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'Ponyo,' 'District 9,' Jessie James, 'Shark Tank,' 'Iron Chef America'

SMART LIST

August 09, 2009|Denise Martin

This weekend, the best thing you could talk about is: "Ponyo."

Behind the films "Spirited Away" and "Howl's Moving Castle," Hayao Miyazaki might be the only person with a track record in animation as consistent and beloved as Pixar's. The Japanese director-illustrator's latest is "Ponyo," the story of a young fish who wants to become human. Along the way she'll befriend a 5-year-old named Sosuke. A bit like "The Little Mermaid"? Yes, but quirky in the best way. (Friday)

The second best thing you could talk about is the aliens among us in: "District 9"

The "prawns" that have descended on Johannesburg, South Africa, are now right up there alongside the "Roswell" kids, the visitors of "V" and E.T. Yes, they look like giant cockroaches, but the humans that have segregated them are far worse. "District 9" pulls off splatterstick and touching at the same time. (Friday)

You should be talking about: Jessie James

She's kind of like Taylor Swift, slightly older, slightly more edge. A lot more rock 'n' roll. A rough-and-tumble Carrie Underwood. Plus, she's already worked with our favorite "American Idol" judge, Kara DioGuardi (who will be back next year -- yes!). James' self-titled debut is out this week, country pop fans. (Tuesday)

Is there reason to talk about: "Shark Tank"?

Besides working on reality shows with Joan Rivers and "The Hills' " Audrina Patridge, Mark Burnett is adapting the British reality hit "Dragon's Den" into "Shark Tank" for ABC. The show revolves around eager entrepreneurs pitching their business ventures to five multimillionaire tycoons. My, it's been a long time since the heady days of "Survivor." (Today)

Just another excuse to talk about: "Iron Chef America"

The show's got a new Sunday-at-9 time slot. Make a mental note. Tonight's episode pits Iron Chef and gonzo "Throwdown" chef Bobby Flay against Francois Kwaku-Dongo, executive chef at L'Escale in Greenwich, Conn. (Today)

-- Denise Martin

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