<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 6, 2011

Senior Year is worth watching but....

DIRECTOR JERROLD TAROG comes up with his lightest film so far, “Senior Year”, about the last four months before graduation of high school students in St. Frederick Academy. It’s fairly entertaining, despite a yucky scene involving gross toilet humor, but not as good and meaningful as his first two full length films, “Confessional” and “Mangatyanan”, or even his “Funeraria” episode in “Shake Rattle & Roll 12” which is for us his most accomplished work so far and proves that he’s more effective in making commercial films.

“Senior Year” focuses on students Sofia (Rossanne de Boda), Briggs (Daniel Lumain), Bridget (Mary Lojo), Solenn (Nikita Conwi), Stephanie (Sheila Bulanhagui), Bunda (Francez Bunda), Carlo (Daniel Medrana), Henry (Aaron Balana), Mitch (Celina Peñaflorida) and Chito (Eric Marquez). It actually starts with some of the characters, now grown ups, attending their 10th high school reunion. Carlo is now played by Arnold Reyes, Sofia by Dimples Romana, and Henry by RJ Ledesma and Mitch by Ina Feleo. Honestly, some of these stars look like they’re attending their 16th or 17th high school reunion, definitely not just the 10th.

The lives of some students are presented in more detail than the others. In the end, you get the feeling that the film was made without a full script and Tarog was just improvising as he was shooting it. Many of the more interesting storylines are left hanging in the air. Best examples are Bunda and Steph. So much screen time is given to both of them: Bunda and her parents who are perennially fighting. Steph and her Bible-reading dad, and her lesbian love story with a classmate named Jenny. But we’re not told as to what happened to them after high school when they’re more interesting than Sofia and Mitch.

The young cast is mostly competent. Among the more adult cast members, the one who makes an impression is LJ Moreno as a teacher who has a problem with her abusive fiancee.

“Senior Year” is worth watching but it definitely pales in comparison to more recent indie films about high school life, like “Pisay” and “UPCAT”. Actually, there have already been many films about high school life in local cinema. Some are nonsensical romps like “Estudyante Blues” and “Blue Jeans”. But the best local high film for us remains to be Maryo de los Reyes’ 1978 film debut, “High School Circa 65”. The night we watched “Senior Year” at its Megamall premiere, it so happened Maryo was there and we wanted to tell him his is still the better film. But we’re glad that SM Cinemas agreed to give a wide release to “Senior Year”. We hope they make some profit even if it really caters to a limited market with its unknown stars and meager promotion.