A three hour tour
1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.
As a man of constant sorrow, I’ll go with O Brother, Where Art Thou?, even if it withers under repeat viewings. Ah, those zaftig babes in the stream!
2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible? (Question submitted by Peter Nellhaus)
Vaguely off topic: I saw Vertigo on what must’ve been its ‘last’ telecast in the 1960s. When it was re-released in the 80s, I saw it at the Jerry Lewis Twin. When it was ‘restored’ a few years later, I saw it at the Ziegfeld, presumably in its proper VistaVision aspect ratio. I then bought it on VHS (VistaVision be damned), followed by DVD. Now that I’m wise to their tricks — “There’s a sucker born every minute” — I won’t shell out for the Blu-ray.
3) Japan or France? (Question submitted by Bob Westal)
“French is the language of cinema,” said (Italian) Bernardo Bertolucci. Louis Feuillade. Jean Vigo. Jean Renoir. (Jean Renoir!) Marcel Pagnol. Marcel Carné. Henri-Georges Clouzot. Robert Bresson. Jean Cocteau. Jean-Pierre Melville. Georges Franju. Jacques Becker. Henri Verneuil. René Clément. And then there’s the nouvelle vague. I rest my case.
4) Favorite moment/line from a western.
Dog-eared for sure, but: “If they move, kill ‘em.”
5) Of all the arts the movies draw upon to become what they are, which is the most important, or the one you value most?
Literature. This includes the scripted direction of photographic image. I believe that, in most cases, everything, including the visual, begins with the written word.
6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s (The Naughties?).
Which would put me in the awkward position of trying to convince someone of something they don’t (or don’t want to) believe in. Once they have their minds made up, too many cinephiles are impossible to sway, no matter how wrong they may be. In short, it’s not worth my time. Besides, you couldn’t afford me.
7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.
Did overkill or common sense quell my fascination with Brando?
8) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?
One’s understated, the other underlined, both fall somewhere down the middle. Lom’s haunted, so I’m with him.
9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film (Submitted by Tony Dayoub)
I groaned through most of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me; did it need to be 135 minutes? I drew a blank on Inland Empire.
10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
Both superb craftsmen. I’ll give Hall props for Incubus, Cool Hand Luke, Fat City (a masterwork), and sundry episodes of The Outer Limits.
11) Second favorite Don Siegel movie.
I have a soft spot for Coogan’s Bluff, which probably paved the way for Dennis Weaver’s McCloud… and reminds me that I’ve never seen Siegel’s Private Hell 36.
12) Last movie you saw on DVD/Blu-ray? In theaters?
On DVD, it was 18-year-old Angelina Jolie in Cyborg 2. On HD VOD — the nieces giggle when Uncle Flickhead speaks in acronyms — it was Orphan, a deranged family-in-crisis movie. (Is it my imagination, or does Peter Sarsgaard looked stoned all the time?) On Blu-ray, G.I. Joe: the Rise of the Cobra proved instantly forgettable. In the theater it was The Fourth Kind, bogus ‘reality’ SF marginally redeemed by the presence of Milla Jovovich.
13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
Still smarting from replacing VHS with DVD, giving these bastards even more money for the same on Blu-ray would be idiocy. I do own about ten Blu-rays, and I’m always searching for bargains, rarely willing to pony up more than ten bucks a pop.
14) Eddie Deezen or Christopher Mintz-Plasse?
The latter was amusing in Superbad. Deezen’s a train wreck. An annoying train wreck.
15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.
I’ll see anything with Angelina Jolie or Nicole Kidman. I even slogged through Margot at the Wedding. Which prompts me to ask: if your vision were as shaky as hand-held cinematography, wouldn’t you check into a hospital, like, toot sweet?
16) Fight Club -- yes or no?
There are sycophants who honestly don’t know any better. But they think they do.
17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?
Olivia can be repetitious. And she never gave us anything like Teresa’s Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt. Plus, Teresa was in one of my guilty pleasures, The Search for Bridey Murphy.
18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.
I ID with Tom Neal when he says “Fate, or some mysterious force, can put the finger on you or me for no good reason at all” in Detour. I empathize with Sam Jaffe drooling over young stuff in Asphalt Jungle.
19) Best (or worst) death scene involving an obvious dummy substituting for a human or any other unsuccessful special effect(s)—see the wonderful blog Destructible Man for inspiration.
Anything having to do with the big bird in The Giant Claw.
20) What's the least you've spent on a film and still regretted it? (Submitted by Lucas McNelly)
Ah, as if it were yesterday: Sky Riders plus Breakout for $1.50 at the Bellmore Theatre, aka ‘The Itch’ in 1976. One of those days when I thought, “that’s it: cinema’s dead.”
21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?
I’ve always had trouble with that wad of spittle twirling around in Mr. Johnson’s mouth as he recites lines. Mr. Heflin, meanwhile, carries the look of eternal constipation. And then there’s Bobby Van, who hopped his way through town in an MGM musical I don’t know the name of. It’s getting late.
22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.
When I can make it through one without nodding off, I’ll let you know.
23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.
Schoedsack and Cooper’s Grass (1925).
24) In deference to this quiz’s professor, name a favorite film which revolves around someone becoming stranded.
It hasn’t aged well, but Lina Wertmüller’s Swept Away still captivates. Or is it Mariangela Melato?
25) Is there a moment when your knowledge of film, or lack thereof, caused you an unusual degree of embarrassment and/or humiliation? If so, please share.
Taking this test.
26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald? (Submitted by Larry Aydlette)
While I know she’s a fine actor, I can’t think of one Fitzgerald performance off the top of my head. Sheridan, however, had all that juicy repartee with George Raft in the diner in They Drive By Night.
27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?
My mother claimed she and my father resembled Jennifer Jones and Gregory Peck. Photographs have yet to confirm this but, truthfully, the woman was nuts. People used to say I look like Aidan Quinn. Today I just look scary.
28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?
Anything with George Lucas’s name on it. Is an explanation necessary?
29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.
A reminder that I need to see The Sweet Hereafter again, it’s been ages.
30) Gerrit Graham or Jeffrey Jones?
I just looked at Graham’s filmography; I have no idea who he is. Isn’t Jeffrey into little boys?
31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).
God forgive me: I was going to be cruel and stupid and poke fun by saying Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but, no, that would be way wrong.
32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.
Props to Hatari! and its (imagined?) gay subtext: Red Buttons (as ‘Pockets,’ read into it what you will) bewildered to find a woman in Duke’s bed; Pockets running around in yellow latex gloves; Pockets too concerned with who’s sleeping with Duke; Hardy Krüger in hotpants; Hardy palling around with Gérard Blain; Elsa Martinelli, of all people, finding it difficult to get laid; the phallic rhino horns; the phallic elephant trunks; it goes on and on. Bring vodka.
33) Favorite movie car chase.
Only one is instantly identifiable: Bullitt.
34) In the spirit of His Girl Friday, propose a gender-switched remake of a classic or not-so-classic film. (Submitted by Patrick Robbins)
Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t everything already gone through a gender switch?
35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?
Ms. Rhoades put the whammy on my ten-year-old libido in The Shakiest Gun in the West, an early lust issue never to be forgotten.
36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.
I was watching De Toth’s Crime Wave with the James Ellroy/Eddie Muller commentary, dismayed by their failure to recognize the Buñuelian aspect of the ‘repeat’ shot of Dub Taylor in the beginning. Am I the only one who draws these parallels?
37) If you could take one filmmaker's entire body of work and erase it from all time and memory, as if it had never happened, whose oeuvre would it be? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)
I’d have gone with Richard Donner, whose oeuvre is crap from the word ‘go,’ but he did Inside Moves (1980), which should count for something. Therefore, I think we can terminate Chris Columbus. No love lost there.
38) Name a film you actively hated when you first encountered it, only to see it again later in life and fall in love with it.
Perhaps I was in a foul mood at the time, but Dazed and Confused initially left me cold. Now it’s a favorite.
39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)
Apples and oranges.
40) In which club would you most want an active membership, the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, the Cutters or the Warriors? And which member would you most resemble, either physically or in personality?
As I had to Google Delta Tau Chi, I’ll pass.
41) Your favorite movie cliché.
When the guy finally gets the girl.
42) Vincente Minnelli or Stanley Donen? (Submitted by Bob Westal)
I like a lot of Stanley’s work, but few can compare with Vincente: Bad and the Beautiful, Two Weeks in Another Town, American in Paris; The Courtship of Eddie’s Father has personal meaning; The Band Wagon is the quintessential MGM musical.
43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.
Can we go with Crispin Glover’s Jingle Dell in Wild at Heart?
44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.
Do I look like I sit around thinking about stuff like this?!? Let’s see… how about Thelma and Louise driving over the edge to avoid permanent imprisonment under male domination? On the other side of the coin, I think George Bailey was a frikkin’ idiot for using the honeymoon cash to bail out the Building & Loan when he could’ve been doing Donna Reed in a tropical paradise.
45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate? (Submitted by Bob Westal)
I’m not stepping into that trap, buddy boy.
46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?
It was a weekday afternoon showing at the Wantagh Theatre in 1974 when, virtually alone in the place save for a bored usher and gum-snapping popcorn girl, I rubbed one out over Caroline in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Right there in the theater. Just. Like. That. Yeah, yeah: I was 17 and should’ve controlled myself, but all that ripe Technicolor flesh was just too much!
47) Favorite eye-patch wearing director. (Submitted by Patty Cozzalio)
Raoul Walsh, if just for the time he stole John Barrymore’s corpse to freak out Errol Flynn. (Gene Fowler said it’s all lies.)
48) Favorite ambiguous movie ending. (Original somewhat ambiguous submission---“Something about ambiguous movie endings!”-- by Jim Emerson, who may have some inspiration of his own to offer you.)
Sandrine Bonnaire walking into the dark at the close of La cérémonie.
49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?
That I can still see and hear them.
50) George Kennedy or Alan North? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
I looked up North’s credits and I’m not sure who he is. Still, George was always in new movies back when I was going three or four times a week. Most of them were terrible, but the guy kept busy.