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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Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Eric of The IPC. Again! Thanks for watching these Hughes films although the majority aren’t your type of thing, Eric. Let’s see if he likes Planes, Trains & Automobiles more than The Breakfast Club. 🙂

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PLANES, TRAINS and AUTOMOBILES (1987)

When I signed up to go about this piece I remembered having seen this before and laughed my ass off and “Gobble Gobble” and “Those AREN”T PILLOWS!!!!” and “Her first baby came out sideways HYYYYYYORK!!” (how do you spell someone disgustingly hocking tobacco) and all around pleasant memories. Then I sat down here to write about it and couldn’t come up with Jack Shit four or five times because I usually write about horror movies and boobs and not about classic comedies that everyone loves and then I was eyeballing my email to Table Nine Disco Parrot and it dawned on me. My Subject line read “P, T & A”… “P, T & A”….. dwell on what those initials stand for in the mind of a guy who watches movies like I do. FILTH….

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Then I took a second to think about whether or not I should take that angle on such a wholesome, pure and chaste movie and then I remembered that scene depicted above and later, this exchange:

Del: You play with your balls a lot.
Neal: I do NOT play with my balls.
Del: Larry Bird doesn’t do as much ball-handling in one night as you do in an hour!
Neal: Are you trying to start a fight?
Del: No. I’m simply stating a fact. That’s all. You fidget with your nuts a lot.
Neal: You know what’d make me happy?
Del: Another couple of balls, and an extra set of fingers?

If no one’s ever seen this and glances at that picture of John Candy mounting Steve Martin, seeing both men with serene and passionate warmth on their faces, I am going to contend that most people will think the two are engaging in a loving and lengthy “Husband Style” intercourse session. I mean, just LOOK how content they look. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH. “I love you, Poo-Pie,” coos Candy, kissing Martin’s ear. “Let’s consecrate this union….” utters Martin. “The time is now…. NOW is the time….”

FILTH!!!

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Or how about this scene??? Martin comes home from the gym while his lover, Candy, is out cleaning their estate’s Olympic sized swimming pool. He slips into the bathroom to wash the sweat out of his stinking armpits and notices something strange on the floor. It’s his lover’s lover’s underwear!!! Candy has been having a man on the side!!! He’s enraged!!! He’s pissed!!! How can this be??? Theirs was Love Eternal!!!! He envisions the two men exhausting themselves for hours on end while he slaves away at the office. In disgust, he throws the soiled underpants into the toilet and heads to the kitchen for the butcher knife….

FILTH AND SMUT!!!!!

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Trust me – you DO NOT want to know what’s going on under the blanket those two are sharing!!! Well – you might… depending on your taste and… um… er…. interests.

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Martin: Has it been long enough?? Can you go again??
Candy: *shrugs* Should be….. maybe another ten minutes….

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BUSTED!!! Public Exposure!!!!!!

FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH FILTH

Wait…. what the fuck have I done here???

SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME

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Screw everything I just wrote. This movie is really fucking hilarious and one of my all time favorite comedies!!

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Guest Review

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This second review of Planes, Trains & Automobiles for the John Hughes Blogathon (you can read the first from Laura at FilmNerdBlog HERE) comes from filmscorehunter of The Cinematic Frontier. Thanks for joining in on this blogathon, filmscorehunter! Let’s find out his opinion on Planes, Trains & Automobiles. 🙂

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

John Hughes will always be remembered for the films he wrote, produced, and/or directed in the 1980s. Of the eight films he directed, only four were actually good. The first three are 1984’s Sixteen Candles, 1985’s The Breakfast Club, and 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The last good film Hughes directed was 1987’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. This film differed from the other three; the main characters here were adults whereas the protagonists in the other three films were teenagers. Seeing this film again after so many years, I’m glad to say that it has held up remarkably well. Out of these four films, this one is my favorite John Hughes film.

The film begins with Neal Page, a marketing executive who’s on a business trip to New York City. Once his work is done, he tries to catch a flight back home to Chicago so that he can be with his wife and kids for Thanksgiving. His attempts to catch a cab to LaGuardia Airport are inadvertently thwarted by Del Griffith, a traveling salesman who later ends up on the same flight as Neal. Their flight gets diverted to Wichita due to a blizzard in Chicago, and the duo end up teaming together in their efforts to reach Chicago. Their odyssey eventually involves a train, a bus, and a rental car as they encounter one bizarre situation after another. Neal and Del quarrel for most of their journey, which ultimately yields some surprises as Thanksgiving approaches.

Steve Martin and John Candy shine as Neal and Del. Martin clearly wasn’t afraid to embrace the not-so-sympathetic Neal. The metaphorical journey taken by Neal allows him to see what kind of man he’s become and even allows for some personal growth. Candy brings warmth and a degree of clumsiness to the lovable Del. Candy’s performance manages to subtly hint at the sadness and loneliness of Del while maintaining his optimism. The biggest scene stealer among the supporting cast is Edie McClurg, who plays a rental car agent in the scene that got the film its R-rating (guess how many times the ‘f’ word was said). Her character never loses her cool, and in a way she’s triumphant at the end of her scene.

Hughes had been inspired by a real disaster of a trip he had gone on before (which actually lasted longer than the trip depicted in the film). Hughes had directed films filled with teen angst up until this point; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles marked a refreshing change of pace for Hughes. This film was the first of his directorial efforts to focus mainly on adult protagonists (family has always been an underlying theme in his films). The somewhat juvenile humor of his previous films is also present here, but not in a manner that takes away from the serious issues that are explored. While it would be nice to see the fabled three-hour version of this film someday, we’ll just have to settle for watching the version that was released (which is definitely worth watching, I must say). You simply cannot go wrong with this film.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Guest Review

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This guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Laura of Film Nerd Blog. Thanks for being a part of this, Lisa! Let’s see what she thinks of Planes, Trains & Automobiles. 🙂

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I’m going to put my cards straight on the table and say it’s really hard not to like Planes, Trains and Automobiles. This classic 80s comedy from the legendary writer-director John Hughes takes us on a journey (do you see what I did, there?), with two very different men, as they do everything they can to get home for Thanksgiving. ​

The two men in question are Neal (Steve Martin), an uptight marketing man, and Del (John Candy) a travelling salesmen, and when their flight fails to reach its destination thanks to bad weather, they must do whatever they can to get home.

Del really isn’t Neal’s kind of person. He’s chatty and jolly and doesn’t really have any concept of personal space or ‘boundaries’ which drives Neal totally crazy. He’s already wound pretty tight and just about everything Del says and does grates on him like nails down a chalkboard. Poor old kind-hearted Del consequently finds himself on the wrong end of Neal’s temper more than once and while we can see that he’s often wounded by Neal’s mean streak, he puts on a smile and continues to be himself.

“You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I’m an easy target. Yeah, you’re right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you… but I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I’m not changing. I like… I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. ‘Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get.”

Del, in response to Neal’s harsh words

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a deeply likeable comedy that also manages to successfully include moments of real, emotionally moving drama. It has Hughes’ stamp all over it with the mis-matched protagonists who, on the surface, have nothing in common, but ultimately find some common ground (remember The Breakfast Club?). And as is the case with each Hughes film I’ve seen, there are a number of iconic and memorable speeches, for example the ‘I like me’ speech, the ‘give me a f’ing automobile’ speech and the ‘you know everything is not an anecdote’ speech. The dialogue just zings.

The casting of Steve Martin and John Candy was a stroke of pure genius, and each plays his part to perfection. If only there’d been a sequel where they couldn’t get home for Christmas…