Touching stories, understated romance, and the power of a song fill the air waves in this week’s DramaFever Movie, Love On-Air. Lee Min Jung and Lee Jung Jin deftly lead a versatile cast through the bitter and sweet of a successful radio program. Prepare to laugh and cry as we move through a poignant, but ultimately happy, story written by Lee Jae Ik. A radio producer himself, Lee Jae Ik brought a reality to the story which moved us in its heartfelt moments. Join Taleena, Firnlambe, and Wendilynn as we discuss the highlights and impressions we had from this movie.

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Taleena: OK Ladies let’s get this out of the way. I really liked this movie, but I got a major Greatest Love vibe from it.

Plot points that were the same:

  • Former girl group member
  • Who works in the fringe of her field
  • Who broke up her group to save a former member
  • Who has a member still bitter over it
  • Who dreams of following her artistic vision once more
  • Who is kind to almost everyone
  • Even the new young girl group who are clueless and catty
  • Who has an adorbs but spastic and devoted manager
  • Love interest who is good looking but intimidating
  • Helps her realize her dream

Props to the fact that even WITH all the parallels, Love On Air managed to tell it’s own story. I think that had most to do with the focus of Jin Ah’s listener stories.

Firnlambe: I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one to see these similarities between drama and movie . . .

Wendilynn: Thankfully, its been so long since I’ve seen that drama that I wasn’t plagued by comparisons so I could enjoy the movie on its own. But Taleena is right, even with the similarities, it is its own story.

Taleena: I also think that the hero was substantially different, even if the main female lead felt very familiar. Cha Seung Won’s Dokko Jin in Greatest Love began in a much more arrogant and entitled place than Lee Jung Jin’s romantic lead, Jae Ik. He is much more grounded. I’d call him more confident than arrogant.

Firnlambe: Oh for sure, even with his little clash ego’s in the beginning he’s much more grounded than Dokko Jin.

Wendilynn: I would agree with you, arrogance is not a characteristic of our Lee Jae Ik. Anyone else find it funny that our lead male has our writer’s name?

Taleena: Proving Mary Sue-ing is universal? Or is this based on a true story?

Wendilynn: I didn’t find anything that said this was a true story, but it is based on his own experiences working as a radio producer.

Taleena: That might explain why the romance was realistic and not particularly Drama-y. Readers? Care to enlighten us?

Wendilynn: You mean it wasn’t hot and heavy? lol

Taleena: No one got amnesia, hit by a car, or cast out of their family - or turned into a gumiho.

Wendilynn: ROFL! Oh my gosh, that’s awesome.

Favorite moments from the movie?

Taleena: Lee Min Jung at her nadir choking down convenience store bulgogi burger while pretending not to hear high school girls dragging her name through the mud.

Firnlambe: I felt so bad for her right here . . . this was the moment her character turned around for me. Up until this point she was always sort of annoying in my mind

Wendilynn: I felt so bad for her in this scene. If these dramas taught me nothing its that Korean kids are rude little buggers. lol

Taleena: It was when she went to the hospital to see the taxi driver’s daughter that I started to like her.

Taleena: Jung Man Sik as the taxi driver singing to his dead wife, both on the radio and at the 1000 episode extravaganza. Bonus points to me for remembering him as the “Candies” manager from Greatest Love.

Wendilynn: These stories is where I started to really like the movie. Where I started to feel its heart. 

Firnlambe: Agreed . . . I’d liked the movie from the start, but only from a plot line point of view. Here is where I started to like the character relationships on a whole.

LOA stepdad.jpg

Taleena: Ji Dae Han as the step dad absolutely destroyed by his stepdaughter finally accepting him.

Wendilynn: Being a single mom, I worry about my kids ever accepting another man in their lives, if and when that ever happens. So this scene slayed me. I cried so much. It was so touching.

Taleena: The mom’s quiet tears as she continues to work were also nice. She didn’t disturb the step dad just softly cried.

Taleena: Lee Kwang Soo pushing Purple’s song to the drunk boy band guys and them doing the dance moves to “You Are My Angel” in their seats. Also his sad sack morning after turned Romance. And the EPIC FanBoying at the Purple Concert. “I’ve got MIDTERMS! *voice breaking*!”

Firnlambe: Ok Drama Clubbers . . . I don’t think I can stress enough my love for Lee Kwang Soo. If you’ve read any of the It’s Okay, That’s Love DCs you should have noticed how I tried to make sure we kept one section reserved for his character Soo Kwang. And this role has done nothing to sway me from that affection. His fan-boy self was just hysterical!!

Wendilynn: I watched this movie for Kwang Soo, so I’m with you on this one. He proved himself adorable and he had me laughing so much. He kept bad-mouthing people right next to them.

Taleena: Every time he started bad mouthing her new producer I just laughed and laughed.

Wendilynn: And that love motel shot. Oh my goodness, how in the world can you make love in that room?

Firnlambe: DEAR GOD THE LOVE MOTEL!!! That place was creepy, borderline scary!! Not romantic by ANY means.

Taleena: Is that the room with the weird cartoon on the walls? I wondered: Yeesh! Whose room was that?!

Wendilynn: One would have to be seriously drunk, I think to stay in it. All those bears and stuff on the walls. Yeah, no thank you, no wonder Nan Seol freaked out.  I did love finding out that he was the author of the weekly flower basket to Nan Seol.

Firnlambe: Thaaaat was cute //sigh// can we just give Kwang Soo a leading role already?

Taleena:I have felt that way since Nice Guy. His utter heartbreak for Joon Ki, the protectiveness for Choco, and the subplot of his father dying in Nice Guy showed he has lead actor chops.

Wendilynn: No arguments there. I’m ready to see him in one. Although I don’t think the comedy gods have finished with him being a goofball quite yet. I’d love to know how his character became her manager without scaring her. lol

Taleena: Lee Jung Jin’s refusal to let her sacrifice herself for his job - and calling her on her tendency to martyr herself. Hallelujah! Also his reaction to Jin Ah's mom not so subtle sizing him up as son in law material.

Wendilynn: When she said she didn’t approve of office relationships, I cracked up laughing.

Firnlambe: Agreed on the son-in-law material ^-^ It was nice to see this actress in a nice role for a change . . . my last exposure to her was in Marriage not Dating.

Wendilynn: yes, she was mildly horrid in that drama.*snort* I was glad to see her happy and singing. She usually gets cast as the cranky mother. Here she was all sweet and feisty.

Firnlambe: I feel we need to discuss the cameo in this movie . . . I just about DIED laughing, the acting may have been a bit awkward coming from Kim Jong Kook at times, but the fact that both he and Gary came out to support.

Wendilynn: That scene was hilariously awkward. But I think it was deliberately awkward, not something that just happened. Also we have Cultwo in the elevator. They run the radio show that our writer actually produces. They are the first to give praise about our Jin Ah to the new PD for being an awesome person despite her prickly character.

Taleena: I just don’t know enough to contribute, having exhausted my “It’s That Guy!” on the taxi driver.

Wendilynn: This movie actually had quite a few cameos from some giants in the industry.

Taleena: One thing I really liked was the fact that this movie was about her personal journey and was more about them coming to know, trust and understand each other. I liked that it wasn’t a lightening bolt of love, but a slow build. Plus the light snowfall kiss at the end was nice.

Wendilynn: I loved how sweet and understated the romance was. That video of him trying to sing to her was so adorable.

Taleena: Was he trying to sing to her? Or just sing because he was inspired by her?

Wendilynn: I was under the impression that he was helping out a friend sing that song either to her or for her and they gave it to her. But I don’t think they actually make that very clear. That scene in the recording booth where he gives her the present and they scuffle over the cd was a little confusing.

Firnlambe:I took it as he was singing the song to her, but never intended to give it to her. Which is why the producer forced it into her bag last minute when she was given her birthday give and then Jae Ik tried so desperately to get it back.

Taleena: I did like his friend. I really liked his friend giving him the thumbs up when he put “Angel” on in the club.

Wendilynn: That was Kim Tae Won who would be the sort of person who’d have a bar covered in records to listen to.

Wendilynn:I especially enjoyed the extravaganza wrap up to the movie. You get to see how our singers found results through sharing their stories. That poor soldier found his love, poor girl. lol But I also enjoyed how everyone FINALLY stood up to that jerk of a manager.

Firnlambe: Agreed!! Not gonna lie, I was clapping like a fool when the president of the broadcasting company went “Go ahead and pull your talent [...] I’m boycotting them anyway”.

Wendilynn: I’m also glad they redeemed Miri by letting her know the real reason the group broke up in the first place. I could tell from the friendship of the other two girls that whatever happened didn’t make them all hate each other so it couldn’t have been total betrayal.

Taleena: That part very much reminded me of the Greatest Love, when one former member confessed to the other former member, bring about understanding for our main character's choices.

Recommendation?

Wendilynn: I found this movie very enjoyable to watch. I laughed at the beginning, cried in the middle and fell in love at the end. Such a sweet story for anyone looking for a quiet sort of romance. Any man can watch this movie without sacrificing his man card too much and earn brownie points with his kdrama loving S.O.

Taleena: While some of the similarities to Greatest Love were distracting to me in the beginning, by the time we began to see the stories of her radio audience I felt the movie hit its stride. I recommend this movie as a great way to decompress after watching a drama heavy on the rollercoaster of feels. It is touching enough to not be TOTAL fluff, but funny enough that you walk away feeling good, not drained. Plus, the OST is not to be missed, especially Jin Ah’s comeback song.

Firnlambe: I’m also going to have to recommend this drama if you’re looking for a nice fun movie that you can just relax and enjoy . . . there’s no death, no massive plot twists . . . just an upbeat story with just the right mix of comedy and romance. Sorry manly men . . this movie probably isn’t for you-—BUT, ladies, feel free to force them to watch it anyways. For the comedy if nothing else.

For more from your Movie Club check out our links to other drama clubs:

Wendilynn:@WendilynnK /As the Kimchi Turns /Facebook /Google +/ Bride of the Century/ Angel Eyes/ Trot Lovers/ Very Ordinary Couple / Code Name: Jackal | Say I Do Again | Genome Hazard | Discovery of RomanceDetective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow

Firnlambe: Soju-Like-Kdramas | @firnlambe | Google + | Bride of the Century | Triangle | It's Okay, That's Love | My Lovable Girl | Code Name: Jackal | Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow | Secretly, Greatly | Love On Air

Taleena: High School Love On | Greatest MarriageYou Are All SurroundedDetective K: Secret of the Virtuous WidowBride of the CenturyAs the Kimchi Turns |  Also check out my latest article for DramaFever: 4 Worries when Hollywood remakes K-dramas