(gb) wrote: This is two short films in one, from the legend Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Spirited Away. This is some of his early work, and although it's not as weird as some of his newer stuff, it is still a little strange. A talking Panda that sounds like his from Jamaica, and steam trains that work under water. It's not meant to be serious, and it's a lot of fun, it does not look that dated, even if it is nearly 40 years old, but I think children today will still love it. One thing to be warned about is the Panda! Go Panda! song, which with one hearing you will be singing it for weeks!
(kr) wrote: Wasn't There More Room For Non-Gratuitous Sex? You know, I'm pretty sure most "obsessed fan" movies, with the exception of [i]The Bodyguard[/i], are about people, usually women, stalking men. I think this is probably because we're supposed to be identifying with male victims, though I would think female ones were usually considered inherently more thrilling. But in movies, most things happen to men, not women. If I were Rebecca Schaeffer, I'd be pretty upset about the whole thing--or anyway, I would be if I weren't dead. For every John Lennon, there's at least one Rebecca Schaeffer and probably more. In politics, the victims are usually men, but that's hardly surprising, all things considered. And even if you look at politics, there's also the whole "impressing Jodie Foster" thing. It's an odd step away from the "women in danger" trope. I guess we're just supposed to think that men are more worth stalking when they're famous. Though "famous" is a relative term. Dave (Clint Eastwood) is a DJ on a jazz station in Carmel, California. He's got fans, but it's hardly superstardom. Still, Dave has a pretty decent life, especially given the era. He has a set-up which lets him pick up chicks, and one night, he picks up Evelyn (Jessica Walter), who is actually one of his fans. They fool around, and Dave assumes that's all it is. What's more, there is Tobie (Donna Mills), his ex-girlfriend with whom he is still in love. She had gone away for a while, but she's back now, and she seems at least slightly willing to start things with Dave anew. However, Evelyn believes that she and Dave are in love, and she won't listen when Dave tells her that, no, he isn't. She won't listen when he breaks up with her, because of course he can't be serious. She calls him all the time. She follows him. And she is not pleased with the fact that he's interested in another woman, because he is meant to be with her. I think another issue here is that women are supposed to be more ruled by their emotions than men. It's only natural if a woman is obsessed enough to stalk someone after a one-night stand, because women are more easily attached than men. We're raised to believe this, and it shapes how we perceive the world. Obviously, it's entirely possible for men to be obsessed with women; real-world examples are awfully plentiful. And, yeah, there are also plenty of women obsessed with men, but most of the notoriously violent examples are men acting out their violent fantasies toward women. Violence is a means of control, after all, and while women are raised to believe that they are emotional, not logical, we also believe that the right way for a man to react in certain situations is with violence. Certainly men are traditionally supposed to struggle for control with those around them, especially the women in their lives. Even if the connection is imaginary, there is still the impulse toward violence. The ending struck me as a bit abrupt. I was with it up until about the last two minutes, and then it seems as though they felt the need for a "happily ever after" even if it didn't entirely make sense. It is, after all, what the genre requires. However, there isn't a lot of setup given. It is also a part of the genre that Our Hero should save the day, especially when he is played by Clint Eastwood, especially when Clint Eastwood is also the director, but Our Hero is miles away when he works out what is going on--which I worked out well before he did even without the clue, which I didn't hear. It's also a movie wherein someone runs to the rescue and accomplishes nothing but their own death, and I tend to find that irritating, especially if we've been encouraged to like the character. I generally find myself wondering why they bothered, when a simple Red Shirt would have done just as well. It would save time to gear toward the remaining plot or else shorten the movie, often something movies like this need. I don't know what the deal was with the radio station; it seems that Dave's show routinely featured just about anything that would fit under the category of "jazz" without worrying about whether or not the pieces fit together in any kind of reasonable fashion. Jazz is, after all, an awfully broad category. The Tobie subplot was necessary, of course, but the sex scene/music video wasn't, particularly. The scenes at the Monterey Jazz Festival mostly seem to have been based on Clint Eastwood's realization that he could get paid to go to the Monterey Jazz Festival and film, and wouldn't you, if you could? Even leaving aside my displeasure about the gender politics of the film, it also just didn't seem as though certain aspects were thought all the way through. There are a few points where it was clear that Eastwood, whose directorial debut this was, had a long way to go before he would become the man who would go on to bring us [i]Unforgiven[/i], much less [i]Letters From Iwo Jima[/i].