What makes a good movie. In my opinion what's more important than special effects or artistry is how a movie moves you and how frequently you would watch it again. For me, Welcome Back Mr. McDonald (or Rajio Jikan in its original title, Radio Time) does this in spades (making it my no.1 favorite movie of all time) no matter how I'm feeling before the film I always finish it content with a smile on my dial. Mitani's love of theater and comedy (in fact the film itself is a movie version of a play written and acted by Mitani's comedy troupe when he was starting out) make itself know in this film about a late night radio drama that's constantly being sabotaged by the cast and crew to the distress of the author. But there's no real bad guy, each character is as real as you or I and all have their redeemable moments and you'll soon start to warm up to them, even the shameless cow-towing producer by the end of the film. Finally I'd like to give special mention to the sound track and the way director Mitani takes a familiar theme and fosters a greater emotional response from each theme and pulls even a foreign audience into the nostalgia of Japanese radio drama.
This may be a soppy review and a departure from my usual favorites like Alien and Akira but that's what this movie does to me, it moves me to that place.