Comparing Taiwan’s Most Successful Films: “You are the Apple of My Eye” vs. “Our Times”

Hello 2016! Hello readers! I’m here today to give you a comparative analysis on Taiwan’s all-time smash-hit films from 2011 and last year. Having rewatched both films recently, I decided to write a post about these successful films in detail and also my theories on why they turned out to be everyone’s favorites.

As much as I love having a lot of readers, I do recommend that you read this only when you have seen both films. If not, then I hope this post will make you want to watch them (or at least one) and enjoy as much as I did.

NOTE:Β “You are the Apple of My Eye” as a title can be tiring to type repeatedly so I’ll be referring to it simply asΒ Apple while “Our Times” will still be referred as it is. My quality of “Our Times” (360p) screencaps isn’t as good as Apple (720p) because I’m still waiting for my DVD for a better quality πŸ˜‰

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Idols

Both protagonists had their own legendary idols but they had their own reasons as well.

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In Apple, Ko Teng (protagonist played by Kai ko) idolizes Bruce Lee as he fondly calls him his “Master”. He loves Martial Arts or fighting as a sport which would be seen in the latter part of the film.

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In Our Times, Lin Zhenxin (protagonist played by Vivian Sung) is Andy Lau’s ultimate fangirl. She remained to be one even when she reached her 30’s already as seen in the latter part of the film as well.


Dumb and Smart

The main leads weren’t necessarily dumb but they sure needed help from someone smarter aka their true loves πŸ˜‰

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Ko Teng didn’t care about his studies at all and so it’s Shen Chia-Yi (played by Michelle Chen) to the rescue! They studied day and night just to attain their goals.

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Our female lead Lin Zhenxin cares about her studies, it’s just that she has to exert more effort and take lessons from our charming male lead, Xu Taiyu (played by Darren Wang). They also spent a lot of time studying together for their own reasons too.

 


Friends for Keeps

You can’t go through high school and growing up without people to have special moments to be shared with. Both films showed the importance of friendship in life.

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In Apple, the lives of the main lead’s friends were included in the story as if their lives are all intertwined. They went through high school, college, and even all the way until the end. From doing what young boys usually do to attending weddings, they are really friends for keeps!

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Unlike Apple, Our Times didn’t really focus on the friends of the main lead. It’s reasonable actually since there wasn’t really anything to focus on our lead’s friends unlike the story in Apple. However, it was still evident that these friends have always been there to support her may it be for fangirling or for her love matters.


 

Taking the blame

What’s a youth/nostalgia-themed movie without a captivating male lead? *swoons*.

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Star student Shen Chia-Yi forgot her textbook and our male lead took the blame which was really heroic given that their teacher was in a horrible mood. He didn’t really care because he’s used to being punished all the time anyway.

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Our too-goodie female lead wrote her teacher a chain letter in which our male lead took the blame as well. Just like Ko Teng, Xu Taiyu’s already used to it. Just a regular day in his life haha!


Supernatural

For some reason, both films included a supernatural element for comedy’s sake. I felt that both scenes weren’t really needed but they made the films truly Taiwanese – silly but endearing.

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In Apple, there is a group of zombies jumping in one of the mountains in the country. Ko Teng told Chia-yi that these zombies might be near their town anytime soon just to scare and make fun of her.

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In Our Times, one of the people in their group photo during their camping trip became “translucent” as it was being examined by some form of Ghostbusters on TV. They used that as a reason why Xu Taiyu randomly disappeared (lol).


Topple the Dictator

Evil directors/principals? Check. What we have to do now is to defy their orders! Yup, this was seen in both films which showed the teamwork of the whole class or even the whole student body.

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In Apple, the school director wanted the class to write their three suspects regarding some stolen cash. What?! Of course, the whole class was in full disagreement and defied the director’s orders. I felt that the director was not the only one being disrespectful here,Β butΒ what the students did was also inappropriate.

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New school director is accusing our male lead of cheating. The whole student body became the director’s enemy all thanks to Lin Zhenxin’s leadership.


Ambition

Aside from enjoying their youth, they must also have plans for the future. It doesn’t matter if it’s possible or not because in the end, it’s still the person who makes his or her choices in life.

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“And you’re the one who can make it better”. This scene was A+ not only in the cheesiness, but also in the execution. Shen Chia-Yi didn’t get into the university that she wanted but she lived her life enjoying it. As for Ko Teng, his aspirations to be a fighter didn’t fit Chia-Yi’s beliefs which caused a huge conflict in the film. He then became a blogger/writer and proved to be successful. This is the director and writer Giddens Ko’s true story after all.

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We were introduced to the female lead all grown-up living a life that she didn’t really expect to have which led to her feeling miserable about it. Lin Zhenxin and Xu Taiyu both wanted to go to Tai Da (Taiwan’s premier university) but it didn’t happen. However, we ended this film knowing that both ended up being successful in their lives.


Flashbacks with Revelations

This is one element of movies with this kind of theme that never goes without. It’s also my favorite part because I love finding out what really happened before in the film that didn’t make any sense at first. Let’s also include the fact that I love crying and being heart-broken just because of this haha! Both movies had the protagonist’s true love declare their love for the protagonist.

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Shen Chia-Yi never said those words above directly to our main lead but she did through this sky lantern that they lit up together in their younger days.

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Xu Taiyu never said that he liked our female lead in front of her but he eventually did through a tape recording. Oh the drama!


Ending

I loved both endings of the film. I love bittersweet endings and Apple did it best! It left my heart tingling with both pain and happiness and I’m sure that it was what the protagonist felt too.

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While Our Times made it almost like a fairytale and a lot didn’t like the use of different actors as grown-up versions of the leads. I know, I felt that way at first but for some reason, I still ended up tearing up and having an outburst of feels even when they were portrayed by different actors already. It can also be the fact that it was my #1 love who portrayed it so okay fine, I may be a little bit biased… HAHA!

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Awards

It’s not all hype if prestigious film festivals and award-giving bodies have taken notice of these films. Vivian Sung was nominated in the Best Actress category of the 52nd Golden Horse Awards which was also the case with Michelle Chen a few years ago.

“Our Times” was nominated in the Best Picture category while its director, Frankie Chen was nominated in the Best New Director in the recent Golden Horse Awards. Giddens Ko was also nominated in the same category in 2011.

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They may not have won those awards but Kai Ko of Apple won a Golden Horse for being the Best Newcomer. His life has never been the same again as he starred in one successful film to another (he’s nowhere to be seen now but that’s a different story).

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Music

What’s a great movie without its great music?!

“Those Years” in Apple was written by Giddens especially for the movie so expect this to have a more heartfelt feel. To be honest, this OST never stayed with me and I even forgot about it. It was only recently that my friend told me that she loved it so much and that was when I only took notice of it. This was nominated in the 48th Golden Horse Awards for Best Original film song but it didn’t win.

On the other hand, “Little Fortune” (or “Little Happiness”) sang by Hebe Tian is my absolute favorite of any film OST! I’ve been watching various covers of this song and it’s only Hebe who could sing it so well as it fit very well in the film. This was also nominated in the 52nd Golden Horse Awards but also had the same fate with “Those Years”.

Since people have been comparing these two films, then might as well create a mash-up of these songs. Enjoy the feels!

There’s a very awesome acapella mash-up here too!


MY WINNER:

It’s the 2015 smash-hit film that has captured my heart! It’s what everyone calls as the female version of “You are the Apple of My Eye” and that’s exactly the reason why I ended up loving it more than the former.

I can see myself in the female lead of “Our Times” and I think that’s why movies like it and “You are the Apple of My Eye” are successful films. It is because they are able to make their audience feel that the lives of the leads are just similar to theirs.


 

The director of Our Times, Frankie Chen, has already answered regarding the comparisons. She dismissed those comments by saying that it’s impossible for her childhood to be the same as anyone else. With that, I only created this post out of leisure and not to disrespect her.

I have already written my brief reviews of these films and more about my preference as well earlier here. Now, it’s time for me to know yours! Which movie do you like more, “Our Times” or “You are the Apple of My Eye”? Neither or both? I was planning to set up a poll here but things didn’t go my way so just tell me your insights in the comments section below πŸ˜‰

 

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18 thoughts on “Comparing Taiwan’s Most Successful Films: “You are the Apple of My Eye” vs. “Our Times”

  1. Marilina

    Hola, mi querida Dramarian . . here you are again … writing beautiful items for those who are very fond of Taiwanese/Chinese movies . . Muchas gracias, my dear. Although, we are not familiar with the related shows; we are more attracted with what you have written here . . You are now becoming an expert of Chinese/Taiwanese entertainment . . Lo que una historia romantica . . We wish we have all the time to watch these shows . . If only we are there in Asia…. sighs . . Anyway, all the best again for this 2016! Todo lo mejor . . .

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Thank you very much for reading even if you guys aren’t so familiar with it! You’re too kind πŸ˜€ Hope you can visit Asia soon!

      I wish you and your friends all the best for this 2016 as well!

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  2. archidisign

    YES! Me too, I love Our Times. But to be fair, I never finished Apple before. I didn’t know exactly why before, but after watching Our Times, I understood: it is because I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters of Apple! Hence, I find OT a better improved version ^^ Plus, just by the stills, it feels like OT is way more comical than Apple. Great comparison article!

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Both films had boring and draggy moments but I was able to withstand them more in Our Times! It’s also about how well the watcher could relate with the character. Apple’s humor catered to boys more so now I have to ask the boys who watched both films which film they prefer more haha! I laughed more in OT as well, old-school chain letter? Classic haha! Thank you for reading, dear ❀

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  3. Kate - skimmedmilkdrama

    I never got the hype over You Are the Apple of My Eye. Maybe I was too young when I watched it so I couldn’t relate at all? Our Times was very enjoyable, with a lot of relatable and funny moments but I didn’t like that too much because I thought it was overdramatic and fairytale-ish for a movie that claims to ‘live out the life of every girl’ :p I love Apple’s “Those Years” a lot though! And I don’t see the charm in “Little fortune” even though my friend keeps on singing it everywhere πŸ˜›

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I never got the hype as well! The reason why I was able to watch it in the first place because it’s all over the internet that it’s Taiwan’s #1 movie so I had to check it out for myself.

      Another theory of mine regarding its success is that, Apple was probably the pioneer of youth/nostalgia-themed movies and now China & Taiwan keep producing such films many times after Apple’s success.

      That’s true!! How is it possible that you get to meet your ultimate idol all because Jerry set it up?? HAHA kidding aside, Apple wins in having a more logical and realistic ending that Our Times didn’t have.

      I love “Little Fortune” more probably because I loved Our Times more than Apple so maybe that explains it haha! I listen to it almost everyday and I totally don’t blame your friend haha!

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  4. bxnshee__

    i watched both film last year too bcs of ur movie recommendation!! i love apple more and already rewatched it like 3 times…oh btw,i watched our times first…Our times is great but i can feel the “love” more in apple..for ost i like apple more too πŸ˜‚ but still both are great πŸ‘

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    1. dramarian Post author

      it warms my heart that someone actually reads my recommendations πŸ˜₯ I totally understand because that’s what my sister said too! I’ll say it again but I think I like the OST of Our Times just because I like the film more haha! thank you so much for reading and commenting, dear πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

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  5. Yui

    hi. i love reading your review. and i’ve chosen the same movie. OUR TIMES. i even wrote my own review cuz i love this movie so much. while apple, hmm.. i like it, but… not as much as OT. perhaps, i feel more like the female lead in OT lol. i was just not sure which part of apple that really related to me, hahaha… perhaps becuz it was a boy’s point of view.

    but the ending of apple was such a heartbreak. i still remember it and feel the pain, haha.

    ps : your profile, haha… having a face like baby, beautiful clothes in fan bing bing’s closet.. and yes, ‘marry to Jerry’ was also my teenager dream. πŸ˜€

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    1. dramarian Post author

      thank you so much, Yui! πŸ˜€ it’s the best TW-movie ever! that’s exactly why OT is much more relatable because of the relatable-ness with the female lead!

      glad to know that you wrote a review and I will definitely read it now! HAHA yes, a girl can dream, right? πŸ˜‰

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  6. Addie

    Hello Dramarian, thanks for ruining my tear ducts :)) I love both films, I can relate more to Our Times too cuz it’s a female’s point of view; but I have to re-watch it first before I say I love it more than Apple. Bwahaha. You are my chocolate. I hope more high school nostalgia films will be made, I love bittersweet movies and epic plot twists. ❀

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I’m not sure if I know you but I already love you, Addie πŸ˜‰ HAHAHA

      Rewatch then swim in the feels, that’s how we roll!! Or be like IMDb and play it safe by giving the same rating for both movies haha! There’s a lot out there especially from China but I haven’t seen anything that could match up with both of these movies because if I did, I would’ve told you right away haha!

      Love ya, Addieballs :*

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  7. cloudandsea

    I prefer Apple for the cinematography and how it was a very fresh way of directing. I hated the ending though!!! But it left a very big impact on my heart. I guess it is because of Kai Ko. πŸ˜› I was really excited for Our Times and I waited super long for it to come out! But maybe I watched the trailer for too many times or what, I found that the movie was disappointing because it was quite predictable? And I thought that Wang Da Lu’s acting was quite exaggerated and he pretty much give that smile in every situation.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Thank you for your insightful comment! I feel like I liked OT more because there were least dragging and boring parts for me compared to Apple. You’re totally right about Kai though! LOVE that young man ❀ in terms of unpredictability, you are also right because I found Apple to be less predictable πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much again for reading and commenting! πŸ™‚

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  8. Francisca

    I watched You Are The Apple of My Eye last month because I was searching for Chinese movies about school romance and that was the most popular one I found, and damn, I really liked it, so today I was searching for similar movies and i came across this page, so obviously I just finished watching Out Times and I really liked it as well! Both of them have definitely become my favorite movies but if I have to choose a winner it would be apple… I can’t describe how much I like it, it just filled me with joy and even with energy πŸ˜„ both are amazing, truly worth watching.
    Greetings from Chile.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Thank you very much for dropping by and sharing your opinions! Like I said, I prefer OT more because I could relate to it more and I found Apple to be draggier but anyway, to each his own πŸ˜‰ Greetings from the Philippines to Chile! πŸ™‚

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  9. Little Ahjumma

    I watched them both and still rewatching them whenever I feel like it. Both are my favorite but I have to agree that, from woman point of view (as I’m a woman) I like Our Times better! And yes, simply bcs I want to escape the bitter real world that I watch a fairy-tale like movie.
    We’re all experiencing the bitterness of first love – or a memorable love story during high school (which didn’t end up good for me) that’s why I’m looking for a lovey-dovey happy ending in romance movies.

    Beside, Our Times was really clever to cast the Asian megastar Jerry Yan (who was basically everyone’s ultimate idol during Meteor Garden era) to portray adult Xu Taiyu who’s I predicted to be every girl darling after watching Our Times (but sadly he didn’t pull off as well as Darren Wang *sob) I was jumping off my seat when I saw Jerry face on my screen and scream out my lungs HOLYSHIT IT’S DAO MING SE!
    And Joe Chen is really cute to fangirl in her end 20s. I feel like I can see myself in her when I’m about her age (surely I will still scream out to see TVXQ having a reunion concert in next 10 years)

    I really like your judgment towards these 2 Taiwan mega-hit and I see your opinion matches my thought. I’m looking forward another movie review of yours! Cheers from Indonesia!

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Actually thought that I probably liked OT over Apple because of Jerry and Joe’s appearance but then I got really bored more with Apple and like you said, OT’s more relatable because of the girl’s POV! I’d be like Joe if I get to see F4 reunited! 😁 Thank you very much! Hoping that I get to write more but in the meantime, you may check our dramas & films index to read some reviews that we wrote which you may want to look into! Thank you again! Sending love from the Philippines to Indonesia! πŸ™‚

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