Movie Review-Wonderful Radio
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Akiko’s Rating: 2/5- Better Forgotten
Jin-A is the former leader of idol group Purple, one of the first generation of girl groups in South Korea and also the most popular at that time. She now hosts the radio program “Wonderful Radio,” but the program suffers from low ratings. The show’s producer then takes time off to give birth. Her replacement is Lee Jae-Ik (Lee Jung-Jin).
Jin-A is late for her first meeting with PD Lee Jae-Ik. Because of this, PD Lee Jae-Ik gets an unfavorable impression of Jin-A and their relationship soon turns worse. During the meeting, PD Lee Jae-Ik instructs the staff to create a new section for the radio program to increase ratings.
Jin-A struggles to come up with a new idea for the radio program. Then, after listening to her mom sing, she suddenly gets an idea. Jin-A wants to invite regular people onto the show and let them read their own stories or letters. The guests will also sing during the segment.
The new segment becomes a hit. Meanwhile, Jin-A attempts to resume her music career and sing songs like “You Are My Angel” that she wrote for her girl group Purple.
A woman then introduces herself on Jin-A’s radio program and insists that she wrote the song “You Are My Angel.” Jin-A becomes flustered then angry. She even uses profanity while on air. After the program Jin-A is kicked off the radio program. The public also becomes outraged by what they perceive as plagiarism on Jin-A’s part. Can Jin-A ever revive her career?
I liked the opening sequence in the movie with many early morning hosts introducing themselves and starting their programs, their voices overlapping with one another and at the end, we’re introduced to the name of the movie- Wonderful Radio.
Jin A’s the main host for a morning radio show and her producer is about to go on maternal leave. She’s set to go on the morning show with a group of girl idols and rolls her eyes, asking her producer to call a boy band next time, rather than the girls. Once inside the room with the girls, she starts giving them a few tips and they’re surprised to hear she’s also a singer. She tells them she belongs to the band Purple but they don’t know it and literally laugh in her face about it, but not with malicious intent. That is enough to set her mood off just fifteen seconds before they go on air. Taking a deep breath, she starts on the broadcast and everyone knows she’s pissed. Although she spits out all the great things about the ‘girls band’ she’s interviewing, the undertone is evident and even her producer starts out laughing as soon as she puts on the first song of the day.
She turns to them and asks them how they could possibly not know Purple and asks their ages. She sets off to tell them the greatness of ‘Purple’ when the song hits the lyrics and she stops. When the girls sing it along, she tells them to shut up. Next thing we know, she’s at the music section trying to chew off the person over there while others try to stop her. She calls him Oppa and hums the tune-it had been her idea. The guy tells her he understands her anger but it’s for the idols and they’ve made it so much bigger. Disappointed, she heads home. At her mother’s restaurant, she asks her manager-Tae Gun, what her schedule is and he tries to deflect answering at first. Her face lights up when he tells her he’s booked her for a concert and immediately falls when he tells her where it is. She tells him to cancel it but he tells her they can’t. Inside, Jin A’s mother asks her manager to stay for dinner-he’s got a friendly rapport with them, almost family like, but one word from Jin A sends him packing with an excuse even though her mother tries to stop him. Once he’s gone, her mother scolds her and asks her to act better towards Tae Gun. When her mother turns away to welcome guests, she sees a photograph of her parents on the table beside her. Before getting up, she turns the photo down.
In her room, she turns up the radio and lies on her bed, listening. We cut to see the host as he is speaking in the radio station and get our first glimpse of Lee Jae Ik, who makes an O sign towards the host with a smile. Jin A makes a prayer as she hears the radio and wishes “Don’t make me lonely this Christmas!”
Next day, she’s in a much better mood and holds the program in a much better way, sending off her producer officially saying goodbye on air. Hearing the broadcast, her superior is not happy. He’s called Jae Ik and asks him to take over the program from Producer Yoon. Jae Ik tries to deflect and doesn’t seem too happy about the decision but agrees. Later, he’s at a studio when his ‘hyung’ comes up. They both take to drinking as his hyung asks him why he’s here. When his friend refers to Jin A, Jae Ik calls her “the style I most hate” and his friend tells him Jin A is definitely bound to chase him out as well. Jae Ik smiles and wonders if that would happen. Next day, Jin A is late for a meeting with the new producer who turns out to be Jae Ik. He’s pissed and cuts into both Jin A and Tae Gun. He doesn’t listen to their excuse and want a new concept for their program until tomorrow morning. And he pointedly makes a jab at her spoiled mascara which she doesn’t realize and thinks he’s flattering her until he walks away and her friends set her straight.
She goes to meet a friend at a Yoga session and they both sit together and drink to Jin A’s frustrations. Turns out, her friend is her partner from Purple and they practice sing a song together. There is a filming going on where some guy sitting behind always says “cut” before the director but nobody stops him and go with his irritating habit. Even when the director wants to redo the scene, the guy, referred to as Yoo PD stops them. Later, Yoo PD has a massage session together with the Director and they discuss the latest and most grossing idols of the day.
Jin A tries to argue her point with Jae Ik again but he argues back. In the end, he challenges her to come up with a new concept idea and despite having no clue how to do it, she takes on the task. Everyone, her friends and Jae Ik included know she’s bluffing but Jae Ik claps for her and tells her tauntingly, “I’ll be anticipating it!” She bangs her head in the elevator later and wonders why they’re stuck with Jae Ik. The elevator door opens and an actress (the one filming the scene) smirks when she sees her. When she comes in, Jin A tells her, in a friendly manner that she’s been watching her drama these days and its good. The actress smirks again as she says, “Really? Thanks for liking it. But I’m sorry, what to do? I never listen to your radio show. You can do nothing but that. Do well, Shin Jin A.” Jin A turns to her but says nothing. Sending a condescending look towards Tae Gun, the actress walks off as Jin A doesn’t reply and is caught up in memories. The actress was the third member of Purple and Jin A remembers their old performance and the actress, even in those days, looks at Jin A in the most condescending manner, as if jealous. When Jin A steps forward to make an announcement, the actress tries to stop her from saying something and tells her they should think about it once more. Jin A still steps forward with a heavy heart and announces the breakup of their band. Angry, the actress storms off as fans wail out despairingly.
Jin A returns to her yoga friend who is the instructor and finds Jae Ik a part of the class and trying to do yoga but failing miserably. Jin A smiles at the irony as he spots her and tries to face the other way. After session, she and Jae Ik sit as her friend brings water. She tells her friend it’s the PD she told him about and her friend mistakenly reveals the bad nickname she mentioned. Jae Ik’s face drops and he turns to her friend asking how they know each other. They give reference to their Purple Days but he doesn’t know them. In the end, he just gets up and walks away.
Yoo PD and the actress sit together and discuss about doing something and the actress tells him they should make sure to do it well. Jae Ik runs into some friends at the elevator and they marvel at his strength; afterall, he’s been working with Jin A. He wonders what the big deal is about her and the friends tell him of her glory days, mimicking the dance and song. At work, Jin A is holding her program while the rest watch on. Jin A introduces the arrival of the new PD and manages to sneak in a jab as well. Haha, these two are so annoying to each other! In the afternoon, it starts raining and Jae Ik seems to get an idea and messages it to Jin A over the computer system. She starts playing a song at his request but says the singers name wrong and that riles him up. She doesn’t realize why its such a big matter if she said the name wrong but that gets him even more riled up.
As she’s walking home, her coworker stops his car and asks her if she’s still angry. She doesn’t get why Jae Ik is so angry and her colleague gives her an example- if someone called Purple Pink, how would she feel and gives her a few CD’s to listen to. She mulls it over as she listens to them on her way home. Next morning, she’s absent mindedly playing her guitar when she gets a text message. It’s from the new producer, as a reminder for her assignment, the new concept and reading it, she pretends to vomit. She asks her mother as a joke if she should simply just quit the radio but her mother tells her to wake up. Hearing her mother sing, she exclaims, “This is it!” Running off, she hugs and thanks her mum and then heads inside to write a proposal.
Everyone’s waiting in anticipation as Jae Ik reads over the proposal. He simply tells them with a long face to start at it as soon as possible. Jin A introduces the new concept segment in her program where normal everyday people are invited to sing songs. Jae Ik watches with a scowl as the first guest, an army soldier comes and participates in the show. Later, Jae Ik and the Director sit together as the Director criticizes their idea but Jae Ik defends it and asks for some time. They just need to perfect it. The Director tells him to go with something else, maybe a restructuring of the program and the DJ. Jin A is waiting for him outside when he comes out of the Director’s office. She asks if the outcome was bad and he asks her if she expected it to be good. She ekes out a meek apology but he tells her he’s the one who approved it so it’s not her fault, he’ll take responsibility for their team. Jin A smiles at his words as he walks away.
Next we see Tae Gun and Jin A stranded by the roadside as their car has troubles and no one stops to help them. They’re already late so Jin A throws a fit. She cries that they’ll never be able to get a taxi here and poor Tae Gun shouts out to the passing cars, “Save us. Save us!” Haha!
In the cab, the driver tells her he likes her radio program. She asks if he can make a request from her. Next, we see her and the driver in the radio station. Both head on air while Jae Ik watches, not fully comfortable with the idea. The driver takes out a letter and reads it out to his life. (She walked out on him and asks to see their daughter.) His confession is heartening and leaves everyone but Jae Ik in tears. He’s touched but doesn’t show his emotions so easily. The driver confesses he’s never sung in his life but dedicates the song to his wife. It’s her favorite song.
Jae Ik smiles the next morning when he sees an article on the internet about the driver and there’s a picture of Jin A, the driver and his daughter. We cut to see a dry cleaner taking some clothes down the street as he limps when two schoolgirls pass him and one greets him. The other lashes out at her friend, asking her why. Her friend points out she did it because it was her (the angry girl’s) father. The girl fumes and walks away while her father hears the exchange. When she gets home that night, her father greets her happily but she ignores him, causing her mother to chide her. The girl, Da Hae turns to the man, addressing him as ‘Ahjusshi’ and tells him not to be friendly with her friends. He agrees and tells her he’s sorry. Her mother moves to scold her but the guy stops her. Inside her room, she locks the door and finds a gift on the bed, from ahjusshi. It’s a birthday gift and the ahjusshi is her father. It’s a pair of headphones and an IPod with her favorite song. She puts it on and listens to it. Late that night, she stands behind and watches him as he works; a thoughtful look in her eyes as she holds his gift.
Jae Ik spies Jin A at the cafeteria but she doesn’t see him until he sits down behind her and loudly congratulates her. She returns the greeting before getting back to her own mobile. Jae Ik tries to see what she’s doing. She’s using some app to generate sounds as if composing a song. Tae Gun runs up to her in a fit and starts cursing for a bit before properly greeting Jae Ik and tells Jin A he’ll get the car. Her colleagues are also having a good day. When Jae Ik comes in, one of them hands him some papers. He doesn’t respond to Jin A’s excited greeting when she comes in but watches her walk away with a small scowl on his face. At the little girl’s home, mother tells her husband Da Hae has said to turn on the radio. Da Hae is at the radio station and addresses her dead father and tells him about the new ‘ahjusshi’ in her mother’s life. He’s not good looking as compared to her father and Da Hae didn’t like him in the beginning but he’s always been so good to her mother. She tells her father they’ve had a hard time since he died but the ‘ahjusshi’ told her he was happy to have a daughter like her and asks her dead father for permission to accept the ‘not so good looking ahjusshi’ as her father. She apologizes to ‘ahjusshi’ calling him father and thanks him for the present before singing the song he gave her in the IPod. At home, both mother and father cry and laugh at the gesture; their family is finally complete. In her restaurant, Jin A’s mother cries as she looks at the photo of herself and her husband.
Jin A’s on the terrace having coffee when Jae Ik walks up to her and tells her the idea for the new segment is good. He tells her there’s something he’s curious about and asks her what ‘wonderful radio’ (her program) means to her. Her answer satisfies him and brings a smile to his face. Suddenly, Tae Gun runs out in another fit, bringing a smile to both Jae Ik and Jin A’s faces. At the bar, Jae Ik looks around for the CD of Purple’s band and puts it on with a smile on his face. Everyone’s mood takes a cheerful upturn.
At broadcast later, Jae Ik thinks Jin A made another mistake announcing the singer’s name but finds out she is right. She shrugs at his quizzical look and he bursts out in a smile. Their ratings shoot up. Yoo PD congratulates his friend, the Director of the station. They also have a discussion about Jin A.
The team heads out to celebrate where Jin A challenges Jae Ik to a quiz. He refuses but everyone supports the idea and they decide the winner will get a wish granted. Jin A wins. They eat at Jin A’s mother’s restaurant and her mother asks Jae Ik to take good care of Jin A even though she isn’t good at listening to orders. Later that night, everyone else is drunk and after dropping them off all at their places, Jin A and Jae Ik head to the bar place. Jin A seems a bit drunk and recounts how she got the idea of the special segment from her mother’s singing and tells her she’ll tell him her wish later. She shows him a pencil from her bag, the only and only pencil she got from her father. He praises Purple’s song and she’s surprised at him. Drunk, they both head off home.
Work continues at the station as usual and Jin A tries to write a new song. Jin A and Jae Ik develop a good rapport between them while Tae Gun and Jin A’s colleague start dating. One day, a girl comes to the station and asks to sing ‘You are my Angel’, Purple’s song. Jin A is excited but the girl sings different lyrics and it turns out she has uploaded an old aged video on the internet of herself singing the song, at a much earlier date than when Purple sang it. That would mean Purple, and Jin A, plagiarized. Already the news has spread over the internet and Jae Ik and the rest check the internet comments. As she sings, the girl looks at everyone’s frantic expression with a smile. At the end of her performance, the girl accuses her of stealing her song. Jin A, confused and shocked, doesn’t know how to respond and a fight breaks out.
Jae Ik confronts her after the program and asks her to explain things, how could she fight with the guest. She asks him if she’s supposed to take it like that when someone’s making a false accusation. He points out that the video the girl uploaded is from before Purple debuted with the song. Jin A turns to go, realizing no one believes her. Jae Ik gets an earful from the Director but Jae Ik fights back regarding Jin A. She’s being treated unfairly but the Director is adamant.
Director and Yoo PD play snooker together and Yoo PD tells his friend he’s taken care of Jin A after all. At home, Jin A goes through all the negative slander on the internet and bursts into tears when her friend calls. She tells her not to take everything onto herself and tell them everything about what happened. Her friend, the partner from the Purple days, assures her that she is alright now and asks Jin A to come out with the truth. Jin A tells her friend she’s fine and hangs up.
The third partner from the Purple days (I haven’t caught her name yet, darn! Subtitles are handy at times like these) has taken over the show and is mighty pleased about it. Well, after all, she and her Yoo PD are the reason for it all. She’s high maintenance and no one is pleased to have her around. She even tries to hit on Jae Ik, proposing an outing after work but he deflects. He advises her to correct the name of the singer she just spoke wrong. He’s leaving when the actress asks her minion, more for Jae Ik’s ears than her own, how Jin A is doing these days, musing it would be impossible for her to ever get a respectable name in the industry again. Everyone muses how better things were with Jin A around. After hours, Jae Ik sits alone listening and watching the video of the other girl singing the song.
Jin A takes her new song to the agency that turns her down flat without even listening to it, telling her it doesn’t have ‘feeling’ and ask her if she really did plagiarize the song back then. She finds it hard to hold back tears later when eating bread at a convenience store and a group of girls spot her, badmouthing and slandering Purple. Once they’re gone, she breaks down into tears, stuffing herself with bread.
Jae Ik meanwhile goes to the club where the girl supposedly sang the song before Purple. Turns out, the café bar didn’t even exist ten years ago, when the girl supposedly sang the song here. The girl who supposedly sang and Yoo PD are having a ‘moment’ together at his office when Jae Ik bursts in. He tells the girl her supposed club didn’t even exist back then and realizes Yoo PD is behind it all and warns him to bring Jin A back. Tae Gun is now working for two idols. At first uneasy with his new wards, the three instantly warm up to each other when the boys remember Purple’s name and Tae Gun smiles in glee! They even dance to the steps together in the car!
At home, Jin A tells her mom the day didn’t work out and they both take to drinking to ease each other’s tensions. It’s a cute bonding moment where they both share heartfelt moments and for the first time, Jin A opens up with her mother and talks about her father and her mother tells her to ‘buck up and have strength!’
Jae Ik’s having coffee the next morning with the biggest scowl ever when he gets a message when he gets a text and lets out a short smile. Jin A shows up for the children concert Tae Gun had booked her for but they cancel on her. When she’s heading out, she finds Jae Ik at the door. He apologizes for not believing in her but she tells him not to worry, she’s fine. Even if she can’t be on the radio, even if she can’t sing, she’s fine. He tells her he came to tell her to sing. They relocate to his old working place and his friend greets them both happily and she heads on to work her song with Jae Ik and her new friend.
The impersonator heads on to TV and makes an official statement and apologizes to everyone with a long line of tears. Director and Yoo PD get together with Jae Ik to discuss a solution. They suggest a new idea and Jae Ik tells them its great but he’ll be using Jin A for it. Yoo PD goes so far as to threaten him against it.
Jin A’s friend from Purple comes to meet Mi Ra (The Actress, finally a name!) and tells her the real reason why Jin A disbanded Purple when she did. It was all to protect her. Mi Ra realizes the truth but doesn’t want to acknowledge it. Jae Ik gives Jin A, a CD of her song and asks her to sign it. Jae Ik asks her to come back to Wonderful Radio but she tells him she hasn’t the confidence. He also gives her a present and asks her to open it when she’s at home. His friend also gives her a CD in spite of Jae Ik’s protests. It’s a video of him singing a song. Jae Ik’s present is a box full of pencils for Jin A. Watching it brings a smile to Jin A’s face.
Poor Tae Gun has gone to being a chauffeur for school kids. A phone call lights him up and he heads to pick up Jin S from her restaurant/home. There’s preparation for an event in the station and the Director asks Jae Ik to rethink his decision. Yoo PD is a dangerous man to meddle with but Jae Ik tells the Director he will do things the way he sees fit. The staff of Wonderful Radio reunites in smiles.
Mi Ra finds an old album from their Purple days and smiles as she sees the old photographs. She calls up Yoo PD and asks him not to meddle with Jin A anymore. She tells him she’s gotten over everything and doesn’t want any more trouble but he tells her he’ll take care of it. At the event, Mi Ra starts hosting the program. Yoo PD’s minions inform him of something and he heads outside. There, Jin A is performing on the piano and congratulates on her new album. She asks him to step aside so she can prepare for her performance. He warns her against it, using Jae Ik as bait. Tae Gun runs up to Jae Ik and tells him Jin A’s leaving. He runs after her to stop her, asking her if she’s going to run away without a single thought about the people who care for her.
“Sing. For yourself, and for me.”
Mi Ra looks for Jin A backstage but doesn’t find her. She’s sitting outside where she answers a call from her mother who tells her to do well. Much later, Mi Ra debates whether to announce Jin A, who hasn’t showed up or to finish the show when she walks in and everyone applauds, except Yoo PD and Jae Ik breathes a sigh of relief. Jin A takes the stage and sings as Jae Ik leaves his badge on the table and heads out.
Director finds Jae Ik’s card on the table as Yoo PD walks in and creates a fuss. For once, the Director tells him to do whatever he wants, he won’t support him anymore. Jae Ik watches Jin A’s performance from the door and he and Jin A share smiles. She finds him at the terrace after the performance and asks him what kind of PD gives up his job for just a DJ. With a smile, she hands him back his card and gives him a light kiss. Both share a smile before Jae Ik moves in to kiss her.
WHAT A DRAG!!! It started out so nicely and promised a great setup but it had its own flaws and some of them were simply too major to ignore. One thing that annoyed me the most was that the whole idea and its sums felt too familiar and like rip offs. I can’t recall the name right now but I’m sure I’ve seen a movie, or a drama that follows the same girl group breaking up theme where one does it to protect the other and faces all the hardships that go with it. Then again, some characters were just too easily forgotten and most were completely underused! A good example: the girl who claims the song. And the storylines supporting these characters were more often than not a little too easy and outright stupid. Seriously, before recording the video, they never bothered to check their damn club hadn’t existed ten years ago? Were they out of clubs in the city? Oh God! I can’t believe I just wasted seven hours on such a movie (Watching + Recapping)! If you guys want senseless entertainment, this is a good choice, but if you want good entertainment, go with Plan B, it’ll probably be much better!