Thursday, March 15, 2007

PROFESSOR IRWIN COREY'S FOREMOSTLY AUTHORITATIVE SPRING BREAK MOVIE QUIZ

Those of you who are old enough to have whiled away after-school afternoons with The Mike Douglas Show won’t have any trouble remembering the latest professor to join the esteemed staff here at SLIFR U—the foremost authority on just about any subject, Professor Irwin Corey. Corey’s comedy career stretches back a good deal further than an afternoon talk show from the ‘60s, however—he started in the ‘30s, and his marks can be found at the roots of what is now known as improvisational comedy. According to writer Jim Kniepel,

“Professor Irwin Corey may not be a familiar name to the young people of today, but he’s a landmark. Beginning in the 30s, he singlehandedly, I dare say, invented improvisational comedy as we know it. Corey doesn’t script his act–he just goes onstage and riffs. But he more than riffs. As ‘The World’s Foremost Authority,’ he lectures in a rambling mishmash of important-sounding double-talk (injected with wise one-liners) that at least seems to be about something very important.

He can ad lib Shakespeare, scrutinize the Bible or explain, eventually, why people wear shoes. He’s also, over the years, added a number of aphorisms to the American lexicon (though he rarely gets proper credit). ‘Wherever you go, there you are,’ was not first uttered by Buckaroo Banzai. And it wasn’t Al Capone who instructed, ‘You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.’ I’m not real sure who ‘If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going’ has been attributed to, but that’s Corey’s as well.

Forgive me for going on here, but in Corey, you could say, you find not only a history of entertainment in the 20th century, but a history of the 20th century, period.”


Corey’s record with movies is somewhat spottier. He appeared with Candice Rialson in Chatterbox and briefly in Woody Allen’s The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. But Professor Irwin Corey’s best-known film appearance was probably as himself (basically), a rumpled, disheveled, half-demented customer who is mistaken for a mad bomber by the hysterical employees at the Car Wash.

But if movie stardom always evaded the Professor (and if he never pursued it), there is always comedy, and at 87 years old he is still mining laughs and making money doing it. Which I why he has decided to grace us with his presence here this spring and introduce a brand-new movie quiz for the dedicated quiz-takers at SLIFR-- because he can. So sit back, relax, bring along a few sharpened pencils, your sharpest wit and your sincerest desire to do well, and plunge in to Professor Irwin Corey’s Foremostly Authoritative Spring Break Movie Quiz.

Please remember to include the questions when submitting your answers in the comments column. And remember also, eyes on your own papers, because wherever you go, the Professor will be watching, and there you and he will be! Ready? Begin.

*************************************************************************************

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

89 comments:

Dan E. said...

Should I give two favorite Oscar moments? Post the same one twice? Pretend Question 28 doesn't exist?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Thanks, Dan! Just one'll do. The Professor apologizes and will now make question 28 disappear.

Adam Ross said...

You're making me choose between Warren Oates and Bruce Dern!? You're a cruel man, but fair!

Between this and the NCAA Tournament, today may be my least productive day at work ever, and that's saying something.

Dave said...

1) A: One of my favourites, “Dr. Strangelove”. It only took me 2 viewings though.

2) A: Clint Eastwood as a director. Absolutely no sense of humour.

3) A: It always seemed to me that the way the 4 main characters in “Evil Dead 2” look around the cabin as noises whoosh past them was a nod to the reaction shots in “The Birds” when Tippi and the rest of the folks at the wharf-side restaurant are watching the gas station go up in flames.


4) A: The only Michael Powell movie I’ve seen is “Peeping Tom”, and that’s not a Pressberger movie. Guess I’ll have to at least check out “The Red Shoes”.


5) A: The Rob Lowe and Snow White opening number. This duet featuring Oscar-themed new lyrics to “Proud Mary” best represents the questionable integrity of awards shows to me. I mean, were “Crash”, “Million Dollar Baby”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Braveheart”, “Forrest Gump”, et al, really the best movies produced in their respective years?

6) A: Both good actors, but Weaving is in epic trilogies while Perace is in cool little flicks, so Pearce.

7) A: “Apocalypse Now” and the Vietnam War. Before that it was just something I heard about on the radio or saw bite-sized chunks of on TV.

8) A: “Pick Up on South Street.” Yeeeeah!

9) A: Bellucci, because she was in “Sheitan”.

10) A: “Bringing Up Baby”.

11) A: “Forrest Gump” or Paul Haggis’ “Crash”.

12) A: “Deliverance”.

13) Warren Oates, ‘cause of ‘Race With the Devil’.

14) A: Guess I’m not a detail person, so lemme stay general and just say that I’ll take wide screen any day.

15) A: Not yet, but it’ll happen. The problem with many movies made after the 70’s is that they don’t have a point of view, so they generally reflect committees and test screenings rather than a filmmaker.

16) A: Geez Louise, I’ve only ever seen “Nosferatu the Vampyre”. I’m really gonna have to break out of that horror rut I’m in…

17) A: The 1933 version of “King Kong”, though props to ‘The Birds” (for being an excellent movie by one of the greatest filmmakers ever), the original “Godzilla” (for being so damn cool and for actually being about something), “Reptilicus” (for being so awful), “The 50-Foot Woman” (for being so, well, so… 50-Foot in its feminist themes and rotten execution), “Squirm” (for being creepy and for having a sense of humour), Dante’s “Piranha” and “The Howling” (for also having a sense of humour and for actually being entertaining) , “An American Werewolf in London” (for being scary and funny), “Jaws” (for still making me scared of bodies of water) and, finally, to every Ray Harryhausen movie --- They are the reason so many kids from my generation love movies. Man, the list of also-rans could go on forever…

18) A: They’re both great, but Bernhard by a tooth gap.

19) A: Most Despised --- African-American actors getting 2 minutes of screen time in a movie, while being cast as characters with high-ranking jobs (i.e. The police chief who gives a hard time to the out-of-control cop).

20) A; Yes, but in a “feh” kinda way.

21) A: “Rebel Without a Cause”, but only because I haven’t seen “Johnny Guitar” yet.

22) A: Joe Dante, God bless ‘em.

23) A: Feels like a cop out, but it really is “Network”, though “Videodrome” is close behind, and “Ringu” is lurking out there somewhere too.

24) A: Bauchau, because he was in Argento’s “Phenomena”, though Ganz was great in “Wings of Desire” and “Downfall”.

25) A: The Maysles Brothers’ “Salesman”, ‘cause I watched it not knowing what I was in for and it throw me for a loop.

26) A: What comes to mind for me are all dialogue related things. Since there is improvisation in Christopher Guest’s movies and there are a lot of great moments in them, I have to think that I’ve seen plenty there, though I can’t specifically identify a particular one. I’d like to think that they’d involve Catherine O’Hara though. I sometimes also get this feeling from certain dialogue exchanges in Woody Allen movies, but that can be hit or miss --- sometimes it feels forced and false in his flicks, and other times it works like gangbusters. And I think Cary Grant was a master at this kind of thing --- Check out his mumblings in “Bringing Up Baby” and “Arsnic and Old Lace”.

27) A: “Wings of Desire”, though I’d love to see “The American Friend”.

28) A: Cruz (when she sticks to Spanish movies).

29) A: Jaws 2’s “Just when you though it was safe to go back in the water” is swell, but I’m going have to go with “Who will survive and what will be left of them?” from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It just sums up the dread created by watching that great flick.

30) A: Don’t give away too much plot, a line or two will do. Give me a sense of yourself and your tastes in the way the review is written, just don’t become the star of the piece.

EXTRA CREDIT: A: More than ever.

Flickhead said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Star Wars, three times in 1977. And my first impression was right on the money: it’s shit.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
See above.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
All 101 minutes of Agnès Varda’s Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma (1995).

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
I Know Where I’m Going.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Jerry Lewis pronouncing “James Wong Howe.”

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Guy, for LA Confidential and The Time Machine, a decent and undervalued adaptation of the Wells novel.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
One movie? Insight? Gee…let me think…

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Park Row.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Monica’s hitting the wall. Maria’s a minx!

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Blake Edwards’ S.O.B.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Live and Let Die, a depressing reminder that my childhood was gone for good.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Point Blank.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
With all respect to Bruce (remember Uncle Bud?), Warren is The Man.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
I’ve never been good at math. Meth, yes. Math, no.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Whoa, dude, that’s like totally existential…

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Kaspar Hauser…though Grizzly Man hit home — I once had a distant connection with the crazy guy in it.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Open Water freaked me out. I’m never going anywhere near the ocean again.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sarah’s cute.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Imposed nihilism, a subject far too broad for this space.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Destroy all prints. Burn the negative.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Bigger Than Life.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
A tie: Alexander Singer and Gerd Oswald. And then there's Hubert Cornfield and Andrew L. Stone to consider...

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
I don’t necessarily have a favorite, but Quiz Show was good, as were parts of Network, The Outsider and A Face in the Crowd.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Since I actually had to look up Patrick at the IMDb, I’ll go with Bruno.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Cooper and Schoedsack’s Grass (1926).

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or an unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
David Duchovny bravely fending off Henry Jaglom’s personal assault in New Year’s Day (1989).

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
n/c

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
n/c

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
“Kopetsky and Kanipsia, together at last!” — Howard Ziff’s Slither (1974).

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I’d like to see my film criticism headed for a paying gig.

Bill said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times
before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

This only happens with movies I end up deciding I
like. I’ve changed my mind and decided I disliked a
movie I’d previously enjoyed many times, but being
unsure of how I felt before deciding always goes in
favor of the movie. For my answer, I’ll go with
Cronenberg’s “The Fly”.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

There are so, so many. Do enough people like “The
Boondock Saints” for that to count? The fan base for
that movie truly baffles me. For a more controversial
choice, I’ll say “Au Hasar Balthazar”. I didn’t hate
it or anything, but it really didn’t do anything for
me at all. Except that I did like the donkey, and
wished him well the whole time.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another
film or bit of pop culture within another film.

There are dozens upon dozens, but off the top of my
head, the meticulous recreation of Sonny’s ass-beating
of Carlo from “The Godfather” (complete with missed
punch) on “The Simpsons” (with Marge in place of James
Caan).

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

”The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp”. I actually
didn’t care for “Black Narcissus” or “Peeping Tom”,
the only other two I’ve seen, but “Colonel Blimp”
became an instant immortal masterpiece when I saw it a
couple of months ago.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

I’m one of those few who really liked Letterman as a
host, and I’ll give two favorites: his montage of
other actors auditioning for his role in “Cabin Boy”,
and this joke (paraphrased): “One of tonight’s
nominees is called ‘Eat, Drink, Man, Woman’, which,
coincidentally, is how Arnold Schwarzeneggar first
asked Maria Shriver out on a date.”

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

I’ve seen Guy Pearce in more good movies, but I like
them both. Still, Pearce.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight
into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had
no understanding of before seeing it

I would say “Downfall”, or the D-Day invasion in
“Saving Private Ryan”, or “Bloody Sunday”, but because
I did have some understanding of those topics before
seeing those movies, I guess they don’t count.

Actually, though, I’ll stick with “Bloody Sunday”.
There must be a movie and answer that better fits your
question, but I can’t think of one right now, and even
though I knew something about the events in Derry in
1972 before seeing Greengrass’s film, I was not any
kind of expert. While watching it, I remember
thinking, “Was it really like this?” I later found
out that, unfortunately, it was. But it was the movie
that made me find that out.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

“The Steel Helmet”.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Bellucci. She’s almost inhumanly beautiful, and even
though I didn’t like the film, she was awfully good in
“Irreversible”.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly
make it all seem worthwhile?

Hm. “Waiting for Guffman” or “A Mighty Wind”? Also
“Glengarry Glen Ross”, but that’s probably just me.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth
of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while
channel surfing?

I saw “Mannequin” once.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

“Deliverance”.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Whichever one Kubrick preferred.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once
said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person
who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was
right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Until films are being made by giant space
lizard-people with robot hands, and movies have jetpacks on them, then no. And if you
think I’m being unfair to Truffaut, then consider that
he shouldn’t have used the phrase “film of tomorrow”.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

“Nosferatu”, with “The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser” close
behind.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or
otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

This question is just crying out for a mean joke, but
I’ll resist. I don’t know if it’s my favorite movie
of this type, but the “burning Thing” scene from “The
Thing from Another World” is probably my favorite
rampaging beast moment.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

I’m getting a little tired of her schtick, but
Silverman. The only possible way Bernhard could have
gotten my vote is if the question had been “Sandra
Bernhard or I cut of your balls?”

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Most despised is
“the-best-friend-who-was-trying-to-help-earlier-is-really-the-bad-guy!”
horse-crap that we still can’t get away from, and
which killed the ending of “Minority Report” for me.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No. I love Spielberg, and Indiana Jones, but that’s
one of his two or three worst movies.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

“In a Lonely Place”. I love it, because (SPOILER!)
even though Bogart’s character is innocent of the
murder, he was capable of it.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

“Miami Blues”. “The Life Aquatic”. “The Ninth
Configuration”. “Exorcist III”. I could go on.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of
television

There can be only one. “Network”. I'd forgotten about "Quiz Show" and "A Face in the Crowd", though, both of which I love.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Ganz, for “Downfall”, and also because I don’t know
who the other guy is.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

“Mr. Death” by Errol Morris. I can watch that movie
an astonishing number of times. I love everything
about it. The music is sensational.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is
to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment
from a movie that seems like an accident, or a
unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or
distract from the total experience of the movie?

Well, there’s George C. Scott’s famous trip in “Dr.
Strangelove”. It enhanced the experience of the movie
because it was damn funny. Also, there’s a moment in
“The Ballad of Jack and Rose” that I really like. A
very uncomfortable moment has just occurred, fairly
out-of-the-blue, and a character has stormed off.
Daniel Day-Lewis then gives one of those sort of
quick, disbelieving snorting laughs, like, “What the
hell just happened?” It was probably planned, I don’t
know, but it seemed so spontaneous and real, and it’s
why I love Daniel Day-Lewis.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

I’m not a huge fan, because he’s a bit, shall we say,
ponderous, but I’ll say “Wings of Desire”. See, Bruno
Ganz again!

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

I’ve always had a thing for Elizabeth Pena…yes,
indeed. She’s always struck me as very real and
earthy in a really, really hot way. Also, she can
probably act.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

It’s not a very original choice, but you can’t beat
“When There’s No More Room in Hell, the Dead Will Walk
the Earth”.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you
want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And
where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I’ll be honest: I’m not really a big fan of “film
criticism”. I like opinions, but any famous film
critic you might name is probably going to be somebody
I genuinely don’t care for, with the exception of
Agee, and, maybe, of Ebert, whose writing I do enjoy,
for the most part. What I like about this new
“weblogging” thing we got going these days is the
interactive nature of it. I admit that I don’t spend
a lot time interacting, but I like that it’s here as
an option, and reading the comments on this and other
blogs show me that at their best, blog reviews turn
into conversations about movies. That’s what I like.
Also, I like conversations about movies or filmmakers
I can see the good and the bad in, like Lynch or
Cronenberg, probably because those conversations are
least likely to piss me off.

Bill said...

Sorry about the staggered lines in my post...should have fixed that...

Edward Copeland said...

1) Blue Velvet

2) The Thin Red Line

3) "Listen the last man that said that to me was Archie Leach just a week before he cut his throat" -- Cary Grant in His Girl Friday

4) 42nd Parallel

5) Woody Allen's post-9/11 appearance

6) Guy Pearce

7) Crumb

8) Pickup on South Street

9) abstain

10) Singin' in the Rain

11) Braveheart

12) Deliverance

13) Warren Oates

14) 2:35:1

15) Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino

16) Grizzly Man

17) King Kong (1933)

18) Sarah Silverman

19) Musical montages during makeover/training sequences

20) No

21) Johnny Guitar

22) Nobody's Fool (1994)

23) Network

24) Bruno Ganz

25) Gates of Heaven

26) Mind's a blank right now

27) Wings of Desire

28) Draw

29) A different set of jaws

30) Consistency and courage. Someone who doesn't fall in line just because the consensus goes one way or another. Film criticism is exploding in quantity and diminishing in audience.

EXTRA CREDIT: I hope so.

sean said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Touch Of Evil

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Ingmar Bergman

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The end of Leos Carax's Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf referencing Jean Vigo's L'Atalante.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

The Red Shoes. But Black Narcisuss is close and A Canterbury Tale's gaining fast on the outside.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

When I win the pool.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Hugo Weaving, one of the best voices in contemporary film.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Hrm. . . Seven Samurai?

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Shock Corridor

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Cucinotta, she wasn't in Passion Of The Christ and was on The Simpsons.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Chungking Express

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Saving Private Ryan

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Hell In The Pacific

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates. I'm not a Dern fan at all.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

1.85

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Doesn't every film resemble the person that made it? Hasn't it always been that way?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Fitzcarraldo

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Apocalypse Now

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman, and it isn't close.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Most despised: That film reached its peak when baby boomers came of age and have been in steep decline ever since.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Hell yeah.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Flying Leathernecks

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

By the world at large: Hou Hsiao-hsien
By critics: Steven Spielberg

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Broadcast News

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

F for Fake

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Jimmy Stewart's hiccup in The Philadelphia Story and Cary Grant's reaction to it. Robert Ridgely laughing hysterically in the background during Philip Baker Hall's "butter in my ass and lollipops in my mouth" speech in Boogie Nights.

The joy of making cinema.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Wings Of Desire, but I've only seen a few Wenders.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"The smart one isn't wearing any pants."

From the David Arquette dog-cop movie See Spot Run.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want an intelligent and well-reasoned point of view reflecting a knowledge of the cinema (past and present) and the non-cinema world. I want a sense of humor and humility in the face of the inadequacy of our subjective experiences of the world.

I see film criticism becoming more and more decentralized and personal, as each person has their own sources (blogs, or whatever) for criticism, as opposed to a community sharing the same half-dozen critics from the local papers.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

As much as they ever have.

Filmbrain said...

Dennis, you are a godsend. This is just what I need on an otherwise miserable Friday afternoon.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Took me two viewings of Gone With the Wind to realize that it's just an overblown soap opera, unworthy of the praise heaped upon it.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Schindler's List

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
The Kool Thing dance sequence in Hal Hartley's Simple Men -- a beautiful nod to Bande à Part

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
A Matter of Life and Death

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Roberto Benigni literally stepping on Steven Spielberg. Don't get me wrong, I dislike Life is Beautiful, but its winning must have made ole' Steven see red. Spielberg's face as Benigni climbed on the chairs is priceless.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Yawn.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Idi i Smotri (Come and See)

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Verboten!

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
As actress or fantasy figure?

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
The Blues Brothers

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Any post 1990 romantic comedy. Doubly destructive if it contains a Motown song on the soundtrack.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Point Blank

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Aww...this is like Sophie's Choice! Have to go with Oates only for his "Are you trying to blow my mind?" line from Two Lane Blacktop.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
TohoScope!

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Do Vincent Gallo's films fit the bill?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
No One Will Play With Me - Incredible short about an ostracized child. Herzog's most touching film.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Is it too soon for me to say The Host?

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Blasphemy! That Silverman gal isn't even worthy to shine the great Ms. Bernhard's shoes!

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
The following line: "What the hell is going on here!?"

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Honestly haven't seen it since '84.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Bigger Than Life

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Robert Downey, Sr.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
A Face in the Crowd

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
An odd pairing. Ganz, by a longshot.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Impossible to choose only one.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The King and the fool sitting in a field during a windstorm in Ran. Completely unintended. The wind suddenly picked up and Kurosawa took advantage of it.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Kings of the Road

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Yawn.

29) Your favorite movie tag line
"Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
To answer would require an additional blog post. Here's what I don't want: snark, contrarianism simply for the sake of being contrarian, proof of how witty/clever/intelligent you are.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Movies still matter, yes. However, many of the people making them today do not.

A. Fan said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first time I saw it was without any audience participation, and I couldn’t grasp what made it a cult classic. I did enjoy parts of it, and I enjoyed some of the songs, but overall, I wasn’t as impressed as I’d expected to be. After the second or third viewing, however, I found myself enjoying it more. I went on to see it about a dozen more times, each more enjoyable than the last.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Marilyn Monroe, who cannot possibly measure up to her cultural placement as All-time Sex Goddess of American Cinema.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
The Player’s opening homage to Touch of Evil.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
I’ve never seen one, but I predict Colonel Blimp will be the most frequently mentioned here.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Jack Palance doing one-armed pushups for his acceptance speech. Weird and wonderful, just like the man himself.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
I like them both a great deal, but I’ll give the nod to Pearce, whose characters have been more interesting than Weaving’s in general.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
City of God. I had never heard of Brazil’s Favelas before I saw this. After I saw it, I felt like I had lived there.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Hammett. He played “Old Man in Pool Hall.”

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Extremely difficult. Today I choose Ms. Cucinotta.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
The Princess Bride.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Exorcist II: The Heretic, which leads perfectly into the next question.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Anything but Exorcist II. How about Hope and Glory?

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Another tough one, but I’ll pick Bruce Dern for demonstrating so aptly how closely madness lurks beneath the surface for us all.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
In a movie theater: 2.28. On my widescreen TV: 1.85.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I have no idea what Truffaut meant by this.



16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
All of them. However, in gun-to-my-head, forced-to-choose mode, I pick Fitzcarraldo, for giving a happy ending to a character who probably doesn’t deserve one.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
The War of the Gargantuas, a Japanese monster movie from 1966, that I used to watch on TV when I was a kid. I haven’t seen it in at least 15 years, but it occupies a special place in my heart.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
I prefer Ms. Silverman.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
The most overused cliché in movies: two attractive, unattached, heterosexual, opposite-sex lead characters will make love with each other at least once by the time the movie ends. I don’t know why I hate it so, other than that it’s as inevitable as a sunrise.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
No. Blech. I’m still pissed, nearly 25 years later.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Hair. He played The General.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
King Rat. My favorite movie that few have ever heard of.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Broadcast News.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bauchau.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Monterey Pop.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
There’s a shot in Jaws where we are looking up at Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) as he stands in the early-morning gloom on Quint’s boat. You can see from his face that he doubts he’ll live to set foot on land again. Suddenly, a shooting star scratches its way across the shot’s background. The first time I saw it, I thought, “how cool that a random event like that would be captured in the middle of filming a movie?” Upon repeated viewings, I’ve incorporated this accident into a statement that, however dire and immediate our individual problems are, the clockwork of the universe ticks on, uncaring.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Hammett.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Elizabeth by a slim margin, for her sultry voice work in The Incredibles.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
“The Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.” – Shakes the Clown

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I want to know specifically what is bad or good about a movie. I want to know if I should see it in the theater or wait for the DVD or skip it altogether. I think blogs are the future of film criticism.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
They still matter to me.

Meagan said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

It's A Lot Like Love.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Jennifer Hudson as an actor.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Probably Jules et Jim in "Amelie" because EVERYBODY noticed the fly but Amelie loved the fly.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Not sure enough as to identity of both to guess.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

I never watch anything where actors have to use their own thoughts.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

I think Hugh Jackman should have also been included in this list. Uh, Guy Pearce for his early Australian drag period.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Oh, good question! "Warm Springs" or whatever it was called, the FDR movie with Kenneth Branagh, I didn't have an understanding of FDR the man at all before that and after it, now I can see him.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Once again, can't guess.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Uhh, I'm opting out.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Out of Africa.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Anything with Scarlett Johannson, she's mediocrity incarnate.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Once again, can't guess. It's sad how little I know but how much I proclaim to know.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Bruce Dern, for being in The Burbs.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Whatever the YouTube screen is right now, because honestly, I have problems.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Yes, Wes Anderson. Also the fact that people actually know directors, even shitty directors.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Oh.. Invincible, but I always wanted to see the Green Ants one.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

The Neverending Story for Falcour.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

when they get together, whoever they are. it's my favorite and it's the one most despise.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No, not when you think about Raiders of the Lost Ark.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

I looked him up, because I was sick of not knowing who these people are... it didn't help, I got nothing.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Michael Mann

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Quiz Show

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz, definitely Bruno Ganz.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Ken Burn's "Civil War" Series for the Sullivan Balloux letter.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

The girl passed out on the stairs at the end of the prom scene in "Not Another Teen Movie" is the funniest frickin' background joke ever -- and it pisses me off that it's not more appreciated.


27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Wings of Desire

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Neither

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

Love is a puzzle. These are the pieces. (All the Real Girls)


30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Film critics who haven't seen anything by Truffaut, but have spent their lifetimes watching late night cable. In other words, a thorough knowledge of the low end of the spectrum as opposed to a thorough knowledge of the high brow.

I miss Pauline Kael, if only because she used her highbrow knowledge for good -- there's not enough of her in the world. The avclub can be brilliant, and I actually dig Ebert, but I think the other major writers are too much on a pedestal to be relevant. It will depend on whether critics can adapt, just like everything else, they need to adapt.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

What makes you think they don't?

jim emerson said...

I love Prof. Irwin Corey, even though he irritates the hell out of me. Isn't that the point?

Anyway, my afternoon is now shot. How was yours?

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it? "Eyes Wide Shut." It took me a second time before I even realized how to watch it.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated. I honestly do not understand the appeal of Charlie Chaplin. (But then, I don't like clowns -- especially when they're sad clowns.) His visual style (as someone once observed) consists mainly of pointing the camera at himself. I know millions love him, but I don't.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film. I love the hooded "children of rage" in David Cronenberg's "The Brood" -- a conscious hommage to Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now."

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie. "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" -- followed very closely by "I Know Where I'm Going!"

5) Your favorite Oscar moment. Barbara Stanwyck receiving her honorary Oscar and saluting her "golden boy," the late William Holden. And David Watkin receiving the award for best cinematography for "Out of Africa" and chiding the voters that all the beautiful landscape shots they just applauded in the clips, and for which he was given the award, was actually shot by the second unit.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce? Close, but Hugo Weaving by a nose, if only for "Proof" (1991). Pearce was great in "L.A. Confidential," but Weaving was also a voice in "Babe."

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it. "Reds" -- for what it must have been like for idealistic Americans to believe in the Soviet myth, from the Russian Revolution of 1917 to the exposure of Stalin's massive crimes, and the feelings of betrayal and disillusionment that followed.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie. "The Big Red One" -- followed closely by "The Naked Kiss" and "White Dog."

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta? Maria Bello Alla Carbonara.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? "Ordinary People"? (Just kidding -- MTM joke!) Anything by Preston Sturges, especially if it has Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Betty Hutton or Eddie Bracken. Or Edward Arnold or William Demerest. Does that just about cover it?

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?"Natural Born Killers" or "Mississippi Burning" or "Porky's Revenge."

12) Favorite John Boorman movie."Point Blank," just edging out "Hope and Glory," "Excalibur," and "Deliverance."

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern? Oh, not fair! But Warren Oates: "Ride the High Country," "Wild Bunch," "The Shooting," "Two-Lane Blacktop," "Badlands," "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia," "China 9/Liberty 37," "The White Dawn"...

14) Your favorite aspect ratio. 1.33:1[silent] or 1.37:1 [sound] -- the "Academy ratio" in which most of the greatest movies have been made in. But I love black-and-white anamorphic (2.35:1).

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet? Yes, and it has been for some time. I think you can always tell something about a director's personality (and often a lot) by their movies.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie. "Aguirre, the Wrath of God."

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts. "King Kong" (1933).

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman? Ouch. Well, on the basis of movies alone, I'd have to go with Bernhard: "The King of Comedy," "Without You, I'm Nothing," and her filmed one-woman show, "I'm Still Here... Dammit!"

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché. Most hated: The Character Who Is Supposed To Be One Thing... But Turns Out To Be The Very Opposite! In the vast majority of cases, this twist/reveal is utterly meaningless.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no? YES! It's the best one, by far! Scarier, creepier, and captures more of the faux-exotic b-movie serial atmosphere. And it has that meta-rollercoaster ride through the mine.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie. "They Live By Night" -- just ahead of "Bigger Than Life."

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated. Ivan Passer's "Cutter's Way," the best movie of the 1980s. And because it simply hasn't been seen: Jerzy Skolimowski's "Deep End" (1971). Because it hasn't been rediscovered yet (though it's available on DVD): Billy Wilder's "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes."

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television. Does "The Dick van Dyke Show" count? If not, I'll choose... Douglas Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows."

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau? Rohmer and Wenders, eh? OK, Ganz -- but so close! He has "Marquise of O" and "The American Friend" and "Wings of Desire" and "Faraway, So Close!" and "Downfall" to his credit. But Bauchau has "La Collectioneuse," "Choose Me," "The Rapture" ...

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film. Errol Morris's "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control."

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie? The ending of "Barton Fink." The Coens (who say they have "good luck with birds" -- see "Blood Simple") claim that pelican just plopped into the shot and -- boom! -- they knew that had to be where the movie ended. Barton has come all the way to the coast, he can't go any further (see "The 400 Blows"), he's not going to open the box, so... the pelican provides the perfect punctuation: a period.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie. "Im Lauf der Zeit/In the Course of Time/Kings of the Road." With "Alice in the Cities" on the next train.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz? "Volver" makes a huge difference, but I'm going to go with Pena if only because of "Lone Star."

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!) For blunt lack of imagination, "Citizen Kane": "It's Terrific!" For cleverness, "Chicken Run": "Poultry in Motion."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed? I want somebody to show me a way of looking at a film I hadn't seen previously -- or (almost as good) to expand upon and confirm what I did see!

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter? To whom? Movies matter somewhat to almost everyone, but not a lot. For those of us who are passionate about the art form, they matter a lot. They're as essential to our concepts of life as music or food or language. Sure, every once in a while I find myself losing my religion, but that's when I think there's not so much to look forward to. Then I just think: Who needs to look forward? There are more than enough great movies already made to keep me going (and discovering and re-discovering) for a lifetime. That helps put things in perspective. Of course great new films will come along; one just has to be patient. With so many masterpieces (and terrific movies) already available on DVD -- and so many acknowledged and unknown greats that haven't made it to the format yet -- the opportunities for seeing a life-changing movie are so much greater at the DVD store (or Netflix) than they are at the multiplex. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to seek them out -- at film festivals, art houses, revival series, and through word-of-mouth from our fellow critics and bloggers.

Sharon said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

The Talented Mr. Ripley. I saw it in the theater and wasn’t sure that I liked it. Then when I was working as a caption editor, I was assigned it a couple of times. To my surprise, I found that I enjoyed it more and more with each viewing.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Woody Allen. Not funny, terrible actor, mediocre director.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Can’t think of a thing.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

No idea who these people are.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Well, here’s one of them: Last year, Stephen Colbert greeting the audience saying, “Good evening, godless Sodomites.” Comedy gold.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

It’s gotta be Hugo. I just watched V for Vendetta again, and without his amazing performance, that film would have been nothing.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Sadly, nothing comes to mind.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

The only one that I think I’ve seen is Big Red One, so I’ll go with that.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Not really familiar with either of them.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Love Actually comes to mind.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Anything with Ah-nold Schwarzenegger, except the first two Terminator movies.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

The only one I’ve seen is Deliverance and I don’t think I’d count that as a ‘favorite.’

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

They both bring their own kind of weirdness to their roles, but I’ll go with Warren simply because my dad once said that he liked him.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

16:9

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

What-chu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Hmm. Don’t think I’ve seen any of them.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

This is not a category that I have too much experience with/knowledge of, so I’ll go with Jurassic Park.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Bernhard. Silverman is too… icky.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Let’s go with the despised category: the cynical (insert occupation here) who is moved to do the right thing by the saintly (insert stock downtrodden character here). Enough already!

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Yes. While it’s not my favorite of the trilogy, I still enjoy it.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Rebel Without a Cause, I guess, because it’s one of the few that I’ve seen.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Cary Grant. He made it look too damn easy.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Broadcast News

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Patrick, but only because I recognized his picture on imdb.com

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Hoop Dreams. I remember sitting in the theater watching the movie and like the rest of the audience, was on pins and needled at about 2 ½ hours in as we followed the two boys through a city tournament. Riveting stuff.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I got nothin’.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Haven’t seen any of them.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Again, due to familiarity, I choose Elizabeth Pena. I’ve always enjoyed her work and can’t say I’ve seen much of what’s Penelope’s done. Thanks to my years as a caption editor, I find it hard to watch subtitled movies. My eyes are trained to not only look at the content but also where they come up in relation to the shot changes. I actually had to turn Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down off because the titles were coming up seven frames after the shot changes and it gave me a headache.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

What I want is an evaluation what is on screen. What I don’t want are spoilers and ramblings on budgets and studio politics. Tell me about the what’s on screen – what works, what didn’t.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Good question. For me, the answer is a qualified yes. I still want to enjoy going to the movies, but too often these days am disappointed when I do. For as long as I can remember, most of the time when I went to see a movie it was a wonderful experience. In the days before the prevalence of VCRs and DVDs I loved watching old movies on television. These days I probably go and see half as many movies in the theater as I did say five years ago.

I’m one of the ever-decreasing part of the public that prefers going to the theater. But the increasingly rude audience members, the sky-high ticket prices and the mediocre moves are discouraging me from putting down the TiVo remote and taking myself off to the movies.

I want to like them, I really do. There’s nothing like the feeling of being transported to a world you’ve literally never seen before or one that you seen, but not in quite that way. It’s exhilarating and wondrous and illuminating and just plain fun. I always hope for that kind of experience when I go to the movies. Unfortunately, it rarely happens these days.

But hope springs eternal each time the lights go down and the first strains of the soundtrack begin. Will this be the one? Too often these days the answer is no.

Cerb Chaos said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Since I’ve started really getting into movies fairly recently, I’ve focused almost all of my attention to getting as many new cinematic experiences and not re-watching old ones at the moment. Though I’d think I’d need several viewings before deciding upon the merits (or lack thereof) of Angelheart

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

A director or an individual movie? Because under directors I’d put Victor Fleming, the luckiest director of all time ,directing two movies where directing is around fourth of the list of importance, The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, the same year, ranking him much higher then needed.

Individual movies would have to be E.T, a movie I never felt any sort of emotional connection to as a child, and its supposed charm still eludes me.


3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The entirety of Airplane!.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Strangely enough, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp has always been a personal favorite. With it’s wonderful use of color (a given in most Powell/Pressburger films) its great sense of time, conveying not only the Life of Colonel Blimp, but also all the changing mores in England at that time, and how Deborah Kerr plays three different love interests during the film. That this movie, with all its layers upon layers, was based off a political cartoon caricature is astounding.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Again, young viewer here: After the Three Six Mafia won their Oscar for “It’s hard out here for a pimp” John Stewart said “For those of you keeping score at home, it’s Martin Scorcesse 0, Three Six Mafia, 1.” That cracked the whole family up.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Hugo Weaving.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
You know what? I’m not going to lie, I cannot think of a really worthwhile answer at this moment. I’m sure the answers there, but nothing that comes to mind s really good enough for this question.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

I’ve seen Forty Guns, which I think I can explain best as unfocused genius. I’m dying to see more of his movies though.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Ummm… The second one?

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

The Big Lebowski, or possibly Glen or Glenda.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

If you watch the right parts, Grave of the Fireflies can suck the happy out of the room. Great movie, I’m just saying it’s sad is all.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Although Deliverance is my favorite, I have to give a shout-out to the massively underrated Hell in the Pacific.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Whenever I think of Warren Oates I think “War and Oats” which I believe would be a great band name. So, Warren it is.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Allright, I’m not nearly enough of a connoisseur to answer this question.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

No more then it was when he said it. The great filmmakers have always been able to put a stamp of themselves into the movie, while the mediocre ones will always have trouble.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
I have never seen a German New wave film.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Godzilla is too easy an answer. Too bad my answer’s Godzilla.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Have you seen Silverman’s show? I was on the fence about her, but it’s a work of genius. So I’m going with Silverman.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I hate it when the villain’s on a ledge or something, the hero saves him and the villain attacks again, giving the hero permission to kill him. Either let the villain fall or let him live, don’t resort to this moral copout.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

It’s okay I guess. No real reason to see it though.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Rebel Without a Cause

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Mervyn LeRoy has made some of the best movies of all time (Little Caesar, I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Random Harvest, Waterloo Bridge, and my favorite musical of all time: Gold-diggers of 1933) But I have the sinking feeling that I’m his only fan.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Network is the only real answer here.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

I don’t know of either.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Don’t Look Back

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

My brain isn’t working today.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Didn’t you hear me? I’ve never seen a German New Wave film!

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

Horror movies always have the best ones: “In Space, No one can hear you scream” “Who will survive and what will be left of them?” but the ultimate one is “When Hell is Full, the Dead shall Walk the Earth” (dawn of the dead of course)

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want someone who isn’t afraid to say what he likes and say it clearly, someone who will devote time and energy to maligned films he happens to like, or ripping into a beloved classic. All without attacking those who disagree with him/her. Film critisism is becoming more Democratic, and this causes all the joys and problems that Democracy does in the real world.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

It doesn’t matter if they matter. What matters is they keep making good ones.

Cerb Chaos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Nellhaus said...

j1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

It took a couple of times for me to really like Kubrick's Lolita.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Paul Haggis' Crash.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The scene in The Dreamers when everyone sings along with The Girl Can't Help it.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

This is probably a cliche, but The Red Shoes.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

When Bob Hope says, ". . . or as it's known at my house - Passover."

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

A choice of desert queens! I'm going with Guy mostly because of L.A. Confidential.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

I've been seeing films from Iran. There have been several good films, but the one that I think would help people understand the clashes of culture best, in a very friendly way, is Secret Ballot.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Forty Guns because of the opening sequence of the riders, which can only be seen in wide screen to be appreciated.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

I'm only familiar with Monica.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Animal House

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

I'm stronger than any lousy movie.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Leo the Last, primarily because I met Boorman at the screening of his first cut, for NYU students.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

The late, great Mr. Oates.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Panavision 70

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

The film is Tarnation.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

The original King Kong.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Man, I'm a sucker for smart Jewish chicks. My mom would have been happy had I married either one of them. Sarah is cuter, but Sandra was in The King of Comedy. I also like her Without You I'm Nothing and the cable show she hosted, "Reel Wild Cinema".

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I'm tired of the Thai film cliche of the fat guy in a dress used for an easy laugh.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Did I tell you I once got drunk with Nick Ray? This may be another cliche, but Rebel without a Cause holds up after multiple viewings.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

The Money Trap by Burt Kennedy.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

A Face in the Crowd

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Stop Making Sense

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I liked some of the exchanges between Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland in MASH.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Alice in the City

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

I've seen Paz Vega in Sex and Lucia. She beats Liz and Penelope.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

Rated X by an all white jury.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Just a bit of insight into the film or filmmaker. I especially like when I look at a familiar film in a different way.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Yes. But sometimes you have to search harder for the films that are worthwhile.

That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
The Shining.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated.
Fellini.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Austin Powers screaming: "It's my happening and it freaks me out!" Or the whole Casablanca ending of Play It Again, Sam.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie.
Stairway to Heaven.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment.
Walking through the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt and dreaming what it must have been like at the first Oscars.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Neither.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it.
Star Wars. I had never really understood Tattoine before Star Wars. Sure, I'd heard about it: a mostly arid environment, dangerous nightlife scene, more than one sun. But it took the great documentarian Georges Lucas to open my eyes.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Park Row. Why? Because I've never seen it and I've been waiting dog years for them to put it on DVD!

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
All in all, I'd rather have Laura Antonelli.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
The Big Lebowski.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
That section of The Prince of Tides where Nick Nolte is bleating, "Lowenstein! Lowenstein!"

12) Favorite John Boorman movie.
Point Blank.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Bruce Dern would start up one of his bug-eyed crazy routines and Warren Oates would slap the shit out of him. And then stuff his head in a bag and throw it in the front seat of the car and go look for some ice.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio.
36-24-36?

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
This is why I never understood a word Truffaut said in Close Encounters!

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie.
Sadly, I'm not sure I've seen one.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts.
King Kong. The original.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Neither.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché.
Despised: The New York street scene, where the main character is walking down the crowded sidewalk and yet is always perfectly in the middle and taller than the people immediately surrounding. What is the allure of this scene in movie after movie?

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
No.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie.
Rebel Without A Cause. Followed closely by Johnny Guitar.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated.
William Demarest.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television.
Network.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bachau, for Choose Me. But, Jesus, Ganz was great in Downfall.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film.
This Is Spinal Tap.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
Pretty much any moment involving Margaret Dumont and Groucho Marx.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie.
He'd be my second entry on Question No. 2.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
All in all, I'd rather have Salma Hayek.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
"Movie-wise, there has never been anything like "The Apartment" - laugh-wise, love-wise, or otherwise-wise!"
That tagline is better than the movie.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
1. Stylish writing. Entertain me. It's more important than your opinion, actually.
2. Subtext and focus. Enlighten me. Show me an angle I didn't consider.
3. Make me want to see the movie — or avoid it at all costs.
4. Make me want to read the review again — after I've seen the movie that I was going to avoid at all costs.
In general, film criticism will survive. But there hasn't been a critic that has really mattered since Pauline Kael because nobody has written as well as her (see Point No. 1 above.)

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
If they don't, I sure wasted a long Friday night on this quiz.

Flower said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Raging Bull. It's an ugly, unpleasant movie, and yes, that's almost certainly the point. Do I appreciate the film for its artistry? Sure. Do I like it? I sure as hell do not, and three viewings haven't convinced me otherwise.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Casualties of War. I like a lot of DePalma's movies, but here the whole thing, noble intentions and all, implodes under the weight of the director's operatic/hysterical touch.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Cagney shouting, "Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?!" in "One, Two, Three"

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

You know, I taped a whole bunch of their movies off TCM a year or two ago, and those tapes have sat unwatched on my shelf ever since. Shameful. That's a pass, btw, and not the last one, alas.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Scorsese winning. I wasn't alive for some of the more notorious or iconic Oscar moments, but the storybook nature of Scorsese's win - surrounded by long time friends and colleagues, the entire crowd eager to show their appreciation and affection - made it a genuinely satisfying viewing experience.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

That would be Hugo Weaving, Mister Anderson.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Well, Star Trek II gave me great insight into what it's like to be a lonely, frustrated, genetically enhanced superman waiting for an opportunity to quote Moby Dick.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Pickup on South Street.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica, Monica, Monica. With apologies to Maria, of whom I have never heard.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

H-h-h-harvey.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Geez, I don't think there's any movie I hate that much (thank God).

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

I really want to say Zardoz. Alas, I haven't seen it, but come on... Zardoz! The answer, for now, is Point Blank.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

If Bruce Dern had made Cockfighter and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (in one year!) he would be the easy winner. But, you know, he didn't, so he's not.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

The ol' 2.35:1. It's the most majestic of the aspect ratios (can't believe I just typed that, but it's true) and also the most challenging. If that ultra wide frame is well used, it's bliss, man.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Two words: Mel Gibson.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Grizzly Man

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Touch of Evil.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Neither.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Despised: the generic-Middle Eastern woman-singing-mournfully who opens or appears on the soundtrack of every God damn movie that touches in any way on the Middle East.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

My brain says no, but my heart says yes.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Rebel Without a Cause. James Dean = dreamy

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

The Wind and the Lion. It's the kind of grand old adventure picture - smart, refined, and genuinely soul stirring - that really truly is not made anymore, and nobody ever talks about it.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz, though I'm barely familiar with either one.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

F for Fake.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I have no idea.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Pass.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"Every man has a breaking point." -- Straw Dogs

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I expect the writer to project a sense of smug superiority and entitlement. Oh, I kid. What I want is to feel like the writer knows what he or she is talking about, and cares about what he or she is writing about. Whether I agree or disagree is beside the point - passion, and the ability to express that passion through writing is what I respond to.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Well, they matter to me.

stennie said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Ninotchka didn't do much for me the first time I saw it, but on subsequent viewings it's wormed its way into my heart.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Oliver Stone. Does he even count anymore, or is he a laughing-stock now?

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Divorzio all'Italiana, when Mastroianni's character goes to see La Dolce Vita.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

A Matter of Life and Death (although I Know Where I'm Going! runs a close second)

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

This is an easy answer, but -- the streaker, and David Niven's perfect ad-lib afterwards.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it?

Michael Powell's Edge of the World opened my eyes to a world I didn't even know existed.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

I'm embarrassed to admit that the only Fuller film I've seen (Run of the Arrow) I didn't much care for. I've got Pickup on South Street in my Netflix queue, though.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Maria Grazia Cucinotta.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Galaxy Quest -- the antidote to a crappy day.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

I can't really think of a movie that pissed me off more than Orson Welles's The Trial.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

I am totally Hope & Glory's bitch. It even makes up for Zardoz.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates!

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Well, given most of my favorite movies are pre-1950, I guess I'll go with 4:3

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I gotta be honest here, I have no idea what Truffaut means by that. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made -- tomorrow? Or the person who made the film? I think the films of yesterday and today resemble the people who made them, to a degree. The films of Oliver Stone are bloated and self-important and paranoid, for example. Truffaut's films resemble him, I think. So I can't really answer the part of about the "film of tomorrow."

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

So, it's like this. In the last three or four years, it's dawned on me that I've concentrated too much on American films and should branch out. I'm starting slowly, working mostly on France, Italy and Japan, but haven't gotten around much to Germany yet. In other words, I haven't seen any Herzog films.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Night of the Lepus. Hee hee. Bunnies! Big bunnies!

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sandra Bernhard, but only as the lesser of two evils.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Favorite: I am a sucker for a sing-along scene, no matter how contrived.

Most despised: the "character you know is going to die." In a war movie, it's the guy who shows everyone a picture of his girl back home (or the guy with the lucky charm who later loses it just before a crucial mission). In a cop movie, it's the crusty old guy who's just a few days away from retirement.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No. Why did they ever lose Karen Allen?

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

On Dangerous Ground

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

This is just my answer for this week, because I've been watching a few of his films lately -- Fred MacMurray. My Three Sons and Flubber were his undoing. He had tons of untapped talent. Skilled at comedy, gritty drama, hell he could even have done musicals if he'd wanted, he had a beautiful singing voice. It's a shame people only seem to remember him from My Three Sons anymore.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Network. Did Paddy Chayevsky have some device that allowed him to see into the future?

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Capturing the Friedmans was riveting -- really great film-making and a very engrossing story. Runners-up: Fog of War, Murderball and Vernon, Florida.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

This has been the hardest question to answer. I think it's because I don't agree with Welles. In a perfect world, the director's job should be to make sure that everything on the screen should be his (or her!) intent. Sure, you luck into happy accidents, like the sunlight streaming into the window just right, or an actor ad-libbing a line that adds something to his character, but "presiding over accidents" makes it sound like that's all movies are -- a series of accidents strung together by one person at the helm. Poppycock.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

See my above answer re: German cinema. Haven't even seen Wings of Desire.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail: It makes Ben-Hur look like an epic."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

NO SPOILERS! I never read reviews before I've seen a movie. I try to avoid books of film criticism, like surveys of a specific director's work, for example, until I'm already pretty familiar with the movies. I hate knowing too much going into a movie; it takes me out of it. On the other hand, with some movies, it's tough to write about them at all without discussing the ending or major plot points -- so I understand why people do it; it's on me to avoid it. As far as the future of film criticism, blogging is obviously taking all media down a different road, which can be good and bad. I see it as mostly good. I'd rather read what my fellow bloggers think about a movie than most of the established critics out there.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

They matter as much as they ever did. They don't matter as much as medical research or feeding the hungry, perhaps, but then they never did. I think they're still a viable form of entertainment.

Damian said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
I didn't really "get" (and consequently didn't enjoy) 2001 the first time I saw it. Took me a couple more viewings, as well as reading some literature on it, to properly love and appreciate it for the great masterwork it is.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated.
Quinten Tarantino. Whenever I hear this guy praised as a "genius," hailed as "the next Scorsese" or referred to as the "voice of a generation," my heart just sinks (and no, I am not particularly looking forward to Grindhouse).

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Gosh, where to begin? There are so many to choose from. I think I'm going to pick Burton's homage to Deliverance with the image of the Joker's hand emerging from the noxious chemicals in Batman.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie.
I'm sorry, but I have no idea who these people are.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment.
When Roger Moore joined Sean Connery onstage at the 1989 ceremony and introduced himself as "Bond," that was something I had been waiting my whole life to see. Oh, it was kind of neat that Michael Caine was there too.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
I plead the fifth.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it.
I know I've said this many times before and will no doubt have cause to say it again, but Schindler's List changed my life. As someone who was relatively ignorant of the Holocaust prior to seeing the film (as were a lot of people my age unfortunately), it certainly opened my eyes to the enormity of that dark period in history, but it also confronted me with how truly evil we human beings can be as well as illustrating the extreme level of nobility and heroism of which we are capable. As a friend of mine said: "Few films have unpacked quite so beautifully or honestly both the darkness and the light within the human soul."

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Confession time: I have never seen one of Fuller's movies.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Monica is sooooo beautiful!

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to watch Young Frankenstein without feeling good.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
I haven't seen Armageddon. since I first subjected myself to it in the theatre, but did manage to catch a few seconds of it on TV not too long ago. My entire day was ruined.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie.
Need you ask? See #3.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Bruce all the way, baby!

14) Your favorite aspect ratio.
I'm flexible. As long as the style and subject matter of the film seems to "fit" its aspect ratio, I'm not too picky. Still, you gotta love those colorful landscape shots in glorious cinemascope!

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I'd be interested to know precisely what Truffaut meant by "resemble." In what way exactly would a film "resemble" the person who made it... and why only one person? Is he predicting that films of tomorrow will cease to be collaborative efforts?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
If we can count films he's acted in as well as directed... Incident at Loch Ness. I just love that movie.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts.
I'm almost tempted to give the same answer I gave to the last question... but I can't. I gotta go with the "ultimate" monster movie: Jaws. I must admit that I never tire of watching that film. In fact, I have to view it [i]at least[/i] once a year (usually in the summertime).

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
God, I hate Sandra Bernhard!

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché.
Whenever someone says the line: "I'm goin' in!"

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
I really don't understand all the ill will that is directed at this movie. Granted, it may be the least of the three (soon to be four) Indy films, but compared to most other Hollywood fare, I think it's still quite good.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Only seen one: Rebel Without a Cause

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated.
I don't think Bruce Willis gets enough credit for his acting.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television.
Well, Network first comes to mind and I suspect it's the film most people will choose. Rightfully so, of course, as it was certainly a very prophetic film on the changing face of television... but then again, in many ways so was The Truman Show, so (just to be different) I'm going to go with the latter.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Ganz gave what I consider to be on the finest performances ever committed to celluloid when he played Hitler in Downfall.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film.
Clear Cut: the Story of Philomath, Oregon (but my reason is somewhat embarassing to admit).

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The lobster scene from Annie Hall is such a wonderful example of two people who love each other just laughing and having fun together that the "reality" of the moment and the "fantasy" of the scene become virtually indistinguishable from one another.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie.
Oh man, this is pathetic but... I've yet to see a Wim Wenders film too.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
By default: Elizebeth Pena (not a big fan of Penelope Cruz).

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
Just to throw a little more love at the movie: "If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
In our intensely relativistic age, I understand that a lot of film criticism essentially boils down to personal opinion (as, one could argue, does art analysis in general), but I wish there was more of a concerted effort in the criticism "community" for some degree of objectivity. Even if it proves to be something that is not actually attainable, I think it should be some type of "goal" or "end" to which all aesthetes strive. As it is, critics nowadays not only proclaim their subjectivity, they seem to actually celebrate it, thus leaving very little room for any kind of change, progression or personal growth. It's a very safe place to be, something they can almost "hide behind." After all, one can never be "wrong" when there is no such thing as "wrong" in the first place. That's why I admire critics who seem to have at least some sense of consistent criteria which they bring with them to their evaluations rather than merely being caught up in their own wittiness (such as using hyperbole and making clever puns out of the title of a movie they didn't like rather than trying to specify what was poorly done about the film).

Basically, I hope that the film critics of the future are more like Roger Ebert than Richard Roeper.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter? Movies will always matter. To me, that's like asking: "Does painting still matter? Or theatre? Or music? or dance?"

pacheco said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Looked forward to it, then saw it and absolutely abhorred it, but didn't know if that was my final decision. Then I saw it again on DVD and I was absolutely blown away.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Fight Club or The 400 Blows (a good film, but is it as great as people say?)

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

In Annie Hall, when Woody's character (Alvy) is approached on the street by someone who thinks he's seen him on TV before. The stranger asks Alvy's name, to which he replies, “Me? I'm... Robert Redford.” The reference isn't that funny in and of itself, but in the scene, it's hilarious.

That, or anytime a movie references the pre-scandal Milli Vanilli.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

n/a, because I don't think I've seen one.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

The clip of Billy Crystal in Jerry Maguire.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce. That dude's ten times more rugged (sorry Hugo!), even if a lot of his films are disappointing (The Proposition, Memento).

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Sadly, I don't think I have an answer.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

n/a, because I don't think I've seen one (I'm starting to see a trend...)

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Versus, Surf Ninjas, or Pump Up the Volume. Films that bad always make me feel better about myself.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Gladiator, Anger Management, and Cabiria (the Pastrone one)

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

n/a....you know why.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Bruce Dern.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

2.35:1, baby!

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Hasn't it always resembled the person who made it?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

n/a...

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Does Rocky IV count?

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman, but not watered down School of Rock Sarah Silverman. Give me the good stuff.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Favorite: The cute “phrase” before the character kills someone, like “Who's cut now?” or “Looks like school's out forever!” BLAM!

Despised: The “serious part” in a comedy. COMEDY, people.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Definitely Yes. The Best of the series. Am I joking? I don't think I am, but I might be. Wait, no, I'm not. So much cooler than the last, and much more entertaining than the first.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

n/a

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Deep Impact. Yes, Deep Impact. I'm not claiming that it's Citizen Kane, but it's highly entertaining, and smarter than a lot of other disaster films.

Okay, and City Lights (I feel it eclipses anything Chaplin's ever done, including Modern Times).

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Someone reminded me of The Truman Show, which is an excellent choice.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Patrick Bauchau. I like his TV resume.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

I don't watch a lot of non-fiction. At SXSW I saw Election Day, and while it wasn't a profound experience, the way it was made, it was like watching Magnolia, or a Robert Altman ensemble, only non-fiction. I don't recall seeing a documentary like that before -- one that had so many “characters” and that interwove them like a great ensemble piece.

Don't know if it's my favorite, just the one that's most fresh in my mind.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

In A Streetcar Named Desire, Stanley is lecturing Stella near the beginning of the film. There's a moment when, as he demeans her, he picks off a piece of lint from her shirt. I don't know if Brando did it without realizing it, but it sure felt like it, and it is such a stunning moment to see the contrast of his speech with his almost involuntary action.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

n/a

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Pedro Almodovar's Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

A Clockwork Orange:

“Being the adventures of a young man ... who couldn't resist pretty girls ... or a bit of the old ultra-violence ... went to jail, was re-conditioned ... and came out a different young man ... or was he ?”

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want more insights. The general movie review is so short, and so basic, and half of it is always the plot summary, that I end up skimming and only reading one or two paragraphs. I think that no film is made in a vacuum, so I'd like to see more encouraged comparisons of films. Why can't a new review focus on comparing a film with an older one? It can reveal so much about the new one.

I like the online film community because there's the freedom to experiment. Are we doing everything we can? Not yet. But I like what I see.

nathan m. said...

1. Bonnie and Clyde. I still don't know what I think.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey.

3. Almost all of Annie Hall. The whole movie is full of both sly and not-so-sly pop culture references.

4. Black Narcissus. (But it's hard not to mention The Red Shoes)

5. Don't watch the Oscars too closely.

6. Guy Pearce, though I'm not real hot on either one.

7. The Battle of Algiers. (This one stumps me a little though, because any number of movies could be mentioned...Hoop Dreams, Walkabout, The Bad and the Beautiful...)

8. Pickup on South Street. (But to be fair, I haven't seen as many Fuller movies as I should)

9. I can't vote for either one here.

10. Singin' in the Rain, or maybe Little Fugitive.

11. Just about any Godard movie made after 1969. Some are truly horrifying.

12. Point Blank

13. Warren Oates

14. 1.85:1. (But It depends on who's using it. Robert Altman makes cinemascope shine, and I'm not sure I want Gregg Toland working in anything other than the classic academy frame)

15. Truffaut was both right and wrong. It seems that the whole history of cinema hinges on this idea. If you take any era of movies, from any country, and you'll find that some movies bear the mark of their directors, some their writers, some thier studios. This has not really changed much over the years as far as I can tell. There may be times when his comment is more true than other times, but no more. The funny thing about him saying this is that his own films resembled the person who made them.

16. Strozeck

17. Jaws, maybe King Kong (1933). I can't really get into too many movies about rampant beasts.

18. Sandra Berhnard. She's just too fun to watch in The King of Comedy.

19. Is this a cliche? Anyway, I love the fact that, when talking on the phone, you rarely see proper goodbyes. People in movies just say whatever is necessery to advance the plot or character, and leave the common courtesies on the cutting room floor.

20. Yes, you bet. It might even be the best of the three.

21. In a Lonely Place

22. Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgans Creek. While everyone raves about The Lady Eve, Sturges' two best films get no love.

23. The Truman Show

24. Bruno Ganz

25. It's a toss: Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocolypse vs. Hoop Dreams

26. Martin Scorsese as a passanger in Taxi Driver. He wasn't supposed to play the part, but boy did he. It's one of the most intense and unnerving scenes in one of the most intense and unnerving movies of all time.

27. Paris, Texas

28. Penelope Cruz, I guess. (I'm not so into the choose an actor questions)

29. "The Bride is Back for the Final Cut" -Kill Bill Vol. 2.

30. Because I won't read a review before seeing a movie, I want a through discussion of that film. The critic should be able to connect the movie not just to other films, but to the real world. He or she should be able to break down the movie into it's smaller pieces, and help the reader to see and reflect on how those pieces work together (or don't). There has to be some balance of subjective and objective responses that the critic can discuss. it's obvious that critics have subjective impulses and prejudices. They should be willing to share these with the reader without allowing those subjective leanings to become the whole of the review. and who knows where criticism is headed. With the internet there are more critics than the average person can handle. It seems like criticism is headed in the same direction that it's always been headed: That is that there will always be hack critics, and there will always be at least a few insightful, compelling ones.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Anchorman. I couldn't wrap my head around it at first. It was the second and third times that it actually became truly funny, and not just because of the people I saw it with.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Peter Jackson. Still shocked people take him serious as a director.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The pig hanging outside of the window in Children of Men. Perfectly represented how massively unsubtle and overbearing the entire film was. I love it for that reason. Terrible movie.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Ehh, 42nd Parallel isn't really their best, but it's got Oliver in it, man.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

The Departed winning Best Picture, not because it was the best film of the year, but because it was the first movie that won since the 1980's that I've liked.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce. Poor guy can really act, but his career has lost its way.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

The Wind Will Carry Us.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Shock Corridor, no question.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Maria Grazia Cucinotta cause she was pretty in Il Postino.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. A completely joyful film, it makes me laugh. And David Warner is in it.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

The director's cut of THX 1138. Not that it's on TV often, but nothing makes me more upset than Lucas' careless destruction of near perfection.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Zardoz, duh. Charlotte Rampling, people. It doesn't matter what's going on around her, it's Charlotte Rampling.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Bruce Dern, come on.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

R.I.P. Academy

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Yes, as long as it's not a Ron Howard movie. You can never tell if that guy on set that day or not.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

This is like asking me which of my children I prefer over the others. All I know is I can only watch Stroszek so many times before I want to kill myself. Otherwise, each film is pretty much pefect.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Someone else said Night of the Lepus and I have to agree with them.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Ehh.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

A character saying "Let's get out of here." Keep your ears open and you'll rarely see a film without it.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Not really. I want to like it more than I do. I appreciate its ambition, but Capshaw really does ruin a good deal of it.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

If I said Rebel Without a Cause, would I look uncool?

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Head. Yes, The Monkees movie. One of the absolute best films of the 60's, for real.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Yeah, gotta go with Network on this one.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

I have a soft spot for The Cruise for a lot of reasons. Non-fiction in general is where it's at.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

All of The New World. In a good way.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. Just because.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Elizabeth Pena.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

The Only Thing More Terrifying Than The Last 12 Minutes Of This Film Are The First 92. - Suspiria

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I have no idea how to answer those questions.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

No. That's what makes them so interesting.

sheila said...

thanks for another great quiz, Dennis - I love these things! Very thought-provoking, and it is so cool to read everyone else's comments.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Breaking the Waves. I loved it the first time. Or thought I did. Saw it a second time and realized that it was a piece of SH*T.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Forrest Gump


3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

I love Cary Grant's ad-libs which refer to his other parts in other movies, or just to himself. Like in His Girl Friday when he is trying to describe the character played by Ralph Bellamy and he says, "He looks like that actor - you know - Ralph Bellamy". Or the whole "Jerry the Nipper" joke that starts in The Awful Truth and then is continued in the jail-cell scene in Bringing Up Baby. Katharine Hepburn tells the sheriff that poor David Huxley is ACTUALLY "Jerry the Nipper" - a criminal on the run - and David shouts at the sheriff, "Don't listen to her, officer. She's just making that up out of motion pictures she's seen!" [Yes. And that motion picture would be The Awful Truth - starring you.]

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

I have only seen The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus and I have to go with Black Narcissus because I adore nuns, and I adore Deborah Kerr - and nuns having nervous breakdowns due to sexual tension - with the Himalayas in the background? And Deborah Kerr in a habit? Please count me in.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

The clip of the streaker running behind David Niven in 1974 is one of my favorite live-television moments of all time. Also - Niven's brilliantly dry response to it:

"Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings."

I also adored Russell Crowe's acceptance speech. I just was very moved by it, and by his whole demeanor.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce. I love Hugo Weaving too (especially in Proof which is when I first became aware of him) - but Pearce is more versatile, I think. Or at least he's gotten roles that get to show more versatility.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

The first thing that comes to mind is Maria Full of Grace. I knew OF those girls ... but that movie delved into that whole world in a way that was truly eye-opening and horrible.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

I've only seen The Big Red One - which was fantastic.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Strangely, Murder by Numbers is always a treat for me. There was a time when that was in constant rotation on some movie channel - and every time I surfed and tripped over it, I would stop and watch it. And every time I just lost myself in that story.

Also, if I'm having a blue day, and I'm channel surfing and I trip over The Cutting Edge - I then turn into the happiest girl in the world.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Forrest Gump. Sorry, I'll stop bitching about my hatred for this movie someday.


12) Favorite John Boorman movie

I have a soft spot for Excalibur - but Deliverance is a great film.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

So I'll go with Warren Oates.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

I have never thought of this before, not really - but I suppose I need to go with the 4x3 Academy Standard one - and that's only because most of my favorite movies (and, in my opinion, the best movies ever made) came from before 1950.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I think that to some degree what Truffaut says has always been true (if I'm understanding him correctly). Like - a good Howard Hawks movie has the stamp of Howard Hawks on it. You can TELL he directed it. The independent directors in the 1970s didn't invent personal directorial stamp (although some of them THOUGHT they did). And I guess I think that nowadays - it's NOT as true that movies resemble the maker. Not enough personal films being made - too diluted.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

I am gonna have to go with Grizzly Man as my favorite. It's been almost a year now since I first saw it and I still cannot get that film out of my head.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Ghostbusters. No contest.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sandra Bernhard

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

My favorite AND my most despised is the Slow Clap. Sometimes it is used to good effect and sometimes it is mortifying and you are embarrassed for everyone involved. The Slow Clap should be used very sparingly. For example, to my taste - it works very well in that last scene Lucas.
It's a cliche, yes, but when it is done sincerely - and when the movie earns it - it can be great.

However: if you haven't earned the Slow Clap? PLEASE don't use it.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No. I had a hard time getting past Kate Capshaw - the character and the actress. I watched that movie yearning for Marion.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

In a Lonely Place. Best Bogart performance ever.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

I know Jeff Bridges is a big star and everything - it's not like he's suffering in obscurity - but I truly think he does not get the props he deserves. What props should he get? How about: Best American Actor Alive. THAT'S the prop I think he deserves.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Network - but I also love Broadcast News

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Patrick Bauchau.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

I think Grizzly Man is one of the best I've ever seen.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

The first thing that comes to mind is the moment when the guy at the table in Woman Under the Influence spills his entire plate of spaghetti into his lap. It looks like it HAD to have been an accident - His embarrassment is so silent and yet so palpable. Horrible wonderful scene. And if it was planned? Then it's even more of a genius moment.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Paris, texas


28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Elizabeth Pena

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

I liked Godzilla's tag line:

SIZE DOES MATTER

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

1. Know your field, please. If I sense a critic doesn't have context, then it's very hard to take him/her seriously. Their knowledge is shallow, they are dilettantes rather than experts.

2. The critics who know how to talk about acting - and what specifically an actor does that makes something good or not - are like GOLD to me. They're rare, and I cherish those critics.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Nothing like a good movie. Be it Persona or Bring It On. If it's good, it's good. And that matters. To me, anyway.

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
More-Onions said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

I've seen Barry Lyndon 4 times and frankly the jury's still out.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Ridley Scott, post Alien and Blade Runner

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Wes Craven placing a torn Jaws poster in Hills Have Eyes, followed by Sam Raimi placing an Eyes poster in Evil Dead, followed by someone watching ED in Nightmare on Elm Street

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Unfortunately I'm forced to say I haven't seen any of these. The worst part is, my friend rented Colonel Blimp on three seperate occaisions, and we never watched it.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Having only seen the last ten or so telecasts, I'm going with the Michael Moore speech. It was innapropriate and all, but it sure livened up a four hour show.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce, though his role choices of late leave something to be desired.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Platoon, simply because I first saw it when I was about 7. Watching the intrepid soldiers shooting each other and burning Vietnamese villages was quite unexpected.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

The Big Red One

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Sadly I was watching Major League the other day anticipating the start of the baseball season and, well, there it is then.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

The Boondock Saints

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Deliverance though I'd vote Tailor of Panama as most underrated.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates!

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Can't say I can answer this question.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I'm not entirely sure I understand this question, so I'll leave it alone rather than flash some more ignorance.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

My Best Fiend!

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Apocalypse Now was a pretty damned funny, if cruel, answer, but I'll go with Godzilla vs. King Kong, possibly titled King Kong vs. Godzilla, I forget.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Neither.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Most despised: the moments leading up to a "big twist", when we get a quick, usually lamely-edited flashback of everything that's transpired, "proving" that the twist makes sense.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Helllllll no. So big a no that when the trilogy finally got a DVD release I created a "Hall of Shame" section in my DVD rack on the bottom shelf, just for movies that I purchased as part of trilogies or box sets that I wouldn't otherwise be caught dead with. The only other current members are a couple Oliver Stone movies and Beverly Hills Cop 3.

(And yes, this implies both ownership of the BHC Trilogy AND acceptance of BHC 2 as an acceptable experience).

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Somehow the only one I've seen is Bigger Than Life.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Brian DePalma's Carlito's Way. When I heard that Cahiers du Cinema named it the best movie of the 90's, I almost up and moved to Paris.

Also, Peter Weir and Spike Lee.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

The Truman Show

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Ganz, just for Downfall

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

I'm forced to once again go with My Best Fiend here.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I guess my favorite is the famous Dr. Strangelove scene where George C. Scott trips over himself walking backwards, and still continues delivering his lines.

Also, the reactions of other people in Heat whenever Al Pacino goes way over the top.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Well, it's not The Million Dollar Hotel.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Cruz.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

As great as the original Alien tagline is, I always loved the second one:

"This Time It's War."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I guess I wish that critics could concentrate more on the movie itself, not on what they think they should be writing based on what others' perception might be, if that makes sense.

I also wish some critics were more funny, less angry.

ron said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Platoon. Just keeps getting worse.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Ron Howard

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Chad Vader

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
pass.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
John Stewart in bed with George Clooney.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Guy Pearce.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
United 93 - but that may be because I watched it late last night for the first time.


8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
The Big Red One.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta
Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
The Right Stuff

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Ace Ventura.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Hope and Glory ("He threw a googlie!")

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Bruce Dern, for Black Sunday

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
Supermarionation

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I'll come back to this one.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Fitzcarraldo

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Return of the King.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Monica Bellucci

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Favourite: The "Hey!" guy when people are running through a crowds
Despised: The fake scare just before the real one.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Yup.
21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Flying Leathernecks - saw it on TV once a long time ago...

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Bringing Out The Dead - I was working graveyard shift when I saw it....
23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Broadcast News - When Albert Brooks asks how many cameras did Wiliam Hurt take with him...brilliant

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Monica Bellucci

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Ken Burns' "Civil War"

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or an unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
hmmm...not sure

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Paris, Texas

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Have I mentioned Monica Bellucci before?

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
Who Needs Anger Management? - From Punch

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
An insight into the film - why that person did or didn't like it - and no more ratings!!!!!!

schuyler chapman said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Grand Illusion (didn't like it the first time)

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

I am prepared to be blasphemous: Akira Kurosawa

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Body Double: the simultaneous reference to the poster for Slumber Party Massacre and Ferrara's Driller Killer

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Black Narcissus

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

2002: Cut to David Lynch and Robert Altman having a nice laugh as Ron Howard ascends to the podium to receive the Best Director award that rightfully belonged to one Altman or Lynch. I like to think they were laughing at Ron and his atrocious movie.


6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Pather Panchali

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

The Big Red One, I guess, but it's hard to choose

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Wizard of Oz or Wings of Desire

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Donnie Darko

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Zardoz. Really. I'm serious. Followed closely by Point Blank, though, so I can keep my credibility.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates, by a hair

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

It doesn't matter, really, as long as the director and cinematographer know what they're doing. That being said, I probably prefer 2.35:1.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Not entirely, but we're getting there

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Stroszek

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

War of the Gargantuas

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Most despised: Someone running along a bus, plane, train as it embarks

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Why not

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

In a Lonely Place

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Alex Cox

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Putney Swope

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz by a mile or twenty

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Sherman's March

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

The scene in Lost and Translation where Bill Murray is sitting next to an old man on a hospital bench. It's funny and, in a way, perfectly encapsulates the sense of dislocation the movie strives for. That and the fact that the old man and the two women behind him are giggling at Bill the entire time, completely unable to take him seriously.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Wings of Desire

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

Genius. Poet. Twat. (24 Hour Party People)

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I would like them to say if they liked a movie and why. Pretty simple, right? Oh yeah, and to remember that theirs is only an opinion.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

Missed a couple on the first try. This happened on my SATs, too.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Doctor Zhivago. I'm normally a big David Lean whore, but I still can't tell about that one.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

James Horner.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Totally obvious, but the Empire Strikes Back business in Toy Story 2 had me on the floor.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

The Red Shoes, although Tales of Hoffmann is in my Netflix queue and may finally take over the top spot.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Bernardo Bertolucci.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Elisha Wood, Jr.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Lawrence of Arabia put me on a Middle East WWI obsession that still continues.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

The Big Red One. Mark Hamill acts!

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Claudia Cardinale. (I really don't know. Can you tell?)

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

I once stayed in a house that, unlike mine, had cable, and for about two weeks, they were showing Rashomon every morning. You wouldn't think that would brighten up the whole day, but there you go.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

My thumb's faster than that.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Excalibur.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Ah, I'll go with Dern. A toss-up, though.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

As much as I love the diagonals in 1.33:1, nothing beats CinemaScope in the theater.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Bay.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Fitzcarraldo. If only Aguirre had opera singers.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Ghostbusters. The fact that that movie still stands up amazes me.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Bernhard, I guess.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Whenever musical numbers move out into the street and all the extras are suddenly in perfect choreography.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Sure, why not? It beats hell out of anything the studios have been pumpong out lately.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

I won't embarrass myself by answering this, since I realize I can't always remember whether a movie was directed by Nicholas Ray or Nicholas Roeg.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Alan J. Pakula.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

The television angle is largely absurd, but My Favorite Year never fails for me. Network is still the best, though.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Ganz.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

The Trout, with Daniel Baremboim, Jacqueline du Pre, Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, and Pinchas Zuckerman as impossibly young jet-setting superstars.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Somebody got to Jimmy Stewart's hiccup before I did.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Buena Vista Social Club, just to mix it up a little.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Eh.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

Re-Animator had that great groaner about the head on his shoulders and the other one on his desk.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Good writing. It covers a multitude of sins.

Do movies still matter?

On a personal level, they'll always matter, just like any art form. I think what the question imples is whether they matter on a collective level, whether they can still impact the culture in a concrete way. Probably not, but the vocabulary is so embedded in the way we look at the world now that the question might be moot.

Michael said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Blade Runner and 2001.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Sin City

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
I know it's TV, but I love the Wire's Major Rawls' reference to Apocalypse Now's use of Ride of the Valkyries (a reference itself to Birth of a Nation).

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
The Red Shoes

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
The Silence of the Lambs' sweep of the five major Oscars.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Hugo Weaving

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Tie: Battle of Algiers and All the President's Men.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
The Naked Kiss

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Jaws

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
The Perfect Storm

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Point Blank

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Warren Oates (see Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia as soon as possible)

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
16:9

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I want to punch both Moulin Rouge and Baz Luhrmann. So, yes.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Stroszek

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Jaws

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sarah Silverman

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
The Hitchcock push-pull. Always works for me. I even have moments in my life that feel like those shots.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Yes.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
King of Kings

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Robocop

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Network

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bruno Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Gates of Heaven

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The blatantly missed punch in The Godfather when Sonny is beating up Carlo. It's a flub, but it reminds me of real fights I've seen where the aggressor is just blindly throwing punches and the one getting beat up is just so defeated that even the missed punches cause him to flinch or flail.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
I plead ignorance.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
This time it's personal. -- Jaws the Revenge

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I can always tell when a critic is taking a position for the sake of taking that position. Focus on the movie itself, why it does or doesn't work, and then discuss how it fits into a greater context.

Chris said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

A lot of movies. But I’ll steal Jim’s answer: “Eyes Wide Shut.” Rarely have I gone from thinking a film was a total miss to a masterpiece simply upon repeated viewings. The second viewing opened my mind to it, and the third viewing sealed the deal.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Federico Fellini. The man had about one or two good ideas and then relied on Nino Rota to paper over his lack of imagination with groovy music. One great movie: “8 ½”, One very good movie: “La Dolce Vita.” One pretty good movie: “The White Shiek.” And then a whole lot of irritating crap, including the unspeakably insufferable “La Strada.”

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

This is a reverse reference, but am I the only person who thinks that the little old dude with the big book in front of him in all of those “Man Law” ads for “Miller Lite” looks just like Herr Scheitz’s character in “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser”? I really want to ask the guys who made the commercial if that was intentional, or just my feverish Herzog-obsessed imagination.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

I’ll have a different answer tomorrow, but today I’ll say “I Know Where I’m Going!” ‘Cause it’s one of the purtiest movies this side of “Man of Aran.”

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Jack Nicholson saying: “And the award for Best Picture goes to… Crash.” I have seldom laughed so hard in my life.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce, because he wasn’t in The Matrix.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Geez. Why not ask “So what’s the meaning of life anyway?” I will say that Peter Watkins’ “Edvard Munch” provided me access to a tortured, creative mind in a way I never thought possible on film (or in any other medium.)

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

“Pierrot le fou” but I guess you don’t mean as an actor. The opening scene of “Naked Kiss” is the best work Fuller ever did, but the rest of the film doesn’t live up to it. In general, I find that his films share brilliant moments with dull ones which is part of what makes him so fascinating. Favorite, I suppose I’ll go with “The Big Red One” though “Forty Guns” is an awful lot of fun.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Bellucci by default, not that Monica needs default to win anything.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

“A Hard Day’s Night” always lights up the day. It’s very clean.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Just seeing trailer for “300” nowadays makes me want to cry both because of the number of people who have told me “It’s the greatest movie I’ve ever seen” and because I can’t disagree with Time’s assessment that it is the “future of cinema.” Or at least the future of some cinema. Some, as in “way too much.”

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

I don’t think of Boorman as a great director or anything, but he made two brilliant films in “Point Blank” and “Hell in the Pacific” and “Deliverance” is pretty damn fine too. I have to go with “Point Blank” but you can’t go wrong with “Hell.”

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

There are only a dozen or so actors who do not lose in a “Warren Oates or X” competition, and the redoubtable Bruce Dern is not one of them.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

The original.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Well, you have to understand that Truffaut had a brain tumor at the time… Er, OK, even 20 years later, that’s not so funny. In any case, I think it’s just one of those things people like to say that doesn’t carry any particular meaning. The film of the past resembled the person who made it too.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

“Stroszek” has emerged as a clear favorite (and my 2nd favorite film of all-time) but “Fata Morgana” and “Aguirre” are also in my Top 20.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Touch of Evil. Orson was fully inflated by that stage of his career.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

That’s a negative, Ghost Rider. Pass.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I like looking at sunrises and sunsets on film.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Absolutely. At the very least, it is substantially better than the live action cartoon that was “Last Crusade.” Anyone who thinks “Crusade” is better than “Temple” needs massive re-education.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

I have to acknowledge a blind spot here, having only seen three of his films.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

John Waters. Yeah, he has his cult following, but I think he’s a legitimately great director. He made those early films with no budget, almost no equipment, and barely a clue as to how to stitch two pieces of film together. He’s a better director than Fellini, Bergman, Scorsese, Angelopoulos, Altman, Spielberg, Coppola, and a couple hundred other people too.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

I just ran through my list of Top 100+ films and couldn’t find one that has much of anything to do with television. “Network” is the obvious choice, but I think it’s pretty ham-fisted.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno has become the pan-European stand-in for all discerning auteurs. I can see why.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

“Fata Morgana” but Herzog insists it isn’t really a documentary. “F for Fake” but a lot of people say it isn’t really a documentary. And the Academy felt that “The Thin Blue Line” wasn’t really a documentary back in 1988. So I’ll have to go back to the original documentarian Robert Flaherty and select “Man of Aran.” After all, he’s the father of documentary so there can’t be any controversy in calling his films documentaries; he would never invent anything or use actors or anything like that.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or an unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Manny Farber so totally owns this question, I feel like I’m not even worthy enough to respond.

But I’ll answer anyway. And I will admit beforehand that I didn’t notice this while watching the movie but read about it beforehand. In Howard Hawks’ “El Dorado” Robert Mitchum’s character injures his leg and has to use a cane. But Mitchum forgot which leg to favor and switched up between scenes. A prickly Duke noticed and ad-libbed a line which Hawks kept in the film, something like “Would you make up your mind which leg you hurt?” Now that’s acting.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Alice in the Cities. As much of a New German Cinema fanatic as I am, I don’t much care for Wenders’ American narrative films. “Alice” is probably his best road movie, but I should note that I have never seen “Kings of the Road.”

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Cruz.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

2001: A Space Odyssey is “The Ultimate Trip.” Talk about taking advantage of your target demographic.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want him or her to be a good writer, first and foremost. I want him or her to have a clear and obvious knowledge of film history as well as an understanding that film is an audiovisual medium and not just a “book with moving pictures attached.” Not many critics pass the last test.

I see film criticism heading even more to the margins, and I expect the ability to get paid actually M O N E Y to be a film critic will become increasingly rare. Perhaps this matters more to me as a working film critic who has no trouble finding work, lots of trouble finding money.


EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Money talks. As long as movies make money, they will matter a lot. And if they stop making money, they will still matter to me.

Daniel L. said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Magnolia. Kind of fascinating the first time I saw it -- looked more and more like a big, showy ball of nothing after repeated viewings.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

See above (I realize many people can't stand this picture, but I've still met a awful lot of otherwise film-knowledgable folks who think it's brilliant)

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Reference to "What's Opera, Doc" in the "Gutterballs" sequence of The Big Lebowski

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

The Red Shoes

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Frances McDormand thanking her husband for "making me a woman."

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Pearce. Weaving has not been in a movie as terrific as LA Confidential

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Ray's Apu Trilogy

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Pickup on South Street.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Bellucci.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday. (On another note, the best pick-me-up ever is still "Blue Sky" by the Allman Bros.)

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Any Lethal Weapon movie.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Point Blank. Tailor of Panama is a close second.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Oates. Wild Bunch, Badlands, Two Lane Blacktop, Alfredo Garcia, etc. The only Dern picture that comes to mind that I loved was King of Marvin Gardens.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Um, depends on what's appropriate for the movie, but I guess I'll say 2.35:1 just for shits and giggles.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Is this anything like how dogowners start to resemble their pooches? I don't see this being much more truthful than it would've been pre-1984, but I suppose it could apply a bit more to the 90s indie crowd, whose personalities are often reminiscent of their work. But wait, wasn't this true of most directors of any era? Auteur theory, anyone? Heh?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Grizzly Man. Aguirre Wrath of God is the close second.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

See above?

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Um, Silverman is funnier, but hasn't been in a movie as good as King of Comedy, so I'll give Bernhard the edge.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I've never instantly heard a dial tone when the person on the other end hangs up.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No, except for the Cole Porter song in Chinese.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

In a Lonely Place

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Children of Men. (Again, I know a lot of people completely adore this, but it didn't get nearly as much attention as it deserved)

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

A Face in the Crowd

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

The Sorrow and the Pity

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Tim Robbins' kid in Altman's Short Cuts asking, "Daddy, why can't I have a monkey?" I always assumed this was an unscripted moment, but then I saw the making-of doc on the Criterion edition where you can see Altman rehearsing the kid to say the line. Oh, well -- it still could've been a surprising thing the kid said that Altman just heard and wanted repeated. Anyway, it always makes me laugh.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Until the End of the World. I've never gotten anyone to agree with me on this one.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Pena. Lone Star, bitches!

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"It's Terrific!" (from Citizen Kane) It reminds me of the old slogan for Barq's Root Beer -- "Drink Barq's - It's Good"

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Intelligence, Knowledge of film history, name isn't Peter Travers.

Anand said...

1. Eraserhead (David Lynch)
2. Metropolis (Fritz Lang)
3. John Wayne doing the Harry Carey elbow thing at the end of the searchers.
4. Michael who?
5. Halle Berry going Batshit.
6. Is that even a serious question? Guy Pearce.
7. Lost in Translation.
8. Samuel who?
9. Cucinnota.
10.That thing you do.
11.Anything that has Keanu Reeves.
12.Point Blank.
13.Warren Oates.
14.Really not an issue with me. I really wish Japanese movies from the 50s and 60s were shot in widescreen though.
15.Look at Bunuel.
16.Aguirre
17.Not a fan of monster flicks, but I guess Taxi Driver will have to do.
18.Silverman!
19.Bad guys always smoke, good guys dont/are trying to quit (a newer, very very annoying cliche)
20.The movie- hell no. Amrish Puri- hell yes.
21.Nicholas who?
22.Altered States.
23.Anchorman.
24.Der Ganz.
25.Woodstock.
26.In the Godfather, when Michael wheels Don Corleone's hospital bed into another room to save him from assasination, Marlon Brando's hand gets snicked in between the bed and the doorway, and he flinched. It reassured me that Brando wasn't God.
27.Wim???
28.Definitely Elizabeth Pena.
29.Here's looking at you, Kid.
30.Exactly where its going right now, with online blogging offerring almost elementally pure freedom of speech, with grate dialogue between differring opinions.

Damian said...

Oops. Forgot to make it clear that my answer to #19 (the line "I'm goin' in") was my most DESPISED movie cliche and not my favorite. Sorry. :(

My FAVORITE movie cliche would have the be the always beautiful shot of the drapes swirling gently in the wind to indicate someone has just escaped out the window. Thank God nobody in the movies ever owns venetians blinds.

Adam Ross said...

In the interest of mousewheel conservation, I posted my answers on my blog.

cinebeats said...

I wish I had known about your previous quiz! Oh well, here's my answers to your latest...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Blood Simple (I really like it now, but the first time I saw it I was turned off by the lead actor who I still think is bland, but the movie more than makes up for his lackluster performance)

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Quentin Tarantino. I don't think he's ever had an interesting original idea of his own.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

There's so many great ones, but most recently, I loved the moment in Last Life in the Universe when you see a movie poster for Ichi the Killer in the library where Kenji (Tadanobu Asano’s character) works.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Black Narcissus

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Isaac Hayes performing the theme song for Shaft and then winning the Oscar for best original song in 1971. “Who's the black private dick, that's a sex machine to all the chicks? Shaft!"

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it.

Hôtel Terminus. When I first saw the film back in 1988 I didn't know much about Klaus Barbie and the "ratline" set up by the U.S. & the Vatican to get Nazi war criminals out of Europe. The movie deeply disturbed me on many levels.

I've also got to mention Let's Get Lost since I saw the film with no previous knowledge about Chet Baker when it was released and after seeing the movie I fell in love with guy and his music.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Pickup on South Street

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Viva Las Vegas. I can get naturally high from watching Ann-Margret & Elvis together.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Any Adam Sandler comedy.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Point Blank

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

That’s a really tough question! I want to say tie, but if I’ve got to pick one Bruce Dern would get my vote due to the fact that he’s been in so many great movies that I like. I think Oats was often better than the movies he was in.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Whenever possible I like seeing a film how it was originally supposed to be seen, whatever aspect ratio that might be.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I think films have always resembled the people who made them and always will.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

I have a soft spot for It Came from Beneath the Sea because I love Ray Harryhausen and the movie shows a giant monster octopus trying to destroy the San Francisco Bay. I saw the movie on TV one weekend when I was a kid and it terrified me since it took place where I lived. In the past 25 years I have not been able to cross the Golden Gate Bridge without wondering if a giant octopus is going to raise itself out of the ocean depths and attack the bridge just as I’m crossing.

18) Sandra Bernhard or

Sandra Bernhard

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Any racial stereotypes that have been used to death and are now cliché really get on my nerves like East Indians working at Kwik-E-Marts, all Asians know martial arts or are super smart/old & wise, etc. I'm also really tired of the hooker with the heart of gold and the single-mom stripper who really loves her kid, but needs the money and can't do anything else to make a buck. Blah!

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No thanks, but I actually do like the musical opening which is soon followed by a crappy movie. I like crappy movies, but only when they don’t cost millions to make.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Rebel Without a Cause. No matter how many great movies Ray has made, I think it's impossible to top the holy trinity that is James Dean, Natalie Wood & Sal Mineo.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Philip Ridley. I really wish he would make more films.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Video Drome

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Patrick Bauchau

25) Your favorite documentary, or nonfiction, film

American Movie is pretty special and since this is a movie quiz I had to mention it, but The Fog of War is probably the best documentary I've seen and the most disturbing. Especially when you see the entire thing on DVD with the extra cut footage.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Well, I love watching Brando and I think some of his best performances were improvised accidents like in Last Tango in Paris or Missouri Breaks. It's just mesmerizing watching him come up with dialogue and character background on the spot while the cameras roll, which I think always adds depth to his performance. It can be a distraction, but it’s a welcome distraction.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Wings of Desire

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

I’ve never been impressed by either so I’m going to cheat and write in my own choice. Since we’re talking Hispanic actresses, I pick Soledad Miranda.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

That's an impossible question to answer since they're are THOUSANDS of truly great ones, but I'll mention this favorite from She-Devils on Wheels (1968):

"Riding their men as viciously as they ride their motorcycles!"

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

As a reader, I want film critics to be educated and know what they're talking about. I find it really annoying when I know more about a topic then a critic who's chosen to write about it in a popular publication and is getting praise & dollars for it. Too many critics these days don’t seem to know enough about the topics they write about.

As for where film criticism is headed, well there's always been publications or sources where narrow genres and areas of filmmaking are discussed, but I think in the future there will be more people writing about particular genres or specific areas of filmmaking, etc. which will make it easy for readers to find information about topics that interest them. I think general movie sites and publications are slowly being edged out by "niche" sites and publications.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Of course they do and like all important art forms, I think they always will. 300 is a good example of a film that matters to a lot of people right now and is causing a big stir. Is it A) Just mindless entertainment or B) A historically incorrect propaganda film, or C) A bit of both? I'll take C!

Anonymous said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
I always like Citizen Kane, but I didn't really love it until recently. After viewing it several times i have come to enjoy it as a hilarious send-up of American captialism. Kane is a Quixotesque figure unable to see the ridiculous farce of his life.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
The English Patient was a piece of crap. I do value my memory of seeing it and laughing out loud with my husband, from the moment Ralph Fiennes leaps off the train, limping back to Kristen Scott Thomas, all the way to his silent scream holding her in a flowing gold bordered, white wrap.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
I love the parachuting scene in Top Secret where they are engaging in an emotional scene mid-fall, the ending of which pans over to a fireplace suspended by a parachute. It's one of the most wonderfully ridiculous parodies of the Hollywood romance genre.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
That's easy -- Black Narcissus!!!!!!!!!!!!

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
When someone wins who deserves it.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Neither. Who cares? You might as well say barley or wheat?

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
I agreed to watch The Fast and the Furious. It was okay. What kids don't understand is that coordinating hundreds of people into an orchestrated race, is nearly impossible. Especially one where only a few select people are allowed to actually race. (Who picked them?) My neighbor across the street was installing blue lights under his car, and it wasn't until I saw this film that I understand 1) why he was doing this ill conceived installation, and 2) the sad reality of him blowing his money to emulate an impossibility.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
I've seen The Naked City and Shock Corridor. I liked them both. The Naked City seemed like a breakthrough for its time, even though I wasn't around then. But it's a little forward thinking even for now.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
I've probably seen them but I can't say I remember them. Let me google them. Oh shit! Monica Bellucci no contest!! She was in Irreverisble!!

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Broadway Danny Rose. And I mean that with all due respect.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
I don't think that is possible. I don't tend to dwell on stuff like that. Maybe any comedy with Adam Sandler.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Hope and Glory was good, but nothing he's done would elicit the word "favorite" from me.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Don't care. Paper or plastic?

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
This is silly since movies come in so many shapes and sizes. Which ever ratio allows me to view the full film without black bars is best.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Wrong. There is no film of tomorrow. Only the film of today. If he was speaking metaphorically, I would say that he's right because the film of tomorrow would be in our heads. The stuff in our heads probably does resemble us most. I actually like what he has said now that I think about it more. This is the paradox of every filmmaker, to get as close to oneself as possible. It can never happen. David Lynch has gotten close with Inland Empire.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Grizzly Man.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
The Klumps?

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sandra Bernhard of course. I just saw he last night at the Triple Door. But Sandra at the HRC banquet in Seattle a couple of years ago. She was hot! She managed to piss off a lot of people. And if you look at HRC's website and at the list of past speakers, they didn't include her. It's a performance I won't forget.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
I love that double slap on the car when someone is saying goodbye. It always gets a giggle from me, though I usually don't like the movies where this usually happens.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Yeah, I guess. I'm sure I'll watch it again sometime. What I'm amazed at is that after having seen Raiders 14 times in the theater, and then not having seen it for years, how hokey it is now. It has not withstood the test of time at all. Blech!

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
I had to google him but when are they going to release Johnny Guitar on DVD? It is an absolute crime that this hasn't happened yet. And Martin Scorsese is a fan. Somone please tell Marty to do it!!!!!

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Broadway Danny Rose

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Network

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Had to google them again , but P Bauchau was in The Cell, so him.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Grey Gardens is great.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
Although I wasn't crazy about Spike Jonze's Adaptation, the car accident scene blew me away. I did a frame by frame and determined it must have been a brilliant homage to Hitchcock's famous shower scene.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Hate him. Ugh.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope Cruz i guess because she's linked to Almodovar.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
I rarely like them.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I like critcism from someone who likes themselves. I hate crabby critics who poo pooh movies, like on
Salon.com. They rarely can find anything redeeming in a film. I love critics who connect with films and can explain their reactions honestly. Critics should be required to take a course on getting in touch with their sense of empathy, and being able to communicate that.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Yes.
-Shawn McGuire

Ryland Walker Knight said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is only getting better.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
A History of Violence

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
"Not this one Klaus-y"

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
I liked it when Wallce & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit won and they put the bow-tie on the little gold man.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Hugo Weaving, if only because his name is more august, as is his voice, and I'm awed by both. Plus, the scene when he nearly rapes Morpheus is great.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
I just watched Battle in Heaven and it made me yearn to be a part of Mexico for, I'd say, a month or two. Then I'd have to high-tail it back to Gringoville USA.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Pickup on South Street

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
How can you choose? I'll say Cucinotta cuz of her neck.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Jurassic Park

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
I don't know. I'd feel pretty silly if that happened, tho.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Point Blank

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Bring me that head! Warren, baby.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
I think I'll echo whoever wrote in "Panavision 70"

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
INLAND EMPIRE

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
I'm kind of in love with The White Diamond right now but Kaspar Hauser is also pretty unbelievable.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Oliphants: Return of the King

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
You know what? I'm not really into either one of their versions of comedy so much but I would fuck the shit out of Sarah Silverman. Or, I'd like to. She has made me laugh more, too. So I choose her.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
When used well, favorite = rain.
When used ill, despised = rain.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Sure.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
In a Lonely Place

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
How To Get Ahead In Advertising and its star, Richard E Grant

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television.
Quiz Show

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Ganz.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film?
Battle of Algiers. Oh, wait. Oh, yeah.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
Pierrot le fou. The whole thing. Brilliant.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Wings of Desire

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope is lovely.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
"Family isn't a word, it's a sentence." (Royal Tenenbaums)

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I want a tasty, sexy read. And, preferably, one that makes me giggle. I think the internet is changing it both for good and bad. But mostly good. I'd say it's heading forward, which is all you can ask for.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
You kidding? Of course. But, of course, it varies from individual to individual. I know they matter a ton to me and less to most everybody else I talk to but they are there and they are great.

Rami said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Zoolander, at first I was convinced I hated it but somethinga bout it stuck in my craw and subsequent viewings changed my mind.


2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

300 is visually stunning but its a very silly movie.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Here's an obvious one but it was the first one that popped into my head. Brian DePalma's homage to Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin utilizes the Odessa steps sequence but surgically removes any socially redeeming value and turns it into a kick-ass action sequence.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

It was Black Narcissus but now its The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The opening is hilarious the first time and heart-breaking the second.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Finally seeing Martin Scorsese winning.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Hugo Weaving has played more fun characters.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

I had very little knowledge of how to handle a situation wherein snakes would be on a plane. Thank goodness then for Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man. JK. Its probably a three way toss up between seriousness Jafar Palahani's The White Balloon which completely opened my eyes to the world of simple trials and tribulations for two children in Iran, the crippling poverty and abuse of the elderly in Umberto D and Werner Herzog's examination of the transformative madness of nature in Grizzly Man.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Pickup on South Street is the total package. Plus Thelma Ritter gives her best performance ever in it.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Raiders of the Lost Ark.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Fun with Dick and Jane.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Deliverance.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Bruce Dern never carried around a severed head, OATES!

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

2.20:1 The most cinematic of aspect ratios.


15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

If that isn't a description of youtube I don't know what is. Truffaut was clearly a genius and if my knowledge of film is correct Bob Balaban is his personal sidekick.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Aguire Wrath of God is one of my favorites of all time. Simply nothing like it.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

If I hadn't just seen the Host I'd say the original Godzilla. But now Joon Hu-Bong has rocked my world.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Silverman. Yes, I'm young and stupid.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Is there anything more insulting to my intelligence than using someone's weight as a point for making fun of them. Shameful.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Yes, cause when the action kicks in its unstoppable. Plus Short Round is endlessly quotable.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Johnny Guitar, a role I'd never think of Sterling Hayden for. Still does a great job though.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

James Gunn's underseen masterpiece, Slither.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Broadacst News.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz has played an angel and Hitler. THAT is range people.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

While I mentioned Grizzly Man earlier I don't recall ever being more invested in a documentary than I was while watching Murderball.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

An ailing Harrison Ford complaining of wanting to finish the day on time and Spielberg responds the only way they'll finish on time is if Indy just takes out his gun and shoots the swordsman. A crewman laughs and BAM movie magic.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Wings of Desire sure is beautiful.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Elizabeth Pena has been more consistent so she gets the nod. John Sayles AND Pixar. Penelope works best with Almodovar and Amnebar.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

In space, no one can hear you scream.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

If you're going to be critical please use an example by citing a scene, sequence or beat from the film. It shows you were watching. As long as film critics champion the unheralded by ads or the underseen they will always have value.

Patrick said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

It took more than one viewing for me to get behind Dr. Strangelove. In my defense, I first saw it in my mid-teens.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Jack Lemmon. I have a lot of problems with his acting choices - particularly in Short Cuts when he's trying to remember the name of his grandson.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

In Lost in Translation, when Bill Murray finds a Saturday Night Live rerun of himself speaking in dubbed Japanese. Fun moment, but it makes its point too.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Red Shoes.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

When Jim Carrey was presenting an award and used the Toy Story characters to retell Midnight Cowboy. Carrey as Hoffman as Buzz Lightyear saying, "Why am I in a spacesuit? I wanna be in Miami!" had me screaming in laughter.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Very tough call, but I'll say Hugo. (Should've thrown Terrence Stamp in to complete the Priscilla trio.)

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Lone Star, for its look at the Tex-Mex border.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Shock Corridor.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica. But you're killing me here, man.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

A Hard Day's Night.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Schindler's List.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Deliverance.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates, for the line "Lighten up, Francis."

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

2.35:1.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I think people are too complex and multifaceted for a film to truly resemble them - it can resemble a side, maybe, but that's it.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Aguirre, the Wrath of God.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Does Tor Johnson count? If not, Jaws.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman, no contest.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I hate the horror movies where someone turns around suddenly to a jarring chord, and it's just a little kitten or something. Then they sigh in relief, and THEN they get creamed.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Yes. It helped bring the PG-13 rating to existence. Plus the cart scene.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Rebel Without a Cause.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Wes Bentley's performance in American Beauty.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Broadcast News.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bachau.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

The Last Waltz.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

In It's a Wonderful Life, the loud noise followed by Uncle Billy yelling "I'm all right, I'm allllll right!" It really did sound like he'd drunkenly reeled into some trash cans, not like the technician dropping equipment that it actually was.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Wings of Desire.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

She lets me just call her Penny.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"In space no one can hear you scream."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want to know what they did or didn't like about a movie, and why. That'll help me decide if I want to see it. I'm not worried about critics losing influence as movies like Norbit & Ghost Rider make big bucks; they'll still be championing the smaller pictures that we readers may not have been aware of, giving those involved in their making the championing they deserve.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

As Griffin Mill says in The Player, "Now More Than Ever."

Bemis said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
I could barely make it to the end of Barry Lyndon the first time I tried; four viewings later, I think it's a masterpiece (one I have to be in a very specific mood for, however). Interesting how many Kubrick titles pop up with this question.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Crash. There's a Best Picture winner featuring Tony Danza. Awesome.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
In The Man Who Fell to Earth, David Bowie watching The Third Man on one of his many televisions is juxtaposed with Rip Torn and Candy Clark unknowingly reenacting the same scene.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
Peeping Tom

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Anna Paquin's breathless acceptance speech - I wish every winner could be so guilelessly honest about how fun it is to win an award.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Remember Sammy Jankis.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
I saw The Last Emperor when I was four, with no concept of most of the world outside my town let alone China. It was a wonderful introduction to the nation's recent history.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
The Big Red One

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Monica Bellucci.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Kill Bill vol. 1, especially the last half hour.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
I'm tempted to say Zardoz, but I'll go with Excalibur.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Both are great, and Dern's performance in Silent Running is brilliant. But I'll have go go with Oates, mostly for his understated performance as Sissy Spacek's father in Badlands.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
2.35:1, of course.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Just the fact that you can now make a film entirely by yourself and get it seen proves Truffaut right.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Ghostbusters - "Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought."

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sarah Silverman

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
The apparent death of a supporting character in an action movie that causes the main character to save the day by himself. Once the villain or threat is defeated, the dead guy appears in the denouement with mild injuries (this is referenced brilliantly in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
An emphatic yes. I really don't understand the hate - it's actually much better than Last Crusade.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Rebel Without a Cause

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Black Moon

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
The Beaver Trilogy

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bruno Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Gates of Heaven

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The moment in Raging Bull when Jake threatens a neighbor ("I'm gonna eat your fuckin' dog!") happened when a passerby heard the noise from the scene and mistook it for a real domestic dispute. It's a hilarious moment, and De Niro stays completely true to the character.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
A few months ago I would have definitely said Wings of Desire but now it's The American Friend.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope Cruz. I loved Chuck Klosterman's comment that Cruz is cute enough in Vanilla Sky to make you wonder why Tom Cruise is wasting his time with a hose beast like Cameron Diaz.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
"The ultimate in alien terror."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I value critics with a sharp eye, a lack of pretension and a genuine passion for the medium. I generally see the emergence of new outlets of film writing as a good thing - the internet gives a soapbox to some sloppy writers, but it can also serve as a venue for outstanding writers who don't conform to mass-market standards of accessibility.

Robbie Kendall said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
'Thoroughly Modern Millie', saw it as a child over a hundred times and as of today, I’m still not sure. The beginning is so good and the ending is so very bad.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
So far, any film directed by Mel Gibson, have felt this since long before the most recent 'incident'.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
The context provided within the film ‘The Celluloid Closet’

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
'The Tales of Hoffmann'

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Charlie Chaplin’s appearance in 1972 (from re-runs, started watching a year or so later.)
Worst moment – ‘Trash’ winning ‘best’ picture last year, to be quite honest, it undid in a flash the 30-odd years of emotional investment that I had made in the Oscars (starting in eighth grade when I snuck out of my room after everyone else had gone to bed and watched (to my delight) Art Carney winning Best Actor.)

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Guy Pearce, no question. Mr. Weaving as good as he was in the 'Matrix' trilogy was so terribly miscast in ‘Lord of the Rings’ that it helped sink the films for me.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
'The Lives of Others' – the new film from Germany

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
'The Big Red One'

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Monica Bellucci, without a doubt.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
'Casablanca', hands down.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
'Braveheart'

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
'Zardoz'

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Warren Oates

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
Original!

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Makes no sense to me, maybe the meaning is clearer in the original French.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
'Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle'

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Original ‘King Kong’

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sandra Bernhard – ‘King of Comedy’, enough said.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
‘Psycho’-like violins on the soundtrack BEFORE a scary event occurs.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
No, no, no, no, no. (Starting with this film and culminating in the recent ‘War of the Worlds’, they are basically glorified Hollywood versions of snuff films.)

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
'Johnny Guitar'

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Beatrice Lillie – ‘Exit Laughing’

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
‘Network’ über alles.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Brumo Ganz – ‘American Friend’, ‘Wings of Desire’ and Hiltler in ‘Untergang’

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
'À propos de Nice'

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
George C. Scott in ‘Dr. Strangelove’, he trips completely in character and keeps going.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
'Der Himmel Über Berlin'

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Elizabeth Pena

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. . . .’
and while actually watching a film ‘A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. . . .’

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism?
A historical perspective on the context in which it was made. Eileen Bowser and her ideas about silent film are my ideal here.

And where do you see film criticism (of current films) in general headed?
Sorry, but no real hope for it. See it heading off in the direction of Michael Medved, Janet Maslin, and Pauline Kael.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Film still matters. It’s not the same as “movies”. Sitting in a theater and seeing images projected at 20 or 24 frames per second matters. Seeing movies on television, airplanes or Ipods does not.

Seth said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it? – W.R. Mysteries of the Organism.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated – The Rules of the Game. Is there a more tiresome cult of unexamined reputation than that of Jean Renoir? Lazy staging, uninteresting dramaturgy, tedious pseudo-humanism, a total indifference to the art of editing… M. Renoir, this just in: I don’t *care* how big your heart is, art involves artistry.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film. – Clips of _The Evil Dead_ played in _A Nightmare on Elm Street_. Runner-up: The Quay brothers appearing only as stills in _The Falls_.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie – Two for the price of one! Favorite black and white: _A Canturbury Tale_. Favorite color: _Black Narcissus_. But choosing between the two would be like choosing between sunset and sunrise. Neither is more beautiful.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment – Number 6 in David Letterman’s "Top Ten Signs the Movie You're Watching is Not Nominated for an Academy Award:” "It's a beautifully made documentary about two kids in the inner city trying to realize their dream of playing professional basketball."

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce? Photo finish: Guy Pearce by a falsie.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it - Robert Gardner’s _Dead Birds_.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie - _Shock Corridor_. “Nymphos!”

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta? – No opinion.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? – _Big Trouble in Little China_. Pure delight from it’s opening frame to the final chord of Carpenter’s crazy end-credits song.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing? – The Roland Emmerich & Dean Devlin _Godzilla_. What an abomination of my childhood’s joy.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie – Point Blank. Nothing quite like falling fist-first on to a hitman’s crotch, all in silhouette.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern? – Bruce Dern is cinematic GOLD! Plus, he’s in my favorite Hitchcock, _Marnie_.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio – 1:2.35.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet? – Dead wrong. The persons of tomorrow resemble the films they’ve made would be more accurate, but we’re not there yet.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie – Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Possibly the greatest movie ever made.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts – My inner-child’s favorite: _Godzilla Versus Mechagodzilla_. The best: Peter Jackson’s _King Kong_.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman? – Oh, Sandra Bernhard for sure. I mean, come on here. _King of Comedy_ versus _Jesus is Magic_, we know who wins.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché – Countdown timers on bombs that beep. What a load of horseshit.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no? – Best of the three, by far. The first has a better co-star (big time), but neither of the others can compete with the purity of the chase at the end of _Temple of Doom_. Racist? Yup. Stupid? Beyond belief. But it manages somehow to top the first, which is a major accomplishment. The less said about the third, the better.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie – In A Lonely Place

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated - _Dude, Where’s My Car?_. Why this smart, funny, subtle film got turned into a running joke about it’s title is pretty obvious: critical cowardice. Yes, folks, it’s true: films with stupid main characters can themselves be pretty great.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television – Heh. _Videodrome_. “I am the Video Word made Flesh.” Hell, yeah.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau? – Ganz.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film – I don’t believe there is such a thing as non-fiction film. The simple act of construction is synonymous with fiction, is, in fact, the first and most essential step in creating art. There’s as much fiction in _Hoop Dreams_ as there is in _Forrest Gump_, in _Kino-Eye_ as there is in _Battleship Potemkin_. That said, my favorite film that’s usually found in the documentary section of filmographies is _The Eleventh Year_.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie? – The two dogs fucking at the very end of _The Long Goodbye_. I can’t really discuss how meaningful this moment is without giving away the finale of the film, but the raw, animalistic screwing is absolutely the perfect way to begin one of the finest conclusions, and finest ‘fuck-you’s that any film’s ended with.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie – I like _Kings of the Road_ a lot. I like _Paris, Texas_ more.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz? – I can’t stand that preening, lovemelovemeloveme desperation in Penelope Cruz’s ‘acting.’ Pena all the way.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!) - “Her Soft Mouth Was the Road to Sin-Smeared Violence!” Kubrick’s amazing second feature, _Killer’s Kiss_.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed? – What I demand from art, all art, is the capacity to surprise me. The greatest works of art are, somehow, able to surprise me every time I return to them, no matter how many times I’ve been surprised by them before. What I demand from criticism, all criticism, is that it find a way to make the previously unsurprising into something new for me. I want film criticism that shows me the amazing in the movies I had thought banal, the shocking in what I found predictable, and the crazy in what I thought sane. Every single work in the history of art needs people to appreciate it and teach others to do the same. I’ve been wrong, really, really wrong, about my estimation of particular films in the past, and I’ll do it again, too, I’m sure. I need criticism that shows me I’ve been wrong.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter? – Art is the only thing that does, and movies are the greatest, most important, most beautiful, vibrant, crucial, effective, form of art I know. They matter.

Dr. Criddle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Criddle said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it: 2001: A Space Odyssey (now my favorite movie of all time)

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated: Anthony Minghella. The English Patient was a half-interesting hodgepodge of better movies, most of which were directed by David Lean. Cold Mountain was cinematic pain.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Conversations about the Delfonics in Jackie Brown.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie: Black Narcissus

5) Your favorite Oscar moment: Jack Palance doing pushups.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce? For Ravenous and The Proposition, Guy Pearce

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon) at the age of four.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie: The Naked Kiss

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta? Belluci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Harold and Maude

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Any number of my favorites edited for TV: Pulp Fiction, The Fly ('86), Scarface. But to answer the question properly, I'm going to have to say White Chicks.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie: Deliverance

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern? 100% pure Oates!

14) Your favorite aspect ratio: 1:85

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
To some degree, I think all films (or at least the best of them) internally resemble the person who made them.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie: Fitzcarraldo

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts: Godzilla (1955, the Japanese cut)

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman? Silverman

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché: the bad guy has an English accent

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no? Yes, if only Speilberg would release a special edition DVD which would allow the option of editing his screechy wife out.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie: Rebel Without a Cause

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated: Juzo Itami

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television: Quiz Show

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau? Ganz, for Wings of Desire and Downfall, but also because I don't really know who the other guy is.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film: Crumb.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
Due to a case of diherrea, Indiana Jones decides to shoot the huge burly swordsman rather than fight him.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie: Paris, Texas

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz? Penelope Cruz.

29) Your favorite movie tag line: discarded/fake tagline from Monte Hellman's Cockfighter - "He came into town with his cock in hand, and what he did with it was illegal in 49 states."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I rarely, if ever, read "the write-ups" as a means of deciding whether or not to see a movie. The best criticism in my mind are well-written, subtext-searching pieces on films I've already seen, preferably several times, that provoke me to think more about them. Film criticism in general is probably headed in the opposite direction. Too bad, really.

EXTRA CREDIT: Cinema is one of the few things that IS still worth it.

Ken Lowery said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Eyes Wide Shut. In fact, I'm still on the fence. But I can't stop watching the damn thing.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Fargo. Actually, just the Coen Brothers, sans Miller's Crossing and Blood Simple. Charlie Kaufman. David Lynch.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
I have to second the great back-and-forth between Wes Craven and Sam Raimi, showing posters for each others' movies in their own films. Great fun.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
Unwatched by me. You can burn me at the stake after I finish the questions.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Recently, I'll have to cite Jon Stewart mentioning the great big Oscar statue and saying that by tipping it over, democracy would flourish in Hollywood.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Oh, not even close. Though Weaving made a great, great villain in the first Matrix (a movie I otherwise despise), Pearce has Ravenous, LA Confidential, The Proposition, his amazing Warhol in Factory Girl, Memento... no contest.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Lately, "God Grew Tired of Us." The Lost Boys (and Girls) of the Sudan have more reason than anyone in the world to be pissed off, burned-out shells of human beings, and yet so many of them are kinder than anyone I know who has lived a more privileged life. Africa's one great big mystery to me, and this clarified things a little.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
I've only seen The Big Red One, so...

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Bellucci. While both are beautiful, she may actually be a construct sent from the future to destroy us all, she's so perfect. Also, a talented actress.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Bull Durham. It never, ever fails to make me laugh. Not ever.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Anything touched by Brett Ratner. Not only is he a consummate hack, he angrily protests his status as such, and elevates himself to the level of Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, and Johnathan Demme.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Do I lose points if I say I actually liked the Tailor of Panama?

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Objectively, Oates. Subjectively, Bruce Dern. Something about the nose.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
Um, widescreen, I guess? The irising in and out in silent films is kind of charming, though.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Are you telling me you or anyone believes that wasn't always true? Because if so, I've got a bridge to sell you.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
The remake of "Nosferatu." I thought it would be TERRIBLE, because the original is practically sacred to me. I was unbelievably surprised.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
I seriously thought that said "or breasts" at first, so I guess Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Considering I think a mad-libs spreadsheet writes most of Silverman's jokes, I'll have to go with Bernhard. She has an actual personality, versus a shtick.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
The TV News being on at the right time, and the volume subtly rising to indicate SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO THE PLOT IS HAPPENING. Seriously, directors and screenwriters of America, have you watched TV news lately? The only thing they update you on is the popularity of "The Secret" or whatever piece of human trash is claiming Anna Nicole's fortune today.

Runner up: Romantic comedies whose whole premise is that a gorgeous and successful woman just can't seem to land a date. Yeah, because that happens SO often.

Runner-runner up: In action movies, where the various protagonists are paired off against their counterparts in the villain's camp. The big good guy fights the big bad guy, the bumbling sidekick fights the bumbling villain sidekick, the girl fights the bad girl. Usually there's a spinning fan or unspecified factory warehouse involved.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
My first Indiana Jones movie, which I saw when I was 7 or 8. I am incapable of seeing flaws in it. (Same for Return of the Jedi.)

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
I've only seen the one, so I guess Rebel Without a Cause. (And hey -- Natalie Wood. A legitimate early crush for me.) But "They Live by Night" is a fantastic title. Is that any good?

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Oh, how about Heathers? It's not a "great" movie, per se, but it holds up stronger than ever, and hasn't lost a single inch of its edge. I don't think a more cutting satire has been released in the mainstream since then. Also, Joe Dante, as someone mentioned above. And Ron Shelton.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Videodrome.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Couldn't tell you.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Boy, I just have no idea. The one that springs to mind for recent times is probably Fog of War.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
I blank on questions like this, so I always default on "most recently." That would be in the chest-waxing scene in The Forty-Year-Old Virgin. Pay attention to Paul Rudd. He's ACTUALLY LAUGHING, and having a hard time containing it. That sense of cleanly good joy pervades the whole movie, and elevates it to one of the better comedies of the last 10 years.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
I'll pay you money to keep Wim Wenders movies away from me. The first of his I ever saw was The End of Violence, and it forever ruined me. Daniel L, take heart: my mom LOVES Until the End of the World, and she's a sharp lady. She got me on John Sayles when I was 12.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Pena's done a lot more crap, but she was in Lone Star (as mentioned above) and Jacob's Ladder, so she's my pick.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
"Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?" from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. At its most abstract level, answering that question is the reason anyone goes to a movie at all.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
Right now, the "casual expert" is rising to prominence, and that's a damn shame. I define the casual expert as someone who knows a little bit about a lot of things, and uses that basis to make grand, sweeping statements and cannot be bothered to ever step down from his or her more outlandish opinions, no matter how blatantly stupid or illogical they are.

Joining the casual expert is the fanboy critic, who thinks stealing script pages and getting reports from costume designers on the set is actually some kind of film journalism and not just a really elaborate version of E!. (Which is to say, another branch of marketing.) Ain't It Cool News is probably the most well-recognized bastion of the fanboy critic, and I know many people in their mid-20's who actually aspire to be the next Harry Knowles. Talk about aiming low.

That being said, my ideal critic would be somewhere between Manohla Dargis (whose name I cannot spell right to save my life), Ebert, Jim Emerson, and (believe it or not) Lisa Schwarzbaum. Each is intelligent without being stuffy, and each manages to convey actual passion and joy for the artform while remaining grounded. They exemplify moviegoing as participating in a LIVING artform, as opposed to dissecting of dead, lifeless "art" like some kind of forensic pathologist.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

They're as ubiqutous as any art form on earth, but seem to impact people on a more and more superficial level, so I'd guess it's a wash. Then again, the dumbass middle-aged movie-goers of today (and there are a LOT of them) had to come from SOMEwhere, so maybe it's always been this way.

Dave said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Any Bergman film. I never like them at first. But when I go back to them... man.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Paul Haggis

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Everything in Shaun of the Dead

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
The Red Shoes

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
After a streaker goes by David Niven quips about "short-comings"

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Hugo Weaving

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Although the movie as a whole isn't one of my favourites, the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan shook me up thinking what it must have been like to be there on the beach that day.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Pickup on South Street

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Duck Soup.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Jerry Maguire

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Excaliber

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Tough. I first became aware of Oates after seeing him in Stripes, I love all his stuff. But Dern is a guy whose work has really grown on me as I've gotten older. Dern.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
16:9

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I think it happened a long time ago.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Not fair to WH, it's been a long time since I saw Aguirre, I didn't like Incident at Loch Ness too much... so I'll go with Nosferatu.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Raging Bull

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
No. You cannot make me choose... But I ask if this if you had to live with either SB's character in King of Comedy or SS's character in School of Rock... which one would you choose?

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
"You're fightin' for the guy next to you"

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Sure.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
King of Kings

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Alan Arkin and Peter Falk as a team.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
I'll leapfrog over all the Network folks and choose Broadcast News.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bruno Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Thin Blue Line.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
"You never take an early lunch?" Peter Falk's line in The In-Laws. He's so funny he almost cracks up the uncrackable Alan Arkin but Arkin makes it a turning point for his character instead. Awesome stuff.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Wings of Desire

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope Cruz... just for the hair.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
It always bugged my teenage self that the Alien tag line: "In space no one can hear you scream" didn't actually pay off in the movie. So I'll go with The Fly: Be ascaird. Be very ascaird.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I want my film criticism to be entertaining. I don't care if people thought a particular film was good or bad... I want interpretation, I want slagging, I want inside-scooping, I want personal reaction... even if it's bullshit. As long as it's entertaining bullshit.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Yes. If they ever did.

Gareth said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Wings of Desire, and it's still nonsensical to me.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Lars von Trier, even though there are moments I love in his work, and he may yet redeem himself.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The scene in Gremlins where the creatures sing along to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Wow. This is agonizing given the overall quality, but I'll say The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Probably the David Niven/stripper moment, mainly because of his urbane reaction.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Weaving, mostly because I love Proof so much; I like that Pearce makes plenty of movies back home, though.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Maybe L'Eau froide: after I walked out of the theatre, I felt as though I had lived through the 1970s as a teenager rather than a child.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

I haven't seen enough to form a fair judgment.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica, although there's not much in this one.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Back to the Future, of course.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Nuns on the Run just makes me angry, it's so bad.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

The General, which has a great sense of place and time.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates, for elevating Two Lane Blacktop.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Hahahahaha.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I don't know what he means, but I'd love to meet his translator.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Probably Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Jurassic Park

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Neither, thanks very much.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

The wise old black man stereotype drives me crazy, with occasional exceptions.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Not so much, and particularly in comparison to the other, more coherent, installments.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

I like In a Lonely Place.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Robert Zemeckis

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz, for The American Friend and Downfall especially.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Doulaye, une saison des pluies had a particular personal resonance that I identified with very strongly.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

There's a flashback moment in Oliver Hirschbiegel's Das Experiment where there's an expression on one of the actor's faces that captures, better than entire movies and novels, the perfection of the exact split-second of falling in love, and which blows me away. It adds a profound layer to a movie that could easily be dismissed as a genre effort, albeit one with some intelligence.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Probably The American Friend, although I enjoy Paris, Texas rather a lot, too.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Elizabeth Peña, for lots of things, but I especially treasure her work in the short-lived 1990 show Shannon's Deal.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water - you can't get to it" - from Blood Beach

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want it to complement my viewing and engage and infuriate me, not repeat, with errors, the plots of films I've seen/am about to see. And I want critics to work hard to know their subject matter and to have some sense of the real world outside of the bubble of film, something that's sometimes missing from the work of internet obsessives.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

To me they do, but I'm not about to march around telling everyone else what to think. They matter more than ever and they inspire me more than ever.

Bandit said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

My third-favorite movie of all time, "Apocalypse Now," was initially confounding to my younger self. (In my defense, I was all of 14 when I first saw it.)

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

The Coens, but only when they're in smarmy, distorted lens, look-at-this-guy!, condescending arch irony mode without a great plot of characters to back it up. But then again, it's not like "Intolerable Cruelty" is that highly rated, so maybe they're safe here.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Tom Atkins drunk and watching the trailer for "Halloween" during "Halloween III: Season of the Witch."

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Not seen enough to say. (Though I DID make a point of seeing "Blood and Chocolate" on the silver screen on opening weekend!)

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Danny Aiello's bizarre thumbs-up at the end of his intro to the clip from "GoodFellas" back in 1991.

runner-up: Helen Hunt proving the ultimate irrelevance of the Oscars by, you know, winning one of them.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce. His hair RULES!


7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it.

I hate to use "Halloween III" again, but you can never overstate the importance of cinema's finest hour. But Conal Cochran's lecture on the Celtic lore and how it relates to setting off laser beams in the back of the Silver Shamrock Halloween masks? Tres magnifique!



8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

I'd say "Shark!" because it has BURT REYNOLDS, but probably "The Big Red One."

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

The latter, based on her IMDB pics.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Any James Bond movie, "Escape From New York," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

"The Deer Hunter." Great movie, but it's so funereal... and that MUSIC!!!! Depressing!!!!


12) Favorite John Boorman movie

EXORCIST II!!!!! SERIOUSLY! That Ennio Morricone slide-flute riff is like the greatest thing ever, and the psycho electric guitar rendition heard over the end credits of the shorter cut (and over the trailer on the DVD) is the greatest piece of music EVER. This movie is INSANE. Burton in his safari outfit muttering incoherently. James Earl Jones SPITTING A GIANT BALL while wearing a BEE COSTUME then lecturing about "The Good Locust." The hypnotic drone of Louise Fletcher's contraption. All AWESOME.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates. Dern's no slouch, what with "Black Sunday," "King of Marven Gardens," and "Tattoo" (just kidding on the latter), but Oates is just the greatest. Even in something like "Blue Thunder" or "Stripes," he's pure whiskey-coated manliness.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

2.35:1. I honestly don't know why anyone shoots in anything but, and it PAINS ME when a widescreen master like, say, Spielberg or Lynch wastes their time on a random movie shooting flat.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I think that's always been the case. Any given Peckinpah movie, for example.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

"Julien Donkey-Boy"!

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Carpenter's "The Thing."

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Paris Hilton.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Most depised: HATE HATE HATE when, in adventure epics, a huge manly battle scene is followed by a late-night campfire celebration, replete with jig-dancing, lute-playing, and ale-swilling.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Of course, yes! WAY better than the original, which has NO ACTION. "Raiders" is all brown and dusty and, after the great opening sequence, takes FOREVER to get going again. I'm exaggerating, of course, but my younger self associated "action" with cops and robbers and neon and Eastwood and bombed-out urban neighborhoods. Compared to "Fort Apache, the Bronx," Karen Allen mugging in a giant basket through the bazaars of India didn't cut it.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

"Rebel Without a Cause."

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

James Foley's "At Close Range."


23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

"Network."

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Vincent Cassell.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film


26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

"Hammett."

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope, but ONLY because of the awesome power of "Sahara."

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

My LEAST favorite: "The Con is On." (Used in EVERY con man movie EVER.)

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I'll echo those above who fear the fanboy nation taking over legitimate film criticism. I'd also like Kenneth Turan to get a stronger constitution when it comes to adult or violent content. The guy's more squeamish than your average great-grandmother.

triticale said...

I don't even recognize half the names in those questions, and never saw most of the rest. I do have some thoughts on number three.

If I were a film buff the baby carriage on the stairs in Bananas (the one Woody Allen movie I've seen) would probably be my favorite reference, but it was too deliberate. Instead I'll vote for the look on Bronco Billy's face when the bank robber knocked the piggybank out of the kid's hand.

Weigard said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

I’ll pick one still pending – Moulin Rouge. I haven’t watched it that second time yet, I think because I really want to like it, but I’m afraid I won’t. :)

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Dogma 95 in general. To be honest, I don’t think it helps any movie I’ve seen (although, I admit, I haven’t seen too many).

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Someone already mentioned one that I was going to say – James Cagney’s “Little Rico” line from One Two Three -- so I’ll mention the other one, from the same film: Cagney threatening to pound a grapefruit into Otto’s face (from his similar scene in The Public Enemy). I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes this movie!

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

I really enjoyed Billy Crystal’s sendups of the opening musical numbers of previous shows.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

I suppose I slightly prefer Guy Pearce –- he was certainly impressive on top of a bus! But I like them both a lot.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

“Hoop Dreams”. I grew up in a reasonably small town, and I don’t think I really had a concept of what it was like to live in a poorer area of a big city until I saw this film.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Alida Valli! Oh, OK, Monica Bellucci then, for Malena.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

The Big Lebowski. For one that hasn’t been mentioned – One Two Three!

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

I don’t think there is a movie that bad, although Shining Through was pretty awful. Don’t think I’ve ever noticed it being on TV – imagine that!

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

I guess I’ve got to go with Bruce Dern – apparently I’ve never seen Warren Oates in anything! But I like Bruce Dern, and Laura is quite nice.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Anything, as long as it’s what it was originally filmed in.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Probably a lot more films do now – but I have a feeling there will always be a market for the conventional potboiler film that could have been directed by anyone.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Fitzcarraldo! Excruciatingly slow and beautiful, and maybe the best film ever about opera. (Not that opera is excruciating.)

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Monty Python and the Holy Grail – “Come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!”

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

I’ll go with Sarah Silverman, although I’ve got to admit, I could do without most of the bodily function jokes. A few are funny, most are just tiresome.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Most despised – the slow clap. I don’t think it’s possible for this to be used effectively any more – it seems tired even in parody.

Favorite – riding off into the sunset is nice. At least you get a nice sunset.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Alas, no. It has some great moments, but it’s overly hyperactive, and Kate Capshaw was soooo annoying, I find it just unbearable. Last Crusade had bad writing, bad acting, bad special effects – and was thoroughly enjoyable!

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Hmm … One Two Three! Well, I’m sure I can come up with something a little more fresh. … I’ll say John Turturro. Wonderful in every role I’ve ever seen him in.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
I suppose I enjoyed Quiz Show a little more than Network, although I quote Peter Finch a lot. No one’s mentioned Soapdish, which was fun too.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

He was in a movie about Torquato Tasso? Bruno Ganz, then. :)

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

I don’t know if it really classifies as either, but it’s usually categorized as such, so I’ll say Koyaanisqatsi. It’s a stunning and hypnotic film – I watch it every year or so, although it’s a lot better on a big screen. Plus, it has a good and appropriate score by Philip Glass! As runner-up, The Thin Blue Line, which has a great score by – oops.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I can’t think of any that seemed that way while watching, although I did listen to pretty much all the Lord of the Rings commentaries (!), and the flag coming loose from the palace at Meduseld was a rather fortuitous event. I don’t know if it was unintended, but I loved Brad Pitt’s “Did you rehearse that?” line in Ocean’s Eleven.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

The only one I’ve seen is Wings of Desire, which I didn’t enjoy as much as people I respect did, so maybe I should see it again.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Elizabeth Peña! What a fabulous voice she has! (And I had forgotten about Shannon’s Deal, thanks for mentioning it!) But I would not be unhappy settling for Penelope Cruz.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

I guess I just don’t pay much attention to them.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

When reading a review, I really don’t want to know much about plot. I’m a lot more interested in observations about the film, and overall assessment. I guess I like to see it and still be surprised. Once I’ve seen it, though, a detailed discussion is more what I’m looking for – the internet is great for that! Not to mention, actual live humans. :)

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

But of course they do. Few seem as “special” as they used to, with so many being brought out so quickly, but I don’t seem to have trouble finding films that are meaningful to me.

Joseph B. said...

Sorry I'm late to the party, Dennis, but better late than never.


1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

I remember seeing Fight Club in the theater 3 times- I thought it was ok the first time, dangerous the second time, and fell in love with it a third time.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

The scene with a flying plastic sack in "American Beauty"- and the people who found it deep and compelling.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

I always admired the bit in "Swingers" when the gang is talking about what director stole from who, then Liman cuts to the gang walking down the street like the fellas in "Reservoir Dogs".

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

"A Matter of Life and Death" (aka Stairway To Heaven)- Powell and Pressburger films always exemplified the beauty withheld in glorious technicolor, but they never matched the fevered intensity of this one.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

I have a short memory span, but Scorsese winning was a beauty.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Pearce. Weaving creeps me out, man.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

"The Last Picture Show". Even though I've lived in a relative metropolis all my life (and in Texas at that), I don't see any other film peeling away the layers of frustration, boredom and growing up as honestly as this film does.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

The Naked Kiss. A truly shocking film.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?


Umm I love me some Monica.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

"The Big Lebowski". And it's done that many, many times.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Anytime I come across one of the Eddie Murphy movies where he dresses up as 8 characters or has to watch lots of children. I had the flu back in early February and had to sit in a doctor's office waiting for 3 hours while "Daddy Day Care" was on. Truly horrid.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

"Point Blank"

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Like everyone else, this is probably the toughest question on here. I mean how can you dismiss Dern's fantastic performance in "Black Sunday" that easily? But I guess I go with Oates because he's one bad dude and eats up the screen as Peckinpah's various creations.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

With High definition, 1:78:1 looks incredible.


15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Not here yet.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

I'm not a huge Herzog fan. I guess I'd toss out 2 short documentaries he did- "La Soufriere" about an evacuated town at the foot of a volcano and another (whose name escapes me) about a German ski jumper. Both films use image and music well.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

After just seeing "The Host" that one has to go to the top of the list.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Easiest question on the list! Sarah Silverman, marry me?

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

The last gasp of vital information before the character dies.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?


Yes, yes yes. This was one of the first movies I saw in the theater multiple times. Its hokiness was lost on this young boy and I still love it to this day.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

The Lusty Men

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Any supporting performance by Richard Jenkins.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

"Network"

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

There's a little documentary called "Jupiter's Wife" filmed in 1994 about a homeless woman in Central Park. Words can't describe why this film is so affecting, but it is. Last year's "Devil and Daniel Johnston" is a damn fine piece of non-fiction work as well.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I don't know if I recognize mistakes or privileged moments.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

"Paris, Texas"

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

I'm in the minority here, but if you guys know Elizabeth Pena from "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" or "Lone Star", the answer is clear!

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

In space, no one can hear you scream.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I think we're already there. Blogs and the internet have knocked film criticism wide open, and I'm ecstatic to be throwing myself into the mix.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

To me, more than ever.

Anonymous said...

1. "Persona," "The Mirror" "The Rules of the Game," "Dr. Strangelove" "Last Year in Marienbad" all took more than one viewing to really like.

2. Fellini: the only film of his I really like is "Nights of Cabiria."

3. The reference to Jennifer Aniston in Scream 2,

4. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

5. Chariots of Fire winning best picture. It's the only real oscar moment I remember (I first watched the oscars in 1981, and stopped watching by 1985).

6. Pearce

7. "The Confession"

8. N.A.

9. Belluci

10. "A Hard Day's Night," "Matilda" "Duck soup"

11. I don't care that much about television to be upset when bad movies are on.

12. Hope and Glory

13. Dern

14. Don't know. Whatever one "2001" has.

15. Probably, it's not a very profound statement

16. "Fitzcarraldo" but maybe "The Enigma of Kasper Hauser" or "Aguirre the Wrath of God."

17. King Kong

18. Silverman

19. The villian dying at the end.

20. Yes, at least for the scene where the gunshot is synched with the champagne corks.

21. In a Lonely Place

22. N.A.

23. Doesn't "A Hard Day's Night" end with a television recording? If so, that one.

24. Ganz

25. Shoah

27. Paris, Texas

28. Cruz

Marty McKee said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
BLADE RUNNER. I’m still surprised at how popular it has become, particularly considering it was neither a box-office hit nor a critical success upon its original 1982 theatrical release. I didn’t like it when I originally saw it, not in a theater, but on VHS around 1983 or 1984. Yes, it’s a visually stunning piece, but the acting is flat and the story barely extant. Still, the building critical raves over the decades had me believing that maybe I (and nearly everyone else who saw it then) was wrong, that BLADE RUNNER was a masterpiece. It was unquestionably an influential movie as far as its production design was concerned. A friend and co-worker who is a huge BLADE RUNNER fan convinced me to watch it again last year on DVD, the first time I had seen it in its original aspect ratio and without Harrison Ford’s notorious narration. I still don’t think it’s a good film. Sean Young’s robotic performance doesn’t convince me that Ford would fall for her (of course, he despised her in real life) and the turgid pacing feels deathly. BLADE RUNNER is not very much fun, outside of Rutger Hauer’s scenery-chewing, which led to a short career as a leading man in genre films worse (SPLIT SECOND) or not much better (WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE) than this one.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Wes Anderson. Ouch. I’ve tried, I really have, but RUSHMORE, BOTTLE ROCKET and especially THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS failed to move me, even though I really wanted to like them and many people I respect are fans of them. I had a reasonably good time with THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU though. I loved the performances by Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and especially Willem Dafoe.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Since I’m on the subject, THE LIFE AQUATIC’s closing crawl takeoff on the end of THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI is cheeky fun.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
Never seen one. Do I belong in Movie Jail?

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
A tie between the streaker that crashed David Niven and Clint Eastwood substituting for a delayed-in-traffic Charlton Heston and stumbling through cue cards prepared for Heston, BEN-HUR gags and all. “Flip the card, man, this ain’t my bag.” Isaac Hayes performing “Theme from SHAFT” while dressed in chains is pretty badass too.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Pearce, because he was in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, one of Hollywood’s all-time best crime dramas.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
I never realized that bar bouncers were such legendary heroes—almost like modern-day cowboys—until I immersed myself into the romantic world of ROAD HOUSE. How could I have known that the best bouncers are known by name and legend in sleazy, dirty taverns all across the country? That, just like the Amish, whenever a bouncer runs into trouble that he can’t handle alone, he just has to put out a call, and his fellow bouncers will drop what they’re doing and travel cross-country to help out, even if it means side-stepping local law enforcement to stop the local rich guy from smashing car dealerships with his monster truck.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Tough call. I’ll go with PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET with its great, weasly leading performance by Richard Widmark. Put down HOUSE OF BAMBOO for 2nd place.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Oh, Lord, Monica would likely win, no matter whose name came after the “or.” Jesus Palomino!

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Either ORDINARY PEOPLE or CHANGE OF HABIT.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
I don’t think I’ve ever been pissed off by a movie so badly that it ruined my day. I’ve seen some real stinkers, movies that were not just terrible, but also cynical and lazy, such as BAD COMPANY and SWORDFISH. But I can turn them off easily enough if I pass their channel.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
I know I’m expected to say EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC here, but I’m going with DELIVERANCE.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Toughest call I’ll make all year, you bastards, but…I’ll say…Dern, who starred in DRIVE, HE SAID and THE INCREDIBLE 2-HEADED TRANSPLANT in the same year.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
2.35:1. And I don’t even have a widescreen television.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I don’t know what he’s talking about, and I’m not certain he knew. It seems to me that most films in some way resemble their directors. For instance, just like BAD BOYS and ARMAGEDDON, Michael Bay is an obnoxious, overbearing, arrogant loudmouth with more money than couth.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Does a bloody, 400-year-old midget Indian spawned from a womb attached to Susan Strasberg’s back count? In that case, I’ll go with THE MANITOU, though, really, how can you pick one William Girdler movie over others like GRIZZLY and DAY OF THE ANIMALS? How about if I go with BEGINNING OF THE END, if only because it’s set in and around my hometown of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois?

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sarah Silverman: hot and funny. More hot than funny, actually.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
I hate when the audience hears only one side of a telephone conversation, so the caller has to repeat everything the person on the other end of the line says for our benefit. I also hate when two people are having a conversation, and the film cuts to a different place at a different time, yet the people are still having the same conversation, like they actually traveled through time.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Plenty of time for love, Dr. Jones.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
My most recent entry would be EUROTRIP, which is a hilariously witty and sometimes crude teen comedy whose box-office success was killed by its trailer, which made it look like just another brain-dead comedy. Every time I urge someone to watch it, they end up loving it and wondering, “What took me so long to see this?” However, USED CARS may well be the funniest film ever made (as well as the most quotable), though I rarely see it pop up in any list of top film comedies. “Fifty bucks never killed anybody.”

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Tie between MY FAVORITE YEAR and QUIZ SHOW. Just recently, I saw AUTO FOCUS, which I liked, even though it ruined HOGAN’S HEROES reruns for me forever.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Eh. I’ll go with Bauchau, if only because he was on 24.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
As a teenager, I must have watched Paul McCartney & Wings’ ROCKSHOW and Hal Ashby’s Rolling Stones concert film LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER a zillion times. For documentary, it’s hard to beat HOOP DREAMS.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
In GONE WITH 60 SECONDS, during the incredible 40-minute car chase that closes the movie, there’s a stunt-gone-wrong where the Mustang driven by star/stuntman/writer/director H.B. Halicki actually spins out of control and smacks into a telephone pole. It actually enhances the film, considering that the entire exercise exists only so Halicki can play make-believe and crash some cars. It was clearly a dangerous production with the likelihood that not a lot of care went into making sure the stuntmen didn’t get hurt, and the botched stunt is a painful reminder of GONE IN 60 SECONDS’ maverick production. Adding to the moment is the knowledge that Halicki would die a few years later during an awry car stunt while making GONE IN 60 SECONDS 2.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
PARIS, TEXAS

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Pena, who was so great in the underrated TV series SHANNON’S DEAL and especially in John Sayles’ wonderful LONE STAR.

29) Your favorite movie tagline (Thanks, Jim!)
I don’t remember if it was used on the poster, but I love this narration from DIE HARD’s trailer: “John McClane…he’s an easy man to like…and a hard man…to kill.” Actual tagline: how can you beat MANIAC COP’s “You have the right to remain silent…forever”?

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I suspect film critics will continue to become less relevant as Hollywood—and its audiences—slide closer to the culture prominently displayed in IDIOCRACY, which will look more like a documentary as the years roll on. One flaw in film criticism is that only current films in wide theatrical release receive the lion’s share of print and TV space. Even if a smaller film or documentary receives raves, it may take months for it to arrive in my local theater (if at all) and more months for it to arrive on DVD, by which time I have forgotten about it. My major pet peeve with critics is that direct-to-video films are almost completely ignored. Just because it didn’t play in a theater doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of note, but when’s the last time you saw Roger Ebert or the New York Times cover a DTV release (to be fair, Entertainment Weekly occasionally does)? Multiplexes are overrun by crummy low-budget horror movies, all of which are written about in major newspapers and magazines, but did any of them review DEVIL’S DEN, a competent and funny vampire/zombie flick that horror fans would probably enjoy—much more so than ALIENS VS. PREDATOR 2.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Always, man, always.

jeffmcm said...

Sorry to repeat other peoples' comments - let's call that 'consensus' instead of 'unoriginality'.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Somebody just said "Blade Runner" (thumbs down, it's a snoozer) so I'll say DePalma's "Mission to Mars", a film with a horrible narrative and completely uninteresting characters but enough perversely enchanting visuals to at least merit a couple of reviewings. Even though the movie ultimately still fails, I never fail to chuckle at Don Cheadle's line about arguing with plants.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

I'll go on a limb and say Richard Linklater, who could have staged all of his 'films' as plays.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Too many to name - I'll just say David Lynch referencing both "Persona" and any number of Skinemax movies in the same scene of "Mulholland Drive".

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

"Black Narcissus"

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Every moment that did not involve "Crash" winning Best Picture.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Definitely Pearce, who has more range as an actor, even though he was in "L.A. Confidential", one of the most overrated crime movies ever made.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

This is a tough one - "The Battle of Algiers" maybe?

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Probably the insanity that is "The Naked Kiss"

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Maria who?

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Anything by Preston Sturges.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Anything by Michael Bay.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

"Point Blank", the perfect melding of modernist cool and existentialism.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates, mostly for "Alfredo Garcia"

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

2.35:1

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

It was always tomorrow and it always will be (kind of a nonsense thing to say, like 'the chicken of tomorrow will be born from the egg of tomorrow')

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

"Aguirre: The Wrath of God" with its apocalyptic ending stranded ten thousand miles from civilization.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

"Them!", the most American of the 50s monster movies.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman is a little too pleased with herself and edgeless, so definitely Bernhard.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Most despised: the hero being applauded by a huge group of admirers at the end of the story.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Yes, despite its juvenile racism, it's too much fun.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

"Bigger Than Life"

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Perversely, Edward D. Wood Jr.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Cronenberg's "Videodrome"

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Patrick who?

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

"Koyaanisqatsi"

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

The first one that comes to mind is the moment in "The Dreamers" when Eva Green's hair catches on fire, luckily thematically relevant. Accidents, being real and honest, can only enhance a movie.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

No thanks.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

They're both talented but Cruz gets the edge.

29) Your favorite movie tag line

"When there's no more room in HELL, the DEAD will walk the Earth", followed by "We Will Eat You" from Fulci's "Zombie".

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want dialogue, not didacticism or pedantry, plus concision, erudition, and humor. I see film criticism slipping down a drain slowly along with the rest of the American educational system.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Does anything matter?

Rob said...

1. Jackie Brown - After Pulp Fiction, JB seemed too low-key and understated on my first viewing, but the fifth or sixth time through, the film suddenly clicked for me, and of course Robert Forster is magic.

2. Academy of the Overrated: For the movie I'll nominate The Producers. For the actor I'll nominate Al Pacino. For the actress I'll nominate Meryl Streep. For the director I'll nominate Jonathan Demme.

3. The Buzz Lightyear/Zurg subplot in Toy Story 2 - it's the only Star Wars reference that's ever made me laugh, especially in how it's resolved.

4. Yeah, I'll have to Bush up on this one and admit my ignorance.

5. Uma... Oprah. Oprah... Uma.

6. Guy Pearce. He had the harder acting job in LA Confidential, and he's capable of disappearing into a role, while Hugo is Hugo, even with a mask.

7. JFK - I knew very little about the Kennedy assassination before seeing JFK, and it spurred me to devour everything I could find on the subject.

8. The Big Red One

9. Monica Bellucci in 'Brotherhood of the Wolf'. Rowr.

10. Blazing Saddles. My view count on this movie must be at least two dozen, and it still hasn't gotten old for me.

11. Spaceballs. How can the same man be responsible for both Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs?

12. Deliverance. I still have strange dreams from the POV of Jon Voight climbing that cliff to kill that hillbilly.

13. Bruce Dern.

14. Panavision Super 70

15. I'm not sure I understand Truffaut's suggestion. Most films made by auteurs are often self-referential, Citizen Kane being an obvious example.

16. Aguirre, Wrath of God

17. Well, uh, there was this kick-ass Balrog in a small indie movie called Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. It was pretty cool.

18. Sarah Silverman as soon as she dumps Jimmy Kimmel for somebody funny.

19. "This time, it's personal." Or any trailer that starts with: "In a world where..."

20. Only for the ending, which was as thrilling as the romantic stuff was unbelievable.

21. Rebel Without A Cause

22. Academy of the Underrated: Man, there are a lot of movies to choose from here. I'll go with Joe Vs. The Volcano, which I could prattle on about for days. I'll choose a young actor, Ryan Reynolds, who is one good script away from being a superstar. My underrated actress... uh, that's a tough one - a lot of the great actresses are working in television these days. Let's try Rosario Dawson. It's difficult to be an underrated director these days, 'cause if you're any good, the Net hype spoils the surprise. How about Rob McKittrick, whose only movie, 'Waiting...', was a surprisingly tight and well-constructed comedy.

23. You know, if you watch Network and Broadcast News now, their fears and concerns are so prescient, it's unnerving. But my pick is The Truman Show, which so adroitly predicted the reality show fad.

24. Patrick Bauchau.

25. The Corporation. Nails the subject in a relatively professional manner (relative to Michael Moore, I mean). I want to say Loose Change for the entertainment value, but of course it wouldn't qualify as 'non-fiction'.

26. Every time Brad Pitt is on screen in 'Snatch' with that undecipherable accent, and you get this momentary feeling that the film is just about to run off the rails. Lord knows how the crew kept from collapsing in laughter.

27. Wings of Desire

28. Elizabeth Pena in Lone Star, another Underrated nominee.

29. "Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?" - Donnie Darko

30. All I want from a critic is someone who will give me their honest reaction to a movie, while being honest about their own biases. Also, it would help if a movie could be judged or compared with other films in its genre, instead of all genres. As the industry continues to skew more and more towards the teenage demographic, critics can take a larger role in championing films that might otherwise be ignored. The critics really helped movies like Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen, and The Illusionist find their audience.

Bonus: Do movies still matter?

They do, but there is enough quality television available now to really challenge movies on an artistic level. Hollywood will have to step up their game if they want to keep playing. Oh, and stop accusing your audience of piracy. If I'm in the frakkin' movie theater, I'm not pirating the movie, am I?

Dan E. said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Vertigo. The first time I was just too green. Now it's in my Top 5.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Capra-corn makes me want to vomit. The only one I've liked is It Happened One Night. It's A Wonderful Life would be great if it left any part of it in slight doubt.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Swingers. A bunch of guys sit around a table talking about how much Tarantino rips off Scorsese. One of them remarks about how all movies steal from other movies. Cut to the guys walking down the street a la Reservoir Dogs. Too perfect.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

They're high on my list of movies to see. But it's a big list. A very big list.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

For lack of any other ideas, I'll go with the streaker in '73.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce is a better actor, to be sure, but Hugo Weaving has the iconic role of Agent Smith. I love Agent Smith. Agent Smith is one of the best parts of The Matrix. But I can't see Weaving as anything but Agent Smith. Guy Pearce I can see in anything. Guy wins.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

I don't understand a lot of things. I'm white. I'm male. I'm from the suburbs. For the sake of argument, I guess I'll go with Do the Right Thing. From my limited perspective, it seems very intelligent and realistic when it comes to race relations.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Alas, I have seen none.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

I don't know who that last one is, but Bellucci was in The Passion of the Christ and Terry Gilliam's only mediocre movie. I think I'll go with Cucinotta by default.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Strangely enough, The Silence of the Lambs is my most watchable film. Hannibal Lecter can always put a smile on my face. I'm not quite sure what that says about me, though.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

I can't really think of any movies that can destroy my day, though anything with Hugh Grant certainly puts me down a bit. But there's nothing that I can't recover from.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Deliverance, the only one I've seen.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Bruce Dern gave birth to one of the best actresses working today. What has Warren Oates' loins given us?

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Standard 1:1.85 is good for me, though I don't play favorites. I like them all.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I don't think there's any more personality in films now than there were when Truffaut was making movies. Pan's Labyrinth certainly seems like it resembles Guillermo del Toro, but no more than Vertigo resembles Hitchcock. So, I guess, yes. But then again, I think it was Truffaut's tomorrow yesterday.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

The formalist in me says Aguirre. The hipster says Grizzly Man. But really, it's My Best Fiend for me. It's a document made about his life with his best friend, and it never backs away from the truth, even when it isn't flattering to anyone.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Can these beasts be zombies? If so, I'll take Dawn of the Dead. If not, you just can't beat King Kong vs. Godzilla.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

I believe Sarah Silverman is the heir to the Woody Allen great Jewish comedian throne. Sandra Bernhard is just annoying.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Every horror movie since Alien has some sort of traitor. And you know which one from the very beginning of the movie. Pisses me off. I want a united front against the monster. No deals or anything like that. Just avoid that "twist". Please.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

There is just something way too funny about the fact that the PG-13 rating was designed for Temple of Doom, yet it got a PG. For being the cause of the middle ground, I would say yes. And the carts on railroads is still a phenomenal scene.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Rebel Without a Cause, considering it's the only one I've seen.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Allow me to present Andrew Niccol, one of the great investigators of identity in modern cinema. Gattaca, The Truman Show, Lord of War, the man is more impressive than most other directors out there, and yet he recieves next to no recognition.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Network may be the popular answer, but it's the popular answer for a reason. It's (in my opinion) the best movie in the past 35 years. It has one of the best screenplays ever written, and it predicted the popularization of the news and the rise of disturbing reality television. The direction is great, the performances are great, and the screenplay is, as I have said, amazing.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Considering I haven't seen either of them in a major role, I'm going to flip a coin. Heads, Ganz. Tails, Bauchau. Tails wins, so I guess I prefer Bauchau.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

See Question 16.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

The best accidents are the ones where the scene just keeps going. Usually a fall of some kind, like John Belushi in Animal House. But my favorite come courtesy of General Buck Turgidson. Nothing quite as funny as George C. Scott falling over backward and continuing his line. It adds to the humor of the film, and to the development of Turgidson as a man so entirely devoted to his cause that nothing will stop him (from destroying the world).

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

I've seen only one, so I guess Don't Come Knocking is my answer.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz has starred in some utter shit, but if Volver is any indication, it's all Cruz in my future.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"Makes Ben Hur look like an Epic" - Monty Python and the Holy Grail

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I'm never quite sure what I want from film criticism. Sometimes I want someone's opinion of a film. Sometimes I want in depth analysis. Sometimes I want to know what I missed when I say a movie. Maybe I want someone to shoot down my opinion. Maybe I want focus on some symbol which helps to elevate a film to a whole new level. It's almost always different than what I wanted the last time.

I'd like to think that film criticism is heading for a greater place. Because when you get past the knee-jerk fanboy reactions, the internet can give us all views on a film we never would have seen otherwise. There are so many voices that there's always something worth reading. It makes me smile to think that every day I can find something new to read. Something interesting. Something informative. Something exciting. Maybe I'm just an idealist.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Not all of them. Some of them don't matter. But then again, some of them 60 years ago didn't matter. And some of them did. There will never be a year when no movies matter.

Matthew said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

"Apocalypse Now"

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

"Gone with the Wind"

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

In "Bowfinger:" "Did you know that Tom Cruise didn't know he was in that vampire movie until three months later?"

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Count me ignorant here.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

When the credits finally rolled on the 79th Annual…

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

"Lawrence of Arabia"

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

"Verboten!"

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

"Casablanca.” Perhaps also “Amadeus”

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

"Scary Movie"

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

"Excalibur"

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates, if only for “Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” Bruce Dern might have one, but he shot The Duke.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

2.39:1

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

If we were talking about Tim Burton, David Cronenberg, or Peter Jackson specifically, I'd say yes.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

"Aguirre: The Wrath of God"

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

"Them!"

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I love "'Nam Flashback!"

I despise horror movie orchestra hits when "oh, it was only the cat!"

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Yes, yes, one thousand times yes.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

"Flying Leathernecks"

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

"Jackie Brown"

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

"Network"

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

"Woodstock"

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I love in "The Man Who Would Be King," when Connery and Caine are training soldiers in Central Asia, and an extra simply cannot count and march in time. The frustration seen on Connery's face, and his too-real abuse of that extra, made the movie that much more real for me. Clearly unscripted.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

“Paris, Texas”

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"Shaun of the Dead: A Romantic Comedy - with zombies"

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

First, I want to know what a film is promising to deliver, and whether or not it fulfills that promise. I dislike when a reviewer projects upon a film what the film "should have been." Review the film on its own terms. Somebody involved in the production found value in it; what was that value?

Second, I am not looking for anything objective. I want to know what you thought of it, and why. Do away with stars. Just tell me what you liked or hated. Help abolish the myth that film criticism is meant to tell the reader if the movie is objectively good, or if "everyone" will like it.

With Pauline Kael gone, Roger Ebert out of commission, and Andrew Sarris getting on in years, film criticism as a literary form is in good danger of going extinct in a sea of hacks without any apparent love or joy for cinema.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

They matter to me, and to me, that’s all that matters.

jeffmcm said...

Wow, I never thought I'd see anyone defend Rob McKittrick's Waiting. Of all the Clerks ripoff films, it's one of the worst - and that's saying something.

Jeremy Richey said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

The first time I saw Soderbergh's SOLARIS I was completely polarized, the second time intrigued and the third time convinced it was the best science fiction film since BLADE RUNNER.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Kevin Smith, I absolutely can not stand this man's films and have never been able to grasp the appeal of them.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Every frame of Roman Coppola's fascinating C.Q. The obvious references ranging from MODESTY BLAISE to BARBARELLA are obvious but the more you watch the film the more it gives you. A really lovely valentine to the 1960's and many of its most unique films.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

THE RED SHOES

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Even though even he deserved it for many roles before SCENT OF A WOMAN watching Al Pacino finally win and being visibly moved in his acceptance speech is something that I will never forget.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Tough one but I would say Roeg's WALKABOUT. There is something so mysterious and moving about that film. It draws me into a place that is completely foreign to me in a way that few films ever have come close to.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Not a big Fuller fan but WHITE DOG is very intriguing.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Is this a real question? Bellucci is one of the most beautiful women on the planet and one of the best actors. She is the new Sophia Loren.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT. No matter how low I might be re-watching this movie always brings a huge smile to my face. The sight of Romy Schneider nearly losing it towards the end next to Peter Sellers can clear up any nothing day.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Any Kevin Smith film especially CLERKS.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

POINT BLANK, but BEYOND RANGOON is one of the 90's most underrated films in my estimation.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates will always be the man and he was born just a short distance from me. Respect to Dern but no contest.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio?

Tough, with guys like DePalma it's 2.35 but I would say overall 1.85.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I think this has always been true of certain directors, Truffaut included.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

STROSZEK

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts?

Another tough one. I would have to say ALLIGATOR.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Silverman melts me and she's incredibly funny.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché?

I will never tire of the criminal who needs just 'one last score'.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Not one of Speilberg's best and I miss Karen Allen but come on it's extremely entertaining.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie?

Might be cliched to say, but REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Saw this at an outdoor theater a couple of years back and James Dean and Natalie Wood are absolutely immortal.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated?

Dario Argento's career since PHENOMENA. He might never make anything as good as SUSPIRIA or DEEP RED but I think OPERA, STENDAHL SYNDROME, SLEEPLESS and THE CARD PLAYER are fine works that will be remembered in years to come. Honestly PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is the only film of his that I don't admire.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television?

NETWORK came to mind first but then I remembered Kazan's FACE IN THE CROWD with a brutally brilliant Andy Griffith.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno of course.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film?

Hard one...but Mark Kermode's documentary on Ken Russell's THE DEVILS (HELL ON EARTH) was a mind-blowingly important piece of work.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Hardest one on here but I would have to say Jean-Luc Godard's casting of Brigitte Bardot in CONTEMPT. He originally did it because the studio wanted a major star and then after he cast her he attempted to make it seem ironic. No one would have guessed that she would come on and give such a wonderfully layered and complex performance. It is one of the great performances in any Godard film, and the self proclaimed 'businessman from Switzerland' ended up admiring her so much that he gave her a cameo in MASCULIN FEMININ.


27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

PARIS TEXAS, my favorite moment in any film is the three minute close up on Nastassja Kinski's face.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

When Cruz is working in Spanish films she is an absolute treasure so no contest here.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

ROCKY: "His whole life was a million to one shot"

30) As a reader, film goer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

The main thing that bothers me about main stream film criticism is the idea that they review it after one viewing to meet a deadline. The greatest films demand time and re-viewings. I also have a pet peeve about critics who judge film based on a particular actor or director's real life problems.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Obviously they do to me. The public at large, I would say ultimately yes. They may not mean what we would like them to to most people but I don't think you can deny their importance to peoples lives.

sfmike said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Fellini's "Satyricon," and I still haven't decided.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

"The Searchers"

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Margaret Hamilton as a Texas Witch singing the Star Spangled Banner in "Brewster McCloud."

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

"The Tales of Hoffman"

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Vanessa Redgrave going after the Zionists

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce, for "Priscilla" if nothing else

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

"Battle of Algiers"

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

"Shock Corridor"

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

"Monica Bellucci"

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

"The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao"

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Anything with Meg Ryan.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

A tie between "Excalibur" and "The Emerald Forest"

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

4:3

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I hope not. I hated it when it was Truffaut's today.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

"Kasper Hauser"

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

The recent Korean film, "The Host"

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

For what? Stoning to death?

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Slo-mo romance scenes

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Emphatic yes -- it's the only one I can stand

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

"Rebel Without a Cause"

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

"Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey"

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

"A Face in The Crowd"

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

You've stumped me.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Riefenstahl's "Olympiad"

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Half of the great moments in Altman's movies feel like accidents. Sterlin Hayden playing a Hemingwayesque old drunk in "The Long Goodbye" was a good example.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

"The Goalie's Anxiety Before The Penalty Kick" simply for the title

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

That's all, folks!

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

An original thinker with a way with words who understands culture in a broad way. They're rare and always will be.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Of course they do, or why the f--- do you think I filled this thing out?

Larry Gross said...

l. Peter Weir's The Year of Living Dangerously struck me the first time I saw it as overlong, with too many endings and no point of view. On the second viewing it started to come together and make sense. On subsequent viewings I came to the conclusion it was one of the strongest mainstream narrative films of the 80's and easily, now, Weir's best film.

2. I know this is heresy but: Andrei Tarkovsky. Yes their moments of genius and staggering beauty in every one of the films, BUT--the mix of adolescent self-absorbed grandiosity, the slavophil mysticism that was outdated in Dostoyevsky's time, and the imperious on-again-off-again relation to narrative is cumulatively infuriating. He makes David Lynch look like Henry James. Yes, Tarkovsky's struggle with Soviet censorship was heroic (if not a little masochistic) and yes he was a great inspiration to many other important film makers but he was basically a lousy film maker.

3. Sullivan off-handedly referring to having had lunch with Lubitsch the week-before in Sullivan's Travels.

4. A Matter of Life and Death AKA Stairway to Heaven, a fantasy film like no other.

5. Johnny Carson's jokes about Alan Splet a few decades ago.

6. Weaving. Tough. Both excellent. I wouldn't want to live on the difference.

7. Kiarostami's Close-Up, an intricate ironic examination of the "justice" system in Iran.

8. TIE: between Pick up on South STreet, with a few more bucks than usual, a better cast, better lighting than typical. BUT ALSO: Shock Corridor because it's so out there.

9. Belluci for having the guts to be in Irreversible.

10. Animal House

11. National Lampoon's Vacation

12. Point Blank

13. Warren Oates. Dern is a fine, fine actor, but Oates is one of the gods.

14. 1:85

15. Truffaut's remark applies less and less to mid to bigger budget studio film making, which now more than ever is an impersonal corporate product. However low-and-micro budget film-making, video/internet/ cinema, confirms his thesis. The cinema of Joe Swanberg, and/or the guys who made Four Eyed Monsters.

16. The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser or Every Man for Himself and God Against All.

17. The Birds

18. Bernhard. Ms. Sliverman has barely had a film career thus far. She certainly is a babe though.

19. Most loved--Men wordlessly acknowledging the competence and skill of other men. Ireland going over to Wayne's bunch in Red River. Pike Bishop's gang polishing off a bottle of whiskey after their big score. Pacino holding De Niro's hand as the latter dies in Heat. Ed Burns nodding to Matt Damon before the final battle in Saving Private Ryan.

20. No

21. TIE: In a Lonely Place for powerful romantic desolation, Johnny Guitar because it's so out there.

22. Richard Pearce's Threshold from a James Salter script, w/Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum, Germain's Khoustalianov, My Car one of the greatest Russian features since the silent period, never released theatrically in America,
Frank Tashlin's Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter--as has been said, the list goes on and on--

23. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter & Hard Days Night, describe the point at which television and youth culture transform all modern culture as we know it today. And they're both fun.

24. Bruno Ganz. Bachau is a fine, fine, actor (and a friend) but Ganz is one of the Gods. American Friend, Eternity and a Day, Wings of Desire, Nosferatu, Downfall--the guy's one of the great post-war European actors.

25. Man With a Movie Camera. The only thing that comes even close is Marker's Sans Soleil.

26. Jean Pierre Leaud's smiles of mischief answering adult questions in The 400 Blows, clearly just happened. The tone of lust in Bibi Andersson's erotic monologue in Persona apparently caught Bergman completely by surprise. Samuel Fuller's improvised reply to the question 'What is Cinema?' in Pierrot Le Fou. That apparently induced tears of gratitude, rightly so, from director Jean Luc Godard. David Carradine in
Cole Younger in The Long Riders saying "You gotta pay Frank, you gotta pay, " to Stacey Keach as Frank James.

27. Wings of Desire. (hideously underrated is End of Violence, the best of his films about filmmaking)

28. Cruz. Pena just hasn't gotten the parts.

29. "We rob banks" (Bonnie and Clyde)

30. Film criticism in the print medium today is totally lacking perspective on film's past and future--you find it sporadically on the Web. This is of course as much the fault of editors and publishers as the individuals involved. But the ability to contextualize a new film being reviewed is part of what gave Agee's criticism and Sarris' at its best when he wrote for the Village Voice, so much force and significance (whether you agreed with their particular opinions on particular movies or not).
A critic should also have a set of values and a conception of what cinema is and ought to be, that they can articulate--that's what people found so thrilling about Paulilne Kael, even when her opinions on particular films were nonsensical bullshit. You knew where she was coming from.
Of course in the absence of consistently good films to review, film criticism verges on being worthless which is the problem today's bunch faces. (I'm referring to the ones blessed or cursed to get paid to do it.)

EXTRA CREDIT--
Do Movies Matter? Yes, but not always in good ways. Movies mattering today has unfortunately, partly to do with a pervasive economic conception of reality where what money-things-cost-make-or-lose, constitutes a chief concern, or defintiion of value, meaning, significance etc. Not a good thing.
On the other hand movies remain the dominant art form of a period in history defined by rapid technological change. It's been that way for awhile and it appears that it will remain that way for the indefinitely forseeable future. Movies response to this has often been divided, confused and uncertain--though a few geniuses, Griffith, Eisenstein, Welles, Godard, Kubrick, have pointed to the possibility of a better way. It's probable that if there ever is a better world wide human grasp of technology and its uses, movies will have significant role in either recording it, prophecying it, or whatever. On this account movies indisputably matter.
Finally as one of your commentators has said, there are great movies still occasionally being made, and more than enough made in the past to catch up with or to know better. For that reason alone. movies matter.

Robert Fiore said...

Answering only the ones I have answers for:

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

I'm still trying to decide whether Apocalypse Now is Coppola's last good movie or first lousy one.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

The Graduate.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The part in Animal House where D-Day yells "Ramming Speed!"

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Thief of Baghdad.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

The streaker, I guess.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

I wouldn't say I had no understanding of the era, but Topsy Turvy is one of the few historical movies that made me feel "Yes, that's what it was like." Barry Lyndon is another.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

One Froggy Evening, among a number of other Chuck Jones cartoons.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Actually, it's so much fun to express your disdain for a movie by making a disgusted noise and flipping past that it's more of an up than a down. The remote is technology's greatest contribution to film criticism.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Point Blank, but here's a heresy for you: I just saw it again and I actually think I like Payback more.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates, but they're both great.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

I love watching movies on the IMAX screen, but there's something about a nitrate print in that old almost square format that's somehow magical. You understand why they called it the Silver Screen. Recently I bought one of those big screen TVs and I want to watch stuff that fills it, but it seems like 75% of the DVDs I have ready to watch are either in the old ratio or television programs.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Aguirre, but I'm not a fan.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

King Kong Mark I

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sandra Bernhard is more talented, but I'd rather look at Sarah Silverman.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Where they fake you out with the unhappy ending before they give you the happy one. As if anybody is fooled by that anymore.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

It's no worse than the others. They all leave me cold.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

In a Lonely Place.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Fearless (Nicolas Roeg). I don't know if it's underrated when people actually rate it, but I don't think it's nearly as well known as it ought to be.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

If it counts as a film, Ken Burns' The Civil War. Television really does this better; others that come to mind are The World at War and Brownlouw's Hollywood. Wasn't The Sorrow and The Pity made for television originally?

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

One that feels like it but obviously isn't: The last shot of Vertigo. One that is: Bob Balaban getting slapped upside the head in A Mighty Wind. It's something you want to see all through the movie as he fusses about everything, and then suddenly it happens!

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

It wasn't for a movie but for Peter Lorre, in the trailer for one of Hitchcock's English movies: "The Grand High Minister of Everything Sinister!"

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

In any field of endeavor, the test of a critic is whether he or she is worth reading even when he or she is full of crap. With the decline of periodicals and the possibility of making your living by writing, it would seem that it's headed for the Internet.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

How can a major art form cease to matter? Like any other form or cultural endeavor, they can have golden ages and fallow periods.

Paul C. said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Brian DePalma’s Mission: Impossible was sort of diverting the first time I saw it, but I was just coming into my own as a movie lover at the time. I was 18 years old, right around the age when anyone who fancies himself serious about movies scoffs at anything so low-class as a Hollywood action movie. But the intervening years have made all the difference- I’m now something of a DePalma nut, and at the same time I’ve become much less dismissive of mass entertainments, provided they’re well made and stylish. And Mission: Impossible is certainly both of these. Even with the explosions, expensive effects, and convoluted storyline, this thing is tense as hell, and seeing it again following my prolonged exposure to DePalma’s has made it really shine in my eyes. It’s no Blow Out, but it ranks up there as one of his best pure thrillers, alongside Raising Cain and Body Double.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

I’ve never understood the love for The Graduate, a film that practically ties itself in knots attempting to demonize its most compelling character. How is it that sixties audiences fell in love with the bland Elaine, or rooted for the self-absorbed Ben Braddock? How fortunate for Dustin Hoffman that Midnight Cowboy came along, lest he be typecast as a mopey killjoy. Meanwhile, the film characterizes Mrs. Robinson as a sexually-aggressive predator, but for my money she’s the only character worth watching here. Hell, when Ebert expressed this sentiment to her in an interview, she smiled and countered, “of course, that’s why I took the role.” For me, this throws the film out of balance- instead of an expression of youth breaking free of its elders, The Graduate feels mostly like a feature-length expression of the old credo “don’t trust anyone over thirty.” Why else would the filmmakers not have given the films’ older characters first names?

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

At the risk of repeating what others might have said, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with something better than the Night of the Hunter-inspired brass knuckles in Do the Right Thing. I especially love the visual payoff to this scene after Radio Raheem has met his tragic end.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

The Red Shoes. I don’t like ballet- that mom carted me along to ballet performances as a kid, trying to instill culture in me, didn’t help. But The Red Shoes makes as good a case for cinema as a dance medium as anything Busby Berkeley or Arthur Freed ever produced. And Technicolor has never been more ravishing, particularly not the vivid reds that made Moira Shearer’s red hair shimmer on the screen.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

I liked when Samuel L. Jackson visibly swore in close-up when Martin Landau won for Ed Wood. So many of the nominees who don’t win politely golf-clap with smiles pasted on their faces, but Jackson was different. Besides, he really did deserve to win.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Pearce has made some interesting choices over the years, and I commend him for sticking mostly to smaller-scale films rather than churning out endless movies like The Time Machine. But I gotta go with Weaving, who’s been doing solid work for years- I’m a Proof fan- even before he became a villain for the ages in the one watchable Matrix movie. Not even the two crappy sequels could diminish his performance, and he dug into the role with relish even as the rest of the films crumbled around him.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Without a doubt, Peter Watkins’ La Commune (Paris, 1871). This six-hour movie, originally made for French TV, examines an event that’s passed over by most history books in the U.S.- the rise and fall of Paris Commune, an experimental government formed by workers and intellectuals following a successful uprising against the French government. Watkins, rather than turning the story into a conventional period piece, shoots it like an extended news special, complete with period-incorrect man-on-the-street interviews, talking heads, and even intercut footage of a government news program that criticizes the Communards. The result is a movie that captures the spirit of the Commune better than any conventional telling ever could, while connecting it to the better-organized but less ambitious protest movements of today.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

If I was a smartass I’d say Pierrot le Fou. But I like Fuller too much for that, and of his films I’d most partial to Pickup on South Street, if for no other reason than for that amazing single-shot scene in which Jean Peters gets the tar beaten out of her.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Bellucci, definitely. Cucinotta is hot, but could she have pulled off that great moment in Brotherhood of the Wolf in which Bellucci’s body metamorphoses into a rolling landscape? I think not.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Impossible to choose one. Must start a list… Belle de Jour. Once Upon a Time in the West. Anything by Buster Keaton or Jacques Tati. The New World. Annie Hall. The Lady Eve. Need I continue?

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

I don’t watch television, so I’ll skip this question.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Point Blank. Lee Marvin was always tough, but this may be his best tough-guy role, and Boorman smartly turned his toughness into a steel-edged, single-minded obsession, that made the film both thrilling and sort of frightening.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Warren Oates. No offense to Dern, but I’ve never seen an Oates performance that was less than awesome.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

I suppose this answer would be kinda cheating, but since it’s partly about aspect ratio I’ll go ahead and include it. I’ve always been fascinated with films that are in black-and-white ‘Scope, from that relatively short window between the time ‘Scope films became more widespread and black and white began to tail off. There are very few things that will get me more pumped to watch an old movie- especially one from the early-to-mid sixties- than finding out it’s B/W Scope. The Hustler may be my favorite example of this near-dead art form, but there are many others to consider- The 400 Blows, The Apartment, Yojimbo, Advise and Consent, Last Year at Marienbad, Branded to Kill, and more recent examples like Manhattan and The Elephant Man.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

In many ways, I believe that Truffaut’s statement was as true when he made it as it is today. One needs look no further than the films of his ex-Cahiers du Cinema colleague Jean-Luc Godard to see it in practice. I’d say that just as true as Truffaut’s statement is the idea that any film can be interpreted as a portrait of its maker. For example, the Kill Bill movies, which many have criticized as empty fanboy homages. However, consider the character of Bill, who the film explains was the child of one mother and many surrogate fathers. Consider also that Quentin Tarantino was raised by a single mother as well, and that movies were a major part of his life even as a child. Finally, examine the films’ closing credits, which include a list of movie greats to whom he dedicates the films- Lo Lieh, Chang Cheh, Sergio Corbucci, and so on. Could these men be seen as surrogate fathers to Tarantino, not only in their influence on his work, but also for their presence as icons of his youth?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Other Herzog films may have been more ambitious or have more legendary backstories, but none is more fascinating than Stroszek. Transporting a band of oddballs- a dumpy hooker, a little old man, and real-life paranoid-schizophrenic Bruno S.- to Middle America makes for some positively riveting cinema. Just when you think it might become conventional (around the time Bruno and the old man hold up a bank), it shifts gears altogether, leading up to one of the greatest endings ever committed to film.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Love Kong, love Godzilla and pals, and no one can argue with Frankenstein’s monster. But having just seen and loved The Host the other night, I seriously think that the giant rampaging tadpole ranks up there with his illustrious predecessors. Yes, a few of the creature effects are too effect-y, but the filmmakers’ conception of the creature trumps any technical concerns. Far from being a simple, elegant killing machine, he’s got real personality- ugly, clumsy, and sort of awkward, right up to the point where he starts ingesting random people. In short, this creature has been crafted with care and, yes, love, which makes him one for the ages.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Silverman has yet to get a movie role as good as Bernhard’s in The King of Comedy, but outside of Scorsese’s movie I can’t stand Bernhard and I’ll watch Silverman in damn near anything, up to and including the hideously-made Jesus Is Magic.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

This isn’t so much a cliché as a genre nowadays, but is anyone else getting sick of suburbian ennui? Yes, we realize that behind their McMansions and perfectly manicured lawns, the upper-middle-class residents of suburbia have issues too. But why do filmmakers act like this is a profound message? As a child of suburbia myself, I can’t help but think that it’s like white kids whose parents had money feel the need to compete for cred with people from more hardscrabble backgrounds, so they imagine their idyllic neighborhoods as being wasps’-nests of intrigue, infidelity, and resentment, as though this will somehow help them to transcend their backgrounds. Well, guess what- I’m not buying. Suburbia is mostly just boring, and if you want to get your revenge, move the hell out.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Yes, although with one big reservations. Simply put, Willie is a terrible match for Indy. After Marion, an adventuress in her own right who could fight alongside the boys, Willie has little to do but scream and grate on the nerves with every line she utters. But the scenes between Indy and Short Round make up for this, and I can’t help but wonder why Spielberg and Lucas didn’t ditch the girl altogether, besides the fact that Spielberg got a wife out of the deal. And while the villains may seem racist, I don’t read them that way, any more than I interpret Indiana Jones to be a realistic representation of an archeologist. Plus the last 20 minutes are exciting as hell.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

In a Lonely Place, no contest.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

8 Women. When I first heard about it, I got excited, especially for that awesome cast (Deneuve, Huppert, Ardant, Beart, etc.). When it was released, I saw it opening day, loved it, and watched it again immediately afterwards. I saw it four times in the 12 days it played at my local arthouse. I must have written at least a dozen different essays on the film or various aspects of it. But I talked with others who had seen it, they didn’t share my love for it. Some of them kind of enjoyed it, others not so much. But none of them were enthusiastic either way. As a result, I became protective of 8 Women- I loved it like no one else I know, so I developed a sentimental, almost possessive, attachment to it. After a while, I decided that it was time to begin obsessing over other films for a change, and for a few years I didn’t watch my DVD of 8 Women. Then, one day, I reluctantly decided to watch it again, fearing that my love for it had passed and that I couldn’t go home again. Lo and behold, I loved it as much as ever, and my love has continued, unabated, to this day. I’ve grown completely OK with the idea that few others think that it’s a masterpiece, but the sentimentalist in me demands that I nominate it anyway.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

A Face in the Crowd, which is as trenchant a film about how the media creates superstars and even demagogues as has ever been placed on the screen. Fifty years later, one only needs to look at our President to see that Lonesome Rhoades is alive and well.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Bruno Ganz, by a country mile. Who else could be convincing as both an angel and Hitler?

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Gates of Heaven is amazing. The Florence Rasmussen scene alone is as good an argument for documentary filmmaking as I’ve ever seen.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Practically every filmmaker who worked with Brando in his later years could be said to preside over a potential accident. While his riffing often distracted from the films- Brando offering George C. Scott some Milk Duds in The Formula springs to mind- he was still occasionally capable of providing strange and wonderful notes that couldn’t have been sounded by anyone else. Of these, I’ve always loved the scene in The Freshman where he displays an unexpected grace on ice skates. Working with Brando must’ve been trying for director Andrew Bergman, but surely this must’ve made it all worth it.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

Wings of Desire, although I’ve got a lot of love for Paris, Texas as well.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Here’s a compromise that I think will satisfy everyone- combine Cruz’s body with Pena’s smoky voice.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

I’m having a hard time remembering a lot of these, so I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few classics. I like the crazy badass-ness of the tagline from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (“For three men the Civil War wasn’t Hell- it was practice!”). I also dig the understated charm of Annie Hall’s-“a nervous romance”, as if Woody could’ve made any other kind. Of more recent films, I’m partial to the tagline for AI: Artificial Intelligence- “David is 11 years old. He weighs 60 pounds. He is 4 feet, 6 inches tall. He has brown hair. His love is real, but he is not.”

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Good criticism is about opening up a kind of dialogue with the reader/viewer, in which the critic’s close watching and perceptiveness will reveal previously unforeseen aspects or layers of a film, causing the reader/viewer to see the film in a new light. Because of this, I think the current direction toward Web- and blog-based criticism is a godsend, since this dialogue becomes much more explicit than ever before. Another welcome consequence of the turn towards Internet criticism is that nothing is beyond the scope of the critic- rather than worrying about new releases, the critic is freer to examine classics and curiosities, which as a result helps to broaden the readers’ scope as well. Some would point to the proliferation of Web criticism as being a bad thing, diluting the critical pool, but this is pure snobbery- we all watch movies, and we all have opinions about them, so if we can express those opinions articulately, then how are they any less valid than those of the guys who write for newspapers and magazines? Yes, there may never again be a critic who exerts as much influence on the national or local level as critics of yore, but when you consider the diversity of critical options that were previously unavailable, I’ll take that trade-off.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

The majority of moviegoers simply want to be entertained for a few hours. In the history of movies, this has been fairly consistent- even during the supposed heyday of art cinema, T & A was as much of a draw as the reviews or the idea of getting cultured. Most moviegoers don’t want to think too hard about movies, but there has always been a passionate minority who seek something more from their movies than two hours in which they can kill time. Our moviegoing tastes go beyond the latest Hollywood blockbusters, and discussing the films we love invigorates us almost as much as the films themselves. Among this minority, I’d say that movies matter more than ever, since with the passing of time the history of cinema becomes bigger and broader, and the resources with which we can both partake of and discuss that history become more diverse. Think of it this way- if the movies didn’t matter, do you think this survey would have gotten as many responses as it has?

Paul C. said...

Looking back at my test, I realized that my answer to #26 might be a little inadequate. So I'll add the answer I originally had, but changed figuring that after 66 surveys someone would have chosen it already. Shows what happens when you wait until after you submit to read everyone else's answers. Frankly, I'm surprised that I was first to pick my answer to #3 as well.

Anyway, I'd have to say that one of the legendary cinematic "accidents" would have to be the cloud that passes in front of the sun during the scene in which Bonnie says goodbye to her parents in Bonnie and Clyde. It's one of those touches you can't plan outside of The Truman Show, but needless to say the scene wouldn't have worked nearly as well had this not happened.

Come to think of it, I think Welles' statement might be a bit off the mark. Whereas he maintained that a director should "preside over accidents," I would say that the job is more like judging through the accidents as they come and using the good ones to your advantage.

Robert Fiore said...

Expanding on the extra credit question, though movies are not going through a terribly fruitful time, what's really hurt the art form's relative position in the culture is that the best television shows can be as good or better than the best movies. Once the gap in quality is closed, advantages of television come to the fore: You don't have to go somewhere and pay admission, everybody sees the show at the same time, so it's an instant shared experience and topic of conversation. The mass shared experiences the movies have to themselves these days it sometimes seems are animated features and the occasional phenomenon like the Lord of the Rings movies.

Bob Turnbull said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Though I liked "Citizen Kane" on first viewing, it took a second viewing to better appreciate some of the smaller things (e.g. during the opening zoom on Xanadu, the window stays in the same spot, etc.). I suspect further viewings might add even more...

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

"Bringing Up Baby" just doesn't do it for me...It's not bad by any means, but I expected so much more considering the "funniest movie ever" descriptions. As well, though I think Audrey Hepburn was one of the most beuatiful and classy stars ever, "Breakfast At Tiffany's" never goes anywhere for me.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The long shot in "Boogie Nights" that ends by following the woman into the pool and underwater - a reference to the even better single shot in "I Am Cuba" (which travels down from several levels in a hotel into the pool).

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

"The Red Shoes". That entire middle ballet section is beautifully rendered and just a joy to watch.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

"Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah." Still makes me chuckle...Yes, I know I'm probably the only one.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Like 'em both, but I'll give it to Guy Pearce simply for "Memento" (and because I've seen him in more things).

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

No single film springs to mind, but I've gained what I think is a bit better understanding of Japanese culture from the many Akira Kurosawa, Shohei Imamura and Kiyoshi Kurosawa films I've seen. Not a great deal, but certainly more than I knew before...

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

"The Naked Kiss". Splendidly sordid! I never much cared for "The Big Red One" though.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

I wasn't familiar with Maria, but even after a search it's still Monica.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Many, but my first thought is "Almost Famous".

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

"Grey Gardens" is an interesting document of two incredibly annoying and frustrating people that I never want to sit through again. "Basic Instinct" for its complete lack of any redeeming quality in ANY of its characters. "The Girl From Monday" because I just couldn't stand it.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Point Blank is bordering on experimental at times and has Lee Marvin at his best.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Bruce Dern does over the top crazy loon guy better than anyone else.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Anything in which the director makes good use of the frame. But I admit to being sucked in by any landscape in 2.35:1.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I don't see that as being a very good general statement. There are certainly cases - in particular with the continuation of auteur cinema - but there are countless occurrences of generic studio output that could have been made by committee.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

"Aguirre Wrath Of God" is a jaw dropper at times and would be my fave. But I also really enjoy "Cobra Verde". In particular the scene where Kinski is serenaded by the young African women - their stunning voices and absolute confidence (especially after we've just seen scores of chained men lying on the ground) makes for a remarkable scene.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Orson Welles matches all those characteristics in "Touch OF Evil", but that's probably not what you're asking..."Alien" is still the best.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Not a big fan of either of them. But I'll give it to Sarah just because she was very funny in "The Aristocrats".

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

The homely young girl who suddenly becomes gloriously beautiful when she takes off her glasses and lets her hair down.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Nope. It just didn't have the sense of fun for me that the first one did.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

"In A Lonely Place". Gloria Grahame is glorious.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

The perfect comedic team of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin in "The In-Laws".

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

"Network". It was one of the first films that absolutely mesmerized me.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Haven't seen many of Ganz' films, but he was in Herzog's "Nosferatu". So there you have it.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

I made a list of about 50 or so. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Errol Morris' "Mr. Death - The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter Jr." An odd and interesting character with a fascinating "career" all documented in a very unique stylish way with a stunning turn of events.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

The famous scene from "In Cold Blood" where the rain on the window looked like tears on Robert Blake's face. Beautiful imagery that implies the inner turmoil of a hard-nosed character that was an accident.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

"Paris, Texas".

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

I always thought Elizabeth Pena was a fine actress and quite lovely. Penelope scares me sometimes.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

"In space, no one can hear you scream."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Honesty, a lack of generalizations and hopefully some insight that adds to my enjoyment and understanding of the film. Many of the blog critics are doing just that these days across an even broader spectrum of films. That's a good sign.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Still do. Nothing's changed there.

Steve said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

demonlover was the first time I was ever exposed to the stylings of Olivier Assayas. Needless to say, I didn't understand what he was on about the first time around -- I thought he was just glossing on Videodrome. A second viewing, though, convinced me I was off my nut and the media-conspiracy plot was merely indicative of larger concerns vis-a-vis disconnection in the modern world. Having since caught up with a couple other Assayas films, I can say with assurance that I like the guy, but demonlover definitely ain't the place to start with him.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Is the fact that Parker Posey can't act at all yet is still beloved by many supposed to be part of that ironic-hipster image she's been granted or something? Explain it to me, people.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

"You'd do it for Randolph Scott." "RANDOLPH SCOTT!"

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Roght now, it's the gorgeous fever dream that is Black Narcissus, though I haven't seen The Red Shoes or Colonel Blimp yet (among others). I like Peeping Tom even more, but that'd be unfair as Pressburger had fuck-all to do with that.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

I thought Stanley Donen dancing and crooning with his honorary Oscar was pretty damn charming.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Ooh, damn. Tough call. Ultimately, I think Pearce takes it by a hair, if only for his involvement in Memento, L.A. Confidential and Ravenous. But I wouldn't kick either of 'em to the curb.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. No, wait, that's wrong...

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Haven't seen much from the old guy (not even Shock Corridor or The Naked Kiss!), but of the couple I've seen, I was most bowled over by Pickup on South Street.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Bellucci, but only if she's speaking Italian or French. I find her English-language roles generally embarassing. Beyond that, though, she's hitched to Vincent Cassel. She gets cool points by proxy for that.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Woody Allen had the right idea -- the Marx Brothers can prevent suicide. Also, most anything from Parker & Stone.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

My Big Fat Greek Wedding has been known to induce a psychotic episode or two in me. And the artistic failure of Jan Svankmajer's Lunacy left me in a state of depression for several hours afterward.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Gotta go with the obvious -- Deliverance.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

Dern's cool, but Warren Oates is a walking trump card. Nothing beats him -- you can end entire arguments just by saying, "Warren Oates!" even if the argument isn't film-related.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

The proper one.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I'll bet Caveh Zahedi would agree with that statement.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

Lessons of Darkness. Few films are as potent, poetic or forceful.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

Norbit. Wait, no -- I meant Jaws. Will anything in this genre ever top Jaws? It doesn't strike me as a likely prospect.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sandra Bernhard was an integral part of possibly Scorsese's best film, The King of Comedy. On the other hand, Sarah Silverman actually makes me laugh. Advantage: Silverman.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I have a love-hate relationship with the Damn-Cat! false scare that seems to have become the dominant mode of fear delivery in modern horror films. On one hand, a well-executed false scare can throw the viewer off balance and leave them open for the real scare (i.e. The Descent). On the other hand, it's way too tempting for most young filmmakers to sacrifice atmosphere for a constant stream of stings, leading to apathy when it comes time to deliver the real goods. Shock is easy, dread is hard.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

When I was a kid, yes. I haven't seen it since then, though. I still count myself a fan, but Lord knows what I'd actually think of it now. Maybe I should find out.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Uh... I haven't seen one yet. *ducks*

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Upon its initial release, everyone was too busy reacting angrily towards I Spit on Your Grave to notice that that's more or less what the film wanted you to do. I think it's high time for a re-evaluation.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Videodrome hands down. Long live the new flesh!

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Ganz just on principle -- I don't think I've seen Bauchau in anything other than his small role in The Rapture.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Watch me go for the Pretentious Film-School-Asshole answer: Stan Brakhage's Window Water Baby Moving. (Seriously, though, it's an AMAZING film.)

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

The most amazing accident I can think of is the flare of overprocessing at the end of The Last Temptation of Christ. It's so beautifully timed, so perfectly attuned to the moment of Christ's ascension, that to learn that it was a lab mistake boggles the mind.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

The only one I've seen and liked is The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Penelope Cruz is hotter; Elizabeth Pena sounds more convincing in English and has a broader range. Call it a draw.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

I like the one cited in Jim's poll, from the cheap '80s slasher The Prey: "It's not human, and it's got an axe!" So simple, yet so perfect.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Expertise, enthusiasm and a facility for words tempered with just the right amount of cynicism. When it comes to readable, trustable critics, these are a few of my favorite things!

As for where criticism is headed, the democratization of the 'Net has certainly changed the critical landscape. What does this mean for the future, though? Will we end up with an Andy Horbal afterworld, where both critics and aspirants strive to learn and improve ever more? Or will we just end up with a million iterations on Ain't it Cool fanboy splatterings, where everyone's opinion is equal no matter how asinine? I hope for the latter while expecting the former.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

If they don't, I'm wasting a hell of a lot of time. Of course, every now and then *cough*Hills Have Eyes II*cough* I'm forced to wonder if I'm not already.

aaron said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

BRINGING OUT THE DEAD

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

Dick Miller – as a private investigator, if memory serves – standing in front of the ROCK ALL NIGHT one-sheet in the remake of RUNAWAY DAUGHTERS.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

TALES OF HOFFMANN

But there’s always that underappreciated gem, THE SMALL BACK ROOM.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Jack Cardiff’s honorary Oscar a couple of years back.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Weaving, if only because I’ve recently seen Pearce’s “Warhol” in FACTORY GIRL

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

MATINEE, with its early 60s monster movie-mad youngster as protagonist, provided insight into what it must have been like in that simultaneously golden and terrifying era.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

I’m going backwards here in answering questions, so in keeping with my ‘Scope replies below, let’s go with: HOUSE OF BAMBOO

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

MATINEE

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

AMERICAN BEAUTY

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

Being a crime film enthusiast, my immediate reaction is to name POINT BLANK, a modern watershed for the genre if there ever was one; its influence has been monumental in both style and content. But what really gets my admiration for this film is the fact that Boorman gave Lee Marvin a role that arguably trumps his then already legendary turns in THE KILLERS and THE PROFESSIONALS, a feat nigh impossible.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

You’re killing me here, but to use John Huston’s quote about Stacy Keach, Oates isn’t a star, but a constellation. Those early, supporting roles specializing in rough-edged, grinning rogues in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY (as one of those licentious Hammond brothers) and his first of two episodes of “The Fugitive” (whose title sums up his 60s roles quite succinctly – “Rat in a Corner”), unexpectedly, but not surprisingly, gave heft to the world-weariness and lives full of regret on display in THE HIRED HAND, COCKFIGHTER, ALFREDO GARCIA, and especially, CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37. He could do so much with so few gestures, and nearly all of it could be conveyed through those dark, despairing eyes. The mere fact that I haven’t brought up THE WILD BUNCH, TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, DILLINGER, BADLANDS, or THE WHITE DAWN should be reason enough why I choose him over Dern, an actor I’m otherwise always fond of.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

2.35:1

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Like his famous essay “Certain Tendencies in the French Cinema”, I think Truffaut was trying for another galvanizing statement that’s part poetry and only meant to be taken slightly at face value. For me, and for seemingly much of Truffaut’s own criticism, it has always been true.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD still mesmerizes me.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

I’m focusing on the word “mutation” rather than beast, but I’ll go with Bert I. Gordon (B.I.G.!)’s THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Bernhard, if only for her work in THE KING OF COMEDY.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

We all have problems with the “slow clap” during a victorious moment at an event where our hero finally succeeds in whatever endeavor they’ve been training for the previous 90-120 minutes.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Wasn’t Lucas going through a divorce at the time? I’ve read a number of reports that claim that’s why it’s so dark and vicious. So, yes, if only because I don’t think either Spielberg or Lucas could make the film today, what with the extraction of the heart by hand and other gross-out scenes, and it remains an interesting showcase for some of their personalities’ more sickly humorous qualities.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS

This could be answered in tandem with the aspect ratio question, as Ray’s one of the top reasons why it’s my favourite.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

I’ll second the endorsement of Gerd Oswald, yet another filmmaker who used that aspect ratio extremely well.

The final thing he directed – a segment of “The NEW Twilight Zone” (in the 80s) called “The Star” – is to be cherished as a summation for the rest of his career. Like that planet that went nova with a civilization’s greatest art being placed into safekeeping, his life’s work is waiting for a similar rediscovery, despite the handful of essays/articles already devoted to it.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

VIDEODROME seems to be the one that’s sticking out

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Ganz, as I’m not entirely familiar with Bachau.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

F FOR FAKE

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

PARIS, TEXAS

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

“People Make Love for so Many Crazy Reasons – Why Shouldn’t Money Be One of Them?” – SAINT JACK

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I’ll make no great claims as to where it’s headed, but in terms of what I look for: a personal voice above all else, and how it relates to their previous history as a cinephile. And honesty, of course.

www.LanceTooks.com said...

Hope these answers aren’t too cranky… the questions seem to have driven me in that direction… or maybe it was something I ate:

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
I tend to make up my mind upon first viewing, but good work from an actor or filmmaker can make me rethink earlier films of theirs that I didn’t care for.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
The Sundance Film Festival.

2) 3)Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Daniel Craig’s retort to the ‘Shaken or stirred’ question in CASINO ROYALE was pretty sly I thought. If Paul Haggis wrote that line I’ll kill myself.
To go with ‘not-so-sly’… there was a point post-Star Wars, when every 80’s film had its characters quote the line “I’ve got a baaad feeling about this” for no reason at all! Not just in fantasy flicks, but in sub-par scripts of every imaginable genre.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH, a film that literally invaded my dreams as a kid. David Niven’s doomed English pilot falls in love with American switchboard operator Kim Hunter… over the plane’s radio while hurtling toward the earth! “I love you…” he says, “…because you’re life, and I’m leaving you.”
Close Runner-up: Every other film they made.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
Stephen Boyd applauding psychotically when someone else’s name is called… oh waitaminnit, that was the MOVIE named “THE OSCAR.”

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Hugo, for his blindman in PROOF, his sheepdog in BABE & his Nixon in the first MATRIX.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Aldrich’s THE LONGEST YARD was the first time I sat through a football game without falling asleep. Up until that day my father was really worried about his first-born son.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
SHOCK CORRIDOR and THE NAKED KISS. Fuller’s one of my favorites, but I’ve never understood how anyone can defend the moronic WHITE DOG… anyone really believe the NAACP had enough clout to keep a movie out of theaters? More likely the studio saw what a piece of sh** it was and found a convenient way to cut & run.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Elizabeth Pena

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
MASTER KILLER (AKA The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) features Gordon Liu in the most good-natured Martial Arts film ever made. I videotaped it 25 (!) years ago off WHT, an early variant of cable. I had to use an external mike to do so, so my weathered copy has a built in laugh track featuring my family & friends who were in the room at the time. But the film’s just as much fun without it.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Any film featuring a cast member from FRIENDS… just thinking about that hateful show I hear my ancestors moaning in agony.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
POINT BLANK… though TAILOR OF PANAMA & THE GENERAL show me he’s still got it.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Oates, though as a kid I would’ve answered Bruce. I miss them both… no reason for Dern to be relegated to cameos these days.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
2.35 :1 Widescreen, preferably helmed by someone like John Carpenter who knows what to do with the space.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
How’s that any different than the film of yesterday? I’d argue it’s even harder to tell today’s filmmakers apart.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
MY BEST FIEND… one last electric glance at the mighty KINSKI.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
MY BEST FIEND… er, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (preferably on a double bill with WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS).

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Elizabeth Pena

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
The standard American archetypes that every Black actor must play at least once, I've featured the savage six here…
http://lancetooksjournal.blogspot.com/
… and no, they’ll never go away.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Never again.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
IN A LONELY PLACE, Bogart’s gift that keeps on giving.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
I’ve been waiting for twenty (!) years now for Wendell Harris to direct another film. His CHAMELEON STREET was rough, funny, courageous & original.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
A pair of films that take shots at the same villain from different angles: PUTNEY SWOPE and HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bauchau, for his Michael Tolkin films THE RAPTURE and THE NEW AGE.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Those HUCKABEES clips that have been making the rounds.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL’s supposed lack of a budget for horses led to the absurd solution of skipping along while tapping on cocoanuts. Surreal & funny.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
WINGS OF DESIRE, for the art direction… though he’s a pretty good candidate for that aforementioned prize for the ‘overrated.’

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
“Meet COFFY… she’ll CREAM you!”

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
As a reader, I prefer long form critique, career overviews or genre examinations over capsule reviews. A writer who can share his enthusiasm for a filmmaker can sometimes change my mind.
This blog’s where film criticism’s headed… I have a deep respect for everyone’s POV regardless of whether it mirrors my own.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
To me they do, just not as much in a theater setting. As I’ve gotten older it’s become tougher to have the kind of one-on-one relationship with films that I used to enjoy in moviehouses. I’m a widescreen lover but I’ve learned to be patient with home viewing… someday I’ll be able to afford one of those monster flatscreen sets!

John Shipley said...

1) "Boogie Nights"

2) "Sullivan's Travels" and "Bringing Up Baby." First ballot.

3) Because it's fresh in my mind, the "Third Man" reference in "The Departed."

4) I've only seen "Black Narcissus," so ...

5) N/A

6) Guy Pearce, because he followed "LA Confidential" with "Ravenous."

7) "Sexual Perversions"

8) "The Big Red One"

9) Uh, what's your favorite Beatles album?

10) "Suspiria." It blows out the tubes, as Jerry Garcia used to say.

11) "Se7en"

12) "Deliverance"

13) This is like choosing between Monica Bellucci and Maria Grazia Cucinotta.

14) Widescreen

15) Ever seen "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia"? Did Francois?

16) If push comes to shove, "Aguirre ..."

17) "Tremors"

18) Sandra Bernhard

19) Tom Cruise

20) YES!

21) "In a Lonely Place"

22) Michael Ritchie's "Smile"

23) "Shocker" ... Just kidding, "Network"

24) Bruno Ganz

25) Does "O Lucky Man!" count?

26) The stormtrooper hitting his head on the door in "Star Wars."

27) "Paris, Texas"

28) Elizabeth Pena

29) "The Last House on the Left." I'll never watch it again, but you can't beat the tagline, "Just keep repeating, 'It's only a movie, it's only a movie ...'"

30) Curiosity, passion, knowledge, skill.

EXTRA CREDIT: Of course!

TMorgan said...

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
All important filmmakers of the late 20th century, take a step forward. Uh, not so fast there, Jean-Luc Godard.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Weaving. Pearce has his moments, but Weaving is always great, regardless of the project. He's even great when you can't even see his face, as in "V for Vendetta." Of course, his participation in the “Transformers” movie may change all that…

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
"The Killing Fields"

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Both lovely, but I'd give the edge to Bellucci due to demonstrated range of talent.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
"The Big Lebowski"

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Anything starring the Wayans Bros en famille.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
"Deliverance"

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Warren Oates

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I think films have often resembled the person/people who made them. Now, as movies get cheaper to make via digital, personal works are easier to make, but numerous filmmakers of the past, from Cassavetes to Sayles, have made very personal works.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
"Fitzcarraldo"

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
"Jaws"

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sarah Silverman, because I've always found Bernhard simply annoying.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Most despised--the killer/monster isn't really dead bit at the end of almost every horror film. Feh.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Compared to the dreadful "Last Crusade," hell yes. Not a great flick, but it has its moments.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Oh, my. So many to choose from, but you asked for one. "Session 9" I've rarely seen a horror film so redolent with unease and regret, largely due to that mental hospital setting. On the DVD, director Brad Anderson admits the place scared them while they shot the film. Also, the rare horror film where the majority of the fear takes place in broad daylight. This gem got missed, and deserves a look.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
"Videodrome" Cronenberg's best and most literally visionary movie. A film about how what we watch changes us, why it changes us, and what it might change us into, positive and negative. Long live the new flesh.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bauchau. Consistently elegant yet freaky.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
"This is Spinal Tap" Okay, I know it isn't a real documentary, but its inner truth is undeniable. As a "real" doc I'd pick the "7 Up" series, which is fascinating and massive in its ambition.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
I've always heard thar Rutger Hauer's speech at the end of "Blade Runner" was a last-minute contribution from him, and it stands out as one of the most poetic and moving things in the film.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
"The American Friend"

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope Cruz

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
Well, not a good movie, but a great tagline, from the eminently forgettable killer sandcrab movie "Blood Beach" --"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you can't get there!"

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
As a working critic, I know that criticism is nothing more than opinion. It may be informed opinion, or it may be entertainingly conveyed, and these two qualities are what I look for. Although putdown artists can sometimes but amusing to read, I don't approve of them. Film criticism, as with most criticism, is headed toward further democratization via the Internet, which is mainly a good thing, though it does make it more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Silly rabbit. Of course they do, as much as any art form ever does.

Seth Gordon said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Strangely, I didn't much care for A Clockwork Orange on first viewing. That changed.


2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Hal Hartley. And it does boggle the mind that Joel Schumacher still gets work.


3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
For a little moment: "What are you talking about, Willis?" - from Northfork.
For a film as a whole - Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven (they deserve equal credit) for Scream.


4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
Stairway To Heaven (a/k/a A Matter of Life and Death)


5) Your favorite Oscar moment
When I was walkin' out of it. Dude, that movie totally sucked.


6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Five years ago I'd have said differently, but Weaving keeps getting cooler and Pearce keeps getting lamer. No, really. He seems to think ham-n-egging in indie flicks gives him some kinda "street cred" but the fact is the ones he chooses are mostly second-rate. He's a good actor and all... but he's on his way to direct-to-video-land if he keeps this up.


7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Inside Seka


8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
I've always had a soft spot for Pickup On South Street.


9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
"the most beautiful sound I ever heard..."


10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
The Forbidden Zone


11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Pretty much anything with Kirstie Alley.


12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Umm.... Deliverance.


13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Let's see... on one side, you've got The Wild Bunch, In The Heat Of The Night, Badlands, Cockfighter, Two-Lane Blacktop, Alfredo Garcia, and, what the hell, Stripes. On the other side you've got Coming Home and... um... Tattoo? As if there's a choice. Seriously lopsided question there, man.


14) Your favorite aspect ratio
Whatever the director wants to use.


15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I take it you've seen Eraserhead?


16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Mmmm.... I'll go with Fitzcarraldo


17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Bowling For Columbine


18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Silverman's kinda cute and all, but there's nothing particularly sensual about her. And you know Bernhard's got to be awesome in the sack.


19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Most despised would be the entire movie Crash (Haggis' Crash, that is, not Cronenberg's). Really, any movie where the main characters "learn a little bit about each other... and a little bit about themselves." Also not a big fan of the good guy never doing anything bad, so the bad guy has to die through some accidental means after the good guy decides "I won't kill him, because then I'd be on his level!"


20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Was "no" until The Last Crusade came out, which was so lame it made Temple Of Doom a "yes" in comparison.


21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Johnny Guitar


22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
The Exorcist III - seriously, now. Everyone balks but then when I show it to them they're, like, "holy crap, this movie is great!" Honorable mention to Larry Cohen.


23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Network


24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Ganz.


25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film.
Salesman


26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
I actually disagree with him, but if I have to pick I've got to go with GCS's trip in Dr. Strangelove, because I can't think of any other "known" accidents off the top of my head.


27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Egad, that's tough. The best Wim Wenders movies are undoubtedly Wings Of Desire and Paris, Texas. But my favorite is probably Alice In The Cities. Thank god I still have my old videotape of it, since apparantley it (and Kings Of The Road as well) will never be released on DVD.


28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Salma Hayek.


29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
"Part Man. Part Machine. All Cop."


30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I want to get a general idea of whether or not I would like the film, regardless whether or not the critic did, without getting overly analytical. I want a little more emotion and personality from critics. It's getting more and more rare. Film criticism seems to be degenerating in generic blurbs.


EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Still? Movies - hell, Art - doesn't matter. That's (part of) what makes it great.

Paul C. said...

I hope the eminent Professor will forgive me if I change my answer to #29. I'm sure he'll approve of the change once I say what it is...

"If you're thinking... of seeing... this movie... alone................ DON'T."

You never said it had to be a real movie.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Paul: Hehhehheh... I spent all week not reading reviews for fear of a good cat being let out of the bag. Then I decided to read Stephanie Zacharek's rave in Salon, and it was, as I found out today, the one review of many I've now read that gave up that punch line! Aaargh! But there were plenty of others that remained unspoiled, that's for sure. Tarantino clearly knows his grindhouse better than Rodriguez, but even so, 15 minutes in I couldn't wait to pre-order my DVD!

Dan Aloi said...

I'm a little late on this ... forgive me, I was in Rome for more than a week! (did you know the Trevi Fountain scene in 'La Dolce Vita' was shot on a studio set? I was shocked when I read that!)

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
"Spaceballs." I fell asleep the first time I saw it in a theatre, which certainly didn't help; and the jokes seemed to fall flat. A couple viewings later I really enjoyed it. This is well before I formed a strong negative opinion of the source material ...

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Synchronistically enough... "Star Wars." Bombastic pop-religious-military mythology, dumb comic relief, plastic models, a sexless love triangle (whiny kid, cocky mercenary, bitchy princess) and an asthmatic villian do not an epic make. The threequel that came later was a massive waste of money, effort and talent and exemplified how hype cannot overcome dross.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

The combined-profile nod to Bergman's "Persona" in "Mulholland Dr."
And just for you, Dennis: Dick Miller's line "I coulda been a contendah!" in "Hollywood Blvd." has stayed with me all these years, seeing it only once on Cinemax at 2 a.m. ... and it made me a Miller fan!

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
I'd say "The Red Shoes" but I haven't seen all of it yet... so "Black Narcissus."

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
An opening montage moment: Billy Crystal running from 'The English Patient' plane, a la 'North by Northwest.' Hilarious bit of movie love there. (2000?)
Most uncomfortable moment for performer and audience, non-David-Letterman category: Elliott Smith singing "Miss Misery" (1997?). I was kind of bummed that this was the mainstream's only glimpse of him when he died -- Elliott nervously hunched over the mic, sweating in that ill-fitting white suit, was the only photo the Associated Press had, and sent to newspapers and TV.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
I love Guy, he's versatile, but... Hugo, for 'Proof' alone. I'd put his work in 'Priscilla' up there too. I'm worried he is now typecast by the 'Matrix' and 'Rings' juggernauts -- he needs to get back to small-scale stories. And he can play comedy...

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
"Salvador."
runner-up: "Apocalypse Now."

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
"The Big Red One."

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Can't I have both?

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
"The Wrong Trousers."

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
"You Light Up My Life." Kinda ironic, huh?

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
"Excalibur." A stunning visual feast, but not a serious epic -- I can't get past the pop-d'Arthur.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
GTO, Sgt. Hulka, and the bearer of Alfredo's head, all the way. I love the sense of insanity that Dern brings to his roles, but Oates really seems more of an everyman, which makes his best characters even scarier.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
Widescreen, of course...

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Maybe not yet, but the auteur theory has been around for a while.
As evidence:
1. Woody Allen's young onscreen lovers and New York-centric, heck, Woody-centric themes.
2. Spielberg is such a @&$#ing child. Cases in point: "Close Encounters" through "Minority Report." There are even some childlike visual moments (beautiful ones, actually) in "Schindler's List" but even that movie downplays -- nay, erases -- much of the Holocaust's true horror.
Also, the unintended 'Song of the South' references in 'The Color Purple' reminds me (as a sneak peek into the director's psyche) of the film that psychiatric-drug-addled Jill Clayburgh made in "I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can." And someone calls her on it, that it was obviously made by a pill-popper. I'm not sure if anyone else can understand the comparative point I'm trying to make, but there it is.
3. David Lynch's personality is all up there on screen; at least in the way he depicts gee-whiz innocence, but of course we love him for terrorizing the scaringly normal with even scarier monsters from the Id. Which we all have...

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
"Fitzcarraldo." The fact that the making of the film was as insane and difficult as the monumental folly it dramatized makes it even better. I'd love to see the Mick Jagger footage.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Dude! "Night of the Lepus"! There's something so RIGHT about the movie mill running out of truly creepy B-movie monsters, and someone getting the bright idea to have a small town beset by ... giant bunnies!!!
My absolute favorite non-cheesy movie in this genre centers on a giant beast who's mineral, not animal: The Iron Giant.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
If either actress gave off a slightly less despicable 'hate-me-I-dare-you' vibe (yes, I realize that's their schtick) I'd probably choose that one. But neither has done enough movie work for me to judge. It's crabapples and blood oranges: Sarah's comedy is great and she's quite physically attractive; and Sandra was perfectly cast in 'The King of Comedy.' Still, a tossup without more to go on.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Despised: Just about anything (usually the lazy use of genre conventions that have been cliche'd to death) that gives away what's going to ultimately happen. It takes me right out of the story.
Favorite: Hard-pressed to find one I feel so much love for, but I do like the cheesy but effective use of cartoon sound effects in John Hughes' live-action films.
Or this one's both, actually: Fruit Cart! (see Roger Ebert, who thinks he may be the first to codify it)

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
No. When the only memorable thing about a big-budget movie is people dipping spoons in monkey brains... Like Spielberg, most of what Lucas has done does next to nothing for me. Wet dreams for fantasy geeks are just that, and I need a little more from a movie. (This from someone who loves chick flicks...)

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
I'd love to say "Johnny Guitar," the lesbian subtext that steams off the screen in the fiery rivalry between Mercedes McCambridge and Joan Crawford is a total hoot, and Sterling Hayden is all swagger, in a way we just don't see in movies anymore. But ...there's no choice for me but "In a Lonely Place" -- for its claustrophobic sunny-L.A. noir, and Bogart's naturalistic playing of a doomed, tortured soul whose last chance at happiness is destroyed by his own anger and bitterness. It's not his most iconic role in the mass consciousness, but it should be his most appreciated. Speaking of tortured souls... some recommended reading: "Nicholas Ray: An American Journey" by Bernard Eisenschitz.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
underrated indie film: John Sayles' "Return of the Secaucus Seven." Damn "The Big Chill" all to hell.

underrated studio film: John Patrick Shanley's "Joe vs. the Volcano." If you understand that much of Shanley's stage and screen work is about bravery, "Joe" is a rich, rewarding fable. Plus the opening death-march-to-work sequence is a touchstone for anyone who's ever hated their job (that is, everyone!).


23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
I'll have to go with "Broadcast News." Hunter, Brooks and Hurt make the material sing.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
No feelings one way or the other.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
For the past couple of years it's been "The Corporation" -- a real eye-opener. And "Dig!" has to be my favorite music documentary that's not a concert film ("Rust Never Sleeps" gets that honor...)

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

I was going to risk an incomplete, but now one comes to mind -- Kate Hudson twirling and dancing in a private moment of post-concert bliss in the middle of a littered arena floor in "Almost Famous." It only adds to the magic of that movie. Of course, I had no way of knowing that it was an accident because it's so natural... If I recall Cameron Crowe's commentary right (I loaned the deluxe "Untitled" DVD to my son), the scene was unscripted; and as such is a truly priveleged moment.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Until the End of the World ... the story structure, the concept and the non-stars in the international cast really impress me. A friend told me Wenders is a huge Kinks fan, and tries to work a Kinks song or reference into all his films. Elvis Costello singing "Days" in this movie is just dreamy.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
This is SO not fair (see Monica/Maria conundrum above). But I ((corazon)) Elizabeth Pena, she's my favorite Latina onscreen by far. I've obsessed over her in Lone Star, The Waterdance, La Bamba, Jacob's Ladder, and Across the Moon, and in an NBC TV series with Jamey Sheridan ... I remember actors and network but not the name of the series!

29) Your favorite movie tag line.
"A Love Story in the City of Dreams." -- Mulholland Dr.
runner-up: "In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream." - Alien

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
Of the critics I read, Marshall Fine used to infuriate me by giving away crucial plot points as if he'd never heard the term 'spoiler.' He's toned that down now, along with his highbrow expectations of ALL films -- you can't hold 'Monkey Trouble' to the same standard as, say, 'The Elephant Man.'
I think criticism has been watered-down to 99 and 44/100 percent blandness by having to cover event films, bad-from-the-outset recyclings and horror and love stories devoid of any originality; an awards-obsessed industry in general, and mass entertainment culture where star hookups overshadow the actual work. The people long considered 'critics' in the top echelon of this mass culture often sicken me. I'm thinking Michael Medved and his conservative moralist agenda, Rex Reed, the snarky proto-Simon Cowell; Joel Siegel, the look-alike muppet without credential (another strange TV trend -- "hey, we need a bald black weatherman, stat"!) and of course his maxi-me, Gene Shalit, who occasionally slings a worthwhile thought from the confines of TV's narrow little box. Ebert may be the last celebrity critic to actually carry some critical weight in his writing, no pun intended. There's very little palatable middle ground in criticism, it's either really bad or too academic.
That said, the New York Times critics are solid; and the blogosphere -- where the collective insight of many passionate, intelligent individuals has free reign -- is a hopeful sign.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Well... I'm of two minds about that. See above notes on criticism.
Short answer: "Now ... more than ever." -- from "The Player."
Proof: Innaratu, Lynch's return, and the ongoing work of Almodovar, PT Anderson and Thomas O. Russell.
Long answer: I think there will always be room for great art, and that it can be commercially viable. The successes are sweeter and say something about artistic determination and luck, given the process and nature of making movies -- 1,001 things can go awry before a picture even starts filming.
But these are dark days as long as the moneychangers control the temple, my friends. I'm sick to death of the overriding trend of drivel that chickensh-t-studio-executives foist on us, and otherwise talented people play along with: dumber and dumber movies made just for money, and that copy entertainments (Beverly Hillbillies, Dukes of Hazzard, The Fog, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, et al.) that were bad enough in their first iteration. That's just uninspired exploitation... and cynical, soul-crushing manipulation with no redeeming value at all.

Whew! I was inspired to excess. I can't believe I got through this thing without referencing "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls"!! Thanks, Dennis and Prof. Corey.

Brian said...

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

I'm constantly in the process of re-evaluating my feelings about films, so I'm tempted to say "all of them, and I still haven't decided yet". But an example of a film I didn't much like when I first saw it, but now consider a masterpiece and a major touchstone for me: THE SEARCHERS by John Ford. And one that on first viewing I found utterly enchanting and one of the best films the year it came out, but after a second had to demote to "interesting curio" status: TUVALU by Veit Heimer.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

No offense to the good professor, but how about the word "Overrated"? It's a club I refuse to wield. It screams that not only does the emperor have fewer clothes than generally accepted, but also that anybody who doesn't see so is some kind of inferior being.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

I can't do a favorite of all time, so I'll do a favorite in recent memory (a film I've seen in the past week or so): the brilliantly painted backdrop behind the singer in a scene of TROPICAL MALADY, which references the art direction of TEARS OF A BLACK TIGER.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Finally a softball. I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING!

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

The first time I ever set out to watch the Oscars on my own volition was after the 1988 movie year, and what did I see but the Rob Lowe/Snow White jawdropper of an opening production. I suppose this has something to do with my inability to take the whole phenomenon too seriously, even though I enjoy and am fascinated by it.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Neither one can put my butt in a seat without a lot of outside help. But, though it might disappoint an ex-girlfriend of mine who I accompanied to more than one film starring her "movie crush" Pearce, if she were to learn it, I'm more impressed with Weaving's career choices and screen presence than Pearce's.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

Tell me it's not my imagination; these questions are harder than the previous profs', aren't they? I could give a thousand answers here, or more. Singling out one film feels all but impossible, especially since it's not exactly easy to verify the accuracy of perceptions. I'm really interested in the concept of cinema-as-tourism. Nevertheless, I'm going to give a sarcastic non-answer: REAL GENIUS, which taught me everything I'd need to know about college several years before I'd actually attend one.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

FORTY GUNS, with plenty of un-checked titles on my to-see list.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Bellucci; admittedly I've seen too little of Cucinotta (her acting, that is) to make a truly informed decision.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Any really good one. I sense this question is fishing for a time-tested favorite that gets popped into the DVD player every few months or so. I must confess I've in the past several years become less of a re-watcher than most people I know. With so much to catch up on, and so many projects to undertake, I rarely allow myself the luxury of watching an old favorite just 'cuz I know it will brighten my mood. I ought to remedy this. And my first instinct for how to do it: put on FANTASIA.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Uh, my television is no longer connected to anything other than my DVD, VHS and LaserDisc players. But I suspect something like DIRTY DANCING would do the trick.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

HELL IN THE PACIFIC

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

At this stage in my investigation into their filmographies, Oates has the lead.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

I keep hoping for the day when all my favorite films are available in Circle-Vision 360.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

Two questions in one, huh? I think Truffaut was right, especially if I interpret "tomorrow" to mean, "the films remembered tomorrow". I'd argue that all films outlive their moment in time in proportion to the degree to which they resemble their makers. And in that sense, it's always tomorrow. Or it never is.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

So many great ones to choose from, but I suspect AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD will always remain at the top of my personal heap.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

David Cronenberg's THE FLY

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Abstain.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

I don't know about favorite or despised, but it's fun to spot their exceptions. I recently saw a film with a pretty startling one: in Hong Sang-soo's WOMAN ON THE BEACH a major character coughs for no particular reason, without it portending that she's going to die of a terrible illness later in the film. I suppose I still have yet to see a film in which a woman of child-bearing age throws up without it meaning that she's pregnant.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Went to see this film with friends as part of my 11th birthday party. I absolutely loved the "Anything Goes" opening sequence but was not so into the film once they got to India. I was too squeamish at that age to handle much of the Kali-Ma stuff toward the end. But it was some kind of a touchstone growing up (I think I rewatched parts of it on television when I was a little older) and one day, yes, I may just revisit it again.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

IN A LONELY PLACE edges out BIGGER THAN LIFE.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Somehow I don't mind this word so much, especially since it so often works as a synonym for "underseen". But since that usage might run against the spirit of the question, my answer runs along another path. How about: serious consideration of the career of M. Night Shymalan as something other than a decline.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

I've used this answer before, and have Cronenberg elsewhere on my answer sheet, but I just can't think beyond VIDEODROME for this question.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

I like Bauchau in LA COLLECTIONEUSSE, but other than that I haven't seen they key works which might make me even slightly consider that he'd upset Ganz, who is great in so many films.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

Today I'm thinking Kon Ichikawa's TOKYO OLYMPIAD.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

This is another question so large that a complete answer would deserve its own blog post, if not its own book. I've worked on this quiz long enough by now that I'm not going to get tricked into writing an essay or something even longer. I'll just say that I enjoy films like SHADOWS and THE COOL WORLD in which most of the scenes have this kind of feel, even when things are actually being highly scripted or otherwise controlled.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

KINGS OF THE ROAD or WINGS OF DESIRE, depending on my mood.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

In English, Peña no contest. In Spanish, Lola Dueñas.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

I usually hate tag lines (Pixar's are generally the worst of all, but if bad tag lines help sell quality family films to large audiences, I guess I don't mind them; it's certainly better than a great tag line and an awful movie). So I had to do a little research to find one that stuck out for me from among the mostly-bland pack: "How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?"

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

Another two-parter, eh? Well, my answers will be brief anyway. A) Saying something new is ten times better than saying it cleverly. B) The internet, obviously.

Brian said...

Oh, I forgot my extra credit. I promise I wasn't looking at patrick's paper when i came up with it, but I have the same answer: Now More Than Ever.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Brian, I promise I wasn't just waiting for your answers, but I so enjoyed them that you've provided the buttocks-kicking to get started on my own responses. I fully intended to get to them sooner than this, but then again, I have Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Two Bachelors stil sitting alongside Viridiana and a Bunuel doc, all from Netflix, still all patiently waiting. I love your answers #7, #12, and #25!

Thom McGregor said...

Hiya.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

I'll no doubt anger most of the true film fans who comment on your blog when I write: "Casablanca" and "Chinatown." I tried to make myself like them, 'cause they're good for me and I would be smart and classy to like them. And I watched them both three times, but I just don't like either of those classics! I found them boring! So shoot me!

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

"Chinatown" and "Casablanca," I would have to say at this point.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

I can't recall any I enjoyed. Most references like this throw me out of a movie.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

Um, consulting IMDb. Well, sorry again to true cinephiles, but I've never seen one M.P./E.P. movie in my life. Chastised.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

Rob Lowe and Snow White singing. Made me admit once and for all to myself that the Oscars meant nothing to me and that I didn't HAVE to watch the show. I'd convinced myself at age 11 that the show was mandatory viewing, for some reason.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

I like both Aussies. They're good actors and nonglamourous.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

"Dune." Culture: Outer space spice mining. World: Absurdist Lynchian soundscape. I love to listen to this movie. Plus it's full of hilarious dialogue and giddy imagery.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

Um, IMDb again. Well, haven't seen much of his work either. I really didn't like "Hell and High Water." So I'll say "The American Friend," even though when I saw it I didn't even know who he was. (Yes, M.A.B., I know he just acted in it.)

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
I don't know. I really don't. But I have a comparison suggestion for the next quiz: Josh Brolin or Hart Bochner?

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Moulin Rouge and Singing in the Rain. Music lifts my spirits as nothing else can. And yes, I'm getting more sentimental the older I get.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Anything from Henry Jaglom. Or an anonymous, grainy-looking Western on a hot Sunday afternoon.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

I like both "Deliverance" and "Hope and Glory," but can hardly believe they were directed by the same man. Were they?

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

What a grizzled question. I find both a bit harsh, but I guess that's the point. Warren Oates makes me laugh sometimes, but Bruce Dern is too creepy.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

Oh, my God.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I think it was true if you take his "tomorrow" as meaning right after he died. There were a lot of movies with a very personal imprint on them in the mid-to-late '80s, though not popular films. Films seem more impersonal to me now, though "Grindhouse" (which I can't see due to my low tolerance for violence) certainly sounds like it resembles its creators. Did I even understand this question?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

I suppose "Nosferatu", which felt gorgeously melancholy to me, and "White Diamond." But "Wild Blue Yonder" had its wonderful moments as well, though some of the astronaut scenes made me snooze.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

"Mitchell"!

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Neither, please. They try too hard, for my tastes.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

Favorite: love conquers all
Despised: pop song montage

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

No, no, no. Shrieky. Causes headache.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

Ugh. You're evil. I've only seen "King of Kings" (as a child) and "Rebel Without A Cause." I don't really like either of those.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

Hard to say. How about Jeremy Northam?

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

"Being There"

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Of these two Wenders vets, I'll say Ganz, only because Bauchau was in "The Pretender" TV show.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

"The Last Waltz" and "Stop Making Sense"

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker calling Princess Leia "Carrie!" near the end of "Star Wars" is pretty infamous. How did it distract? It didn't at all. But it kind of showed the lazy side of Lucas.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

"Wings of Desire." Moving and beautiful. Also like the more disturbing "The American Friend" and "The State of Things" and "Paris, Texas."

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Pena. More real to me.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

Oh, my God.

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I know what I don't want-- a rundown of every plot point in the movie or a projection of how much money it will make. I would like a clear, concise idea of what the reviewer thought of the film and why, and as few typos as possible.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

They matter a lot to you, and that's all that I need.

Peet said...

I skipped a few, Dennis. Hope you won’t mind... I really suck at choosing favorites.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

THE SHINING. True innovation always takes some getting used to: Kubrick’s film so drastically deconstructed the genre in which it operated that it falls flat when judged by the usual conventions (which Stephen King chose to respect). In many ways, Kubrick’s cold adaptation represents the antithesis of King's warm psychological fiction. Taken on their own terms, though, the film and the book are equally frightening in a diametrically opposed fashion.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated.

In The Netherlands: Actress Monique van de Ven, except for her debut. In Hollywood: Anthony Minghella--YAWN!

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie.

BLACK NARCISSUS (although I really need to see I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING, now that I’ve seen some breathtaking stills from it).

5) Your favorite Oscar moment.

I have a short memory when it comes to the Oscars, but I loved how Ben Stiller introduced Best Visual Effects last year, fully dressed in chromakey blue.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Hugo Weaving. He acted straight through a mask in V FOR VENDETTA.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Belucci. Just the sound of her name makes me want to have sex.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Watching any Road Runner cartoon together with my boys fills my heart with joy.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

IRREVERSIBLE, for sure. (The only Monica Bellucci film that doesn’t turn me on.) I also truly despise Louis de Funès.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

POINT BLANK for the cinematography and editing. DELIVERANCE for devastating impact.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Ehm... Bruce Dern?

14) Your favorite aspect ratio.

I’m a sucker for really wide (2:35:1), although I love the boxy framing of Kubrick.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

I like Jim Emerson’s answer.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts.

Roseanne Barr in She-Devil?

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sarah Silverman.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché.

Whenever a naked actress gets out of bed and wraps the sheets around her. Who the hell came up with that?!?

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

Are you kidding? That’s the film that made me realize just how much I loved the movies. The best of the trilogy--no question!

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated.

So many, but I’ll choose INTO THE NIGHT by John Landis for now.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television.

BROADCAST NEWS by James L. Brooks. Seeing Albert Brooks sweat in front of the camera cracks me up.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film.

TRAVELLING BIRDS, or anything with David Attenborough going: “This animal faces an ultimate dillema...”

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

I fell in love with Elizabeth Pena as soon as I saw her in JACOB’S LADDER.

29) Your favorite movie tag line

“Movie? What movie?” -- TOP SECRET!

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

I want a critic to sharpen my mind. Film criticism will be headed wherever the medium is, which probably means it has to become more flexible... Nevermind. I’d like film criticism to become a little more visual.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter? To whom?

Yep. They do to me.

Campaspe said...

Dennis - I answered this poll, and had a great time doing it, and then ...

I forgot to post it.

I hope you don't mind - if you do, just delete it - but I am going to post my original answers, done before I saw yours. Because I worked hard, darn it. :)

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it? Brazil, which, after reading Dennis's re-appraisal a while back, I may have to see yet again.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated Oh dear. Considering the name of the gentleman's blog, I will not repeat myself. Another highly overrated movie: Se7en.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film. Kirk Douglas screening "The Bad and the Beautiful" in Two Weeks in Another Town. Close second is Jean-Paul Belmondo, in Contempt, explaining why he is wearing his hat in the bathtub: he's being "Deeeen Marrrtahn, een Some Came Runeeeng."

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie. God, I love them all. But I will go with my first impulse, I Know Where I'm Going!. No, Thief of Baghdad. No, The Red Shoes. No, Black Narcissus ... I can't do this.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment. Any time Elizabeth Taylor gets up to present.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce? Guy.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs. The movie's window on that world was so clear and sharp that even rather opaque aspects of Japanese social interaction were plain as day.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie. Pickup on South Street. Ah, Thelma!

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta? I don't think I am qualified for this question, as a moviegoer or as a Virgin Mary-watcher.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Ninotchka.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing? I don't even have to glimpse it. Just knowing that there are copies of Jackass out there circulating in the world is enough to make me retire to a quiet room, draw the shades and lie down with a cold cloth on my forehead.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie. Hope and Glory

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern? Warren Oates.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio. 1:37:1

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet? I admire Truffaut's movies a lot, but here I have no idea what in the blue blazes he was talking about. Don't all films resemble their creators? does he mean literally, the way old couples look like each other or people start to resemble their pets?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie. Aguirre: The Wrath of God

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts. The original Cat People.

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman? Sarah Bernhardt. Less smug than either one of them and far more interesting.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché. Favorite: Everyone always finds a parking space right away. Most despised: "Try to get some sleep now."

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no? Yes to the opening, no to the rest.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie. Johnny Guitar

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated. Two Weeks in Another Town.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television. I know I should say Network, or A Face in the Crowd, but it's really The Front.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau? Bruno.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film. Nuit et Brouillard probably had the most shattering effect on me.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie? I am not sure Welles meant that we should be able to see what is intentional and what is an accident, just that a director should be ready to capture anything good that happens on a set. Generally I think the better a film is, the less we can tell whether a moment came about because somebody went up on their lines, or an animal walked into the shot, or because they did 82 takes. I do rather like the moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark where a snake falls on Karen Allen. Spielberg had dropped it on her from a platform to get a good scream out of her (she had been too terrified to do more than squeak). You can see her shoot a look of implacable hatred up at her unseen director. I imagine directors get that look a lot from leading ladies.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie. Paris, Texas


28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz? Penelope!

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!) Don't tell anyone what Mildred Pierce did!

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed? I want a critic who writes with passion and originality about what s/he likes. I want one who doesn't see every movie as an opportunity to polish a stand-up act. There was only one Dorothy Parker, and she wrote rave reviews as well as dismissals.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter? Yes. And old movies matter even more than that. :)

April 26, 2007 7:08 AM

thomas mohr said...

As I discovered this fabulous blog only yesterday, I'm a little late for the game, but what the heck. Here we go:

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
There must be more, but off the top of my head two come to mind: „Spider“. (Love it.) And „The Thin Red Line“. (Hate it. What a mess.)

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
I’ll stick to directors, and the list is endless: Godard, Bergman, Allen, Antonioni, Chaplin, Jarmusch, von Trier etc. etc. But I’ll probably go for Lynch, one of the worst bullshitters of them all.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Uh . . .

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
„The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp“, closely followed by „The Spy in Black“.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment
As I’m a total cry-baby, it’s definitely the „Bringing out the Dead“ (sorry) montage. Every friggin‘ year.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Both.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
Jesus F. Christ! Just recently: „Wisconsin Death Trip“.

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
„In a Lonely Place“

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Neither.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Most romantic comedies made prior to 1945 (especially if they were directed by Lubitsch, Sturges, Wilder or Leisen).

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Most romantic comedies made past 1985. Most German films. And just about anything by Wenders, Herzog or Lynch, for that matter. ;) (Honroable mention: „The Hours“, the most annoying piece of cinematic drek in recent years.)

12) Favorite John Boorman movie
„Deliverance“, closely followed by „Point Blank“.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Both.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio
The original one.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
Did he really say that, or is it just a poor translation? After all, like every work of art, films have always „resembled“ the people who made them and always will. So, ultimately, this strikes me as an utterly banal statement (from a director whose films haven’t stood the test of time that well, either).

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Dunno what it is with you Americans and Werner Herzog. Being German, I hate all of his stuff. Pretentious, overblown, boring and mostly inept.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
„Jaws“

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Sandra. Definitely.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Any scene featuring Michael Douglas’s ass. No, seriously, the older I get, the more painful (and em-bare-assing) it becomes to watch actors fake sexual intercourse, especially if it’s softly backlit, with a Kenny G.-style saxophone playing on the soundtrack. Yech.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
Damn, yes. Any ol‘ day.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
„Bigger than Life“

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Michael Curtiz, Anthony Mann,

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
„Videodrome“, closely followed by „Broadcast News“ and „The Front“.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bauchau. With his ridiculous portrayal of Hitler in the execrable „Downfall“, Ganz has had it as far as I’m concerned.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Almost anything by Errol Morris, Dziga Vertov’s „The Man with a Movie Camera“, Rolf Schübel’s „Nachruf auf eine Bestie“, Martin Bell’s „Streetwise“, Paul Hamann’s „14 Days in May“, Jaap van Hoewijk’s „Procedure 769 – Witness to an Execution“, Maxi Cohen’s „Anger“, Berlinger/Sinofsky’s „Brother’s Keeper“ and „Paradise Lost“, Scorsese’s „American Boy“ etc. etc.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The boy sticking his fingers in his ears BEFORE the gun goes off in the Mount Rushmore café in Hitchcock’s „North by Northwest“.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
Dunno what it is with you Americans and Wenders. Being German, I hate all of his stuff. Pretentious, overblown, boring and mostly inept. (Possible exceptions: „Hammett“ – Coppola’s putting the screws on him apparently did him some good – and „Chambre 666“.)

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Pena. Pena. And Pena. Cruz doesn’t hold a drippy candle to that woman.

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
Erm . . .

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I simply want to know if a film’s worth checking out or not and for what reasons, in clear, correct and simple language. I don’t want to know if a critic has read the latest Don DeLillo novel or what he or she has had for breakfast, and I certainly don’t want to read the name Foucault.


EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Does a bear shit in the woods?

Keep up the good work.

Thomas Mohr said...

Re question 8: Oops! On re-reading my answer "sheet", I just realized that I credited "In a Lonely Place" to Sam Fuller (now if that isn't embarassing, I don't know what is. You got me all mixed-up there aking for my fave Fuller and Ray pictures.) So I'll happily change that to "Forty Guns". With Ray, I'll stick to "Bigger than Life", with IALP a very close second.

Roger Green said...

This may sem morbid, but I was working on Irwin's obit for my blog (no, he's not dead) and came across your great piece. Thanks. I've met Irwin a few times at family functions (my late great-aunt was his wife's sister) and that scattered, know-it-all attitude is no act.

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