Mememe no kurage

I listened to the morning news, and they talked a lot about the Warriors’ terrible loss in Oklahoma City.  They certainly appear to be in a bit of trouble at this point.  They have to win one game in Oklahoma in order to advance to the championship series.  I went to work and got a lot done.  I had the summer on my mind.  I returned home and did my laundry.  I took a nap and then watched “Jellyfish Eyes.”  It was a Criterion Collection disc, so I figured it had to have something going for it.  The director was Takashi Murakami, who is a person of my generation, so I could relate to a lot of his comments in the special feature of the disc.  “Jellyfish Eyes” reminded me of “E.T.” and “Gremlins” and various Japanese monster movies that came out of the nuclear age.  In this movie, though, digital technology and the world of Japan after Fukushima was part of the development of the story.  Various things did not make sense, like how the girl Saki hung on to part of a fence that was in Oval’s mouth.  This is a Japan that Americans don’t see, as the students don’t pay attention to the teacher, and a bully huts the main character, Masashi.  When Masashi feeds Kurage-bo the cheese stick, I couldn’t help thinking of the candy and E.T.  Another Spielberg touch was the children in troubled families seeking some type of escape and relief.  It was rather alarming that the kids were living in an age where reality was a video game.  One thing about the special effects was that Masashi never seemed to be looking at Kurage-bo.  Apparently, the movie was done on the cheap.  It was kind of fun that way, making me think of the science-fiction films of the 1950s.  The plot sure felt thin, with some nonsense about negative energy.  Saki’s parents were involved in a cult.  What I found disturbing about Saki’s mother was that she was younger than me and yet was so wacky and unfit to raise a daughter.  This movie had some of the quality of a Disney movie, where the children are the ones who know what is going on and do everything.  How could Masashi’s uncle just send him out there and risk death?  The one most intelligent character seemed to be the young girl Saki.  The parents and the teacher were running around like idiots.  It’s funny how we didn’t see the police or military dealing with the creature at the end.  There was no King Kong confrontation.  I assumed that the low budget had something to do with this.  They could afford only a group of kids and some computer effects with go along with the usual actors.  The kid who was Masashi did not give an Oscar caliber performance.  At the end, the tears coming out of his eyes were totally unpersuasive.  Some of the scene were so absurd that they were funny.  I didn’t quite know what Murakami’s intent was at these times.  I liked the action scene with Koko, even though it had too much of a video game quality.  I didn’t like the ending of the movie, as it had the children continuing their unreal lives.  The movie got some negative reviews, which I thought were a bit too harsh.  It was an amusing little film, even though it was lacking originality.  There will be a sequel, although I find it difficult how they could squeeze another 100 minutes of footage from this material.  Maybe next time, Murakami could destroy Japan.  That would seem to be the next step, along the lines of “Dr. Strangelove.”  As far as your Japanese films go, “Jellyfish Eyes” falls short of Kurosawa or Ozu.  I thought back on “The Crazy Family” and wished I could see it again.  This was Murakami’s first film, and I wonder if he can improve his filmmaking at his age.  This isn’t my idea of a bad movie.  My idea of a bad movie is “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.”  I think this is a decent film if you don’t have expectations of it based on who Murakami is.  I watched Donald O’Connor on The Judy Garland Show, and I kept wondering how hard Judy worked on this show to do all that dancing and singing.  A special with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore followed, and then I saw Sammy Davis Jr. singing “The Candy Man” on The Merv Griffin Show. Sammy said he was 46 years old. The Dick Cavett Show had Paul Simon, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Marcel Marceau.  Some of the people who died on May 24 include Nicolaus Copernicus (1543), Elmore James (1963), Duke Ellington (1974), Gunnar Björnstrand (1986), Hermione Gingold (1987), Gene Clark (1991), and Dick Martin (2008).  Today is a birthday for John C. Reilly (51), Rosanne Cash (61), Jim Broadbent (67), Priscilla Presley (71), Patti LaBelle (72), Bob Dylan (75), and Tommy Chong (78).

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