Just watched 'Homerun' earlier on NTV7. If you've never heard of it or wondering what sort of movie is that, don't feel surprized. Cuz it's a movie co-produced locally (in Kuala Lumpur), featuring several veteran young kid actors from Singapore and the regular older actors you see. Honestly, I find the movie really good. In fact, I think it's better than 'I Not Stupid', another Singaporean movie which, incidently, has the same kid actors in it. I'm not really good in reviewing movies, but I think you guys should watch it.
The heartwarming story is set back in 1965 somewhere in some very kampung place, about a very poor boy and his younger sister, and a pair of torn old shoes. Yep, I didn't get that wrong. The whole story was about a pair of shoes.
The boy (Kun, played by Shawn Lee) was running an errand and lost his sister's white school shoes. With his mother pregnant and his father not earning much, he didn't ask to buy a pair of new shoes for his sister but instead, they share his pair. Since he attends class in the afternoon and the sister (Seow Fang, played by Megan Zheng) morning, she would be running to pass him the pair of shoes before he goes for classes daily. As a result, he ends up reaching late most of the time and is often scolded by the principal, even on the verge of getting expelled.
For all the detentions that he had, Kun's loyal friends stayed with him and helped him out, displaying the sort of true friendships we can barely see nowadays. There were some funny scenes too with the smart-alec remarks made by those young kids, it was so hilarious.
Of course, there's always a villain. Beng Soon (played by Joshua Ang) is the big brother of nearby school, a rich kid who struck a deal with Kun in which Kun does Beng Soon and friends' homework in exchange with 6 pairs of shoes for Kun and his poor friends' football practice, plus another pair for Kun's sister. After losing a match against Kun's team, Beng Soon then goes against his words and decided not to borrow Kun the shoes for his practice.
Meanwhile, sharing the same pair of shoes Kun soon finds his shoes beginning to wear out, and his sister is getting some really bad treatments from the teacher for wearing torn shoes to school. He then came across a notice of inter-school cross-country competition which offers a pair of shoes to the third-placed. It wasn't an easy race, since Beng Soon lined up beside him and thought he was challenging his superiority by taking part in the competition. Mid way through the competition, his shoes (the same old pair) got stuck in mud, and he had no choice but to continue the rest of the race bare-footed along the horrendous track.
At the same time, Kun's mother is about to give birth and his sister had to run across the village to get the 'bidan' (ok, I don't know how you call that in English), and her pair of slippers were torn midway too. Not forgetting to mention the terrible route, with broken pieces of glasses on the soil as she hobbled her way through.
Alas, luck wasn't on Kun's side. As he attempts to finish third in the race, he slipped in the final moment and fell across the finish line, ending up being first. As he stood on stage accepting his medal, he was in tears because he broke his promise of getting a new pair of shoes for his sister. He tried to exchange his medal with Beng Soon's shoes (he got third place) but mistaking it as a pity gesture, Beng Soon flung the shoes into the river. It was then one of Kun's best friend, Siew Hay stood out and questioned why the two group of young children had to be rivals instead of friends.
Kun and his sister both got new pairs of shoes in the end anyway. Beng Soon, finally realizing that he has been an ass all the while, gave them the shoes as presents before he leaves to study in England. They made up with a handshake and it marked the start of a new friendship despite the fact that they will be miles apart. Kun buries his torn shoes (which his best friends dug out from the mud) as to forget all the unhappy things that are now distant memories. With the new shoes, Kun and his sister are now staring at a new route with new obstacles, but now they know they can walk through any difficult journey as long as they're facing it together.
You know, writing out the storyline above doesn't really do justice to the movie. It is a very touching and sad story. A pair of shoes may sound ridiculous for a plot, but these kids showed perfectly how important is love and friendship in the movie despite the simplicity of the storyline. You don't need special effects or stunts to make a great movie. In this movie, there are only old wooden houses, singlets, worn out shoes and kids in old school uniforms, but it still brings out the values we would want to see in a movie. I kinda like the theme song too.
Even though we have nothing now, don't succumb into despair, for with the love that we have, it is as though we have everything in the world.
If you haven't watched it yet, I would recommend that you do. It's produced by Mediacorp's Raintree Pictures and directed by Jack Neo in the year 2003. Emil Chau made a cameo appearance too. Catch this article and this, hahaha... That's why we never see it in the cinemas. Water politics, ho boy... Anyway, I'm looking to get the DVD of 'Homerun'. It's giving me 'Chicken Soup' effects and I wouldn't mind watching it again.