Kaguyahime no monogatari

I heard on the news that Mike Gallego was fired from his job as third base coach for the A’s. The baserunning during Sunday’s game was rather ugly. I went out to teach my first classes of the new academic year. I’m still not in the swing of things, but I thought I did a decent job in spite of my lack of energy. I walked home wishing the summer could have lasted two more weeks. It didn’t seem right that I was back at work before Labor Day. I watched “The Tale of Princess Kaguya,” which was a pretty good Japanese animated film. How many Japanese stories involve miniature people? This one has a girl in a bamboo shoot. The cast that did the English dialogue for this film was impressive. It included Chlöe Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, George Segal, Oliver Platt, Daniel Dae Kim, Dean Cain, Beau Bridges, and John Cho. I thought it was an exceptional movie. There were a few moments when I started getting impatient with the pace, but it was fantastic to watch. The artwork was remarkable. The film was something I’d like to see again, a few more times. The voice of Mary Steenburgen was the one I thought was the most memorable. I thought she was perfect. I would like to see the movie with the Japanese dialogue and the subtitles, which I think is the better way to see it, even without the big stars. Isao Takahata, the director, also worked on the great film “Grave of the Fireflies.” When I see a strong movie like “The Tale of Princess Kaguya,” it almost makes me forget the routine films like “Pixels.” Some films were made thoughtfully, and with care, and some are stitched together to become something mediocre. I liked “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” more than some other recent Studio Ghibli films like “The Wind Rises” and “Ponyo.” I would say that I liked it more than the last couple of Pixar films, too. I stayed up to watch a bit of Jimmy Kimmel. He and his guest Seth MacFarlane both sketched a married couple in the audience, and Jimmy came up with a pretty good drawing. Seth for some reason drew Fred and Wilma Flintstone. I watched the beginning of a Columbo episode called “A Deadly State of Mind,” with George Hamilton and Lesley Ann Warren. I don’t recall seeing Lesley Ann Warren in anything since “Clue” thirty years ago. She is now 69 years old. This morning I saw the chilling report of the TV news crew shooting in Virginia. I started to feel afraid of going outside anywhere, as I sat around thinking of anyone who might hate me enough to shoot me. I live in a city where people are absolutely insane. Some of the people who died on August 26 include Lon Chaney (1930), Ralph Vaughan Williams (1958), Charles Boyer (1978), Tex Avery (1980), Ted Knight (1986), Laura Branigan (2004), and Ellie Greenwich (2009). Today is a birthday for Melissa McCarthy (45) and Valerie Simpson (69).

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