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The Most Terrible Time in My Life

Masatoshi Nagase , Shir˘ Sano , Kaiz˘ Hayashi  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Masatoshi Nagase, Shir˘ Sano, Kiyotaka Nanbara, Yang Haitin, Hou De Jian
  • Directors: Kaiz˘ Hayashi
  • Writers: Kaiz˘ Hayashi, Daisuke Tengan
  • Producers: Kaiz˘ Hayashi, Shunsuke Koga, Yoshiharu Saga, Yu Wei Yen, Yutaka Goto
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001FVDPK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,651 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Most Terrible Time in My Life" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Trailer Gallery
  • Stills Gallery

Editorial Reviews

Detective Maiku "Mike" Hama (Masatoshi Nagase'; Mystery Train) navigates the Yokohoma underworld with razor sharp threads, Belmondo cool and two-fisted, street savvy. But when he comes to the aid of a Taiwanese waiter at a local mah-jongg parlor, the unflappable Hama has no idea what he's in for. Though seemingly a luckless immigrant teetering on the threshold of Yokohoma's gutter, Homa's Taiwanese client holds the secret to a ferocious gangland revenge triangle that soon has bullets, fists and severed fingers flying. Hama's plunge into a dizzyingly escalating, brutally violent multiethnic gang war ultimately snares him in a web of revenge and deceit that spans continents and severs bloodlines. Things aren't what they seem in director Kaizo Hayashi's glorious black and white widescreen valentine to French New Wave, American Film Noir and Japanese gangster flicks. Though a hard-boiled P.I. in the Spillane mold, Hama is really all heart and as likely to trip over his kid sister's apron strings as trip up a two-faced gangster. Once he's out of his movie theater office and on the case, Hama becomes a punching bag for everyone from the corrupt cops to Yakuza thugs and even his detective mentor (Seijun Suzuki regular Shishido Jo). Though The Most Terrible Day In My Life begins as a meticulous and sly parody of all things Noir, it is "at heart a work of infectious, unironic affection." (Village Voice). Hayashi's shadowy retro gloss and self-made hero decorate a very real portrait of shifting allegiances in a modern Japan of ebbing compassion and a modern Asia with vanishing borders.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quirky and cool August 21, 2004
By Ishtar
Very fresh and intriguing. Noir film with a wicked sense of humour. I loved the lead character-- a hard-boiled detective with a heart of gold. The only regret about the story I had is the absence of the protagonist for about 20 minutes of the film when it focused on Yang. Please see this movie if you get a chance-- It's very different from the usual gangster flicks out there. At this price, it's a bargain. I wish the DVD had included some more extras, but apart from that it's great.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun And Entertaining Film: Modern Noir! February 9, 2007
"The Most Terrible Time In My Life," is one of those quirky films that you really don't hear about too often. I happened to stumble across the Video several years ago, and picked up the DVD a few years back. This is a Japanese film, which is shot in black and white to give it that old film noir look. However, you can tell by the scenes that the film is modern. The film was released in 1993, in Japan. The film mixes tame violence [sort of] with comedy. I thought that it was an interesting watch, and it just might appeal to those viewers who like modern noir. Especially Japanese modern noir. Moreover, the films use of parody is not too over the top, and it is funny!

The film centers on a character named Maiku Hama (Masatoshi Nagase) who is a private eye. He is a very unorthodox private eye however, as his office is above a movie theatre. And if you want to enter his office you have to pay the price of admission. I have to admit that there were parts of this film where I really laughed out loud. Especially the scene where Maiku's sensei beats the hell out of him with a stick. That was hilarious! Plus the cinematography in this black and white film is very, very good. Also, if you like parodies of the old films from the 40s and 50s, then this film is definitely one for you.

Maiku Hama drives around in a ludicrous Nash Rambler [not your typical Japanese Private eye]. Moreover, he likes to gamble. While Maiku is gambling he gets into a mess with a Taiwanese waiter; and it is here the films narrative begins. Maiku looks for the waiters missing brother, and in the process finds himself in trouble with both Hong Kong and Taiwanese mobsters who are attempting to form a new type of Yakuza. The film is entertaining and different, but may not appeal to all viewers.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Gem!! March 22, 2004
Stumbled on this, and it was my favorite genre, Japanese Noir with a sense of humor. P.I. drives an American Metro from the 60's, and he's got a kid sister, and there's hard-boiled B-girls; its got everything, including kinda obscure referegddgnces (its' an old trick, but watch the theatre marquis). Bang, Bang!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Picked this up because the credits listed old Japanense noir legend Joe Shishido Eclipse Series 17: Nikkatsu Noir (The Criterion Collection). Alas, while it was fun to see an elder Joe still kicking it in this 1993 Japanese detective release, his role amounted to not much more than an elongated cameo. I should have been paying more attention to the the tongue in cheek name given to the main character, Maiku Hama (as in Mike Hammer), to know where this movie was likely going.

Most of the film tries to interject a little bit of that kind of humor into the noir, coming across in some ways as more of a Magnum PI funny guy TV series than any sort of tough Mickey Spillane character (this film was actually the first in a series of three films with the same detective).

The movie lacks mostly from the lead character never quite establishing an identity. One minute he's beating up 5 guys just a day or two after having a severed finger reattached, and in the next scene he's coming across as a bumbler who would be afraid of his own shadow. Street smart one moment, he becomes naive for much of the movie when convenient for the plot.

The movie is actually at its best for about its middle third when it focuses more on one of his clients, and the detective himself fades into the background. He almost comes across as a foil in his own movie, but the subtext between two lost brothers (one of which hires Hama) helps to somewhat salvage the film.

The movie tries to make some commentary on how hard it can be to rise above one's past and create a new future, and also features some racial tension as Koreans, Chinese, and Tawainese start to immigrate into traditional Japan.
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