Thursday, July 06, 2006


Another fine quiz from Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. Yes, I am obsessive-compulsive about this stuff.

1) Does film best tell the truth (Godard) or tell lies (De Palma) at 24 frames per second? (Thanks, Peet)

Honestly, I think both ideas are pretty silly, although the De Palma one sounds catchier (especially if you say it as "Cinema lies 24 times per second"). Equating art with lies has always struck me as a poor use of the resources of the English language. Whatever ends up on film is true--of the world created by the filmmaker(s).

2) Ideal pairing of actors/actresses to play on-screen siblings

I dunno. Maybe Stacy Keach and Tom Sizemore, just because I get them mixed up sometimes.

3) Favorite special effects moment

I was going to say the Cyclops vs. Dragon fight in 7th Voyage of Sinbad, but "moment" seems to imply something more specific, so I pick two moments from the first Evil Dead, when Ash gouges one of the demons' eyes, and when a demon jabs a pencil into Ash's ankle. Both are crude but effective--you can tell they're fake, but that doesn't stop you from cringing.

4) Matt Damon or George Clooney?

I don't really have anything against Damon--he seems like an allright guy doing good work, and he has what is probably the most interesting non-superhero franchise right now--but I can't really get excited about him. Clooney.

5) What is the movie you’ve encouraged more people to see than any other?

There's a few, but I think Dazed and Confused, back when it came out, was the one I was most evangelical about. I just felt like I needed to show everyone that movie, especially people that I knew were from that era.

6) Favorite film of 1934

I was going to pick a Betty Boop cartoon, but I didn't recognize any of the titles from that year (all my favorites seem to be from 1933). So how about Tarzan and His Mate? That's a great movie, with Jane's skinnydipping silhouette and the incredible jungle war climax with Tarzan leading an army of apes and elephants against an army of lions.

7) Your favorite movie theater*

The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood is movie heaven. For first-run movies, my favorite is The Vista in Silverlake.

8) Jean Arthur or Irene Dunne?

Honestly, I'm a little fuzzy on those pre-70's second-tier actresses.

9) Favorite film made for children

The Wizard of Oz. I can't really judge this film objectively. If I was seeing it for the first time now, I probably wouldn't be nearly as impressed by it. But it was imprinted on me at a very early age, and now it's just a part of me.

10) Favorite Martin Scorsese Movie

Afterhours. I almost feel like, as I said in the last quiz with Altman and The Player, that this one is more great for its script than for Scorsese, but I think Marty probably brings out the sense of place in the movie.

11) Favorite film about children

Back in the days when cable channels were just starting to proliferate, I saw this movie on AMC or something, a British movie about a bunch of kids who found an escaped murderer hiding in their barn, and somehow got it in their head that he was Jesus. No idea what it was called, but I liked that one.

12) Favorite film of 1954

13) Favorite screenplay written by a writer more famous for literature than screenplays

I like Ray Bradbury's adaptation of Moby Dick. Gets all the great language from the book, but condenses it into version that works as a movie (I think Peck is slightly miscast, but that doesn't effect the screenplay).

14) Walter Matthau or Jack Lemmon?

Lemmon has probably done more great work, but I like Matthau's persona better.

15) Favorite character name

Chest Rockwell.

16) Favorite screenplay adapted from a work of great literature, either by the author himself or by someone else

I like Fear and Loathing for succeeding in putting the book so completely on the screen, L.A. Confidential for taking the material and extracting the vein of story to make it work on film, and Naked Lunch for taking the book as a piece of inspiration and coming up with its own story.

17) Favorite film of 1974

It's so hard to pick from any year of the 70's. I mean, look at the imdb top 100 for that year! Godfather II, Chinatown, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Texas Chainsaw Massacre...then there's Dark Star, a personal favorite of mine, and The Man With The Golden Gun, which was the first "grown up" movie I saw in the theater, and probably had a huge effect on my taste in movies. But I'll pick Caged Heat. So many of those 70's exploitation flicks, and esepcially the Women in Prison movies, promise so much more than they deliver. I mean, sure, you get the shower scenes, cat fights, and sadistic guards, but you rarely get a good movie. Caged Heat, though, is wall-to-wall entertainment from start to finish. One of the best genre films of the 70's, which is certainly saying something.

18) Joan Severance or Shannon Tweed?

Shannon Tweed, just because I know who she is.

19) jackass: the movie-- yes or no?

Yeah, I like it. I think it probably gains points by comparison to that Vin Deisel movie XXX, which feels like sort of a Hollywood attempt to try to market something towards that "xXxtreme Sports Generation!", which fails miserably. Jackass is the kind of thing that nobody of the older (my) generation could possibly have thought up.

20) Favorite John Cassavetes Movie

Honestly, never seen one (well, I saw parts of Faces on TV last night, flipping back and forth between that and Planet of the Vampires). If I had to guess, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie sounds like the one I would like.

21) First R-rated movie you ever saw

You'd think I would know this, wouldn't you?

22) Favorite X-rated film (remember that, while your answer may well be a famous or not-so-famous hard-core film, the "X" rating was once also a legitimate rating that did not necessarily connote pornography)

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, followed by Fritz the Cat.

23) Best film of 1994

I had to check the imdb for 34, 54 and 74 (although if I really thought about it, I could probably have come up with 54 on my own), but this one I know. Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures is not only my favorite movie of that year, but probably my favorite "serious drama" movie of all time. And that's a tough competition year, with Pulp Fiction, Natural Born Killers, Drunken Master II, Fist of Legend (I think), Leon, Ed Wood, The Reflecting Skin, and I don't know what all!

24) Describe a moment in a movie that made you weep

It's not even a movie I like. AI just left me an emotional wreck. There are some emotionally brutal scenes throughout that movie, but it was the "happy" ending that really killed me. Seeing that naked wish fulfillment fantasy up there on the screen somehow just destroyed me. And it's even more embarassing to be wiping tears out of your eyes in the bathroom as you listen to everyone around you talk about how bad the movie you just saw was!

25) Ewan McGregor or Ewan Bremner?

I like them both, but I'll give it to Bremmer since he's the underdog.

26) One of your favorite line readings (not necessarily one of your favorite lines) from this or any year

Wooderson: "It'd be a lot cooler if you did." I also like how he says "You got to do what Randal "Pink" FLOYD wants t'do."

27) What, if any, element in a film, upon your hearing of its inclusion beforehand, would most likely prejudice you against seeing that film or keeping an open mind about it?

This condition was probably transmitted to me by my wife, but if it has a woman being raped and deciding she enjoys it, that's a dealbreaker. Granted, my wife has a much broader definition of what fits into this category (any time a man overpowers a woman and she succumbs, or slaps her or manhandles her before kissing her), but even in my more limited definition, it's frightening how often this trope (is that the right word?) turns up.

28) Favorite Terry Gilliam Movie

God, that's a tough one. Brazil is his masterpiece, of course, but that doesn't necessarily make it my favorite. And 12 Monkeys may be my favorite scifi film. I'd probably say Fear and Loathing, although I really have a soft spot for Munchaussen.

29) Jean Smart or Annie Potts?

I'm surprised to hear myself say that I like them both (I still think of them both primarily as castmembers of Designing Women), but I think I like Annie Potts better. She should get more work.

30) Is it possible to know with any certainty if you could like or love someone based partially on their taste in movies? If so, what film might be a potential relationship deal-breaker for you, or the one that might just seal that deal?

Yeah, I don't really subscribe to that idea. There's just more important things to take into account than taste in film (or other art).


Blogger George Merchan said...

I feel you on the A.I. sentiments. All of them.

7/12/2006 5:07 PM  

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