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Skip to the 1:30 mark:

I’d be way more into sports,


…standing on the corner of Olympic and Sawtelle. He was holding a skateboard in one hand, a half-full beer and lit cigarette in the other.

As people approached the corner to cross he’d scream out a quick rhyme about the person based on what race he thought they were.

While pointing at an Asian woman waiting to cross he screamed: “Japanese?!? Nigga, please!”

Next up was an average looking white guy wearing a hat and a backpack: “Don’t like the French?!? It’s the stench!”

The walk signal lit up and I began to cross; that’s when he got to me. I couldn’t make out the first half of his brilliant little street poem, but I heard the last line as clear as day: “Eat a knish!”

Don’t mind if I do, insane man. Don’t mind if I do.

Danish Yiddish Jewish,


Ponyo (Walt Disney Pictures)


1. First, I have to be honest here: I’m not a fan of much anime. Anime’s usual standard for drawing humans just isn’t something I find to be aesthetically pleasing. I don’t dig the wide eyes, the tiny-or-enormous mouths, or the Michael Jackson-esque non-noses each and every character has. Like bald white guys with dark-rimmed glasses, to me, they all look the same. So take that into consideration as you read the rest of this review.

2. The story of “Ponyo” is this: David Bowie (as Ziggy Stardust) lives under the ocean and, after mating with Mother Ocean, becomes the father of a potato with eyes. Said potato essentially runs away from home, gets her head stuck in a jar, and is saved by a young boy. They fall in love (because, you know, kids know everything about romance at the age of eight) and live happily ever after. You with me so far? Good, because I’m not even sure if I’m with me.

3. If you’ve managed to read this far, I assume you’re putting it together that I wasn’t a huge fan of “Ponyo.” It’s long, drawn out, and the dialogue is awkward and stilted. Of course, that probably has a lot to do with the fact that they’re overdubbing the original Japanese dialogue with English-speaking actors (Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, etc.). I honestly think I would have liked “Ponyo” more had they just left the original dialogue in and given the audience some subtitles. I’m not stupid, you know. I can read!

4. For me, the only saving grace of the film were moments of its animation. Written and directed by animation legend Hayao Miyazaki (click here to see a portrait of Miyazaki that my good friend Marla Campbell did for “Variety”), “Ponyo” definitely had its moments of beautiful imagery. A scene with enormous fish jumping through the water, for example, is reminiscent of Asian woodblock printmaking. The film also has a fun use of water, depicting it as angry dark blobs with eyes. These subtle accents tell a story all their own with brilliant imagery. I just wish the film had more of those moments.

5. And lastly, sigh… the end credits song. I know it’s not an integral part of a film, but the sugar-pop bubble gum soundtrack was grating at best. And the worst part is that it then segues into an even worse techno remix of the same song. Maybe kids will love it, but if you’re over the age of ten be prepared to cover your ears once the credits roll.

Matt Damon,


Old Poop!