violent. Nothing is usual in the universe of Visitor Q. In short words, it’s about the most perverted family in the world that fall apart, and then unite together after the visit of a mysterious man called Q. No one knows who Q is. I am not even sure he’s a real person.

Open with the line “Have you ever done it with your dad?”, you wonder what could be more appalling than this. And then, of course Takashi Miike does not stop there. He leads from this O-shaped mouth moment to that I-can’t-believe-my-eyes one. Sometimes you wonder why the hell am I still watching this, yet you can’t stop because you want to know what’s coming next (well, you really can’t guess anything). Then there will come the moment you find yourself guiltily crack up, and a loud voice of morality inside you shouts out “Oh my God what the fuck is wrong with me now? Am I even supposed to laugh at this?”

I have challenged myself with movies like this. But no, not anything could come close to Visitor Q. While I’m kind of proud that I forced myself through this experimental movie, somewhere deep inside I know I may want to un-see it. Still it’s a movie you should check out if you’re ready for the challenge. But please, don’t do it to your friends. Maybe some of them will not survive the first five minutes anyway.

Da Ly

[Da Ly’s list] Glee’s most iconic performances

I was a big fan of Glee (or should I say, Gleek. See, the show was so hot they even had a name its fanbase!), and have always been. Though the story lines have been pretty much messed up, it would be really unfair if we did not recognize Glee as one TV show that did have a huge impact of social view on school bullying and LGBT. I somehow feel that the recent support wave for legalizing LGBT marriage could be attributed a little to Glee. Anyway, the real charm of Glee lies in its music. And here are the list of performances that I think are very typically Glee. They may not be the best, but are what remind me of this show that once was a big part of my life.

This list is in no particular order.

1. Journey’s Don’t stop believing 

Nothing can’t beat this song out of Glee, OK?

Glee has covered Don’t stop believing for, God I really can’t remember. It has become the show’s most iconic song and spirit. I can’t decide which version is the best, but to me the moment Rachel and FInn first melt their voices together is unforgettable.

2. Say a little prayer

The Unholy Trinity is legendary! Each and every of their performances is a bomb of sexiness and awesomeness. Here’s just the first lesson of how to be megastars at highschool.

The first time seeing this, I was like “Wait these girls can sing? Oh shit they’re fan-fucking-tastic! I’m totally hypnotized!”

3. Born this way

In the same episode to tribute Lady Gaga, Bad Romance could have been the most impressive (all those props, who can look the other way really!), but this song is very Glee. Everyone was wearing a shirt saying something they don’t like about themselves singing “I was born this way”, and I think it’s a very creative idea. Ryan Murphy and his writers were THAT good. (I’m again in love with Glee in season 6 though)

4. Girls just wanna have fun

I cried to this performance. I’ve searched covers of this song, and none have left me such feeling. After Cory’s death, I played this song a thousand times.

Rest in peace, Cory.

5. Faithfully

Remember when Emma mocked Will about how he always arranged his numbers in the same way: First, Finn and Rachel sing a ballad, then the whole team sing upbeat songs. Well, Will had a reason to do that: Finn and Rachel rule every duet they’ve ever done together.

Like this one. It’s too beautiful. Just too beautiful.

And need I say, it was the first time Finn ever said “I love you” to Rachel?

6. Cold hearted 

Oh Santana, could you be any hotter?

I sense that Naya was so hot she made girls question their sexuality, so they decided to turn her lesbian.

Just kidding. Of course Brittana is one of the best things ever happened on Glee.

But this performance… God… Did you notice Brody had to sit down towards the end of it? He certainly could not resist something to misbehave.

7. It’s all coming back to me now


This is how eargasm feels like.

8. Teenage Dream

Be Kurt and tell me how you do not fall in love with this guy Blaine.

Oh seriously, every straight girl and gay guy would fall.

The acoustic version where Blaine sings to Kurt before their first break-up is great, too, but I decide to go for something light-hearted.

9. Glad you came

I can’t believe I feel turned on when a bunch of supposedly gay guys wearing private school uniform blazer sing this song.

But I just did.

This is the Warbler I like: very bitchy, very upbeat, very seductive, very … well, Sebastian.

10. Rumor has it/Someone like you

Remember back when this was out, and the mash-up broke the Internet.

The list would make no sense not including this performance of the girls.

11.  Fly/I believe I can fly

OK even I’m not sure Blaine rapping is a good idea but… this mash-up makes the two songs sound so obvious. I’d never listened to Nicki Minaj before and after this I thought “Maybe I’ll give her music a try.” (I did. And it is forever “a try” lolz)

12. To Sir with love

This song shows that even though today they often complain that kids do not respect their teachers, the whole point is that you could always be that teacher all kids love, as long as you really care for them. Kids always need someone to guide them, no matter what they say.

13. We are young

I believe this performance brought “We are young” to light!

I still wish there would be a day I could sing this with a group of friends. It’s so inspiring.


we are young

so let’s set the world on fire

So if by the time the bar closes

and you feel like going down

I’ll carry you home


14. Take me to Church 

I actually enjoy season 6. I would place it right next to season 1. The new members are adorable, and this song…

Oh come on, I would never leave out Take me to church for any reason. I do think that the mixture of choir voices brings more to the song. Of course no one can beat Hozier, but the last verse when Jane starts to sing “Take me to church” in high note, that’s exactly what’s been missing from the original version.

[Da Ly’s list] TV characters I want to meet in real life

I heard years ago that TV was going to die very soon, and that Internet will take over every form of entertainment. Well, while internet did earn its very high position in Maslow’s hierarchy , what’s left for TV is that its demise seems to not come anytime soon. In a contrary, we are living the “golden days” of TV entertainment: best TV series ever produced at movie-standards (if not better), and most talked-about reality shows. People go online to watch what was on TV, and to discuss what was on TV, and will be on TV. Come on, isn’t sitting in front of a big LCD and switching from channel to channel a lot more relaxing than sticking eyes onto an endless sea of entertainment but you don’t know exactly where to dive in?

So that I said, there have been best TV series ever produced during the last decade, portrayed by tremendously talented actors. They have built up most interesting fictional characters, something that movies have difficulty to do in only two hours, instead of seasons after seasons. This is like comparing short stories to novels. Well, I’m all for short stories, but here now, just discuss my most favourite TV characters, who would be a sheer pleasure (or not!) to meet in real life.

  1. Don Draper

Series: Mad Men

Portrayed by: Jon Hamm

He’s handsome and rich, and is a true gentleman, as long as you don’t involve in a romantic relationship with him (in that case, he’d be an asshole). But that’s not why I want to meet him.

It’s because he’s the Creative Director of an advertising agency, and he has won several Clio awards. So let’s say, I walk into an ad agency (whose name must have also been mentioned in Mad Men), waiting to meet the ECD, and there is the moment I wish he would turn out to be Don. Or better, no. Don is actually a pretty bad boss. But isn’t it interesting to just know he exists somewhere? That ad agency must be so interesting.

In the mean time, I already have my Don. And he’s another interesting, yet scary, story.


  1. Peggy Olson

Series: Mad Men

Portrayed by: Elizabeth Moss

On the first day, I looked around, and tried to match one person in the office with one character on Mad Men: that’s definitely Don; that’s Peter Campbell; that lovely woman must be Joan. Of course there’s nowhere in the world that would be exactly like SCDP, but advertising spirit feels pretty much the same everywhere. It’s a flat world, and a fair game.

So I lay out that map, with the real-life Don, real-life Campbell, and there’s the spot I want to be: Peggy Olsen. I want to be Peggy Olsen. Only that she’s extremely talented (which I’m not), assertive (I’m not either), and daring (I am, hopefully). The other day the ECD told us about some talented “mad woman” he knows and admires, and what came to my mind instantly was “You met Peggy! You met my Peggy!”.

Where are you Peggy? I do need your hugs now.



  1. Jesse Pinkman

Series: Breaking Bad

Portrayed by: Aaron Paul

There was a time I thought maybe I could date a methhead, as maybe, possibly, he would turn out to be a broken soul underneath, and we would be the couple that are madly in love and elope together. Thank God I’m over that intention, but I still think of Jesse Pinkman as one of the most endearing characters on TV. Who would prepare to fall in love with a loser junkie? Jesse presents everything that could go wrong when a kid gets lost; he could have been better, a lot better, if someone really cares, about what he wants and could actually do, not what they want him to. His parents never know what wrong they did to their son, just like many parents in real life do not know what wrong they are doing to their kids.    Aaron Paul made Jesse an iconic character that’s hard to find elsewhere: the “bitch” that now sounds so flattering, and this unforgettable monologue:

“So no matter what I do, hooray for me because I’m a great guy? It’s all good? No matter how many dogs I kill, I just do an inventory and accept?”

Jesse, oh Jesse! Don’t you know thousands of ladies out of the TV box are about to jump into the scene to give you a good hug? His chemistry teacher? Not so much. ( I do love Walt though).


  1. Aiden Mathis

Series: Revenge

Portrayed by: Barry Sloane

He’s hot. Super hot. Totally boyfriend material. And need I say, he looks just like Lionel Messi, just a hundred times hotter?

That’s just enough. When Revenge writers decided to kill him off, I decided to leave the series forever.



  1. Chandler Bing

Series: Friends

Portrayed by: Matthew Perry

I have run through many articles and comments on Friends (which is normal, any Friends-obsessed fans  are doing that every day), what I have encountered is that Chandler seems to be the most favourite. Most common rank of favourite characters on the sitcom look like this:

Chandler > Phoebe > Joey > Rachel > Ross > Monica

Interestingly, Chandler and Phoebe were both initially planned to be just second characters. I love Phoebe, too, but I’m basically her, so I would love to meet Chandler. (Though it’s not bad to meet Mike, huh?). He’s the best friend one would wish to have: generous, cute, humble, loyal, funny (better be FUNNY), and very smart. He’s the one that would take care of every complicated stuff in your life. He’s the vulnerable friend with childhood scars that needs someone close enough to console. And what I love most is that he quit the career he’d built for 10 years, then at the position of a vice president, to start over. And he starts over with what he actually loves: advertising. Oh yeah, it’s advertising.

How nice the job starts with A, and Monica made an insane alphabetically order!

Da Ly

[Da Ly’s list] 9 moments in Harry Potter that “I wish I were there!” (Part 2)

For Moment No.6 - No.10, please visit the first part of this post.

No.5 – Harry Potter is alive

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter is dead.  Voldemort is standing right in front of us, moving his super thin lips and breathing in and out of his super flat nose. Hogwart’s just fallen down. Our friends have died protecting this place, yet the evils win, and darkness seems to be what the future holds for us.

Harry Potter is dead. Our only hope to kill Voldemort is lying there, silent. This is truly desperation.

But then, to everyone’s astonishment, Harry opens his eyes and stands up. He is now confronting Voldemort, pointing a wand to his full-of-surprise ugly face. Everyone bursts into laughing and crying. The silver lining has come.

I want to be there, in the crowd. I want to feel that moment when we come from hopeless to hopeful, from rock bottom to Mount Everest. Well, I would not hope my life to give me (literally) heart-breaking moments like that, though.


No.4 – The Anti-Umbridge rebellion

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Admit it, you always wanted to lead a rebellion against your teachers at high school. Not that you don’t like your teachers (maybe you don’t, but some teachers are really great), but it’s just a so cool.

So now in the fifth year at Hogwart, Harry and his friends have to endure this ugly creature called Umbridge, who gives pink clothes a bad name and uses her deathly smile as a destructive weapon. The discipline is tighten, the evil kids you hate become her security dogs that would rat on you and bite you any chance they get.

Then Harry Potter asks you to join his secret Army. It’s like being a part of Illuminati or something! You keep a secret, you give your friends knowing look, or you even exchange telepathic talks. You believe you are about to bring change to this school.

Damn, I want so much to join the Dumbledore Army!


No.3 – Harry comes back to Hogwart

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I literally burst out into tears when I read to that part: when Harry Potter came back to Hogwart after a year wandering around, seeking Hocruxes.  He see his friends in the Dumbledore Army, which means they are still keeping a faith and fighting for freedom. And everyone else sees Harry. He has come back. He’s not in hiding or has never left them. He’s here to save Hogwart.

If someone says their heart doesn’t skip a beat reading that part, I’ll show you a liar.



No.2 – The School Opening Feasts

Every school year at Hogwart starts with a short speech from the headmaster, and then plates just appear out of nowhere. Food and drink are filled in every inch of the table, making the very first foodporn-watching experience for the wizard kids. I read every line in the book that describes these school opening food and try to refrain myself from mouthwatering (I couldn’t!). I don’t know how much parents pay for their kids’ education at Hogwart, but I bet it is a real deal for them: can they expect any other school in Muggle world to feed their kids so delicious and healthy food?


No.1 – The Final Battle

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I love that J.K. Rowling chooses Hogwart as the final battlefield. Now thinking back, it is quite an obvious choice. Of course it has to be Hogwart. After all, the school has become the home for Harry Potter, for Voldemort, and for all students. Everything started at Hogwart, and has to end here.

 Dạ Ly



[Da Ly’s list] 9 moments in Harry Potter that “I wish I were there!” (Part 1)

I don’t remember how many times I’ve told this, but at age eleven I was looking out the window for months, waiting for an owl to bring me the letter from Hogwart (none has ever arrived though!). For kids that have grown up with Harry Potter like me (and we proudly call ourselves the Harry Potter generation), we wish we were there in that bizarre world from the very first time we read the book. Thanks to Hollywood, we pretty much feel visually satisfied with the Harry Potter blockbusters; yet none ever comes close to our imagination. We want to feel more. We want to be walking down those hallways, feeling the ghosts hopping through our bodies like creepy cold breezes, and hearing the original version of GIFs talking on the walls. We want to be a part of that epic heart-breaking story.

Sadly enough, I’ve grown up too much to believe that would happen. Anyway, it never hurts to rewind the whole story in mind and make believe it was a part of my real memory. In fact, I’ve come up with a list of nine best moments in Harry Potter that I wish so much to experience


No.9 – The Sorting Hat

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

On the first day at school, freshman kids are called in to sit on a chair, place the Sorting Hat onto their head; the Hat would then tell which House each kid belongs to, based on his/her personality (and sometimes personal preference). That way the kids at Hogwart are categorized from day one, so that they would grow up with friends that share relatively the same visions and willingness. While I respect diversity, I have become more aware of the importance of sense of belonging. We would never feel right being in the wrong crowd; it’s like a fish being raised with frogs and are wrongly taught that it is inferior, due to a fact that it can’t breathe out of water like frogs.

Harry Potter would have become the next Voldemort if he’d chosen Slytherin when the Hat asked him. But he chose Gryffindor. Sometimes we choose the pool ourselves and just swim into it, without a care of uncertainty or danger; because whether we feel belonged there is what really matters.

P/s: Go to Pottermore and check out which House you would go to. I am myself a Gryffindor. (No doubt about it!)


No.8 – The Weasley twins’ goodbye firework

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Red-headed, witty, funny, street-smart and rebellious – the Weasley twins Fred and George are arguably everyone’s favorite. They are just the kind of friends we all want to hang out with, the ones who would color up our monotone life. They would call us up to join them in some fun ride, then the night would go wild, and we would end up the next day in some place on Earth we utterly have no idea where and how. Just when we think they couldn’t be more amazing, Fred and George have the best job in the wizard world: they invent funniest toys and then run a shop on their own. Wow, but wait, did they even graduate from Hogwart yet?

No, they didn’t.

Now it seems dropping out of school to be cool and awesome is a fashion that even the wizard world is not immune to. One of the highlight of Harry Potter book 5 (The Phoenix Order) is the final exam near the end of the gloomy school year. That day Fred and George decided to leave Hogwart, and they could not do that without having a little fun with that dumb old bitchy monster Professor Umbridge. They did hell of a farewell performance, with clashes, a fire dragon, and firework. Leaving all that behind, they hopped onto their brooms and fly up the sky of freedom. Just bring on the show, in a very Guy Fawkes style.

Who wouldn’t want to be in that crowd cheering the two Hogwart’s heroes?


No.7 – Welcoming other schools to Hogwart

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In the fourth year, for the first time, Harry Potter (and probably anyone of us) figured that there are other wizard schools other than Hogwart. We also learned that there is the World Cup (of Quitditch), the sporting stars (Victor Krum), and the hot girls (Cho Chang and Fleur Delaco). This year, Harry Potter was more like a teen movie than ever.

J.K.Rowling has an exceptional imaginative mind, and an even more outstanding skill to write out all her thoughts and ignite others’ imagination. In the scene which the teams from Beauxbatons and Dumstrang come to Hogwart, she charmed the readers with the spectacular arrivals. What strikes me more is the anticipation and excitement of Hogwart students upon their rare opportunity to connect to the world, and to have a little exotic romance in teenage hormone racing days. Well, I literally grew up with Harry Potter, and I read this book when I was 12. Felt pretty much the same!

P/s: I still hate Cho Chang. She stole my first kiss with Harry Potter!


No.6 – The Sophomore year terror

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

One big question for Harry Potter, especially by educationists, is that: Why the hell hasn’t the school been shut down? Seriously! On top of being understaffed or teaching inappropriate content to students, the school is an extremely dangerous place for kids. Monsters locked up somewhere in the castle, moving stairs that would cause accidents anytime, wild animals being taught in class (which could be a source for tragic accidents, too)! Not far from the castle, into the (not so) Forbidden Forest, there’s this giant spider empire, and then a living giant. OK, so apparently child endangerment is totally no big a deal in Hogwart.

The school stands still even when students are found frozen (which later turns out they were all just an inch away from death) in the hallways for no found reason. At this point, kids are taken to the the hospital. No further reaction from their parents. No parental council is mentioned. No action from the government. After several cases, the kids are accompanied by teachers to class, and Prof. McGonnagall fears for the first time the possibility of the school being closed. Oh come on, Professor! In the real world, you should have been unemployed at least a year ago, when a troll escaped from the dungeon, and three kids were nearly killed by it.

But doesn’t that make Harry Potter so appealing? I love to imagine the atmosphere of the school when it is under attack of that unknown snake: the fear of the reigning of the dark, the tension when facing danger, and the curiosity of a child that would do anything to know a little better than adults.

Since when did we stop thinking we can be heroes?

(To be continued)

Da Ly


[Da Ly’s list] Top movies you should probably never watch with friends (Part 1)

Or better, you never watch them with anyone around.

A slumber party along with a cinema night with friends is one of the greatest things in twenty-something life. You can just grab a movie DVD, some popcorn, snacks, pizzas or spaghetti, and there you have the best cinema ever. However, make sure you have chosen a movie that friends can laugh or discuss. Well, not all movies are that group-watchable. We all have experienced that moment when we’re watching a movie on HBO with parents, and boom, there’s the kissing and one thing leads to another, and before we know it the two gorgeous actor and actress are having sex on the screen, leaving deadly awkward silence in the living room. Things could not be better with friends. (But I think boyfriends or girlfriends are OK, though).

Here is the list of movies that I personally would never want to show in front of my friends, or parents, or anyone, just to avoid the I-find-it-hard-to-look-you-in-the-eyes next morning. I love them all, but well, something should be left unseen and unsaid. This list is based only on movies I have seen recently and can clearly remember, and in no particular order.


  1. The Dreamers

(A film by Bernado Bertolucci, starring Michael Pitt, Eva Green, Louis Garrel)

I was mind-blown watching this movie, that’s a fact. I give it 5 stars out of five, mostly for the bizarreness, the romantic yet rebelious tone, and the spectacular performance of Eva Green. Nevertheless, if someone picked up this movie and told me “So you say it’s a great movie, let’s watch it together”, I would run away. No, I wouldn’t watch it with you. Well, not only because The Dreamers is a feast of frontal nudity (boobs and penis showing is not a rare thing in this movie, I have to say). The movie also feeds your eyes with unsimulated sex scenes (oh yeah, it’s unsimulated! UNSIMULATED!), which could be really offensive for people who are not prepared for this. I find all these nudity or sex scenes completely reasonable and relevant, and I quite enjoy it, but with a friend around, that would be a different story. Now I kinda want to ask one of my sexually conservative friends to watch this movie with me, and observe the reaction on her face. That would be one other interesting movie.

One more reason why I won’t share this movie is that the movie is too personal to me. I feel connected to the characters, so it would feel like some part deep inside me is exposed if I ever watched this with anyone. There’s always something, a movie, a song, or a book, anything that you find it too close to your heart to give it away.


  1. Only God Forgives

(A film by Nicholas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling)

If not sex, then it’s violence. Only God Forgives is a melting pot of lust and extreme violence, and I can guarantee you that sitting through two hours of this movie would be impossible for some of your dear friends with a vanilla heart. So just do them a favor by choosing something else.

There wouldn’t be any sexual intercourse in Only God Forgives; the leading man dresses up in suits almost in every frame, and even his female companion, who appears to be a prostitute, doesn’t reveal too much of her skin. Yet Only God Forgives would corner you into a closed box of steamily hot atmosphere, the annoyingly haunting red light that indicates violence and sex, the dirty streets and whorehouses (I mean, dirty literally), and that bizarre Orient feeling when you get lost in Thailand, a place you would never truly understand, surrounded by violent gangs and gruesome executions; not to mention the Oedipus-ly abnormal relationship between the leading man, his brother and their mother, which would probably be a kick in the stomach for some people.

Again, this is a very personal movie. Watching it is like having Nicholas Winding Refn leading you into his world of surreal dreams, and I don’t think he would welcome two visitors at the same time. It’s more of a personal experience, which you have to take for yourself. I enjoy the movie, but I believe it evokes extremely bipolarized reaction, and the movie could easily be hated as well as loved. Well, you have to check out for yourself, but don’t drag anyone else down the road with you.


  1. Kokuhaku (Confessions)

(A film by Tetsuya Nakashima, starring Takako Matsu)

Kokuhaku is perfect: perfect acting, perfect filming, perfect music, and perfect story. But it’s far from a perfect movie for your date night. Actually, it would be a terrible idea.

The movie is too intense and heartwrenching. After the last scene and it all went silent, you would see a heavy dark cloud floating around your room, and silence would reign. Inside you, the heart would shrink, and emptiness would be what’s left. You don’t want that for the end of your gang’s pajama party, do you?


  1. Cloud Atlas

(A film by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Huge Grant, Ben Whishaw, James D’arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon)

There are rules of picking up a movie for a group:

  1. Art-house movie is not a good choice, unless everyone in your group is a movie lover and would feel blessed being challenged with real film materials.
  2. PG-13 is still better than R-rated (but NC-17 could take friendship to another amazing level).
  3. The story should be simple enough so that no one needs explanation, and it should be fast-paced in the very first minutes, otherwise there would definitely be a bummer who finds the movie “too slow” and starts to talk until “something interesting comes up”, which doesn’t happen in 90% of critically acclaimed movies.

Then I suggest picking a movie that is already a box office success, because its commercial performance guarantees that most people would find the movie watchable, though may not fancy it. For a group, it should be about love, not politics; people should wear fancy clothes, not Les Miserable; should be a no-brainer, not a brain teaser; because after all, what you are about to enjoy at that cinema night is the feeling of having a group around, not the movie itself.

Now considering all the standards above, Cloud Atlas fails in every category. It has a very complicated story. It’s no way a PG-13, with that sex scene oh-so-good between a human and a human clone. And it’s there to send a message, not for entertainment. The movie is a masterpiece, per se, but having that for friends to see would ruin our date night, as well as my experience with a fantastic movie. I would never do that for my friends and for myself.


5. The Notebook

(A film by Nick Cassavetes, starring Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling)

The Notebook is an epic love story. It seems perfect for girls to watch together, and to cry together. (OK, there’s that sex scene which is totally appropriate and enjoyable, and you might be busy swooning over the adorable couple anyway). So why is it in the list?

Well, this is just my own problem. The thing is, I have been avoiding romantic movies for a long time. While I am a hopeless romantic myself, I find romantic flicks too unrealistic and more of a turn-off. That’s why after about a thousand times seeing the name The Notebook mentioned all over the Internet as “the epic love story”, “the best onscreen couple”, “the movie girls make their boyfriends or husbands watch”, to name a few, I made a pledge to myself that I would never touch it, as an if-everyone-is-watching-then-I-am-not attitude. But on the movie’s 10 year anniversary (yes, it even has an anniversary!), I came across the movie on HBO, intended to give it a glance in five minutes, and I stayed for two hours. What I hate the most is to admit that although it’s so cliché, I still love it (I hate it on some level, but as a whole it’s a love-hate relationship). And I think other people also have a hard time admitting the same.

So girls, if you are not ashamed of crying over a romantic kiss in the rain, or over that “I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day” cliché monologue, yes you can watch it with your friends. I just refuse (these tears and swooning cannot be seen or heard, ever!).

(To be continued)

Da Ly


Previous part of this post. 

5. The Great Gatsby – Jay Gatsby

Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio

Crazy enough about the novel, I had a very high expection on the movie. And it did not let me down. Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan was a great choice of cast.

I remember when I read the novel for the first time and could hardly comprehend the whole scene where Gatsby was shot. It happened too fast, and only when Nick Carraway confirmed that Gatsby is dead did I realize what was going on (reading a literature book in English remains a little hard for me!). I felt empty for a while. “How could that happen?” Scott Fitzerald was a cruel genius. He created Gatsby and then killed him off, giving him all the money in the world but not the only girl he wanted. Gatsby tried to hold on to a dream that was already behind him. Don’t we all have some kind of that? We try something that we deeply know it’s just too late.

6. I Am Sam – Sam

Portrayed by Sean Penn

I’ve watched the movie no less than 10 times. I really wonder why they don’t make movies with disabled main characters like this anymore (probably because talents like Sean Penn or Tom Hanks are quite rare).

For you who don’t know about I Am Sam (which is weird, seriously), this is a movie about a father who is prescribed with Down syndrome and Autism. He knocked up a homeless girl (without knowing), and the mother left him with the baby girl right after she gave birth. Sam brought the girl home, named her Lucy after Beatles’ song Lucy Diamond in the sky and took great care of her. The problem is (foreseeably) Lucy grew up with a normal brain, and now at the age of 7, she’s already smarter than her father. The court wants to take her for adoption for fear of Sam’s incapability to father a child. It’s a hard math problem, as Lucy needs her father’s love, but she may need more than that to grow out her potentials.

Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning gave heartbreaking performances. Especially Dakota, this acting of hers is by far the best one ever given by a child actress. Well, about Sean Penn, there’s just no more to talk about this amazing actor. Despite the fact that he’s a violent man in real life, everyone can hardly deny his talent. His eyes alone can win an Oscar.

7. Catch Me If You Can – Frank Abagnale, Jr.

Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio

Frank Abagnale Jr. was once a happy kid. Then out of the blue, his father went bankrupt, his mother got married to another man, then his whole life turned upside down. Frank, devastated by his mother’s affair with a man much richer than his father, dropped out of school and seeked opportunities to make money to win back mother for his father. However, as a drop-out kid, Frank could earn a lot of money only by commiting frauds. And he turned out to be a genius in this.

Despite playing a financial criminal, Leonardo DiCaprio succeeded in portraying the vulnerable side of Frank Abagnale Jr. He’s just a lost kid who has found his world fall apart, so he tries so hard to pick up the pieces. He’s everyone’s favourite criminal: he’s smart, he’s sweet, he’s handsome, he’s good with women, and he’s a grown-up kid waiting for someone stretching out their arms to save him.

What touches me most in the movie is when Frank escaped from the police (for the countless time!) and ran towards his mother’s new home. He looked from outside the window, and he saw his mother smiling happily in her new clean house, with a new shiny family, and of course without him. That’s the moment he found out the happy family he used to have is now completely just a memory. Then he broke, eventually. I did not expect to cry watching this movie, ever. But I did.

Seriously, why the hell hasn’t Leo won an Oscar?

8. Chaplin – Charlie Chaplin

Portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.

Who is the funniest man in the world? Who is the king of humor? Who is the man that made himself an unbeatable legend in the film industry?

Charlie Chaplin.

He showed up, and everyone laughed. But that doesn’t mean he laughed when no one was around. As someone says, the one that always make people smile is the one that suffers the most.

Chaplin is the biography of Charlie Chaplin, introducing one of the finest performances I’ve ever seen: Robert Downey Jr. perfectly portrays Charlie Chaplin, from a young 20 year-old man to an old man. Robert Downey Jr. was only 22 years old at the time he was nominated an Oscar for this role, but he lost it to Al Palcino in Scent of a Woman. Well, I haven’t seen Scent of a Woman yet (which I’m sure is spectacular), but I doubt anyone would top Robert’s portrayal of Charlie Chaplin in this movie. He’s a genius playing a genius.

9. Cloud Atlas – Sonmi

Portrayed by Doona Bae

Cloud Atlas is one underrated movie, I have to say. It has one of the most powerful stories, plus a compelling art of storytelling and a wonderful cast. Yet the movie did not receive enough recognition it should have.

It’s really difficult to briefly explain the story of Cloud Atlas (and I have to admit I don’t clearly remember. It’s really complicated and packed with many characters). Let’s just talk about Sonmi, a waitress in Papa’s song restaurant. She’s just one of many    waitresses, whose lives completely follow a strict routine; these girls don’t have rights as humans do. They are born to serve humans, and are treated like toys in the surreal world of Cloud Atlas. Sonmi fought for her freedom and the truth. Considering the world of lies we are living in, a person with such spirit is so inspirational.

10. Hachiko, a dog’s story – Hachi

Portrayed by Chico, Layla, Forrest

Hachi is a dog. He waited for his owner at a railway station every day. Then one day, the owner died at work, and he never came back. Hachi still waited for him, until he died years later.

The story alone is heartbreaking. Now, it’s a real story.

I guess that’s enough to melt anyone’s heart.

 Dạ Ly