I watched this film quite a while ago, and thought to myself,’ I should review this on my blog! It’s so good’ and then promptly got immersed in what other than life and completely forgot. Typical me. Actually I avoid writing reviews right after watching a movie to allow my feelings, which at the time are all over the place, to subside, giving me a clearer picture of what really happened, unclouded by bias and hormones. The hormones do eventually reach normal levels, but by then I usually forget all about it. Must work on that.
He was Cool is a really cool movie. (Writers block always makes sure the first sentence of anything I write is stupid. Excuse me. I assure you, somewhere along the way I WILL MAKE SENSE, DAMNIT!) I dunno what’s wrong with me. I can’t seem to stop babbling. Will anyone want to read my review when I don’t get to the beeping point within the first two paragraphs? Will I ever get to the point? Will I be paid one day to write, thereby ensuring the quality of my writing? Will I live till 80? Will Superman save the day? Pointless, really.
I am now on to my THIRD paragraph. Ha! And I thought this review would be less wordy for sure.
He Was Cool is a Korean film starring Song Seung-hyun (The guy from My Princess) as Ji Eun-sung, who is your typical bad-boy. Has the emotional capacity of a rock, is good looking (HE IS ONE KOREAN YOU KOREAN-GUY-MAKE-FUNNER-OF-ERS CANNOT CALL GIRLY LOOKING!) and also the totally badass leader of his group of friends. Han Ye-Won (played by Jung Da-bin) is an innocent highschooler who, one day, insults him on their school online message board thingy without really giving a thought to the possible consequences. She starts getting scary calls from Eun-sung, which makes her finally realize what she’d gotten herself into. She starts avoiding him. This behavior obviously has to lead to a hilarious confrontation. And it does. Complete with a life and death chase dressed in salon head gear. Anyways, she gets a message saying he’ll be waiting for her outside their school gate, and since there’s only one way out of school, she decides to brave going over the wall. She lands, lips first, on top of Eun-sung.
KISS! Let’s just go with the flow, and not poke holes in the feasibility of that little detail, yeah?
“Take responsibility!” he yells at her.
This had me cackling in glee. (For those of you not in the know, this is a typical Korean line usually said by the GIRL to the BOY. As in,”You’ve kissed/slept/gotten me knocked up, so take responsibility!”)
He says that it can’t be helped. She now has to marry him.
I love the matter-of-fact (not to mention distasteful) way he said that. Like she was some insect he was being forced to eat. His friends commented that she’s not even that good looking. “Just my luck,” he replied with a disgusted face. He tells her that he’s never kissed, or held hands with a girl. In fact, he’s never touched anyone of either gender, not even when he was a kid. Since she’s the first, she now has to marry him.
Thus starts the familiar contract-relationship trope. One part forcing another unwilling party to spend time with or be in a relationship with them or else. Even though it is an over-used plot scheme, it’s done a little differently, in the sense that it’s a verbal I-don’t-care-what-you-think-I’m-gonna-kill-you-if-you-don’t-marry-me sort of understanding and that the real reason behind Eun-sung’s words is revealed towards the middle of the film. THAT made me sit up in my seat and realize that this film is more than just fluff.
The contract relationship, in itself, lacks a believable base. “Oh, be my slave,” Yeah, that’s likely to happen to us someday. Not. There really is no logical reason that could explain the urgent need for such a device, but here, for once, we get a believable, heart-wrenching one. (Which I am trying very hard not to disclose. It’s a major spoiler)
You know what? I don’t care.
*Spoilers from here onwards*
Eun-sung’s dad got AIDs when he was a child, because of which all the other kids shunned him and refused to touch him. At this one kid’s birthday party, the birthday kid went going around kissing all the kids (dunno why, but his mom was making him do it) and that kid started crying when Eun-sung’s turn came, saying that he didn’t wanna die. Yeah, heavy stuff for a kid to digest. This caused Eun-sung to think that the day he does touch someone, he’ll have to marry them so that they’ll be the only ones he could possibly transfer AID’s to. Twisted, but you also can’t help feeling a truckload of sympathy for him.
Anyhow, she is a really nice person, but can’t stand being treated like an unwanted accessory by him. He has a birthday celebration, to which he earnestly (well, earnestly in his own mind, he was pretty rude outwardly) invites her to. She has a childhood (male, platonic) friend arriving from the airport that very day, so she gladly blows Eun-sung off. He obviously dislikes being rejected by the girl he made clear he disliked first. We see disappointment flicker across his face for the first time, followed by a bout of jealousy in which he beats the newly-arrived friend up. He starts to develop feelings for her, all the while pretty much bossing her around. There’s also a bitchy girl with a group of bitchy followers who’s set her eyes on Eun-sung. She’s a two-faced bitch and does all sorts of underhanded things to break them apart.
Anyways, there are more characters and events. Ye-won and Eun-sung thankfully get together in a sweet way and the whole affair isn’t too stretched out. I hate it when unions are purposely prolonged. Both are pretty happy. She helps him get over his ‘problem’, though he’s still pretty emotionally constipated. She is a romantic, and tells him during a date about her fantasy of princesses and princes meeting on the first snow or something like that, but he isn’t listening. Everything’s good.
They fight over something (can’t remember what, I think it was a misunderstanding) and she ends up getting drunk with his archenemy(PLAYED BY SLEEPING GIANT/COLUMN FROM FBRS!), who really isn’t his enemy, more like an estranged friend (their story: They , Eun-sung, Young Column, and Friend 3 used to be really tight. They went to the beach once and Friend 3 drowned. Eun-sung wanted to go after him, but Young Column, on seeing that it was a lost cause and Eun-sung was more likely to drown as well, restrained Eun-sung, leading him to hate and resent him.) Anyway, he (Eun-sung) later goes by her house to apologize and give her a sparkly ring only to see her walking home in a drunken stupor with the guy he hates the most. She passes out for a while, while Column confesses that he’d always liked her and was just about to ask her out when she’d been taken by Eun-sung. He’s really sweet, and knows that she really loves Eun-sung. Eun-sung doesn’t know she’s asleep, and leaves right away for the states, where his mother lives. Ye-won is stricken, and we fast forward to a year later. He’s still in the States, and she’s doing well, studying for her college entrance exams. She and Column are friends, I think, since she calls him Oppa. She’s in the middle of her SAT when she looks out the window and sees the first snow of winter fall. She thinks back to that time with Eun-sung by the telephone booth when she told him about that fantasy. She drops her pencil and storms out of the room, (I was like, WHAT? You do NOT have epiphanies in the middle of exams!!! And if you do, YOU FINISH YOUR EXAM THEN STORM OUT, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! ) She runs to that place in the park with the red phonebooth where she told him about it, feeling just like the princess in her story. She arrives there, out of breath, hoping to miraculously see him there, but is disappointed when she doesn’t. She sees a little bunny hopping towards her, and recognizes it as the one she gave Eun-sung. He appears, and smiles. They live happily ever after.
My thoughts on the ending:
I thought after the way the story proceeded, we’d get a little bit more realistic ending. I liked the conflicts, and the way they kept getting resolved in satisfying, realistic little bundles (the hospital scene). I liked the way their relationship progressed, and how they overcame the little hurdles and were so sweet to each other, albeit in their own way. I liked the friendship between Eun-sung and Column, and was even okay with the way they resolved that issue. (Though I did think that if it were that easy to have fixed things, they should have fought over a girl and beaten each other to a pulp and then drank beer together at the beach ages back) I knew Eun-sung and Ye-won would end up together, but how was that little reunion supposed to have come about? Did he have a panel of meteorologists at his disposal in the states who constantly monitored the weather in Seoul for imminent snowfall lest he should fly over there immediately to fulfill that promise? Did not make sense to me. Now that I think about it, maybe he came back to Seoul to wait for the first snowfall so that he could meet her, which is probably a more probable option, but retarded nonetheless. Whatever. They live happily ever after.