• Of ‘Hidden Figures,’ Goo Goo Dolls and ‘hugot dolls’


    Karen Kunawicz

    Hidden Figures is many things wrapped in one. It’s an uplifting film, an Oscar contender and a political statement.

    It is the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson—the African American women who went against the odds, struggled against discrimination and made significant contributions to NASA and the space program in the ‘60s.

    Despite having to sit at the back of the bus in the “colored section,” having to drink from different water fountains, use different toilets, being disallowed from certain schools, not being taken seriously enough—these women, with sheer initiative, smarts, diligence, tenacity, faith and style became an engineer, programmer, mathematician-physicist.

    It is a joy to watch Octavia Spencer (nominated for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Oscar), Taraji Henson and Janelle Monae take on these roles. Also in the cast are Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim “Sheldon Cooper” Parsons and Masherhala Ali (who is Best Supporting Actor nominee but for another film, Moonlight). Director Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder also earn nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay.

    The film is based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly. And while it didn’t receive any nominations, the score by Hans Zimmer and Pharell Williams, along with the choice of songs, was outstanding.

    Taraji Henson is Katherine Johnson in ‘Hidden Figures’, a standout in her field of the math and physics

    There are a lot of films that celebrate athletes; I have a soft spot for films that celebrate nerds—and these nerds are spirited and incredibly inspiring.

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    Meanwhile, New York band The Goo Goo Dolls finally played a show in Manila on Saturday. The band, which had its heyday in the ‘90s, is best known in the country for their songs “Iris,” and “Name.” Their other hits include “Black Balloon,” “Slide,” “Here is Gone,” “Better Days” and my favorite, “Broadway.” They played all these songs and more during the show.

    I loved that they got right down to business by 8:40 p.m. without an opening act. They got the crowd standing, singing along and did Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit” as one of their two encore songs. Now I wonder when Soundgarden will play a show here.

    * * *

    Opening in theaters today is I’m Drunk, I Love You which is the story of a girl named Carson who’s been in the “friendzone” for seven years. I got to see it on Sunday night. Maybe since I am approximately twice as old as the lead characters, I’d find Carson’s (Maja Salvador’s) dilemma tiresome. At my age, who has seven years? The fans loved it though, and if we also go by those Jollibee commercials, we’re a population who can relate with the travails and (false?) hope of being in the friendzone! What thrilled me more was the 20-minute teaser for the Gregorio del Pilar film. Interesting script and good acting—though the full film won’t be out until 2018.

    Finally, Art Fair is open to the public starting tomorrow! I’m looking forward to being overwhelmed by the different floors of art and visiting the James Nares projections and talk.


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