Friday, May 30, 2008

You Win, Cozzalio! My Answers to Last Weekend's SL&TIFR Quiz

Every so often, Dennis Cozzalio of the very cool Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule puts up these massive movie lover quizzes and every so often I consider participating in them and then I don't. Can't explain why other than I look at it and it suddenly looks too big to handle, but this one felt pretty simple to me and since I've been promising myself I'd participate in one one of these days, I figured it was time to put up or shut up. So here's my answers to the "Prof. Brian O'Blivion's All-New Flesh For Memorial Day Film (and TV) Quiz", one week after Memorial Day. I would have handed it in sooner, but I had a bunch of crazy Spaniards dragging me around Austin for most of the weekend. More on that later.

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

Lucille Ball and William Shatner. Say what you will, you've gotta admire how Shatner has persevered throughout the years.

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Well, John Carpenter hasn't made a film since GHOSTS OF MARS (love it!), but more importantly, it's been 10 long years since BULLWORTH. Surely Warren Beatty must have something up his sleeve.

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn


4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume. It's my favorite book and I just get the feeling it would get screwed up as a movie.

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake. Please!

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

I saw INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL for a second time because I wanted to.

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Sam Elliott. A real big star, I mean.

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

COFFY. It's still the original and it's grittier.

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

There's still a lot of episodes of SCTV yet to make their way to disc that possibly never will. PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE. TWO STUPID DOGS is another. That's pretty much it.

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

Jack Elam, mainly because I grew up with him as the westerns guy with the weird eye and later learned that he did a lot of solid work well before I was born.

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

I guess THE LORD OF THE RINGS, so I can maybe finally figure out what the fuss was about.

I've also been meaning to revisit Roger Corman's THE INTRUDER, mainly because it's a really excellent film and it's been a long time since I've seen it.

So many more, but none of them come to mind at the moment.

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Pretty unfair, but you have to go with ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. ZODIAC, as great as it is, is clearly influenced by PRESIDENT'S, but they're both great films.

13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?

I took in Albert Brooks' REAL LIFE about two months back and thought to myself, "Is this the first modern film comedy made by a comedian for comedians?" It certainly feels that way and I can't think of any other film like it. And for proving to the world that Albert Brooks' greatest gift was as a filmmaker, I think it earns that honor.

14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.

Not to rub it in, but the Alamo Drafthouse has it down just right.

15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes

Michelle Williams. Both are gorgeous, but Michelle Williams' eyes, and her smile... I'm not going to go into that here.

16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?

Any generic title that sounds like it got spit out of a computer, like NEVER BACK DOWN or something like that, always tells me that such a movie will not be worth my time.

17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning

This is my one wise-ass answer of the entire quiz: LAMBADA - SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE. Lambada dancin' for the greater glory of math!

18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)

All DRACULA has going for it, really, is Lugosi and Edward Van Sloan (DRACULA'S DAUGHTER is a much better film). HORROR OF DRACULA is a much better picture, overall - better directed, better acted, better scripted - and one of the few Dracula films whose Van Helsing is as intriguing as its Dracula. In fact, you're reminding me that I'd like to view it again some day.

19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)

I blog so I can collect my thoughts and get them heard clearly. I blog in order to shine a light on films that might not otherwise be remembered (The Forgotten Movies series). I also blog so that I can get my heart broken.

20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene

DEATH PROOF. Don't want to get into it for those who haven't seen it.

21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw

Shaw. Not as many movies, but what was there was stellar.

22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever

MAGDALENA - POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL. Contains the following lines of dialog:

"Magdalena wants to go to church today. Can we risk it?"

"I don't want to take confession in the church, I want to take it in my pussy!"

Not the answer you were expecting, huh, Dennis?

23) Rio Bravo or Red River

RED RIVER has more heft, more dramatic weight. RIO BRAVO is, however, a hell of a lot of fun.

24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.


25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling

Rampling. She's still got it.

26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?

Yes. Required viewing for pretty much everyone interested in cinema.

27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)

I've written about John Mackenzie's UNMAN, WITTERING, AND ZIGO quite a bit and always recommend it because it remains a buried treasure that not many know of.

28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos

MICROCOSMOS. The ladies like it, and it's a better movie.

29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie


30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr


31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies

When, as a 17 year-old usher at the HQ 10, some of my fellow ushers witnessed one of our assistant managers doing it with her boyfriend in the balcony while watching THE BIG EASY. And by "doing it" I'm talking about fucking.

32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.

I keep seeing 2001 in THERE WILL BE BLOOD's structure, but god damn if it doesn't work like a son of a bitch.

33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers

HORSEFEATHERS. It's got that whole "swordfish" thing going on.

34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in

I recall seeing JAWS 2 on opening night in 1978 and loving the hell out of it. I haven't been to a drive-in since.

35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power

Interesting that Dennis mentions this, as I've been checking out a decent amount of Mature's work lately, like a screening of MY DARLING CLEMENTINE at AMMI (just before they close for renovations) and I've found myself intrigued by him. Seemingly an actor of not much range, there's also a strange depth to him, a handsome movie-star face an body that masks a tortured soul. Can't quite explain it, but I think it's there.

36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?

It only means something when I read a review that makes me think about the film in question in a new way (such as your SPEED RACER piece; thanks for the link, by the way). If it can't sway me or make me think, it's not very interesting.

As to where it's headed, it's in an interesting time. Some of the best film writing is found online - by you, Dennis, along with the likes of Stacie Ponder and Kim Morgan - and it's great to see print critics like Glenn Kenny embrace the blogosphere as a place where they can write about what truly interest them. It's scattered, yes, but there's so much that needs to be brought to light that it's OK to be a little all over the place. Mainstream criticism hasn't been interesting in a long time (with a few exceptions, like Denby in The New Yorker, who I've always liked), so the fact that the fans are taking over is rather refreshing. I just hope that they're able to keep it up and not screw it up somehow. We'll see how it goes.

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