Wednesday, March 29, 2006

PROFESSOR BRAINERD'S CHRISTMAS QUIZ-- THE ANSWERS (PART TWO: FALLING IN LOVE, GREAT and Not-So-Great PERFORMANCES and THE FEAR FACTOR)



Welcome to part two of the official round-up of questions for Professor Brainerd’s Christmas Quiz. It seems to take longer and longer with each new quiz to get these questions gathered into digestible form, even though this quiz is just a little over half as long as the last one from Professor Wagstaff. Why? Only my hairdresser knows for sure, and if you’re familiar with the male-pattern baldness that I pass off as a hairstyle, you’ll know just how far you can trust my hairdresser. So we’d best forget about precedent (and when I say “we’d,” I of course mean “I’d”) and instead worry only about the task at hand. In that spirit, let’s get on with it, shall we?

And since this is a class reunion of sorts, I thought might hand out a couple of awards to some of our participants. Pat yourselves on the back when I call your names:

FIRST QUIZ SUBMITTED: Roscoe
FURTHEST TRAVELED TO GET HERE: Peet, all the way from the Netherlands
THE GEORGE WILSON GENIAL CRANKPOT AWARD: The Mysterious Adrian Betamax, of course
PURTIEST CONTESTANT: Call me biased, but it’s gotta be Thom McG (sorry, Snake!)

Okay, enough of this silliness. Let’s get on to the officially sanctioned silliness. In case you want to do a little catch-up work, you can access a complete list of my answers to Professor Brainerd’s Christmas Quiz here. And if you want to check out the group’s answers to the Celebrity Smackdown section of the quiz that I posted last week, don’t bother with that troublesome scrolling down– just click here for instant gratification. In the interest of time, I’ve recreated the questions and then provided the answers, with my own commentary attached onto the ends of individual answers ONLY when I just couldn’t resist.

1) DESCRIBE THE MOMENT WHEN YOU KNEW YOU LOVED THE MOVIES
Here was a chance to reach down into the memory bag and try to come up with a specific moment that brought it all into focus for you, and the responses, short, long and longer, were good enough to leave me wanting even more.

“It was around the time Titanic came out and I was sitting in a theater. I wasn’t watching Titanic, but it may have been an epic/big budget type movie and I remember as I left the theater I realized that I couldn’t remember what I was doing for the two hours beforehand. I had gotten lost in the story and had no concept of myself. I remember at that moment thinking I want to do this again and I want to make other people feel this way.” - Roscoe


“Somewhere between when I first saw Dr. Strangelove and A Hard Day's Night, Fall 1964.” - Peter Nellhaus



“I was in first grade and my folks let me go to Walt Disney’s Sword in the Stone with a friend from school. I been hooked on movies ever since. Plus, it did not hurt that my favorite cousin was the biggest movie buff in town.” - Murray

“When that giant f-ing ‘S’ blasts in at the same moment the music hits a crescendo at the beginning of Superman. That still blows me away.” - Snake Plissken
(Have you seen the trailer for Superman Returns yet, my friend? I’ll be curious to hear what you think...)

“It’s a tough call, but the earliest memory of my love for the movies seems to have been after seeing Family Plot and trying to find out all about this Hitchcock fellow.” - Machine Gun McCain

"Lily Tomlin shrinking in The Incredible Shrinking Woman amazed me as a kid. Even though I can’t remember anything else about the movie now, my parents then gave me more Lily Tomlin movies to watch, which led to Steve Martin movies, and so on until I was as full-fledged a cinephile as I could be, before I knew there was such a thing as a director.” - Nilblogette
(I think TISW still holds up pretty well. The suspense in the sequence when Lily falls into the garbage disposal is close to unbearable, and it’s still a pretty clever satire of consumer culture.)

“Wow. I'm not really sure. Probably my first ever movie in a theater, which was The Jungle Book. My dad took me when I was quite small. I ate all the candy he smuggled in well before the opening credits started. I can remember being impressed by the sight of the screen and the HUGE curtain, the smell of the popcorn, the way the seats flipped up...all of it.” - Beege
(Beege, I can most definitely relate...)

“I think the drive-in did it for me. I'm sure I've told this one before, but we lived on a farm (we weren't farmers, but we did have chickens; our house was rented from the farmers so my dad could paint and write, and it was a ramshackle place with mice and lots of creepy, creaky corners), and before my youngest sister and brother were born, Dad took us all in the Plymouth station wagon to the drive-in to see Day of the Triffids and whatever co-feature I slept through. We had the back seat folded down, with sleeping bags and pillows, we were all in our pajamas, the night was warm, we played on the playground under the screen until the movie came on (or more likely the previews, or cartoon, or whatever), then ran back to the car. The screen was enormous (well hey, I was four, but I'll bet it was), and the Triffids were terrifying (again, I was four), and the color, the music, the excitement of the story onscreen and of the experience. I could pick any of several other moments when I realized movies were my favorite thing, many of them indoors, but this is the earliest memory I have of realizing that there was nothing more fun or exciting than watching a movie.” - Blaaagh

“There were many different moments of discovery, at many different levels. I suspect I was probably hooked when my dad took me to see Star Wars at age 4. I still can remember looking at those Cantina creatures from my four-year-old eyes. Though admittedly, I wasn't movie-obsessed as much as I was Star Wars obsessed until much later.” - Brian

“The film that kicked me in the head and made me love the movies was when I was in the beautiful Chinese Theater and FELT it shake, rattle and roll during the movie Earthquake in SENSURROUND!” - Sal

“The earliest moment that I can recall is upon seeing 2001, at an afternoon matinee – I’d read the Clarke novelization, read The Making of 2001, had the soundtrack, but had yet to actually see the film, until the chance came during one of the re-releases in the mid-70’s.” - Robert

“I was a 12-year old on a trip through Canada with my parents. We went to a screening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, along with my brother. I had been nuts about film for some time already, but that roller- coaster ride of a flick (the first Indiana Jones I ever saw) made me realize how deeply I was addicted to the movie experience. Probably because it’s a filmmaker’s tribute to the same addiction. Doom is still my favorite of the trilogy, despite what others say, and a testament to the glory days when Spielberg wasn’t ashamed to make Kate Capshaw scream like there’s no tomorrow. (He might still do it secretly if he's, like, really good in bed.)” - Peet

“The moment I knew I loved the movies was probably after seeing Disney's The World's Greatest Athlete at the Campus Theater across from Los Angeles City College. It was the first movie I remember that made me excited about movies. I'm sure it's a horrible "film," as I've never seen it again since I was a child. But it made me want to see more movies, which led, of course, to... Jaws!
(Actually, Thom, it’s pretty good, especially for early-to-mid 70s Disney comedies. If it ever comes out on DVD, I’m sure one of our daughters could provide a reasonable pretext for your buying it.)

“Never happened. Oh, wait, during Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Oh, wait, not that. Never mind.” - The Mysterious Adrian Betamax

“Sulking in the family room at age 13, having survived another day of middle school and gymnastics practice, eating Jell-O instant vanilla pudding straight out of the mixing bowl, and watching a worn-out videotape of the Kevin Sullivan Anne of Green Gables movie or its sequel for the tenth straight time, I realized that movies might well save me from myself.” - PSaga

“When the first battle cruiser surged across the screen in Star Wars.” - Sharon.

“Not a moment but an era: somewhere between 1976 and 1977, bookended by the De Laurentiis King Kong and Star Wars. To the best of my recollection, they were the first "grown-up" films (non-Disney) I ever saw. The latter and its pre-1997 sequels are, of course, responsible for me being in the business I'm in now (though not in the job I once dreamed about).” - Dave Robidenza
(One of the nice byproducts of the Peter Jackson King Kong is hearing a lot more people come out of the closet regarding their enjoyable of DeLaurentiis’s 1976 Kong. I saw it with my two best friends in high school, both of whom were slavishly devoted to the 1933 version, so much so that it was a foregone conclusion for them that any new version, and especially one that was as apparently sexed-up as this one, was going to be a bomb. We all went to see the 1976 Kong together, and although it took me a couple of weeks to get up the nerve, I finally risked some serious ridicule by admitting that I liked it, and quite a lot. I’ve always been embarrassed to recall that I didn’t come clean right away, but, hey, that’s high school peer pressure for you, I guess.)

“Sometime between summers of ‘75 and ’77. That’s a long ‘moment,’ I know. Through an odd combination of fate and nepotism, I landed a part-time job running the projectors at The State, an All Seats $0.99, second-run theater in Oregon City, Oregon. I was 11. Mind you, these were the waning days (at least at The State) of alternating, carbon-arc fired projectors running 20-minute reels. Remember the little cue dots that would flash in the upper right hand corner?

Not only did I get to see multiple screenings of kiddie matinee fare—Abbott & Costello meet the _______, lots of Disney live-action stuff, The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie, etc., I also got a survey course in ‘70s cinema: Jaws, Young Frankenstein, the early/funny Woody Allen (Love and Death and Take the Money and Run), and a raft of random mid-70s flicks: Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, American Graffiti, White Line Fever, Gator, White Lightning, Walking Tall, Food of the Gods, Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry, Mother, Jugs and Speed, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Eiger Sanction, Silver Streak, etc. Most of it was borderline to wholly inappropriate for a pre-teen. But it sure beat the hell out of a paper route. Especially since, along with wolfing down my weight in popcorn and soda (or pop as we called it then), I made enough money (@ $1.10/hr.!) to buy a sweet 10-speed. The bike is long gone but the impression of those movies on the screen in my head, along with screams of ‘Focus!,’ is as vivid as ever.

Of course, ’77 was also the Year One of my cinephilia, on account of a little indie sleeper called Star Wars. Which really just makes Revenge of the Sith feel all the more like a betrayal. WTF, George?! You were supposed to be the chosen one!

Fast-forward to 1986, when I discovered the Coen bros. I’m hooked for life.” - Mr. Middlebrow
(Mr. M, you had me at Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and kept me with White Line Fever, White Lightning, Food of the Gods, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and Gone in 60 Seconds.)

2) WHAT PROP OR COSTUME FROM A FILM DO YOU MOST COVET?

“The new Batmobile.” - Snake Plissken

“Chuck Yeager’s A2 (leather flight jacket) from The Right Stuff.” - Mr. Middlebrow

“I would love to have a Zardoz mask – and the stone head to set out as a yard decoration.” - Robert

“I don't really long for any prop or costume, but I'd be more than thrilled to have, for example, the little piano Dooley Wilson played in Casablanca, which you and I saw at the Warner Bros museum on the tour in '99. Just looking at it made me imagine being there while they were shooting it and being among those people, in that time. I guess it might be cool to have the Pazuzu statue that Father Merrin faced off with in Iraq in The Exorcist--I could put it out in the back yard. haha--Pattie would insist on planting jasmine to grow all over it--in the unlikely event she even allowed it in the house.” - Blaaagh
(Imagine the yard decorating you and Robert could do together.)

“A Toho flying monster, preferably Rodan.” - Peter Nellhaus
(Nice one, Peter! I’d take Ghidrah, maybe Brian would take Godzilla, and we could stage a Monster Zero rematch in Robert and Blaaagh’s yard amongst the Zardoz and Pazuzu statuary.)

“I always liked that helmet ammo belt and tommy gun that Sgt Chip Saunders aka Vic Morrow used to wear in the TV series Combat.” - Murray

“Peter Fonda’s dark glasses from The Wild Angels.” - Machine Gun McCain

“Either Steve Martin’s dental equipment in Little Shop of Horrors, or Jeremy Irons’ gynecologist tools for use on mutant women in Dead Ringers. Wait, you say those are the same props?” - Brian

“The obvious answer would be either Luke's or Obi-Wan's light saber from Star Wars. The obscure answer would be the Sex Panther (By Odeon) cologne bottle and matching presentation box from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” - Dave Robidenza

“You know, now that I’ve got a cheese grater like the one Amelie de Montmartre uses, I’m cool in this category. Just don’t ask me what movie poster I most covet, whatever you do.” - Psaga
(I’m sorry, but you know what one of the questions on the next quiz is going to be, don’t you?)

“I'd like that picture taking box from Dressed to Kill. I love the movie and feel like, because De Palma was a science and math geek, he probably designed it himself.” - Nilblogette

“I don't understand wanting costumes. When I worked for a studio in the '80s, I'd go to used clothing stores in Burbank selling stuff worn once or twice by actors in movies and TV shows. Just looked like used clothes to me. Prop? Maybe that big silver ball passed around at that party in Sleeper?” - Thom McGregor
(Yeah, get that!)

“I would love to have one of those motion trackers that the colonial marines used to track the xenomorphs in James Cameron's Aliens.” - Sal

“I’ll take any of James Bond’s cars, with our without Q’s upgrades.” - Sharon

“The Aston Martin in Goldfinger. However, if Lesley Ann Warren's red T-Bird in Choose Me comes equipped with Lesley Ann Warren...” - Virgil Hilts

“A Legolas costume from Lord of the Rings, as long as Orlando Bloom is still inside it.” - Beege

“The miniature maze in The Shining, because I love to get lost in that movie. For some dark reason, the Lament Configuration Puzzlebox from Hellraiser is another thing that comes to mind.” - Peet
(Somebody make sure Peet doesn’t get anywhere near a pin cushion, okay?)

3) TAKE A FAMOUS ROLE AND RECAST IT (for example, Audrey Hepburn instead of Andie McDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral)

Here’s part of what I said in my own answer to this question: “Virgil and Brian both latched onto the not-so-hidden subtext of my including this question, but if we’re gonna play this game, then I think Sal has the right idea—recasting roles with long-dead performers, or performers unlikely to ever be cast in an actual remake, so as to better detach oneself to an important degree from this all-consuming trend of remaking absolutely everything. Just to test the limits of an audience’s empathy, how about a Dr. Strangelove-era Sterling Hayden in the Bill Murray role, and Shelley Duvall, straight out of Brewster McCloud, as Scarlet Johannsen in a remake of Lost in Translation? If nothing else, Duvall could convince you of the woman’s desperation and boredom (and she’d certainly cast that movie’s opening credits in a decidedly different light), and Hayden could sell the hell out of that Suntory whiskey while making the protagonist’s attitude toward his Japanese hosts a hell of a lot more difficult to deal with or rationalize.”

Here’s how everyone else responded:

Murray wants to see Clint Eastwood take over duties from John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn; similarly, Peter had a dream back in te 70s of remaking Rio Bravo with James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Diana Ros and Michael Jackson; Snake wants to oust Anthony Hopkins from The Silence of the Lambs and install the O.G. Lecter, Brian Cox, whereas Beege would like to see Ralph Fiennes take a crack at the fava bean connoisseur; Sal says bring back Bruce Lee, at the age he would be now, as Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequels; Blaagh wants to see what James Dean would do as Luke Skywalker; Robert votes for Cruise and Kidman in a remake of Andrezj Zulawski’s Possession; Peet thinks Tim Burton’s Batman would have been even better had Michael Keaton played Batman and the Joker; Sharon would like to see John Hurt inserted into the first two Harry Potter movies as Dumbeldore; and Thom McGregor, truly a woman after my own heart, asks to see Carole Lombard in any role Charlize Theron or Halle Berry ever did. (Except maybe Monsters Ball, okay, Thom?)

And then there’s Machine Gun McCain: “Hugh Grant in the Henry Fonda role and Andie MacDowall in the Barbara Stanwyck role in a horrible remake of Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve."

Nilblogette had this to say: “The other day, I was thinking, ‘What if Ben Stiller and John Cusack had become action heroes off of Hot Pursuit?’ Thus, maybe John Cusack instead of Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds. The Tim Robbins scenes might not have been as intolerable if his best friend John Cusack was opposite him.”

Finally, the two comments that best summed up this category for me. First, Brian:

“Let’s see, how about putting Robert Mitchum in DeNiro’s role in Cape Fear, or Tony Perkins in the role Vince Vaughn made famous in Psycho, or Michael Caine in the signature Marky Mark movie The Italian Job (he might be pretty good with Sly’s role in Get Carter or Jude Law’s role in Alfie too). And there’s this relatively unknown Lithuanian actor named Donatas Banionas who could have nailed Clooney’s part in Solaris if given half a chance… I think I’ve got the knack for this!”

And the last word goes to Virgil Hilts: “Isn't this precisely the problem with movies today?”

5) BEST PERFORMANCE IN AN OTHERWISE TERRIBLE MOVIE
Julian Beck, Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Peet)
Ian McDiarmid, Return of the Jedi (Brian)
Owen Wilson, Zoolander (Peter Nellhaus)
Ken Norton, Mandingo (Snake Plissken)
Robert Davi, The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss (Nilblogette)
Rodney Dangerfield, Natural Born Killers, Marcia Gay Harden, P.S., Welcome to Mooseport (Dennis)
Faye Dunaway, Mommie Dearest, Uta Hagen, The Boys from Brazil (Blaaagh)
Frank Oz, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Sal)
Rachel Weisz, The Mummy (Thom McGregor)
Robert Downey Jr. The Gingerbread Man (Sharon)
Bobcat Goldthwait, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (Mr. Middlebrow)
William Hickey, Forget Paris (Dave Robidenza)
Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth, The Natural
Paul Newman, Message in a Bottle (Beege)
Austin Pendelton, Christmas with the Kranks (Machine Gun McCain)
Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump (Murray)
Johnny Depp, The Ninth Gate, Secret Window (Roscoe)

The last word in this category goes to Psaga: “John C. Reilly’s terrific performance in Magnolia only increased my wrath toward P.T. Anderson and his mess of a movie.”
Psaga, you and Blaagh may commiserate while I go off and mope in the corner.

6) WORST PERFORMANCE IN A FAMOUS REVERED OR OTHERWISE GREAT MOVIE

Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady, George Chakiris, West Side Story (Virgil Hilts)
Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Thom McGregor)
Joaquin Pheonix, Gladiator (Sharon)
Andie McDowell, Groundhog Day (Mr. Middlebrow)
John Travolta, Pulp Fiction (Murray)
Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction (Peet)
Talia Shire, The Godfather (Dennis)
Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind (“She was so much better in Streetcar”) (Beege)
Edward G. Robinson,The Ten Commandments (Sal)
Mickey Rooney, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Blaagh)
Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man (Robert)
Henry Fonda, War and Peace (Peter Nellhaus)

“Mickey Rooney as the bucktoothed, coke-bottle-spectacled, camera-lovin', speech-impaired "Jap" in the beloved Breakfast at Tiffany's. God, that character and performance make my skin crawl-- but then, that whole movie makes my skin crawl.” - Snake Plissken

“Mark Hamill in Return of the Jedi. Not that the Star Wars films were ever known for stellar examples of the thespian craft, but some of his line readings are high-school theater bad.” - Dave Robidenza

“I love Orlando, until cheesy, greasy Billy Zane comes along and puffs his chest and wiggles his eyebrows and ruins everything. Come to think of it, I love Twin Peaks until John Justice Wheeler comes along and wiggles his eyebrows at Audrey Horne and ruins everything. Damn that Billy Zane. (But bless the IMDb! Can any of y’all Hannibal Lecter fans recommend this gem from the Billy Zane oeuvre: Il Silenzio Dei Prosciutti [The Silence of the Hams]?)” - PSaga

“Trying to come up with an answer to this category I realized just how forgiving I am of “bad” acting in great movies. For example, as stilted and unnatural as many a Hitchcock actor might have seemed, such performances tend to have no ill effect on, and usually are beneficial to, his films’ overall impact. So I thought I’d use this space to beat up a little on a 'great' movie that many 'revere' but that I never connected with. I like The Gold Rush, I like Modern Times and I love The Circus, but City Lights just never did it for me (except for the boxing scene), and Virginia Cherrill‘s performance as the blind girl in particular is simply unwatchable (so to speak).” - Brian

“It seems too mean to say Walter Brennan in a whole bunch of great films, so I'll go with Rebecca Romijn in Femme Fatale. I do think Femme Fatale is a great movie, but she makes it hard to watch.” - Nilblogette

“See most of the Academy Award-winners of the past few years.” - Machine Gun McCain

8) FAVORITE WALTER HILL MOVIE

The Warriors seems the clear favorite among our bunch, getting votes from Murray, Snake Plissken, Nilblogette, Brian, Sal (who also throws some love out to The Long Riders and Extreme Prejudice) and Robert (who also throws some love out to The Long Riders and Southern Comfort).

Southern Comfort also gets a mention from Blaagh, who qualifies his pick by stating that he’s really not much of a Walter Hill fan. Machine Gun McCain also picked Southern Comfort with no such qualification attached.

Streets of Fire showed some strength, getting picks from Peter and Mr. Middlebrow, who also threw in for 48 Hrs., as did Sharon.

Dave Robidenza splits hairs and offers up Aliens, since Walter Hill gets a story credit, as a way of avoiding being forced to choose Red Heat.

And Virgil picks one from the heart (and the solar plexus): Hard Times.
Here’s the Mysterious Adrian Betamax: “Walter Hill = hack. But I'll choose Brewster's Millions for fun.”

“I know that I respect him, but I'm not sure why. I guess it would be between The Long Riders, because of Ry Cooder's great soundtrack and the really cool long coats the bandits wore, and Streets of Fire, only because of the super-cool Willem Dafoe.” - Thom McGregor

And to finish thing off in this category, Peet draws a little blood, which is somehow fitting for this director: “Favorite Walter Hill movie? The one just before he started making them, when they were still called Sam Peckinpah movies. I feel Walter Hill has never made a movie that lived up to his obvious directorial flourish, which wasn’t so groundbreaking to begin with. I’m not a Hill hater; his movies just don’t stick with me.”

9) FAVORITE MUSICAL SCORE FROM A MOVIE



















Zbigniew Priesner Bleu, The RZA, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (PSaga)
Thomas Newman, Meet Joe Black, David Amran, The Manchurian Candidate (Peter)
Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Sound of Music (“I make no apologies. It's F-ing great.”) (Snake Plissken)
John Williams, the Star Wars trilogy (Dave)
John Williams, 1941 (Dennis)
John Williams, The Empire Strikes Back (Brian)
John Williams, Jaws (Sal)
Riz Ortolani, Cannibal Apocalypse (Machine Gun McCain)
Randy Edelman, Trevor Jones, The Last of the Mohicans (Beege)
Jerome Moross, The Big Country, Bernard Hermann, Fahrenheit 451, Ennio Morricone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Robert)
Taro Iwashiro, Memories of Murder, James Newton Howard, The Village, Cliff Martinez, Solaris, Alexandre Desplat, Birth (Peet)
Thomas Newman, The Shawshank Redemption, Meet Joe Black, Road to Perdition (Sharon)
Max Steiner, Gone With the Wind (Blaaagh)
David Holmes, Ocean’s Eleven, Philip Glass, Koyaaniqatsi, anything by Lalo Schifrin (Mr. Middlebrow)
Ennio Morricone, Days of Heaven, Jerome Moross, The Big Country, Mark Knopfler, Local Hero, Elmer Bernstein, The Magnificent Seven
Goblin, Suspiria (Nilblogette)

Wings of Desire, but that would be the entire SOUND track-- Nick Cave's songs, the orchestral track, voices going in and out, traffic and construction noise. And Being John Malkovich by Carter Burwell, spot-on perfectly suited to the weird, sad, hilarious, wistful film. Oh, and Danny Elfman’s score for Pee Wee's Big Adventure.” - Thom McGregor

And finally, the Mysterious Adrian Betamax: “Pick a favorite musical score from every movie ever made? Take a hike, buster! (The M.A.B. then capitulates- Ed.) I'll pick Casino Royale's score as the most brilliantly insane musical score from any movie. And it's not a great movie.”

10) DESCRIBE THE MOST SCARED YOU’VE EVER BEEN IN A MOVIE THEATER, OR THE SCARIEST MOMENT YOU RECALL SEEING IN A MOVIE

Peter Nellhaus says, “The first time I saw Repulsion,” and if you’ve seen Repulsion not a whole lot more needs to be said. (If you haven’t, it’s on DVD).



Here’s what some of the rest of the class had to say:

“Either sneaking in (underage) to see Alien, and when the creature bursts out of John Hurt's chest, covering my ears, closing my eyes and understanding for the first time what "Rated R" meant. Also, watching Raging Bull in Hollywood, with just a few people in the audience, one of whom went into some kind of testosterone and/or drug-fueled rage of excitement during any bloodletting boxing scene. I thought we were all gonna die.” - Thom McGregor

“In the theater, my scariest moment actually shouldn't have been scary - the ghost flying toward the screen at the beginning of Ghostbusters. I was expecting a comedy! As legitimate scares go, the underwater scene in Argento's Inferno is just behind the old crone in bathtub in The Shining-- both are ghoul/water double threats.” - Nilblogette

“I was exposed to a great deal of horror films early on in life, so there are quite a few to choose from. I’d seen the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre” when I was but a wee one and it scared the daylights out of me.” - Machine Gun McCain

“I was 19 or so and had just moved to a new town (Klamath Falls) where we lived in a tiny apartment complex behind the old Tower Theater. My wife had not yet made the move so I was all by myself. I went to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre which just scared the living daylights out of me. I can remember being especially aware of my surroundings after watching that movie and I remember hurrying back to the apartment and locking, double locking, or maybe even triple locking if there is such a thing all the doors and windows of the apartment. It took several hours for me to calm down enough to get some sleep. Since this movie I have not watched but a handful of horror films.” - Murray

“My brother and I went to see Michael Cimino's Year of the Dragon at a multiplex in Monterey Park, CA. We were two of maybe a dozen non-Asians in a packed theater, and we weren't sure if we should leave the movie before the end credit roll or if we sit through all the credits and hope that the theater emptied out. In either case, we were sure we were going to get our butts kicked in the parking lot because a lot of people in the audience were not too happy with what they had just seen on the screen.” - Virgil Hilts

“There is an extremely chilling moment in Ole Bornedal’s Nattevagten (the superior Danish original of the lame Hollywood remake Nightwatch that starred Ewan McGregor), in which a girl investigates the room of somebody who is likely to be the story’s killer, and slowly but surely realizes he’s hiding behind the very door she entered through a minute before. It’s a moment that made all the hairs in my neck stand up, reminiscent to Nancy Allen’s bathroom scene in Dressed to Kill.” - Peet

“I went to see Carrie at the Bagdad Theater in Portland upon its release in 1976 (it was October, as I recall) with some of my buddies, and it was one of the most intensely emotional movies I had seen (funny as that sounds!)--but when her arm popped up out of the grave/pile of charcoal briquets at the end and grabbed hold of Amy Irving, I'm sure I was literally scared out of my seat, and I'm pretty sure I--well, not screamed, but let's say I let out a yell of terror. At least I was hardly the only one who reacted that way in the theater, nor was I alone among my friends in losing all semblance of composure.” - Blaagh

“The most scared I've ever been in a theater: When I was on a date with a young man and he kept putting popcorn in my ears and calling me ‘mom’. *shiver*” - Beege

“The blood-in-the-Petri-dish scene in John Carpenter’s The Thing. I've seen that movie half a dozen times, and that scene never fails to make me crazy with fear and tension. I almost can't take it.” - Snake Plissken

“The TV ads for The Exorcist were enough to give me nightmares as a freshly confirmed Catholic kid. Which might explain my general aversion to horror pics—especially anything satanic.” - Mr. Middlebrow

“The TV movie Dark Night of the Scarecrow (featuring Darkman's Larry Drake in a pre-L.A. Law mentally-challenged role) freaked my mother, brother, and I out so much that we slept in the same bed that night. And get your minds out of the gutter.” - Dave Robidenza

“Watching The Haunting, after coming come from school on an afternoon matinee – Alone. In the house. The sequence with the face in the wall and Julie Harris discovers that Claire Bloom has not been holding her hand. Not something I’d do again” - Robert

“I have a severe detachment from myself while watching a movie so I don’t get scared much, but I will go with the suicidal kid scene in The Sixth Sense.” - Roscoe

“In 1972 I was 11 years old and my father took my little brother and I to a drive-in theater, the old Whittier Drive-in, to see The Legend of Boggy Creek. The scene where one of the characters goes to the bathroom and is sitting on the toilet when suddenly this Bigfoot creature breaks the window in that room really scared the piss outta me.” - Sal (Your first encounter with interactive entertainment?)

"I remember going to a May Fair at my church as a kid. For some reason one of the entertainments there was that they were playing clips from (mostly) recent films on a screen set up in the choir room. I remember sitting through clips from Flash Gordon, a Superman movie and The Three Caballeros before they played a few scenes from Alien. It culminated, of course, with the scene where John Hurt’s chest gets ripped open. Terrified, I ran from the room and don't think I ever set foot in a theater playing a horror movie for at least ten years. The image of the alien coming out of his body haunted me until I finally watched the full movie on video at age 25 or so.” - Brian

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Folks, I tried, I really tried to get this wrapped up tonight, but here it is, almost 2:00 am, and I’ve still got about 11 questions to cover. So, in the spirit of delayed gratification, I pray you hold tight for part three. Coming next: “Holidays, Hams, Crushes, Wishes and Everything In-Between.” And coming right after that– get your pencil sharpened for Professor Van Helsing’s Spring Surprise Midterm!

8 comments:

Sharon said...

I must amend my answer to question six: WORST PERFORMANCE IN A FAMOUS REVERED OR OTHERWISE GREAT MOVIE. I did not read the question correctly, and do not want the world to think that I think Gladiator is in any way, shape or form a 'great' movie. It's not great; it's not even good, for crying out loud. But Joaquin's performance, like the movie itself, garnered such inexplicable praise that it baffles me to this day.

Also, love the quizzes, Dennis. I know it's a shitload of work for you, but I love reading everyone's responses. Keep it up. I'll always be willing to play!

Brian said...

Did you take a peek at my results from this quiz?

Who's gonna be Mothra?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Sharon: It's also a shitload of fun. The new quiz will hopefully be up by this weekend!

Brian: I'm pretty sure Blaaagh would gladly don the Mothra gear! And I going to head over to take that quiz right now. Are your results posted on your site?

Brian said...

no, I have no idea how you would have learned my results, unless you're some kind of brainiac IP address tracker

Hint: when I took the quiz I was very hungry.

Mr. Middlebrow said...

Dennis,

This is indeed a shitload of fun. So much so that it's probably a good thing that you're breaking it up. It's already like eating a dozen Krispy Kremes--the whole thing at once would be like bingeing on three dozen.

This:
Sal says bring back Bruce Lee, at the age he would be now, as Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequels
is pure, unvarnished genius.

Much as I love Sam Jackson, anyone would be an improvement over him and his purple Kangol lightsabre. 'course, no matter how inspired the casting, it's going to be putting lipstick on a pig as long as Lucas is running the show.

blaaagh said...

Ah, I'll bet you thought I hadn't commented yet because I was miffed at not having been among those receiving awards at the beginning of this installment. But no, it's only because I've been too busy to actually read the whole thing until today!

I particularly loved reading people's falling-in-love-with-the-movies moments. Striking how many of the movies are considered not very good by the whatever, conventional wisdom. I don't think I had seen Mr. Middlebrow's replies before, but I was interested to learn that, like me, he had some of his earliest work experiences as a projectionist at Portland-area movie theaters; also, the State Theater, in Oregon City, was the very place I saw "The Jungle Book" (upon its initial release, so obviously I'm a bit older than Mr. Middlebrow) and co-hit "Charlie the Lonesome Cougar" with most of my siblings and several first cousins. Most of us had no money for snacks, but my cousin David had been given a bunch of money for treats, and by some divine justice, he ended up puking up all the ice cream, candy, popcorn and soda (yes, "pop" was what we called it) that the rest of us had coveted.

I do think Robert and I ought to start our own Science Fiction and Monster Garden Statuary business. I would be happy to dress as Mothra.

My favorite answers may have been in the category "Best Performance in an Otherwise Terrible Movie." Some very sharp observations...where do you find your readers?? Kudos to Peet for remembering Julian Beck in "Poltergeist II."

My emotions went on a roller coaster with the answers to the opposing category, "Worst performance in an otherwise..." I'm sorry, Virgil Hilts and Beege, I respect your opinions, but I can't see how anyone can think that Rex Harrison didn't give a great performance in "My Fair Lady," and that goes double for Vivien Leigh in "Gone With the Wind," one of the greatest, most memorable performances of all time, in my opinion. BUT, to each his or her own. I do heartily agree with Thom (Meryl in "French Lieutenant's Woman"), Sharon (Joaquin Phoenix in "Gladiator") and especially Psaga (the terrible Billy Zane in anything).

I gotta stop writing this, or it will get as long as one of your posts, Dennis, and nowhere near as entertaining. But thanks to all for the great scary-movie moments, and I have to say I'm finally going to screw up my courage and see "Repulsion," though I've been scared to see it since my folks used to tell me about it when I was a kid.

blaaagh said...

Damn...I killed the comments again!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Haha! You are an insane old man, aren't you? I was afraid I'd killed the blog itself by not having posted anything for five days!

I'd wondered if you'd ever been to the State Theater in Oregon City. Being a Milwaukee man, I figured the odds were good.

I liked Peet's observation about Julien Beck too. I'd completely forgotten he was in that piece of crap. As for where I get my readers, I have to say I'm just lucky! As a friend of mine who lurks here but who has yet to comment wrote to me a couple of days ago, it's really fun to read the observations, all collected together, of a bunch of inteligent, like-minded (which is not the same thing as similarly opinionated, thank heavens!) people. I really do feel like I'm lucky to have such a collection of regulars who stop by to participate in all this! I hope my heretofore silent friend will soon choose to jump in as well.

See Repulsion!

(I'm working at home today, but I shall e-mail you too. We need to update!)