"It's not that Donald Sutherland's Professor Jennings is necessarily a great teacher, it's that amidst all the National Lampoon-style zaniness and goings-on of Animal House, he manages to embody a quintessential aspect of the college experience: the washed up artist trapped inside the dank, tangled world of academia. Two moments spring to mind. First is Jennings attempting to elicit some insight from his freshman students regarding Milton's Paradise Lost. When that's met with vintage freshman silence, he first grudgingly admits that Milton's boring, then exasperatedly yells, 'That doesn't excuse you from this material! I'm serious! This is my job!' The other is when he gets stoned with three students and confesses that teaching is just his day job while he's finishing the novel he started eight years ago. One student says that it must be very good; Jennings tells you his entire life story with the sentence, 'It's a piece of shit.' We like to think that if the world of Animal House were real and persistent, Jennings would still be working on his piece of shit."
— John Constantine and Peter Smith
Well, it seems the SLIFR University staff managed to finagle themselves a semester off, as there ended up not being a back-to-school autumn quiz to follow up Professor Julius Kelp’s Endless Summer Chemistry Test. But there need be no more worry—the newest addition to the faculty has come up with what I believe is the best, most comprehensive, most probing and, yes, most demanding quiz yet. I’m proud to introduce well-known literature professor David Jennings, here on loan from Faber College in Pennsylvania, who is taking a break from his regular teaching duties, and from wrestling with that novel (yes, he’s still wrestling with it 44 years later), in order to head up this new exam. Professor Jennings promises no references to John Milton, though he emphasizes he would not be averse to any answers that go so far as to address the possibility of the existence of alternate galaxies small enough to exist within a single molecule on the tip of one’s fingernail. And due to repercussions stemming from an ugly incident which occurred on the Faber College campus back in 1962 involving several students and members of the staffs of philosophy and metaphysical sciences departments, he would like the student body to know that he will not be making marijuana available to anyone taking this test, either for a price or as a gift. So now, with those potentially uncomfortable issues faced down, it’s time to sharpen your pencils (take your pencils out of your nose, Mr. Blutarsky, thank you) and submit yourself to Professor Dave Jennings’ Milton-Free, Universe-Expanding Holiday Midterm. Blue books open, and begin!
(Please remember, when answering the questions in the comments section, to copy and paste the questions as well. Thanks!)
1) What was the last movie you saw, either in a theater or on DVD, and why?
2) Name the cinematographer whose work you most look forward to seeing, and an example of one of his/her finest achievements.
3) Joe Don Baker or Bo Svenson?
4) Name a moment from a movie that made you gasp (in horror, surprise, revelation…)
5) Your favorite movie about the movies.
6) Your Favorite Fritz Lang movie.
7) Describe the first time you ever recognized yourself in a movie.
8) Carole Bouquet or Angela Molina?
9) Name a movie that redeems the notion of nostalgia as something more than a bankable commodity.
10) Favorite appearance by an athlete in an acting role.
11) Favorite Hal Ashby movie.
12) Name the first double feature you’d program for opening night of your own revival theater.
13) What’s the name of your revival theater?
14) Humphrey Bogart or Elliot Gould?
15) Favorite Robert Stevenson movie.
16) Describe your favorite moment in a movie that is memorable because of its use of sound.
17) Pink Flamingoes-- yes or no?
18) Your favorite movie soundtrack score.
19) Fay Wray or Naomi Watts?
20) Is there a movie that would make you question the judgment and/or taste of a film critic, blogger or friend if you found out they were an advocate of it?
21) Pick a new category for the Oscars and its first deserving winner.
22) Favorite Paul Verhoeven movie.
23) What is it that you think movies do better than any other art form?
24) Peter Ustinov or Albert Finney?
25) Favorite movie studio logo, as it appears before a theatrical feature.
26) Name the single most important book about the movies for you personally.
27) Name the movie that features the best twist ending. (Please note the use of any “spoilers” in your answer.)
28) Favorite Francois Truffaut movie.
29) Olivia Hussey or Claire Danes?
30) Your most memorable celebrity encounter.
31) When did you first realize that films were directed?
(I cribbed this one from The House Next Door. Thanks, Matt! Great question!)