Thursday, March 23, 2006

PROF. BRAINERD'S CHRISTMAS QUIZ-- THE ANSWERS (PART ONE: CELEBRITY SMACKDOWN)


Wow, and I thought I was late with the answers to the last quiz!

When I finalized the questions for Professor Brainerd’s Christmas Quiz, I had this feeling that they weren’t all that good or interesting a group of queries, that the inspiration was running a bit low as I attempted to cram the quiz in with everything else before getting the family holiday vacation underway. Well, however uninspired the questions may have been, it’s my pleasure to report that the answers submitted easily supplied the wit and intelligence to make up for whatever shortcomings were built into the enterprise. That’s why you’ll see, in this version of the Quiz Roundup, that I frequently felt more comfortable just giving you the original answer as it appeared in the comments column– no need to jazz things up on my end, and I’d probably just muck it if I tried. So let’s turn the Wayback Machine back about three months (three months?!) and take a look at the best of the crop, the cream of the best, your answers to Professor Brainerd’s 2005 Christmas Quiz.

First off, the Celebrity Smackdown Section:

Charlton Heston vs.George Kennedy
A little closer contest than I would have guessed it might be– Heston’s politics were a factor for a goodly number of voters, though his appearance in Planet of the Apes seems to make up for the whole NRA thing for several of you. Kennedy got his props too, mostly for The Naked Gun, the Airport movies and, of course, his Oscar-winning performance in Cool Hand Luke. (I was hoping someone would mention Charade, but at least Sal remembered Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.) Anyway, in a close contest here’s how the tally shook out among those who had a preference (and there were some who just threw up their hands):

HESTON 8 KENNEDY 6




“As the saying goes: ‘Charlton Heston is an axiom of cinema.’" - Peter Nellhaus

“Charlton Heston has the edge with me because his movies have made a bigger impact on me (Moses, Ben-Hur, Planet of the Apes) and a whole host of westerns including The Big Country. He also has a one of kind voice that makes him easy to listen to whenever he narrates a film. George always seemed to play second fiddle to other major actors, but he always made that movie better if he was in it.” - Murray

“Charlton Heston or George Kennedy? I don't know either of them well. To me, Chuck is primarily a gun-toting Moses. But George Kennedy looks like a nice guy. I'll pick him.” - Beege

“Charlton Heston...man, I love that guy, no matter my political/social disagreement with him--especially in The Omega Man, Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green. I'm telling you, I used to daydream of getting to meet him, when I was a kid. Finally I did go see him for a free noontime lecture at UCLA, and he was wonderfully affable and entertaining--and of course he delivered some bombastic Shakespearean speech, Prospero from The Tempest. Never half-assed, that guy.” - Blaaagh

“Heston, if only for his role in turning Touch of Evil into an Orson Welles movie (and, indeed, not only for that).” - Brian

“Ever since I saw Thunderbolt and Lightfoot George Kennedy literally stole my heart. In it he's masquerading as a ice cream man driving through a suburban neighborhood when he gets grilled by a smart-ass kid. George finally responds to this little smart-ass by telling him to go "fuck a duck." You gotta love him for that.” - Sal

“Charlton Heston to go hunting with, George Kennedy to go to Hometown Buffet with.” - Thom McGregor

“Kennedy both for his less obvious politics (allowing for the fact that they may be close to Heston's) and for his willingness to appear in the Naked Gun series. ‘The water's over there, Frank’ is one of my favorite throwaway lines that sends me into convulsions of laughter.” - Dave Robidenza

“Phil Hartman’s Chuck Heston bits on SNL (‘It’s people! Soylent Green is peeeeopllllle!’) pretty much did him in for me. Actually, Wink, I’d like to combine this question with the previous one and imagine for a moment that they swapped all their roles. I’d love to have seen Kennedy in Planet of the Apes.” - Mr. Middlebrow


Peter Cushing vs Christopher Lee
Whether you know them as Hammer horror greats or as veterans of the Star Wars trilogy, this contest inspired fierce loyalties and another tight race.

LEE 10 CUSHING 8


“Christopher Lee. Because his introduction of Meat Loaf on Saturday Night Live is simultaneously one of the best and funniest intros I have ever heard.” - Virgil Hilts

“Christopher Lee for a road trip to wine country in Northern California. Peter Cushing to maintain and manage the Death Star.” -Thom McGregor

“Like I’ve managed to concentrate any effort to study Hammer movies since Mr. Hand’s pop quiz. (Hey, can I get partial credit for identifying the Hammer connection?) Even though I’m not qualified to answer, I’m gonna say Christopher Lee, because Peter Cushing is nowhere to be seen in The Return of Captain Invincible.” - Psaga

“Time for a confession: I had NO idea who these guys were. I had to ask my geek husband, and he clued me in. Tarkin or Dooku...Tarkin or Dooku...gotta go with Tarkin. The name 'Dooku' sounds too much like 'Doofus'. Plus, well: Tarkin was just pretty damn cool for a bad guy.” - Beege


Ingrid Pitt vs. Barbra Steele
This one really separated the Famous Monsters of Filmland subscribers from the rest of the pack. But amongst those who knew their Black Sunday from their Vampire Lovers, it really wasn’t much of a contest:

BARBARA STEELE 7 INGRID PITT 1

















“I do not recognize either of these gals. They must be mistresses of the dark, scary movies that I have avoided since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” - Murray

“For those who don't know Barbara Steele or Ingrid Pitt, I recommend one film from each. Steele became the early ‘60s queen of horror in Mario Bava's Black Sunday. Ingrid Pitt was in some Hammer films in the early 70s. Countess Dracula has the most exposed breasts you'll see in a PG film!” - Peter Nellhaus

“I wasn't a huge Barbara Steele fan until I saw an interview with her and she is sharp as a tack.” - Nilblogette

“Steele. Those eyes!” - Machine Gun McCain

“Remington Steele.” - Beege

“Must go with Steele. From my North American perspective, Shivers beats TheWicker Man any day.” - Brian

“I gotta go with Barbara Steele. I'm a man, for Christ’s sake. If you’re a man, you gotta love Caged Heat...” - Sal

“Barbara has the eyes and the class, yet Ingrid wasn’t afraid to bare some skin. Who says I have to choose? The only correct answer is BOTH.” - Robert

“Sorry, my geek alert buzzer just went off, so I’m afraid I can’t answer that question. These ladies can’t hold a candle to Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. anyway.” - Peet

“Don't know either of them. So Pitt for olives, Steele for supporting structures.” - Thom McGregor

“Okay, you’re just making these up now, right? Just to flush out the posers?” - Mr. Middlebrow

“Barbara Steele, post-iron maiden, from Black Sunday (1960) is about as iconic, and strangely erotic, an image as Famous Monsters of Filmland ever repeatedly printed. But I never saw the movie until quite recently. Ingrid Pitt, however, was the stuff of prepubescent inspiration in such terrifically lurid and bosomy Hammer horror fare as The Vampire Lovers (1970) and Countess Dracula (1972), both of which hold up quite well as eros and as fright cinema some 35 years later.” - Dennis (Guess who cast the lone vote for Ingrid Pitt?)


Jason Lee vs. Jason Mewes
Setting Kevin Smith fans upon themselves didn't really turn out as bloody as I'd expected. I'd like to think that My Name is Earl played an unspoken role here, but never discount the power of Syndrome!

JASON LEE 9 JASON MEWES 6 JASON VOORHEES 1












"Insofar as Mewes pretty much plays Jason Mewes in every single film he's ever been in, I'm going with Jason Lee. Plus, I thought he was sort of hot, pre-Earl pimp 'stache." - Beege

"Anyone who can smoke like that and still deliver his lines is always the better actor. Jay wins." - Sal

"Mewes! He’s a berserker!" - Thom McGregor

"The real me, who dutifully tagged along on the annual comicon pilgrimage with my fanboy significant other, who dutifully sat through all of Kevin Smith’s movies up to and including the horrible, horrible Jay and Silent Bob Striike Back but who was unceremoniously dumped before having to sit through 2004’s Jersey Girl, would like to be considered a conscientious objector and exempted from taking sides.My stoner persona, however, would obviously pick Jason Mewes." - Psaga

"Much as I love Mewes’ shamelessly id-driven Jay hitting on Linda Fiorentino as all life as we know it is about to be snuffed out, in Dogma, Lee’s performance as Buddy/Syndrome in The Incredibles (on top of the rest of his work) tips the scale in his favor." - Mr. Middlebrow


Madeline Kahn vs. Teri Garr
In the battle of the Mel Brooks muses, it really wasn't much of a contest. There's an awful lot of good will out there for Teri Garr, but it turns out that nobody serves up those schnitzengrubers like Madeline Kahn... (Of course, the Mysterious Adrian Betamax opts to abstain in the most entertaining way!)

MADELINE KAHN 11 TERI GARR 3


"KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHNNNNN!" - Snake Plissken

"Argghh! You can't make me choose. No, I'm sorry, I can't choose one. This is even more difficult than Lee and Cushing." - Blaaagh

"Kahn. De Duva is the tiebreaker." - Virgil Hilts

"I guess I’m not American enough to answer that question." - Peet

"Kahn, by a Teutonic titwillow’s breadth." - Mr. Middlebrow

"Ick on both. Have slight fondness for Teri Garr for being involved in "One from the Heart," but really, is she an actress, or literally just the girl/woman next door? Madeline Kahn is annoying." - The Mysterious Adrian Betamax


Michelle Yeoh vs. Ziyi Zhang
Some saw this as a contest between young and old, some saw it as martial arts vs. dance, and one even saw it as a choice between dominant and submissive. It's hard to say that you could really go wrong either way, but voters did seem to have a clear preference.

MICHELLE YEOH 11 ZIYI ZHANG 3 MAGGIE CHEUNG 1


"Zhang. Watch The Road Home." - Dave Robidenza

"Yeoh. I've seen Wing Chun." - Brian


"I’m going to take this battle back to the caverns of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. And I’m going to say… Ziyi Zhang’s Stockholm syndrome—sexy; Shu Lien’s unrequited love—sexier." - Psaga

"Michelle Yeoh. She is so amazingly beautiful, and looks so REAL." - Beege

"I think Ziyi Zhang is really cute and all, but a Chinese co-worker told me she's really bitchy in interviews with Chinese journalists, but nice to American journalists, and besides Michelle Yeoh is truly beautiful, soulful, intelligent and sexy in a grown-up woman way, so I pick her." - Blaaagh

"This seems to me like a choice between dominant or submissive. I choose Zhang today, but may regret it tomorrow." - Peet (After seeing the picture of Michelle Yeoh I posted next to my answer, Peet posted the following comment: "I warned you I might regret my choice tomorrow, and since you posted that picture of Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang suddenly seems a tad less interesting to me. But that's just today...")

"Yeoh can kick Zhang's ass on her most off, middle-aged day." - Thom McGregor

"Michelle Yeoh will hopefully kill Zhang Ziyi soon." - The Mysterious Adrian Betamax


Okay, if these answers are ever going to see the light of day, I'm going to have to call it quits and post these tonight. The rest of the answers, 20 in all left to go, will be revealed in two (perhaps three) forthcoming sections. I promise not to take too long making them available! The Celebrity Smackdown section was really fun, and I can promise you that there are many good and hilarious items left. Stay tuned!

NEXT: Falling In Love With the Movies, Great Performances, Not-So-Great Performances and the Fear Factor.

18 comments:

blaaagh said...

Oh ho ho, this is fun...I am supposed to be working, but hey. I just laughed out loud again at the Mysterious A.B.'s answer to the last question. Keep it coming! I don't want to do all this work.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah, the MAB seemed especially cranky this go-around. It's getting hard to tell whether it's really an act or not! The rest of the answers were almost all good, so look for some very loooooong posts coming soon!

Dennis Cozzalio said...
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Dennis Cozzalio said...
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Dennis Cozzalio said...

(I think I got it right this time...!)

I decided to leave this for the comments column, but I do have a response to the MAB regarding his comments on Madeline Kahn and Teri Garr. I think it should be fairly obvious upon something more than a cursory glance at her work that Teri Garr is most certainly an actress, even if sometimes the roles she played veered close to “girl-next-door” territory. But my feeling is, even if she was just a girl next door, who wouldn’t want such a vibrant, sexy, good-humored and talented neighbor? Head, The Conversation, Young Frankenstein, The Absent-Minded Waiter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Black Stallion, Honky Tonk Freeway, One from the Heart, Tootsie, Firstborn, After Hours, Let It Ride-- not exactly movies to be ashamed of, and certainly some director over the course of all those roles—Coppola, Spielberg, or perhaps John Schlesinger-- surely would have been able to suss out that she really wasn’t an actress, if that were indeed the case. Here’s what I had to say about Garr among my own responses to Professor Brainerd:

“I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Teri Garr based on her flirtatious appearances on the Letterman show, and her sexy turns in Young Frankenstein and Tootsie. She’s always seemed to me the embodiment of Betty Cooper, sometime also-ran, sometime victor in the eternal yin-yang battle with Veronica Lodge for the affections of one Archie Andrews, and it occurs to me now she really reminds me of an older girl—a cheerleader-- I had a big, unrequited crush on in high school. After not seeing her for so long, Garr’s recent appearance on Letterman after a long absence (and a battle with multiple sclerosis) has reignited my affection for her.”

As for Madeline Kahn being annoying, well, one man’s “annoying” is another man’s brilliant comedienne who seemed imported straight, no chaser, from the classic era of screwball comedy. Me again, in regard to whether to choose her or Garr:

“Madeline Kahn is and always will be Lily Von Shtupp, and that tips the scales for me (‘I’m tired/Tired of playing the game/Ain’t it a fwiggin’ shame…’)”

blaaagh said...

I love both of 'em, too, and I think they're both really talented. I guess the M.A.B. just never caught the Garr bug; as for Kahn, I recommend he watch PAPER MOON, maybe my favorite of her performances (but now that I think of it, I haven't seen it myself in a long time, so maybe I ought to take my own advice).

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Oh, and just for the record, I enjoy the MAB's cranky persona, and I've always been glad he reads and participates in this craziness. He keeps things pretty darned interesting around here, and I've come to enjoy his outrage, feigned or for real.

- The Mysterious [Adr.ia]n B[Eta.Max] said...

My answers were the least interesting. Don't know what y'all are wasting time talking about me for. I don't often get excited about pictures of celebrities, but that picture of Michelle Yeoh is insanely provocative and has me really excited. She could crush Zhang Ziyi's head like a walnut between those sexy thighs.

As I read your defense of Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn, I felt an overwhelming sense of "Teri Garr still really sucks and Madeleine Khan is not funny and is also annoying." You mentioned "The Conversation," and I was like "Teri Garr isn't in that. What are you talking about?" I looked it up, and it appears she was in it, but, man, some impression she made! She's a real bland actress. Kahn is just annoying. Sorry, Blaagh, I'm not going to watch Paper Moon now that I know Madeline Kahn is in it. Dennis, those three directors you mentioned suck and would very easily have people who are not actors in their movies without realizing it (Spielberg has an endless parade of such automotons and cardboard cut-outs in all his movies, for Pete's sake! If they suck, he wants 'em. Good grief. Can't believe you mentioned him in her defense! And "perhaps John Schlesinger"?!? How about perhaps not! Give me a break!). Coppola was good at the time he made these movies with Teri Garr, so I'm not sure what happened there. I think he wanted a blank mannequin he could sort of paint on with his lights, so to speak.

Man, I hope these two ladies aren't reading your site. They'll think I'm a big jerk. Sorry, ladies. Don't take it personally. Y'all got money in the bank and probably shop at the same Gelson's as me, but can buy more than I can, so my opinion should really have no effect on your much happier lives. (By the way, I think I saw you once there, Teri! Oh, no, wait, I think that was Nancy Allen.)

Zhang Ziyi, on the other hand, if you are reading this, please go get your silly Hollywood-wannabe-walnut-head crushed by Michelle Yeoh! (And thanks to Blaagh for mentioning that Ziyi is rude to Chinese reporters but not Americans proving (as if her cloying oh-so-Hollywood acting style alone didn't already) that she is a 100% "I wanna be a big-time Hollywood star" phony.

- The Mysterious [Adr.ia]n B[Eta.Max]

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Olsen Johnson (Dennis) is right about Howard Johnson (MAB) being wrong about MK and TG not being actresses.

Although Terri Garr is no slouch in the comedic actress dept., I might stop short of calling her one of Mel Brooks' muses. She was in only one of his films (Young Frankenstein); Madeline Kahn was in four (YF, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, Hist. o/t World pt. 1.) If participation is a criterion for Mel Brooks muse-dom, you'd have to include Cloris Leachman. Not sure you want to go there (Bluecher! Whiiiinnnneeee!). Just sayin'. ;^)

But back to MAB, who said:
Man, I hope these two ladies aren't reading your site. They'll think I'm a big jerk. Sorry, ladies. Don't take it personally.

Don't think you have to worry much about Madeline Kahn there. She died of ovarian cancer in 1999.

Otherwise, this is the most fun I've had reading any blog anywhere. Thanks again for the quiz and the answers roundup, Dennis! I'm breathless with anticipation for the rest of it.

Thom McGregor said...

Yeah, MAB, nice going, Mr. Sensitive.

blaaagh said...

Haha--Mysterious A.B., you may think you write the least interesting answers, but I think they're often the most insightful, or at least the most entertaining. Even when I don't agree with you, you're pretty persuasive--I love your riff above on Spielberg and actors; there's a lot of truth in it.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Mr. M: You're right-- one appearance is not qualification as a Brooksian muse, no matter how delightful a comedienne one is. But if we are looking for a second to stand alongside Kahn, then maybe Leachman is the right tree up which to bark after all. Don't forget, in addition to Young Frankenstein she crossed Frau Blucher with Leopoldine Konstantin by way of Charlotte Rampling in The Night Porter and came up with the supremely creepy/funny Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety. And although I don't remember her specifically in it, our friends at IMDb confirm she was also Madame DeFarge in History of the World Part 1.

MAB: If someone or something sucks, well, what can I say? You've got me! I only wish Ms. Kahn were alive to give you a good tongue-wagging or finger-lashing or some other such appropriate punishment, like being forced to watch an endless loop of Close Encounters and Oh, God! rigged up all horrorshow like Alex in that Kubrick movie that probably isn't any good either! :)

p.saga said...

Dennis! Shu Lien - I meant "unconsummated," not "unrequited." I've only seen that flick, like, six times. I should know what I'm talking about. Way to unearth my stoopid mistake when it had been safely buried (and compulsively corrected) deep in the SLIFR basement!

Aw, shucks, this is much too much fun though. Hooray for the return of the Mysterious A.B., that lovable crank!

So what kinds of scholarships or financial aid are available to help me attend SLIFR U.? I'm thinking a sabbatical from work and duty during which to gorge myself on Hammer horror, study ANIMAL HOUSE (field trip - Eugene!), NASHVILLE... and so on and so forth.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

PSaga! I'm sorry! I know you made a correction, and I know I made notes to include it. But that's what comes from staying up too late, I think! For the record, everyone, PSaga do know the difference between "unrequited" and "unconsummated"!

I'm here at work tonight trying to catch up so I can post the rest of Brainerd's quiz answers tomorrow night. And then I can spring the new quiz on you all. I promise, it'll be a good one!

As for the scholarship program, I'm afraid it's limited to a very severe but extremely enjoyable reading list which I will gladly provide to you, plus a Viewer's Guide to Animal House, which I've been toying with, including a map (or at least an address listing) of all the major Eugene/Cottage Grove locations where filming took place. SLIFR U is a very financially strapped organization, and we're not above soliciting for donations, so perhaps a true scholarship program will be coming down the pike, especially for O.G. students like yourself, Blaaagh and a bunch of others. But if you want a list of titles, especially under the Hammer umbrella, you need only but ask, my dear...

I wonder what's playing at the Bijou?...

blaaagh said...

Sigh...ah, Eugene...and the Bijou. Er, wasn't I supposed to submit something to you, professor, for that Field Guide to ANIMAL HOUSE? What was it, again?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yet another long-gestating project-- I was hoping to do a round-up of anecdotes and such from our meories of the production, and PSaga's mention of Animal House tonight kind of jogged me that I'd also considered, at some point in the not-too-distant past, doing that map of all the locations as well. Perhaps we'll have an opportunity to do some field work on that sometime soon...

Dennis Cozzalio said...

"Meories" should be "memories," and not, as it might look, a chronic misspeller's anthropological approximation of the indigenous people of New Zealand.