I don’t think I could have asked for a better post-Christmas present, I’ve been checking Sergio Leone and the Infield Rule for weeks now, wondering when the next quiz would come. Luckily I got my wish yesterday, when I checked again! Here are my answers;
I’ve been checking your blog a few times a week for at least a month waiting for the next quiz, one of the best after Christmas presents I could ask for.
1) What was the last movie you saw theatrically? On DVD or Blu-ray?
The last film I saw theatrically was Doubt, a decent enough film, but lackluster filmmaking and not particularly remarkable or memorable. Amy Adams is the definete highlight, and really it’s about nuns… how bad can it be? On DVD, the last thing I watched was Towelhead. I reviewed it in depth, but my writing is more positive than my opinion of the film. The more I think of it, the more my opinion fades. It’s pretty reductionist and not all that interesting.
2) Holiday movies— Do you like them naughty or nice?
Nice I suppose! I don’t think I’ve seen too many of the naughty ones though. My favourites are probably It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St. Louis and Little Women (1933). One year I’d like to see Le Pere Noel est une Ordure though, they play it in theatres every year before Christmas. Maybe next year I’ll go.
3) Ida Lupino or Mercedes McCambridge?
Ida Lupino, I’ve seen more than a few Mercedes McCambridge’s films, but I don’t remember her. I’m a pretty big fan of Lupino though, I especially love her in On Dangerous Ground alongside Robert Ryan. Such a tender and beautiful film, easily her best performance. She’s still a great femme fatale, unusual and alluring.
4) Favorite actor/character from Twin Peaks
Have yet to see it, but Sherilyn Fenn is sexy.
5) It’s been said that, rather than remaking beloved, respected films, Hollywood should concentrate more on righting the wrongs of the past and tinker more with films that didn’t work so well the first time. Pretending for a moment that movies are made in an economic vacuum, name a good candidate for a remake based on this criterion.
Tough question, I’d like to nominate Max Ophuls’ Caught. Though, I suppose it was made more recently as The Aviator sorta. I think it’s an interesting film saved by performances and Ophuls’ style, but the script is terribly lackluster and borderline offensive. It’s indirectly about Howard Hughes, who is an incredibly interesting Hollywood “character” and a failed romance. I like that it focuses very much on one event, and the perspective of his wife. But the writing, especially the ending is just terrible. I think if they were to tweak the script it could be a great romance, or at least, a brilliant characters study. Though, it could easily go awry. Another one I’d like to see redone is Bad Day at Black Rock, which ironically, also features Robert Ryan. I know it has quite a passionate following but I think it skirted a huge amount of it’s potential for suspense and exploring various isms. It has a very strong foundation, but I think in the right hands the material could be brilliant.
6) Favorite Spike Lee joint.
Only seen Do the Right Thing, so that. I really would love to see Jungle Fever though.
7) Lawrence Tierney or Scott Brady?
Lawrence Tierney, if only because he’s sexier.
8) Are most movies too long?
Yes, I prefer shorter movies generally, and I’m especially frustrated by the overlong comedies we have these days. If Woody Allen can go an entire career with only one movies going over 2 hours, I think Judd Apatow could strive to do the same. Trim off 10-20 minutes of nearly any of these films, and you’d have a much stronger product guaranteed. Less is more, especially when it comes to comedy.
9) Favorite performance by an actor portraying a real-life politician.
Brolin in W., partially because it’s the only one I can think of, also because he’s one of my favourite working actors. I’m sure I’ll kick myself when I realise I’m forgetting someone.
10) Create the main event card for the ultimate giant movie monster smackdown.
King Kong vs. Mothra
11) Jean Peters or Sheree North?
I have seen the episodes of Seinfeld with Sheree North, but I’ll be damned if I remember her. Somehow I’ve avoided most of both their work.
12) Why would you ever want or need to see a movie more than once?
Tough question, I was just discussing this last night with a friend. Neither of us really rewatch films, mostly because we are always hungering to see something new. I do revisit old favourites, especially for the nostalgia. Every few years I’ll rewatch some great films that are fading from memory, or to re-evalute my opinion of them. I watched a huge amount of “classic” films when I was quite young, and unfortunately I think I missed out a great deal because of that. I don’t think I was aware enough to really appreciate or understand why they were good, and as they’re often referenced film, I feel the need to see them again to hold my own in discussions and conversations.
13) Favorite road movie.
Tough question, I’m not sure how many I’ve seen. I think I’ll go with Gun Crazy/Bonnie and Clyde, nearly identical formulas about bank robbers constantly on the drive. Both are so visceral, and the road aspect reflects the youthful restfullness and recklessness that they both embody.
14) Favorite Budd Boetticher picture.
Been the highest priority for a while
15) Who is the one person, living or dead, famous or unknown, who most informed or encouraged your appreciation of movies?
My father maybe, he was always a huge film fan and exposed me to some great films at quite an early age. He’s one of the few people I can really discuss film with, and I am thankful that he encourages me, instead of pushing me into a career or a passion that is more “reasonable”. I’d also probably choose one of my teachers, let’s call him Phil, who taught me more about making movies than anyone else I’ve ever met.
16) Favorite opening credit sequence. (Please include YouTube link if possible.)
Choosing just one seems an impossible task! Of course I love Touch of Evil, it’s simply divine. Touch of Evil? Not really a credit sequence I suppose. I was also going to signal out the absurd but brilliant Palm Beach Story, but it’s not really credits. It’s hard to go wrong with Saul Bass, so I’ll go with Anatomy of a Murder, with the disjointed body parts and Duke Ellington music.
17) Kenneth Tobey or John Agar?
He Walked by Night vs. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. The latter wins.
18) Jean-Luc Godard once suggested that the more popular the movie, the less likely it was that it was a good movie. Is he right or just cranky? Cite the best evidence one way or the other.
Tough question, there is something to it, but it’s still pretty reductionist. If we want to look at film popularity by financial success, he might have a point… just lookin at the ten highest grossing films of last year;
1 Spider-Man 3
2 Shrek the Third
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
6 I Am Legend
7 The Bourne Ultimatum
8 National Treasure: Book of Secrets
9 Alvin and the Chipmunks
The only good movie of the bunch of The Bourne Ultimatum. I think by nature, films that achieve popularity have a wide appeal that are rarely too challenging, and considering Godard’s preference for critisism, they are not only safe but I’m sure borderline offensive in most cases. I think it’s unfair to expect of others the same passion and desire for cinema, but one could hope that once in a while more people would be able to go out and see a truly great, beautifully made and perhaps even thought provoking film. Even that though, is not a recipe for “greatness”. All the words are so vague, I’m not sure how to really answer it.
19) Favorite Jonathan Demme movie.
The Silence of the Lambs, though Rachel Getting Married certainly gives it a run for it’s money. I love Jodie Foster and the simple drama and psychology of The Silence of the Lambs. It’s extremely effective, and a film I can watch often and still get a kick out of. The last few scenes are so incredibly suspenceful too.
20) Tatum O’Neal or Linda Blair?
21) Favorite use of irony in a movie. (This could be an idea, moment, scene, or an entire film.)
Casablanca has so many beautiful ironic moments, I can’t choose one.
22) Favorite Claude Chabrol film.
La Ceremonie, though I haven’t seen much of his work. I love the commoderie and playfullness. The characters are so much like teenage girls, which makes their brutality all the more frightening. I’ll be seeing The Girl Cut in Half soon, and hopefully some other of his films. I’m quite fond of him.
23) The best movie of the year to which very little attention seems to have been paid.
24) Dennis Christopher or Robby Benson?
Dennis Christopher has such an impressive television resume that I can’t help choosing him. Deadwood? Angel? Six Feet Under? I love this guy.
25) Favorite movie about journalism.
Too many, I love Ace in the Hole, Good night and good luck and Zodiac. I think I might lean to Good Night and Good Luck, only because it really is a tribute to the art and tact of journalism itself. Showing the potential power one man can have in the field, and how he can use it for the betterment of his country. It seems to be a commentary on the fast paced and mostly uninvolving journalism that goes on now, a tribute to an art that seems to be lost, but perhaps shouldn’t be.
26) What’s the DVD commentary you’d most like to hear? Who would be on the audio track?
Another really difficult question, what I wouldn’t give to hear Truffaut talk about any number of films or someone like Bette Davis. Maybe a Crawford/Davis track for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
27) Favorite movie directed by Clint Eastwood.
28) Paul Dooley or Kurtwood Smith?
Kurtwood Smith, for being on one of my favourite episodes of The X-Files.
29) Your clairvoyant moment: Make a prediction about the Oscar season.
If Waltz with Bashir (2008) doesn’t win the best foreign film award, a film from France will.
30) Your hope for the movies in 2009.
That they will be good, also that maybe they space out the good releases throughout the year so I don’t have to wait until the last two weeks of December to see everything I want.
31) What’s your top 10 of 2008? (If you have a blog and have your list posted, please feel free to leave a link to the post.)
Still a work in progress, I hope to see a lot more and unveil a complete list in February or March
Un conte de Noël
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Let the Right One In
Rachel Getting Married
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
The Dark Knight
32) What was your favorite movie-related Christmas gift that you received this year?
The whole family got a new TV!