Friday, August 7, 2009

38 Questions

I found this fun questionnaire at Lolita’s Classics So, plagiarist that I am, I will also take this thing and see if I actually have any opinions.

1) Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.

The Killing (1956) Sterling Hayden and I are good friends, in an existential “What difference does it make?” way. Great caper film, this.

2) Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil.

Computer Generated Images. They make period pictures a lot easier to film, but they should help tell the story, not BE the story.

3) Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?

I love Clint Eastwood, but I read once that he’s touchy about anyone taking from his mayonnaise stash on set, and seeing as the late, great Paul Newman probably made a pretty mean mayo, I’ll say Paul. Plus I had that haunting dream about him that nobody cared about. I’ll never open my heart to strangers again.

4) Best Film of 1949.

1949 was a pretty lousy year for films, and I was going to write a vitriolic post about that year’s Oscar winners. But since I try to keep things nice around here, I abstained. Film Noir had a pretty good year in ’49, so I’ll say White Heat, which is a great movie no matter what the year!

5) Joseph Tura (Jack Benny) or Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore)?

Jack Benny is an American comedy icon, and I love his shtick.

6) Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?

John Ford didn’t rely on shaky cam, and he filmed the Battle of Midway!!!

7) What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?

The first foreign film I went and paid to see was Raise the Red Lantern (1992) Gong-Li…

8) Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) or Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre)?

Peter Lorre. Though I haven’t exhausted my reserve of faux-Asian detectives, so this may change.

9) Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).

The Great Escape (1963) This film was every bit important to me during my childhood as anything Lucas or Spielberg put on screen in their prime. Steve McQueen on a motorcycle? I’ll have more of that!

10) Favorite animal movie star.

Asta the dog. He steals the show in The Awful Truth, doesn’t he? He always knew his motivation, too. Take that, Stanislawski and Strasberg!

11) Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.

Ben Affleck. This punk types the screenplay to Good Will Hunting and now we’re stuck with him? It was another blow when beloved heroes Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau handed Affleck a friggin’ Oscar for Best Screenplay. If you were in the room with me that evening, you saw me die a little.

12) Best Film of 1969.

The Wild Bunch. The manliest movie ever made. I once watched this at two in the morning while battling a fever. The opening scene of fire ants devouring a scorpion only added to my agitated state of mind. A brilliant movie, whether you’re feverish or not.

13) Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). Didn’t like this one. On DVD? Casino Royale (2006). The third-best James Bond movie ever made.

14) Second-favorite Robert Altman film.

Altman is one of my least favorite directors, and I never understood his appeal. I don’t even have a first favorite!

15) What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print?

[Place your blog here]

16) Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji?

I’ll base this on looks, since I wouldn’t know them from a can of ravioli: Meiko Kaji. Now, watch me forge a lifelong obsession with her…

17) Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?

I got culture shock reading the question.

18) Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.

Shadow of the Thin Man (1941) Nick Charles in a great light-colored suit while on a merry-go-round while bratty kids taunt him. Yes, that would be the one.

19) Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.

1978: Seven-year-old me standing just to the left—no, no, a little bit this way-- of the TV screen so the family could get a clear signal from the rabbit ears during Candid Camera.

20) Favorite movie that is equal parts genre film and a deconstruction or consideration of that same genre.

Dances with Wolves. Never again would Native Americans be portayed as one-dimensional savages. Now, they’re three dimensional savages like the rest of humanity.

21) Best Film of 1979.

Alien (1979). Still frightening, still the best.

22) Most realistic and/or sincere depiction of small-town life in the movies.

The Human Comedy (1943). As sincere as it gets.

23) Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).

See #21.

24) Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.

Apocalypse Now (1979). For those of us of a certain age group, Apocalypse Now was a rite of passage and a movie we quoted like those Monty Python fanatics always seem to do with those films.

25) Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985). Sure it began, but it also middled and ended with that one movie, too.

26) Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.

I like Alfred Hitchcock too much to even answer this.

27) Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.

Dorothy opening the door from sepia Kansas to Technicolor Oz. Mind blowing, but we take it all for granted now, don’t we?

28) Favorite Alan Smithee film.

I’d have to come up with another alias for myself if I did choose one, so no go.

29) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?

Seeing as I’m the last Costner fan on Earth, even though I adore Matthau, so I’ll say Costner.

30) Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.

Alice (1990). Love the deco apartment, and the general atmosphere of this movie, even if they mention the term “Play Date”, which is what yuppies say when they get their non-genius children together to play. I’m sorry if anyone reading this is the spawn of yuppies. You have my sympathy.

31) Best Film of 1999.

The Sixth Sense. I fell for the entire thing hook, line, and sinker. Some genuinely eerie imagery, too. And the best performance by a child since that kid who played Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life cried when Mr. Gower slapped the crap out of him.

32) Favorite movie tag line.

“He’ll kill until he dies!” The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947). It’s not the tagline, but that line appears on the movie poster.

33) Favorite B-movie western.

Any one of those pre-fame, 1930s John Wayne Republic serials where he wears a really big hat and cute, perky 1930s chicks in full makeup coo around him.

34) Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of his or her work.

Ian Fleming. Even when Bond movies are bad, they’re good.

35) Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) or Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard)?

Susan Vance will destroy your current life and make you love her. Whatta gal!

36) Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.

Bobby Short in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

37) Bruno (the character, if you haven’t seen the movie, or the film, if you have): subversive satire or purveyor of stereotyping?

I don’t see any ACLU lawsuits against the guy, so subversive satire.

38) Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet.

I’ll stick to the (as of this writing) living: Roger Moore, James Caan, Martin Landau, Tom Baker, Leonard Nimoy


  1. Hahaha, great answer for eleven. :)
    Altogther, interesting read, thanks for sharing.

  2. Not quite the last... I'm also a Costner fan!

    Cool answers in here, quite a few I agree with. Particularly love your answer to 6 about the hand-held camera stuff -- that's a quotable response!! -- and I love your answer to the Altman question. Couldn't agree more, though he did manage to direct a couple good episodes of Combat!

  3. Fantastic answers. All of them. But Ha ha ha #20

  4. The Robert Altman one is my favorite.. if I do this I may just quote you instead of coming up with my own answer ;)

    ps. Asta? Definitely the best animal star ever!

  5. Great answers, really entertaining!

    Totally agree with you on Affleck, eww.
    Gong Li must have been a good choice, she is enchanting!
    (18) I haven't yet come to that film of the Thin Man series! But Gloria Grahame as a beautiful chanteuse getting killed has to be a must-see.
    (23) Does Sigourney Weaver really count as a movie monster? She's tall yes... but I think you stretch this a little ;) (Sorry for the bad jokes, I've had too little coffee on the-day-after-the-night-before...)
    (27) Why didn't I think of that? That scene always make my heart hurt of fascination.
    (32) That must me the most hard-core tagline ever.

  6. Some very amusing answers. However, I thought 1949 was a good year for movies. "The Heiress," "Twelve O'Clock High," "Adam's Rib," and "On the Town" were to my mind all masterpieces. Not far behind were "White Heat" (which you mentioned), "A Letter to Three Wives," "Intruder in the Dust," and "Champion." It was also the year the British film "The Fallen Idol" was released in the US.

  7. I should add "Gun Crazy" and "They Live by Night" to that last group too.

  8. R.D. you make an excellent case for 1949, but "Adam's Rib" is the only one of those films I actually like! Thanks for your comments!


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