Sunny (써니) 2011. Written and directed by Kang Hyeong-cheol
Watch if you like:
- the Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and other 80s flavored nostalgia
- Sex and the City + drop kicking ajummas
- the multiple applications of designer bags (especially to cause bodily harm)
- endearing and poignant high school high jinks
- the unexpected benefits of cursing grandmas
The Korean movie Sunny is a celebration of high school friendship and reminder that just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you have to have it all together (and its never too late to turn things around). It navigates the joys and hardships of a core group of friends as they reunite for the first time since high school. The film explores how easy it is to lose touch not only with friends as we “grow up” but also how we lose touch with ourselves.
Slapstick comedy melds with a touching sincerity as the girls journey on their quest to reunite. Get ready for curse battles, police car rides, unrequited loves, at home dance practices, and some big hair. Its the perfect mix of bitter and sweet that will have you laughing and crying and laughing again.
The storyline might sound like it delves into the realms of tired clichés but even if the plot points have been used before Sunny reinvents them in a way that feels authentic and refreshing. Have tissues on hands because this story will hit you straight in the feels. And it might just make you call up those old friends of yours from high school.
You know when you love something so much that you are afraid to tell other people about it because it’s so precious to you that you don’t want people to shatter it into a thousand pieces. But it’s so good that you have to share it because your love is too big to handle on your own and you just have to talk about it…or you might explode. Actually, you will definitely explode. No? Well, that’s how I feel about the Korean television series Shut Up, Let’s Go (aka Shut Up Flower Boy Band). I gotta spread the love.
Where to even begin? I started watching this show the first night I moved to Boston. What began as the innocent thought “Hey, I’ll start a new show before I go to bed” turned into me staying up all night with my head under my covers and my nose to my computer screen. Yep, that’s right. I watched all 16 episodes in one go. I’m not proud of it but my binge watching is a testament to this show’s power (and not just my TV habits).
So what is this amazingness about anyway? Well imagine The Outsiders set in modern day Korea with rock bands thrown into the mix and you’ll have an oversimplified idea of the plot. It’s a series that evokes the romance of punk rock and youthful rebellion without straying away from the rawness of growing up. This series has all the elements of your typical drama: rivalry, fame, rebellion, adversity, and romance. So I thought I had a pretty good handle on where things were going. But no. I was so wrong. This show consistently breaks the stereotypes that it presents (just wait until episode 3 and you’ll know what I mean). The writers are so self aware that they often use side character’s dialogue (I’m looking at you Jo Deo-mi) to contrast typical drama tropes with this grittier but perfectly poised plot.
Storyline aside (cause I can’t talk about it too much without major spoilers) the real driving force of the show is the friendship of our main characters. It is their chemistry that pervades the show and lends it its ineffably addicting aura. Their friendship feels both unaffected and sincere. And it had me completely invested from the start. I wanted to hang out with them! All the characters face real adversity and the show doesn’t give fairytale answers. In fact I have never finished a show and felt so completely satisfied with the ending. It is so spot on that it still boggles my mind. I don’t understand how they manage to address every character so well in just 16 episodes. Ahhh its perfect.
I also have to mention that the music in the show is killer. Most of the main actors are also musicians and it really adds depth to their performance (I’m sure all ye kpop fans are aware that L from INFINITE is an actor but several other actors are also members of lesser known indie bands). All of the songs had me jamming in my seat. Once I looked up the translation of Jaywalking’s lyrics I loved the song even more.
I could go on forever about this show: the complex subtle strength of Su Ah’s character, men being able to cry, how to deal with social convention, Sung Joon’s fabulous micro-expressions, growing up with dignity, the philosophical implications of being an artist… so just take my word for it before I blather on ad nauseam. Watch this now. (Find it on Hulu and Dramafever.) Please? Then we can start our own indie rock band and live lives of heartfelt music and friendship.
I call guitar!
Get. Set. GO!
What are you still doing here? Get thee to the internets! Oh, you’re still not convinced? Try this. Scroll down. Look into Kim Myungsoo’s eyes. Take some deep breaths. Let all that doubt and tension go…You will watch this…This is an excellent show…You want to watch this…There…That’s better.
Jedi Mind Tricks