My Top Ten Kirsten Dunst Movies

Happy 36th Birthday (soon) to Kirsten Dunst.

Her birthday is next Monday but, since I’m watching that Avengers: Infinity War thingy tonight, I figured I better leave Monday free to review that instead. Sorry, Kirsten! You’ve been bumped by the Avengers! Hmm. I’d like to be bumped by Thor.

I like Dunst okay. I wouldn’t say she’s ever been a favorite of mine but she’s a decent actor and I wouldn’t avoid a film if she’s in it. But not that many actors make me avoid films (other than Gwyneth Paltrow, of course).

So here are My Top Ten Kirsten Dunst Movies, counting down to my favorite and ranked by film instead of performance. And including everything I’ve seen. Oh! And I’m kind of cheating again by including animated movies she has provided her voice for so, like with Saoirse Ronan, I can include my beloved Studio Ghibli. 😉

The Rest:

18. Small Soldiers
17. Elizabethtown
16. The Beguiled
15. Mona Lisa Smile
14. Crazy/Beautiful
13. Wimbledon
12. Bring It On
11. All Good Things

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Interview With The Vampire & Hidden Figures

9. Marie Antoinette

8. Midnight Special

7. The Spider-Man Movies

6. Jumanji

5. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

4. Melancholia

3. Anastasia

2. The Virgin Suicides

1. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Some I’ve Not Seen:

The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Greedy, Little Women, Wag The Dog, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dick, The Crow: Salvation, On The Road, Upside Down, Anchorman 2, The Two Faces Of January

Also:

The Bling Ring (she was uncredited so I didn’t include it in the list)

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) Review

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Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Majo no takkyūbin
Japanese: 魔女の宅急便

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Based on Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

Starring:
Minami Takayama
Rei Sakuma
Kappei Yamaguchi

(English Dub Voice Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo, Matthew Lawrence, Brad Garrett, Debbie Reynolds, Edie McClurg)

Running time: 102 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

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My Opinion:

Version Watched: Japanese with English subtitles & English dubbed version

Well, I already reviewed My Neighbor Totoro on Tuesday so I figured I’d do this one today & will try to review Ponyo tomorrow. I guess this will then be the week of the most “child friendly” Studio Ghibli films (of what I’ve seen so far). 🙂

Kiki’s Delivery Service is one that has really grown on me. Like I mentioned in my Totoro review, I often like a movie even more when I get to see it through a child’s eyes & see how much they enjoy it. Kiki’s is fun and very innocent – it’s a great film for young kids (especially girls). It’s easily the most “Western” of the Ghiblis I’ve seen so, for those of you who’ve been reading these reviews and are still not sure about watching a Ghibli film due to some of them being a little strange, this movie may be a good introduction. It’s not the best Studio Ghibli movie if you’re comparing it to the more “worthy” films they’ve made but I know some bloggers here on WordPress have a lot of affection for it as I think it’s one that some of you youngsters grew up with. I know that I’d absolutely adore it if I’d seen it at a young age.

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The story is very simple: a 13-year-old witch must go out on her own for a year to make a life for herself & gain independence. Kiki takes along her talking cat Jiji & ends up living above a bakery where she helps the owner by flying on her broomstick to quickly deliver the goods to customers. She makes several new friends, all of whom help Kiki to find herself & to fit in.

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The story is about girls growing up & gaining independence and confidence as well as dealing with feelings of self-doubt. These are great themes for young girls but it’s also such a fun movie that the very young will enjoy just watching Kiki fly around on her broomstick and talk to her adorable cat. Kiki is another strong female role model from Ghibli but as she’s so young she’s unsure of herself at times unlike other characters such as Nausicaä & Princess Mononoke. It makes her feel more human & realistic. In looking for pictures for these Ghibli reviews, I of course see loads of cosplay photos and I’ve seen more girls dressed as Kiki than any other character so far so she’s obviously very popular. I do love her look of a simple black dress, big red bow, broomstick & cute black cat. 🙂

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Subtitled vs Dubbed:

I figured I’d mention this like I did in my review of Howl’s Moving Castle as I’d have to say that the English dubbing for Kiki’s Delivery Service is my least favorite of the dubbed Ghiblis I’ve seen. The majority of the characters aren’t too bad and Kirsten Dunst’s Kiki is tolerable, I guess – she just talks way too fast and doesn’t really suit the character that well. However, my main issue was with the cat! I watched the subtitled version first and absolutely loved the cat. He’s funny & has a little bit of an attitude (in a good way). In the dubbed version, he’s voiced by Phil Hartman and he ad-libbed a lot. I found the cat much less likeable and with a little TOO much attitude in this version. Hartman did add some pretty funny lines and I’m sure kids really like his version fine but it just didn’t work for me. Plus I think, as Kiki’s is a far less strange film and has a very straightforward story & characters unlike other Ghibli films, the one thing that keeps it feeling at all Japanese is the original language. In English, Kiki’s Delivery Service almost feels like a Disney movie. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing… These are small complaints, though – I think it’s a very sweet film but, if you don’t have kids and want to watch this one yourself, I highly recommend the subtitled version over the dubbed.

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Summary:

Kiki’s Delivery Service is probably the most kid friendly of all the Studio Ghibli films and a great one for young girls as it has a very realistic female role model. It’s for the young as well as the young at heart. It is aimed more at girls than some of the other films but certainly worth a watch for true Ghibli fans of all ages. It doesn’t have the “magic” of My Neighbor Totoro but it’s still a lot of fun. Do yourself a favor if you’re an adult watching it without a kid, though, and watch the far superior subtitled version.

My Rating: 8/10

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My Top Ten Studio Ghibli Movies (So Far)

First of all, Happy Birthday to Hayao Miyazaki! Co-founder of Studio Ghibli along with Isao Takahata, Miyazaki has directed the majority of the most well known & highly regarded Ghibli films.

As I said, I’ll be reviewing some Studio Ghibli films throughout January. I don’t have a definite schedule in mind plus I’ll probably post some non-Ghibli reviews as usual as well. So far, I’ve watched 10 of the 20 Ghibli movies I could possibly watch (2 aren’t yet available on DVD). I’ve mostly watched the ones directed by Miyazaki so I’ll first focus on reviewing these ten I’ve seen so far plus the two Miyazaki ones I have left to watch. I may then continue Studio Ghibli Month after January & do the remaining films as well. I’m halfway through writing my review for Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind so that will probably be the review you’ll see here tomorrow.

So, these are My Top Ten Favorite Studio Ghibli Movies (So Far) counting down from ten to one. I’ll update it once I’ve seen the rest of the Ghibli films but I’ll be surprised if the list changes much. 🙂

**List updated 5/1/17. You can see my ranking for all the Ghibli films I’ve now seen HERE**

10. The Cat Returns

9. Howl’s Moving Castle

8. Grave Of The Fireflies

7. Ponyo

6. Kiki’s Delivery Service

5. Princess Mononoke

4. Spirited Away

3. Laputa: Castle In The Sky

2. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind

1. My Neighbor Totoro

My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2014

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Hi everyone! Crap – when did it suddenly become almost-2015?! Shouldn’t we be living on Mars by now or something? This isn’t the future I imagined back in 1984. What a disappointment.

Anyway! Where was I? Well, it looks like I have two days left of 2014 so I guess I better post my Top Ten Lists! Looks like I did this well into January last year but I’ll be busy this January with my Studio Ghibli Month starting next Monday. Woohoo! (Oh man, why did I decide to do that to myself?! I’m sooo not prepared!).

I’ll start with the list I actually enjoy the most: These are My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2014. Tomorrow I’ll post My Top Ten Movies Of 2014 (going by UK cinema release date). Then I may do My Top Books Read In 2014 on New Year’s Day – that’s a pathetic list since I didn’t read much this year. I’ll stop rambling – here’s my list counting down from ten to my number one favorite. As always, these are the ones I enjoyed the most although there are others I watched that are probably more “worthy” and I’d give those higher ratings. I’ve included the links to the ones I’ve reviewed. 🙂

10. Spring Breakers

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This probably doesn’t deserve to be on the list, but… You know when you like a movie but you have NO idea WHY?? This is one of those movies for me.

9. TRON: Legacy

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I know it has its flaws but I don’t care – I had a lot of fun with this one. Plus: Garrett Hedlund! He’s so pretty… Also: DAFT PUNK SCORE!

8. Phantom Of The Paradise

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What’s not to like about Brian De Palma’s totally 1970s Faustian rock opera horror film?? Okay… Most of you went “WTF?” in the comments of my review but I do appreciate when a good discussion gets going on an interesting film like this one (thank you, Man In Black! I’ll get to the rest of your comments soon – I’ve just been taking a blog break over Xmas). 😉

7. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari

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I’m surprised by how little I knew of this classic before watching it this year. Not only was the style of the whole film amazing but I thought the story was also ahead of its time. Every film lover should watch this movie.

6. Kiki’s Delivery Service

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This is one of several Studio Ghibli films I watched this year but I never got around to reviewing any of them, which is partly why I’m going to review a bunch of them together in January. I like the simplicity of this one. It’s the most “child-friendly” Ghibli I’ve seen so far and it’s one that really grew on me after watching it a couple of times.

5. Bernie

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I like doing these lists at the end of the year because I find that some movies really grow on me & end up much higher on the list than I would have expected. Bernie is one of these movies. I’ve always been a fan of Richard Linklater’s style and I’m not sure why I hadn’t checked this one out until this year. I’m also not sure why it seems to have not received as much attention as some of his other films considering that the story is quite fascinating, especially the ongoing story involving Linklater & the real-life Bernie. I’m still amazed by the whole situation…

4. Full Metal Jacket

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As I always say, I’m NOT a fan of war movies. However, I’ve worked my way through most of the war movies in the IMDB Top 250 and ended up loving a lot of them (The Bridge On The River Kwai and The Great Escape being my favorites). I didn’t love Full Metal Jacket as much as those and the first half was far better than the second half but I still really liked the film. I may have to stop saying I’m not a fan of war movies…

3. Daft Punk’s Electroma

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I like Daft Punk. And sci-fi. And cool robots. And “artsy fartsy”. I loved Electroma. So sue me. (Btw – thank you to the whole five commenters on the review for this! Lol! More than I expected… 😉 I’ll catch up on replying to comments on this blog soon!)

2. The Return Of The Living Dead

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I love zombies. And I especially love the 80s. I have no idea why I never saw this one before now but it’s certainly one that’s a new favorite I’ll re-visit every now & then.

1. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind

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Obviously, I’m a fan of Studio Ghibli films as I’m dedicating a whole month to them. But there are maybe four or five Ghibli films I LOVE (so far) while the rest I just “really like” so I still wouldn’t call myself the biggest Ghibli fan compared to other people out there. However, Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind really blew me away. (Ha! “Blew” me away… Blow away? Wind? Get it? Okay, it really wasn’t that funny). This was like some weird sort of mash up of the later, more well known Ghibli stuff and 1981’s Heavy Metal. It’s post-apocalyptic and fairly violent for a Ghibli and very much not for young kids. I LOVED IT. It’s so very “me” and I can’t wait to review it for Studio Ghibli Month.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Like I said, the above are the ones I enjoyed the most but I watched a lot of other very good films that really deserve a mention as well:

City Of God
Marnie
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Night Of The Creeps
Rashômon
Howl’s Moving Castle

You can see my full list of movies watched in 2014 HERE. Sad, I know… 🙂

Live Action Remake of Studio Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service

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I posted a link earlier to the live action short that Studio Ghibli have done – Giant God Warrior Appears In Tokyo. But I missed the news that they’re making a live action remake of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge) has been confirmed as director. I’m loving the Studio Ghibli stuff lately but I haven’t yet seen Kiki’s Delivery Service. Guess I better watch that soon.

Link to article about the remake and the God Warrior short, including the video of the short: SlashFilm