You Saw The Avengers, I Saw My Neighbor Totoro

You all saw The Avengers over the weekend. I know you did because I read your tweets and your status updates and your Instagram posts, even when it seems like I’m not. Omniscience is cool.

Oh, yeah, and there are numbers proving that you all saw The Avengers over the weekend too.

I didn’t see The Avengers, not yet at least. It’s not because I don’t want to see the big movie or be part of some pop culture phenomenon. I left The Avengers art show at Gallery 1988 totally psyched to see the movie.

Someone asked me on Twitter if I’m avoiding the crowds. The answer is yes, definitely. It takes a lot of yoga breathing to get me through the crowds that are frequently a part of my job, so I avoid them on my free days. That said, instead of going to see The Avengers at my local stadium seating multiplex last weekend, I saw My Neighbor Totoro in a tiny film geek haunt where the seats are petite and the ice cream sandwiches are massive.

This month, Cinefamily is hosting a Studio Ghibli retrospective. They’re playing 10 films in all, from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind to Ponyo. The event began last weekend with multiple showings of My Neighbor Totoro, which Carlos and I caught on Sunday night.

The theater was about half-full, which is impressive considering that most of Los Angeles was going to see The Avengers last weekend and this wasn’t the theater’s only Totoro screening. There were some problems with the projector, but it was still nice to finally see this movie on the big screen.

Whenever I watch a Studio Ghibli film, I’m always taken by the sweetness within them. My Neighbor Totoro is no different. There’s a real, genuine sense of love that the characters have for each other and for the environment in which they live, but the film never feels sappy. Miyazaki also has this special gift for capturing the curiosity and fearlessness in children and rewards them for traits that so often seem to disappear once adulthood hits.

I’m looking forward to checking out a few of the other films in the series this month, but haven’t decided which screenings I’ll be able to attend yet. Considering that the only one I previously saw in a theater was Spirited Away, there are a lot of options.

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