Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – ★★★★

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind poster

Took the kids to watch this in the theater today as part of Studio Ghibli Fest. First time for me to ever see a Miyazaki movie on the big screen.

This was one of my least favorites when I originally was running through my Miyazaki blind spots back in 2020, but giving it my full attention now I really enjoyed it quite a bit. I was pleasantly surprised how much both my girls liked it considering how “old” it is and how relatively few laughs there are. They were probably the only 2 people under 30 in the theater today.

Nausicaä is such a fantastic character as are all the other valley residents, but boy do I hate every single Tolmekian and Pejite moron. And they remain pretty much completely irredeemable for the entire movie. (I know we’re supposed to dislike them but still.)

It is bit depressing how little progress we’ve made as a society in 40 years towards the Nausicaä’s basic themes of environmentalism, empathy, and pacifism.

It’s early so not quite as breathtakingly beautiful as some of the films that followed it, but it sure is imaginative and interesting to look at. It is also remarkable how much imagery from this have influenced (or share influences with) current Japanese video games including Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. TotK’s “depths” areas seem like a mix of Nausicaa’s forest and the gloom from Mononoke.

Buying tickets now to go see Mononoke in a month.

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💿 Buy Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on Blu-ray

The Lightning Thief (by Rick Riordan) – ★★★★

Percy Jackson 1 - The Lightning Thief

Rated this maybe a 2.5-star after my initial listen on Audible, but enjoyed it quite a bit more on this reread with the actual paperback.

My oldest kid is very into the entire Rick Riordan catalog but surprisingly never read the Percy Jackson books so I read this to her a little bit at a time at bedtime. (Seriously there’s more than 20 Riordan books and she’s read almost all of them except this main series for some reason.) Not sure if it was the audiobook’s fault or just the extra joy of reading with my kid but I found both the story and Riordan’s writing itself much more engrossing this time.

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Review: Flight of the Navigator

Flight of the Navigator

Watching Flight of the Navigator with the kids, and in the first 10 minutes we see David and his brother ride unbuckled and wrestling in the back of a station wagon, find out he keeps a giant box of fireworks next to his bed, and then that his parents expect his 8 year old brother to walk home in the dark in the woods and across the train tracks.

The 80s man.

First time I’ve seen this since the 80s myself. All I could remember was thinking it was scary, which watching again with my own 7 year old makes me realize I must have been quite the weenie. She really enjoyed the early mystery and then the tiny cute alien, and unlike her dad didn’t find it one bit scary. It was fun watching it with her and I enjoyed the first 2/3rds, but when the alien ship turns into Pee Wee Herman it lost me a bit for a while before picking up again towards the end.

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie – ★★★½

Super Mario Bros. Movie

Fantastic looking and tons of fun references. Adequate storyline that anyone whose ever played a Mario game could predict, but good enough for a fun afternoon at the theater with the kids.

Although it is not a nonstop laugh fest, it got several big laughs from my kids, despite the fact that they are more into Minecraft/The Sims than they are into Mario. It is definitely a kids’ movie with references for us “olds,” but it was made lovingly and shows a real understanding and appreciation of the Mario characters and worlds.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s Peach and especially Jack Black’s Bowser were definitely the highlights, but all of the performances were good. Yes, including Chris Pratt.

Special shoutout to the nihilistic Lumalee the Luma who stole the show in their brief appearances.

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Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach – ★★★½

Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach

Watched this with my youngest kid in 4k thanks to the fantastic restoration available on the Internet Archive. Looked surprisingly great and considering it is from only one year after the original Super Mario Bros. for NES there were a number of characters rendered surprisingly close to what they’d eventually look like in games 20+ years later. Definitely bonkers in some places and all the toad characters are certifiably horrifying.

Now I’m looking forward to the new Super Mario Bros movie’s post credit scene revealing the hot anime Prince Haru spinoff.

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🎥 Watch Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach via the Internet Archive

“dad with two annoying daughters, who are crying because they just got in trouble, pixar style”

Trolling my daughters with Midjourney prompts as they argue over who gets to help with the next creation: “dad with two annoying daughters, who are crying because they just got in trouble, pixar style”

Bottom right one was our favorite, not sure why the other ones ended up with clown makeup. Ha.

Matilda – ★★★


Such a great performance by Mara Wilson and great job by all the actual 6 year olds playing 6 year olds. Too much time early with the family and focusing on the adults.

Watched this with the kids because they (and I) loved the new Matilda the Musical adaptation on Netflix. They liked this version ok but definitely still prefer the new musical and not just because its newer and “old things are boring and not funny.”

The Bad Guys – ★★½

The Bad Guys movie poster

First movie I’ve seen in a theater since Rise of Skywalker (12/2019) and even longer for the kids.

It was totally fine. Probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t seen so many “it’s much better than expected” reviews on here. Should I show my 10 year old Ocean’s Eleven?

Movie theater popcorn still is great though.

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💿 Buy Dear Evan Hansen on Amazon