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Friday, Dec. 30, 2011

Top 5 DVDs to alleviate holiday cabin fever

Transcribed by KAORI SHOJI
Special to The Japan Times

The three Japan Times film critics (Mark Schilling, Giovanni Fazio and me, Kaori Shoji) are taking a much-needed and entirely fictional break in a log cabin in a remote location, with no entertainment except for five DVDs. (Personally, I would rather have camped out at a 24-hour cocktail lounge in my pajamas, but never mind.) But how to choose just five movies for the holidays? Narrowly avoiding bloodshed, we thrashed out a list — and this is how we got there.

News photo
Home movies: The five films our critics would rent if they were trapped in a log cabin together over the holidays. KAORI SHOJI

M.S.: "I would have to say that this time of year, my thoughts turn to 'The Wizard of Oz.' I watched it every year when I was a kid, and then I cried. I know every single scene, I can repeat lines verbatim."

G.F.: "Which scene made you cry?"

M.S.: "When Toto runs away from Dorothy. It's like turning on a faucet."

G.F.: "In the light of this year's events, I'd like to recommend a Finnish documentary called "Into Eternity," about storage of spent nuclear fuel.

K.S.: "I want to go a different route — to rom-coms! How about the worst Jennifer Aniston movie to be released this year. Or something with Ashton Kutcher in it. Something really 'Aargh.' "

G.F.: "Well, what's the best one you've seen this year?"

The five rentals they chose

• The Wizard of Oz
• Diva
• The Big Lebowski
• Tenten (Adrift in Tokyo)
• Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

K.S.: "Probably 'Love and Other Drugs,' though it's not out on DVD yet. That was so goofy, so all-over the place, it was actually lovable."

G.F. and M.S.: "Uh-huh ..."

G.F.: "If I had to choose just one DVD from all time, it would probably be (stylish 1981 French thriller) 'Diva.' I love everything about that film, though I can't say exactly why. I kept going back to the theater to watch it. It's the one that got me into filmmaking, and films in general."

K.S.: "(Actress) Rie Miyazawa once told me that was her favorite film too."

G.F.: "Well, that's something I have in common with Rie Miyazawa!"

M.S.: "With Japanese films, I would have to recommend 'Tenten (Adrift in Tokyo).' It's about a permanent college student (Joe Odagiri) drafted into a walk across Tokyo by an irascible debt collector (Tomokazu Miura). Great, quirky story, and it's a great guide to the city as well."

K.S.: "For a wonderful and sober love story, I'd like to put 'A Serious Man' in there."

G.F.: "Yeah, that was a great one by the Coen Brothers. For two hours they lead you down a certain path and then they really spring the ending on you. I just never saw that coming. The Coen Brothers are really, really mean. But is that a love story?"

K.S.: "Yes, because it boils down to one man trying his utmost to please a woman. And he hardly knew her."

G.F.: "The one sunbathing in her backyard, right?"

K.S.: "Right. Now that's romantic, wouldn't you say?"

G.F.: "What's the one film you can see again and again?"

M.S.: "I would have to say Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey." I first saw it at a Saturday matinee in Barberton, Ohio. The theater was packed with kids, and after 10 minutes they were running up and down the aisles. And I sat there thinking, 'Am I going to sit through this?' But I did, forgetting all about the flying popcorn, and the movie has stayed with me ever since."

G.F.: "For me, the one that I see whenever I'm in a bad mood is 'The Big Lebowski.' I just put it on and it picks me up immediately. Jeff Bridges is so great in that one."

K.S.: "The one I want to see fairly often is probably the first 'Harry Potter.' "

G.F.: "Why? What's your favorite scene?"

K.S.: "When Harry's standing on the train platform. That scene was really endearing to me. Makes me feel like I'm traveling."

M.S.: "I think we have five picks now."

G.F.: "Yeah, we're covered to hole up in a log cabin for two weeks with nothing else to do and nowhere to go."

K.S.: "I hate to be the party pooper, but we'd still have to hit our deadlines."

G.F. and M.S.: "..."

Other films this week

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