Thursday, May 22, 2008

PROF. BRIAN O'BLIVION'S ALL-NEW FLESH FOR MEMORIAL DAY FILM (AND TV) QUIZ




All right, students, you’ve had the entire first half of 2008 to study up, so sharpen those number twos, straighten up your posture, keep your eyes on your papers and get ready. After what seems like a good long time (since the Christmas holiday, actually), the SLIFR University has once again swung open the doors to its hallowed halls, where “Knowledge Is Good” and movie passion is better, not to mention the doors of its main lecture hall, where it is time once again for another faculty-approved head-scratcher. I had hoped that a certain bullwhip-cracking professor of archaeology might grace us with his presence for this go-round. But it turns out he’s busy off on a series of endless junkets promoting some travelogue of his that opens in a couple of dusty markets today, so he couldn’t be bothered.

So we turn instead to another esteemed thinker for this Memorial Day quiz, one whose expertise lies more in the realm of video, Professor Brian O’Blivion. We weren’t sure just how well he would adapt to the rigors of a movie-oriented test, but as it turned out that strange glob metastasizing inside his cathode-ray-decomposed brain was more than up to the task. (When informed of this observation, the professor was overheard to mutter, “Television is reality, and reality is less than television.”) Other than a random TV-themed question or two, the good Professor O’Blivion has shown an admirable ferocity for thinking outside the idiot box, and therefore you have the rather epic quiz you see now before you. The professor apologizes if it is a little longer than the usual SLIFR professorial fare, but he offered in defense of the quiz’s lengthiness only this cryptic comment: “I believe that the growth in my head-this head-- this one right here. I think that it is not really a tumor... not an uncontrolled, undirected little bubbling pot of flesh... but that it is in fact a new organ... a new part of the brain.” Okay…

So without further delay, it is our pleasure and privilege to present to you the latest time-consuming distraction from the SLIFR curricula, Professor Brian O’Blivion’s All-New Flesh for Memorial Day Quiz. As always, when formatting your answers for the comments section, please remember to cut and paste the questions so that we can all more easily reference what questions you are answering! Good luck! As is customary, the last word belongs to our esteemed faculty member: “After a while, I started hallucinating, and developed a tumor. I believe the visions caused the tumor, and not the other way around.”

Um, could someone get the professor a shot of Patron and a TV dinner, please?

And begin…

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?


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That's it! Happy Memorial Day to you and yours, and even happier quizzin'!

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62 comments:

Jonathan Lapper said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

The transition is easy nowadays as tv writers, directors and actors go back and forth with no stigma attached. It was a lot harder in the seventies and before because tv was considered such an ugly stepchild. I personally can't stand him as an actor but I've always been impressed that John Travolta was able to go from playing a sweathog on "Welcome Back Kotter" to garnering an Oscar Nomination for Saturday Night Fever in less than a year. But that's tv to movies. Movies to TV? I'll say MASH or Buffy. Buffy in fact took a less than acclaimed movie and became a tv show that was much more acclaimed than the source.

2) Living film director you most miss seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Todd Solondz

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Charles Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Catcher in the Rye

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica. She's responsible for 10% of my hits daily. People always want to see her naked.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
The theater's been awhile. It was There Will Be Blood because I had to see it in the theater - had to! On DVD? Just watched Gun Crazy again in its entirety. Was trying to pick out which scenes to use for my movie and ended up watching the whole thing.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Fairuza Balk. No, seriously, Fairuza Balk. I'm sure I'll catch hell for that answer.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

I have no idea. Let's say "East Side/West Side."

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

I was a kid in the seventies - Jack Elam.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Oh dear lord there are so many. So many that I saw in my early teens when I was consuming everything that I have practically forgotten now. I'll say, La Dolce Vita because I don't think I quite got it at sixteen.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Brian Doan's answer will be All The President's Men - just wanted to put that out there. Mine is Zodiac.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

It Happened One Night pretty much invented the road trip movie which is still so popular today so I'll go with that one. Last 35 years takes us to 73. Let's see. Both Blazing Saddles and Animal House took comedy into the landscape of the vulgar that had previously only been hinted at. The hits of the nineties and 2000's wouldn't exist without them. Animal House did it better so I'm going with that one.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

It's supposed to be the theater but for me it's my home with all the kids gone.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

At this point I don't care. Maybe in a couple of decades.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Romancing the Stone

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Literal teaching? I don't know. Never cared much for academic settings movies. Or where someone is taught by a mentor (i.e. The Karate Kid). I'll say Wild Strawberries. He gets to the end of his life and finally figures it all out. I hope I do too one day.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Dracula is based on a poorly written play that gets practically everything about the story wrong. And the direction is leaden to say the least.

Horror of Dracula

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Because I wanted to engage with fellow cinephiles and movie lovers. I like posting my thoughts as a means of engaging in a discussion. And sometimes I like it because I just want to trade jokes or quips with someone to brighten my day.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

For me it's the family in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

That question sucks because both are so completely wonderful, you bastard. Okay, you're not a bastard I just hate choosing. Hmmm... For now... Robert Shaw.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

I suppose I should say Bunuel or Allen. That's too easy. I'll say Time Bandits. No, seriously, Time Bandits.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

If only for Angie, and a lot more too of course, Rio Bravo.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring Leo DiCiprio and directed by Scosese.

My Dinner With Andre directed by Michael Bay and starring Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling. Still haven't seen Celine and Julie Go Boating which I hear is Bulle's best work.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Have not seen it. But I did finally see Salo, the 120 Days of Sodom which you asked about last year. It bored me stiff.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

They're all big productions but due to eerie similarities in my life and relationships I have always taken Dodsworth, Brief Encounter & Manhattan very personally and I don't care to watch them with anyone else who won't understand why they get it all so exactly right and how extraordinarily dead-on they all three are.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Since Microcosmos is the one I've seen of the two, I'll go with that.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Favorite game is probably MASH but I love the final game in North Dallas Forty because of the uncanny way it mirrored the actual Dallas playoff game of the season before last when Romo dropped the snap at the end.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

A Powell question. Wendy Hiller some days, Deborah Kerr others. Depends on which Powell I'm watching.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I have never seen Kazaam. Never. Don't tell anyone. As for a real dirty secret I'm not sure I have one. I love movies and watch what I can. Plenty of big ones I still haven't seen but I'm not keeping it a secret so I'm coming up empty on this one.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

I'll get back to you on this one.


33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Horsefeathers

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I was just a kid last time I went to one, so I don't really have any great stories there, sorry.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Uh, Tyrone Power. Is this a trick question or something?


36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!! Nooooooo!!!!!!! No more questions about film criticism and where it's going. My god, thousands of children have perished in China, more lay dead in Burma, Iraq is in complete disrepair, people are living in their cars because they've lost their homes...

Okay, sorry. But really, for the time being at least, I'm afraid I have had my fill of this question. Sorry. Hate to end my quiz on a sour note. Sorry.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Ah, I don't want to end my answer on a sour note. Here goes:

I think film criticism is moving in better directions despite what so many seem to think. Print critics losing their jobs is not a good thing but many immediately find a home online where they can be even more analytical and thought provoking without deadlines and an editor breathing over their shoulder.

Bloggers like Girish and Jim Emerson allow film criticism to become a group discussion in which differing points of view are celebrated and help to bring the films in question to a richer understanding for all.

I think the days of deeper, richer more profound analysis of film and what film means lay ahead of us. With the freedom to exchange ideas and the access of the great films of cinema history I think film criticism is on an upward slant. It' just that the technology, the modes of its transport are changing. But the criticism itself is evolving into something that I never had growing up, reading the opinions of hallowed authors and historians who made no room for dissent.

Jonathan Lapper said...

That should be "Editor breathing down their neck" or "Looking over their shoulder"

and

"historians who left no room for dissent."

bill said...

I probably won't be able to get to this until tonight. Way to pick a busy work day for the new quiz, Dennis!!

Peter Nellhaus said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Director - John Brahm. See his Fox DVD set, and then, if you can, check out his work on the horror TV series, "Thriller".

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly.

Martin Brest. Seriously. Gigli was bad, but not that bad.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Pallette, especially in It Happened One Night.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

My life.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

I like them both, but am more partial to taking Veronica out for a cup of joe.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

I saw Opera Jawa in a theater, because films like that need to be supported. I saw Day of Wrath, not the Dreyer film, on DVD, because I was curious, and an incurable smartass.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Maggie Q is a star in Asia, damn it!

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Foxy Brown has the always delightful Sid Haig. Did I tell you that Pam Grier and I went to the same high school?

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

"As sure as my name is Boris Karloff, this is a Thriller.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Elam. Too easy a choice here.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Zazie dans la Metro, Omicron, Convicts 4, and anything that Albert Zugsmith had anything to do with.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

I would like to re-see President's Men to see how it holds up, especially with information learned since the film was released.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

The most important film comedy of the last 35 years is Kirby Dick's This Film is not yet Rated.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

I really liked this small screening room that Paramount Pictures has in NYC. Nice sized screen, very comfortable seats.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Williams for Dick, The Station Agent and Me without You. Mendes is a cutie, though.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

. But man, what a great cast.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

All the Mornings of the World.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

I like the Latina cuties in George Melford's version.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I blog, therefore I am.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Janet Leigh's death in Psycho may be the most memorable.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards, for Ballad of Cable Hogue, although Shaw was in a bunch of good films.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

The Devils. Thank the deities for giving us Ken Russell.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo has Dino and Angie.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

I'm not about to give anyone any ideas.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Ms. Rampling continues to impress and is still quite attractive for what the French describe as a "woman of a certain age".

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Yes, but not my favorite Oshima. That would be The Ceremony.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

If I told you, it wouldn't be my own, you sneaky so-and-so!

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Of these two, I've only seen Winged Migration.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

I liked the uniform Christina Ricci was wearing in Black Snake Moan.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

I disliked the film they were both in, Separate Tables. I would have to choose Kerr because of Black Narcissus, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, and Bonjour Tristesse on the top of the list.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I still haven't seen Pink Flamingos.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Contempt. I understood what Godard was doing in filming the statues when I finally saw Voyage in Italy.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

The eternal Norman Z. McLeod question. It's a Gift primarily for the scene of Mr. Muckle.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I was in the back seat with my girl friend of the time. For a Few Dollars More was playing on the screen. I never got to see the Leone film until a few years later.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Ty Power. He was in more good films.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Film criticism means pointing out films that are of interest for a variety of reasons, even if the goal is to entertain. Based on current evidence, film criticism is headed to the blogosphere while a handful of print critics get syndicated.

Peter Nellhaus said...

Arrggh. Foiled by the HTML demon, again.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

No problem, Peter. I got your back. Peter's mystery title is Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title. And yeah, that is a great cast!

Dave S said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Alfred Hitchcock with Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I kinda wish William Castle had tried that type of transition too.


2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Ken Russell.


3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Pallatte because of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington… though Coburn worked with Hitchcock.


4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Pong.


5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Lake, by a bang over an eye.


6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In the theatre, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, because a friend wanted to go, and on DVD, Two-Lane Blacktop. I rented it because I liked what I’d read about it. It’s now one of my favourite movies.


7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Fabio Testi (He may have been in Europe, but not so much in North America).


8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy, because she was the Godmother of them all!


9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

A region 1 release of the British series Thriller is needed.


10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Elam ‘cause of Kiss Me Deadly, though both of these guys could stare down just about anybody. (Why do I always feel guilty about answering these “A or B” questions? Is it because I’m Canadian?)


11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Pretentious as it sounds, its mostly foreign films that come to mind when thinking of an answer to this question… Films like Rashomon, The 400 Blows, Breathless, Umberto D… And the reason I would want to revisit classics foreign films is to remind myself of how great they are.


12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac, ‘cause it’s fresher in my memory, and it’s about obsession with no definite resolution…


13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

To me, an important comedy is one that makes people laugh and has an impact on how audiences look at comedy. It’s also nice if it manages to cast a reflection (however distorted or amplified) of ourselves. John Waters’ Female Trouble fits that bill.


14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

A large movie theatre, with three-quarters of the seats filled with an appreciative audience.


15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Since we can’t answer this after The Spirit is released, Williams. Mendes kinda seems like Cindy Crawford Jr.


16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Beverly Hills Chihuahua. It doesn’t even have the tiny cleverness of a title like Most Valuable Primate.


17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

The Last Picture Show.


18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Dracula (1931). Though Chris Lee gives good fang!


19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I blog to spread the word about movies that some people might not otherwise find out about.


20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

The beating in the club in “Irreversible”. It freaked me out/disturbed me in a big way.


21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Ahhh… both so good. But Shaw by a shark’s tooth.


22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Last Cross on the Left… I mean, The Passion of the Christ.


23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Red River. Yay, Monty Clift.


24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Russ Meyers’ That Darn Cat!


25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Rampling. Did Ogier ever fight a killer whale? I didn’t think so.


26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Sure, if I ever make it through the whole damn thing.


27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

The Long Day Closes.


28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Neither. To me, they both seem like commercials for documentaries rather than actual documentaries.


29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Black Sunday… terrorist blimp versus stadium! Rah!


30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Kerr, by a wet bathing suit.


31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

Other than having sex while watching a non-porn movie or being turned on by a flick, I guess my dirtiest secret related to the movies is the fact that I don’t get Audrey Hepburn. At all.


32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Groan-inducing as it may sound, I really love Showgirls for its humour and bad taste. The film that illuminates Showgirls for me is Starship Troopers, also directed by Paul Verhoeven. Because the humour in Starship Troopers was missed by so many people upon first viewing, it makes me question Verhoeven’s intent with Showgirls…


33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Horsefeathers, because the Marx Brothers are a gift!


34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

As a 9-year-old horror fan, I begged my father to take to see The Exorcist when it was released. Being sane, he refused. By the time I was 12, The Exorcist came back to our town at the drive-in on a double bill with John Wayne’s McQ. This time, my father took me. After watching the Wayne first feature, The Exorcist began. I don’t remember when it happened, though I know it built up gradually… I began to formulate the thought (though not in these words) that this was adult horror and it was about things my little brain couldn’t comprehend. In other words, it was freaking me out, and I was going to have nightmares forever if we didn’t leave NOW! My father, again being sane, dutifully prepared to leave the drive-in at my request. Though sane, my father is a little cruel, and he suggested I look at the screen as we drove away. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw Regan McNeil vomit all over Father Karras. Image. Stuck. In. My. Head. Forever.


35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Mature fought prehistoric creature on screen once, didn’t he? Yeah, him.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Having recently developed an obsession with Italian gialli, I can tell you that I think the way a film is perceived is very much a product of the time it is being reviewed. Today, so many films that were ignored or maligned in the 70’s are being rediscovered as classics. It’s just another way that film criticism is subjective.

Unfortunately, “professional” film criticism has been heading to blurb-ville for a long time now, and it shows no sign of letting up. You know, comments like “The feel good movie of the year” splashed across a movie poster or ad…? All this seems to have more to do with the critic than it does the film. The good news is that fan-based reviews are all over the Internet in blogs and websites, and that’s where you can get the real goods about movies.

bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Paddy Chayefsky.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Hrm. That’s a good one. Oh, wait, I know. Peter Weir. “Master and Commander” is one of the most underrated films of the past couple of decades, as far as I’m concerned, and I think he’s only made a couple of movies that can be ignored outright. Everything else, seems to me, to range between “interesting” and “phenomenal”.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Coburn.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

If we’re talking about books, or something like that, then I’m open to somebody taking a shot at just about anything. The books are still the books, so even if the movie really chews on it hard, there’s really no harm done.

Outside of that, I guess I would say “whatever new horseshit idea Ashton Kutcher just came up with”.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

I’m not as familiar with either as I should be, but Jane Greer was in “Out of the Past”.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In the theater, it was “Iron Man”, and I saw it for the same reason everybody else saw it: Robert Downey, Jr. in a flying metal suit blowing up bad guys. And I loved it.

On DVD, it was “Ball of Fire”. I saw that one because of how much good press it gets on this here website, and because of my growing love of Barbara Stanwyck, fostered in no small part, again, by this here website. And it’s a curious thing: I didn’t know before I saw the movie that it was co-written by Billy Wilder, and I’m starting to come to the conclusion that I don’t actually find Billy Wilder comedies very funny. I love his dramas, but not his comedies. However, while “Ball of Fire” didn’t make me laugh very often, I did SMILE an awful lot. And my love for Barbara Stanwyck ever increases. AND, out of the blue, the movie gives me one of the most genuinely and honestly touching moments I’ve ever seen. “Sweet Genevieve”.

You didn’t ask about cable, but I also recently watched “Count Yorga, the Vampire”, which I enjoyed immensely for all the wrong reasons.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

I don’t know…there are so many. I’ve recently become incredibly impressed with Robert Sean Leonard’s work on the TV show “House”. His performance in the most recent season finale was devastating.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Haven’t seen either.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

“The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley”. Also, “Get a Life”. At least there were about six episodes of the latter released, but I need the complete series.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam. He looks like both of his eyes want to kill you, but for different reasons.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Is this the question about movies you didn’t like, but everyone else seemed to love, so you want to check them out again to see if you missed something the first time around? If so, then my answer is “Being John Malkovich” and “Fight Club”. If the question is more general, than my answer is “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Barry Lyndon” and “Picnic at Hanging Rock”.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

“Zodiac”. I’m a fan of both, but “Zodiac” is one of those unexpected masterpieces we rarely see. At least, it was unexpected for me, given that, previously, I was at best ambivalent about David Fincher. Along with everything else that “Zodiac” does well, it is, with the possible exception of “High and Low”, the greatest police procedural I have ever seen.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

An important filmed comedy, you see, must contain three elements: a sneering, even anarchic, disregard for societal mores and values; a political consciousness that includes feminist epistemology; and a laser focus in regards to its bourgeois and authoritarian targets.

An actually important comedy would be something like “This is Spinal Tap”, because at the time it was brand new, and was, and still is, funny as all shit.

I may have misunderstood this question.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Oh, I don’t know. Home, with my wife and some good food.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes. She satisfies two separate but occasionally related fetishes.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

“Made of Honor”. Because, you see, not only is a MAN going to be the MAID OF HONOR at the wedding, but he’s such a good person that he’s actually MADE of HONOR!

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

“Oleanna”.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

I…um…I haven’t actually SEEN the 1931 “Dracula” yet. Because, you know, you grow up with bits and pieces of it everywhere, and you get kind of bored of it without ever actually seeing it. I do plan on remedying this, however. In the meantime, I HAVE seen “Horror of Dracula”, and I love it.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I read blogs because the good ones cover a variety of topics and allow for – even encourage – conversation. Also, sometimes they have quizzes and DVD giveaways.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Now you’re talking my language! The murder in “Michael Clayton” would have been far less disturbing if it had been any more graphic. But probably the recent winner for me is the first of two long, drawn-out murders in “Trouble Every Day”. I watched the film alone, and during that scene I actually said, out loud, “Stop doing that.” The second one is no barrel of laughs, either.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

I don’t think I can pick between the two. Robards has that great speech about how important it is to have regrets in “Magnolia”, and Shaw has some speech about a boat or something from a movie I saw once.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

I don’t know. You know, other kinds of people get ridiculously worked up and offended by movies, for all sorts of silly reasons. Let’s make fun of them for a change.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

“Rio Bravo”. “Red River” chickened out at the end, and it really ticked me off.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Frank Capra's “Santa Sangre”.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

I’m not familiar with Ms. Ogier. I am familiar with Charlotte Rampling, though, and I really like her.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

No. I can’t really remember anything about the movie other than the sex and the ending, and that can’t be a good sign.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own
(Thanks, Jim!)

I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record on this one, but I’m going to go with “The Life Aquatic”. I really feel all alone on this one. Not only that, but when I watch it, it feels like Wes Anderson said, “Hey, you know what we should do? We should make a movie just for Bill.” And then he did.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Haven’t seen either. I’m more interested in seeing “Microcosmos”, if that means anything.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

My favorite sport has not been well-served by film. At least, generally not the films I’ve seen. Even so, I’d probably say the big game in the original “The Longest Yard”.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr. “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp”. That is all.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

Eek! Er, um…no, you probably don’t mean it like that. Well, not having seen “Dracula” yet is pretty bad, right? So is not having seen “8 ½”, which I haven’t.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

I wish I could be more original with this answer, but after watching “There Will Be Blood” again recently, I really appreciated how it builds off of both “The Shining” and “Barry Lyndon”.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

I know I haven’t seen “It’s a Gift”, and I can’t remember if I’ve seen “Horsefeathers” or not. But on the basis of having seen one W. C. Fields movie and many Marx Brothers movies, I’ll go with “Horsefeathers”.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Okay, so, I’m at this drive-in, right? And there’s this sniper there, too, right, but get this, BORIS KARLOFF shows up and…wait, that wasn’t me. Never mind. I’ve never been to a drive-in.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Eee…you’re embarrassing me today, Dennis. I’m not overly familiar with either. Victor Mature was in “Kiss of Death”, though, so…

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Film criticism, as the phrase is generally used, doesn’t mean all that much to me, unless it’s found on a blog where the film in question can be discussed. So, I guess, “film criticism”, to me, is the “opening argument”.

Flickhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flower said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

James L. Brooks, because of The Simpsons

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Richard Lester

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Sex in the CIty - shit, already done? Um... how about the life of George W. Bush... Wait, really?

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater - Speed Racer
DVD - House of Games

Watched both in direct response to this blog's Days of Speed Racer post and comments thread. I loved Speed Racer and thought House of Games, which I last saw maybe eight or nine years ago, held up just fine, thanks.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Cieran Hinds.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

I'm pretty sure all my favorite shows are on DVD...

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Mr. Jack Elam

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

I like to revisit anything I saw before I went to college, because my taste in and understanding of films shifted pretty dramatically at that point.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac. I appreciate AtPM but I can't say it's ever made much of an impact on me...

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Just one? Uncool, man. Uncool. I have no idea what makes a comedy "important," but being really really funny is probably a good place to start.

My pick: South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Don't have one. I'm not picky.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Williams

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Dunno. I probably haven't heard it yet.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Rushmore

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

I hope Horror of Dracula is better than Dracula '31, but I haven't seen it, so I can't say.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I don't blog. I read them because I'm frequently bored at work, and blogs help the day move a little faster. I specifically read film blogs because I love movies (duh) and enjoy reading the writing of those who share the love. The best ones draw my attention to things that I don't know, or haven't thought about and inspire me to learn more.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Most memorable: Cassavetes in The Fury (ka-powww!)

Most disturbing: that dude in Robocop who gets dunked in toxic waste and then hit by a van. Scarred me for LIFE (saw it when I was 7 years old)

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Oh good lord. It's gotta be Shaw, but Robards is a special actor. Still, even so, it's not really a contest for me.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

The Devils is a great pick. For a slightly more tongue in cheek blasphemy, I'll go with Monty Python's Life of Brian

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Raiders of the Lost Ark by Bruno Dumont

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Rampling.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

No, but only because I'm an ignorant bastard and don't know what this is.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Oh, jeez, probably all those Amblin movies I watched endlessly as a kid. So that would be Back to the Future, ET, Gremlins, Goonies... Of those, I've always felt a very very strong connection with ET - similar home life when I was Elliot's age. It really felt like that movie was made for and about me.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

I never made it through Winged Migration - the shot early on of caged birds being boated down the Amazon (I think) bummed me out so much that I turned it off. However, as with a number of these choice questions, I haven't seen Microcosmos, do I can't speak with any great authority.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

In a movie? Eh. Nothing's coming to mind. If we were talking TV, I'd say the state finals game in the first season finale of Friday Night Lights. But we're not. Except that I just did. Never mind.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

These "or" questions are kicking my ass and making me feel awfully ig'nant (but hey, that's why I come to film blogs). It's Kerr by default - not that she wasn't a wonderful actress.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

Even under the cloak of anonymity, I'm not sayin'.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Any Woody Allen film by any Marx Brothers film. The anarchic spirit in Allen's early comedies is a direct link back to the brothers (and Buster Keaten and a bunch of others too, obviously), but Allen's screen persona has remained a sort of Son of Groucho (though with a greater range of moods and stuff) throughout his career.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Horse Feathers! no contest

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Seeing Jurassic Park in the summer of '93, my mom and me running from our car to the bathroom, terrified that the raptors were going to jump off the screen and eat us. Well, that's how I felt anyway. It's possible my mom was just humoring me, but it was still a blast.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Criticism as a celebration of the artform means quite a bit to me. Criticism as venue for superiority complex and intellectual pretensions I can live without (and yes, I realize that it's sort of superior and pretentious to write that sentence, but I'm comfortable with my contradictions). I don't know where it's all headed and I don't really care.

Schuyler Chapman said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Well, how about Joe Mantegna? In addition to doing amazing voice work for "The Simpsons" over the years, he singlehandedly sucks me into every episode of "Criminal Minds"I happen to catch. I kind of hate the show, really, but as soon as I see him, I find myself mesmerized. And does Ron Howard count, who probably has the worst transition from tv to film but then an awesome return to the small screen with his executive production credit on "Arrested Development."

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Terrence Malick, duh.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Eugene Pallette has a great face and an even better voice.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

"The Family Guy" because I f*****g hate that show and the publicity campaign accompanying the film version would probably give me fits.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

I think the last movie I saw in a theater "Southland Tales." I hated "Donnie Darko," and everyone who liked that movie hated this one, so I figured that maybe I would like "Southland." I was wrong. I watched "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" last night on DVD because, well, Fassbinder's amazing and I'd not seen that one yet.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

So many, so many... Chris Eigeman leaps immediately to mind. Also, I love Parker Posey and Billy Crudup. They're not unknowns, for sure, but certainly not stars either.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

thirtysomething (sort of a lie--I've never seen it but I really really really want to)

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam, especially if he's rocking the beard.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

"Perfect World" and "Sid and Nancy" and "I'm Not There" and "Alphaville" and "Psycho" (the Van Sant version) and "Happy Together" and "Kiss Me Deadly"

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

"Zodiac"

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

The most important film comedies make us uncomfortable, I think, and cause laughter in those of us watching because of this discomfort. In other words, we watch something we know isn't funny but can only laugh, which then makes us uncomfortable and thereby tickles our brains, makes us think. So then to use that reasoning, the most important film comedy of the last 35 years is "American Psycho," which does more to confront machismo and misogyny through excruciatingly uncomfortable comedy than anything else I can think of.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Easy: in my living room with the lights off.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Michelle William, who is literall cute as a button

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Always thought "Gothika" was just really a horrible title. That's like a bad bad title. If we're doing good bad titles, then definitely "Hawmps!"

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

"Wonder Boys" and it isn't even a contest... unless "Repo Man" counts.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Well, "Horror of Dracula" is genius (my gateway into Hammer), and the Browning version was very underwhelming. So, yeah, "Horror of Dracula."

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I blogged because I could. Now that I don't, I continue reading blogs, particularly those relating to film and music, because, well, I enjoy information saturation. And I enjoy reading what others think about the same topics that I'm interested in.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

I'm unlikely to forget Bobby Peru's death in "Wild at Heart" or that splinter in the eye bit from "Zombi 2".

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Flip a coin, they're both awesome. I might be a little more partial to Robert Shaw, though.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

"Cannibal Holocaust" clearly intended to disprove the existence of God through its own. That's my choice.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

"Red River"

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Well, I for one would love to see Michael Bay remake "Faces," and I know I'm not alone.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

I haven't seen it, so no opinion, really.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

"Metropolitan" is mine and mine alone.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

"Microcosmos"

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Probably the one in "MASH."

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr--I absolutely love "Black Narcissus" and "Bonjour Tristesse" and "The Innocents." Hiller's all right, but I found "I Know Where I'm Going!" really disappointing, aside from a few scenes, and she was in "A Man for All Seasons," which might be the most boring movie ever (and, yes, it appears I have a double standard, since that doesn't much affect my opinion of Robert Shaw).

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I purposefully and excitedly watched "Striking Distance" when I was a teenager.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

"Phantom of the Paradise" is the Rosetta Stone that unlocked the secret behind Brian De Palma's movies: They're all comedies.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

"Horse Feathers"

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

The first time I went to the drive-ins, my friend's parents took us to see "Hot Shots Part Deux" and I wound up watching "Indecent Proposal" instead, out the back window of the car (two screens, showing different movies at this drive-in), in the hopes of seeing some naked people.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Film criticism is my chance to read what others are thinking about the movies I'm seeing. It's an opportunity to understand how others are processing the same information. If I like a movie, I want to know why others liked it or why they didn't, and, if I disliked a movie, I want to know why others did or didn't. It helps me, I think, get a more nuanced perspective on a film I've just watched. I'm not sure where it's going. I've never been terribly good at predicting outcomes.

Erin said...

Excellent quiz. I posted mine here.

Ryland Walker Knight said...

Due to a number of issues, I didn't participate in the last quiz. I'm happy to rejoin the fray. This was pretty fun. Apologies for the big response (rant?) at the end; I hope you find some value in its wandering trajectories. As I didn't want to forget to do this, I just did this as fast as I could. It may be a little messy.

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

This is pretty hard for me since I'm not really a TV-watcher, much less a TV-connoiseur. So, I guess I'll say, hell, James Gandolfini?

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Yeah, I'd love more Malick pictures. But what about Claire Denis? At least here in America she has a pretty limited (although devoted) fan base. She's got two movies in post-production according to imdb so maybe they'll drum up some interest soon.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Well, the Colonel is kind of an asshole. So I'll go with Hopsy's pops. He's a sweetheart underneath it all.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

any Salinger story (I just re-read Franny & Zooey)

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

I'm feeling Tourner and brunettes recently: Jane Greer.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theatre: Indy 4, first showing on Thursday at the Casto, cuz it would be only slightly populated and cuz the Castro is the place to see movies, especially big movies.
DVD: Cafe Lumiere cuz I'm on a HHH kick, and I have to look at it for a writing project.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Paul Schneider. One day, I think, he will be.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Yup.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

As with my answer to number 1, I'm not sure where to point. But one could argue for Chung Kuo Cina in this category since it was commissioned by and debuted on Italian TV.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

I guess I'll go with Elam cuz his face is, um, fantastic.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Nashville
Goodbye South, Goodbye
Chimes at Midnight
Millennium Actress
Fight Club
My Darling Clementine
Rohmer
Ozu
Chaplin
all those Costa films I saw a couple months ago, but I think Casa de Lava may be a lot better than I originally thought upon a first viewing...
and on and on and on....

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Wes Anderson is really after the right things. I'd argue his last two pictures are pretty important to me as they play witness to a certain idea of America (as a myth of perfectionism; ahem, Emerson) I find appealing. Also, any number of the Coen Brothers' pictures are worthy, or "important" film comedies. The Big Lebowski and The Hudsucker Proxy really are pretty great. Let me throw in Brad Bird's films, too, while we're at it.
To get outside of America, I think Bruce Robinson's How To Get Ahead In Advertising is some kind of special. But more and more I think Kung Fu Hustle is one of the great films of the last decade.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

That depends on the movie, to a certain extent, but the last two movie-going experiences I had were pretty awesome: Speed Racer with my sister and four other random people; Indy 4 with my friend Jen and about 30 other people. Call me neurotic, or selfish, but more and more I'm valuing the illusion of privacy that film-watching affords. That said, it was nice to see all those Costa films with relatively the same (relatively large) audience each day at the PFA.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

As great looking as Eva Mendes is, I love Michelle Williams and her nose.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

I have no idea...

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

You mean explicitly? Like, in a class room? Cuz I could probably argue any number of my favorites are about education. For instance, on that silly facebook thing I made a list of favorites, each is "about" education (as understanding) in one way or another.

1. The Thin Red Line -- learning how to live WITH the world as much as in it.
2. Mirror -- this movie IS hermeneutics
3. The Awful Truth -- finding the right way to be with the other, which, here, is one's mate
4. In Vanda's Room -- where do we find ourselves? how do we carve our space in the world? what matters most? who do you prize? it's a film of values, which means it's a work of evaluation as well. plus, it holds lessons for us outside the frame: here's what this world does. how do you respond?
5. Rules of the Game -- homie pays the biggest price (death) for his failure to understand those rules.

What's odd, or cool, is that all of my favorites are more about questions than answers and my favorite teachers are the ones that give me the best questions, not the most answers; learning is choosing an answer for one's self, forming criteria, and values, and then putting those into action.

(Rounding out that ten, for fun, to further incriminate myself by disclosing my narrow, short-term memory for enthusiasms: 6. 2001 / 7. Beau Travail / 8. The New World / 9. Miami Vice / 10. INLAND EMPIRE)

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Bela.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs?

I think I said on Girish's post that I blog because it's fun. I dunno. It's a weird practice. The other day I thought about how it's a way to not write letters to friends elsewhere. They can read my blog for my recent enthusiasms and whereabouts. But, yeah, I've been not blogging a lot recently, too, because of the end of my semester and other things, like watching the basketball playoffs.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

The end of The Fury.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Jaws, motherfuckers.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

There Will Be Blood?

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Alfonso Cuaron directing Cirian Hinds in a remake of Night of the Hunter.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Going back to blonde for this one, cuz she's a Rivette girl -- Bulle Ogier

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

No doubt.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own.

It's such a sentimental ownership. Easy to admit, like so many, that I hold Rushmore close to my heart, but I really think All The Real Girls is mine because of its final scene in the river.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

I like birds better than bugs but I think I like the bug movie better.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

I don't know. I don't care for American football. However, I have a strange affinity for Peter Berg's Friday Night Lights...

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Wendy's in a Lynch film but Debo is in two or three P&P extravaganzas that I cherish. Kerrgets my vote here, for now. This may be the toughest pair to gauge in the quiz.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I stopped covering my eyes during the "mushy" parts of movies rather early; I liked looking too much.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

I really think there's a bigger link between The New World and Miami Vice than Colin Farrell and his furrowed brow: it's the water! (And, you know, that whole America thing.)

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

I'll take the Marx Brothers over WC Fields on most days. Especially when that fucking baby won't quit it.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I've only been to a few drive-ins so my bank of stories is small. And the best story is pretty embarrassing for my mom so I'm not going to tell it here.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power: maturity is overrated and power is an often hilarious delusion.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

At its best, when taken seriously, film criticism is a prime opportunity for some (to put it plainly) philosophy. However, such a posture takes a lot of time, and effort. The weekly criticism rarely achieves this in any explicit fashion, but if you pay attention you can understand what some of the great critics do as something akin to hermeneutics: a balance between interpretation and examination that reflects the critic as well as the picture in as honest and thorough a manner as possible. What I want more of is holding one's experience accountable. Why is it that Armond White cannot find fault in Spielberg? Why can't Walter Chaw see that Iron Man affords him the same reading that he gave of The Darjeeling Limited? I really dig reading those guys, even when I think they're off base, but as much as they do attempt to account for their personal taste in reviews, there's still that posture of superiority that irks me. It's what I try to cede. I try to assume most movies are smarter than me. I try to be generous. Clearly, I've failed myself as often as I think those two fine writers have failed other films but what I don't sense in their writing is a true curiosity. One of the reasons I think Matt's criticism will be missed is because he always seemed curious about the object at hand. But such curiosity takes time, and effort, and diligence, and it's rare. Hell, I'm quick to turn against movies. I didn't care for Gone Baby Gone but a little last fall simply because I turned away from it inside five minutes; I tried again recently and found myself no less turned off; I think it apt and rote and at worst plain boring and stupid. Still, I value that Cumbow essay that got me looking again. I'm always willing to look again. The thing that won me over to Walter Chaw was his giveaway introduction to a review of Inside Man where he said he was wrong about 25th Hour. After a long uneasiness with Armond White I finally understood him a little better after my buddy Steve's interview with him and his defense of The Darjeeling Limited boiled down to the brilliant, obvious, contrarian statement that "films don't have acts." (Of course, I simply don't believe in acts as a structure; plenty of others do; that's a big argument to get into, which I plan to avoid, here.) So, I think criticism, as a practice, will always be lively, even if its financing continues to die -- or just dry up. As long as people take it seriously, as its own art, as an opportunity for all kinds of cool thought, then I think it will be fine. It's not some giant living in the hills; it's this. This is what I do and, to a certain extent, this is film criticism, too. Like Bordwell said a couple weeks ago, maybe if blogs slow down a bit they can be better, and more thoughtful, and afford more conversations instead of shouting matches. Because I think that blogs are the future of this art, this practice. I mean, here I am, commenting on a blog. A blog I read and enjoy, a blog most worthy of that list, because its owner and proprietor is so invested in the worth and continued, thoughtful practice of criticism -- and fandom, let's be honest. Cuz, why write about this -- why write this -- if you aren't a fan, if you don't enjoy it?

Chris said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

...and back again? How about David Lynch? Brilliant early in his film career and then went on to Twin Peaks. And although it's kind of a reversal, MULHOLLAND DRIVE started as a television pickup ABC failed to capitalize on.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Francis Ford Coppola. I think YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH is a messy burst of exuberance and passion, and he needs to take that and run with it. Preferably more often than once a decade.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Eugene Pallette. My favorite scene in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is his great entrance/fight with Errol Flynn.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. "Who is John Galt?" Freddie Prinze jr.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

I could go either way, but will settle on Jane Greer just because I like OUT OF THE PAST a little more than SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL in the theater, and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS on DVD. The former because it was the only thing playingwhen I could squeeze a movie in, and the latter because I had just finished reading Sidney Lumet's Making Movies which prompted a re-visit of his films.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

I think Nathan Fillion has a vast wealth of talent that only Joss Whedon has been able to fully tap into.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Only Coffy will put razor blades in her 'fro!

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Spaced, which I hear is being rectified.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam, man...that dude is badddd.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, L'AVVENTURA, and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Damn...ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, but that that doesn't mean I don't love ZODIAC.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

"Important" film comedy subverts convention and holds a carnival mirror to a society it mocks, yet must accept to survive... Sorry, I mentally added "pretentious" to the above question. I'll go with AIRPLANE! for the past 35 years.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Early matinee, only a few people there. I have a small Diet Coke and a package of Twizzlers I will inevitably eat before the movie starts. My wife is next to me, the sound is great, the bulb is bright, and we're seated square in the middle mid-way between the front and the middle, in those chairs that recline a little bit. And afterwards I'm squinting from the sun and the smile on my face.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Michelle Williams. Put her up as a candidate for Question #7 as well. She's a great actress.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

THE GOOD SON, but that's because it had the misfortune of being attached to my nomination for the Worst Film of All Time.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

HORROR OF DRACULA. It's just so crazy, and without Lugosi the '31 version would really be well, bad.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Blogging allows me to let off steam, solidify my thoughts, practice my writing, engage with a community of like-minded people, find things out I wouldn't find on my own, and finally, answer questions like the above.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Watching Ralph Fiennes randomly pick off prisoners in SCHINDLER'S LIST.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Flip a coin. You've got JAWS and PELHAM 1-2-3 for Shaw, but don't forget how great Robards was in MAX DUGAN RETURNS

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

I'll again go with my stand-by THE GOOD SON. They made Macauley Culkin say the F-word!!!

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

RIO BRAVO without breaking a sweat.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

I hear Michael Bay has a new take on Penny Marshall's AWAKENINGS.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling for her amazing break-down scene in STARDUST MEMORIES.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Eh, didn't do much for me.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

CASABLANCA. But I have to share it with my father.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

I've only seen WINGED MIGRATION, but MICROCOSMOS looks great.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

See #33. HORSE FEATHERS

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

DEBORAH KERR, although Wendy Hiller was freaky good in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I was 30 before I saw GONE WITH THE WIND. And I didn't like it.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Again, CASABLANCA. For me it's the distillation of everything I love about Bogart. And every other film I see with him serves to open up or accentuate another facet of his performance.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

HORSE FEATHERS, not so much because I love the Marx Brothers (though I do), but because I sheepishly admit to not having know IT'S A GIFT existed.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

The first film I remember seeing as a kid was STAR WARS at a drive-in. It made me the geek I am today.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power. ZORRO, baby...

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Oh man...I don't know. I love it. It's a language that I don't understand until the lights dim and the images begin to flicker. And then everything that I read makes sense. Maybe I agree and maybe I don't and maybe (best of all) I come up with something that's new and vibrant and shows a part of my soul. And with everything I see on the Internet I truly hope and think it's going where it needs to be - out to more people who have always had a desire and love of movies, but no one to help shape and expose the views they've only until recently kept in marble composition notebooks to use in late night coffee conversations with friends and lovers.

There. Geek heart laid bare. Happy Memorial Day!

Brian Doan said...

Nathan Fillion! Aargh! I knew there was someone I forgot-- thanks for mentioning him, Chris!

Dennis-- I did my version of this over on my own blog, as I didn't wish to clog your comments section. Hope that is ok, and thanks for another stimulating quiz!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

What an excellent bunch of answers so far! I'm going to take some time this weekend to mention some of my favorite responses so far, butright now I'm sleepy, so... Whoops. Just nodded off. Before I go, however, since hee didn't do it himself, here's a link to the quiz as filled out by Brian at his keen blog Bubblegum Aesthetics. And in case you're too tired to click the link, here are his answers (I do recommend you check out his blog, though, for his answers are littered with all kinds of illuminating links:

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
Wow, cool question, and one with many different possible answers, depending on what one means by "best transition": is it someone who's able to take those qualities we liked in film, and make them work on TV (in which case I'd vote for Burt Reynolds, immensely charming in the early seasons of Evening Shade)? Someone who had only a middling career in films, but found him/herself unleashed by the possibilities television offered (in which case I'd vote for character actors like Raymond Burr or Ed Asner)? Someone who had mixed success in films, but works well in TV, where he has more control over the final product (in which case I'd vote for writer/director/producer Joss Whedon, whose natural home is on the tube)?

Ah, who am I kidding? The best movie to TV transition is actually a TV-to-movie-and-back-to-TV transition: I am speaking of course, of that Cary Grant of the smaller screen, that charming rogue, that card sharp-cum-beach bum detective, James Garner.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly
This one stumped me for a couple of days, as I pondered the questions Dennis had offered up this time, and while I was tempted to list Francis Ford Coppola, I finally settled on Whit Stillman. Stillman has made two perfect comedies (Metropolitan and Barcelona) and one mixed success (Last Days of Disco, but in Stilman's defense, it's hard to make a good movie when Chloe Sevigny plays your heroine). And then he's disappeared for the last decade. The recent Criterion disc reveals a man still in full command of his verbal gifts and still passionately interested in the mechanics of cinematic storytelling-- so what gives? In an age of Ashton Kutcher, Stillman's graceful, Austen-like observations make him a crucial national resource, one which should be tapped far more often.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn:
"Let us be crooked, Jane, but never common."

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”
The Sopranos.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Ooh, that's a tough choice-- how can one decide between Sullivan's Travels and Out of the Past? I'm giving the edge to Greer, but only because her introductory walk through that Mexican bar is so alluring, and the single shot I would choose if I had to define film noir.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
In theaters: Then She Found Me
On DVD: Daisy Miller (the 1974 Peter Bogdanovich version).

Why?

Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were supposed to go see Radney Foster in concert. We drove into Cleveland on a sunny afternoon and arrived at the Beachland Theater (the newspaper article said tickets would be available at the door). It was still a few hours until the show, but we thought we could get our tix early and then maybe grab a bite to eat. There was no one at the box office, so we decided to head to the basement record store that was also housed in the club. It was a very cool atmosphere, with stacks of vinyl, lots of vintage t-shirts, and a new wave/hipster ambience that felt inviting, rather than closed off. We asked the young man behind the counter how we might get tickets, and found out that the show had been cancelled, due to the sudden death of Foster's father.

Shaken by the news, we decided to stay in the Cleveland area for the night, anyway, and maybe catch a movie. The Cedar Lee, Cleveland Heights' fabulous old (circa 1926) theater, which now shows indie and foreign films, was only about 20 minutes away, so we headed over to see what was playing. A number of good films were there, and we finally settled on Then She Found Me as one to see. It's very good, by the way, especially if you like your romcoms to be a bit prickly and uncertain.

As for Daisy Miller...That had been sitting on my tv table for a couple of months (thank god Netflix doesn't have late fees!), and I finally got around to it the other day. The film has a bad reputation, since it was a commercial flop, and since some folks can't imagine Cybill Shepherd in the title role. But I love Bogdanovich's 70s/early 80s work (They All Laughed is a lost masterpiece), and have been fascinated by Henry James ever since I read Rachel Cohen's brilliant anedotal study A Chance Meeting (in which James plays a central role) and I was curious. It's not bad, actually-- it's full of beautiful long takes and lush location work in Switzerland and Italy, and Shepherd isn't terrible in the role, although I think she's miscast. The rest of the cast is excellent, especially the quietly controlling Eileen Brennan.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star
One of my earliest blog posts pondered the mystery of why no one's heard of Katie Finneran. I also think Lauren Graham is one decent film role away from stardom, wish more people knew of Giancarlo Esposito, and find Lee Pace much more interesting than Josh Hartnett. Still, isn't one of the joys of cinema the character actor who makes the film so much more interesting than it otherwise might be (I know when I see Stanley Tucci's name in the credits, for instance, that the film will be at least partially interesting).

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy
(*Hangs head in shame*) I've never seen either, but can either be bad if they both star Pam Grier?

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
Ooh! Too many to list, starting with Frank's Place, one of the most interesting and textured looks at race ever to air in the sitcom form, moving through Thirtysomething (a show I was just too young to get when it aired), China Beach (far better than any of the 80s movies about Vietnam), and finally ending with a request to box any surviving "Golden Age" filmed plays (from Playhouse 90 and so on) so I could see those shows I wasn't even alive to catch.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Aside from Stalag 17, I'm honestly pretty unfamiliar with both, which says something about me, I guess, and also about the generational gaps that sometimes exist in the film blogosphere.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
Rules of the Game, the richest movie ever made; Breathless, the one which most radically re-shaped my cinematic imagination; anything from Errol Flynn's late 30s period; nearly anything by Howard Hawks and Francois Truffaut; and The Godfather films, which stop me cold and force me to watch them whenver they appear on TV.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
Oh, All The President's Men, no question! Zodiac is ok, but Men is one of the three best American films of the 70s, and one of the most inexhaustible suspense films ever made (it's also a great teaching tool).

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

"Hey LAAY-DIEEEE!": Foucaultian Repression and Freudian Desire in the Le Cinema du Hilary Duff, or, When Is Hair Gel Just Hair Gel?." Movie Journal, vol.6, issue #4, May 2008. 35-55.

Abstract: Why...laughter? Thinking through the gendered problematics inherent in the capitalist construction of "tween" (and its relations to a Butlerian conception of the body as performance), this paper seeks to understand the intertwined notions of humor, femininity and "masked" identity in the works of Hilary Duff, in particular the plays with fairy tale imagery in A Cinderella Story, the "policed" notions of "cool" and "nerd" in The Lizzie McGuire Movie and the role of cyberspace avatars in A Perfect Man. Related topics will include The Mickey Mouse Club, the marketing of Dinsey Channel programming and the Barthesian mythologies of "Come Clean (Let The Rain Come Down)."

(Just out of curiosity, Dennis, what caused you to choose the 35-year limit?)

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
This is such a cliche-- sorry!--but it really depends on the movie. For a big blockbuster, or even a cult film (like Pulp Fiction) that's eagerly awaited, it's hard to beat a packed multiplex on opening weekend, as the anticipation spills over onto the screen, and the screen fulfills or shatters it. On the other hand, one of my fondest cinema-going memories was watching Jules and Jim, L'Atalante, and The Bicycle Thief on back-to-back weekends at The Music Box, a gorgeous art deco theater in Chicago; unreeled in pristine 35mm prints in a tinier screening space, the smell of popcorn mixing with the smell of espressos, it was the perfect place to get caught up in the movies, and to not only see but feel the links between the films. There are some movies I can't watch with an audience, because I don't want to deal with the possibility that they might not like it (Some Came Running, for example, which I showed to a derisive cinema class one year), and some (like mediocre action films or B comedies) which find their ideal home on my TV screen on a free, rainy weekend day.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Despite Dawson's Creek, I'm gonna have to go with the actress who graced Dick with her playful blankness, and Brokeback Mountain with her bruised patience.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
A Million to Juan. Yes, it's real, and when I worked in a video store, its crappy punning was a constant target of our snark. Also, Signs.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
Six Degrees of Separation, Surviving Desire, and The Paper Chase.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Love the first one, and the second is in my Netflix queue. But what-- no love here for The Hunger or Angel?

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
I've actually been thinking about this question a lot lately, as I've started to ponder blog comments, and why I do or don't get them on certain posts, why some folks seem to post a lot and some hardly at all, and how that affects what I write. I guess that means there are two, intertwined answers to the question: one, I like the sense of community and sharing that exists in the film blogosphere (so different and less hostile than, say, political blogging) and the chance to connect my passions and obsessions with someone else's. Two, in the end, no matter what connections are made, I really do this to sort out the ideas and contradictions and weird nagging questions that rumble about in my brain (I once joked in a post that an alternate name for my blog could be "An X-Ray of My Head", and I think that's still basically true) (or, to put it another way, and to paraphrase Pauline Kael, I write because no one else is saying the things about movies I want to say). If that stuff touches other people, that's fantastic, and I love that sense of feeling like I'm not alone (and that I might be telling someone else that they aren't either) in my sometimes counter-intuitve tastes, but if not, I'm still having fun, and getting to do lots of different kinds of plays with writing and imagery.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
Well, Psycho, of course, and Citizen Kane's opening, and the "I'm not dead yet!" chopping of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Kong's death (both versions). But I was always kind of struck by the quiet and absolute stillness of Kevin Spacey's expression, after he's shot, in L.A. Confidential.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
When the hell is somebody gonna go on the goddamn record here?!? Well, I will-- from my first glimpse of him as the magical uncle in Max Dugan Returns to that creepy deathbed scene in Magnolia, Robards' gravelly cool was one of my favorite cinephiliac pleasures, which takes nothing away from my love of Red Grant.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
Shakes the Clown: As Michael Powell once said of Forty Guns, "I don't wish to see my religion treated that way."

23) Rio Bravo or Red River
Both spectacular, but despite my abiding love of Dean Martin, it has to be Red River-- Clift is just too cool, and Wayne just too perfect as the psychotic patriarch. Despite its botched ending, Hawks' sense of narrative sweep was never stronger.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
The Bicycle Thief, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Adam Sandler and Dakota Fanning.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
Rampling, if only because she was in an episode of The Avengers.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?
Haven't seen it, but I like the other Oshima I've seen.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
Riffing on what Emerson wrote, I would have to say the overall body of work of Vincente Minnelli. Casablanca and Rules of the Game are my favorite films, but I feel protective of Minnelli because students sometimes don't know what to do with his inimitable blend of color, lushness, melodrama, humor and passion. That doesn't mean they are 'wrong' in their responses, but that, when they laugh at the heightened emotions during the climactic fair scene in Some Came Running, I feel like Michael talking to Fredo in The Godather, Part II: "You broke my heart...You broke my heart!!" And that's true of The Band Wagon, Meet Me In St. Louis, Father of the Bride, The Band and the Beautiful...some of these movies get good responses, some bad, but they are immensely dear to me, and even if I hate the feeling of disappointment when folks reject their pleasures, I love the feeling when they connect with a student, and those passions get translated from screen to audience.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
I didn't care for the latter, so I never saw the former.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
Either M*A*S*H or Horsefeathers, although the recent Leatherheads is also quite fun. The trick, I think, is to not take football seriously-- as in the atrocious Any Given Sunday-- but to use its absurdities as a jumping-off point for character and comedy.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
They're both quite wonderful, but the edge goes to Kerr, great in nunneries, musicals, wheelchairs, and military uniforms. Plus, you can't beat starring in Otto Preminger's best film.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
I like surfing movies, and Fassbinder bores me silly.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
I was fourteen or fifteen when I first saw Casblanca: we'd rented it from the local video store, and had it on in the background as we decorated the Christmas tree. Despite this bifurcated viewing situation, I was immediately drawn to its relaxed cool-- it wasn't just the stars or the romantic narrative that grabbed me, but the film's tone, and the sense of a whole world of glamour and witty repartee that it evoked. I wanted to live in that world, move through that stylish nightclub, exchange quips with Louis and play chess against myself. I also loved that I could understand the snippets of French that played as voicover as the Nazis marched through Paris: I might have been struggling with French in the classroom, but the magic of cinema could make everything comprehensible.

Four years later, I saw Breathless (which I blogged about here), those links between cinema, desire and comprehending new worlds made even stronger. The film famously references Bogart, of course, when Belmondo stares at the publicity still outside the theater, and tries to rub his lip in a Bogartian manner. But it was, again, the whole sense of a world created, and that even cooler sense of cool that it evoked, that drew me in. Here was a movie that was not only an object in and of itself, but one that also referenced and "spoke" to other movies, and in that gesture reconstituting the very glamour it was deconstructing. The movie and the experience of the movie were another lesson in cinephilia as a way of seeing the world, and understanding my place in it.

Place is strong in Rules of the Game, its Parisian apartments, country estates and midnight landing strips defining, expanding and inhibiting its characters. Famously booed and almost destroyed in its initial release, it would escape Nazi persecution by having a near-complete print hidden in the bathtub of Henri Langlois during the war, even as its star, Dalio, escaped to Hollywood, where he hides out in the gambling room of Rick Blaine ("I'm so sorry Monsieur Blaine, I don't know how this happened"). It's the greatest movie ever made, but when I first saw it, I didn't get it: I was nineteen, and I needed a few more years of life and heartbreak and maturity to really understand its visually and thematically layered elegance. I also needed a better print: Henri Langlois saved Rules from being destroyed in 1940, but it was the Criterion Collection, with their amazing, essential DVD a few years ago, that brought the film home to me, allowing me to at last comprehend Godard's famous quote: "Some directors start from documentary and move towards fiction, while some start from fiction and move towards documentary...Renoir occupies both positions at once, and that is why he is Renoir."

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
Horsefeathers: Marx always trumps Fields.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
Drive-ins were on their way out as I was growing up, and so many of my "memories" of them come from seeing them in other films: the hilariously campy projections in The Thin Blue Line, the re-creations of 50s teen lust in Grease, the assassin's bullet cutting through the night sky in Targets. My own drive-in memory is connected to The Empire Strikes Back, and seeing it on a warm summer night's re-release, and enjoying the serendipity of night falling just as the Millenium Falcon roared into space: sky and screen blending into one glittering, star-ridden space.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power
Ah, the age of the mid-forties beefcake: dull, shirtless, and so much less interesting than Gable, Grant or Stewart. Well, in this contest among the Brad Pitts of mid-century Hollywood, I will have to go with Tyrone Power, an excellent Zorro, and someone with the good fortune to star opposite Linda Darnell.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?
Needs more cowbell.

Steven Santos said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Timothy Olyphant. Great on "Deadwood", but misused in so many bad movies before and after the show's run.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Francis Coppola, even if many of his movies admittedly fail, they fail in interesting ways.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Sorry. Not familiar enough with either.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

"Ow My Balls!" or "Ass". Then, I give up and hope for the apocalypse.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

No preference.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In theaters, "Standard Operating Procedure" because I see every Errol Morris movie no matter what, even if this one was not one of his best. On DVD, "The Bad Sleep Well" because it was a Kurosawa movie I haven't seen. It was great and very relevant to our world today, especially concerning the evil doings of corporations.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Zooey Deschanel. If this were the 70's, she would have been working all the time and in leading roles.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Didn't see either.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

St. Elsewhere, beyond its first season.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Not familiar enough with either.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

"The New World" because I saw the 2 1/2 hour version released for Academy consideration and it was the first time I was underwhelmed by a Malick movie. The passionate responses from many critics I admire makes me want to give it another chance with the shorter cut. Anything by Ingmar Bergman because I admired but never really connected with any of his movies when I tried them years ago.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

"Zodiac", by a slight margin, mostly because of the self-destruction through obsession angle.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

An important movie comedy is one that speaks to people universally with its humor and is the most quotable.

Which is why I choose "Office Space" because I know more people who relate to that movie more than any other comedy in the past 35 years, which is why it was propelled from a box office bomb to a beloved cult movie. That movie is filled with moments that people can actually say they went through.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

A theater with a good size screen, clear sound and an audience that genuinely loves and respects movies enough to not take phone calls, text or talk during them. That last part is getting harder to find these days.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

As an actress, Michelle Williams. For more prurient reasons, Eva Mendes.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Tough one, so I offer a few clunkers that abuse the colon: "Highlander 2: The Quickening", "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace", "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery", "Speed 2: Cruise Control", and "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo". The upcoming "The Happening" may be the vaguest title of all time.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

"Wonder Boys"

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Haven't seen either.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I was blogging to write on a daily basis again and probably to deal with a lot of frustrations about the world we live in. I just stopped blogging to work on screenplays and getting a short made, but may return once I have more accomplished with that.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Adam Goldberg in "Saving Private Ryan". Close second: Marie Josee-Croze in "Munich". Spielberg sure knows how to kill off characters in gruesome fashion.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Jason Robards, but Shaw is no slouch himself.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

"The Passion of the Christ" for trying to pass off a snuff film as a spiritual experience.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Haven't seen either.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

David Mamet remaking a non-musical "The Wizard of Oz" with Alec Baldwin as the Wizard and Rebecca Pidgeon as the Wicked Witch of the West and the discovery at the end that Oz was just a elaborate con played on the gullible Dorothy. Or Orson Welles' original vision for "The Magnificent Ambersons" directed by Brett Ratner. Or Andy Warhol's "Empire" remade by Michael Bay.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

No.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces" or Mike Leigh's "Naked"

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Haven't seen either. Sorry about using this as a response so much.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

The final game in "North Dallas Forty" with the big games in "MASH" and "The Longest Yard" close behind.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

John Ford's "The Searchers" puts me to sleep, but Kathryn Bigelow's "Point Break" is a work of insane genius (as also noted in "Hot Fuzz"). And I don't care if you think less of me for feeling that way!

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

"Prince of the City", which is illuminated by "The Last Temptation of Christ" because the road to salvation is often a messy and destructive one in which you will suffer for trying to do the right thing and your own imperfections make it that much harder.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Saw neither. Sorry again. Must be a generational thing, although I have seen other Marx Brothers movies.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I grew up in Brooklyn. The one drive-in I knew of was in the Bronx, but closed down before I ever had the chance to see anything there. Although I once snuck into it during the day to see what it looked like.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Haven't seen enough of either.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Film criticism, to me, isn't necessarily criticism but should be the beginning of a discussion where ideas are presented to illuminate how individuals relate to a movie experience. I feel in the future it will primarily be on the internet. But, much like how it has become easier for DIY filmmaking, we will have more people writing about movies, but also more junk to sift through to get to the real good stuff.

Criticism is at a stage now where it can evolve if we have a diversity of intelligent voices and opinions. It can also equally devolve if film criticism becomes simply an agenda-driven sport of championing some movies and taking down of others. Basically, in that group, I would put everyone from the most shameless quote whores like Pete Travers to the mindless contrarianism of Armond White, which, although they are print critics, provided the basis for the types of comments you see on IMDB message boards and Ain't It Cool News where movies are either flawless masterpieces or the worst movie ever made.

Criticism can evolve with a recognition of the gray areas of any given movie's quality, even for movies that are passionately loved or despised. In some ways, criticism needs to be more about the understanding of different viewpoints than establishing two different armies of consensus for or against a particular movie.

I also have to acknowledge that the current state of our country for the last few years hasn't exactly been encouraging for those who have opinions that aren't designed for polarization and personal pissing contests. Discourse, in all aspects of life, needs to start maturing or it will die.

Brian said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Someone said M*A*S*H and I can't disagree with that.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

I keep hoping that Peter Greenaway would seem more relevant to the greater public so that more of his films would be released either theatrically or on DVD around here.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Wow, that's a long time ago.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Trying to answer this question, I see that there's a tv version of Jakob von Gunten, so it feels kind of meaningless hoping to come up with something else.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Well, I've actually heard of Veronica Lake, so...

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater: There Will Be Blood, which didn't feel like that long ago. Three months? I was looking forward to it since I heard there was another P.T. Anderson film coming out.
On DVD: I just watched Carlos Saura's Bodas de sangre and was bored out of my mind. I'll watch Cría cuervos soon, hoping to get a better taste in my mouth.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

I don't pay much attention to particular actors, so I don't know how to answer this.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Saw Coffy but didn't like it a whole lot. Thus, I had no desire to watch Foxy Brown.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Not a TV fan.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam. He was in Hannie Caulder AND Cat Ballou.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Antonioni's trilogy, just because I hold them in esteem
The Mirror, since I like Tarkovsky so much but never got into this one as much as the others
Aguirre, the Wrath of God, because I haven't watched it in a while
Lawrence of Arabia, same reason
The Passion of Joan of Arc, same reason

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Haven't seen either one.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

I don't see that much use in distinguishing comedy from drama in any critical way, so a comedy is important if it does what any other type of film does. It should be unrelenting in an intellectual manner while fully entertaining at the same time. Life of Brian is the best comedy I can think of, since it shows a sense of humor in a variety of ways while excoriating fundamentalism. Someone else mentioned it as blasphemous, which I don't think is right at all. Religion itself is not the target, just blind, absolute, self-righteous adherence to a religious doctrine. Jesus comes across just fine in the film.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Either alone or with my wife, but at home in any case.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

I liked Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain. I don't think I've liked Eva Mendes in anything in particular. (I just realized after typing that last sentence that it could be wrongly construed. Which is ok.)

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Manos, the Hands of Fate seems pretty bad to me. I wish I could think of something better, though.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

I'll say Ikiru. I'm not a huge fan of the film itself, but the fundamental idea behind it is pretty moving to me.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

I'm partial to Herzog's Nosferatu. Haven't seen either of the choices offered.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs?

I don't blog, but I read them to hear about films I don't know and to see solid readings of films I do know. Along with this blog, Scanners, Cinebeats and David Bordwell have provided a good fix of interpretations and introductions that are consistently worth checking in on.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Timothy Treadwell, Grizzly Man, for disturbing. The most disturbing purely cinematic death scene is maybe Oscar's death in Fanny and Alexander, if only because of Ewa Fröling's shrieking cries afterwards.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Didn't like Jason Robards when I first saw him, in Parenthood I think, but the more I see him the more I like him.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Can't go wrong with Passion of the Christ. I can't fathom how glorified torture can do anything but lead to self-righteous torture.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Oh, John Wayne? Couldn't care less.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Steven Spielberg's L'avventura starring Ashton Kutcher and Tea Leoni.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

I saw Swimming Pool... And she was in a tv version of Radetzkymarsch? Rampling it is.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

I don't see why not.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own.

Fanny and Alexander, since any time I've tried to show it to anyone else there's no interest, and it's long and takes too much work to get into, and can't we watch something else? Fine, I'll just keep it for myself.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Haven't seen either.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Jim Brown at the end of The Dirty Dozen with the grenades and the vents? Does that count?

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

I've actually seen Deborah Kerr in Black Narcissus but I can't say I see why people go so crazy over that movie. But it's Kerr by default.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I don't really like Citizen Kane or Casablanca or Bringing Up Baby or His Girl Friday or Nashville or Katherine Hepburn or John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart or... oh, just one secret?

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Having seen Titus and adored it, I appreciated Ran on a number of levels when I worked pretty extensively with it the following year in a course I took. It wasn't just the idea of Shakespearean adaptation, but the attention to adapting the material to such diverse media stuck with me quite a bit.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

If it's the Marx Brothers, I'll happily watch.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Never been to one.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

How old do you have to be to take this quiz?

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

I hope it's headed towards the death of the blurb and star ratings, and more attention to the mutual significance of form and content. And more attention to foreign film at the cost of the summer blockbuster.

Krauthammer said...

1)Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

House is the best thing Brian Singer has ever been involved with.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Peter Bogdanovich seems to have been reduced to professional smarmy icon. He should get to directing again. He was really, really good.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Coburn


4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Natural Cures “They” Don't Want You to Know About

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

The Girl with the Peek-a-boo bang.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In Theaters: The 1924 version of The Thief of Bagdad. I try to watch as many classics I haven't seen, and preferably in theatres. It was great, by the way.

On DVD: Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Hadn't seen it. It's intresting how it seems to have almost all of the familiar tropes of the “indie” movies it spawned: alienation, sex, the hidden side of suburbia, familial ties (or lack thereof), tons more. It was pretty good though

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Freddy Rodriguez is probably best known as “El Wray” in Grindhouse and as Federico Diaz in Six Feet Under. He's not the best actor out there *although I think he's pretty dang good), but he has an amazing sense of presence, which is more important for a “star” anyway. Maybe Robert Rodriguez will add him into his repertoire, but who can know.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

I've only watched the male-dominated blaxpoitation flicks for some reason.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

I don't watch much TV. I say that not in the smug “I don't have a TV way” but more in a apologetic fashion.



10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Although Neville Brand was in an Anthony Mann movie, Elvis Presley movie, and Tobe Hooper movie, Jack Elam was in Once Upon a Time in the West. Jack Elam wins.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

I'm always in the mood to rewatch Spirit in the Beehive. It just keeps getting better.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Deepthroat

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

A film comedy merits the designation of “important” through it's capacity to cause laughter, create or recreate genre conventions, and how elegantly it goes about doing so.

Although few would call it “elegant” Airplane! Has had amazing impact, redefining the spoof movie (the current disasters such as Epic Movie owe more the the Zucker bros. Than Mel Brooks), keeping a devoted fanbase, and is still hilarious after all these years (at least, to this reviewer)

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

A renovated 1940's theater, with a huge screen and an organist playing before the show, the theater full enough to give a kind of communal sense, but not enough to crowd. And the crowd loves the movie. This might sound impossible, but I was able to see Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast this way. It was great.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

The one I don't actively hate.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

There is nothing worse than a boring title for an equally boring movie. So something like “The Core”

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Although maybe not the best, I love that Stand and Deliver is not just another “whitey saves the hood” kind of movie, but shows that communities contain their own means of transcendence. (if that makes any sense)

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

I grew up with the original Dracula, and will hear no bad words about it. Horror of Dracula has a great Christopher Lee performance but he's on screen what? Like five minutes?

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Blogs have the ability to be both conversation starters and scholarly works. They are direct communication that can define it's own audience.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Robert Shaw in Jaws

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Jesus Christ! Guess.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Bunuel. That is all.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Red River by a hair.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Red River directed by Emile de Antonio and starring Tobey Maguire as the Duke and Werner Herzog as Clift. I would watch the hell out of it.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Don't have any idea.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

I assume yes. I always assume the best. Haven't seen it.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Although it is critically acclaimed, canonical material and I have no business making personal a film that belongs to so many, Breathless. I often hear people ask “what is the use of Breathless nowadays, when all it's techniques have become commonplace” well I don't know what movies they are watching, but my 15 year old self was swept up in how different this was from anything I had ever seen before. I remember every shot of Belmondo killing the police officer, and think of it as the moment when my definition of movies broke, and I was forced to come up with a new way of watching film. Breathless has lost none of its impact, it redefines cinema every time it is played. And I take every insult leveled at it as a personal sting. It's mine now, and I'll never let it go.


28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Winged Migration is pretty enough, but Microcosmos is kinda mindblowing.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

I suppose the one in The Longest Yard (Aldrich's, of course) but the football always took a back seat to the sadism of the whole thing.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr played the three loves of Colonol Blimp's life. Checkmate.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

According to Theyshootpictures.com, these are the top ten greatest films that I haven't seen yet:

1. Persona
2. Ordet
3. Andrei Rublev
4. Panther Panchali
5. Au hasard Balthazar
6. The Mirror
7. Greed
8. The Conformist
9. Pickpocket
10. The Leopard

I also think that Mel Gibson is one of the most interesting and talented directors to appear in the last ten years. I win.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

I have a theory that Norman Z. McLeod sucks the funny out of movies. I feel that It's a Gift is one tenth of the movie it could have been, especially when you consider other Fields films like The Bank Dick, and the two he did with the Marx Brothers, while still amazing, are my least favorite of their golden period. Horsefeathers still wins, because I'm a dedicated Marxist, but it could have been their best without McLeod.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I've only seen one movie in a drive-in, and nothing crazy happened. It was fun though.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Victor Mature
36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

I'm running low on time so this will be shorter then I would have liked. Film criticism, like any criticism, is vital for keeping the art alive. Without writers, lectures, or video essays on film we would not be able to better collect our thoughts on film, we would never learn how to think critically and understand film on a deep level without criticism. I think Jim Emerson says that he likes the critisism as much as the movies, I wouldn't go that far, but I do believe that film would be in a sorry state without people thinking about it.

I'm optimistic about the future, I don't think that paid criticism is dead by any means (although print criticism may be soon) and these blogs can be as vital as those by paid critics sometimes, your recent essay on Speed racer being one out of countless examples. There will always be the need for a full time critic, who can watch much more than I could, and who is not bogged down with things like “school” or “work” which can severely cut into online publications. It's definitely is going to change in the next ten years, and I hope for the better.

John P said...

1)Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
Hands down it’s M*A*S*H, but the series borrowed more from the book than from the movie. Spielberg did a great service by bringing us Animaniacs and Alan Ball did a nice job with Six Feet Under. Mike Nichols’ Angels in America is more than respectable. I know that there are actors who have made the transition gracefully, but I can’t seem to recall who they are. The faces of TV shift so rapidly that it is difficult to keep track.

2) Living film director you most miss seeing on the cultural landscape regularly
I wish that Stanley Tucci was more prominent and I was a fan of Whit Stillman, who seems to have dropped off the map. But mostly, I wish Michael Cimino’s career had not tanked so early. I see on imdb that he has a film in production for 2009. To be honest, I would also welcome another Penny Marshall film.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
Boy… talk about “faces I love.” Can’t choose.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”
The Catcher in the Rye, Aquaman, another Stephen King short story, My Mother the Car, Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut, LOST, or anything that George Lucas might be tempted to write and/or direct. (all for different reasons)

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
In the theatre: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because it was inevitable.
On DVD: Spartan because I went to see Redbelt in the theatre and it was good, but I wanted to remember why Mamet is great. I think he directed Spartan pitch perfectly.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star
Chiwetel Ejiofor. And I predict an Oscar nomination within the next five years.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy
“You pink-ass corrupt honky judge, take your little wet noodle outta here and if you see a man anywhere send him in because I do need a MAN!” Foxy!

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
Sesame Street

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Jack Elam

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
I’d like to take another crack at There Will Be Blood. Something about it resonates with me, but I’m not convinced that it is as brilliant as many critics made it out to be. Now that I know what to expect, however, I can approach the film with a closer analytical eye.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
Did not care for Zodiac, no. Must go with All the President’s Men. In fact, Pakula is probably the not-living director that I most miss seeing on the cultural landscape regularly.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
There are far too many genres of comedy to establish a set of criteria by which “importance” can be measured. Whether satire or slapstick, physical or cerebral, scripted or improvisational, British or not quite as funny, an important comedy, like any “important” film is one that stands the test of time.

The more sophisticated the humour, the more it is likely to remain within the public consciousness; this applies to low-brow comedy, too. Airplane, for instance, is a sophisticated spoof while I “Heart” Huckabees is about as intellectual as a fart.

What is important is that we, as critics, reviewers, and fanatics continue to preserve the best of the best by introducing new audiences to classic comedy films so they will never be forgotten.


14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
It so depends on the movie. Nothing compares to the cinema, but the experience of watching a film with an audience is often hampered by the distractions of an audience. In an ideal world, popcorn would be replaced with pudding, cell phones would be banned like lip gloss at an airport, and theatre doors would be locked just before the trailers roll. I love to curl up with a good movie at home, but I find that the first viewing is always best on the big screen. Increasingly, however, someone or someones in the crowd ruin the mood. About 10 years ago I, like Emerson, started attending matinees by myself. This strategy seems to be about the best of the worst.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Michelle Williams is angelic. And talented. She may wind up with an Oscar nod alongside Ejiofor.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
The Karate Kid.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Indifferent.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
In my “mission statement” I claimed that:
For quite some time, I have wanted to write some reviews that shift the focus away from the purely evaluative, and present the reader with some information that will allow him/her to consider what to expect when approaching a film... Any film. Any movie. In doing so, there are a few things I'd like to achieve:

#1. On this website, I will review much of what I watch: films both old and new. My emphasis will be on "What You Might..." What you might like, what you might not; what you might expect, what you might consider; etc. I want to share some of the tools that have shaped my appreciation and analysis of movies, and I hope that anyone who's reading will respond with his/her own evaluations of the films I discuss. Tell me whether or not you like these films... Above all, tell me WHY.

#2. I also plan to use this space as a diary (urgh) to post some musings about issues in film that are rattling around my brain. I also welcome feedback here.

#3. The larger goal is to encourage people to be more discerning as spectators. I harbor no illusions that my little waste-of-space on the internet could ever inspire a mass audience to demand better from the Hollywood studios, but I would love to be assured that people recognize the difference between the good, the bad, and (especially) the mediocre. I would feel extremely fulfilled if I heard from one person who went to their local video store to rent King Kong, but also picked up something like The Squid and the Whale, Pieces of April, or The Station Agent, and was pleasantly surprised.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
Sonny in The Godfather jumps to mind as the most memorable. I’m not easily disturbed, but I remember seeing a movie on TV when I was five or six that depicted a baddie stomping on a woman’s stomach and blood coming out of her mouth in geyser like spurts. To this day, I have no idea what the picture was, but I recall being traumatized for the afternoon.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
Robards. Particularly as Cheyenne.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
The only real blasphemy is wasting celluloid, and the list of films that do that is far too long to print here. The Scary Movie/Date Movie/Epic Movie trend must be displeasing to the gods of cinema.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River
I cannot vote against a film with Dean Martin. I’ll even take Sergeants 3 over Gunga Din.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
Guillermo del Toro directs the musical Annie.
David Lynch remakes E.T.
Dario Argento takes a stab at Hostel.
Forrest Gump according to Michael Haneke.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
I have a huge crush on Rampling. She is, perhaps, at her most beautiful in Zardoz, which is good because otherwise you might realize you’re watching Zardoz.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?
Have not seen it.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
Father Goose with Cary Grant & Leslie Caron. I feel like I stumbled upon a little known secret.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
Microcosmos.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
Harold Lloyd in The Freshman.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Kerr.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
I love, love, love Cabin Boy.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
Horsefeathers.

W. Australopithecus said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Someone above said James Gandolfini. Not being able to come up with anything better, I concur. I remember when I first saw him as the hitman in True Romance and thought that this was someone to watch out for. That was confirmed for me by his supporting role in Get Shorty. I kept thinking, "If this guy got the right role, he could really show people something." Then The Sopranos came out, and the rest is history.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Again, I'm unable to come up with a better answer than one that has come before, so I'll concur with Whit Stillman.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

OK, these "A or B" things really show me to be a person who loves cinema more than a cinephile, to paraphrase a recent remark of Werner Herzog. So for most of them, as for this one, I pass.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

If I were a praying man (and I'm not), I would pray that Ridley Scott never turns Blood Meridian into a movie, unless he were able to completely reinvent himself as a filmmaker. But I guess this is why I don't pray.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Pass.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

I saw Down by Law because Dead Man is one of my favorite films and I've been meaning to catch up on Jarmusch's earlier work and if the local arthouse is showing it, why should I miss it?

I know the general trend is going the other way, but I can hardly get myself to sit at home and watch a DVD anymore. Since I started an online movie group last December, I never lack for someone to go see a movie with, and when I'm at home, there's never a shortage of interesting film stuff to read on the interwebs. So the last time a watched a DVD was to do something I couldn't in a theater: I downloaded the Rifftrax for Neil Labute/Nic Cage monstrosity The Wicker Man and watched the DVD. Endless hilarity.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Having seen Shotgun Stories just a couple of weeks ago, I will have to say Michael Shannon.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Pass.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

I can't think of any.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Because he was such an iconic presence when I was growing up (and I had to look up the other guy on IMDB), Jack Elam.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Honestly, this changes so much from day to day, or even hour to hour, that I can't answer it. And then there is the subject of all the movies I haven't visited for the first time, like the Stan Brakhage DVDs I've had for the last month from Netflix, which I swear I'm going to get to....

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that ATPM, as well as JFK (despite whatever other faults you find with it), depend for a large part on a kind of "had to be there" vibe for their appeal. At least, they've never spoken to me that strongly. So I'll have to say Zodiac, which I often find myself revisiting when I should be revisiting or visiting other movies instead.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Life of Brian should be the most important film comedy of the last 35 years for its political and religious satire, but no one has really taken up that torch. Much more influential with regard to what actually gets made would be Animal House and Airplane!.

But who knows, maybe Adam Sandler will surprise us all with You Don't Mess with the Zohan....

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Screw ideal. I'm only interested in reality.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Ask me again in 20 years.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever comes to mind.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

My single favorite scene about teaching would have to be the one in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly where Tuco, having survived Blondie's attempt to dump him in the desert forever, shows the shopkeeper how to put together a proper firearm. I don't know whether anything he's doing in this scene makes any sense technically or if applied to the hardware of the times, but I always find Wallach's performance utterly mesmerizing. His confidence and expertise also mark the first time we take Tuco seriously as a deadly force, where until now he has been only comic relief.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Pass.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

My attempts at blogging have all become victim to my laziness. I read blogs addictively, probably because I have a somewhat addictive personality.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

The whole sequence where Boromir first makes his futile defense of Merry and Pippin against the Uruk-hai and then reconciles himself to his king with his dying breath chokes me up every time and I don't care who knows it.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

I can usually figure out the connections between these, but after poring over both their IMDB profiles, I'm at a loss.

Anyhoo, I refuse to pick one, because that's just crazy.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

First a small criticism: I don't think the authors of the article you linked to understand what "blasphemy" means. The movies they've listed are - for the most part - simply "sinful," or "dirty."

However - and I would expect no less - your readers, as can be seen by their responses, know exactly what the word means.

And all this as a prelude to saying that I don't have an answer for this one.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Here's a dirty secret: I'll still haven't seen Rio Bravo in its entirety.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Cameron and Schwarzenegger are back for a remake of John Huston's Toulouse-Lautrec biopic Moulin Rouge - not that other Moulin Rouge!, though that could work, too....

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Pass.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Pass.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

I can't imagine showing Gus Van Sant's Last Days to anyone and expecting them to get it, except Manohla Dargis....

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Pass.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

I really can't think of a better one than M*A*S*H.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Pass.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

OK, this may be TMI, but I'm gonna go for it.

Despite great performances by Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger and Peter Boyle, I bought the DVD of Monster's Ball so I could see Halle Berry getting boned.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

I'm pretty sure I've had many thoughts about stuff like this over the years, but now I'm drawing a complete blank.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Pass.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Most of my drive-in experiences were when I was a wee youngster. There aren't so much any stories, as impressions. To go to the drive-in was a liminal experience: we wore our most private garments - our pajamas - and yet were going to a public place. We were isolated in our separate, automotive cocoons, yet we were still participating in a group experience, wired into everyone else's little cocoons by the odd, crackly speakers that hung from the car window. There was an aura and a thrill to the whole thing, not diminished by the fact that strictures were relaxed and we often saw movies at the drive-in that we might not be allowed to see in a normal theater: movies about vengeful killer whales or aliens who consumed your loved ones and rebirthed them as strange, unknowable creatures from gooey, vegetable-like pods.

And yes, this thing freaked the crap out of me.

Anyhoo, I'm going to the drive-in next weekend for the first time in many a year to see Indy 4. I can't wait.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Pass.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Oh, I just like to read something that's well-written, insightful, and - if possible - funny. Or just one of those three. And I don't care where it comes from.

Someone above mentioned how Pauline Kael wrote because she had things she wanted to say that no one else was saying. I often feel the same way, but I'm too lazy to do anything about it. And most of the time, no one cares.

Thank you for reading my comments and thank you for allowing me to publish my trivial ramblings on your blog.

Mr. Middlebrow said...

1)Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Alec Baldwin, on “30 Rock.” It’s like everything he’s done up to this point has been in service to this.

Runners-up: The troika of Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, and James Callis, on “Battlestar Galactica.”


2) Living film director you most miss seeing on the cultural landscape regularly
I would love to have seen more from Paul Brickman.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
Pallette purely on the strength of his addled patriarch in My Man Godfrey.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”
Any Geico TV commercial. Don’t scoff, it could happen.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Lake.
Better still: Kim Basinger playing a hooker “cut” to look like Veronica Lake in L.A. Confidential.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theatre: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; how could I not? The first half hour was a pure delight; the rest was pretty serviceable, but didn’t really hold up very well. By the end, I mostly wanted to see Shia LeBouef cast as Russell Crowe’s little brother.

DVD: Out of Sight; This is cinematic comfort food for me. Having just completed my second semester of law school, which included a course in criminal law, I’ve been jonesing to rewatch it with an eye toward all the possible instances of accomplice liability and applications of the felony-murder rule.

Tivo: Tristram Shandy, A Cock and Bull Story: For some unexplained reason, we’ve started getting IFC instead of TCM, and Tivo thought I would enjoy this. I did—especially the way it utterly disabuses the viewer of any thought about the “glamour” of being an actor. Makes kind of a good companion piece to Shakespeare in Love.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star
Nathan Fillion. I’ve been unconsciously appreciative of him ever since he played the cad boyfriend in Blast from the Past; now, having thoroughly enjoyed his performance in Waitress and recently discovered “Firefly,” via Hulu.com, I consider him and grievously undervalued asset. Speaking of BFTP, add Brendan Fraser to the list, too.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy
Jackie Brown

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
“The Six Million Dollar Man.” If the glimpses of similar childhood faves that I’ve gotten from Hulu are any indication (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) I’m probably much better off with my memories of the show as seen through the uncritical eyes of a ten-year-old.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Big Jack.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
Given the number of answers that I’ve had to pass on for this quiz, it seems like I have a lot of catching up to do before I do any “revisiting.” In another year or two, my son will be old enough to start watching movies, and that should make for some pretty interesting revisitations.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
It’s been a million years since I saw the latter and I have yet to see the former, though given all the praise that’s been heaped on it, that should be rectified soon.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
An “important” film, regardless of genre, is one that challenges the status quo. An “important” comedy would be one that has all the wit and intelligence of a respectable drama, but gets authentic laughs in unexpected ways. Even though it wasn’t a film, I thought this was what made “Arrested Development” such a great (if fatally misunderstood and underappreciated). Generally, it seems the most “important” comedies are probably satire and/or black comedies. Dr. Strangelove, Three Kings. ‘Course, pretty much everything the Coens have done has defied conventions, proving (at least to me) that even a just-for-kicks comedy can earn a place in the canon. Even though it didn’t quite live up to the hype, I thought Borat went fearlessly where film hadn’t before, though I doubt you could have Borat without This is Spinal Tap. And Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind definitely felt like a paradigm shift to me.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
Not to get too curmudgeony, but it’s really not fun to go to the movies nowadays. Between the general discourtesy that pervades and the fact that my home theatre 5.1 system is pound-for-pound as good or better than the average multiplex, the answer is: My sofa with my wife, some really great cheeses and pâtés, and a glass of Italian red (that, ironically, probably costs less than a coke at the theatre).

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Anne Hathaway

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
C.H.U.D.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Talk about “everything I need to know I life I learned . . . “ Now that I think about it, this might be a contender for #13.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Pass

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
I like to think of my blog as a virtual water cooler, around which I and anyone who cares to join me can hold forth on whatever pop-culture ephemera seems noteworthy. I read blogs for mostly the same reasons, though many of my regular blogs have more of a political bent to them. I wish that I spent more time blogging and less time reading blogs, but I have reconciled myself to the reality that I’m a deficit blogger—I will always consume more than I produce.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
Adam Goldberg being slowly stabbed in Saving Private Ryan.


21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
Robert Shaw. Robards is great and all, but was he Quint and a Bond baddie? Didn’t think so. Oh, and Doyle Loneghan. And The Taking of Pelham 123. Shaw was a total badass.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
Pearl Harbor. Get thee behind me, Bruckheimer and Bay.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River
Yikes. This might be in the running for #31 . . . I’ve seen snatches of both, but never really sat down and watched either.


24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
I got nothin’.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
I have no idea who Bulle Ogier is, but it’s immaterial: it would pretty much be Charlotte Rampling, regardless.


26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?
Sure, why not?

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
Risky Business, (came out the summer after I graduated high school); The Right Stuff, (unseated Star Wars as my favorite movie [even though it took a few years for me to acknowledge]. A perfect synthesis of my boyhood passions—the space age and the movies. Raising Arizona, A Room with a View (apparently, any movie from the ‘80s that begins with the letter R.)

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
Haven’t seen either.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
I’m tempted to say The Longest Yard (the original), and call it a day. I feel like I should throw Heaven Can Wait some props, even though the actual games are pretty tangential to the whole affair.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Kerr for Eternity.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
Hanover Street and assorted crimes of omission too, too numerous and grievous to mention.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
Monster’s Inc.’s nod to Feed the Kitty. That’s not exactly the question, I know.
Equally lame but more to the point: High Anxiety (which I first saw as a young teen having only seen The Birds) became considerably funnier as I worked my way through the Hitchcock oeuvre. How about the way The Hudsucker Proxy riffs on Cool Hand Luke? “Lose a blue card, and they DOCK ya!”

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
Can’t say.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
Best I can do is one of the typical “hide under a blanket in the back,” from the days before they charged by the carload.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power
Man, I really need to get my TCM back.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?
Right now, it doesn’t mean much. I’m pretty ambivalent about where it might be headed, though I’m thankful for the role that blogging generally, and this blog especially, has played in letting regular Joe movie lovers participate in the conversation.

Robert Fiore said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Though it actually started on stage, my vote is for The Odd Couple. In the movie Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are really too much actor for the roles, and Jack Lemmon is the wrong kind of neurotic -- anxious, not a fussbudget. On TV, Jack Klugman is just enough actor for Oscar and Tony Randall was just born to play Felix.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

This will seem strange for someone who never seems to go away, but Quentin Tarantino. I think it's a shame that he takes so long to make a picture, and a shame that he lost his nerve after Jackie Brown tanked.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Eugene Pallette. Coburn always plays his particular type of character effectively, but you truly relish Pallette's performances.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Star Wars, ever again.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake. To quote Greil Marcus (as well as I can remember), "Raymond Chandler called her 'Moronica' but who cares?"

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Last movies I saw in the theater was a double bill of The Man I Killed, Ernst Lubitsch's only Hollywood drama, and The Scoundrel, one of the pictures Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur made in their short-lived New York outpost of Paramount, at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Though a drama, "The Man I Killed" has some great Lubitsch Touches. Early in the picture is a mass in celebration of the first anniversary of the French victory in World War I, and there's a shot along a row of pews with a sword scabbard trailing out of every one. Later in the movie when the erstwhile French soldier is out walking in the little German town with the fiancé of the German soldier he killed, the door chimes of the shops play a chorus wherever they go as the shopkeepers open their doors offscreen to look at the couple. The Scoundrel brings to mind how appallingly irresponsible Hecht and MacArthur were to allow their cynicism and contempt for Hollywood lead them to fritter away their chance to work outside it. Based on The Scoundrel it doesn't appear that much was lost. What Hecht and MacArthur saw as making movies for adults was transporting the values of commercial theater onscreen: Artificial characters proclaiming artificial dialog in artificial settings, with a visual style that amounts to "point the camera at the actors," wrapped in a fantasy redemption plot that would make Louis B. Mayer blush (it involves divine intervention). The ambitions of the Astoria project would actually be realized in Hollywood by Orson Welles, and again frittered away through self-indulgence. The strategy of finding a creative modus vivendi with the commercial film industry has over the years been far more successful than the strategy of trying to work outside of it, if only for the reason that the commercial industry gives a filmmaker access to collaborators just as talented as himself.

The last movie I saw on DVD was Left, Right and Centre, a political satire starring Ian Carmichael and Alistair Sim, from a Region 2 collection of Alistair Sim pictures. Back during the golden age of British movie comedy spearheaded by Ealing Studios comedies often starring Alec Guinness, there was a second string from other studios often starring or featuring Sim. This was definitely second stringy, but with moments, mostly thanks to Sim. I watched it because Sim was in it.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

David Cross.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Foxy Brown, based on nothing more than the title, really.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

My favorite TV show without its own DVD box set, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Not Only But Also, will never get a DVD box set because of the ghastly British practice of erasing "light entertainment" programming in order to re-use the videotape. Most of Cook and Moore is gone, and a lot of groundbreaking work by Spike Milligan, and it's a stroke of luck that Monty Python escaped. It was the most appalling combination of stupidity, snobbery and penny wise/pound foolish (denominations appropriate in this case) thinking imaginable. Actually it's unimaginable that people would be so foolish as to throw away the money they spent on talent to save a much smaller amount on raw materials.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam, if only for his summary of the stages of a Hollywood career:

"Who's Jack Elam?"
"We could do this cheaper if we got Jack Elam."
"Get me Jack Elam!"
"Get me a Jack Elam type!"
"Who's Jack Elam?"

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

A restored Chimes at Midnight, though this is more a case of wanting an opportunity to revisit it than meaning to get back to it one of these days.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

The former I haven't seen, the latter I barely remember.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

I don't think "important" is really the frame of reference for comedies. Comedies are supposed to be funny, and the deeper ones are funnier in a deeper way. I would say that the overall comic vision of Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch is as much a part of my inner life as anything, but I wouldn't describe Sullivan's Travels or The Merry Widow as "important." Fail Safe is more important than Dr. Strangelove in bringing the issues of nuclear brinksmanship into the public mind, even though the former is crapola and the latter is the best satirical movie ever made. What Dr. Strangelove tells the audience essentially is that our rulers are too foolish not to destroy us all with nuclear weapons. (It is presumably a case for nuclear disarmament, but why would rulers foolish in the way depicted disarm?) I guess you could call City Lights an important comedy in the sense of illustrating what it means to be human in an unfeeling world. Maybe Miracle in Milan as well.

The let's say most significant comedy in the last 35 years is Pulp Fiction, to the extent that it's a comedy.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

The décor of a movie palace like the Pantages combined with the seating and projection quality of the Arclight.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Every one of these quizzes has a question that's too obscure for me. Here's this season's winner.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

This is one of those questions where you know there's a really good answer but you just can't think of it. Then once your answers are posted you'll remember and kick yourself.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Seven Samurai.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

The one with the vampire in it.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Last Holiday. The original of course; I doubt they let the character die in the remake.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw is great but there's just more of Jason Robards.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Probably The Holy Mountain or Santa Sangre, though I think they're both godawful.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

This it seems to me is the kind of question where you pit an established classic against a less conventionally highly regarded movie with enough cult oomph to get votes. To me, Rio Bravo lacks the oomph to really be in the running.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

I guess if they got Terry Gilliam to blow up La Jetee into a full scale feature starring Bruce Willis. Oh, they did?

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling, who is in the Bone Structure Hall of Fame with Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn and Catherine Deneuve.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

I recall trying to fast forward to the dirty parts and not being able to find any dirty parts. Those Japanese fuck just like a Chinaman.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

For this question we turn to our guest respondent, Beatrice Welles: "Every movie my daddy ever made! You can't see them unless you GIVE ME MONEY!"

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

I think the last nature movie I sat through was by Walt Disney. While he was still alive.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

The one from The Freshman as interpolated in The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr. To put Wendy Hiller ahead you have to put an awful lot of weight on "I Know Where I'm Going!," because of the disparity in volume of work. Kerr even did more pictures for the Archers.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

For those who haven't seen Citizen Kane yet, Rosebud is the sled.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

See question 16.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

It's a Gift. This is an interesting contrast. In the general scheme of things, the Marx Brothers rank well ahead of W.C. Fields. However, like the novels of Raymond Chandler, all of them (up to Day at the Races, anyway) are cherished but none particularly sticks out. Duck Soup sticks out a little the way Farewell My Lovely does for Chandler, but the whole gestalt is what counts, not any given movie/novel as a work of art. It's a Gift on the other hand is a movie that rises above the level of the comedian's work, and seems to portray the genuine travails of a human being.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I don't have stories, I have vague childhood memories of lying in the back of a station wagon in my pajamas, of the huge bags of popcorn my dad would buy at White Front to avoid paying concession prices for five kids, the mechanics of hooking the speaker up to the window . . .

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

I think of Tyrone Power as the star of adventure movies I deem too boring to watch because Tyrone Power is in them. Victor Mature is a subject I have to look into further, based on My Darling Clementine.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

It's something I look at when I want to read about a movie I've seen. It will be around in one form or another as long as people are interested in movies.

Campaspe said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Pace some of my commenters on the "stars I don't like" post, Lucille Ball set the gold standard for that long ago.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly.

Bill Forsyth most of all. Gregory's Girl, Local Hero and Comfort and Joy helped make the 1980s worthwhile. Bill, come back! Also Victor Erice, although he has never been a very public figure. I also agree with Bubblegum Cinephile about Whit Stillman.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

I want to say Coburn just to see how Karen reacts (and he was so great in The Lady Eve, The More the Merrier and The Green Years). But it's Pallette, for his voice, Friar Tuck and because he wins the Heaven Can Wait smackdown with that scene over the funny papers. Plus, he has me howling with laughter every time I see My Man Godfrey: "Take a look at the dizzy old gal with the goat." "I've had to look at her for 20 years. That's MRS. Bullock." "I'm terribly sorry!" "How do you think I feel?"

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

The Paris Hilton Story. My dream is that I will one day ask my children who Paris Hilton was and get the blankest of blank stares.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Greer was the better actress, but Lake was in Sullivan's Travels, wanting to work with Lubitsch. So Lake it is.


6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In the theater, Cluny Brown, because it's very hard to find. (Once again, Fox, I have to ask, what the HECK is wrong with you people and your stinginess with your library?) On DVD, last was A Slight Case of Murder, for Edward G. Robinson (and indeed it was very cute and so was he). On cable, Love Songs, which turned up unexpectedly on TV5.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star.

I guess I am supposed to name someone contemporary, so I pick the gorgeous, mesmerizing but underutilized Maria Bello. I also think Benoit Magimel should be a worldwide big name, although I have no idea if his English is up to Hollywood. As for neglected names from the old days, I'm working on a whole list of those.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy. Foxy, because she's a whole lotta woman.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Frank's Place. I watched the whole series in its all-too brief run and it's one of the few TV shows I would buy.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Neville, for Stalag 17 and DOA.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

My problem isn't needing to revisit movies, it's revisiting ones I love too often, thus leaving less time to for the ones on my "drat, I still need to see that" list. If I loved it, I want to see it again.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

All the President's Men. I haven't seen Zodiac, but Se7en left me unimpressed, to say the very least.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

If it's funny, a comedy eschews the very notion of importance, as Groucho said: "What significance? We were just four Jews trying to get a laugh." With apologies to George S. Kaufman, an "important" comedy is what closes Saturday night. By that yardstick, the most important comedy is 1941 I guess.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Big screen, good sight lines for the vertically challenged (like me), a sound system that is enveloping without being deafening and, most important of all, an audience that doesn't think any type of big emotion is automatically "camp."

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

I have seen very little of these ladies, but I'm going with Williams just because she isn't in that remake of The Women.


16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Curse of the Cat People, because to this day it misleads people about the content of that jewel of a movie.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

The Miracle Worker. That last scene, when Helen Keller at last understands the basis of language, gets me every time. There's no more beautiful depiction of unlocking a mind than seeing Patty Duke fly around the backyard, pounding each object and begging to be told its name.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Horror of Dracula. I think the older one is just too creaky and, at this point, too familiar. It's as impossible to watch now as it is to look at the Mona Lisa with eyes unshaded by the gazillion dreary misuses she's been put to.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I started blogging to stave off insanity while adjusting to a new, much quieter city. I continued blogging for all the freebies from high-end retailers. What, you mean YOU'RE not getting those? No, actually I blog so I can revenge myself on ex-lovers on the front cover of the New York Times Magazine...

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene.

The execution in Paths of Glory--the one soldier openly sobbing, no grace or courage, dying for nothing at all, dying because that is all their leaders know how to do any more, send young men to die.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards. He's the one thing I truly enjoy in Once Upon a Time in the West.
22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Viridiana, for sure. Not just blasphemy, but layered, complex, endlessly funny blasphemy. When I posted about it one of my regular commenters, Gloria, pointed out that the infamous "Last Supper" also contains a visual pun on a Spanish idiom, with the one beggar woman "taking a picture"--which is slang for flashing your undies.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Red River by a mile. Rio Bravo is fun and all, but Red River has the depth, plus John Wayne's best performance ever. I don't have to sit through any ersatz Gene Autry singalongs in Red River. And while Dino could have drunk Monty under the table any day, I think he would have been the last person to try and out-act him.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

I know I'm supposed to be funny here but I'm inclined to try this experiment for real. John Huston said in his memoirs that Hollywood took the wrong approach to remakes--they re-did something that was perfect the first time around. He said they should take movies that had good elements but somehow didn't come off, and cited his own "Roots of Heaven" as an example. So, to be serious AND weird--Claude Chabrol could handle The Sound and the Fury, which was butchered so badly the first time around. He has the intellect but also the skepticism necessary to approach the Faulknerian South without wanting to remind us constantly how damn colorful and Gothic and meaningful everything is. Quentin Compson--continue the old, odd tradition of Brits playing Southerners and get Jamie Bell, just because he could do it and because Quentin should NOT be a heartthrob.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

At work I fielded a phone call from Charlotte Rampling once, and she was every bit as snooty as her Georgy Girl character. I loved it, finding out she was exactly as I wanted her to be. Charlotte all the way.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

It's been eons since I saw it (at home on VHS, must have been early 90s) but I remember thinking it was interesting but quite anti-erotic; the guy I was dating fell asleep. As a seduction ploy I got much better results with 8 1/2. So I'm going with no.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Letter from an Unknown Woman. I will probably never see this in a theater with an audience simply because, like Jim, I cannot bear the thought of the morons tittering over anything that doesn't seem sufficiently "realistic."

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Haven't seen them but I still pick Winged Migration. I am not a bug person.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie.

"Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, this time I think we go up-a da middle." Horsefeathers. This is what Oliver Stone should have watched before making Any Given Sunday. Or maybe he did.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah, although Wendy's divine.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies.

I have no movie secrets. If I love Yolanda and the Thief and the world does not, then the world is WRONG, wrong, wrong.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

I think the two Imitation of Life versions really form a dialogue about race, caste, class, and women's issues in the U.S. over the course of 25 years. 33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Horsefeathers. I'm a dedicated Marxist.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in.

I have never been to a drive-in. I was a deprived child.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power.

Victor is the best thing in von Sternberg's mad and marvelous The Shanghai Gesture. But Tyrone could really act, witness Nightmare Alley. So it's Power.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Oy, this is a little too much for me to contemplate at the mo but I do think it's becoming more fragmented. The days of one powerful voice having an outsize influence, whether it be Crowther or Kael or Ebert, are gone.

Adam Ross said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show

Bruce Dern in "Big Love."

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

John Landis, he hasn't helmed a real movie since Blues Brothers 2000. Come on John, let's not have that be your coda.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Eugene, for his turn as Friar Tuck.

4) Fill in the blank: "I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie."

Smurfs

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

I'll take Veronica over just about anyone.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

The baby makes it pretty hard to get out to a movie, all I've seen this year is "In Bruges." I'm watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" right now, just had to hear Bernard Herrman's Gort theme.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Anna Farris, though I'm optimistic she will be in the future.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

I'm pretty sure Coffy has more nudity.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

I've written about the outrage that is the cartoon "Dexter's Laboratory" still not being on DVD in any form. One of the most cleverly written and animated cartoons of the last 10 years.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack's been in some of my favorite movies, and also one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes ("Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?")

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

My one and only viewing of "The Magnificent Ambersons" left a sour taste in my mouth, I probably need to see it again before writing it off for good.

12) Zodiac or All the President's Men

Zodiac was my favorite movie of 2007, just watched the director's cut.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an "important" film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

An important film comedy is one that inspires imitators, and I think we're still seeing the effects of "This is Spinal Tap," with its style of parody still common in movies and television.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

In the summer I like watching movies at home, some movies play better with blue skies outside (The Burbs, Jaws, Pee Wee's Big Adventure).

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Neither one excites me terribly, but I liked Michelle in "Brokeback Mountain."

16) What's the worst movie title of all time?

"Casual Sex?" is pretty bad, "Pffft!" is worse.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

"Hoosiers" for best movie, but my favorite instance of teaching in a movie is Kiefer Sutherland's vial of imprinted memories at the end of "Dark City."

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

"Dracula" has many shortcomings, but I enjoy them all. I love seeing the fake bats, and even welcome Philip Glass' new score.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don't, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I really can't remember my goals when I started blogging, but I think I've become a better movie fan through all the recommendations I've gotten and the fun conversation. It's also a great way to keep my the writing hamster in my head spinning.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

"The Fury" (BOOM!)

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Where would this world be without the glorious Mr. Quint?

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

"The Scarlet Letter"?

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

I like "Red River," but "Rio Bravo" is one of my 10 favorite movies. I would list all the reasons I love it, but I'd like to get some work done today.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that's reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" directed by Charles Loughton

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte was in "Swimming Pool" and "Orca," she goes well with water.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

pass

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

I can think of a few answers, but I'll say "Ride the High Country" because I think so highly of it, have seen it/recommended it so many times, and almost look up to Steve Judd ("All I want is to enter my house justified").

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Birds are more fun.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

There was a movie a few years ago with a scene in a bar where the 1994 Washington-Oregon game was playing in the background.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Have to go with Allan Quartermain's gal.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I was a silent financier of "Leprechaun 2"

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Seeing "Sullivan's Travels" made me enjoy the Coen Bros' efforts with "O Brother Where Art Thou?" more, since I now watch it through the eyes of a 1940s filmgoer.

33) It's a Gift or Horsefeathers

W.C. Fields, always.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

No specific time, but any chance my wife and I have to visit the Parma Motor-Vu in Parma, ID. It's the oldest business in town, their 1955 popcorn popper still works great, they serve grape soda, the parking area is often flanked by corn stalks, and the old highway is right behind the screen so sometimes you can see truckers passing by.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

I'll go with The Big Victor ("Head")

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it's headed?

It's entertainment to me, as it's about my favorite subject. Like any subject there's bad and good, and it's up to you to find what suits you.

badMike said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Crispin Glover: from The Facts of Life and Happy Days to What Is It?

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Hal Hartley

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Charles Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

My ass (Sorry, just watched Idiocracy)

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater: Indiana Jones IV (peer pressure)
DVD: Enchanted (wasn't on On Demand)

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Tom Cruise

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Bakersfield, P.D.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

The work of Herschell Gordon Lewis.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I don't know if it's "important," but it's my current judge of all new comedies.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

In a theater with absolutely nobody around.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Michelle Williams

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

My Tutor

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Horror of Dracula

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Compulsive need.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

The ending to the original The Vanishing.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Life of Brian

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Neither

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

David Lynch's Operation: Petticoat.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Maybe?

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Dr. Butcher, M.D.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Microcosmos

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

None.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

Most of them are make-believe, even the documentaries.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Halloween and Re-Animator. Honestly, I couldn't think of a better double-feature.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Horsefeathers

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Never been.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Victor Mature

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Just to give me a different perspective on films I've seen or let me know about films I haven't. The toilet.

Gerard Jones said...

What a spectacular quiz! I've been reading this blog for a while without commenting, but today I must participate. I'm actually supposed to be getting some work done, so I'm going to have to take this in chunks. Start with the first quarter:

1. Best transition from movies to TV?

By any sort of objective professional standard, it has to be Lucille Ball. Pre-TV she was doing bad comedies for Columbia with guys like John Agar and heading back toward second-billing land. After a decade in TV she was able to buy RKO Studios. No other actor ever reached her level of success and power as a producer. (Along with Desi, of course, who qualifies for the best transition from Latin dance bands to TV.)

2. Living director I miss?

Henry Selick. A brilliant creator of stop-motion animation, and he looked like a new visual and narrative star with The Nightmare before Christmas. His first mostly live action movie, James and the Giant Peach, was uneven but it had a real integrity and some startling moments.

Then came Monkeybone, when everything just went...wrong. One of those movie disasters that you just can't explain by looking at who was involved. There must be some horrifying behind-the-scenes stories. Next thing I heard, Selick was doing nearly anonymous animation for Will Vinton's Claymation. I'm hoping Coraline, directed and co-written by Selick, will be good and bring him back to us.

3. Pallette or Coburn?

Oh, Pallette for sure. I like Charles Coburn--no one has ever been better at being Charles Coburn, in fact. But Eugene is just so goofy. The final sequence of Busby Berkeley's The Gang's All Here includes one of the most surreal images in cinema history: the disembodied, luridly greenish head of Eugene Pallette flying toward us, singing. Beats the hell out of that slashed eyeball in Chien Andalu.

4. "I pray that no one ever turns ________ into a movie."

Leave It to Beaver. Oh, wait...

5. Jane Greer or Veronica Lake?

Oh, please! Jane Greer was an actress. Veronica Lake was a hairstyle. Greer in Out of the Past is the great Bad Girl in Hollywood history. But I will say that Veronica did not hurt Sullivan's Travels one little bit. In fact, her very blankness probably worked better for the character than any actress with personality could have.

6. Last movie in a theater? DVD?

Theater: Bordertown, Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Margaret Lindsay. I am blessed to live in San Francisco, walking distance from the Castro Theater with its magnificent festivals and driving distance from the Stanford Theater (pardon me, "Theatre") with its unflagging devotion to old Hollywood. I always, always prefer theaters to the small screen for old movies.

DVD: Mission Impossible III. Because my kid wanted to see it, but I really enjoyed it. J.J. Abrams. DVD was great so we could stop it and try to figure out the plot.

7. Actor I think should be a star?

Christina Hendricks. Mad Men, Firefly and a bunch of other TV. She has the kind of va-va-voom that would have made her a star in the '50s but actually gets in her way now. But she has chops. And range. And charisma. AND va-va-voom. She's done a couple of indies recently but nothing that shows her off well. She needs someone in mainstream Hollywood with the cojones to use everything she's got without apology.

8. Foxy Brown or Coffy?

We don't have to answer all the questions, right?

9. TV show without a boxed set?

Leave It to Beaver. No, really. It was a great show, for four of its six seasons anyway. And only the first two seasons are available on DVD. The corrupt efforts to build sequels and movie versions on its innocent back would have been worth something if they'd given us the original back. But it was all for nought.

Rick Olson said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Actor: William Petersen; show MASH

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Bill Forsyth

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Charles Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

"100 Years of Solitude"

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

The New Indy; cause I had to.
"Band of Outsiders," same reason

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Brendan Gleason

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Foxy Brown

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

I have no idea.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam, natch.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

God, that's a tough one ...

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

All the President's Men (Zodiac, imho, was overrated)

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

A comedy in which the humor is not mean but derives from everyday situations. One which makes important commentary on society ...

"Porky's II"

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

A theater, with a friend or two.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Eva Mendez, hubba hubba.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning'

Hate 'em. Would rather be drug by slavering wildebeests over the hot coals of doom than go see one. Ok, "Finding Forrester"

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Horror of Dracula

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I blog to (a) improve my writing skills, (b) hone my appreciation of film, and (c) pick up chicks.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Jason Robards, of course.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

I dunno ... Bunuel?

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Bob Clark's upcoming "Ordet: The Musical"

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Never having seen it, I'll take a pass.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Winged Migration

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

The one in "The Longest Yard"

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Wendy Hiller

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I'll never tell.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Don't have such a story, although my dad took us to the drive-in regularly.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

I have a similar reaction to Jonathan Lapper ... can't we give it a rest? I think film criticism is changing, but it's to soon to tell in which direction, though it's certainly becoming more democratic. Also, it's becoming less profitable as

Beveridge D. Spenser said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
That would have to be Alfred Hitchcock, wouldn't it?

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly
Woody Allen. He keeps releasing films, but I miss the real Woody Allen.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
Why not both, in "The Lady Eve"?

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”
My life story, starring Tom Selleck. I want Glenn Scott or nobody.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake. That hair.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
"The Maltese Falcon" in a theater. "Brother Orchid" on DVD. I've been having an Edward G. Robinson festival at home.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star
How about athletes I think should be stars? David Bell, the parkour traceur from "District B13". He needs to be in more films.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy
"Foxy Brown", but I haven't seen "Coffy" yet.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
"Get Smart", unless they've done that already. (Checks Amazon - Yes, they have). How about "McHale's Navy"? (Yes, that too.) Um... the old "Burke's Law" series? (Yep.) OK - "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"!

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Jack Elam, for "The Girl in Lover's Lane"

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Just to soak in the awesomeness one more time.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
Haven't seen them. Can I say "Dirty Harry"? I always assumed that Scorpio was the Zodiac Killer.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
As a reviewer, no, critic, nay, film scholar! I have to say that comedies can't be important, only frothy and forgettable. That's why only serious films win Oscars.
The most important comedy in the last 35 years is probably "Bio-Dome", because it insured that Pauley Shore would never work again.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
In my own home, with a nice meal and a margarita. The sun is down, there's a light rain on the roof. The DVD slides into the player, and...

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Eva Mendes is more Jennifer Lopez than Jennifer Lopez (A Good Thing). I haven't seen any Michelle Williams films, I think.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
"Gleaming the Cube"!

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning "Horsefeathers". (I read all the questions first.)

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Pass. Or "Nosferatu" (either version).

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
I think about the movies I watch and I want to record those thoughts. That's all. I read blogs for others' thoughts and to find out about movies I should be watching.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
The Chestburster from "Alien" comes to mind.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
Jason Robards, for, ummmm... "A Thousand Clowns". And a thousand others.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
"Dogma" was my first thought, but it actually has a pretty conventional theology. "How about "Down to Earth", the sort of sequel to "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" and inspiration for "Xanadu"? The mixture of vaguely Christian heaven, re-incarnation and the Greek pantheon is just wrong. Not as wrong as "Xanadu" but...


23) Rio Bravo or Red River
"Ride, bravely ride" for "Rio Bravo".

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
I recast and remake almost every movie I see in my head. How about: "Annie Get Your Gun" directed by John Woo or Quentin Tarantino? Make the gunplay dangerous. Put Uma Thurman in as Annie. Dustin Hoffman as Buffalo Bill (slyly referencing "Little Big Man"). You get the idea.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
Bulle Ogier had "The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)". Rampling has so much, including "Stardust Memories". Charlotte Rampling.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?
No. I sleep well now.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
"Once More, My Darling" (1949), Robert Montgomery's directing debut, co-starring Ann Blyth. I taped it off of AMC a long time ago, and watch it on romantic occassions. Ann Blyth's turn as the perfume-soaked love-sotted Killer is brilliant. And it isn't available on tape or DVD (except at my house).

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
I've seen "Winged Migration", so...

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
Either "Horsefeathers" or that Three Stooges episode. Apologies to Keaton's "College" and Lloyd's "The Freshman".

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Sorry, they are both rather wet, aren't they?

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
I used to confuse Jean Arthur and Barbara Stanwycke.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
I love movies that reference other movies. The intertextuality between "Stardust Memories" and "8 1/2" is particularly cute.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
"Horsefeathers" - 4 Marx Bros. vs. 1 Fields.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
My parents took the kids to see lots of movies in the backseat in our jammies. I remember "Viva Las Vegas", "Night of the Iguana", "Around thew World in a Daze" and lots of others. But my best story was seeing "The Way We Were" with my girlfriend. I was lying down with my head in her lap, saying every line just before the characters did. The movie was that predictable. She wasn't my girlfriend for long...

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power - the swashbuckler.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?
I read film criticism to hear people's thoughts about films, to get perspectives on a film that I might not have picked up, and to find out about movies I should see. No more, no less. That leaves a lot of room for a lot of different styles, and I think that is what we will see.

Gerard Jones said...

I can't seem to answer anything in just a word or two (to come up with short answers I have to do tons of rewriting, and that takes time), so I'll just do nine more:

10. Jack Elam or Neville Brand.

Well, I picked Pallette over Coburn on the goofy factor, but I guess Elam got too damn goofy for me. I'll take Brand.

11. What movies do I need to revisit?

The Court Jester, because the people who are appalled when I say I can't stand Danny Kaye tell me it's The One.

All the Ernst Lubitsches with Jeanette MacDonald because I've only seen a couple and that was before I kept reading how great Lubitsch (and his fans) thought she was.

Mulholland Drive, because my wife and I felt we'd finally made sense of its overlapping realities after a couple of hours of post-movie dissection, and now I'd like to see if our ideas hold up to actually seeing it.

12. Zodiac or All the President's Men.

Haven't seen Zodiac. Wasn't all that impressed with AtPM, either. Hard to imagine having a strong preference either way.

13. "Important" film comedy and the "most important" comedy of the past 35 years.

An "important" comedy may contain insights into its social moment that few other works of art or entertainment do; or it may mark a shift in mores or perspective by the mainstream culture, as one of the functions of comedy is to relieve the tensions of conflict and change; or it may simply redefine the way in which cinema is funny. Chaplin's later comedies strove to be "important" and were welcomed as such by critics and audiences, and at their best they deserve that. But Keaton's comedies are at least as important for the way they explored the implicit surreality of film and shattered narrative expectations. (How's that for critic-speak? Ha!)

Most important of the last 35 years? Geez. Make it 50 years and I'll give you Some Like It Hot. Definitely the most socially important final line in movie comedy history!

But since 1973? Annie Hall for the way it changed comic tone. Animal House for changing it in a different way. And There's Something about Mary because...I don't know why. I just knew it was important when I saw it.

14. The ideal movie environment.

A big enough and grand enough theater to create a sense of awe, the quality of a shrine to the screen. Enough style to the theater itself to create a feeling of moving into a different world even before the movie starts. Luminous and liminal. Like the surviving movie palaces in my neck of the woods: Oakland Paramount, Castro, Stanford.

15. Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes.

I've only seen Mendes once, in Hitch, where I thought she was really boring. Is she supposed to have more than just looks? Have I missed something?

16. The worst movie title of all time?

The most vile effort in Hollywood history (or one of the most, anyway) was trying to extend the coy, titillating '50s sex comedy into the Swinging Sixties, and to make them sound fresh and snappy and in-the-know they used what sounded like bits of dialogue for titles. So you got What's New Pussycat?, Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number, You Must Be Joking, and the most embarrassing of all: Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding!

17. Best movie about teaching or learning.

Best, I don't know. Favorite: the "Gonna Take a Montage" number in Team America.

18. Dracula ('31) or Horror of Dracula ('58).

The only reason I can imagine wanting to watch a Dracula movie is to see Bela's baroque.

VP81955 said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Lucille Ball...in movies, a mid-level star at best; on TV, the Chaplin of sitcoms.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Peter Bogdanovich; one wishes his Hollywood historian's sense could be channeled into more movies ("The Cat's Meow" was fun, if a bit muddled).

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Pallette, if only for that foghorn of a voice.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

The rise of "American Idol," which a few decades hence will appear as ridiculous as the quiz shows of the 1950s.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Greer had the better prime role, but Lake was a bit more versatile and was better at comedy, so I'll go with Veronica by a (peek-a-boo) hair.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In a theater: "I (Heart) Huckabees." I wanted to see what all the furor was about, but sadly the most memorable thing about it was Naomi Watts in a swimsuit. I work nights, so it's difficult for me to see movies in a theater, and they really aren't designed for my age group (I'm 52) anymore.

On DVD: "Hands Across The Table." Carole Lombard is my all-time favorite actress.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

If we're referring solely to movies, I think someone missed the boat in not designing film vehicles for Lucy Lawless -- but in romantic comedies, not as an action heroine. Lucy developed a comedy background in her native New Zealand, and the occasional comedic episodes of "Xena" showed off her skills in that department.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Foxy, I suppose.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

As things stand, it doesn't appear the complete run of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" will be issued on DVD. Also, I'd love to see "Dobie Gillis" issued; its absurdly fast pacing and surreal attitude made it the "His Girl Friday" of sitcoms. (It was also the first TV series I ever watched regularly.)

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

I think I need to revisit much of the work of Charlie Chaplin, if only to reevaluate his work in the context of seeing other silent clowns such as Lloyd and Keaton.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

All The President's Men.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Probably "Animal House," as it was the first smash hit with a "Saturday Night Live" cast member -- a formula that's been followed many times since. Moreover, it emphasized vulgarity over sophistication, and subsequent generations have followed up (alas). It also appealed to young men, a demographic group that's more or less taken over the multiplex.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

An attractive theater with a good projector, comfortable seating and an intelligent audience.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

"Perfect" (1985). With a title like that, you're setting yourself up for a fall.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

"Stand And Deliver."

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

I'll go with the original; it's a bit creaky, but still has its charm.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I blog (a plug for mine, "Carole & Co.", at http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/) because it enables me to explore a part of film history in my own way and helps me connect with other fans of Carole Lombard and that era of Hollywood.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Probably the woman's suicide from 100 floors up at the end of "Skyscraper Souls." Not at all gruesome by today's standards, but nonetheless chilling.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Pretty much the same type, but Robards gets a slight edge for versatility.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

It depends upon your faith, I guess. I'm sure some folks hated "John Goldfarb, Please Come Home" because it satirized the University of Notre Dame (others hated the film for different reasons).

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

I think "Red River" carries a bit more dramatic heft. They're both wonderful films, though.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Guy Ritchie's "Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman: The Musical!", starring Mrs. Ritchie in her biggest role ever (literally!).

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

No, not my cup of tea.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Probably "Libeled Lady," because I work at a newspaper.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Not familiar with either.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

"Horsefeathers," but then again I'm a (Groucho) Marxist.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I think Katharine Hepburn is overrated.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Seeing Marion Davies films after viewing "Citizen Kane," and realizing that for all "Kane's" greatness, its one major flaw is that it destroyed Davies' acting reputation for several decades; even Welles admitted as such. (The bio "Citizen Hearst," issued in the early sixties, also did a hatchet job on Davies' work.)

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

"Horsefeathers." I enjoy Fields, but he was served better by his later Universal vehicles, whereas "Horsefeathers" is prime Marx, and has Thelma Todd to boot.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

My family went to see "Cleopatra" at a drive-in in 1963, and that was probably the wrong environment for it; I was bored stiff and fell asleep. (Then again, I was only eight.)

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Mature wasn't as bad as his reputation suggests, but Power was a more versatile actor and demonstrably superior.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

It means thoughtful analysis of what makes a film tick -- not just acting, but writing, direction, art work, the whole shebang, preferably in a context of the movie business. With the recent dismissals of many newspaper reviewers, I'm a bit concerned, although there are a number of excellent reviewers online who don't have a paper as a platform.

Robert H. said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

I'd have to say George Clooney - I do think he's better behind the scenes than in front of the camera, but he seems to be willing to take risks instead of coasting along on his image.


2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly.

Larry Cohen. It's a shame he's not directing his own stuff anymore.


3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Both before my time, so I can't really say I have a preference.


4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Cheaters. It's just a matter of time, though... they did try to turn Jerry Springer into a movie franchise.


5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Jane Greer


6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

BUNKER HILL in the theater - but I was a crew member, so I got an advance peek.
Last movie seen on DVD was RABID DOGS/KIDNAPPED, finishing up the Bava Box Vol. 2. RABID DOGS is the one to watch.


7) Name an actor you think should be a star

I'm one of the rare few who doesn't have a preference for 'stars' - stars seem to do as little acting as possible. That said, Robert Downey Jr. should be a star; IRON MAN seems to be the movie to finally put him in that category. Let's just hope that he doesn't get bored with the material he'll get to go back to recreational drugs.


8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Tough choice - I'll have to go with Coffy, though.


9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

MAX HEADROOM


10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Again, tough choice - Elam is the favorite, but I always found Neville Brand fascinating, especially knowing his background.


11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

SECONDS


12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac


13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

"Important" film comedies are very rarely funny, IMO. The ones that ARE important usually aren't recognized as such until years after the fact.

Most important film comedy - BLAZING SADDLES. Makes its point sharply, sustains it through the entire picture, and still manages to be throughly silly and enjoyable... and it couldn't be reproduced in today's culture.


14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

The Castro Theatre in San Francisco


15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Neither


16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

SCUDDA-HOO, SCUDDA-HEY


17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

CONRACK

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Only have seen bits and pieces of both - Christopher Lee is perhaps the best Dracula on film, when all's said and done.


19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Why not? I love to write... Would I be writing if people aren't reading? That may well be the case, now.


20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

One of the most disturbing for me, is when Eugene Roche is killed in SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE - it just really brought home the fragility of all lives and circumstance.


21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
Tough choice... I had the chance to work on one of Mr. Robards' last films, so he should be my favorite -- but my vote goes to Mr. Shaw.


22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

I'm not sure that it's even a relevant niche anymore...
but to choose - VIRIDIANA


23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Have seen neither


24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Michael Mann remaking RUSH HOUR


25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

One I have not gotten around to seeing yet, though I've read about it for years.


27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

SHOCK TREATMENT (1981) - it's finally gotten a little bit of love recently, but it was a hard 25 years being an unrepentant fan of this movie.


28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Have seen neither of these films - I lean more towards THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE, though, if that gives a clue


29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

THE LONGEST YARD - Aldrich version, without question


30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Wendy Hiller


31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I'm an elitist and a total snob - there, it's off my chest at last!


32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

I'm totally punked out on this question.


33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Have seen neither of these, so no comment


34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Alas, I have none. I attended drive-in movies either with members of my family, and drive-ins were dying out when I was old enough to attend them on my own.


35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

The Big Victor - Mature, of course


36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

I appreciate good criticism, but the older I get, the more meaningless it seems... it's practically non-existent as far as commerce goes, other than convincing people to throw their money in a particular direction. And as far as my personal preference goes, there are deeply flawed films that I enjoy and love; and masterpieces that I really should care about and see, but I don't and I won't -- and that's pretty much up to my own judgment.

And really - when it takes 20-30 years for films to be rediscovered and reevaluated, and when grindhouse fare now gets academic attention, it's pretty much time to just admit to ourselves that this whole criticism thing IS ACTUALLY SUBJECTIVE and nowhere close to the Word Of God.

It may make it harder to be able to turn a buck doing it - but that seems to be common everywhere.

Larry Aydlette said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

I guess I should say Alec Baldwin, but how about Jim Belushi? I love, love, love “According to Jim,” one of the most underrated comedies on TV. Who would have thought he’d survive “Blues Brothers 2000” and “Traces Of Red.”


2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Warren Beatty.


3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Oh, Pallette, for that voice.


4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

“Sex and the City.” Oops, too late!

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Miss Lake, for the hairdo, the smirk, and for the Sturges: “Yes, Mr. Smearkase…not really, Mr. Smearkase…Now that’s a funny one, Mr. Smearkase…Mr. Smearkase, stop it, that’s my knee!”


6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater: “Indiana Jones.” Obvious. It was there!
DVD: “The Andromeda Strain.” Well, it was there.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star.

Alexandra Maria Lara, the luminous lady of Coppola’s “Youth Without Youth.”

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Whichever one shows more of Ms. Grier, which I believe from exacting scientific research would be “Coffy.”


9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

“Mannix.” But that will be resolved on Tuesday, when the first season DVD finally comes out.


10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack!

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

“The Darjeeling Limited.”

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

“All The President’s Men.” But these kind of choices should get Cozzalio put on double-secret probation.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Reviewer speak:
“Horse Feathers”: You’ll laugh! You’ll lateral!

As for the past 35 years, no question: “The Big Lebowski.”


14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Is this quiz almost over?

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Neither. When it comes to Dawson’s girls, I was always fond of the future Mrs. Cruise. And I, for one, am not looking forward to weird Maggie Gyllen-I-Can-Never-Spell-Her-Name-Correctly taking her place in the new Batman flick.


16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

“Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Somebody should slap Lucas for that.


17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

“Wild Strawberries.” Because teaching always goes better if your student is Ingrid Thulin.


18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

English version of “Dracula” or Spanish version?


19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Because I’m in love with me, me, me!
To see if anybody says anything about me, me, me!

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Anything with children, especially “Don’t Look Now.”

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Hmm. Shaw gets the advantage for “Jaws” and “From Russia With Love.”


22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Any bad sequel done just for the money.


23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Here’s something blasphemous: I find both of these movies to be sort of overrated, especially “Red River.” Hawks did a lot of great genres, but he was no John Ford when it came to Westerns. And does anybody think for a second that Wayne couldn’t have kicked Monty’s ass all around that cattle pen?


24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Uwe Boll takes over for an ailing Herzog, and renames it “Bad Lieutenant: A Dungeon Siege Tale.”


25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Rampling, for “Stardust Memories.”

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

No, no, a thousand times, no!

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

“I Love Trouble.” Because I’m the only person I know who loves, loves, loves it!

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

“Winged Migration,” definitely. My jaw was hanging open watching the shots in that film.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

The Siren said it best: “Horse Feathers.” Although, what’s with all the “Any Given Sunday” hating? It’s not as bad as, well, every other Oliver Stone movie.


30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Neither!


31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I like to watch.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Is this quiz almost over?


33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

See No. 29.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Well, it was with a girlfriend at a Russ Meyer triple feature. I remember seeing “Vixen,” and about half of “Harry, Cherry and Raquel,” and then suddenly the windows fogged over and I still don’t know what the third movie was to this day!


35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Uhh…Mature, for “My Darling Clementine.”

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

A paycheck?
I hope…a paycheck?

elgringo said...

Oh hell yeah, let's do this!

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
My first thought was Peter Boyle and his transition into Everybody Loves Raymond but once M.A.S.H. got brought up, I have to vote for that one.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly
John Carpenter.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
Coburn!

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns my personal life into a movie.”

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Ohhh, Veronica Lake takes this easily.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
Today saw a double billing of Baby Mama and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Why? Because I've been sick for a week and I was going stir crazy. Off to the theater. We'd already seen everything good so it came down to these two flops.

On DVD, The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On which my girlfriend got from Netflix.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star.
Michael Pare

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy
Foxy Brown...but it's close.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set.
Motherfuckin' WONDER YEARS! Damn music rights.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
The Arrival, El Norte, and The 'Burbs

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men All the President's Men, although Zodiac was incredible.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

True comedy combines elements of all other genres and their effects on the viewer. Comedy comments on what scares us, makes us sad, things we want in the future, our sense of loss, etc.

The most important film comedy in the past 35 years is Harold and Maude.


14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
San Francisco. Castro Theatre. Midnights for Maniacs. Plenty of snacks and lots of friends surrounding you.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Mendes for looks, Williams for talent.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
Herbie: Fully Loaded

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
Oh, this is close to my thesis topic! I'm going to have to say Stand and Deliver.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
I'm a Grad Student and I realized that I don't write enough. I also wanted a chance to meet more people than the 15 in my program who really love film.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
The cat in the water barrel in Gummo.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
El Crimen Del Padre Amaro

23) Rio Bravo! I just watched this again, yesterday! or Red River

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
Harmony Korine's remaking Battle Royale with Dakota Fanning.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no? Haven't seen it, but will The Pillow Book do?

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
Born in East LA

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos -- definitely one of the coolest movies I saw as a kid, but then again, I was a nerd.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
One word: Lucas

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
I have no interest in Bollywood films

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
Night of the Living Dead's formula for low-budget films about a group of people stuck in one location for a set amount of time with attackers breaking in...as used in Assault on Precinct 13

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
Sadly...I've yet to see a movie in a drive-in. But I will soon, I swear! Maybe that should be my dirty secret.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?
It means making sure people are aware that film is more than entertainment. It's headed, on one level, down the crapper. That's the argument you hear all the time. But on another level, and this is where these blogs come in, film criticism is headed in exactly the right direction, towards a pure discussion of art.

Scott
He-shot-cyrus.blogspot.com

Bemis said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Definitely David Lynch (see #9)

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Nicolas Roeg. Performance to Bad Timing is as good a run as as any filmmaker's ever had, and I'd like to think he has another movie up to that level in him.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Eugene Pallette

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Dance Dance Revolution

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake, no contest.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In a theater, Indy 4, because it's freaking Indiana Jones. On DVD, I'm Not There, because some friends hadn't seen it (and it gets better every time I see it).

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Bruno S.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't seen either. I guess I need to catch up on blaxploitation.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

On the Air

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

I can't wait for the new Criterion DVD of Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac, but both are great.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

An "important" film comedy does what an "important" drama does - reveal an emotional truth - from a different angle. Waiting for Guffman is a perfect comedy because, in poking fun at the earnest, frequently awful community theatre experience, it underlines the absurdity of the pretensions and insecurities most of us share.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

As Max Cherry would say, as long as it starts soon and looks good, I'm all set.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Michelle Williams

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

"ffolkes"

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Not really, though. Rushmore.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Horror of Dracula

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I started blogging about movies because I suspected my single-mindedness was starting to tire my friends out. I was hoping to connect with a few like-minded people, and was pleasantly surprised to develop a small base of readers. I'm greatful for anyone who stops by Cinevistaramascope and leaves a comment, so I write now to keep the conversation going.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Carrie White's mom moaning and writhing in a state of religious/sexual ecstasy post-impalement.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Both are great, but only one was Quint.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

I saw a '70s porno once that featured Jesus receiving oral pleasure while walking across water.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Tony Scott's Barry Lyndon

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

My friend was watching the Academy Awards with his then-girlfriend when she observed, "Helen Mirren is really sexy for her age." To which he corrected, "Helen Mirren is sexy, period." That's how I feel about Charlotte Rampling.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

I'll give it a pass, but it was sort of a letdown.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Whenever anyone dismisses E.T. as creepy, sentimental or manipulative, I get irrationally protective.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Microcosmos

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Son of Flubber

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Wendy Hiller

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

My screenplay.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

My appreciation of Popeye deepened when I realized it's essentially McCabe and Mrs. Miller for kids.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

It's a Gift

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit at a drive-in in Maine while my family was on vacation. My dad fell asleep halfway through, so my mom decided to let him sleep and find her way back to our room. We were nearly at the Canadian border before she realized she must have made a wrong turn somewhere.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Victor Mature

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

I don't know where it's headed, but I do think the recent turbulence in the profession is the result of film criticism moving away from monologue and towards discussion. I know that my aforementioned small group of readers motivates me to examine my ideas with greater clarity and consideration than before. If anything's going to keep film criticism going, it's the need to resist experiencing art in a vacuum. Either way, I'll keep writing as long as people keep reading.

Moviezzz said...

I posted my ballot here.

pacheco said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Jeremy Piven. I was watching him ages ago on late-night Showtime flicks when he was just "that guy." Now he's freakin' Ari Gold.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Brett Ratner. He makes me laugh.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Hmm, let's go with Coburn.

4) Fill in the blank: "I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie."

American Idol

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake, hummina-hummina-hummina....

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater: Indy 4. Because I wanted to.... On DVD: Blade II. I think when I saw the trailer for Hellboy II, I gained interest in the Blade films, so my better half and I are going through them. Not sure when we'll get to Blade Trinity.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Clive Owen has a lot of credit and has become high-profile, but I still believe he deserves to be bigger. I think he needs to be huge. Great actor with a great face and a great voice.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy, Coffy, and more Coffy.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

No-brainer: The Wonder Years. Too many classic moments and too much good music (which, if I understand it correctly, is the very reason it hasn't been released).

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam because of his involvement with Suburban Commando.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

The 400 Blows, because I really didn't like it. Blue Velvet, because I hated it. Radio Flyer, because I'm trying to remember if the story is supposed to be realistic, or if it's all actually an "imaginary situation" that allows the kids to escape from the trauma of an abusive parent.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac. I enjoyed President's Men, but I'm a huge fan of what Fincher did with Zodiac's style and pacing.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Important comedies are usually: hilarious, influential, witty, creative. All the "typical" stuff, right?

I'm going to have to resort to my old stand-by and say Annie Hall, to me, is the "most important film comedy." Woody Allen makes so many films, so by default there are flaws in all of them. Yet for my money, Annie Hall is somehow pitch-perfect. Woody is at his best. His zingers are sharp. The natural improv-style of acting doesn't feel like people are trying to remember their lines. It just works, and it works so well. It's important because not only is it unbelievably funny, but the storytelling is so personal, creative, and...

Look, it just works, okay?

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Movies can be fun with the right audience, but I'll take an empty theater over a full one any day of the week. In college, my girlfriend and I would often go to movies on Tuesday nights. Always empty, and it was just the right atmosphere. Everyone else is busy, but we managed to escape to experience a movie along with some Taco Bell that we snuck in.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Michelle Williams. I'm a Dawson's Creek guy, through and through.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

I Know Who Killed Me. If it had been slightly different, it could have possibly been a brilliant title, but as is, it just sounds really dumb. I often make fun of it by calling it I Think I Know Who Killed Me.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

The Substitute, or any of its sequels.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Dracula.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

If we're being honest here, a lot of times I blog to impress people. I want people to enjoy my reviews and tell me so. I mean, I love cinema and I love pursuing it. I have ideas or observations that are unique and that I want to share. I love reading other blogs and being provoked to thought. I want to do that for other people. But I don't see myself as being "philanthropic" in that sense, I think it's a lot more selfish. I want to spark conversation and thought, but not necessarily "for the betterment of mankind." In all honesty.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Rob Zombie's Halloween had a ton of really bad flaws, but I think they got the death scene of Michael spot-on.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards. Great voice.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

The Cat in the Hat.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Michael Bay remakes Magnolia.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Rampling, because of her involvement with Stardust Memories.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Nah.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Boogie Nights or Dancer in the Dark. No one touches them unless I say so.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Winged Migration, because I hate insects.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Tough one. The final game in Rudy is an absolute classic and a tearjerker for any real man. Yet, in Zoolander, at the coal miner's bar, they watch a football game on the TV, and you can hear the announcer say, "Pacheco, back to pass...." I always love hearing my name.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I think The Girl Next Door is a great movie.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

There Will Be Blood is enriched by 2001: A Space Odyssey. Think about it (or check out my blog in a few days).

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Horsefeathers.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Sadly, n/a.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power for his Zorro.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed? Film criticism means insight. Not rehashing the plot, not a couple of sentences on whether or not you liked the movie. Insight. Insight can be funny, can be puzzling, can be satirical, can be whatever. But to me, film criticism cannot exist without insight.

I'm not sure if its headed anywhere at the moment. Things are starting to slow down. I think 2 things need to happen. First, people need to realize the differences in media. TV film criticism is not Print film criticism is not Web film criticism. Stop trying to copy each other and stop comparing yourselves to each other. I used to think that people who complained that online film criticism resembled print too much were a bunch of schmucks, but now I'm starting to side with them. And don't worry, I'm looking in the mirror, too.

Peter Nellhaus said...

Aaarrrrgghh!!! Pacheco beat me to it. (Coffy, Coffy and more Coffy) My fault for being so slow.

Tilly Gokbudak said...

My own blog "Politics Culture and Other Wastes of Time" can be found at:

http://journals.aol.com/tango74/PoliticsCultureandotherwastesoft/

Here are my answers to th e'quiz.'

1. Alec Baldwin

2. Roman Polanski

3. Coburn

4. Ms. Pac Man

5. Lake

6. "Flawless" (movies). "My Brother's Wedding" by Charles Burnett (dvd)

7. Sibel Kekili

8. Foxy

9. "The New Odd Couple?!"

10. Elam

11. Too many to list

12. All the President's Men

13. Annie Hall

14. Drve-ins or old movie theatres

15. Williams

16. Zardoz

17. Rock and Roll High School (and, I happen to be a teacher)

18. Dracula

19. Blogging feels like work, but there is no boss!

20. PJ Soles' death in the original "Halloween."

21. Robards

22. "Cannibal Holocaust"

23. Red River

24. Gus Van Sant remaking "Porky's"

25. Rampling

26. yes

27. The Turkish "Distant" and "The 40-Year Old Virgin."

28. Winged Migration

29. football game in "Horse Feathers"

30. Kerr

31. I was I got to see "Lars and the Real Girl" even though my date wanted to see "Saw IV" (start times)

32. "Day for Night" and "My Favorite Year"

33. "Horse Feathers" again

34. Saw "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" at the Star-Lite in Christiansburg, Va., and the speakers wouldn't work!

35. Mature

36. I only read them if they are written by Amy Taubin, Nathan Lee, Bilge Ebiri or Moviezzz. Every local film critic seems to be in Minneapolis, that can't be in a good thing.

Anthony said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer went from a campy one joke mess,to a dark, eroticized and emotionally fine tuned reencapsulation of the gothic.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

kenneth anger, who i think doesnt make films because of capital, rather then anything else (ie if someone gave him a couple hundred grand, we would see a masterpeice)

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
Eugene Pallete, for the Bride Came C.O.D.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Gravity's Rainbow.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake (because of the mystery, and that she turned hair into acting)

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Sarah Marshall (because I think Apatow is a master of heart breaking social manners more then gross out comedies, and jason segal is a masterful actor on How I Met Yr Mother) Shoot Em Up, because i have devoleped a taste for the old ultra violence (90 minutes of anarchic mayhem, fantastic trash)

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Dan Futterman.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy, with its economic analysis of junk, its luridness, and its melodrama, should have been taxi driver

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
Daria

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
no answer

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
southland tales, after i have read the comic, because i am not sure if its a mess or genius, a bunch of the narrative warhol films, looking at narrative, some late nicholas ray

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
zodiac.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
a) social realvence
b) acting that modulates moods
c) tight writing not related on gags
d) a certain anayltical spirit
e) of its time but not beholden to it
f) talky, with a nice splash of physicality.
Knocked Up

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Michelle Williams, for her realizing broke back was really a womens weepie, and making all of the domestic,the child rearing, the conjugal bed, tragic and isolated. she also showed a sort of californian, wholesome eroticism in both if these walls could talk and but i'm a cheerleader, which was much smarter then the material will allow.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
Traffic.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
If..., because there is something violent and invasive about knowledge, and also something absurdly freeing--to learn is to engage in a political and social act.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Horror of Dracula

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
as a way to keep my thoughts straight, for other people's thinking process.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
Marat/Sade

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
I want to fuck Jason Robards more.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
Lucifer Rising (because to be a Satanist is to reject the standard views of G-d, and because of its conflation of thantos/eros as opposed to the xian one)

23) Rio Bravo or Red River
Red River

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Peter Jackson remaking Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
Rampling's recent work with Orzon, out Denueve's Denuve.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?
yes/

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
School Ties


28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
Winged Migration

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
anything directed by Ken Loach.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Kerr

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
Esther Williams movies enterain me

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
Seeing History Boys, after the sublimated homoeroticism, and class discussions that suround american movies about boarding schools, and making it explicit, and almost being a defense of pedasrty, made me really consider what is unspoken of but believed deeply. i am esp. thinking of the sucide in dead poets society, where charisma is fatal, and school ties, where homosocial polite anti semitism becomes a discussion of both class and sexual ehtics, the class explicit but the sexual ethics much less so.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
Horsefeathers

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
midnight,being driven in a thunder bird, in the interior of bc, chuck berry blasting on the stero, and a series of switchbacks/ hair pins, that go up this mountain, at the top, the blue flickr against black sky, some drive in i had never heard of--never went in, never saw a movie,but it was pretty

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power
tyrone power

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed
it needs to be more conversational, more willing to point out things that had

Walter Biggins said...

Dennis, thanks for (yet another) marvelous film quiz. My responses are here.

Middento said...

Oooh, ooh -- I'm a new reader, so I'll take a stab at this.

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Lucille Ball.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Both Atom Egoyan and Lucretia Martel. But wait, they're both back at Cannes! *dances jig*

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
Charles Coburn, primarily because The More the Merrier> is one of my favorite movies ever.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Easy: The Match Game.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Greer. Out of the Past, man. Very cool.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater: I've been busy so, alas it's No Country for Old Men. I showed Alfonso Cuarón's A Little Princess on DVD in class on Wednesday.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Paul Rudd. Is he a star yet? Hm. Then again, I like the status he has now just fine.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Is Foxy Brown the one with razor blades in the weave?

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

A Different World, where I'm still waiting for the Lena Horne episode to come out on any format.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

I admit I have no idea what you're talking about. I like Edam cheese, though.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

I haven't seen Picnic at Hanging Rock in a while.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

I really enjoyed Zodiac, which was appropriately stylish.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

The most important film comedy of the last 35 years is, without a doubt, Airplane! which (thankfully) made playing straight completely funny and stopped incessant winking by comics who should have known better.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Oddly enough, my last posting on my own blog described an ideal moment.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

I've never been a fan of Eva, so I go for Michelle.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Also the longest, and for a horrid film: Who is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Given the way I disparaged All the President's Men above, you might be surprised that I'll go for a different Zaillian film, Searching for Bobby Fischer

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

The 1931 film, although the 1931 one has an accent on the first "a." (You did mean the Spanish language one, didn't you?)

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Oh gosh. Originally, I started blogging so that my family in South America could keep up with my son's life. Then I started writing about other things as well. Now, it's both an outlet and a public journal. In a bizarro world, it might be Stuart Hall's A Hard Road to Renewal, but with pictures and without criticism of Thatcherite England.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Paul Reubens in Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("Oooh! Aaah! Oooh ooh!")

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards. Why not?

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Hmm. I'm not sure. I bet half the Biblical epics of the 1960s would be relatively blasphemous.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

I am such a huge fan of Red River.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Jeez, I'm frightened enough by what you've written that I'm scared to top it. But how about All About My Mother as directed by Michael Bay with Sarah Jessica Parker in the role of Manuela?

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Mmmmm, Charlotte Rampling....

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

That movie disturbed me as a college student, but I say yes.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Atom Egoyan's Speaking Parts, which is also how I really got into movies.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Microcosmos, though both are fun.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Bend It Like Beckahm. (Oh wait, you meant the other football?)

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Kerr, I think.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I learned that, if you really want to get brownie points, one should always hug after sex from When Harry Met Sally....

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Since we;ve already mentioned Red River, how about how the character Cherry Valance speaks to the place of Diane Lane's character of the same name in The Outsiders?

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Horsefeathers.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Sacrilege: I have never seen a movie at a drive-in. And with gas prices what they are and the nearest drive-in an hour away, I might not get to for a while.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Victor Mature.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Ooh wow. I need a book for that. I think it's a good starting place for conversation, so let's hope the conversation still continues.

Patrick said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

I think I'll go with Carroll O'Connor. He was in some pretty decent movie fare (Point Blank, Kelly's Heroes), but it wasn't until he became Archie Bunker that his talents were truly allowed to flower.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Jonathan Demme. Sure, he’s still making movies, but it looks as though he’s left his incredible ‘80s streak behind forever.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

N/A

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

The Catcher in the Rye.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake, for her Oscar winning work in L.A. Confidential.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater: Iron Man. I wanted to take my nephew to see something that I myself wanted to see. Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Bridges made sure neither of us was disappointed.

DVD: Once Upon a Time in the West. My father likes westerns, and he likes Leone, but he'd somehow never seen this before. That opening ten minutes never gets old. And I'll take any excuse I can to watch Claudia Cardinale at her most beautiful.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Sam Rockwell. He's got the talent, he's played lead and supporting roles with equal panache, and it'd be fun to see him work his way up the ranks.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Well you know you're a cute little heartbreaker...

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Ally McBeal - at least in the US, and at least the first two seasons. Confounded music rights!

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Just saw Once Upon a Time in the West, so I have to go with Jack.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

I like to check in on Thirteen Days every now and again, for an affirmation of the ability of goodness to win out.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

All the President's Men. It's got such a happy ending.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Comedy is the art of being surprised by the familiar. An important film comedy awakens a sense of discovery in audiences, giving them characters and scenes they can recognize and/or relate to, and giving them in a way they've never seen before. And other studios trample themselves to make similar movies in its wake.

With that in mind, I would say that Airplane! is the most influential comedy of the last 35 years. Throwing random gags one after another, using known dramatic actors who play their parts absolutely straight, making a blueprint that vastly inferior movies still use to this day - surely there can't be a more important comedy. (Aw, you know the rest.)

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Soft chair, low lights, wide screen, perfect focus, and an innocent, respectful, and enthusiastic audience.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Michelle/Ma belle/These are words that go together well/My Michelle.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

It Could Happen To You, which replaced the original title Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Tip and instantly turned the movie into a generic piece of tripe.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

The one that I can’t better is The Karate Kid. Ralph Macchio’s face when he realizes how much more there is to “Wax on, wax off” that he thought is a great moment of discovery.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Bela, Bela.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I had a blog called MeTube, where I'd post my favorite YouTube clip of the day. I had to quit when I moved to a place that didn't have high-speed Internet. It was a lot of fun for me to share (some would say "inflict") my tastes with the world, and have people known and unknown read my thoughts. Playground monitors are right - it's fun to share!

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Heath Ledger in Monster’s Ball. When he says, “Well, I’ve always loved you” one instant and is dead the next, it’s a double punch that hangs over the rest of the movie.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards, strictly for being so good for so much longer. Drat that pesky death thing...

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

How about The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover? To paraphrase David Letterman, you can watch it with a Bible in your lap and tick off the Ten Commandments as you see them being broken.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo. There's more of a sense of triumph, and the camaraderie between the four leads (I count Walter Brennan as a lead) can't be beat.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Steven Spielberg’s Clerks. Imagine the special effects he could use for the “salsa shark” scene. For that matter, imagine what a knowing wink the “salsa shark” scene would be.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

N/A

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

The first two words of the Japanese title are "Ai no." I think that's appropriate, don't you?

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Melvin Goes To Dinner. Fans of Mr. Show don’t know it exists; fans of Jack Black don’t know it exists; fans of My Dinner With Andre don’t know it exists. So it’s not their film. It’s mine. Bwahahahahaaaaa!

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Microcosmos, for the lesson of its intense sex scene. Snails know that it's important to slow it down.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

M*A*S*H's is a little too wacky. I'll go with the original Longest Yard, for its mix of humor and believable action.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Deborah. I don't care who dubbed her singing voice.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

The Incredible Hulk? Gay as a mirror ball wrapped in a feather boa.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Watch Apocalypse Now and Hearts of Darkness back to back. You’ll marvel at how that kind of art could be wrenched from that kind of chaos.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Wow. Much as I love the Bros. Marx, I have to go with It’s a Gift. The Mr. Muckle scene alone gives it the victory. The line “Vegetable gentleman?” is the coup de grace.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

N/A

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Did Tyrone Power allow his head to be used to show the Monkees as dandruff? I don’t think so.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Film criticism is a way to educate an audience about a film and why it needs to be seen in order to better understand yourself and the world around you. With the advent of website and blog reviews, there are now more educators than ever before. Strangely, I don’t think the number of listeners has increased proportionately. I also fear that the whole milk of criticism has become two percent and is fast headed toward skim. May the cream continue to rise and be consumed.

Weigard said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
Kathryn Harrold. She made several rather forgettable films in the 80s, but became a regular, and regularly wonderful, on TV, if usually only in small roles. “I’ll Fly Away” was one of my favorite shows in the early 90s, in part because of her role as the district attorney. She also had a great but small role in the short-lived “Mister Sterling” with Josh Brolin.

2) Living film director you most miss seeing on the cultural landscape regularly
Errol Morris. This man needs to work faster. Actually, I wouldn’t mind a new Christopher Guest movie every year either. Get busy, people!

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
So I wrote this long missive on how wonderful James Coburn was – and then I reread the question. Dang. No comment.

4) I pray that no one ever turns Barbie into a movie.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Can’t place Jane Greer, so Veronica by default!

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
Theater: Vantage Point. Because Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day hadn’t come to town yet.
DVD: Deliver Us from Evil. Had been wanting to see it, and finally discovered it at the local library. Incredibly creepy interviews with O’Grady – amazing to see how, even after all this, he just doesn’t get it.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star
One who’s hardly obscure, but lately seems to be in small roles rather than starring ones, is Julia Stiles.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
I see that the aforementioned “I’ll Fly Away” qualifies. : (

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Neville Brand was in “Barbary Coast”!

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
The Searchers. Too many people think it’s great – so my first impression was probably wrong. I also finally saw Breathless recently, and while I liked it, I was hardly blown away. Maybe need some input on what I’m missing before I see it again. : )

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
Still haven’t seen Zodiac. : ( Love All the President’s Men.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
An “important” film comedy is a funny movie that has some aspect serious enough or important enough that one can justify it being as good as a drama and not feel guilty. : ) Hmm, guess that means Life is Beautiful is the most important comedy lately.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
Old-time, single-screen theater with fancy décor you could see if the lights were on. Theater is empty, except for those lucky enough to have been invited to come with you.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Michelle “Hello Dolly” Williams

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine -- Vincent Price and Frankie Avalon together at last!

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
Are there any movies that don’t qualify for that? OK, I’ll limit myself to school larnin’ …
Tough choice, but I’d have to go with Educating Rita. Since we have a TV theme here too, I remember really enjoying the TV series of “The Paper Chase” (strangely, I have never seen the film!).

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Are you kidding? I barely made it through The Wizard of Oz, and I’m supposed to watch a vampire movie?

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
I don’t really blog, but I have a few movie blogs I read regularly, mainly because I hardly have time to go to movies any more, but I can spare 10 minutes at the computer, and it makes me remember why I love movies.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
You know, the first one that pops into mind is the Wicked Witch of the West mellllting. Guess that one’s been stored in my psyche for a while.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
This is cruel and unusual! I love them both. Well, if forced to choose, I’d probably say Robert Shaw – it seems like he elevates the quality of everything he’s in. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three would have been pretty plain without him and Walter Matthau (and probably will be soon – argh). Same with Force 10 from Navarone – well, actually it is pretty plain, except for his scenes. : )

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
Triumph of the Will?

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
Baz Luhrmann’s Casa+Blanca. Play it again, Elton!

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
Don’t think I’ve ever seen Bulle Ogier in anything – but that’s OK, Charlotte Rampling wins regardless!

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
Well, I guess the answer would be Koyaanisqatsi, but I mention this one all the time, so I ought to come up with a different example. Hmm …. Powaqqatsi?

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
It is tragic, but I am only familiar with the birds, not the bees.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
I’ve never even seen the whole movie, but I’d still have to say MASH.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Slight edge to Wendy Hiller.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
I love The Stupids.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
I think I’ve mentioned this before too, but it’s the best example I can come up with. After reading some of the things Jim Emerson had mentioned about Cutter’s Way, I watched it last fall. Great movie, but I couldn’t help feeling that I was watching the priomordial soup out of which The Big Lebowski was born. Amateur detectives, slackers perhaps, and I about lost it when one of the characters starts filling up a suitcase with underwear.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
My parents took me to a double feature of Tora! Tora! Tora! and The French Connection when I was about 7 or 8. I quickly lost interest in Tora! Tora! Tora! because the subtitles were white and the Japanese officers’ uniforms were white – how was I supposed to read those? I fell asleep and missed the French Connection, except for waking up for the big chase scene with the el.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power
Powers Boothe!

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?
Overly simplistic, I suppose – but it’s a way of communicating about movies we love, and wherever it’s headed, I’ll be following along.

Headquarters 10 said...

Dennis,

OK, so I'm a little late to the party, but I've posted my answers on HQ 10. I'd provide a link, but Blogger's not accepting my HTML for some reason.

Anne Thompson said...

I'm late but hey, I was in Cannes.

1) Best transition from movies to TV: James Garner in the Rockford Files.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly: Whatever happened to Lawrence Kasdan? Did he lose it? Or are we missing something wonderful?

3) Eugene Pallette: something about the combo of the bulk and the grating voice just makes me laugh.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns 'Lost' into a movie.” Imagine that!

5) Veronica Lake--a real bad girl, to her core.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? Sex and the City. Yesterday.

On DVD?
A screener of Tyson on my laptop at Cannes in order to talk to James Toback and beat the competition.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star.
David Tennant, the star of Dr. Who and Viva Blackpool, is intense, sexy, smart, lovable. He just needs the right breakthrough part.

8) Foxy Brown

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set: Project Runway.

10) Jack Elam, if only because of the opening sequence, co-starring with a fly, of the Sergio Leone film Once Upon a Time in the West.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason? The six-hour Soviet War and Peace. Bertolucci's 1900. Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal.

12) All the President’s Men would be worth checking out again.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy?
An important film comedy is one that shows us something about ourselves not only in a specific moment in time but forever. In other words, it lasts: It Happened One Night, His Girl Friday, The Lady Eve, Trouble in Paradise, Ninotchka, Some Like It Hot, The General, The Gold Rush, Modern Times, Sherlock, Jr., Tootsie, Annie Hall, Manhattan, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story...

And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
I'll hand it to Paddy Chayefsky's Network. How true it is!

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

With a lover or family member sitting next to you, warm arm at your side, utterly comfortable, with popcorn and a diet coke, happy, relaxed, on a weekend, lost in the dark.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
I'll go with the one I think is both more beautiful and more interesting as an actress: Michelle Williams.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time? Message from Space.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958). It's close but I'm sticking with the original: "I don't drink...wine."

19) Why do you blog? I like to share. I like attention. I'm good at it. And I get paid for it.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene: In Lawrence of Arabia, the kid getting sucked in by quicksand.

21) Robert Shaw: From Russia with Love and Jaws.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever: The Last Temptation of Christ. Has to be. Jesus has lust in his heart.

23) Red River--no contest, as fond as I am of Rio Bravo, I have to applaud the timeless Hawks movie, which also boasts a better performance from Wayne and a real battle between him and Montgomery Clift. The father-son drama is more dramatic and intense. Rio Bravo is more dated by its contemporary comedy.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake. Lasse Hallstrom could improve on The French Lieutenant's Woman.

25) Charlotte Rampling keeps on keeping on, sexy as ever.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— no

27) Name a movie you think of as your own: To Kill a Mockingbird--an accident of how old I was when I saw it, total identification with the girl and her younger brother and her noble single Dad, Atticus Finch.

28) Microcosmos--loved this at Cannes. kept harping on it with the distribs to pick it up.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie. Robert Aldrich made The Longest Yard hilarious.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr. This one is tough. I love them both. But Wendy Hiller gets the edge for Pygmalion and I Know Where I'm Going. I love her cheekbones.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies.

I took my little brother John, who was a sensitive soul, to see The Thief of Bagdad at the Thalia when he was very young. He crawled under the seat he was so scared. For years after that, when we were alone in elevators, I would torture him by pretending to be the giant spider.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film. Autumn Sonata, Stella Dallas, The Rapture and High Tide are three mother-daughter dramas that resonate with my own mother abandonment issues. When I saw Kieslowski's The Decalogue, "Thou Shalt Not Steal," I finally understood why my mother left me and my younger brother. She felt incompetent.

33) Horsefeathers: my father often took me and my brother to see the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields at The New Yorker. We never cared for Fields. We recognized how he felt about Baby LeRoy.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in. I have fond memories of attending the 1987 premiere of Alex Cox's Straight to Hell at the Pickwick Drive-In in Burbank, sitting in my pal Sam Kitt's vintage convertible. It was quite a scene.

35) Tyrone Power was more than a dark-lashed pretty boy. He could act better than Victor Mature.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? I grew up reading the greats: Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, Richard Corliss, Molly Haskell, Vincent Canby, Dave Kehr, David Ansen, David Edelstein, Stanley Kaufmann, David Chute, David Denby, John Powers, Jim Hoberman, Richard Jameson, David Thomson, Michael Wilmington, Joanthan Rosenbaum, Todd McCarthy, Roger Ebert, Stephen Schiff. They helped to define what movies are, they grew up as the medium did, and wrote and set the tone for cultural debate during the 70s and 80s when the cinema was most exciting. Those days will never come again.
Where do you think it’s headed? The truth is: our generation of moviegoers raised on newspapers and reading will not be replaced by more of same. We know that our children love movies and see them in theaters, on TV, on DVD, on laptops and mobile phones. They also learn about movies and discuss them in different ways, on Facebook, on Yahoo, on blogs. As the medium and the media evolve, so too film criticism, which will be more responsive and more narrow-focused to the individual. And it will be on video, too. --ANNE THOMPSON

Marc Raymond said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Alec Baldwin

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Abel Ferrara

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Halo


5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Greer, not even close


6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

theatre: GERMANY IN AUTUMN, for Fassbinder

DVD: WOMAN IS THE FUTURE OF MAN, to continue exploring the work of Hong Sang-soo


7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Amy Ryan


8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Foxy


9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

do any exist?


10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Elam


11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

PUPPETMASTER, because was too ignorant first time I saw it

ditto for ALPHAVILLE and many others


12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

All the President's Men


13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

THE KING OF COMEDY


14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

In a half full cinema; for analysis, my computer


15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Williams


16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

JACK


17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

ETRE ET AVOIR


18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

1931


19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

To be able to write critical essays and reviews that are no longer a part of academic publishing


20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Evelyn Mulwray, CHINATOWN



21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards, but it's close


22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

LIFE OF BRIAN


23) Rio Bravo or Red River

RIO BRAVO, easily


24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Godard's SCHINDLER'S LIST


25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Rampling


26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

very much yes


27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

MEAN STREETS


28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

haven't seen either


29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

LAST BOY SCOUT


30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Kerr


31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

never seen all of a Eric Rohmer film



32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

MEAN STREETS enriched by PERSONA


33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

HORSEFEATHERS


34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Watching the odd combo of WAYNE'S WORLD and PULP FICTION, oddly my two favorite films at the film


35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Mature


36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

Film criticism should help make you understand cinema better, either very specifically or more generally. Hopefully it's headed for greater and greater accessibility.

Paul C. said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Krzystzof Kieslowski. Regardless of what medium we’re talking, The Decalogue is one of the defining works of the twentieth century.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Elaine May, surely one of the prickliest and most original voices in American comedy. None of her films is easy to take, which probably explains why they’re not as popular as they really should be, but few directors have a more acerbic sensibility when it comes to portraying relationships onscreen, be they marriage or platonic friendship. May’s ramshackle style works perfectly in her seventies work- you can see the boom in several shots of Mikey and Nicky, fer chrissakes- but didn’t mesh nearly so well with the larger scope of Ishtar. But really, Hollywood bigwigs, it’s been twenty years. I don’t care how difficult May is or how big a flop Ishtar supposedly was, the world is better off with more May films than without them.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Coburn was a serious talent, capable of a wide variety of roles, but just seeing Pallette (or especially hearing that croak of a voice) is enough to guarantee that “tonight, I’ll merry, merry be.” So Pallette by a nose. Sorry, Piggy.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Spamalot, the musical version of Young Frankenstein, or any other Broadway shows based on classic films. It’s bad enough the Broadway draws on old movies to bring in the tourist crowd, but turning them back into movies again is just bizarre. Honestly, how many times will do they think they can get lucky like they did with Hairspray?

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Haven’t seen much of Greer, so Lake by default, even if she is on the take.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Last movie in the theatre was Olivier Assayas’ Boarding Gate, which was pretty darn disappointing, like Assayas was trying to make a B-movie thriller but just didn’t have the knack for it. So much of Assayas’ work has a live-wire feel to it, so you’d think that might make for a nervy thriller, but mostly this is just boring, little more than shady dealings on an international scale, with little reason to care about what’s happening. I guess it’s gotten to the point where the image of Asia Argento in her underwear is no longer enough to make a movie worth seeing.

Last seen on DVD was The Way We Were, for a Screengrab piece, a combination Yesterday’s Hits and Sydney Pollack tribute. It held up surprisingly well, especially Streisand’s performance. I don’t think she gets the credit she deserves as a dramatic actress because of her musical and comedy work, but she’s damn good here, and even if Redford can’t quite keep up with her, they’ve got some serious chemistry. Definitely better than I’d remembered.

Finally, the last movie I watched just for the hell of it was National Treasure: Book of Secrets, with my girlfriend and her son. I wasn’t a big fan, but I enjoyed it somewhat more than the first mostly because it lets itself be goofier, which you kind of need for a movie like this. Half the fun was watching the kid (he’s 7), and how viscerally he reacted to it, especially once they ventured into the cave near the end of the movie. I miss being able to do that, and long for the occasional movie that can give me that feeling again.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

I remember a few years ago when I watched The Prestige for the first time, I found myself really enjoying the performance by the actress playing Hugh Jackman’s wife at the beginning of the film. I recognized the face, but it took me a while to place who it was. Finally, it came to me- Piper Perabo, who I don’t think I’d seen in a movie since her awesome turn in Lost and Delirious. Had it really been five years? And after her character exits the film, I began to miss her, wishing maybe she’d been cast in Scarlett Johansson’s role instead. Anyway, seeing her again onscreen made me think about her career, which never quite panned out as it should have. I considered the films she’s made- Prestige and Lost aside, a long string of forgettable roles in subpar movies. Gorgeous, talented, and charismatic, with a natural and engaging screen presence, she deserves much better than she’s gotten so far. Perhaps her name is a problem? Doesn’t seem to be an issue for Shia LaBeouf.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Honestly, it’s been too long since I’ve seen either one for me to distinguish between them in my mind. Which one has more Grier nudity? That one.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Maybe I’ve still got Harvey Korman on the brain, but I’m really craving a full-on Carol Burnett Show box set.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Finally, an easy one- Elam. He wins for the opening of Once Upon a Time in the West alone, to say nothing of the rest of his career. Nothing against Neville, but he’s no Jack Elam, that’s for sure.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Foxy Brown and/or Coffy, I guess.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Zodiac. The Watergate case probably had more obvious far-reaching effects than the Zodiac murders, but we’re not talking about real life, but rather its cinematic reflection. And in that respect, Fincher’s movie wins hands down. All the President’s Men is a fine film, but it’s a fairly straightforward story of men whose intelligence and dogged perseverance gets them what they want. Zodiac isn’t so simple. Graysmith, Toschi, Avery, and the others work just as hard on their case as Woodward and Bernstein, but real life gets in the way of them tracking down the killer. Their best simply isn’t good enough, for many small reasons and a few big ones as well. It’s a more haunting variation on the theme, and a more mature one as well.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

Personally, I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the idea of “important” movies, regardless of genre. So I guess I’d define an important film comedy as one that ages well and has exerted a wide influence. In that respect, I would nominate Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Has it aged well? Hell yes. But more than that, the ramshackle aesthetic of Holy Grail has become more and more pervasive in the genre in the ensuing years. After the bloated sixties comedy spectaculars, the Python boys proved once again that big budgets almost always serve to get in the way of big laughs, and that lean and mean was the way to go. Likewise, the sketch-comedy storytelling (cribbed, of course, from the series) pointed the way toward the comedy-over-coherence narratives of many of the subsequent decades’ most memorable laffers. Finally, let’s not underestimate the Dork Factor. To look at much of the best comedy of the eighties and nineties- Airplane!, This Is Spinal Tap, The Big Lebowski, even The Simpsons- is to realize that comedy has gotten pretty darn dorky lately. As much as any movie of its time, Holy Grail helped to get the ball rolling in this direction. To quote Holy Grail is to basically mark yourself as a dork, and it’s a testament to how enduring (and yes, “important”) the film is that there’s no longer anything wrong with that.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

My sentimental side requires me to say next to my girlfriend and, depending on the movie, her son. Good thing, then, that this is obviously the right answer. Otherwise, I’m not picky, although I am partial to sitting up close to the screen whenever possible.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Talent-wise, Williams. But for crush-worthiness, it’s Mendes all the way. Call it a draw.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. Who signed off on that crap?

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s The Son. All the better because its teaching is done almost entirely by example rather than through lessons. Olivier lives his life in a way that encourages his students to follow his lead, which already makes him a better teacher than those who only talk the talk, no matter how good their talk might be.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Stylish and sexy, the 1931 Spanish-language version of Dracula beats both of these in my opinion. As far as Dracs go, Carlos Villarias is no Christopher Lee, but he’s less hammy than Lugosi. Also, Lupita Tovar has it all over her Anglo-Saxon counterparts.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I’ll repeat what I wrote on Girish’s post: “Back in my college days, all of my friends knew me as "the movie guy." They knew I spent much of my free time (and too much of my alleged study time) watching movies, and that I'd have a thought on just about every movie they could throw at me. Admittedly, they threw mostly blockbusters and new releases at me, but what are you gonna do.

As the years went by, I saw less and less of my friends, but I sometimes got e-Mails from them asking about movies that had just gotten released. After a while, rather than waiting on their requests, I started writing short reviews and e-Mailing them. This turned into a Web site, and this eventually led to my current blogs.

The big difference for me now is that the friends I write for have changed. Rather than being people who know me from real life, my blog-friends are almost entirely comprised of people I haven't met. Rather than being thrown together by circumstance and proximity, it's our shared love of film that unites us and makes us a community. The nature of the friendship is different, but we're friends all the same.

So why do I blog? Because it's there. And thank goodness for that.”

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Most memorable- John Cassavetes in The Fury. Kaboom! Sorry, haters.

Most disturbing- the entirety of The Passion of the Christ. Whether this is a good thing I’m still trying to decide.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards had some really shining moments in his career- Once Upon a Time in America, Melvin and Howard, Cable Hogue, his O’Neill work- but few actors were so consistently enjoyable to watch onscreen as Robert Shaw. Great as Robards was, let’s see him pull off the Indianapolis monologue.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

The more I see 2001: A Space Odyssey, the more I think it’s a movie that imagines God as an alien intelligence so superior to ours that we can’t tell the difference. So I guess that’ll work.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Love ‘em both, but Red River doesn’t have anything that gets to me quite like Dean Martin’s character arc in Rio Bravo.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

How about Shawn Levy reteaming with his Pink Panther star Steve Martin for a new version of Play Time? From Clouseau to Hulot, one funny trenchcoated Frenchman to another. Just imagine what kind of wacky adventures Hulot will get himself into in today’s modern city, with its silent-slamming doors and farting seat cushions? And who could resist his antics as he turns a party in a chic new restaurant into a shambles? Fun for the entire family. It ought to be- look at that title! Shawn Levy’s Play Time, also starring Beyoncé as Barbara and with a special appearance by John Cleese as the snooty maitre d’. Coming Christmas ’09.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Ogier was a doll when she was younger, but Rampling has aged much, much better. Also, Rampling didn’t attempt to follow in Deneuve’s iconic role as Severine, so Rampling wins hands down with me.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Yes, albeit a yes combined with a wince of sympathetic pain. It’s a great film all right, but I’d have to be sort of in the mood (not “in the mood,” smartass) to watch it again.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

8 Women. Almost nobody seems to love it like I do. I don’t really care anymore.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Impressive aerial photography in Winged Migration, but as any little boy can tell you, bugs beat birds every time.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Horsefeathers, with an honorable mention to MASH.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

I’m only really familiar with Hiller through her Powell/Pressburger movies, so Kerr by default.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I guess this isn’t very dirty, but here goes- in the past twenty years, the only times I’ve cried have been while watching movies.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

All I can think of now is that scene in Band of Outsiders where Anna Karina walks into the poolroom and they’re playing the big love theme from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Knowing the Demy film, it’s clear that the song has no place in that context- the two movies could hardly be further apart and still be speaking the same language- yet there it is. In Umbrellas, the song is almost unbearably sad, certainly enough to bring tears to my eyes as it swells during the climactic scene and we reflect on what the characters have lost, and gained, during the film. But out of context, all that significance is lost and it’s just a popular song, to be listened to and tune out like any other. Movies are nothing but commodities, Godard is saying, to be taken apart and picked over willy-nilly. Yet I also can’t help but reflect on the difference between the standalone song and the way it works in Umbrellas, which in turn makes me think of the importance of all the elements of a film to its ultimate effect. In the end, a movie is much more than the sum of its component parts- take one on its own and it’s just not the same. This may not even be the idea Godard is going for here, but that’s the idea I take away, and that’s enough for me.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

In spite of #29, gotta go with Fields on this one. “Crackers, good old crackers.”

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

One time I saw a movie at a drive-in. It was pretty awesome. Sorry my story wasn’t better, but they closed all the drive-ins near where I lived before I could derive the full experience from them.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

We all want Power, but being Mature does us all more good in the long run. As for the actors, I guess I’d have to research some more.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

The more film criticism I read, the more I value insight over opinion. It’s one thing to say why you like something, but it takes a deeper appreciation for film in general to be able to pull ideas from movies, especially ones that don’t wear those ideas on their sleeve. And this only really comes from experience and the guidance of others who’ve come before you. The more you open yourself up to ideas that may be eccentric at first glance, the more confident you can be in your own, provided you’re able to back them up. I think that the proliferation of Internet criticism can only help this, because rather than continuing the old-guard notion of criticism as a monologue, it instead promotes a great exchange of ideas. The critic no longer resides in his ivory tower, but instead uses his work to open a dialogue with his readers. Ultimately, I think this will be a good thing, especially once Web criticism can shake off the stigma of being the smelly stepcousin of the printed variety and achieve the equal status that the best online criticism (this blog included) already deserves.

Peter Nellhaus said...

Damn. It took me long enough to remember that what links Robards with Shaw is STELLA!

aaron said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Barbara Stanwyck, on “The Big Valley”

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Walter Hill’s too good for just the small screen

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Ooh, tough one, as they’re both welcome supporting faces. Still, if it has to be one over the other: Charles Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Nobody crucify me, but I’ve had enough of hearing about “Lost”, and if “Sex and the City” is any indication, I’d not want to hear that amplified via a feature-film follow-up.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Lake by a landslide. Her publicity stills still drip more sex appeal and presence than any star since.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In theater: THE STRANGERS, two evenings ago. The marketing campaign (with that great one-sheet -- http://bp3.blogger.com/_yAjx66b43T8/SENzDcexncI/AAAAAAAAATk/Uhbtl07luKk/s1600-h/strangers.jpg -- hooked me in, I must admit.

On DVD: PIRATES OF BLOOD ISLAND (John Gilling, 1962) -- http://awcgfilmlog.blogspot.com/2008/06/pirates-hammer-style.html -- as a palate cleanser for THE STRANGERS, and for the simple reason that I wanted to see a Hammer-mounted pirate action film. It didn’t disappoint.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

For dramas, Danny Huston.

For comedies, comedian Patton Oswalt.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

I have signed one-sheets for both, but I’m of the same mindset as Jack Hill when he claims that Pam Grier films progressively got worse as she got more glamorous. So, COFFY.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

My girlfriend and I were discussing last night about how “Maverick” STILL does not have a complete Season box set. There’s really no excuse!

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Neville Brand, for EATEN ALIVE, THAT DARN CAT!, and THE NINTH CONFIGURATION, and countless others (and for not appearing on “Home Improvement”, as Elam did).

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Dennis, you’re going to love this, but the majority of Robert Altman’s oeuvre. I have them all here, but keep putting it off.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

ZODIAC, but I really haven’t seen ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN in years and can’t definitely answer the question. I’m remembering that I thought it quite stodgy during my sole viewing.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

THE BIG LEBOWSKI or, maybe, PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

No lights, a bowl of popcorn, just-as-interested viewing companions.

And just about every characteristic of the drive-in.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

On sex appeal alone, Eva Mendes (and I find her genuinely funny and adept in STUCK ON YOU – which very well could have been an answer to number thirteen, now that I think about it!)

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Not to sound all Jeffrey Wells, but VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA sure is a mouthful.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Why, MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS, of course! Kidding. I’ve always had a soft-spot for one of my father’s favourites, TO SIR WITH LOVE.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

HORROR OF DRACULA. Even though Universal’s branding division would like everyone to think Lugosi, it’s Lee who has come to represent the definitive film appearance of the Count.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

Briefly put, to make sense of the film culture at large for myself, and to interact with other like-minded, conscientious viewers or intelligent dissenters of film.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Qelcp4w2No8

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw, for Red Grant and Quint.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

RIO BRAVO, for the sheer fact that it should be downright criminal to be so damned enjoyable

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Dario Argento’s THE WILD BUNCH

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Rampling, although I haven’t seen Ogier in much

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Haven’t seen it; pass.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but MODERN ROMANCE

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

It’ll have to be WINGED MIGRATION, as I haven’t seen MICROCOSMOS (though its subject matter interests me more).

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

M*A*S*H!

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Kerr, for having the guts to get down and dirty in THE GYPSY MOTHS

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I’m really drawing a blank – missing high school the next day in order to catch the late show?

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

To take an obvious example, De Palma’s OBSESSION with the knowledge of VERTIGO

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

HORSEFEATHERS

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Not a story per se, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world who can cop to seeing COP AND A HALF five times at a drive-in (it ended up being the second feature time and time).

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Power

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

If the plethora of comments are any indication, then Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule is the answer to where it’s going!

lucas mcnelly said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Jeremy Piven. Able to transform himself from a guy who played John Cusack's best friend and sometimes stole scenes, to a guy who could steal and entire show.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

I already miss Sydney Pollack...and yes, he's no longer living, but he was when you posted the quiz, so that's my answer...There's a part of me that has such a great affinity for his acting over his directing. He commanded the screen so well. And that cell phone ad of his that plays in cinemas was awesome. That might be how I always remember him.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

At first I thought it was James Coburn, and now that I realize it isn't, I'm kind of sad.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

My deep, dark secrets? My sex life? Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably do that myself.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

My girlfriend wants me to go see the "Sex in the City" movie today. I kind of liked the show, and I have this suspicion that the film is going to suck. As in, it's going to be totally dumbed down for the Oprah crowd. I saw Austin Powers last on DVD. Don't judge me, I was hungover.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

By star, do we mean $20M a film star, or just famous? Because if it's the former, then I nominate Edward Norton. If the latter, then...um...Gael Garcia Bernal. Is he already famous?

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

I never, ever pick against someone named Foxy. Then again, there's the one name thing. How to choose? Damn you, Dennis!

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

I'm pretty sure "The Red Green Show" doesn't have a box set. Although, it does have individual DVDs. So...um...shit...I may not be old enough to answer this question.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Lately I've been thinking I should re-watch "Breathless", or maybe "The Best of Youth", and if Rachel Shaw would ever give me my damned DVD back, I'd watch "The Double Life of Veronique"

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Seriously? Zodiac is good, but is it that good?

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

An "important" film comedy is one that expands the way we perceive humor, one that challenges the comedic formula. And under that criteria, the most important film comedy of the last 10 years is most definitely "Borat", or maybe the collected work of Charlie Kaufman . If you stretch back 35 years, it very well could be "Annie Hall" (plus Woody Allen's other early work), which added the intellectual to the romantic comedy and changed the idea that all leading men had to look like Cary Grant.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

An empty theatre, a comfortable seat, a skilled projectionist, a bottle of wine, and someone you love.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

I don't get the appeal of Eva Mendes at all. At least, not as an actress.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

[Insert name of locally-produced zombie film here]

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

This is as good an opportunity as any to look up that 80's movie "South Park" was making fun of recently...there it is, "Stand and Deliver". Of course, that wasn't very good. Neither was "Dangerous Minds", or "Sister Act", for that matter. I'm sorry, what was the question again?

Really, though, on some level aren't all films about learning?

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Dracula

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I blog (when I actually get around to it) because it makes me think more deeply about film and that, in turn, makes me a better filmmaker, as it teaches me how to do that with my own work. As for reading blogs, it's partly out of interest in the subject matter and partly because I've gained so many people I consider friends in the film blog world, and I'd like to see what they're up to.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

**spoiler** In "The Best of Youth", there's a mentally troubled character who, after spurning his family on New Year's Eve, opens the balcony to his apartment, and in one motion, vaults over the edge while fireworks go off in the distance. It's horrible because you can see it happen a second before it does and you know that if you were there, you could stop it.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards, for sure.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

"Fever Pitch", the American version, is a rare adaptation thats blasphemous to 1) The original book, which is completely perverted by the script that changes the dynamic from how to fit a girl into a love affair with a team to how to fit a team into a love affair with a girl. And all those extra scenes of Drew Barrymore with her friends....ugh. 2) Arsenal football, the original team, and 3) The Boston Red Sox, the new team, which gets a half-hearted look at the obsession of it's fans and the injustice of Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore celebrating on the field during a World Championship few thought they'd see in their lifetimes. On the fucking field. Oh, it makes me so mad.

And don't even get me started on how badly the damn thing is made....grrr....

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Rio Bravo

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Michael Bay directs George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Jack Black, and Amy Adams in the big-budget remake of "A Thin Red Line".

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling, even though the films she does with Ozon all seem to fall apart at the end. You can hardly blame her for that.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

i haven't seen it.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

When I was younger, my father would always rent "Hoosiers" for my brother and I when we were sick. Whenever I see it, invariably I remember laying on the couch, eating soup.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Winged Migration, by default.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

All I can think of is that football games never work as well on film as baseball games do. I wonder why that is? Is it something about the pace, about the rhythm of the games?

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Kerr, I guess.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

Dirtiest? I don't really have any dirty secrets. I wish I did.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

The "Before Sunrise/Sunset" is an obvious choice here. But maybe a better choice is Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy. Each of the films is pretty fantastic on their own, but are so much more interesting when viewed in the context of the other two, especially when you get to the end of "Red".

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

It's a Gift

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

The only movie I've ever seen at a drive-in is the first Pirates of the Caribbean. I remember being utterly bored and at least 3 times being so sure the thing was about to end, I started collecting my things.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

What it means to me is that ability to find and avoid films based on a consensus of voices I trust, of being able to scan Metacritic and see what films are worth seeing and what are not. Also, the ability only a critic has to dig deeper into a film, into themes and motifs and all that juicy goodness.

What scares me is that as more and more film criticism moves from the newspaper to the internet, it gets harder and harder to know what voices you can trust and what voices are full of shit. At the same time, there are now more voices than ever that I trust. So...I guess I'm torn. Cautiously optimistic, you might say.

Brian said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

My favorite television adaptations of movies are Simpsons parodies like "the Shinning" and "Cape Feare".

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

I notice someone else said my first answer: Elaine May, so I'll add Blake Edwards.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Pallette, especially after seeing him do a good job as a very young actor in Griffith's Intolerance.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

their blog

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Both were fine as noir dames, but only Lake got to be the tagline for a Preston Sturges film, so she wins.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In a theatre: Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? because it was playing in a beautiful 16mm print as the second half of a double-bill also featuring a personal favorite film maudit the Last Movie. A truly bizarre night at the cinema. How can I pass that up?

On DVD: Ozu's Passing Fancy because I love Ozu and it's the last of his four silents available on R1 DVD I hadn't seen before. In fact, it's the last of the four Japanese silents available on R1 DVD I hadn't seen before!

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

I'm not sure I'd wish that on anybody in this day and age, especially considering I'm currently reading Chris Farley's recent biography put together by Tom Farley, Jr and Tanner Colby.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Blind spots, sadly.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Kevin Browlow & David Gill's Hollywood

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

I can't remember Kansas City Confidential well enough to remember who was better in that particular film, but from what I've seen of their careers overall, I'd have to go with Elam.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

The Far Country and Bend of the River top the list because I've never seen them on the big screen and they're scheduled to play the Stanford Theatre next week. Though since they're Universal titles I'm going to call the theatre ahead of time to make sure the prints booked weren't destroyed in the fire.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

I'm that guy who still hasn't seen Zodiac despite all the raves and the local angle.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

To me, an "important" film comedy would be both tremendously influential and tremendously hilarious. The only possible answer for me is This is Spinal Tap

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Single-screen theatre. 35mm projection (or 70mm if available). Brand new print. Relatively full house (but enough room to have an empty seat next to me if I want it) with friends and strangers in the audience.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Both gorgeous, but haven't seen enough of either filmography to play favorites.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

The worst movie titles are the hopelessly bland ones that tell you next-to-nothing about the film, like Rendition or Fracture (no wonder New Line went bust!), and by definition they're so interchangeable that there cannot be a single winner of the "worst title" crown.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Again, Paul C. scooped my original answer of the Son, so I'm going to throw a shout-out to Aparajito.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

It's embarrassing to admit it but I'm so woefully unversed in Hammer horror that I haven't even started in on their Dracula films. Call me Brian Oblivious.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

thanks for the reminder!

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Gotta be the death of Brundlefly on both counts.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards was lucky to live a lot longer; if he'd died at Shaw's age we would have been deprived of the performances that, for me, put him at a level of appreciation above that of Shaw.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?. On so many #$+!-ing levels.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

Different answers on different days. I'm jealous of New Yorkers right now getting to see late Hawks films on the big screen. I think I'm a smidge more jealous that they get to see Rio Bravo though.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Bela Tarr directing Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel in a remake of Face/Off

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Plenty I still need to see of each, but so far, so Ogier.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

I hope to see it one day.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

I'm not feeling terribly proprietary these days, but I have to say that after heavily researching and writing an essay on William C. de Mille's terrific proto-feminist drama Miss Lulu Bett for the Silent Film Festival last year, I feel very connected to the film and to the personnel involved.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Microcosos if only because I've seen it on the bigger screen (the now-shuttered UC Theatre).

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

I'm tempted to say Buffalo '66 but it's really the Freshman

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

I Know Where I'm Going! would be enough to seal it for Hiller, but she's wonderful in lots of other stuff too.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I recently admitted it on another blog comment, so I might as well do it here too: I went with a young woman I was dating to a nearly-empty late evening screening of Chicken Little and we made out the entire movie. Yeah, 32 is a little old for that, I know.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Rashomon has long been a favorite of mine, and though I was stunned by the simplicity and daring of the short film Papillon d'Amour when I first saw it at a film festival a few years ago, I actually think that viewing it deepened my appreciation of Kurosawa and cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa's compositions even more on subsequent viewings of the original.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

I await the day in which I see It's a Gift with a theatreful of appreciative moviegoers. I've seen Horse Feathers that way, and it'll be hard to beat.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I only remember going once. It was my second or third viewing of Star Wars. I was pretty young, and don't remember enough to make a real story out of it.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Mature, if only because I've seen him in more films. Still getting a handle on them both.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

It means lots of enjoyable time reading and thinking about movies late into the wee hours. And right now it's headed for bed.

stennie said...

At long last, I have found some time to compile my answers to another of Dennis's excellent quizzes! Hope I'm not too late.

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
Martin Sheen, that was pretty successful -- and graceful as well. Going in the opposite direction (TV to movies), I'd say the old Fugitive TV show made a bitchin' movie. But it didn't make another bitchin' TV show when they tried it on the small tube again.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly
Maybe he's not someone I "miss seeing on the cultural landscape," but I'm certainly looking forward to whatever Edgar Wright has to offer next, and particularly his next collaboration with Simon Pegg.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
Coburn

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”
Catcher in the Rye

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Greer. God, I hate Veronica Lake.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
In the theatre, I'd have to go all the way back to No Country for Old Men. On DVD, Lars and the Real Girl. Hmmm... and you ask why? I can tell you this much: since getting my big screen HDTV in January, I haven't felt much of a need go back to a theatre.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star
I don't really like stars, so I wouldn't wish that on any of my favorites. I think of "stars" as people who are more famous for the buzz they generate than their talent. I'd rather watch a good actor than a star.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy
Foxy Brown

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
Most of my favorites are on DVD now, at least the first season. I'd have to pick something obscure, something that only lasted half a season, like It's Like, You Know. I loved that show, but I was one of a very very tiny minority. I'd also like to see Larry Sanders expanded beyond Season 1 and a Best Of compilation. What's taking so long?

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Jack Elam

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
There's SO many. I wouldn't mind wading through La Dolce Vita again, there's a lot left for me to discover there.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
All the President's Men

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
I balk at applying words like "important" towards any films, because in the grand scheme of things, movies aren't as important as issues like health care and global warming (and movies about those topics like Sicko and An Inconvenient Truth aren't as important as the issues themselves, and anyway they tend to preach to the choir.

That being said, I can only judge the importance of comedies vs. the importance of any other genre. Primarily movies exist for entertainment, and entertainment itself is pretty important -- people need escapism. To quote Preston Sturges's great Sullivan's Travels, "Did you know that's all some people have?" And on that scale, I'd say comedies are more important than other genres for their ability to educate while entertaining.

Which leads me to the most important film comedy of the last 35 years: Hal Ashby's Being There (1979), another one I need to revisit.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
More and more these days, it's alone at home in my living room. Spending $15 or so to crane my head around taller people, listen to idle chit-chat and endless cell phones ringing, really doesn't appeal to me much anymore. However, in a perfect world, it's still best to see a favorite movie as part of an appreciative, attentive and enthusiastic audience on a big screen in comfy seats.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
Williams.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
I always thought Smilla's Sense of Snow was a rotten title, like, bad enough to be distracting. A bad title can really make me avoid a movie -- case in point: One reason I still haven't seen There Will Be Blood is the title. It's not the only reason I'm avoiding it, but it's a big reason.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
There are NO good movies about teaching or learning. Every singled damn one of them is the same as every other damn one of them.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Dracula

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
I really only blog about movies to remind me of what I've seen, what I've liked, why I liked it, who was in it, etc. I don't suppose I need to do that in a public forum such as a blog, I could just keep a list on my desk -- and about the same number of people would read it if I did.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
Emma Thompson's character in Wit. Granted, I had recently lost a close friend to cancer, so that could be why it hit me so hard.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
Tough choice, but Robards is the man.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
Life of Brian seems like an obvious pick, but Meaning of Life probably has more blasphemy in it.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River
Rio Bravo, in a walk. Dino! Ricky Nelson! "My Rifle, My Pony & Me"! Awesome movie.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
How about Michael Bay's It's a Wonderful Life?

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
Rampling

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?
I don't see why not.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
Galaxy Quest. No one understands our love.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
Winged Migration

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
The finale of Rudy.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Wendy Hiller. Never been a fan of Kerr.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies
Ain't telling.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
You know, I could ruminate on this question for several more hours, thus delaying even further my responses to this quiz, or I could simply admit that I don't have a clue what this question means and leave it at that. I choose the latter.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
Normally I would go Marx Bros. over Fields, but in this combo, It's a Gift for sure.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
1976 - The Bad News Bears. Whole family went, all packed into the family station wagon -- Mom, Stepdad, Grandma, and us three kids. When the movie was over, Grandma said "Little boys don't really talk like that." Three kids replied in unison: "Yes they do, Grandma."

Also: in college in Bellingham, WA, I recall being buried under lots of blankets and so forth to get snuck into the Samish Twin Drive-In. For years, the first S was missing from their sign, so from the freeway you could see their sign loudly advertising: "AMISH TWIN DRIVE-IN THEATRE."

Of course, meeting up with Sal and Dennis at the SoCal Drive-In Society was a fun time too, and one I hope to repeat this summer!

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power -- YUM.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?
I'm more interested in film than I am in film criticism. Whenever I see these questions about film criticism I'm reminded of Whit Stillman's movie Metropolitan and its character Tom, who wasn't into fine literature but enjoyed reading literary criticism. He held his own at intellectual parties by quoting what essayists had to say about great literary works, even though he'd never read the literary works themselves. I don't find fault any with film criticism, but I'd rather watch another movie than read a review of one I've just seen. I'd also rather watch one than write about one, which is probably why my own review blog has been so meager in recent months.

Sharon said...

I hope the professor won't mind that my homework is incomplete. I've answered the ones that came easily and without much thought.

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
I can name a few. Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Julianne Moore all got their start on soaps.


5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Jane, but only because I’m most familiar with her.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
THEATER: Sex and the City. Saw it opening weekend, saw it again this last weekend. Why? I’m a big fan of the series (have the entire run on DVD) and thought they did a marvelous job with the movie. Can’t wait until the DVD comes out as I understand there’s a whole lot that didn’t make the final cut. ON DVD: Ratatouille. I just bought a 42” LCD TV and decided to make it the first movie I’d watch on it. The only other time I’d seen it was in the theater, and I had been looking forward to seeing it again. It was just as much fun the second time around.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star
David Strathairn


9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
Days and Nights of Molly Dodd

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
All the President’s Men. Zodiac was only okay, despite the presence of the sublime Robert Downey, Jr., but President was riveting.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
Depends upon the movie. For instance, I wish that Iron Man had opened at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. It’s my favorite theater in LA and there’s nothing like seeing a great action movie there with all the fanboys (and fangirls!). Otherwise, I’d love to see just about anything in a stadium-seating theater all by my lonesome. You see, the talking and chair-kicking people seem to find it necessary to sit behind me whenever I go to the cinema. I’m cursed!

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
I’m going to go with the one that had the most emotional impact on me at the time: Dead Poet’s Society

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
None of the above. I don’t ‘do’ vampire movies

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene
Adam Goldberg in Saving Private Ryan.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
Based upon what they put on the list, I’d say that any of the Harry Potter movies would qualify as would The Last Temptation of Christ. They’d certainly be in good company.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River
Rio over the River for me. I remember being disappointed in the way that Red River ended. Throughout it was a hardnosed look at cowboy life, and at the end it switched into a comedy. Weird.


25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
Charlotte, since I don’t know who Bulle is.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
Bird wings over bug wings for me!

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie
Can’t think of any. Despite the fact that I’m a HUGE college football fan (Go Buckeyes!), I can’t think of any ‘football’ movie that I’ve liked.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr was marvellous.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
Dare I admit that I’ve never seen either?

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in
Oh, Dennis, you’re gonna love this! It’s gotta be seeing Grindhouse last year at the Mission Tiki. I know I went to the drive-in with the family when I was a kid, but I really can’t remember any of the details. So last year’s experience is all I really have to go on. What fun! Great company (the Captions, Inc. gang is the best, bar none) and interesting movie, to say the least. I really had no idea what I was in for when I decided to go. As per usual for me, I avoided any and all info about Grindhouse once I decided to go. So the gore and violence came as something aof a surprise. Yes, I knew that Tarantino was involved, but I had no idea about the zombies. And how sweet were Paul and Steve – knowing that I hate that kind of stuff, I heard them checking with Dennis occasionally to make sure I was okay. Thanks, guys!

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power, but mainly because I’ve seen more of his films. The most memorable for me was staying up all night watching Blood And Sand. We had just flown back to the States after four years in Japan, and my body clock was all screwed up. There I was unable to sleep, so I indulged myself by watching TV in English(!) after four years of indecipherable Japanese. I would have watched just about anything, but I was fortunate to find a nifty old movie.

weepingsam said...

I feel like I'm sneaking it under the door, three weeks into the summer. Which I am. But I've tried to answer, at my blog. Though incomplete - but the ones I left blank, I like enough, I will try to revisit them, before too much time passes...

Chris Oliver said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Everyone who knows me knows I'm going to say Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so just to be different I'll say Eiji Tsuburaya. His rubber suits probably work better on the small screen in Ultraman than on the big screen in most Godzilla movies.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

He's made some lousy films, but I can't believe that there's no room on the cultural landscape for Ralph Bakshi today.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Oh damn! I had to consult Google to put faces to those names, but they're both so great! Can't decide.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

I'm OK with anything being made into a movie, provided the movie is approached as it's own thing, with the source just being an inspiration for the filmmakers' vision.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater--Baby Mama, because Iron Man wasn't playing in Glendale (where I was doing other things Saturday), and because my wife wanted to support a comedy with two female leads, and because I generally think Tina Fey is great and 30 Rock is the best sitcom on TV right now.

DVD--Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion, as the climax of a 70's women-who-kick-ass triple feature (Switchblade Sisters and Sugar Hill started it off) for Memorial Day/My Birthday.

(Actually, since I wrote this, I've seen the amazing Blast of Silence on DVD)

7) Name an actor you think should be a star


Alexis Dennisoff. Anyone who's seen the later seasons of Angel knows that this guy could so carry an action franchise. And that his wife, Allyson Hannigan, is one rom-com role away from being a huge star. And that Joss Whedon fans who continually bring up actors from Whedon's shows when the question of actors who should be stars comes up are completely annoying.



8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Not even a contest. I mean, Foxy Brown is a fun flick, but Coffy is just as good as it gets.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

Bakshi and Kricfalusi's The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse. And The Spike Jones Show. And Night Music with David Sanborne. And Cop Rock.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Elam.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

When I loaned a DVD to my friend Sally and never got it back, I got her to give me her Magnolia DVD. It's a film that I feel I definitely owe a second viewing. But for years, it has sat on my shelf unwatched. It's just never a good time to rewatch Magnolia.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Haven't seen All the President's Men, but I'd be very surprised if it was better than Zodiac.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

OK, an "important" comedy is one that exposes the absurdity of Man's Inhumanity To Man in a way that makes it impossible to pretend that such inhumanity doesn't exist. Let's see, the last 25 years, so that's 1983...Heathers can't really live up to the above description, because there is literally nothing that can make teenagers aware of their own inhumanity, so that's out. I dunno, the funniest comedy of the last 25 is the South Park movie, for sure.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

1. With a packed crowd at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.
2. My living room with a tub of ice cream.


OK, that's a lame answer. Let's see if we can do a little better. The ideal environment would be one of those Grand Old Movie Palaces, with a gigantic screen and lavish decor, but well-restored with comfortable seats, modern amenities and a state-of-the-art sound system. The audience is composed of passionate, intelligent moviegoers who are excitable enough to cheer, laugh or otherwise react when appropriate, but restrained enough not to be annoying. So far, sounds like The Egyptian, but I'd add one more thing: a full bar. And maybe a tropical/tiki theme for the decor (and matching tropical cocktails).


15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

They're both OK.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Mother May I Sleep With Danger?

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby. No, I don't know, I can't think of a very good answer. I like that scene in Kill Bill 2 where Pei Mei forces The Bride to eat rice with chopsticks after she's destroyed her hand punching the board all day, and she does it, and he gets this faint little glimmer of pride on his face. (There was a very good joke in the script that got left out, for some reason. After she finally succeeds in punching through the board from two inches away, he congratulates her and moves the board to one inch away, and says "Now do it from here." But I guess I like the way it plays out in the movie.)

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

You know, I never really got into the Hammer movies. They're alright, but I guess they seem like a sort of mushy middle ground between the classic Universal movies and the gory 70's. I love Peter Cushing, but never really thought Christopher Lee was that great, and I don't like the hissing. Whereas Bela Lugosi is obviously great, and then you have Dwight Frye and whoever it was playing Van Helsing, so I'll take The Browning Version.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

My usual answer is just that it gives me an outlet for all the thoughts taking up space in my head. But a more honest answer would probably be that I want attention.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

The murder in Heavenly Creatures really gets me, because you can see in the girls' eyes once it starts that it's much more difficult and messy to kill someone than they had imagined it.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

Goldfinger--James Bond disses The Beatles!

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

OK, here's where I'm going to get into trouble. Never seen either one (but I do have a Rio Bravo/The Searchers double feature coming up in my Netflix in a few months). Truth is (and I know nothing says "rube" like admitting to this), I don't really like Westerns. I don't dislike them--there are a lot of movies I love that happen to be westerns--but it's not a genre I've ever really cared for. Even when I was a kid. Maybe it was all those dull earthtones, everything gray and tan, or maybe it's the earnest "A Man's Gotta Do" masculinity (I have a hard time relating to authoritarian John Wayne), but I just don't care for 'em.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Building on his success using "real time" techniques in United 93, Paul Greengrass will, for his next project, remake Koyaanisqatsi in real time. Be sure to get a babysitter--the film will have a run time of several months.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

This pic convinced me to pick Ogier:










26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

I dunno. Looks good to me.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

Microcosmos, but that's because I haven't seen Winged Migration.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

OK, not actually a football game (and arguable the worst part of the movie), but when Flash Gordon is running around Ming's throne room with a metal egg doing football maneuvers all around the Imperial Guard, that's kinda fun.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

I recognize more stuff on Deborah Kerr's filmography, so I'll pick her.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

When I saw Independence Day on opening weekend with a packed house, I enjoyed it, and even convinced myself that it was a good movie.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

It took me years to get one of the best (and nastiest) jokes in Life of Brian--the Spartacus reference, which now seems so obvious that I don't know how I could have missed it. The chorus of crucifixion victims crying out "I'm Brian!" is a wicked inversion of the "I'm Spartacus" scene, in fact an answer to the latter, as if the Pythons were saying "that's a great story, but from everything we've experienced in human nature, and read about for 4,000 of human history, that's just not how it works."

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

The only Marx Bros. movie that's better than It's a Gift is Duck Soup.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

The first movie I ever saw was Song of the South at the drive-in, complete with one of those "Ant and Aardvark" cartoons at the beginning. I've still never had a chance to see it again. Years later, I did mushrooms in the abandoned lot of the same Drive-In, underneath the dilapidated screen.

I also went to see an all-night women's prison movie marathon at the drive-in once, but it was really boring, so not a good story.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power (if only for Nightmare Alley).

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

I dunno...talking about films is one thing, but talking about talking about films is a bit too wanky even for me.

California said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

One I wish I'd thought of myself: Jeremy Piven.
I enjoy Jason Lee more on My Name Is Earl than in his movies with CGI'd talking pets.
And then there's Robbie Coltrane, who went from some nice scenes in Mona Lisa and several crappy comedies to the excellent Cracker. And then back for the Harry Potter movies, but I'm ignoring those.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

I thought One Hour Photo was a great thriller, and since then Mark Romanek has been struggling to get his second feature off the ground.
John Boorman. James L. Brooks.
Steve Buscemi, Tim Robbins.
Nicolas Roeg.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

I can't make an informed decision here.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Another theme park ride.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

I have yet to watch either of them in a movie.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

In the theater: Iron Man, a few weeks ago. Because it actually seemed like a fun summer action flick, and it was.
On DVD: Bound, because it had been a while and I'd rather watch this again than go see Speed Racer.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Should - it's not something I particularly wish on anyone, doesn't look like fun to me.
Deserves to be, when it comes to talent: Sam Rockwell. At first I thought he was just a goofball, but he turns out to be quite versatile, he's done well in supporting and leads, comedy and drama.
The same (minus the goofball thing) goes for Peter Sarsgaard.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Haven't seen either. Or any other blaxploitation, unfortunately.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

BBC's Scene by Scene.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Ouch. Not a single one between them. I'm coming off like I'm 12 right now.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Given how much I still need (and want) to see, maybe I shouldn't revisit all that much.
But top of the list is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, because the last time I probably really was 12.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

See question 21.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

In most cases, when people say a movie is "important", especially when it's a classic, it's their way of saying they didn't like it but they know they're supposed to. Popular opinion, or film history, says it has significance, but they just don't see it.
With that in mind, the most "important" comedy of the past 35 years is something like Porky's or American Pie. The gross out comedy has definitely caught on and lead to a slew of ripoffs, but I don't get the appeal. I will admit that when studying the major genres of the 90s/00s in 50 years time, they will be important.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

The beautiful art deco theater in the middle of Amsterdam, with friends or family, when it's cold outside.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Williams, I guess. She's talented (enough so that I haven't considered whether she's attractive) and I haven't seen Mendes do anything interesting (and I don't find her very attractive).

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

According to IMDb, David Mamet has been writing "Joan of Bark: The Dog that Saved France" for years now. I'm still hoping it's a prank.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

I agree that almost every movie is about that. Right now I think I'll go with Caché.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Andy Warhol's Blood for Dracula.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I don't blog, mainly because I know I don't have the discipline. I read them because I know too few people that I can have in depth conversations with on film, and to learn about things I didn't know/hadn't thought of.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Goldberg in Saving Private Ryan is definitely up there.
Pvt. Pyle, Full Metal Jacket, with that demonic grin.
Charles Foster Kane.
And since I've just mentioned it, the one halfway through Caché. That seriously shook me.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

See question 12. Even though Shaw was great in the best Spielberg and the best Bond, and as Mr. Blue.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

I'm still not sure what Luc Besson's point was in The Messenger, his Joan of Arc retelling. It may have been that God had nothing to do with it, but it was mostly aimed at the church, as was Life of Brian.
So I'll go with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

I completely agree with the above poster about westerns.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

(If Otto e mezzo by Rob Marshall isn't awful enough...) I'd like to see Woody Allen give 2001: A Space Odyssey a whirl.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

I haven't seen anything with the young Ogier, so Rampling.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

As Marlowe says, it's okay by me.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

Whenever I've shown someone Soderbergh's The Limey and tried to explain why it's so good, and the editing is brilliant, and the soundtrack so well done, and the whole thing is an exercise in postmodernism, all I've gotten are pitying stares. Fine, that just means there's more for me.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

All I've seen is the dung beetle playing Sisyphus, that was good.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Don't care for it in real life or in the movies. I could be annoying and say Forrest Gump. Or that I chuckled the eyeball bouncing on the field in Any Given Sunday.

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

Ask me again in ten years.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I'm a film major a few weeks away from getting my Bachelor's and I haven't seen a single Bergman.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

The Limey isn't the same if you haven't seen Poor Cow, Teorema, Easy Rider or Vanishing Point.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

Our Hospitality.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

Here's an okay story about the only time I saw a movie at a drive-in: when I was on holiday in the States, my dad, my brother and I went to a drive-in in our rental. I was looking forward to those speakers you hang on your window I'd seen in movies. But since those probably haven't been around since the 80's, we had to tune the car radio in to a frequency the drive-in was using. That's when we noticed the stupid rental wouldn't let us turn on the radio without automatically turning on the headlights. After some fumbling with towels sliding off the front of the car, my dad opened up the hood and disconnected the wires.

The movie was Matilda by the way, but that's beside the point.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Turns out I was thinking of Vic Morrow. Pass.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

To me, it means enlightening people about film, whether that's describing this week's releases in a few short lines and adding what works about them, a few hundred words discussing a certain trend in movies or pointing to something older that deserved more recognition, or an in-depth study of an era in book form.
Where it's going is undoubtedly a more democratic form with more room for feedback and discussion, and that's great, but a reviewer used to be able to establish him/herself and his/her tastes, which made their job easier/improved their writing. That's becoming more and more difficult.

the bandit said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Chevy Chase. That talk show was the most awesome thing I've ever seen.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

John Carpenter; sure, he still phones in some TV work now, but he hasn't directed a movie in seven long years; He still seems so cynical and funny and anarchic in interviews... but his MIA streak on the big screen and the seeming lack of inspiration in his post-1995 work suggests maybe he doesn't care anymore.




4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Eh, I'm usually pretty down with anything, so nothing's too sacred to make or remake... though I do dread most boomer musical biopics. So I'll say "The Gordon Lightfoot Story."

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Lake.

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

Theater, THE ZOHAN. Huge Sandler fan.

DVD, I rented some DTV with Richard Gere called THE FLOCK, from the DIRECTOR OF INFERNAL AFFAIRS.

Let's just say Scorsese won't be remaking this one.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Aaron Stanford could be the new Josh Lucas. Seriously, that dude went from being 11 years old in XMEN to being effing Keith Carradine in HILLS HAVE EYES. That's some acting.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

FAST TIMES, the TV version where PATRICK DEMPSEY played DAMONE.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Elam. Though sadly, like many thirtysomethings, this great Western character actor is known almost exclusively to me (beyond the Leone movie) as the fake doctor in CANNONBALL RUN.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

POINT BLANK. This should be right up my alley, I love Boorman, I love Marvin... hell, I love the eight billion movies it inspired. For some odd, odd reason, the one and only time I saw it, on badly panned and scanned ancient VHS, it left me cold.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

SO, so close. If only because I've seen it a billion times and it's stood the test of time, and was a legit product of its time rather than a flawless approximation of that era, I'll go with PRESIDENT'S.


13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Theater, sparse audience, nobody talking... ideally nobody sitting within a few rows. Even the most innocent whisper or late-movie sneak out to the bathroom can throw off the experience. A big crowd can be fun, but I like a small, receptive audience.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

DECEPTION was strangely awesome, Eva is fine... We finally get to one of my favorite subjects, current awesome actresses, and for whatever reason, neither of these particularly rings my bell.

Eva slightly.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Any of those long-ass '7os titles, like Effects of Marigold Levine Goes to New York Has Been Killed.


17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

I'm still haunting by Edward James Olmos in his combover doing his FINGER MAN routine, despite not really liking that movie.

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Dracula.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I'm a complete blowhard entirely without a venue since I stopped taking acting classes and doing comedy.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

Norton. Teeth. Curb. Blecch.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Extremely tough, but Shaw. Biggest Bond fan ever here, biggest Jaws fan ever. Robards was no slouch, but he had that weird era in the early '70s where he was UNDER-acting in ways that boggled the mind. Just odd and morose.

Though I caught the end of BLACK SUNDAY not too long ago, for the first time in 20-some years, and was disappointed to see how absolutely phony Shaw's last-act action heroics looked on that blimp.


24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

Lars Von Trier's Top Gun.

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

RAMPLING. ZARDOZ.


27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

At Close Range.


29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

Longest Yard (Burt of course).

Though ANY GIVEN SUNDAY is an absolute, hysterical, overwrought Bandit Classic.


31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

I've never seen a Bergman.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

Probably an obvious example, but the way Unforgiven comments on and expands upon Clint's entire screen person... it'd be an excellent story and piece of filmmaking by any standard, but familiarity with everything from Dirty Harry to Eiger Sanction really brings it home in that movie.

Curiously, that shot of him in the rain like a total sap in Bridges of Madison Country is enriched in much the same way.


34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

FREEBIE AND THE BEAN. God knows what it was double-billed with some four to six years after its release, but somehow one of my earliest filmgoing memories was this Rushian slice of '70s awesomeness.


36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

It means a lot to me, and I even enjoy reading critics who positively infuriate me (sourpuss Turan and amusingly contrarian Ed Gonzalez, to name two).

Obviously the sucks-rules dichotomy of film geek message boards has served for a while a symbol of the demise of intellectual criticism, but I think there are still some interesting voices out there, even emerging one.

Probably TOTALLY ironic coming from me of all people, but the blog/message board-bred tendency toward "ironic snark" and hipper-than-though know-it-alls merely recapping movies is unfortunate.

Even a reputable critic in LA like Carina Chocano, arguably the #2 film critic of Los Angeles, reads less like a thoughtful film historian and more like a blowzy snark broad recapping the previous night's "The Office" on her fanfic blog.

Jamie said...

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

not really sure about this one... so i'll say Selma Blair in the new "kath and kim'

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

N. Roeg, the british master.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Charles Coburn.

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Calvin and Hobbes

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

theater: The Fall, DVD: the petrified forest. i saw this on a recent noir kick.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Sam reilly i think is his name from 'Control'

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Coffy

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

is 'wing's out yet? if no thats my answer.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

early Paul Neuman like 'left handed gun' and 'Hud'. also revisit woody allen from the 80's. his best era in my opinion.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

loved both, but Zodiac i n a slight edge as i find the topic a little more interesting


13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

important film comedy that is a film that gets laughs but is also socially responsible. most important one in last 35 years is 'trading places' in a land slide.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

alone, in a sparse theater. middle of theater.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

hate eva mendes, so any other.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

'excessive force 2: force on force'

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

'Karate Kid'

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

Dracula... bela leguosi was just it i guess. i do like the warhol one with udo kier though.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

unique perspective on cinema, people willing to talk about everything form arthouse to shock gore on equal footing, i.e. lack of pretension.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

suicide scene in 'the rules of attraction'. i always remember freeze cut at the end of 'gallipoli' as well.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Robards in a close race. robards because of his work at the end of his life like 'magnolia'

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

again, i have to say 'devils' ken russell.

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

'rio bravo' i like a lot better.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.

since i said n. roeg as my great forgotten master in question 2, i'll pair him on a new james bond movie

25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

rampling is one of my favorites for 'night porter' alone. also 'the verdict' and 'stardust memories'


26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

yes.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

"american movie' but that i share with one of my best friends. my own? any jean-pierre melville.


28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

haven't seen either, so i'll say incomplete.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie

euro football: 'victory' by john huston... some pretty good action cutting. american football: not sure... always had a weird thing for 'the program'

30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr

oh man, deborah kerr.

31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

i think 'dead alive' is peter jackson's greatest film (by far)

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

i've always seen kurt douglas in 'ace in the hole' as character and real life father to michael douglas' character in 'wall street'

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

again i haven't seen either. sorry.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

saw a cool 'gang' triple bill of 'the warriors', 'the wanderers', and 'the outsiders' in a decent downpour. watched rain him my windshield for a few hours. strangely poetic.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

victor

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

it means you make an argument and you defend it, even if it may seem incorrect on first glance. it's all in the argument.

Noel Vera said...

Flesh for Memorial Day Film & TV Quiz, Filipino Edition