shameless, fiona finale
music friday: drummers

what i watched

Kiki's Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki, 1989). You might say this was recommended by my grandson. His parents are pretty strict about what he is allowed to watch, and Kiki is on that list. So he has seen it several times, as kids often do. It might not make my Top 5 Miyazakis (Princess MononokeNausicaä/Totoro/Spirited Away in any order, and pick-'em at #5 ... sure, make it Kiki), but since I've never seen one I didn't like, that's not exactly a thumbs down. (His mom said he was too young for Mononoke, and I suppose she's right.) We watched the American dub with Kirsten Dunst (whose nickname in real life is apparently "Kiki") and Phil Hartman ... Pamela Adlon was apparently in there, too, but I wasn't listening for her. I'm on record as being fine with dubbing in animated films if it's done well, and it's just fine in this case, plus the six-year-old understood what people were saying. (On the other hand, we watched it with him once in Japanese with English subtitles ... he couldn't read the subtitles, but he had already seen the movie enough times that he knew what was going on.) Miyazaki movies are real problems for me and artificial intelligence recommendation engines, since those systems assume I love animation because I give Miyazaki such high ratings. The machine can't tell the difference between Spirited Away and Shark Tale.

The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, 1997). This was recommended by Bright Wall/Dark Room. I had seen it long ago, but only remembered the keys scene. I don't know why, but I also thought I remembered being unimpressed, so I'm glad I watched again after all these years, because it is very good indeed. The casting director was Avy Kaufman, who has a ton of credits to her name ... she did a great job here. Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, and Sigourney Weaver were the biggest stars, but everyone was good. And the kids, many of whom are stars now, were also brilliantly cast: Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes. Also worth mentioning is Adam Hann-Byrd, very unsettling in his part ... he has gone on to be a writer. The kids aren't just well-cast. Lee draws realistic portrayals from them all (writer James Schamus, or even Rick Moody, who wrote the original novel, surely deserve some of the credit, as well). #972 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of all time. The actors weren't the only ones who were cast, as this short clip demonstates (I believe the narrator is production designer Mark Friedberg):

I've only seen a few Ang Lee films, but this ranks with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at the top.

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