Miyazaki on TCM


Turner Classic Movies is having a Studio Ghibli fest every Thursday during the month of January. Films are being shown in their English-dubbed versions in the evenings, so you can safely go about your regular routine. But during the overnight hours, each one will be re-broadcast in the original Japanese. Which is, of course, the only way to fly.

TCM is a fine channel — there are no commercial interruptions, films are uncut, and these will likely be letterboxed. And Ghibli impresario Hayao Miyazaki, who directed most of these titles, is a filmmaker and fantasist second to none. Trust me on this. Even if you think you hate anime, you really need to go there; Miyazaki’s work stands well apart from the rest of the genre. The films included in the series are Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa of the Valley, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, Whisper of the Heart, Only Yesterday, and Pom Poko.

In cars

While you wait for that new Pixar feature to make its way to theater screens, check out this blast from the past — a spectacular stunt-heavy advertisement for the Isuzu Gemini (also marketed as the Pontiac Sunbird) from the days before photoreal CG models of cars made this a cakewalk for any L.A. visual effects house. If you appreciate old-school stuntwork, I bet this footage will induce some pleasant combination of nostalgia and exhilaration.

Big Screen Version

OK, I’m a sucker for bootlegs and mashups, a genre that in its contemporary incarnation was sort of pioneered by Steinski and crew, whose “Lessons 1-3” (the mirrored links on that page still seem to work) are some kind of turntablist landmarks — and whose “The Motorcade Sped On” and especially “It’s Up to You” (Real audio) are savvy outlaw takes on the mass media.

If you went on a bender involving tequila, cough syrup, and/or some kind of mild hallucinogen and kept Fox News on while you dozed in the La-Z-Boy, your cumulative experience might eventually feel something like Big Screen Version (the link leads to an embedded QuickTime video). The man with the NLE is Aaron Valdez, late of Pasadena, Texas, and now living in Iowa City. His video mix is unrelated to Steinski, but it’s pretty entertaining.