Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Re-lay-shun-ships’

Chris Evans’s directorial debut is That Thing Called Before Sunrise

September 04, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

The reviews of Chris Evans’s directorial debut Before We Go have been respectful but not enthusiastic. This did not stop us from watching it. Chris Evans also stars in it, so we know that even if it turns out to be terrible, we still have Chris Evans to look at.

The good news is that Before We Go is not terrible, the bad news is that it has no reason to exist (other than the aforementioned excuse to look at its director). Chris Evans has said in the past that he wants to quit playing Captain America: Please don’t. Who else can play the squarest most strait-laced man alive and make him hot? In fact Before We Go, despite its general lack of vavavoom, actually makes Chris Evans even more adorable to us because he looks like that but he wants to be Woody Allen.

Darling, you’re not Woody Allen. We are 200 times more Woody Allen than you are, and we haven’t even married some adopted orphans. We’ll write you a Woody Allen movie and we won’t even charge you, although we know that you are too lovely not to pay for it.

Before We Go is essentially That Thing Called Before Sunrise. It will appeal to people who think they are hopeless romantics and like to talk about themselves a lot. Two super-attractive strangers meet in Grand Central Station and end up spending five or six hours together walking the streets of New York City, but they are such obviously superior beings that no one tries to mug them, flash them or sell them drugs. Fine, someone tries to sell Chris Evans a Prada bag in Chinatown, but it’s—gasp—a real Prada bag. They’re such magical creatures that they even find a working payphone.

Chris Evans plays an aspiring jazz trumpeter who busks in the train station, and you know it’s a movie because people are not running to the nearest ATM and emptying their bank accounts into his instrument case. The movie is so basic it makes us feel like Quentin Tarantino in comparison. Chris Evans, you are so wonderful that you have convinced us that we might have a future in directing, and you didn’t even have to take your shirt off once. We can’t wait to see Captain America: Civil War. You’re a superhero. Accept your destiny.

Before We Go is showing at Ayala Mall Cinemas.

From the Workshop: Almost Forty

August 19, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Re-lay-shun-ships, Workshops 1 Comment →

We give writing workshops at the Ayala Museum. The workshops consist of three two-hour sessions of lectures, exercises, and group discussions held over three weeks. The next workshop, Writing Boot Camp, will start on 3 September 2015. For more information or to make a reservation, email Marj Villaflores,

This month we are featuring, with their permission, essays by the participants in July’s Personal Essay workshop. The submissions were half-standup comedy, half-trauma ward. We encouraged everyone to get over their fear of exposure, embarrassment and “What will people think?” Here are some of the results.

* * * * *

Still from Napoleon Dynamite. When we googled movies about online dating to illustrate this essay, we discovered that there are no great movies about online dating. Because people looking at screens is not exciting. Black Hat almost did it, but only because it starred Chris Hemsworth.

Almost Forty
By Mia V. Estolano

Almost 40. If I were to live until age 70, I would have lived half my life already –no husband, no kids, no house, no boyfriend, no boyfriend…yet. A pasted-on smile is my usual answer to relatives or friends who ask the squirm-inducing question. I love my work. I love to travel. Oftentimes, the person who asks the question lets go. At times, they prod more. I don’t mind answering. It can get annoying, especially when they seem to think there’s something wrong with me, or worse, that I am a sad person.

But I am happy. I love men. And I’ve tried dating, just not the usual route. I tried to get dates online. It’s quicker and cuts the preliminaries of dating. At least that’s what my cousin told me. We are similar, only she lives in the US where online dating is very common. She said that I should try it.

So I did.


How to fall in love with anyone in 36 questions

January 15, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

Illustration by Brian Rea for the New York Times

In a lab experiment, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love. Yeah there are variables that were not considered, and we don’t like to think that humans are so easy, but let’s say it worked. Basically the subjects sit face to face in a quiet place and answer 36 increasingly personal questions. Then they stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes.

Disclaimer: Embark on this experiment at your own risk. We are not responsible for any foolishness that ensues.

Here’s the first set of questions.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Read To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This in the New York Times.

Psychiatrist and human sexuality expert Dr. Agnes Bueno to hold Love Workshops

April 01, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Re-lay-shun-ships, Sex 1 Comment →

love workshop
This is serious, not an April Fool’s Day prank.

Love is the paramount concern of most people, especially Filipinos. Everywhere we go we are reminded of it: in love songs blaring at the malls, in movies about “soulmates”, in ads that promise you will find true love…after you try their products.

But what exactly do we mean by “love”? Infatuation, companionship, sexual attraction, sacrifice, obsession…we might not be talking about the same thing. The result is confusion, disappointment, bitterness, rage, or worse.

Before we can love or be loved, we have to know what it is. Our personal concepts of love are shaped by our earliest interactions with parents, families, friends–relationships that, if we’re not self-aware, can end up defining who we are, or defeating what we want to become.

For something that’s supposed to be in the air, love is hard to pin down.

Professor of Psychiatry and Human Sexuality Agnes Bueno, M.D. invites you to delve into the meaning of love in your life, to understand your desires and expectations, and free yourself from the burdens of the past.

The Love Workshop is a combination of classroom discussion and group therapy. It consists of two intensive three-hour sessions. Each class consists of only five students, with writer Jessica Zafra as facilitator and Dr. Bueno as therapist.

The Love Workshop will be held at #13 Osmena St. Xavierville 3, Loyola Heights Quezon City. The course fee is Php5,000 per person. Schedules will be arranged according to the participants’ availability. To enroll, call (02) 723 0101 local 6501 or 2217 or visit Dr. Bueno’s office at:

Suite 1217 South Tower
St. Luke’s Medical Center
Cathedral Heights Bldg. Complex
279 E. Rodriguez Sr., Blvd., Quezon City

You can’t be loved till you know how to love.

IM Instant Mommy contest: Send us your online dating stories.

August 19, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest, Movies, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

Image: Eugene Domingo as Bechay. Screencaps from Leo Abaya.

Bechay works as a wardrobe mistress on advertising shoots. On a trip to Boracay, she meets the charming Kaoru, a Japanese businessman. They quickly fall in like and she gets knocked up. Kaoru is married, but he is in the process of divorcing his wife Hana—as soon as she gives her consent, because getting a divorce in Japan is complicated. In the meantime the now-pregnant Bechay and Kaoru make plans and keep in touch with regular video chats. Will Bechay’s dreams of domestic bliss become reality, or does that only happen on television ads?

Image: Yuki Matsuzaki as Kaoru. Yuki is our next guest on the podcast.

Instant Mommy, written and directed by Leo Abaya and starring Eugene Domingo, Yuki Matsuzaki and Luis Alandy, opens in theatres on August 28. While we’re counting down to opening day, send us your own (or your friends’, with their permission or they’ll never speak to you again) online dating/long distance relationship stories.

In the eternal words of schmaltzy slumbooks, “How did you met?” When did you start dating online? How did you “meet”? What were they like? What did you like about them? How far did it get? Did you actually meet, like in person? We want details! The ickier the better (Use a pseudonym).

postal notebooks
Postal notebooks by Moleskine: envelope-shaped stitched notebooks, ready to mail (or more likely, keep). If people wrote letters instead of chatting online, they’d have time to think about what they’re doing. More thinking, less trouble.

Post your stories in Comments. Three winners will receive Moleskine postal notebooks from National Bookstore; the first 20 contestants get Instant Mommy posters. Winners will be announced on IM opening day, August 28. See you in Comments!

How to ham it up like a professional

July 31, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

Yesterday we took a break from Cinemalaya to attend to our chores. Besides, our friends were also busy and we didn’t want to watch the movies alone. One of the things we enjoy the most about Cinemalaya is the discussion/debate that follows the screenings, usually over a very late dinner. We’re resuming our viewing this afternoon with Instant Mommy (We’ve only seen the offline edit) and Sana Dati.

After the aggravation of having the bathroom drain de-clogged (Probably the cats’ fault because they keep kicking kitty litter out of the box), we compiled all the questions you sent in for Tom Rodriguez and added some of our own (You’re a graphic artist. What would be the sigil of House Mott?).

Then we watched My Husband’s Lover. Is it just us, or have they been crying for the last two or three weeks? We did enjoy seeing Kuh Ledesma and Roi Vinzons as the gay husband’s parents. Kuh Ledesma’s character sounds like a lot of moms in denial about their gay sons (“They’re just confused, they need help.”). Roi Vinzons’s character is always holding a drink, which accounts for his constant good cheer, interrupted only by homophobic statements. “You’re lucky your son is very straight,” his brother-in-law declares. Oof.

We hope Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing gets shown in local theatres; while we wait there’s Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation from 20 years ago. Everyone looks tanned and fabulous: Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Sean Leonard, Ken. Denzel Washington is insanely hot, and Keanu Reeves is beautiful. Fine, he’s terrible in it, and putting him next to excellent actors doesn’t help, but we’ll always be fond of Keanu.

Much Ado is a hoot—it’s the classic ligawan-tampuhan (courtship-hateship) scenario with gorgeous language. Evil Keanu tries to break up the young lovers, and once again someone comes up with the dopey solution: “Let’s tell the guy the girl has died so he’ll be sorry and they’ll get back together.” Yeah, tell that to Romeo and Juliet.

The best lines go to Benedick and Beatrice, played by Ken and Emma. Every time they’re in the same room they start sniping at each other. So their friends conclude that they really have a thing for each other: as they say in high school, “Uuyyyy, the more you hate, the more you love.” (Fine, sometimes the hatred may be sexual tension, but sometimes it’s just hatred.)

Denzel and co. hatch a plan: they tell Benedick that Beatrice is dying of love for him, and then they tell Beatrice that Benedick is madly in love with her. It works! Watch how classically-trained actors do slapstick, mug shamelessly, and overact intentionally.

“Love me! Why?”