Saturday, October 3, 2009

My answers to Professor Snape’s Film Quiz

I’ve been reading Dennis Cozzalio’s blog “Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule” and it is a great blog that you should definitively check out. He has these great movie quizzes series and I thought it would be interesting to attempt one. It is a great exercise, but it did take a while to complete. It was great fun nevertheless.

1) Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.
From the title of my blog you can probably deduce I have an inclination towards Dr. Strangelove. A Clockwork Orange, oddly enough, brings too much joy to me. I would then have to go with 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 2) Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil. Two come to mind. The first is “torture porn” which seems to be fading away lately, but Saw VI is right around the corner. The other one is probably male nudity in mainstream films. European Directors have shown male nudity in their films for a long time, but it seems to be catching on in the US.

3) Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?
Bronco Billy, but I guess it has more to do with the fact that Clint Eastwood is a Dirctor as opposed to Paul Newman who was an actor who directed a few movies.

4) Best Film of 1949.
The Third Man. When I went to Vienna I had to do part of the unofficial tour. It is a classic.

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

6) Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?
I would say it has. However, when used properly it works.

7) What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?
I won’t count either English or Spanish. It is really difficult to remember precisely, but I’m sure it was a French production. À bout de soufflé?

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

9) Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).
The Dirty Dozen. I guess it is why I was excited about Inglourious Basterds. Maybe the fact it was Tarantino had me a little excited as well. I’ve been twice to Cannes just to catch a glimpse.

10) Favorite animal movie star.
Easy. Bruce the shark in Jaws.

 11) Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.
Whoever is responsible for the zombie hiatus of the 90’s. Don’t they know that is automatically improved by 5 points if you have a zombie in it?

12) Best Film of 1969.
Hands down The Wild Bunch.

13) Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.
I fear this question because depending on the timing of it the results may not accurately reflect your film sensibilities. I can say I’m safe this time. Theatrically, I just saw Pandorum. DVD (although I’ve been gravitating away this format lately), was Primal Fear (1996). On streaming, Sex, Lies, and Videotape. I must confess that was the first time I saw SLV but I wanted to see it for the longest time.

14) Second-favorite Robert Altman film.
Gosford Park.

15) What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print? I do use the web a lot to read about movies but I don’t have a preferred source. This will change soon. I do go to all the time.

16) Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji? (Thanks, Peter!)
Angela Mao, just because she was in Enter the Dragon.

17) Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?
Mona Lisa Vito was great, but I don’t think Marisa deserved her Oscar for that performance. She has subsequently proved that she is an Oscar worthy actress. Jennifer Tilly is great and I liked her very much as Olive Neal.

18) Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.
It is not my favorite and the carnival sequence is brief but it is the only one I can think of: Hatchet.

19) Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.
I don’t know if it is the best use, but Collateral was the first time I was convinced that high-def video worked on the big screen. I thought it didn’t work on Public Enemies.

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

21) Best Film of 1979.
A great year for films. It has to be between Alien and Manhattan. I will go for Woody Allen’s this time.

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

23) Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).
The girls in the hall in The Shining.

24) Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.
The Godfather: Part III. I like The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II equally.

25) Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.
I honestly don’t know why The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen didn’t do better. I thought it was a good movie. The concept of a Victorian Age Justice League is brilliant. I admit that the movie doesn’t come close to the graphic novel, but that is why it could be improved with subsequent movies. There is even a story for a second movie.

26) Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.
I know I should probably mention some a sequence from either Blow Out or Scarface, but I’m going to go with the introduction sequence of Femme Fatale. I don’t consider Femme Fatale to be anywhere near the best material De Palma has directed, but for me the introduction is genius. I love the music, the tension, the sexiness of Rie Rasmussen’s walk and Cannes.

27) Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.
Any frame sequence from the crop dusting chase in North by Northwest.

28) Favorite Alan Smithee film. (Thanks, Peter!)
My favorite Alan Smithee film is actually not by Alan Smithee but by his disciple Thomas Lee. It is Supernova (2000). It appears however; Thomas Lee didn’t have such a prolific career as Alan Smithee.

29) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?
I believe in Crash Davis because I also believe in long, slow, deep, soft wet kisses that last three days.

30) Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.
He makes a movie every year, but truly great classics less often. In any event a good Woody Allen movie is way better than other’s great movies. I have to go with Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I think he was channeling some Almodovar in that one and not only because of Penelope. Barcelona’s song by Guilia y los Tellarini is classic Almodovar, take a look.

31) Best Film of 1999.
One of the best years in films ever. It almost makes me feel like my grandpa saying, “they don’t make movies like they used to”. Great movies are produced every year, but no one can deny 1999 was an exceptionally fructiferous year. That being said, the best film of 1999 was Fight Club. It cemented Fincher’s stand as one of the greatest Directors of all time. Before Fight Club he was already very well regarded, but after Fight Club he expanded the film limits, and he did it with a studio film. He took a book that was impossible to make into a film, at least for anyone who wasn’t Fincher.

32) Favorite movie tag line.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

33) Favorite B-movie western.
Does The Quick and the Dead count?

34) Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of her or his work. Mario Puzo’s The Godfather although good is not nearly as good as Coppola’s The Godfather.

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

36) Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.
The cast of Magnolia singing Aimee Mann’s Wise Up. The idea of breaking into singing in a melodrama is crazy, but PT Anderson just brought the house down with that one.

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

38) Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet. (Thanks, Rick!)
It is impossible to narrow it down to just 5. If I had to pick 5, it would have to be Directors. Hitchcock for sure. I would also like to meet Kubrick. Spielberg, Fincher and Tarantino.

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