Friday, March 2, 2012

Top Five Japanese Movies

While looking forward to recording this Sunday (!!!!8 hours in the studio!!!!!), I've been trying my hardest to get over a nasty little lingering cold (that I've been nursing for the past three weeks....) and have been laying around my apartment watching movies more often this week than I usually do. Now. When it comes to Japanese movies.... I'm pretty skeptical. I've seen my fair share of horrid Japanese films (and I think I'm about done with actors not knowing how to stage kiss either...) that have absolutely no flow, the vaguest story known to man, and a theme that is so deeply imbedded in imagery and metaphor, it probably drowned before it hit the theaters. That being said, time and time again I give Japanese movies a chance (because when the love stories are cute and simple, I just can't help but spew hearts at the adorableness) and will randomly go to TSUTAYA and pick up two movies that appeal to me from the cover of the DVD box alone. By doing this, I've come to find some of my absolute favorite movies of all time. So, without further ado, I give you the "Gotta Tell Someone Top Five Ranking!"

Top Five Best Japanese Movies (IMO)

 5. BECK: Movies based off of manga/anime/dramas are kind of hit-and-miss in my opinion. I've seen dozens of them (Hana Yori Dango movie, All Nodame Contabure movies, 1 Liter of Tears movie, Koizora, Kimi Ni Todokeyo movie, Proposal Daisakusen movie, Nana movie... the list continues). By no means are they all bad. I actually really liked most of them! It's just.... in normal movie standards, drama/manga/anime movies tend to be pretty weak and really only function as fan-fodder in most cases, tying up loose ends and getting characters married (cue new Hotaru Hikari Movie set to come out). That all aside, I really liked the BECK movie for what it was and (though I haven't read the comic etc) thought that the cast was pretty good (I love me some Mizushima Hiro) along with their acting. It of course helped that the movie was about a band and very music related of course ;P

4. Shimotsuma Monogatari (or Kamikaze Girls, as it became in the English release): This is one of those high school 時代 nostalgic movies for me that I absolutely loved and watched a million and a half times. The story is sweet and simple (Loves-Lolita-Fashion girl meets Yankee-Biker-Gang girl and they become friends), and the filming style reminds me sooo much of Amelie that I immediately fell in love with the whimsicality of it all. The narration style is also extremely appealing, and the scene cuts and flashbacks that they add into the movie takes nothing away from the flow or simplicity of the story and just makes the whole thing rather light-hearted and funny.

3. About Love: I wrote about this movie way back when I first saw it, but wanted to touch on it again since it was so good. It's a movie about three different (international) love stories, all taking place in different countries in Asia. It contains a total of five different languages spoken during the course of the three stories (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, English, Spanish) and although the love stories don't all come to a conclusion (or a happy ending), I loved each story individually and thought that the movie had a lot of heart and hope. <3

2. Waterboys: I feel like most people have seen this movie... if not, please go out and rent it RIGHT NOW. It is seriously the funniest, weirdest little story about a high school boys synchronized swimming team. Nothing deep, heart-wrenching, or philosophical about it; it is extremely light-hearted, VERY funny, and has a great cast of actors/actresses that will probably be very familiar to you if you watch dramas/movies.

1. Shounen Meriken Sakku: Last but not least, one of my favorite movies of all time!! This was one of those movies where the DVD box appealed to me so much that one night, I picked it up from TSUTAYA and me and a buddy watched it in my apartment over dinner. I fell in love on-first-watch. Of course, it could be my closeness with the subject matter (the movie is about punk music, and every single character in the band reminded me of real people living in Kochi that I know) that has me so enraptured with this movie... but honestly it is hilarious and I think even if you aren't into punk music/live concert scenes, it has funny banter and is easy to follow along.

And thus concludes my third segment of "Gotta Tell Someone Top Five Ranking!" I hope you all go out and rent/download these movies ASAP (especially if you speak Japanese). I don't know the availability for these movies in English/with English subs (I only know that Kamikaze Girls and Waterboys has subs for sure), but even without understanding 100%, I think these are all worth a watch. I know that for me, I just turn on the subtitles in Japanese and my understanding goes up exponentially~

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