Sunday Lists: Hayao Miyazaki, Directed Films Ranked

Hayao Miyazaki List

January 5th marked the 78th birthday of one of the best Japanese animator and filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki. I don’t watch a lot of Japanese stuff in general but I grew up with Studio Ghibli films so some of these hold very close to my heart. There is this fantastic magical and fantasy world that he manages to create.

With that said, there is no better way than to kick off this year’s first Sunday Lists with a list of Hayao Miyazaki’s Directed Films ranked from what I think is the best to the the not so great ones, because lets be honest, there is no worst. Even the last choice here wasn’t a bad film just didn’t execute as well as the others or connect as well with me.

There are a few films not seen yet. The list will be updated over time.

*Only full feature animated films DIRECTED by Hayao Miyazaki has been included here*

1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

my neighbor totoro

My first Miyazaki film in my memory is My Neighbor Totoro and it has never stopped being my favorite. I know the movie almost by heart, the Cantonese dubbed version dialogue almost all memorized. Its about family and its charming. The little girls are adorable and the Totoro super cute. There are some heartwarming moments and some hilarious ones as well. It balances light-hearted and heartbreaking moments. Its cute and serious in equal measures. Plus, how do you beat a CatBus? You just can’t!

2. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

kiki's delivery service

I love cats and witches. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a well-rounded film as well. I remember there was a phase in the early stages when I had some crappy blogging server somewhere that I had used Kiki has my name. Watching this one when I was a kid was a ride for sure. Witches weren’t evil, they were nice and helpful. This one is  fun little trip full of charm whether its the people that Kiki meets on her deliveries or her learning how to be independent.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a children’s novel which actually diverts quite far from its source material a fair bit especially when interpreting Howl’s character. However, maybe it has to do with this being the first Miyazaki film that I saw in theatres and the enchantment that comes from the big screen but this is one film that I love watching over and over again. Because of that, this film is filled with charm. It does get a tad dark and scary here and there but its so magical as well.

4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

nausicaa

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind that makes me think about how Miyazaki is quite before his time in story telling as you can see how this film set the bar for his career, whether its the female characters he uses or the world that he creates. At the heart of it all, Nausicaa is about a world that has fallen apart environmentally and Nausicaa is trying to find a way to revive it while at the same time, nature has revolted in an unexpected way and she needs to find a way to solve the mystery of what happened. Its such a beautiful film. The only reason its placed lower is because its one that took me a second or third viewing when I was older to fully appreciate its message and its story.

5. Spirited Away (2001)

spirited away

Spirited Away is what put Miyazaki on the map along with Studio Ghibli. Its quite a feat when we think about it. In fact, there is so much to love here. I like this one a lot also. It has dragons and fantastical creatures and some pretty hilarious moments intertwined with a story about reuniting family, gluttony and life in general. Its colorful and beautiful and there are such charming array of characters wrapped up in this one story.

6. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

laputa castle in the sky

I know a lot of people who would put Laputa really high up or even consider this one their favorite Miyazaki film. I don’t disagree with that at all. Laputa: Castle in the Sky is beautiful, especially once we arrive at the castle in the sky and all the events that happen from there on out.  It has a cast of silly bandits and a gentle robot and the castle design itself is so detailed and intricate. The only deal is that I’ve never been prone to watch this one a lot but I always enjoyed it whenever someone puts it on.

7. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

castle of cagliostro

I saw The Castle of Cagliostro because of a blogathon a few years back when it was looking at a debut of a director. I always thought Miyazaki started out his career with Nausicaa but before the existence of Studio Ghibli, he had created The Castle of Cagliostro adapted/based on the Japanese manga Lupin III. Its crime and comedy mixed together for this film and boy is it an adventure. The debut of Miyazaki is a fine start. There are its flaws with this one in terms of storytelling and pacing but there is still a ton of heart and charm.

8. Ponyo (2008)

ponyo

Ponyo is something like Miyazaki’s version of The Little Mermaid fairy tale story which takes a little fish girl who becomes human and meets a little boy. Its so adorable and imaginative. It takes this angle of making the creative angle of the tsunami and then links the whole story together. It is actually quite clever.

9. The Wind Rises (2013)

the wind rises

I saw the premiere of The Wind Rises at TIFF a few years back, the same year that Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013 (of course, now we know that he has decided to not retire and is working on his next film). Putting aside the ridiculous couple next to me who sobbed the entire movie from start to finish who was incredibly annoying, The Wind Rises is a passion project of  Miyazaki’s and you can see it by the subject he chooses to take as he tells the story of World War II engineer who designs the fighter aircraft. His love for aircrafts and his country and his admiration for Jiro Horikoshi is all highly visible in his work. My issue here is that I don’t share the same admiration and for that, the story falls a little short of what I liked. Its not a bad film in any means because the animation, the visuals, the character designs and the music all work well. I just failed to connect with it but that is the risk of making a passion project film.

Not Seen or Can’t Remember

Conan The Future Boy: The Big Giant Robot’s Ressurrection (1984)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Princess Mononoke (1997)

How would you rank Hayao Miyazaki’s film?
Which one of his directed feature films is your fave?

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Sunday List: Sandra Bullock Roles, Ranked

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock is another one of my favorite actresses. Its inevitable to eventually have a list of her roles ranked from best to worst according to me.

At the same time, this list will be updated as I watch more of the filmography as well as add on some of the reviews that I’ve already seen before.

Annie – Speed (1994)

speed

Lucy – While You Were Sleeping (1995) (Review)

while you were sleeping

Gracie Hart – Miss Congeniality (2000)

miss congeniality

Malorie – Bird Box

bird box

Margaret Tate – The Proposal (2009) (Review)

the proposal

Leigh Anne Tuohy – The Blind Side (2009)

the blind side

Ryan Stone – Gravity (2013) (Review)

gravity

Debbie Ocean – Ocean’s Eight (2018) (Review)

ocean's eight

Mary Horowitz – All About Steve (2009)

all about steve

Ashburn – The Heat (2013) (Review)

The Heat

Miriam (voice) – The Prince of Egypt (1998)

prince of egypt

Jean – Crash (2004)
Birdee Pruitt – Hope Floats (1998)
Kate Forster – The Lake House (2006)
Scarlet Overkill (voice) – Minions (2015)
Linda Hanson – Premonition (2007)
Cassie Mayweather/Jessica Marie Hudson – Murder by Numbers (2002)
Sarah Lewis – Forces of Nature (1999)
Gwen Cummings – 28 Days (2000)
Annie – Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

Haven’t Seen or Can’t Remember

Lisa Edwards – Hangmen (1987)
Kate Mason – Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989)
Devlin Moran – Who Shot Patakongo? (1989)
Debby Cosgrove – A Fool and His Money (1989)
Diane Farrow – Love Potion No. 9 (1992)
Diane Shaver – The Vanishing (1993)
Amanda – When the Party’s Over (1993)
Linda Lue Linden – The Thing Called Love (1993)
Lenina Hexley – Demolition Man (1993)
Alyssa Rothman – Fire on the Amazon (1993)
Elaine – Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993)
Lori – Who Do I Gotta Kill? (1994)
Angela Bennett – The Net (1995)
Roz – Two If By Sea (1996)
Ellen Roark – A Time to Kill (1996)
Agnes von Kurowsky – In Love and War (1996)
Sally Owens – Practical Magic (1998)
Sandra Bullock – Welcome to Hollywood (1998)
Judy Tipp – Gun Shy (2000)
Sandra Bullock – Lisa Picard is Famous (2000)
Sidda – Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)
Lucy Kelson – Two Weeks Notice (2002)
Mrs. Harker – Loverboy (2005)
Gracie Hart – Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)
Nella Harper Lee – Infamous (2006)
Linda Schell – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
Jane -Our Brand is Crisis (2015)

What are favorite roles of Sandra Bullock?

Dog Day Blogathon & Sunday Lists: My Favorite On-Screen Dogs

Today is the International Dog Day and Allie at Often Off Topic decided that it was a fine opportunity for everyone to share in a blogathon about dogs in movies. You find all the details of the blogathon when you click on the banner above or HERE. Its Sunday so why not get back to those long-awaited Sunday Lists as its the best opportunity to share My Favorite On-Screen Dogs.

This is in no particular order and will be updated if I remember or find other dogs to add to the list in the future! For the sake of the blogathon though, the initial batch is the 10 selections that I thought of (and yes, I cheated with some of these).

Balto – Balto (1995)

Balto

Review

Balto is a half wolf half dog and because of this, in the small town of Alaska, he is criticized for being wild in nature and untameable, even dangerous. However, when the town gets in trouble, Balto is the dog that goes out and brings the dog sled teams back in a snowstorm to deliver stranded urgent medicine for the infected.

Lady & Tramp – Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Lady & the Tramp

Review

One of my favorite Disney films goes to Lady and the Tramp. It may be one of the first Disney films that I saw because I remember it the most and it had the most lasting effect when I was younger (until Aladdin or other films came along). The story between Lady and Tramp is super awesome. It also happens to be one of my favorite Disney films as well so what more can I say?

Shadow & Chance – Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

Homeward Bound

Its been years since I’ve seen Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey but its always been one that I think about every once in a while. The bond between Sassy the cat and the two dogs, Shadow and Chance are incredible. Its nice to see two different types of dogs also because in reality (while they don’t talk), dogs tend to be the excited and not so obedient type and the smart and obedient type but in the end, they still care a lot about their owners and are loyal in their own way.

Toby – The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

The Great Mouse Detective

The Great Mouse Detective is one of those films that are rarely referred to in everyday conversation however, I like it a whole lot. One of my fave moments are between Toby and the various characters. This dog is  a hound dog who has quite a bit of character and just so dutiful. He’s just a fun and odd character in a story about mouse detective and the mouse world.

Copper – The Fox and the Hound (1981)

The Fox and the Hound

Its an obvious choice to have on the list is The Hound in the The Fox and the Hound called Copper. Copper is one of those memorable characters when I was younger because you know, animals in movies are always such a heartstring tugging thing because of pets, right?  Copper is just so adorable, and the cutest puppy you know. Just look at him.

Snoopy – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
(or any other Peanuts movie)

Snoopy

Review

Snoopy is an iconic Peantus character so while I use A Charlie Brown Christmas because that is the one I rewatch the most, he’s in a ton of other ones like the Great Pumpkin or Snoopy Comes Home or something. I watched a ton.

Rex & Fly – Babe (1995)

Babe

Babe is one of those films that when you tell someone who knows nothing about it, they kind of look at you weird because its about a talking pig and a farm of talking animals. But then, one of the best parts of the films is how these two dogs become of the parents of Babe in a certain way. Rex and Fly are fantastic parents both being great sheep dogs on this farm.

Goofy – A Goofy Movie (1995)

Goofy

Another Disney choice and probably not limited to just A Goofy Movie, however Goofy made the most impressions to me as A Goofy Movie. It was a movie that initially my mom and my aunt had bought so my cousin and I could share and we used to watch it on repeat whenever we were together so at a certain point, I remembered know all the songs and how can you watch Goofy and not mimick his hyuck and his over the top screams. Memoriable as I said. Its why he still is a family favorite.

Quill – Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog (2004)

Quill

A little out of the left field with this choice as it is the only foreign movie selection here. A lot of people probably would have seen Hachi but I haven’t. My first sad dog movie was Quill: The Life  of a Guide Dog which is a Japanese film about exactly what the title says. We see him from birth to being selected to be a guide dog and then the bond he makes with his owner and his responsibilities and of course, to the departure. Thinking about it makes me want to cry. Its a sad and touching story and if you haven’t seen it, well, Quill is going to tug on some those heartstrings. Just remember that you will need your tissue box…like the entire box.

Dug – Up (2009)

Up

Who can forget about Dug, right? The talking dog in Up. I would have used the “squirrel” moment also because I do that a lot when I’m anxious about something. Dug is just so hilarious and because he talks, its his words that just crack me up every single time as he interacts with every single character in Dug.

And one of the things for the blogathon was to talk about pets and well, I choose to share something about my dog who has passed away since 2010. Here’s a picture of him below. Isn’t he just like a fluffy bear? I miss him all the time. He was so awesome.

Chow Chow

That’s it for this blogathon and Sunday Lists.
Thanks so much for Often Off Topic for putting together this blogathon. 

What are your favorite dogs in movies?

Sunday List: Meg Ryan Roles, Ranked

Meg Ryan List

Its time for Meg Ryan in the spotlight here. Its honestly was an eventual appearance since she is one of my absolutely favorite actresses. I still have a lot of movies to watch from her filmography but its always a good time when she’s on screen. Although she’s stepped down from the spotlight, I never let go of any chance to take a look at her movies especially when these lists give me perspective on how much more to catch up on and what to prioritize.

As usual, here’s the Top 10 (because I’m apparently missing a lot of her films but there’s no going back) and will be updated regularly.

Sally Albright – When Harry Met Sally… (Review)

when harry met sally

Kate – French Kiss

French Kiss

Maggie – Addicted to Love (Review)

addicted to love

Anastasia (voice) – Anastasia (Review)

Anastasia

Kate McKay – Kate & Leopold (Review)

Kathleen Kelly – You’ve Got Mail (Review)

you've got mail

Rita Boyle – Prelude to a Kiss (Review)

prelude to a kiss

Dede/Angelica/Patricia – Joe Versus the Volcano (Review)

Joe Versus the Volcano

Annie Reed – Sleepless in Seattle (Review)

sleepless in seattle

Sarah Hardwicke – In the Land of Women (Review)

in the land of women

Mary Haines – The Women (Review)

the women

Haven’t Seen or Can’t Remember

Debby at 18 years – Rich and Famous
Lisa – Amityville 3-D
Carole – Top Gun
Maggie Cavanaugh – Armed and Dangerous
Lydia Maxwell – Innerspace
Beverly ‘Bev’ Sykes – Promised Land
Sydney Fuller – D.O. A.
Donna Caldwell – The Presidio
Pamela Courson – The Doors
Kay Davies – Flesh and Bone
Alice Green – When a Man Loves a Woman
Catherine Boyd – I.Q.
Katharine – Restoration
Karen Walden – Courage Under Fire
Dr. Maggie Rice – City of Angels
Bonnie – Hurlyburly
Eve Mozell Marks – Hanging Up
Alice Bowman – Proof of Life
Frannie Avery – In the Cut
Jackie Kallen – Against the Ropes
Deidre Hearn – The Deal
Martha Durand – My Mom’s New Boyfriend
Louise – Serious Moonlight
Mrs. Macauley – Ithaca

Sunday Lists: Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, Ranked

With the sheer amount of MCU movies we get every year, they are now in so many different phases, it seems to be the right time to start ranking these films.

Compared with other superheroes, MCU is more or less complete in my viewing with only a few slots as this post goes up now but it will be updated with the remaining films in between that I have to catch up with. You will see the unseen movies at the bottom.

Let’s take it away!

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Review

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

Captain America Winter Soldier

3. Captain America: Civil War (2016) Review

Captain America Civil War

4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

Thor: Ragnarok

5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

guardians of the galaxy vol.2

6. Iron Man (2008)

iron man

7. The Avengers (2012) Review

avengers

8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Review

9. Thor (2011)

Thor

10. Ant-Man (2015) Review

11. Thor: The Dark World (2013) Review

thor

12. Doctor Strange (2016)

doctor strange

13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron

14. Iron Man 3 (2013) Review

iron man 3

15. Iron Man 2 (2010)

iron man 2

Not seen yet:

The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

That’s my list..to be updated as I catch up gradually!
What is your favorite MCU films? How would your ranking be different from mine?

Sunday Lists: Michelle Pfeiffer Roles, Ranked

This Sunday Lists is part of the Pfeiffer Blogathon hosted by Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies.

Nothing quite portrays my love for Michelle Pfeiffer, despite really not having seen a lot of her roles in her extensive filmography. However, between her and Meg Ryan (another upcoming Sunday Lists post), its some of my favorite actresses. Michelle Pfeiffer’s been in a ton of stuff so I’m only looking at her movie roles. I have a lot of catching up to do as the list below will reveal however, lets give this a go.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 of her roles (subject to change). This list will be updated regularly.

Susie Diamond – The Fabulous Baker Boys

fabulous baker boys

Review

Selina Kyle/Catwoman – Batman Returns

the batman returns

Lamia – Stardust

stardust

Review

Verma Von Tussle – Hairspray

hairspray

Review

Ingrid Magnussen – White Oleander

white oleander

Tzipporah (voice) – The Prince of Egypt
Rita – I Am Sam
Rosie – I Could Never Be Your Woman (Review)
Titania –  A Midsummer’s Night Dream
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard – Dark Shadows (Review)
Ingrid – New Year’s Eve (Review)

Haven’t seen or can’t remember

 Suzie Q – Hollywood Knights
Sue Wellington (1940s) – Falling in Love Again
Codelia – Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen
Stephanie – Grease 2
Elvira Hancock – Scarface
Diana – Into the Night
Isabeau – Ladyhawke
Faith Healy – Sweet Liberty
Sukie Ridgemont – The Witches of Eastwick
Brenda Landers – Amazon Women on the Moon
Angela de Marco – Married to the Mob
Jo Ann – Tequila Sunrise
Madame de Tourvel – Dangerous Liaisons
Katya – The Russia House
Frankie – Frankie and Johnny
Lurene Hallett – Love Field
Ellen Olenska – The Age of Innocence
Laura Alden – Wolf
Louanne Johnson – Dangerous Minds
Tally Atwater – Up Close & Personal
Gillian Lewis – To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
Melanie Parker – One Fine Day
Rose Cook Lewis – A Thousand Acres
Beth Cappadora – The Deep End of the Ocean
Katie Jordan – The Story of Us
Claire Spencer – What Lies Beneath
Eris (voice) – Sinbad: The Legend of the Seven Seas
Lea – Chéri
Linda – Personal Effects
Lillian – People Like Us
Maggie Blake – The Family
Kyra – Where is Kyra?
Woman – Mother!
Caroline Hubbard – Murder on the Orient Express
Janet Van Dyne/Wasp – Ant-Man and the Wasp

What are your favorite Michelle Pfeiffer roles? Share them in the comments below!

Sunday Lists: Abigail Breslin Roles, Ranked

Abigail Breslin has been in the acting business for over 10 years. In fact, her debut role started in 2002 with Signs. She’s been a lot of movies since then and taken on a wide range of roles from independent films to downright Hollywood blockbusters. She’s worked with some great actors and actresses. Today’s task is to rank her roles from best to worst.

The list will be updated as I watch some of the roles I haven’t caught up with yet. For now, it will highlight the top 5 roles with a little of why I’ve placed them there. As I see more roles than 10 of them, I’ll expand on it with the updates.

Olive Hoover -Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Olive Hoover

Review

Little Miss Sunshine in itself is an odd independent film but just so well done in so many elements. Not surprising that their own Little Miss Sunshine who is the innocent one in this family is played by Abigail Breslin in a much younger role. Her youth and her fun role as Olive Hoover really is a captivating one. She might be the youngest but she is the glue of the messed up family that she is in. If you haven’t seen Little Miss Sunshine, let me tell you, it is a treat.

Little Rock – Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland Little Rock

Review

Probably one of the most bad-ass roles for Abigail Breslin (at least from what I’ve seen as of this point), she takes the role of a gun-toting girl running with her rag tag group away from zombies. This is a great role for her to see how much of a smart-ass she was and really keep up with being the youngster in the group.

Nim Rusoe – Nim’s Island (2008)

nim's island

This is the first role I ever saw of Abigail Breslin and it was the one that really stood out for me especially as she played across Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. She captured Nim’s adventurous spirit really well. It adds a lot of entertaining and fun moments that takes you for a wild ride through her island while just holding her fort and being brave while her father was away.

Anna Fitzgerald – My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

my sister's keeper

Review

One big heavy role for Abigail Breslin in My Sister’s Keeper as Anna Fitzgerald, playing a sister who goes to court with her parents for emancipation so that she doesn’t have to be born just to save her sister. Family drama at its best but Abigail Breslin takes on this role with so much heart. It was a great job as she plays across from Cameron Diaz who plays as her furious mother who doesn’t understand why she’s doing what she is.

Maya Hayes – Definitely, Maybe (2008)

Definitely Maybe

Abigail Breslin plays something of a supporting role here since she plays a daughter called Maya who asks her dad, played by Ryan Reynolds, to figure who her mother is as he tells her love story. She makes child-like remarks especially when he talks about buying cigarette and making the love story take little cute breaks. She honestly takes on the smart-mouth kid role so well and she has being incredibly cute on her side to make up for it instead of coming up annoying (which a lot of kid actors have that problem).

Haunter – Lisa (2013) Review
Casey Welson – The Call (2013) Review
Valentine Wiggin – Ender’s Game (2013) Review
Zoe – No Reservations (2007) Review
Hailey – New Year’s Eve (2011) Review
Veronica – Final Girl (2015) Review

Can’t remember or haven’t seen

Signs – Bo Hess
Raising Helen – Sarah Davis
Princess Diaries 2 – Parade Girl Carolina
Keane – Kira Bedik
Chestnut: Hero of New Central Park – Ray
The Ultimate Gift – Emily Rose
Santa Clause 3: Escape Clause – Trish
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl – Kit Kittredge
Quantum Quest – Jeana (voice)
Janie Jone – Janie Jones
Rango – Priscilla (voice)
Zambezia – Zoe (voice)
August: Osage County – Jean Fordham
Perfect Sisters – Sandra Anderson
Maggie – Maggie Vogel
Fear, Inc. – Jennifer Adams
Freak Show – Lynette
Yamasong: March of the Hollows – Nani