It's almost midnight and I've just finished watching Mimi wo sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart)(1995). It was kind of a nice end to the weekend since I started off on Friday with Heavy Metal (1981). They're interesting to contrast. Heart is a simple story, stunningly animated (it's a Studio Ghibli film so of course it is) and made for a primarily young female audience. Metal is crudely animated on a minuscule budget and obviously made for horny teenage boys. I guess it means that boys escape with movies about having sex with impossibly proportioned women and girls escape with dramas about falling in love?
They're both well worth watching, although you'll probably need a few beers before you can properly get into Heavy Metal.
I watched another Ghibli film on Saturday, Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) (1988). It was the first Ghibli film that I've seen that wasn't set in a fantasy world, although it had fantasy creatures in it. One thing that really strikes me every time I put one of these movies in is how different they are from American animated films. There's no blatant pop culture referencing, no stupid puns, no wacky characters to annoy the piss out of parents who watch with their kids, inevitably voiced by Robin Williams. The Disney trailers that run when you put the DVDs in are so markedly different, that it's almost stunning. I would not only recommend these films, but anything put out by Ghibli or with Hayao Miyazaki's name on it. I'm working my way through all the ones I can get my hands on right now.
So what else did I get in? Night of the Lepus for one. What a joke of a movie. The joke is that it's not scary at all, but the people making it thought it was. Or did they? it's hard to tell if they were serious or not. Just the premise alone is enough to make you snicker: Killer bunny rabbits. Now I know that rabbits can be pretty fierce in the wild. They have very strong back legs and sharp claws and have been known to disembowel cats for crying out loud. But seeing a group of domesticated rabbits hopping down the street (in slow motion!) isn't going to strike fear into the hearts of anyone at all, and it's almost mind boggling to think that the filmmakers though it was going to.
Throw in the fact that the director was primarily known for making westerns and shot the damn film like a cheap western (IE really badly and with no attempt at moody lighting or music) and you've got a movie so impossibly bad that it's hard to wrap your mind around it.
And thus we move to Pink Flamingos (1973). I had never seen a John Waters film before and felt this was a good place to start. How do I describe what it feels like to watch this? Imagine a home movie made by a cast of carnival freaks and geeks. They make their money by making people feel as uncomfortable as possible. And that's what Flamingos does. It wallows in it's own filth and sickness, constantly trying to top itself in crudeness and gross outs. I loved it though. It's the kind of low budget trash that I always seem to enjoy best for some reason. Yeah, I watch good movies too, I try and get a variety, but what Bergman film is going to have a guy singing out of his ass? Or have an overweight drag queen eating fresh dog shit? I have this weird love of the bizarre and off-beat and these movies are where I get my fix.
I'll never look at eggs or listen to Patti Page quite the same way again though...
Sorry these aren't more comprehensive reviews. I hate giving away plot details for people that haven't seen the movies. It was a pretty good weekend as far as movies went. These were all worth watching for different reasons. Next time I think is going to be all Ghibli or Ghibli related films. The company I rent from is kind of weird in what it sends me though, which I kind of like.
Oh yeah, I got drunk on Jack and sprite on Friday night and re-watched parts of Heavy Metal with a friend that came over. So I've watched it sober and drunk, and believe me, it's much better when you're hammered. Probably when you're stoned too, although I've never smoked so I wouldn't know.