Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Once again, thanks to Dennis for the questions.

1) Classic film you most want to experience that has so far eluded you.

I've been trying to find this musical that Danny Peary writes about in his Cult Films book, called Dance, Girl, Dance. I've never heard of it outside of Peary's book, and it doesn't seem to be on DVD. They showed it on TCM last month, but I was out of town, and my TiVo had deleted it by the time I got back.

2) Greatest Criterion DVD/Blu-ray release ever

My favorite is probably Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Beautiful cover, three great commentaries, insane amount of extras, even the menu is cool! I like the Dazed and Confused disc too. Honorable mention: Beastie Boys Video Anthology.

3) The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon?

Awww...I'll give it to Falcon, cuz it has Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook, and the script more or less makes sense. Close, though.

4) Jason Bateman or Paul Rudd?

I think Bateman is used for evil more often. Actually, even without that factor, I think I just like Rudd better. They're both everymen, but Rudd is an everyman with character.

5) Best mother/child (male or female) movie star combo

I'm sure there's a great answer that I'll think of once I hit "publish."

6) Who are the Robert Mitchums and Ida Lupinos among working movie actors? Do modern parallels to such masculine and no-nonsense feminine stars even exist? If not, why not?

There are certainly actors as "masculine" as Robert Mitchum today: Russell Crowe, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo. Of course, Crowe is boring to watch (imo), and Rourke and Trejo aren't exactly traditional leading men, so they're not perfect analogies, but let me ask you this: who was like Robert Mitchum in Robert Mitchum's day? Nobody, that's who!

7) Favorite Preston Sturges movie

I really like The Great McGinty. It's like a slightly more cynical version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I really need to see it again, because I can't remember much about it other than I really enjoyed it.

8) Odette Yustman or Mary Elizabeth Winstead?

I barely know Yustman, so Mary Elizabeth Winstead it is.

9) Is there a movie that if you found out a partner or love interest loved would qualify as a Relationship Deal Breaker?

No. Glass houses, glass houses...

10) Favorite DVD commentary

The RZA's commentary (with Andy Klein) on 36 Chambers of Shao Lin. Actually, no, the commentaries on the Evil Dead movies are my favorites for being both extremely entertaining and informative about the ins and outs of making a low-budget horror movie. Gilliam's commentaries are always great, too.

11) Movies most recently seen on DVD, Blu-ray and theatrically

Theatrically, That's Exploitation documentary with Lenny Bruce's gangster film Dancehall Racket at the New Beverly. Lenny's film wasn't as great as I'd hoped (it's not really A LENNY BRUCE FILM, but it does have the most footage of Lenny on film that you can see outside of that one performance where he just reads his court record).

In regular release, Scott Pilgrim. On DVD, we had the projector out last night watching Pagan Island (got bored and took it out about halfway through), Black Dynamite and Frank Zappa's Dub Room Special.

The night before, I rewatched Shortbus. There's one really old guy in it playing a character that's apparantly based on Ed Koch. He only has about 5 minutes of screentime, but he just fucking KILLS IT. I looked him up, and it's the same guy that plays Rabbi Marshak in A Serious Man.
12) Dirk Bogarde or Alan Bates?


13) Favorite DVD extra

The shitty cartoon version of Mr. Incredible and Frozone on the Incredibles disc.

14) Brian De Palma’s Scarface— yes or no?

Oh hell yeah! Sheer over-the-top lunacy. Even if you don't like it, you should be glad it exists just to get that stuff out of the gangster movie genre's system. It gives the target audience exactly what they want, so that Scorsese or whoever doesn't have to make their gangster movies that nuts. Besides, without Scarface, there would be no MTV Cribs.

15) Best comic moment from a horror film that is not a horror comedy (Young Frankenstein, Love At First Bite, et al.)

"Unscrewing" the dead body in The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

16) Jane Birkin or Edwige Fenech?


17) Favorite Wong Kar-wai movie

Only seen a couple, but I love In the Mood for Love. Kind of dreading writing about it, though (assuming I continue with my Best of the 00's list). I'm not sure I'm up to the task.

18) Best horrific moment from a comedy that is not a horror comedy

Everyone is going to say Large Marge, aren't they? I might say the scalping in Nurse Betty, but is that really a comedy?

19) From 2010, a specific example of what movies are doing right…

That they're letting Edgar Wright do whatever the fuck he wants, and that most movies are still not in 3-D.

20) Ryan Reynolds or Chris Evans?

I don't think I like either one of them.

21) Speculate about the future of online film writing. What’s next?

The next generation will begin publishing their blogs as photocopied fanzines. This will be done not so muh for an appreciation of the printed page, but to give their writing an ironic "retro" feel.

22) Roger Livesey or David Farrar?

I'm just passing on all these.

23) Best father/child (male or female) movie star combo

Walter and John Huston, on opposite sides of the camera in The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

24) Favorite Freddie Francis movie

The Straight Story (as cinematographer--I haven't seen any of the films he directed, never having been that big a Hammer buff).

25) Bringing Up Baby or The Awful Truth?

Hmmm, never seen TAT.

26) Tina Fey or Kristen Wiig?

I really dislike Kristen Wiig. Her characters are too broad, to the point of being grotesque (I have a similar problem with Amy Sedaris and the British show Little Britain). Having said that, though, I enjoyed Wiig in Whip It, and over the last couple decades I've noticed that generally nobody comes off well on SNL. I mean, Horatio Sanz is hilarious. He was on SNL for years without doing anything noticably good. Kevin Nealon is great on Weeds. How many seasons was he useless on SNL? Even Will Ferrell was rarely funny on SNL. So who knows, maybe Kristen Wiig is great outside of that horrible studio.

27) Name a stylistically important director and the best film that would have never been made without his/her influence.

Every time I watch a Sam Fuller movie, I realize how much modern directors take from him (for good reason), especially Tarantino. I know Tarantino steals from everybody, but on the most basic level, the way he writes dialogue, structures a scene, sets up a shot, Sam Fuller is really the main influence. Best movie that would not exist without Sam Fuller: Seijun Suzuki's Youth of the Beast.

28) Movie you’d most enjoy seeing remade and transplanted to a different culture (i.e. Yimou Zhang’s A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.)

I'd like to see Battle Royale set in the world of Glee and High School Musical. I just saw in Entertainment Weekly that the Zhang Yimou movie is real--I thought Dennis had made that one up!

29) Link to a picture/frame grab of a movie image that for you best illustrates bliss. Elaborate.

This is not entirely for the obvious reasons. Just that environment, the restaurant on the sparsely-populated beach, lit by Christmas lights, seems so inviting. That's where I want to live. I used this scene as the model for my backyard tiki bar.

30) With a tip of that hat to Glenn Kenny, think of a just-slightly-inadequate alternate title for a famous movie. (Examples from GK: Fan Fiction; Boudu Relieved From Cramping; The Mild Imprecation of the Cat People)

It's not a movie, but I've always wondered if Hemingway's story would be as well regarded if it had been called "The Old Man and the Fish."


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