Sunday, December 23, 2007

MR. SHOOP'S SUMMER SURFIN' QUIZ HONOR ROLL


It seems like it’s been a long time since Mr. Shoop unveiled his Surfin’ Summer School Quiz. And in reality, yes, it has, considering that we’re now just a day or two away from Christmas. But since there’s a new quiz in the can and ready to be posted, I felt, as I always do pre-new quiz time, like returning to some of the best answers from the previous quiz, a Shoopian honor roll of sorts. The thing that I love about revisiting these answers, which I haven’t looked at since they were originally posted six months ago, is not only refamiliarizing myself with responses that made me laugh or think or made me scratch my heads primate-fashion or make a light bulb go off over my head. No, probably the biggest pleasure I get out of looking back over these quizzes, this being the fifth or sixth one, I think, is basking in the level of sharp observation and humor that every one of the respondents brought to the table. I count myself very lucky to be corresponding and interacting with people who can keep me on my toes and make me think the way the folks quoted in this verrrrrrrrrrrrrrylllllllllooooooonnnnnngggggg post do with such consistency. And as you burn through these great quotes you’ll see why. As a Word document, this bastard comes out at around 49 pages, and I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s retinas exploding, so I’d advise copying it back into Word and printing it out. I can’t think of a better volume of bathroom reading than this, and believe me, I consider that high praise indeed.

Okay, enough of my shenanigans. You got some spelunking to do. Here then, in anticipation of the latest SLIFR quiz, which is just hours away from post time, are my favorites out of the 80-some full responses to Mr. Shoop’s Surfin’ Summer Quiz. Enjoy!

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1) Favorite quote from a filmmaker

“Give the people what they want”—Billy Wilder explaining the abnormally large turnout for Harry Cohn’s funeral. (Flickhead)

Woody Allen: [On why he never watches his own movies] "I think I would hate them." (Pacheco)

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story." Orson Welles (Jonathan Lapper)

This is a paraphrase, since I don’t have the book with me, and I can’t find the full quote on-line: “I’ve always felt that ‘film is a collaborative process only constituted half of the actual phrase. As a screenwriter working in Hollywood, the full phrase should be, ‘Film is a collaborative process: bend over.’” – David Mamet (Bill)

Sergio Leone: "I can't see America any other way than with a European's eyes. It fascinates me and terrifies me at the same time." (Adam Ross)

"Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion."- David Cronenberg (Anonymous I)

"I am interested in the relationship between the lower part of the human body and the lower part of the social structure." — Shohei Imamura (Derek)

Orson Welles: “I think the enemy of films is reality. I think films are best when they manage poetry, by reducing the element of reality and introducing something which is the invention of the filmmaker” (Cerb Chaos)

During the making of Lifeboat a stage hand complained to Alfred Hitchcock that Tallulah Bankhead was coming to work without underpants. Because the actors were suspended on a platform several feet above the stage, crotches were about at eye level. Hitchcock stood musing for a moment. "Well, aren't you going to do anything about it?" he was asked. Hitchcock replied, "I'm trying to figure out whether it's a problem for makeup or hairdressing." (Robert Fiore)

"When I was a critic, I thought that a successful film had simultaneously to express an idea of the world and an idea of cinema . . . .Today, I demand that a film either express the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in-between; I am not interested in all those films that do not pulse." - François Truffaut (Sean)

This might be cheating, but I'll go with Fritz Lang's line in Contempt, "Oh, [Cinemascope] wasn't meant for human beings, just for funerals and snakes." I just like the contrast with the reclining Brigitte Bardot during the opening shot. (Brian I)

“Most directors make films with their eyes. I make films with my cojones.” – Jodorowsky (Paul C.)

"There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it." - Alfred Hitchcock. "In England, I'm a horror movie director. In Germany, I'm a filmmaker. In the US, I'm a bum." - John Carpenter (Bob Turnbull)

I'm paraphrasing, but I recall a quote from Truffaut that I think was, "It's a beautiful day. Let's go to the movies". (Peter Nellhaus)

Oliver Stone: “Lunch is for wimps.“ (Thomas Mohr)

Werner Herzog is endlessly quotable so I'll toss something rather benign but still hilarious: "I'm not out to win prizes - that's for dogs and horses." or, the classic, "It was an insignificant bullet." (Ryland Walker Knight)

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it by not dying!" -Woody Allen (Brian Darr)

“I want a film I watch to express either the joy of making cinema or the anguish of making cinema. I am not interested in all the films that don’t vibrate.” – Truffaut (Mr. Peel)

"Imagine the whole world wired to Harry Cohn's ass!" - Herman Mankiewicz (Flower)

"A paranoiac ... like a poet, is born, not made." Luis Buñuel (Stoogeking)

Here are two from Werner Herzog in Grizzly Man: “I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder.”
“And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world of the bears. And this blank stare speaks only of a half-bored interest in food.” (Dan W.)

"If someone vomits watching one of my films, it's like getting a standing ovation."-John Waters (Cameron)

“A good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes” – Howard Hawks (Gareth)

"It's only a movie.” Alfred Hitchcock to Farley Granger while making Strangers on a Train. Or, the story about Billy Wilder at Lubitch's funeral: a mourner sadly says "No more Lubitsch." To which Billy replied, "And even worse, no more Lubitsch movies." (Stennie)

“Everyone has their own version of the truth and this truth depends on their experience." - Dario Argento (Cinebeats)

I don't know if it's apocryphal or I dreamt it in during a particularly funky and budget-conscious bout of REM sleep but I love these words attributed (I think!) to Joe Dante: "There are people who loves movies and then there are people that loves the movies they love." I guess it's meant as a subtle back-hander to professed buffs whose minds are a bit more closed than they care to admit to certain genres/directors/pictures. (Giles Edwards)

"Make it true, make it seem true. And don't have something, even in a farce like Some Like it Hot that isn't true." -- Billy Wilder (Sheila)

"Nobody cry when Jaws die... when monkey die, everybody cry." - Dino DeLaurentiis Truer words have never been spoken. (Robert)

Ingmar Bergman: "When film is not a document, it is dream. That is why Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams. . . . All my life I have hammered on the doors of the rooms in which he moves so naturally. Only a few times have I managed to creep inside. . . . Fellini, Kurosawa and Bunuel move in the same fields as Tarkovsky. Antonioni was on his way, but expired, suffocated by his own tediousness. Melies was always there without having to think about it. He was a magician by profession." (Nobody)

“Seeing a murder on television can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.”—Alfred Hitchcock (Tim)

"There can be no bright future for those who are ready to explain everything about their own film." – Akira Kurosawa (from “Tarkovsky and Solaris”) (Bemis)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder: “Should you sit around waiting until something’s become a tradition, or shouldn’t you rather roll up your sleeves and get to work developing one?” (Walter)

"The enemy of art is the absence of limitations" by Orson Welles (Edward Copeland)

Hmm. How about two? “Mr. and Mrs. Smith get married, they have problems, they get back together and they live happily ever after. End of the movie. Two weeks later, he kills her, grinds her body up, feeds it to his girlfriend who dies of ptomaine poisoning, and her husband is prosecuted and sent to the electric chair for it–but here’s our own little story with the happy ending. What is an ending? There’s no such thing. Death is the only ending.” — Robert Altman “I don’t think you should feel about a film. You should feel about a woman, not a movie. You can’t kiss a movie.” — Jean-Luc Godard (Karina Longworth)

"It's always nice when the eccentrics show up." Alex Cox (Thom McGregor)

"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog (Chris)

"Just the usual monkey-funeral shot." --Billy Wilder
Second favorite Wilder quote, from a wire he sent from Paris upon being unable to secure his wife Audrey the bidet she wanted: "IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND BIDET STOP. SUGGEST YOU DO HANDSTANDS IN THE SHOWER STOP." Also-- "After all, crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor." -John Huston. And since I have you here, what the hell. Michael Curtiz, as retold by Peter Ustinov: "The Egyptian was one of the first films in CinemaScope and [Curtiz] was fascinated with the new process. 'In de nex' shot, you coom from house visper in dis ear otter actor secret.' I went up to Purdom and whispered something in his ear. Curtiz yelled, 'Cut!' This was puzzling because I had done exactly as he asked. 'No goot. Dis is Zinemascope, vide shkreen--ven you visper muss be four feet apart.'" (Campaspe)

"I have always perferred the reflection of the life to life itself" -- François Truffaut (Lucas McNelly)

2) A good movie from a bad director

This was harder than I expected. After a lot of thought, I’ll go with Altered States. I can’t stand Ken Russell, but I like that movie. Even so, what I like about it is what survived of Paddy Chayefsky’s script and ideas, and not so much what Russell brought to it. (Bill)

Jacob’s Ladder. Adrian Lyne. Lyne is a complete hack, except for this near-masterpiece. (Cerb Chaos)

Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl. But you didn't mean bad that way, did you? A Chorus of Disapproval, directed by Michael Winner. Or A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races, directed by Sam Wood. (Robert Fiore)

I've always loved Chato's Land, even though I rarely read anything good about Michael Winner (Alonso Moseley)


The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Don't get me wrong, I love Greenaway films, but outside of that one and maybe Prospero's Books, it seems like he's just feeling around for something which sometimes works and often does not. Very rarely does he seem to give a film which works in its entirety. But it's still exciting for me to watch. (Brian)

I’m guessing most people would disagree as to this movie’s goodness, but despite not being a Tony Scott fan, I love Domino. Normally his hyperkinetic style is distracting at best, but here it perfectly suits the ambitious, wacked-out screenplay. In addition to being an awesome ride, it’s also a clever satire about the currency of celebrity, in which trash TV is the go-to public venue for the poor and anyone can define himself through popular culture. (Paul C.)

Speed was quite a fine thrill ride. I don't think you could say that for anything else Jan De Bont has directed. (Bob Turnbull)

Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. (Matthew)

I feel somewhat guilty labeling the late Bob Clark a bad director, but he did have some infamous stinkers on his resume: Baby Geniuses 1 and 2, Rhinestone, Turk 182! and Porky’s 2. However, I think he made two not only good, but great films: A Christmas Story and the original Black Christmas (one I still say is one of the scariest movies ever made, even after the total crap remake ruined the original’s reputation). (Robert Daniel)

…is a gift to savor. (Ryland Walker Knight)

Parenthood by Ron Howard. (Brian Darr)

The Hidden directed by Jack Sholder. He’s not even a Bob Clark-level director that we can find interesting and he comes of as kind of a jerk on the audio commentary but, damn, I still enjoy watching this movie today. (Mr. Peel)

Plan 9 from Outer Space by Ed Wood (Stoogeking)

37°2 le matin (aka Betty Blue) - Jean-Jacques Beineix (Filmbrain)

I have so many problems with Joel Schumacher it's not even funny, but Cousins, his 1989 film with Ted Danson and Isabella Rossellini, is quiet, sweet, and utterly charming. How on EARTH did this happen? (Patrick)

I dislike Anthony Minghella's movies. The English Patient stank up the field, and I thought the entire world had gone crazy for praising that piece of junk. I find him obvious, condescending, and shallow. I don't know - he's obviously skilled, so I can't in all good conscience call him "bad" - let's just say I dislike his sensibility, and I thnk he's crap at telling stories. HOWEVER, Truly Madly Deeply is one of my favorite movies ever. (Sheila)

Keenan Ivory Wayans has given to the world such, ahem, glories as: White Chicks, Little Man, A Low Down Dirty Shame, and the Scary Movie movie. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, though it is unevenly paced and inexpertly photographed, is a very funny parody of blaxploitation. (Walter)

Parenthood by Ron Howard, which is the last time he really coloured outside of the lines structurally, and that wielded some great and surprising results. I hold out hope that whatever this project that Noah Baumbach is apparently scripting for him will contain some of the same vibes of spontaneity. (Aaron)

There are surely better answers, but the one that springs to mind is Tigerland.... though the shameful secret is I'm not sure I really hate Joel Schumacher as much as I let on... (Weeping Sam)

3) Favorite Laurence Olivier performance


49th Parallel (Jonathan Lapper)

Henry V, but Olivier is one of those Great Actor actors that I could never feel any emotional connection to. I felt more of a connection with Kenneth Branagh, who is obviously a lesser actor. (Robert Fiore)

I've seen so few of them unfortunately...Rebecca as a film was great, but I didn't find he necessarily stood out from anything else in the film. Whereas in Marathon Man as Dr. Szell, he absolutely made an impression. A deep, lingering, painful one.

It is an absolute joy for me to watch the mind games he and Michael Caine play with each other in Sleuth. (Robert Daniel)

Marathon Man. Truthfully, I’m not a huge Oliver fan – I respect his work, but it doesn’t do much for me. The famous “Dear boy, why don’t you try acting?” story is priceless, but I think that Dustin Hoffman is a much more interesting actor, and the clash of methods in Marathon Man creates a wonderful tension and elevates both performances. (Bemis)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. (Peter Nellhaus)

Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. He was perfect in that role and no matter who else tries to bring Heathcliff to life, their performance always falls short when compared to Oliver’s magnificent turn as Heathcliff. (Cinebeats)

The dog (and Nazi, I guess)-kicking bad-ass in The Boys From Brazil (Giles Edwards)

You know, I saw his King Lear - the one he did in the 80s on PBS, I think - it's remarkable. At least I remember it being remarkable. He sometimes can be a bit actor-y for my taste (and makes me WISH I had seen him live!!) - but his King Lear was truly tragic. (Sheila)

The Divorce of Lady X. I love his stuffed shirt performance and the puncturing it receives. (M. Peachbush)

As Julius the gentleman pickpocket in George Roy Hill’s A Little Romance (Walter)

Brideshead Revisited. Moving. Wuthering Heights. Brutal yet romantic. Boys from Brazil. Funny as hell. (Especially unintentional impersonation of Chewbacca near end of film) (Thom McGregor)

His reputation has really slid over the last couple of decades, hasn't it? 49th Parallel -- although I do love him in Sleuth. (Campaspe)

4) Describe a famous location from a movie that you have visited (Bodega Bay, California, where the action in The Birds took place, for example). Was it anything like the way it was in the film? Why or why not?


I used to live near the Amityville Horror house. I don’t know where that house in the movie was located, but it sure wasn’t in Amityville. (Flickhead)

I can't say I've been to too many famous filming locations. Umm...I've driven through the same road of the traffic jam at the beginning of Office Space.... There were a few locations in Death Proof that I was at (before the film was released, so that doesn't count, I guess). Let's see...I've been on one of the White House sets of JFK. In each case, I felt nothing. (Pacheco)

Well, let’s see. I’ve stayed at the Stratosphere in Vegas, where the climax of Domino takes place. It was different from the film in that I enjoyed my stay there. Also, I visited a very lovely spot in Ireland where David Lean filmed important parts of Ryan’s Daughter, but I haven’t seen that movie yet. I grew up in Northern Virginia, near Washington, DC, so I guess the best example is the Exorcist steps, which I’ve visited many times. They’re different, because they aren’t overlooked by apartments, and they lead up to something to do with cars…a mechanic? Just a parking lot? I can’t remember, because I never really paid much attention to that part. They are similar to the film in that they are just as steep as you think they are, and fairly creepy (though their association with the movie no doubt has everything to do with that creepiness). But I’ve felt strange, and sort of off-balance, every time I’ve gone up and down those steps. I always felt like I really needed to pay attention to how I walked, or I’d pull a Karras. (Bill)

I just went to New York and while flipping through a guide for New York discovered that Manhattan was playing at a little theatre. Me, my dad and my brother rushed to the theatre, the smallest one I’ve ever been to, and it was completely packed. There were no two empty seats that were next to each other so everyone had to spread out. And then we watched the movie, man what a perfect movie to see in New York. (Cerb Chaos)

I used to live in the apartment building in Hollywood in and around which a chase scene in the Robert Blake/Elliot Gould vehicle Busting was shot. (The Lido Apartments, where the gatefold photo of The Eagles' Hotel California was also shot.) It was every bit as seedy as it looked, and got worse. I could swear I've lived in every apartment in Pulp Fiction, or at least every kind of apartment. What you notice in any movie set in L.A. if you live there, and which must be meaningless if you don't, are the liberties they take in mashing locations together. For instance, in Busting, the chase (on foot) that ends in Hollywood begins at the Grand Central Market downtown, which is portrayed as being open at night. I always wondered why Michael Mann is congratulated for having such a great feel for L.A. when he takes such absurd liberties with location (and why he hardly ever exploits the feel for costume pictures he showed in The Last of the Mohicans). No movie has ever captured L.A. the way it actually looks like The Long Goodbye.

The Whispering Gallery in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, which was where the climax of Hands of the Ripper occurs. I was a 12-year-old kid on a trip to England and Scotland with my parents and I watched Hands of the Ripper on TV in our hotel late at night while we were there (Scared the hell out of me). When we visited the cathedral it was a bit surreal to be in the place that I had just watched on television, especially with the drama that the end of that Hammer flick delivered. It looked the same as it did in the film, but there was no one there in period costume (Well, people were in 70’s period costume, but not Jack the Ripper period costume). (Dave)

Prague was exactly like The Golem. (Derek)

The Riesenrad in Vienna (the ferris wheel scene from The Third Man). I rode on it only because it appears in the movie, empty during the daytime, just like in the movie, and I'm sure I'll always be happy I did. (Brian)


The Ferris wheel in the Prater, Vienna. I actually rode this not long after seeing The Third Man on the big screen, and while the city around it had changed a lot since 1949, the Ferris wheel itself was more or less the same. (Paul C.)

I did think of Vertigo a bit when I visited the Palace of Fine Arts, and wished that it was as empty as when Kim Novak was there. (Peter Nellhaus)

I once had a beer in the Boise, Idaho, bar where Clint Eastwood shot a fight scene for Bronco Billy (in which the camera crew is plainly visible, btw). They must have seriously redecorated the place since then, ‘cause it was hardly recognizable. And I went to Alcatraz twice, an experience that definitely shed some new light on the Siegel picture which, on re-viewing it, seemed to have much more in common with a Bresson film than with an Eastwood actioner. (Thomas Mohr)

I visited the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Besides containing a river and a forest, it was not anything like in the David Lean film, which was shot in Sri Lanka. Maybe that doesn't count as a location then. In that case, I pick Lone Pine, California, and yes, it was exactly like it was in Gunga Din, Comanche Station, Star Trek VII and Gladiator. As you well know.

I went to Union Station in Chicago to see where the baby carriage careened down the steps in The Untouchables. Two items of note: in 1995, heads were covered by baseball caps, and on the whole those responsible for baby carriages seemed to prefer the elevator, since everyone had probably seen the damn movie. (Gareth)

Last time we were in NYC, we rode the Roosevelt Island tram in honor of Deke DaSilva and Wulfgar in Nighthawks. (Bandit)


I’ve visited many bay area film locations and one that sticks out is Alcatraz prison where movies like Escape from Alcatraz and The Birdman of Alcatraz were filmed. Besides the beautiful location, the prison is undoubetedly one of the creepiest and most depressing places I’ve ever spent time at. It seems to have the weight of a thousand miserable souls haunting it. I don’t think I’d be too eager to make a movie there myself. (Cinebeats)

The bridge that Tom Hanks ran over in the inexplicable cross-country running sequence of Forrest Gump. I heard great things about it beforehand, and it wasn’t anything all that special, so yeah, it was a lot like the movie. (Daniel L.)

A buddy and I roadtripped to Vegas and stopped at the Hoover Dam. Nothing like the movies. I don't think any place such as the Hoover Dam (or Niagra Falls etc.) can prepare one for the feelings you get seeing it up close. And, to make things even more indelible in my mind, I walked up to the rail and was looking over when an Islamic girl walked up next to me. This was about 6 months after September 11 and I remember looking over at her, and she glanced at me for just a second, then glanced down, afraid to look me in the eye. She was probably one of the most beautiful girls I'd ever seen, with stunning green eyes. I smiled at her and after she realized I wasn't going to throw daggers with my stare, she looked back up and smiled and walked away. It was one of those moments that stays with you forever. So, no, nothing can ever compare to the textures of real life versus a movie screen. (Joseph B.)

When I was 17, I was briefly employed as a hostess at Dupar’s, a been-there-forever diner in Studio City, CA that was used as a location for Boogie Nights. Dupar’s is the setting of that post-disco scene where Burt Reynolds explains his directorial vision to budding porn star Dirk Diggler. I haven’t read the Boogie Nights script, but I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime-Studio City resident Paul Thomas Anderson had written Dupar’s in by name–it’s a perfectly preserved monument to the Valley’s mid-70s glory, and I’m sure it required minimal set dressing. In my brief time there, I didn’t ID any porn stars (unless Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa have gone X-rated? They were in there a lot), but it was a fairly sleezy place. We were ordered to lie about our failing grade from the health department, and I actually quit after three weeks due to very low-level sexual harassment from my manager: one day he told me I’d “look good in a potato sack,” and in my teenage feminist brain, that was, like, cause for a lawsuit. (Karina Longworth)

Grew up in Hollywood, constantly seeing filming-- Hitchcock directed part of his last film around the block from my parents' house, etc. I thought all TV shows and films took place in L.A. since I constantly saw streets and landmarks I recognized so I've never sought out a film location. However, Dennis taking me to Cannon Beach in Oregon in a storm, and having it look so much as it did in Point Break was a giddy high. (Thom McGregor)

I don't know that I've been to any really iconic places. My experience is usually the reverse where places I'm really familiar with end up on the big screen and it's always surreal. Boring trivia: I grew up around where they shot In the Bedroom. There's a scene where Tom Wilkinson is in traffic behind a driver's ed car. You guessed it. That's the car of the guy who taught me to drive. See what I mean? (Lucas McNelly)

5) Carlo Ponti or Dino De Laurentiis (Producer)?

Hey, Carlo married Sophia…and she chose him over Cary Grant. That makes him God. (Flickhead)
Dino, without him there would be no Army of Darkness or Danger: Diabolik (Adam Ross)

Ponti and De Laurentiis both made loads of schlock, but only Ponti movies for Godard, Antonioni, Melville, Rosellini, Polanski, Forman, Varda, and Demy, all in the prime of their careers. Plus he married Sophia Loren. Twice. By contrast, De Laurentiis gave the world a handful of classics, a whole lot of junk, and a gigantic, turned-on ape, which might fit into either group, depending on your tastes. (Paul C.)

De Laurentiis because he produced the '76 version of King Kong. (Damian)

Laurentiis, because I first associated him with his late 70s scholck, and then I got to know his earlier productions, and then I began to like him because anyone who willingly took on both those extremes of quality must have been a fascinating guy. (Matthew)

De Laurentiis, for producing the underrated Manhunter, as well as enjoyable trash such as Army of Darkness, Conan the Barbarian, Death Wish and Barbarella (plus his niece Giada is a hottie who can cook). (Robert Daniel)

Ponti in a walk- I just saw the trailer for Le Doulos at the Castro theatre and I'm on pins and needles. (Brian Darr)

They both receive demerits for inflicting La Strada on the world, but I'll go with Dino because, although he always struck me as slightly trashy, he somehow had a hand in getting both Dune and Blue Velvet released. (Schuyler Chapman)
Ponti. For Le Mepris, Zabriskie Point and The Passenger alone. (Filmbrain)

Hard to say, but I was inexplicably fond of The Cassandra Crossing, so I’ll say Ponti. :) (Weigard)

Close call... Ponti has the class, as well as Sophia Loren, plus you gotta love it when an exploitation film (Torso) is marketed as "From the producer of Dr. Zhivago"... But I gotta give it to Dino. Why? Barbarella. Danger: Diabolik! Flash Gordon. Plus, the aformentioned "monkey die - everybody cry" quote. (Robert)

Ponti thought with his head, while De Laurentiis thinks with his gut, and I greatly admire that much more (and without him, we’d not have those oddball productions, like Barbarella and Mandingo). (Aaron)

Dino! Anybody who can produce Serpico,Three Days of the Condor and Orca deserves some kind of crazy credit. Besides, Carlo married Sophia Loren. He needs no further accolades. (The Shamus)

6) Best movie about baseball


I like baseball too much to like the movies very much. No one ever pitches correctly, the stances don't look right and damn big game ends with a home run. And they do things like cast Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson. You might as well cast Brian Dennehy as Oliver Twist. So for history I'll go with Eight Men Out though I'm not thrilled with it. For fiction I'll go with The Naked Gun - Reggie Jackson as an assassin... what more needs to be said? (Jonathan Lapper)

Eight Men Out. And why is it that, while I’m not much of a fan of the actual sport, I think that baseball movies (and boxing movies) tend to be the best sports films? I’m a football guy, and most of those movies really eat it. Rollerball has been pretty poorly served by Hollywood, as well. (Bill)

The one where they make baseball more interesting by introducing dynamite bats, booby-trap outfields and bases that are placed at random around the ball park. Have they made that movie yet? Needless to say, Bob Uecker would be involved in some way. (Adam Ross)

The HBO documentaries. Hollywood baseball movies pretty much suck, don't they? Bull Durham is okay, I guess. (Do you ever ask yourself, What was that baseball movie that Kevin Costner was in? Not Field of Dreams, the good one?) (Robert Fiore)

I can't believe I'm writing this, but Major League has some scenes that I'll always think are funny. (Brian)

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned The Natural yet. That movie is magic. Pure magic. (Damian)

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, a forgotten gem featuring the Sinatra-Kelly-Munshin trio from On the Town. Plus Esther Williams. (Matthew)

Pride of the Yankees. I dare even Yankee haters not to get emotional at the end. Plus it has the real Babe Ruth! (Robert Daniel)

Fuck, that would have to be Cobb. (Thomas Mohr)

Arturo Ripstein's pitch-black comedy about a pair of murderous creosote-leaguers, La Perdición de los hombres. (Brian Darr)

As a recovering Orioles fan, I deny that baseball exists. (Dan W.)

The Bad News Bears (The original!) (Filmbrain)

Without a doubt it has to be the original Bad News Bears (1976). (Cinebeats)


John Sayles’ Eight Men Out. It’s always nice to see a sports picture that has drama based on something other than “will they win the big game at the end?” (Surprise! They will! At the last second, too!) I also read an interview once with Sayles where he said that if he had made The Natural, he would’ve had the hero strike out at the end, just like in the novel it was based on. Hooray for John Sayles. (Daniel L.)

I'm not a huge fan of sports movies... for me it's a toss-up - The Bad News Bears (the Ritchie/Matthau version) and Cobb, which technically isn't about baseball per se, but it's good enough for me. (Robert)

The Bad News Bears. Growing up geeky and, on top of that, a fan of the cursed Red Sox, the Bears provided very real catharsis. Stick it up your ass, Yankees. (Bemis)

Charles Stone III’s Mr. 3000. Bernie Mac gives the finest performance of his career, and the movie’s revelations about masculinity, aging gracefully, the enduring aura of baseball in the American mind are funnier and subtler than similar achievements in Bull Durham—which is not, by the way, a criticism of Bull Durham. (Walter)

I'm kind of partial to The Jackie Robinson Story, but I think that's just because of nostalgia for the first time I saw it as a kid. (Dustin)

I don’t like sports, much less baseball; but I love Field of Dreams. That’s probably a baseball movie in the sense that it’s perhaps the most religious secular film or the most secular religious film I’ve ever seen and baseball is sort of the stand-in for God. (Alex Jackson)

John Sayles' Eight Men Out -- It tells a great story (better than Eliot Asinof's poorly written book does) of historical importance, it's paced and edited so skillfully, and most important of all it captures the joy and heartbreak that players and devoted fans routinely feel about the game (and about this event in its history). That said, Fear Strikes Out, Bingo Long's Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, and Kevin Costner's triple play (well, technically a hat trick, but that's another sport entirely) in Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and For Love of the Game are all nearly perfect. If only automobile racing -- one of Hemingway's "true sports" -- could be half as well represented on screen as the great American pastime. (Dan Aloi)

Ah, the wonders of baseball movies. I grew up on Field of Dreams, so it's gotta be that, but let me throw in a plug for the criminally underrated Mr. Baseball, where Tom Selleck gets traded from the Yankees to some team in Japan...good stuff. Plus, it has the great quote, "LAST SEASON, I led this team in ninth-inning doubles in the month of August!" (Lucas McNelly)

7) Favorite Barbara Stanwyck performance


The Lady Eve. I haven’t seen a lot, I’m afraid. I think I first saw her in Double Indemnity, a movie I don’t hold in as high regard as most people. I saw The Lady Eve more recently, and felt deeply jealous of Henry Fonda throughout. She was truly brilliant in that movie. (Bill)

Christmas in Connecticut, still one of the funniest holiday movies because of her performance. (Adam Ross)

Sigh...Everything she's done...I might have said the comedic performance of Christmas In Connecticut or the obvious Double Indemnity (just her entry at the top of the balcony enough). But I just saw Baby Face the other night and I think that might be my favourite - she owns every man she meets in the film and you can absolutely believe it...

I don't know how you can top Ball of Fire. Straight whiskey on legs. (Matthew)

Given her incredible range and talent, I can’t possibly single out one of her countless fine performances, so here’s my top five BS movies: Double Indemnity, Ball of Fire, Remember the Night, All I Desire and, ahem, Crime of Passion. (Honorable mentions go to The Lady Eve, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers and Forty Guns.)

Right now, it’s a tie between one seen many times, in The Lady Eve, and another seen earlier this year for the first time, in Baby Face, where she wipes the floor with the rest of the cast. (Gareth)

Ball of Fire. Tough, sexy, funny, and in that scene where Gary Cooper confronts her near the end -- heartbreaking. Stanwyck has never given a bad performance, that I have seen. She's been in some lousy movies, but her acting is always 100%. (Stennie)

My personal favorite is Martha Ivers in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. Stanwyck is the perfect victim/villain in this role which seems tailor-made for her. She also looks rather stunning in her Edith Head designed costumes. (Cinebeats)

Double Indemnity, although every time I watch The Lady Eve it creeps closer to first place. (Tina)

Double Indemnity, of course. Bad wig, bad make-up, and she looks downright feral in some scenes, but I still believe Fred MacMurray would kill a man to tap that. (Eric)

Sorry, Wrong Number. My apologies for being so conventional. (xterminal)

Shit! I’ve never seen a Barbara Stanwyck performance! Double Indemnity has been on my list for a while. I have a “film noir” collection with The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers so I’ll probably see that one some fine day. (Alex Jackson)

8) Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Dazed and Confused?

Phoebe in a bikini is a wonder, and the dynamic between Ray Walston and Sean Penn is fascinating, but Fast Times is limited by its sitcom trappings, whereas Dazed… effectively captures a time and place—perhaps conveniently, ala American Graffiti, but the mood and character profiling are generally right on the money. (Flickhead)

Dazed is more critically accepted but Fast Times was all over cable when I was in high school so I have more associated memories with it. I can't here “Moving in Stereo” without thinking of the pool scene now. (Jonathan Lapper)

I’m not a huge Fast Times fan, but even if I was, Dazed and Confused would still be tough to beat. Linklater pulls off something tricky in Dazed, mining a fondly-remembered period in his past without romanticizing or whitewashing it. He paints the world of the film warts and all, while at the same time showing love for each of the characters (yes, even O’Bannion). It’s so rich and detailed that you can imagine living there and, more importantly, you’d want to, although maybe not so much as an incoming freshman. (Paul C.)

Dazed and Confused has to be one of the best films of the 1990s. And I don't smoke weed anymore. In fact, I didn't come to love it until AFTER I stopped smoking weed. (Ryland Walker Knight)

Can you believe I've still never seen Dazed and Confused? It'll have to live up to its reputation and then some to overcome my fondness for Amy Heckerling's film. By the way, the latter shares with Summer School the fine distinction of a place for its soundtrack in my CD collection, under the category, "soundtracks with an Oingo Boingo song on them." (Brian Darr)

I was 17 when Fast Times came out. AND I was working at the same mall the film takes place in. Nuff said. (Filmbrain)


Sean Penn’s Spicoli is one of the great comic performances, which often makes me wonder why he’s so dour these days, but Dazed and Confused nails a particular atmosphere so well, without being overly sentimental, that it has to win out. (Gareth)

I still don't understand how people can watch Dazed and Confused without retching. Ridgemont High would have won by default, even without Judge Reinhold jerkin' the gherkin. (xterminal)

Fast Times. It has real heart, not to mention being one of the only teen movies with an honest approach to sex, and sex's consequences. If you only knew how tired I am of the "miracle miscarriage." (Campaspe)

I don’t like either of them. They‘re painful without being particularly cathartic, falsely inflated with pathos so they don‘t appear to be the usual teenage shenanigans. Both films are frauds in my view. Between the two though, I prefer Fast Times at Ridgemont High though. It’s just stupid and sloppy, whereas Dazed and Confused is smug, like they should know better. Compare how the two films use music for example. In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, it’s usually very arbitrary and meaningless. A snippet of “American Girl” appears when we enter the high school, for example. In Dazed and Confused, the music is used to comment on the action in a perfunctory smug kind of way. During the hazing sequence, “Why Can’t We Be Friends” comes on the soundtrack. It wants me to throw my shoe at the screen. (Alex Jackson)

I love these "Choose!" type of poll questions -- they're the "Qui es muy macho?" of SLIFR -- mostly because there is no right or wrong answer, they are wonderful taking-off points for criticism. I'm a longtime fan of both Cameron Crowe and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Fast Times is full of memorable lines and moments, iconic for the '80s teen movie it ultimately is and always will be. But having recently devoured Dazed a few more times, I gotta give it up for Linklater, his story, thelook of his film and his amazing ensemble. (Dan A.)

9) What was the last movie you saw, and why? (We’ve used this one before, but your answer is presumably always going to be different, so…)


After being locked away in the Wayne Family Vault for decades, Wild Bill Wellman’s The High and the Mighty recently resurfaced. Having now seen it, I can honestly say that it can return to the Wayne Family Vault. Forever. (Flickhead)

Videodrome, and I watched it because I had just picked up the Criterion edition. My opinion of Cronenberg has changed considerably over the years. His stuff can be so clumsy that I used to think the people who were so in love with his work were kidding themselves. But after a while I started to think, well, clumsy or not, who else is making movies like this? More recently, as a horror fan who thinks almost all horror movies are lousy, I began to truly appreciate that his films in the genre are some of the very few films in the last thirty years that matter. And even when he’s clumsy (see Rabid, which I also watched again recently) he’s never, ever stupid. (Bill)

I watched Herzog's Cobra Verde this morning, making my way through my Herzog-Kinski box set. Still trying to wrap my head around it. (Adam Ross)

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, because I’ve long had an interest in the Algonquin Round Table, and Jennifer Jason Leigh excels at those tough broad roles (The Hudsucker Proxy). (Nate Dredge)

In a theater: Spiderman 3 (was on a date and her kid came along; I also wanted to see it anyway). Netflix: The Changeling (1979) with George C Scott. I’m a sucker for 70s horror and this is a well done, spooky little ghost story. (Robert Daniel)

Clash By Night at the Castro Theatre, because Barbara Stanwyck would have turned 100 the day before the screening, and because I'd never seen it before. I loved the way it shows off Monterrey's fishing industry in an almost documentary style, and it's great to see Stanwyck acting against the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Robert Ryan. (Brian Darr)

Thanks for catching me at my proudest moviegoing moment. Yes, the last movie I saw was... Captivity. Way to go, Roland. (Bandit)

DVD: 35 Up, 'cause we matched it up with my wife's 35th birthday. We're not gonna wait seven years to watch the next one, though. Theater: Ratatouille, 'cause that's what I wanted to watch. It was super-swell. (Chris S.)

Well, Sony/MGM recently reissued eight of the “Beach Party” films on a four-disc set, so I’ve been sampling them. I heard Vincent Price cameos in the original Beach Party, so I just had to see that (“bring me my pendulum, kitties, as I feel like swingin’” being his immortal line). (Aaron)

First Men in the Moon at the Egyptian. Why? Because my hubby Dennis wanted so much to see it on a huge screen and even more wanted to meet Ray Harryhausen (which we did). By my own choice, previous to that I saw Once and loved it. (Thom McGregor)

Black Snake Moan, on the recommendation of Ross Ruediger, who's got some 'splaining to do. (The Shamus)

At the time of this writing, Robot Monster (1953). I had been really into Ed Wood and stuff like that when I was in junior high. The attraction never really ceased and deepened even, but you know, I got into investigating other things. I’ve been meaning to check out Robot Monster for some ten years now and just never got around to it. On my Netflix cue, I had just burned through the second season of Twin Peaks and wanted to give myself some kind of “break” before I start burning through 2006 and 2007 releases that I missed. I somehow thought that Robot Monster was “break” material. (Alex Jackson)

I'm qualifying this question as meaning ... In a theater? I've stayed away from the multiplex so far this summer; but I may soon succumb to $9 tickets and $7 popcorn stuck to the floor for The Simpsons Movie. As for my last, you're gonna love this ... Two or Three Things I Know About Her -- a major Godard I'd missed until now -- thankfully, finally, came to Cornell's repertory cinema. And I had to see it because -- you're also gonna love THIS -- it's referenced as an all-time favorite by one of the full-time film obsessives in Cinemania. (which every sli-fer here should see!) Now, about the film - good, unique, and not quite what I expected, with its framework of political statements and hardcore critical theory. It's beautifully shot and constructed, but for me it raised a question of Godard's intent -- even though a woman is central to the narrative parts of the film, I continue to wonder, does he even LIKE women? Or people, for that matter? Are beautiful girls just empty objects under our gaze, and their men all self-absorbed, morons, and emotionally challenged, passive-agressive dickheads? I never really expect a straight narrative from Godard, and that doesn't bother me. But I have this half-formed opinion of him as a misogynist and misanthrope, based on the ambiguous and disaffected male characters he shows in lifeless relationships in his other films -- men who obviously DON'T care for women, beyond their sex. Maybe it's his view of society, or his direction of actors is not as intentional a part of his art as I surmise here. Either way, it irks me as much as frat boy mentality and any mistreatment of women does in real life. I'm probably taking it all too personally, but I really can't help having such a visceral reaction. (Dan A.)

10) Whether or not you have actually procreated or not, is there a movie you can think of that seriously affected the way you think about having kids of your own?


I have four kids so I think about it more in terms of what appeals to them and why. They are more well versed in old films than most reasonably cinematically inclined adults so I'm proud of that. My youngest, six, loves - LOVES - the black cat holding the door back against Cary Grant in The Awful Truth. I think I've watched that scene on DVD about a 10,000 times at this point and she still lets out a belly laugh each time - which then makes me laugh. (Jonathan Lapper)

As an expectant first-time father, the first movie I thought of when I heard the good news was strangely Superman: The Movie when Marlon Brando's Jor-El says to his son, "He will never ... be alone." I can picture saying that line to myself when I first lay eyes on him/her. (Adam Ross)

Well, You Can Count On Me helped me come to a peace with news of a three-year-old half-sister I didn't know about so maybe I can vote for it: I wanted to have a sibling afterwards. The jury's still out on whether kids are in the cards. I mean, sure, it'd be cool, but if it sounds like Bruce Willis I'm throwing it the fuck out. (Ryland Walker Knight)

I don't know if the effect will be a lasting one, as I only just saw the film a few weeks ago, but my mind was constantly running over this issue while watching An Inconvenient Truth. (Brian Darr)

For me that’s such an important decision that no film could seriously affect my choices one way or another. I will mention that I don’t have any kids yet, but while watching Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits again recently I kept thinking about what a wonderful all-ages film it was and how much I’d like to show it to my kids if I ever had any. (Cinebeats)


I thought the depiction of a parent trying to find the balance between encouraging his son to excel and letting him be a kid in Searching for Bobby Fischer was well done. I’m a musician, and have worked backstage at enough competitions, juggling stage mothers, that I’ve seen how hard it can be on the kids. I hope I could find that balance. (Weigard)

My wife and I saw Children of Men when she was about four months into her pregnancy. How remarkable that one film could silence those nagging “How can I bring a child into a world where…” thoughts. (Bemis)

I have procreated (loud applause, followed by a standing ovation.) Uh, what was the question? (The Shamus)

Eraserhead: Having kids is scary. Children of Men: Not having kids is scary. Idiocracy: Intelligent people have a responsibility to have kids. (aathomle)

The utterly godawful, inexcusably retrograde Nine Months made me realize that having kids would mean confronting the same old tired attitudes everybody else did. I went ahead anyway. The best portrayal of a child's eye view is still The Spirit of the Beehive. (Campaspe)

11) Favorite Katharine Hepburn performance

I don't like Katharine Hepburn. I don't hate her, but I don't like her. It's not like Olivier where there's no emotional connection, it's just I don't have any desire to watch her. (Robert Fiore)

Eleanor of Aquataine in The Lion In Winter. A film I love that no one else seems to care much about. (Sean)

(Warning: blasphemy alert!) Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of Hepburn’s, especially in her early years. Her performances almost always feel too mannered by half. But I have to admit that she’s pretty perfect in The Philadelphia Story, which makes excellent use of her innate patrician haughtiness.

Bringing Up Baby. It reminds me of something Vladimir Ashkenazy, I think, once said about Sviatoslav Richter's piano playing: once the performance was over, you could pick out countless things that were inappropriate or indulgent or interpretively unsuccessful, but while it was going on, you were totally, completely convinced. (Matthew)

I’m not a huge Hepburn fan. I think she was at her most appealing and warmest in The African Queen. (Robert Daniel)

I mostly like her earlier films, so I will go with Holiday. (Peter Nellhaus)

For the moment of recognition she tossed at Cary Grant in the doorway at the end of the picture, The Philadelphia Story. (Ryland Walker Knight)

Holiday, where she genuinely takes delight in Cary Grant's character. When she sees he's got the same spark she does, it's a wonder the set needed lighting. (Patrick)

I really love Kate. She’s one of my favorite actresses so I’m afraid that I just can’t name one favorite performance from her. Instead I’m going to name my Top 3 which can be found in Christopher Strong, Sylvia Scarlett and The Philadelphia Story. (Cinebeats)

I couldn’t watch Star Trek: Voyager because of Capt. Janeway’s irritating Hepburn impersonation, but now I can’t watch Katherine Hepburn because she reminds me of Capt. Janeway. (Nobody)

It’s got to be Bringing up Baby. I’m sure everyone says that, but how can you not get all googly over the performance that defines screwball? But Baby’s not my favorite Hepburn film; that would be Holiday, which is more of Cary Grant’s show, don’t you think? I don’t know–maybe I just don’t like to see her play the wallflower. (Karina Longworth)

Lion in Winter. She's so strong and feisty and bitter. No one else could have delivered those lines properly. (Thom McGregor)

Summertime. She got beyond the Hepburn-isms and really acted. I felt her spinster's pain. The defeated, sad look on her face. The delight on her face when she finds love. That performance stays with me. (The Shamus)

The Lion in Winter. I had an acting teacher who maintained that Hepburn only became a real actress--deep, true, reliant on no tricks whatever--in this movie. I think she gave many good performances before this one, but she hit this one out of the park. (Campaspe)

12) A bad movie from a good director

King Lear by Godard. It's a long way from Weekend and Pierrot le fou. (Jonathan Lapper)

O.C. & Stiggs, or at least the 15 minutes I could stomach, with all of Altman's besetting sins at full strength: smug, self-satisfied cynicism, a contempt for his targets that defeats satire, a portrait of assholes that's unfair to assholes. (Robert Fiore)

All or Nothing, dir. Mike Leigh. A cruel parody: laughably miserablist and devoid of any discernable humanity. (Derek)

Dune. I'm not a huge Lynch fan by any means, but he's a good director and Dune is absolutely terrible. (Sean)

Off the top of my head, Alien:Resurrection (Alonso Moseley)

There are so many choices here, but for me the obvious one is Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg, the ultimate awful movie from a master. Bergman’s biggest-budget movie was produced by the aforementioned Signor De Laurentiis during Bergman’s brief exile from Sweden, and it’s no surprise that their styles don’t mesh. But The Serpent’s Egg is borderline inept in parts, and so laughable that one might think it was directed by Andrew Bergman. Most surprising is Liv Ullmann’s subpar performance, as she finds herself adrift in this mess. (Paul C.)

Again, Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. This is why I love Francis Ford Coppola. (Matthew)

The list is endless. To name but a few: Under Capricorn (Hitchcock), Jinxed (Siegel), Amistad (Spielberg), Buddy Buddy (Wilder), Cleopatra (Mankiewicz), The Fall of the Roman Empire (Mann), Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (Lang), Cheyenne Autumn (Ford), etc, etc. I’ve made several attempts to watch these films in their entirety, but failed miserably each time. (Thomas Mohr)

…kinda tastes terrible but you keep eating because the hunger remains. (Ryland Walker Knight)

Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Monrak Transitor. (Brian Darr)

I don’t know how to put this eloquently, but I just think that A Clockwork Orange is an uninteresting failure of a movie, while everything else Kubrick did from Strangelove to Eyes Wide Shut is a masterpiece. I’ve yet to explore his earlier films. I think Lolita is also a failure, but one I’d be willing to watch again.

That Uncertain Feeling (Lubitsch) (Stennie)

I normally have enough pseudo-auteurist gibberish swimming around in my head to enjoy even the lesser films of good directors. However, I have occasionally seen a great director wipe his shit stains on a piece of celluloid so thoroughly that it makes me question why I love their other work. Robert Altman’s Dr. T and the Women comes to mind. (Daniel L.)

Scorsese's Cape Fear remake -- the first time I saw it, I thought it was a put-on, everything was so pumped-up and over the top, compared to the original film. (Robert)

Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Holy cow, I didn’t think movies that bad could still be made. (Walter)

13) Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom-- yes or no?

The last (and only) time I saw it was back in 1979. It’s the only film I’ve ever seen that caused bile to rise in my throat. I’m curious about those who’ve only read bits and pieces about it, if they’re aware of the film’s many dark patches…could they stomach the banquet scene? The fact that I forced myself to tough it out to the end must speak for some level of artistry, but I’d never recommend the picture to anyone. (Flickhead)

I’ve never seen it. If I could easily get my hands on a copy, I would watch it. From everything I’ve read, after watching it I believe my answer to your question would be “No.” (Bill)

Have not seen, but desperately want to see, does that make me a bad person? (Cerb Chaos)

Nah—I don't think any translation of Sade into even cinematic reality would be right: the horror of the image would overwhelm the dark comedy that exists on the page. (Matthew)

Not yet, and I'm afraid. (Ryland Walker Knight)

I'm glad I saw it once, and that I'd had a somewhat substantial amount of Pasolini (including a screening of The Arabian Nights, his greatest masterpiece, the week before) under my belt. But I'm with Alberto Pezzotta: once is enough. (Brian Darr)

Haven’t seen it yet, am curious about it, but emphatically in no hurry to see it that first and final time. (Dan W.)

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! (Filmbrain)

Yes in the sense that I’ve seen the film, and on the big screen no less. As a depiction of moral decline, it’s pretty tough stuff. Although there are more recent films that I find harder to watch simply in terms of acts of violence or degradation, none of them confront me with profound issues of humanity in the same way. (Gareth)


Never saw it. Wouldn't be opposed to it, but not interested enough to buy its OOP Criterion on eBay for roughly 1,000 bucks. (Bandit)

Absolutely yes! It’s not Pasolini’s best movie, but it’s an important film in the director’s filmography. It’s definitely not easy viewing, but who said films had to be? (Cinebeats)

I've actually seen Salo, paired with Tokyo Decadence, which made for an interesting date night... I'd read about it for years, and in actually viewing it, it was a bit less lurid than my imagination had pictured... although it's just lurid enough to work on your head for days afterward. It DOES have artistic merit... however, it's something that I wouldn't be viewing repeatedly - and it's not something for that monthly movie night with co-workers. It's only for the strong stomached and intellectually brave. YES - with reservations. (Robert)

Yes, but I wouldn't make anyone watch it. I did years ago. Horrifying, yet not quite as bad an experience as having to watch Adam Sandler and Damon Wayons in Bulletproof. (Thom McGregor)

Actually, yeah. It's okay to hate, and it's not like I want to see it again, but I've rarely seen a director express his feelings so well on screen. "Oh, so you want to know what it felt like to grow up under facism? Okay, watch this. How you're feeling right now? Yeah, it kinda felt like that." (Chris)

Yes! Of course! Don’t be a pussy guys, if you haven’t seen go and see it! Of course, this was the first Pasolini film I saw and I saw it basically because I heard it was brutal and I’m into testing my manhood through such rituals. But after seeing it, I’ve become quite a Pasolini fan and seeing all his movies has become one of the recent assignments I’ve given myself. So there you go. (Alex Jackson)

14) Ben Hecht or Billy Wilder (Screenwriter)?
As a screenwriter, Ben’s certainly got the edge, having written, ghost-written and doctored more scripts than Robert Towne. Do you realize he even worked on Queen of Outer Space?!? (Flickhead)

Billy Wilder. When I first saw Sunset Boulevard as a teenager, I couldn’t believe that in the old days they made movies that crazy. (Bill)

As a screenwriter Ben Hecht covers the earth, like Williams Paint. The achievement is so wide that even an undeniably great screenwriter like Wilder has to take a back seat. Wilder is the better artist overall because he was committed to movies in a way that Hecht could never imagine. (Robert Fiore)

Wilder's more consistent, but Hecht's characters talk the way I wish I could. (Matthew)

Though Hecht’s credits as a (ghost)writer/script doctor are virtually unmatched, it none the less has to be Wilder, for his ingenious wit, his unflinching look at the traps and pitfalls of life and his deep-seated humanity desperately trying to hide behind a veil of playful misanthropy. (Geez, I never thought I’d ever put down something as pompous as this.) (Thomas Mohr)

I try to resist evaluating screenwriters in this way because their work only really exists through a filter. But comparing the two films I've seen by Hecht the writer-director against the ten by Wilder the writer-director, I'd tally my vote with the guy who wrote Sunset Blvd. and Ace in the Hole. (Brian Darr)

The number of films Ben Hecht worked on but didn't get credit for is staggering. That said... "Well, nobody's perfect." (Patrick)

I cannot bear to be without Ninotchka, so Wilder. But I hate you for making me pick. (Campaspe)

15) Name the film festival you’d most want to attend, or your favorite festival that you actually have attended

Even though I would probably fall asleep, I would love to attend a 24-hour film festival, and I've always wanted to check out Harry Knowles' Butt-Numb-a-Thon, despite how elitist and exclusive it has become. (Adam Ross)

The most fun I’ve had at a film festival was attending the Midnight Madness screenings at the Toronto Film Festival, but I’d really enjoy going to the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. (Dave)

I've only attended the Jacksonville Film Festival where I live, but it's allowed me to see Napoleon Dynamite, Murderball and Once before most of the country, so I'm happy (Alonso Moseley)

I know I’m supposed to say Cannes or Venice or Sundance here, but honestly I find them a little intimidating. If I was a paid critic, or I somehow got a film in competition, they might be doable, but for a civilian they’d be tough to navigate. Toronto, on the other hand, is much more user-friendly and accessible for non-industry types. I’ll be attending for the first time this fall, so we’ll see how it goes. (Paul C.)

2007 Eerie Horror Fest in Eerie, PA. I’d rather go to a festival where there might be much less talent, but more actual passion about movies, away from the big business, politics and generall bullshit found at Cannes or Sundance. (Robert Daniel)

I was planning to visit the Yubari film festival afte seeing Millenium Mambo. I kind of liked the idea of walking in three feet of snow to watch movies in Japan. Best film fest I attended was the first Telluride film festival because no one knew what it would become, and I managed to meet Leni Reifenstahl, Julie Christie and Francis Ford Coppola. (Peter Nellhaus)

I'd love to go to the Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy. (Brian Darr)

Well, I've been to Vegas a few times during the porn awards. Does that count as a festival? (Stoogeking)

One day I'll be on the croisette, in a tux no less. (Filmbrain)


I’ve been lucky to attend parts of a few, including Berlin, and Dublin in much better times, but FESPACO, the festival of African cinema held every two years in Ouagadougou, wins hands down; I managed to attend in 2001, and I hope to return. (Gareth)

I've heard Toronto is a blast to attend. Not only is the climate nice that time of year but the schedule is packed with films, the selections are generous and you get a fair shake at seeing some good entries. (Joseph B.)

I’ve gone to SXSW a few times and loved it. So much of the attention’s on the music stuff that it’s easy to see an excessive amount of films, including lots of great documentaries. Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had about film were with people in line waiting to see things there. (Tina)

I attended this year’s Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson, Missisippi, and it was wonderful. (Walter)

The Torino Film Festival (in recent years they’ve premiered the “Masters of Horror”, and held retros of Aldrich, Chabrol, and Walter Hill – sign me up). (Aaron)

I can't even handle a double feature anymore. (Thom McGregor)

I would go back to the summer of 1977. My "Kelly's Heroes Poker and Film Festival" in my parents' basement. (Jean Siskill)

I just attended a pretty good one that no one knows about that just happens to be in my backyard, The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). I've gone to at least one screening at SIFF since 2003 and this my work gave me a sponsor pass so I was able to see over 30 films - for free. As nice as that was however, I'd still like to go Venice, Cannes, or Teluride. (aathomle)

Cannes, bien sur. I have been to that part of the Cote d'Azur and I love the whole ambience. I would want a dazzling Paris wardrobe, matched luggage and a small dog to accompany me. (Campaspe)

I would love to attend Cannes. I like that whole blend of art and commerce, it just evinces a very pure apolitical kind of love for film. And I love how whenever Gus Van Sant, Lars Von Trier, or Michael Haneke has a new film it shows up there. Not exactly a favorite film festival, but I’ve attended Sundance to some capacity since 2000, and now I even have a press pass to go! (Alex Jackson)

I'd love to go to Cannes, but not now, 50 years ago. Other than that, any festival where a film of mine is in competition is good enough for me. (Lucas McNelly)

16) Head or 200 Motels?

We don’t do drugs anymore. You should be ashamed of yourself. (Flickhead)

Zappa's way overrated. Give me Head (shut up). (Pacheco)

"Hi, I'm Jimmy Carl Black and I'm the Indian of the group." That should answer your question. (Jonathan Lapper)

Never saw 200 Motels, but it gives off heavy self-indulgent POS vibes. Head tries awfully hard, and it's better than you'd expect it to be. Self-exculpatory self-disgust gets a little thick, though. (Robert Fiore)

Head manages to make you feel like every single person involved with the movie has been roped into it under false pretenses. That's pretty neat. (Matthew)

I’ve only seen Head, but I would still pick that one for Teri Garr’s claim that it was called that so they could market any follow-up with the tagline, “From the people who gave you…” (Mr. Peel)

As much as I love Zappa, Head is the single greatest American film of the 60s. (Filmbrain)

*blink* (Campaspe)

17) Favorite cameo appearance


No lines, no setup and it comes right at the beginning: Robert Duvall in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. (Jonathan Lapper)

Marcel Marceau in Silent Movie — "No!" (Adam Ross)

Jack Benny's 5 second brief appearance in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is the best thing about that film.

A couple of directors: Martin Scorsese in Quiz Show and Orson Welles at the end of The Muppet Movie. That latter one was my introduction to Orson Welles, by the way—it wasn't until later that I realized the economy-sized irony of him playing a studio head who could greenlight an entire production simply by buzzing his secretary. (Matthew)

My sister as a corpse in Going Ape!. She mostly worked on the film as Stacy Nelkin's stand in. (Peter Nellhaus)

Melvin Dummar in Jonathan Demme’s Melvin and Howard (Thomas Mohr)

I'll go with Merv Griffin in The Man With Two Brains. One of the funniest "STUNNING REVEAL" scenes I've ever seen. (Patrick)

Least Favorite: Any smug mid '90s Manhattan-set indie where Eric Stoltz smarms into the flick like he's doing us all a favor by clocking in for a "surprise" appearance. Whoo-hoo, it's Eric Stoltz. (Bandit)

I love Myrna Loy's cameo in The Senator Was Indiscreet. The movie is only so-so, but her appearance kind of made up for it. (Stennie)

There are so many good ones so I’ll just mention one I saw recently that I loved. In the Doris Day spy spoof The Glass Bottom Boat actor Robert Vaughn suddenly shows up at a party totally out of the blue. While Vaughn is sipping a drink at the bar he’s spotted by Paul Lynde who’s wearing drag. They size each other up and it’s a really silly moment with no dialogue that managed to totally crack me up. (Cinebeats)

Victor Mature - "The Big Victor" in Head; David Cronenberg in To Die For; Iggy Pop in The Color of Money (Robert)

Sam Peckinpah towards the end of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, or likewise his appearance in Monte Hellman’s China 9, Liberty 37. (Aaron)

Definitely David Letterman in Cabin Boy. He's a hero of mine anyway. (Thom McGregor)

Julie Christie's uncombed hair in Nashville. (The Shamus)

I love Joan Crawford's cameo in It's a Great Feeling, an otherwise dull Doris Day vehicle. She shows up in a department store in Hollywood and overhears Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson talking about Day. She flies into a fine Mildred-confronts-Veda rage and slaps them both. The men ask, what was that about? and she responds cheerfully, "I do that in all my pictures!" Off she strides, ankle-straps, shoulder pads and all. (Campaspe)

Val Kilmer in Masked and Anonymous. Those teeth! His insane, intense few minutes on screen was pure gold. (Dan Aloi)

18) Favorite Rosalind Russell performance

The Hudsucker Proxy (Bill)

His Girl Friday, of course. Why are you wasting my time? (Robert Fiore)

His Girl Friday, although the way she absolutely stole the character of Auntie Mame from all future performers has to count for something. (Matthew)

Picnic, just to be different I guess. Her rather pathetic spinster seemed quite a change of pace from other performances and I was very happy for her character at the end of the movie. (Robert Daniel)

19) What movie, either currently available on DVD or not, has never received the splashy collector’s edition treatment you think it deserves? What would such an edition include?


Sunrise. It's on DVD, technically, along with three other Oscar winners so no bells and whistles attached and it's on a stand alone region 2 dvd. This is the supreme height of silent filmmaking - where's Criterion? Extras could include a short doc on German expressionism, stills from the production, etc. The one available is fine but I'd like some more. And by the way, the pig scene is another big hit with the six year old. (Jonathan Lapper)

I long for a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse release. It’s certainly a seminal movie, it tangoed Rudolf Valentino’s into a career, but it remains only on DVD as an EXTRA to a Valentino documentry, the shame! The Horror! It needs it’s own DVD and quick, It would include commentary by film scholars of course, a nice little documentary about the film, and a crazy documentary about the end times narrated by a random guy they pulled of the street. (Cerb Chaos)

This is going to be the most lowbrow answer imaginable, but Howard Stern's Private Parts. You just imagine the reels of outtakes of naked women there must be, and who on earth would do a better commentary track? How they could be so cloth-headed as to have not done this already is beyond me. (Robert Fiore)

We live in a world where you can get four seasons of ALF on Region 1 DVD, but not Celine and Julie Go Boating or Privilege. But the fact that my all-time favorite movie, Belle de Jour, has a positively awful U.S. DVD is particularly sickening. As with many of the non-Oscar-bait movies in their library, the Weinsteins spared every expense that could’ve given Bunuel’s classic the DVD edition it deserves. It’s not enough that the only extras on this are a handful of Miramax trailers and a dry-as-dust commentary track from “Bunuel scholar Julie Jones.” No, the real shame is the barely-above-VHS-quality transfer of the movie itself. In light of the inspired DVD treatment Criterion gave to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, it’s tempting to imagine what they might do with Belle. I’d love to see interviews with some of the principal players in the film- Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Pierre Clementi- as well as with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere. And a remastered transfer of the film would be a godsend, allowing American home viewers to finally relish the work of Bunuel and his great D.P. Sacha Vierny. But the one must-have in this dream edition would be the world’s greatest DVD case- a wooden box that emits a small, intriguing buzz when you open it. Not even Severine herself could turn that down. (Paul C.)

Kubrick’s The Shining. I’d include the excellent doc shot by his daughter that gives the only glimpse I know of that shows Kubrick at work. Also, include the rarely seen, but often discussed original ending that was cut soon after the New York premiere. (Robert Daniel)

I could go on and on. However, for years there was talk of Lynch releasing his five hour cut of Fire Walk With Me, and I'm still hoping that day will come. (Filmbrain)

Robert Altman's The Company. It would come in an incredibly attractive package with an image from "Tensile Involvement" on the cover, and would have all the extras from the current disc, plus a commentary from cinematographer Andrew Dunn, another one from a critic who really understands Altman (perhaps Ed Gonzalez or the proprietor of this blog; whoever doesn't do the commentary gets to do the essay), another from Malcolm McDowell and Gerald Arpino, and a fifth commentary from some of the Joffrey dancers. Maybe one or two of these commentaries could be replaced by documentaries, but I'm not sure about that. Of course there would be deleted scenes, perhaps even a usage of the "angle" DVD feature (remember that?) for some of the dance sequences, though only as extras and not during the film. There'd be a cheesy videogame in which you control a ballerina who has to perform athletic leaps without snapping a tendon. Okay, maybe we can do without that one. But the centerpiece of disc 2 would be a complete, restored copy of Niv Fichman's hour-long documentary Blue Snake. (Brian Darr)

I’ve been waiting for somebody to mention The Magnificent Ambersons. Supposedly one of the best films ever made, and it’s not even available on DVD. If we’re reasonably certain that the lost material is lost forever, then we need to settle and release what we do have, especially if what’s left is as good as some say it is. I don’t know what exactly is holding it up, perhaps legal troubles, but let’s see a beautifully restored release with an informative non-hagiographic commentary track from somebody whose name isn’t Peter Bogdanovich. (Dan W.)

Fearless had Oscar nominees past (Jeff Bridges, Tom Hulce), present (this was the performance that snagged Rosie Perez her one nomination), and future (Benicio Del Toro has a small role as Perez's husband). It's got a hugely compelling story and some of the best directing in Peter Weir's career. Yet it's only available on a bare-bones DVD, which only offers pan and scan (!!!). A collector's edition should include the usual bells and whistles: trailers, cast & crew interviews (not forgetting screenwriter Rafael Yglesias), and a look at how the incredibly realistic crash sequence was filmed (at a cost of over $2 million all by itself). I'm betting that some trauma counselors would have interesting things to say about it too. (Patrick)

I can’t think of a single film from Africa that has received the full Criterion-style treatment, though I can think of a bunch of films worthy of the honour (there are discs that throw in, unexpectedly, short films, but that's it). I’d nominate Ousmane Sembène’s Guelwaar, which I think is his best film. Had someone been more interested, they’d have recorded a commentary track or an extended interview before his death, and there would be scene-by-scene breakdowns of the way he uses music by Baaba Maal, as well as featurettes focusing on actors from Africa and setting their performances here in career context. I’d also like to see good editions of Souleymane Cissé’s earlier films – pre-Yeelen – like Baara and Finyé, two more sadly neglected movies with great performances. (Gareth)

BOBBY DEERFIELD!!!!!!!!!!! (Bandit)

It’s hard to name just one film here because there are literally hundreds of films unavailable on DVD that I would love to see get the "splashy collector’s edition treatment." With that in mind I’m going to list 5 picks off the top of my head and hope that Criterion or some other DVD company reads this. Johnny Got His Gun (1971), The Devils (1971), Wise Blood (1979), Black Lizard (1968) and The Naked Prey (1966).

Blow Out with -- aside from the first ever De Palma commentary, 'making of's and all many of usual supps -- the opportunity for the viewer to remix their own soundtrack for the picture. (Giles Edwards)

If Warners ever gets off the pot and releases The Devils, it would have (or is rumored to have) a commentary track by Russell; the documentary Hell On Earth about the film's restoration, and of course, the film would be uncut and restored. If things were different, Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave would have their own commentary on it as well. *sigh* (Robert)

Freebie and the Bean, with Alan Arkin and James Cann, is still unavailable on DVD. In 1974 it was the original buddy cop action comedy and made no attempt to hide its innate homoeroticism (or homophobia), rending “revisionist” takes on the genre like 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang redundant from the outset. It's another great San Francisco movie, by the way. (Nobody)

I can’t believe The African Queen isn’t readily available everywhere. I hope whenever the collector’s edition is released, everyone associated with it isn’t gone. Lauren Bacall, I’m sure, has some good memories of the shoot. (Tina)

I think John Sayles’s Lone Star is one of the best American movies produced in the 1990s, but the DVD edition is bare-bones. Sayles’s smart, well-prepared, and detailed commentary for The Secret of Roan Inish leads me to believe that a director’s commentary for Lone Star would be topnotch. I also wouldn’t mind a roundtable discussion with Chris Cooper, Joe Morton, Ron Canada, Elizabeth Peña, and Matthew McConaughey about the making of the movie, and the issues that it raises. An interview with Sayles and his producter/common-law wife Maggie Renzi, conducted by Diane Carson, would be an ideal way to place the film in the context of his full oeuvre. Screen tests and a production diary would be a nice way to round it out. (Walter)


Anchor Bay could feasibly pick up the rights to China 9, Liberty 37 and have Dennis Bartok and Monte Hellman provide commentary like their other releases. Other inclusions could be a retrospective documentary with Hellman, Jenny Agutter, and Fabio Testi, et al; a brief look at the Z channel’s Jerry Harvey as screenwriter (covered elsewhere in the feature-length doc, but still…); and a discussion of that on-set photograph with Hellman, Leone, and Peckinpah. Also, and MOST importantly, release the film in its original aspect ratio in its uncut form. (Aaron)

Criterion edition of The New World with commentary by Terrence Malick. Criterion edition of The Company of Wolves with commentary by Neil Jordan. Animal House: The Ultimate Ultimate Janus Edition featuring commentary by Dennis, Blaagh and Stephen Bishop. (Thom McGregor)

Kelly's Heroes, with commentary track from Don Rickles. (Jean Siskill)

Is Kill Bill too obvious? Even if it is: Kill Bill. It would include the two-film version and the original one-film cut, and a long doc showing scenes from Kill Bill alongside the ones that inspired them. Plus, a commentary by a random Tarantino-hating film geek bragging about how he was into Lady Snowbird way before QT. Just to get the full experience. (Eric)

Hey, how about Salo: 120 Days of Sodom?! I would like two separate audio commentaries; one by a Sade scholar and another by a Pasolini scholar. The second disc would have to have Mark Kermode’s 2001 Salo Documentary, of course. Maybe another one on how the movie has been so damn hard to get legitimately. (Alex Jackson)

20) Name a performance that everyone needs to be reminded of, for whatever reason


Peter Falk in Mikey and Nicky, because it proves he shoulda been a leading man on the big screen, or Harry Dean Stanton in Repo Man, because I'm pretty sure it's the greatest performance of all time. (Schuyler Chapman)

Richard Nixon’s, in All the President’s Men (Flickhead)

Robert Shaw in The Luck of Ginger Coffey (not even on DVD, so another candidate for that). For those who've only seen him in A Man for All Seasons, The Sting or Jaws (which he is terrific in all, no doubt) here is a film centered around him as the lead and what a performance it is. He portrays a kind of energetic self delusion that is alternately mesmerizing and infuriating to watch. (Jonathan Lapper)

Christopher Walken in View to a Kill. Why the hell not? (Adam Ross)

Charles Lane has only a couple of minutes in Sybil, as an old doctor who once suspected, but never did anything about, the abuse the young girl suffered as a child. I think he very nicely communicates the regret of a generally good man, who found he was simply not willing to take the risk and disrupt his life for the girl, when he knew he probably should. Greatly effective performance for the amount of screen time. (Nate Dredge)

Philip Baker Hall in Secret Honor, far-fetched as it might have been. I remember it setting the tone for an 80s election night when the Democrats re-took Congress back from the Klingons. "FUCK 'EM!"

Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain, because when he does “Make ‘Em Laugh” everything is okay. (Dave)

Phillip Baker Hall as Bookman on Seinfeld. (Moviezzz)

Bill Murray stole his entire second act from Koji Yakusho (see: The Eel, Eureka), who is great in everything, but especially Kurosawa’s Doppelganger, which would make a good double bill with Dead Ringers or The Parent Trap….

How did Awards Season 2005 pass with nary a mention of Damian Lewis’ towering work in Keane? Oh yeah, because nobody saw the movie. That’s a pity, since it’s one of the best performances I’ve seen all decade. So many actors take mentally ill roles as an excuse to overact, but Lewis’ achievement isn’t that he portrays the title character as a man at war with himself. Unlike so many “crazy” performances, Keane is cursed with self-awareness, and he struggles every minute of every day with the realization that he could lose control. Some of the credit should go to director Lodge Kerrigan, who keeps us with Keane every step of the way, but without Lewis, the movie would fall to pieces. (Paul C.)

Erland Josephson in anything, really, but why not either he made with Tarkovsky, and specifically, why not The Sacrifice? Or, of course, any of his Bergman films. I actually think he has only gotten better with age, somehow, and in Saraband he's almost better than in Scenes from a Marriage, if that's possible.
(Ryland Walker Knight)


Mimi Rogers - The Rapture. It's totally criminal that she never got an Oscar nomination. (Robert)

Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight, for all those people who say she can't act her way out of a four-door toolshed. (Patrick)

Anton Glanzelius in My Life As A Dog, as an example of the extraordinarily unaffected style that Scandinavian directors seem to be capable of coaxing from young actors (see Zappa or Twist and Shout for further evidence). (Gareth)

Melvyn Douglas in Ninotchka. He has been completely overlooked in that movie, probably because of the whole "Garbo Laughs" thing. (Stennie)

Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. One of the all-time great, heartbreaking performances. Goldblum incorporates the makeup so seamlessly into his performance that when Brundlefly becomes pure special effect, the transition is seamless. (Bemis)

Claude Rains in just about anything. (Edward Copeland)

Kate Winslet in Hideous Kinky. Ewan McGregor in Shallow Grave. Hugh Laurie in every episode of House. Bill Murray in Tootsie. Michel Blanc in Monsieur Hire.

BONES MCCOY WAS IN NIGHT OF THE LEPUS O YES. (xterminal)

Joan Fontaine in Letter from an Unknown Woman. Sister Olivia still gets mentioned and is remembered (largely for Gone with the Wind, among non-cinephiles) but Joan is criminally underdiscussed. Letter is a superb performance, easily in a class with that of Danielle Darrieux in Earrings of Madame de..., in which Joan takes her character believably from age 14 to her early 30s. (Campaspe)

The lack of an Emmy nomination reminded me just how powerful Gerald McRaney's performance was in Deadwood, and how surprising it was to see this long-time actor suddenly pull out this amazing stuff, seemingly out of nowhere. It's a good reminder that perhaps there are more amazing actors around than we realize, that opportunity and experience have a lot to do with it. (Lucas McNelly)

21) Louis B. Mayer or Harry Cohn (Studio Head)?

Harry, if only because he stayed true to his principles and ideals and pissed everyone off. (Flickhead)

Mayer, because of his last words: "Nothing matters! Don't let them worry you. Nothing matters!" (Adam Ross)

Are you joking? The man with world wired to his ass. Louis B. Mayer was a pox. (Robert Fiore)

Harry Cohn because he might have had less to work with, yet still gave us Frank Capra, Peter Lorre, Rita Hayworth and The Three Stooges. (Robert Daniel)

22) Favorite John Wayne performance

As an actor, his finest two hours are in Red River. But my favorite is Stagecoach. He was so beautiful, he had such grace and innocence in that part. His gentlemanly way with Claire Trevor: "Looks like I've got the plague, don't it?" (Campaspe)

Blissfully unaware of the gay innuendo floating about Hatari!, one of Hawks’s great comic masterworks. (Flickhead)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I identified with his character when I first saw it, about eight years ago. If John Wayne had played that character as a fat 24 year-old who worked at a Barnes & Noble, and who hadn’t been in a fight since the 7th grade, and never fired a gun, then it would have been like looking in a mirror. (Bill)

I always thought of John Wayne as a non-actor who happened to latch on to great directors. This changed when I saw They Were Expendable, the nuance and emotion in the role surprised me, so much that I look a little more carefully at what Wayne is doing in his movies to come. (Cerb Chaos)

The Searchers, for the line reading of "That'll be the day" alone. I have a pet theory that whether or not you like John Wayne depends on how well you got along with your father. If you can see the value in authority figures then you can appreciate him. He had this quality, as an actor at least, where in any group of men it's obvious that he is the best man in the group. Nevertheless, back when it was a political issue, I always bristled at the notion that he was the definition of American manliness. It's not as if Hollywood had not served up more dimensional and attractive male icons: Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and Groucho Marx, to name a few. You might admire John Wayne's qualities, but you wouldn't want to be John Wayne yourself. (Robert Fiore)

"Truly this man was the son of ghaaad." (Filmbrain)

McQ!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Okay, The Searchers and Rio Bravo, but those don't feature GIANT '70S CARS.) (Bandit)

The best John Wayne movie is The Searchers, but his best role is Sheriff John T. Chance in Rio Bravo. It’s a definitive performance, perfectly summarzing everything that makes John Wayne John Wayne. (Bemis)

I’m sure there’s a John Wayne movie out there somewhere that I’ll like, but I haven’t found it yet. (Walter)

There are so many. Obviously, there's The Searchers, and all those other Ford films, but the Wayne performance that keeps coming to my head is from a commercial for the DVDs of one of those old variety shows. John Wayne shows up on this show, and I think this is during the 60's, in military garb to recite a poem: "Roses are red. The grass (?) is green. Get off your buts. And join the Marines". I always get a kick out of that. (Lucas McNelly)

23) Naked Lunch or Barton Fink?

Barton Fink to the max. One of my favorite endings ever. (Pacheco)

Milhous: "We're going to sneak into an "R" rated movie."
All kids chanting together: "Barton Fink, Barton Fink..." (Jonathan Lapper)

Barton Fink, though as often happens with the Coen brothers it doesn't hold up that well on repeat viewings. (Robert Fiore)

I'd have to go with Naked Lunch for the Roy Scheider unzipping scene alone. (Alonso Moseley)

What is this, a 1991-cult-movies-about-writers-starring-Judy-Davis Deathmatch? I love both of these, but only one gives me that Barton Fink feeling. Plus no performance in Cronenberg’s film even comes close to John Mahoney as W.P. Mayhew. Kind of sad that most of America thinks of the guy only as the dad from Frasier. (Paul C.)

I love Cronenberg, but I always thought Naked Lunch was a bit diffuse, even though I enjoyed the ride. So Barton Fink it is—we smart-alecks have to stick together. (Matthew)

I responded poorly to Barton Fink back in college and have never revisted it. Naked Lunch may not be top-rank Cronenberg, but it's still excellent. (Brian Darr)


Naked Lunch by a long shot. Like The Unbearable Lightness of Being, totally unlike its source novel, but wonderful in its own right. (Thom McGregor)

24) Your Ray Harryhausen movie of choice

Special effects aside, so many of them are rather staid and dull. However, he worked well with Nathan Juran: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and First Men ‘in’ the Moon are great adventures. And The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is, uh, Caroline Munro’s, ahem, finest hour. (Flickhead)

If I have to choose, Jason and the Argonauts, but I always found his stop-motion too fake looking to sustain the illusion of life. (Robert Fiore)

Clash Of The Titans. Laurence Olivier and Harry Hamlin! (Sean)

Clash of the Titans, whose Harryhausen creations manage more substantive performances than Harry Hamlin. (Schuyler Chapman)

All the Sinbad movies. I just can’t get enough of the fighting skeletons. (Cinebeats)

Clash of the Titans I love it when, as the disgruntled goddess Thetis, Maggie Smith loses her head. The ’61 version of The Mysterious Island is also pretty good. And does anyone remember The Valley of Gwangi? (Tim)

Jason and the Argonauts. The army of skeletons might be the greatest special effect of all time. (Bemis)

To go all-meta and shit, and also because I’m lazy, I’ll paste what I wrote about a year ago on the subject: “Jason and the Argonauts is great because of Ray Harryhausen’s special effects, a herky-jerky blend of stop-motion animation, puppetry, models, and elaborate set design. By today’s standards, the effects are dated, but that’s part of the appeal—they feel homemade, personal, almost done by happy accident. I sat on the living room couch with my stepdad, watching this movie more times than I can count. The story’s trite, the acting mediocre, and the writing is a little thin, but it’s a blast that’s soured me on the modern CGI that aspires to photo-realism and has inured me to the ‘authenticity’ of the effects behind current, trillion-dollar summer blockbusters.” (Walter)

Is this a trick question? Jason and the Argonauts, of course! The skeleton scene is one of the greatest things ever committed to celluloid. (Eric)


Jason and the Argonauts. I saw that the first time when I was about seven years old, and while it's hard to imagine in today's CGI world, that shit was boss. There's a scene I still remember as if I'd just seen it (and god, I hope it's from this movie, because otherwise I will be horribly embarrassed), with the giant and the achilles heel and the stuff that looks like brake fluid that comes gushing out after Jason nails him...
(Has anyone noticed how many of these questions could conceivably be answered with Clash of the Titans? Just wondering.) (xterminal)

25) Is there a movie you can think of that you feel like the world would be better off without, one that should have never been made?

Passion of the Christ. I tried to watch it with as open a mind as possible, giving Mel his chance. (Peter Nellhaus)

I’ve always felt that the popularity of Star Wars foreclosed the maturity that was blossoming in 1970s American film. So many good directors foundered in its wake. (Flickhead)

JFK. I might as well mention now that politically I lean in a slightly different direction than most of the people on this board. And while people of all political stripes can and do revile bad history in movies, with this film Stone legitimized a particular kind of thinking that I find abhorrent. To me, there is a direct line between JFK and Loose Change. You can probably guess how I feel about Michael Moore, so throw his movies in there, too. (Bill)

Even though it's one of my favorite movies, and speaking strictly in evil tones: Citizen Kane, just to see what films would have been like without it. (Adam Ross)

I don’t think that there are any reasons (artistic, political, historical) that we need to keep Bicentennial Man from disappearing forever. (Cerb Chaos)


Scarface (1983). I love De Palma, but gag me with a spoon… (Derek)

No, I don’t think so. Creatively bankrupt bad movies are forgettable enough that nobody misses them when they’re gone, and out-and-out fiascos are at least interesting in their badness. So while I’m getting really sick of hearing people tell me how awesome Garden State is, I don’t begrudge people their favorites, just as I hope they don’t begrudge me mine. (Paul C.)

Basic Instinct would be the closest, I guess. Not a single redeeming quality in any character in the entire film. It also gave Joe Eszterhas full employment for years afterward. (Bob Turnbull)

I can't think of one. Even Triumph of the Will gave us the fascinating spectacle of Riefenstahl's attempted self-rehabilitation. (Matthew)

Most of those made by Michael Haneke but specifically Cache. Oh, and Nacho Libre. (Ryland Walker Knight)

Not at the moment. Whether that's more because I'm too much of a fatalist, or because my memory is lousy, I'm not sure. (Brian Darr)

If The Conqueror hadn't been filmed on a set contaminated by nuclear fallout, not only would we have been spared a horrid movie, but John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, and dozens of others would have been much less likely to get cancer. (Patrick)

Pleasantville. For all of the reasons that Robert Fiore already listed to describe Altman’s O.C. & Stiggs: “smug, self-satisfied cynicism, a contempt for his targets that defeats satire.” It’s so axiomatic it’s practically a punchline that analogies fall apart when taken too far, but Pleasantville took a semi-clever metaphor and extrapolated it to incoherent allegory. (Nobody)

300. Watching it with a psyched audience was like being at Nuremberg. (Bemis)

The Fast and the Furious. I've never seen it but I hate everything about it. (Frankneck)

I could give a lot of frivolous answers here, but in general I do not think movies make the world worse. I suppose you could make a case for Jew Suss or some other propaganda, but even then I think those movies could have served as warning sirens if good people had paid attention at the time. (Campaspe)

Schindler's List (Filmbrain)

The Matrix, if just because then I wouldn't have had to spend so much time listening to people go on and on about how brilliant it was, how deep and philosophical it was (even though it was nothing more than a bunch of big words and abstract thoughts strung together to sound profound), how ground-breaking the special effects were (conveniently forgetting the fucking Gap ad that pre-dated it), and just how cool it was (ok, I'll concede cool). But more than that, it brought us even more splashy sci-fi films with threadbare plots and even worse dialogue. "You can't die, Neo, because I love you." Oh give me a break.

Pet peeve: you hear all these filmmakers sit around bragging about how long they had to work on the special effects before they could even start filming, how they had to develop whatever technology or whatever. And the scripts always suck (think Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow). And I'm always thinking, "You spent four years on this. In all that time, it didn't occur to you to make sure you had a passable script?" (Lucas McNelly)

26) Favorite Dub Taylor performance

That’s easy: Cottonmouth Gorch in Theodore J. Flicker’s Soggy Bottom, USA. (Flickhead)

You mean Cannonball? There's an actor you don't think of everyday. I guess Bonnie and Clyde would be the most well known. I'll go with Used Cars. (Jonathan Lapper)

Who? (Cerb Chaos)

All I know is that I always smiled whenever I saw him pop up somewhere. And it looks like he has a documentary of his own!

Dr. Peabody in The Reivers. (Peter Nellhaus)

Any of his work for Peckinpah, and the part of Mitch Brady in Hazel (where he courted the mighty Shirley Booth). (Thomas Mohr)

Still trying to force those of us who don't obsess over every slightly familiar-looking character actor over to your ways, huh? (Brian Darr)

He was in Used Cars, and that's good enough for me. (Patrick)

1941 (Bemis)

27) If you had the choice of seeing three final movies, to go with your three last meals, before shuffling off this mortal coil, what would they be?


2001: to meditate to. And for wish-fulfillment: "maybe I'll come back as a starchild." The Thing from Another World: to view others in isolation and keep me from wanting to eat any vegetables for my last meal (hey, I'm going to die, I should gluttonize). Sunrise: To let me know there is order to the universe. (Jonathan Lapper)

Erich von Stroheim’s Greed, Anthony Mann’s Thunder Bay and King Vidor’s The Fountainhead. No need to go on after that trio. (Flickhead)

I'm not going to choose the deepest, most profound films because that would just depress me before I die. So we'll start out the day with Billy Madison. Pure fluff, nothing heavy, and I'll watch it while eating some scrambled tofu, veggie bacon, veggie sausage, and toast. My lunches are always light, so I'll watch Annie Hall. It keeps me going, it makes my day ten times better, and it makes me laugh every time. A grilled cheese sandwich and plenty of pizza would go well (yes, I consider that light). And for my final meal, I'd watch my favorite film of all time, Boogie Nights. I rarely watch the film so that when I do, it's always new and surprising. It's heartfelt, it's stylish, and it's so much fun. The film got me to fall in love with movies and moviemaking, so I owe it. Watch it while eating some Puerto Rican-style rice and beans (red), tostones, vegetarian scallops, and wash it down with a Malta. Thanks for the memories. (Pacheco)

The Wild Bunch (a movie about dying), Bicycle Thieves (a movie about living) and Sirens (a movie about beautiful naked women). (Adam Ross)


If I was staring death in the face I don't think I'd be in a frame of mind to enjoy movies, so I'd be watching things to support my deathbed conversion case: King of Kings, The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, that sort of thing. If we were to re-frame the question as which three moviegoing experiences I'd like to re-live as I'd first experienced them, they would be: (1) The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. I swear I've never laughed so hard at a movie. By the end I was leaning in my seat at a 45-degree angle, literally stomping on the floor with my foot. Never the same impact afterwards, however. (2) Animal House. One of the rare times I felt the need to sit through a movie twice. (3) Children of Paradise. I first saw it in an advanced state of lovesickness, which left me susceptible to it like walking barefoot in the rain with a cold. (Robert Fiore)

I’m tempted to be a smartass and answer Satantango, Out 1, and Berlin Alexanderplatz, but if I knew my life was going to be over once the third movie was finished, I’d want to pick movies that would make me forget that. First, Belle de Jour. As I said before, my favorite, and as such a given under the circumstances. Second, A Hard Day’s Night! For me, there are few films more joyous. And finally, 2001: A Space Odyssey, because if I knew I was about to travel beyond the infinite, I’d want a film to take me there. (Paul C.)

It’s a Wonderful Life, The Ninth Configuration, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Hey, I’m scared of death. If I’m shuffling off, I’d prefer some movies that suggest that there’s more to it than roughly 70 or so short years and then . . . nothing. I’d take comfort in movies that imply that this is all part of something bigger and that there might be something “beyond the infinite.” If I’m wrong, at least I won’t know it. (Robert Daniel)

Eight and a Half, Big Deal on Madonna Street and The Organizer. (Peter Nellhaus)

I would want to expire as Mirror fades to black but before that I'd probably want to watch The Empire Strikes Back (for the nostalgic fun) and The Thin Red Line (despite its weight, I can't escape naming that film). (Ryland Walker Knight)

James Cruze's Hollywood, Ernst Lubitsch's The Patriot, and Tod Browning's London After Midnight. (Brian Darr)


Duck Soup, Monkey Business, and Horse Feathers. I often wish I had never seen these movies (or any of the rest) so that, in my darkest hour, I could watch them for the first time. (M. Peachbush)

If I had to choose three movies knowing that I was about to die, I’d want to have a blast on the way out. I’m going to choose three films that were among my most enjoyable big-screen experiences, films I enjoyed with packed houses hanging on the story, jumping at the shocks, or laughing at the gags, so I’ll choose Back to the Future, The Commitments (to remind me of home), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, simply to remember the extraordinary feeling that was coursing through the theatre as the curtains parted. I'd probably thrown in an honorable mention to The Rules of the Game, because I've never thought of film in quite the same way since, and seeing a film like that on a big screen is a rare privilege. (Gareth)

This is a ridiculously tough question Dennis! I just spent way too much time thinking about it and I know I’ll regret my choices tomorrow. Just for today I would probably start my morning with Frankenstein (1931) and follow it with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). If at all possible I would try and sneak in a double feature of Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources in there somewhere and top it off with a screening of Citizen Kane. Last but not least, I would watch all these movies at the beautiful and historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco where I happened to meet my husband for the first time.

Ridiculously hard question. I think I’d want to go out on seeing the sorts of films that have a warmhearted yet unsentimental view of humanity, so I’ll go with Bicycle Thieves, Grand Illusion, and maybe City Lights for a finale. (Daniel L.)

My Fair Lady (there must be singing); Jesus of Montreal (for some proper perspective); The Big Lebowski (exit laughing) (Weigard)

Kiss Me Deadly, Seconds, Lisztomania (Robert)

When it comes down to it, who wants to spend their final hours in this world watching Godard? Give me The Empire Strikes Back for the best music and best lightsaber battle of the most fun movie trilogy. Not to mention thematically appropriate, sorrowful yet hopeful. For a light-hearted emotional release put on The Big Lebowski for me, a cheerful movie that even provides a degree of solace: “The Dude abides. I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there, the Dude, takin’ ’er easy for all us sinners.” Then if I needed some bucking up before facing the executioner, not much could equal the tear-jerking resolve of Ronald Colman in A Tale of Two Cities: “It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to, than I have ever known.” Of course some of its impact would be lost if I’m being punished for a crime I committed, but it would presumably ensure I don’t resent it. Unlike Sydney Carton at least I’m getting what I deserve! (Nobody)

In no specific order, A Canterbury Tale, Night Of The Hunter, and Holiday. (Chris S.)

Berlin Alexanderplatz, Andy Warhol's **** and Out 1: Noli Me Tangere (Weeping Sam)

Ooooh, great question. Thinking... thinking ... you want the meals, too? I'm not much of a carnivore, but so what -- I'm dying! (Strangely, I don't think there's any nudity in a single one of my choices. Not very good condemned-man behavior, I know, but art always seems to win out.) I think I would want to see Simple Men one last time. And it ends on a beautiful note -- Robert Burke's character finds comfort in a woman's love, saving himself and saving her, just as he's being arrested. A lobster bake might be appropriate to the Long Island setting.

Since the theme for this, my ending scenario, is being condemned, I'd also want to see a thoughtful drama somewhat along those lines -- Spike Lee's 25th Hour fits the bill nicely. I'd probably want a little sirloin or brasciole -- feasting on the red meat of life, as it were; it's not imperative though. It'd be more important to me to have 25th Hour co-star Rosario Dawson as a dinner & movie companion -- it doesn't seem like TOO much to ask, considering my looming fate -- and I'd even let her choose the menu.

Finally, the one I want burned in my brain even as I go into the light is Love and Death -- one of the funniest philosophical movies ever made. Serve me a nice juicy Chicken Kiev and some white wine, and something sinfully rich and covered in chocolate for dessert. That, and a little laughter, Woody, Diane and Prokofiev, should soften the blow of my impending death.

If for some reason a print of any of these is not available, I would request Last Tango in Paris as an alternate choice. (there, I finally went for sex and nudity!! -- but also, you know, in a good, thought-provoking film.)

Of course, after all this I would want Bruce Willis to bust into the gas chamber with a shotgun (and some Alka-Seltzer) and say he'd have been there sooner but "traffic was a bitch." He wouldn't have to carry me out or anything... (Dn Aloi)

An Adam Sandler marathon would doubtless put me in the right frame of mind to welcome death. (Eric)

28) And what movie theater would you choose to see them in?


The Cleveland Uptown Cinema on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. One of the last Movie Palaces left. (Jonathan Lapper)

The theater at McMenamin's Kennedy School in Portland, to ensure that my last meals had plenty of good pizza and beer. (Adam Ross)

The best place to see a movie that I know of when the lights go down is the Arclight. Best for surviving movie palace décor is the Pantages in Hollywood. For sheer atmospheric seediness nothing could beat the old World Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. It should have been called the End of the World Theater. (Robert Fiore)

At home on an HDTV with friends and family. (Robert Daniel)

The Ziegfeld, NYC. (Peter Nellhaus)

Coronet? Or The Grand Lake, for the nostalgic fun. (Ryland Walker Knight)

San Francisco's Fabulous Fox Theatre on Market Street. (Brian Darr)

A huge movie palace somewhere I’ve never been, with a balcony where I could put me feet up; I’d definitely get the biggest popcorn for once. (Gareth)

Don’t care. Just one with a projectionist worth his salt. (Daniel L.)

The Whiteside in Corvallis, Oregon, newly refurbished. (Weigard)

The Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, where the screen rises out of the stage floor deus ex machina style. (Nobody)

I assume I'm in the hospital or in prison. (M. Peachbush)

Somewhere with good seats and functioning bathroom... and wifi, since I think this would worth live-blogging. (Weeping Sam)

One full of screaming babies. (Eric)

29) Your proposed entry in the Atheist Film Festival

In Kevin McDonald’s documentary Touching the Void, Joe Simpson relates his experiences of being trapped in a mountain crevice for days with no food and a severly broken leg. He was near death and he knew it, and yet by his own account, even in a situation that seemed hopeless, he couldn’t bring himself to believe in God. According to Simpson, it was this belief that nothing awaited him after death that inspired him to try to save himself. So many movies operate under the oh-so-pious belief that salvation comes through God (think of the Jesus/water bottle scene in World Trade Center) that it’s more than a little bracing to hear the other side of the coin. Many devout people treat atheists as merely lapsed believers, waited to be jolted out of darkness, but Simpson’s story tells us otherwise. (Paul C.)


Funny Games by Michael Haenke. I’m a believer and I can’t help but see a world without God as bleak. It’s not a strech for me to see this film as reflective of a godless world: characters who operate with absolutely no moral code or conscience, who seek only instant, sadistic gratification; victims who have no escape, no hope of a savior, who face nothing but torment and despair, then darkness. (Robert Daniel)

Bill Paxton’s Frailty (Thomas Mohr)

Come & See’s ethnic cleansing is about as far from any righteousness as it is possible to get. Proof positive that we're probably on our own in this mess. (Giles Edwards)

Winter Light, a film that finds only silence in the search for God while still dignifying the search itself. (Bemis)

For all you empiricists out there: Babe: Pig in the City or My Neighbor Totoro (Ryland Walker Knight)

Mike Leigh's Naked (Weeping Sam)

Microcosmos (Eric)

30) What advice on day-to-day living have you learned from the movies?

“Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige's wall, there was this one: ‘Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.’ Master Ittei commented, ‘Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.’” It’s originally from Hagakure, but I learned it from Ghost Dog, and it’s proven to be sound advice. Perhaps I haven’t gotten rich off of it, but it’s helped me stay levelheaded and relatively happy, which is nothing to sneeze at. (Paul C.)

From watching French new wave, esp. Clare's Knee, I noticed that men and women could casually touch and embrace. I had been raised in a cold, New England arms-length kind of culture, and I found that very appealing. Since then I've made an effort to open up physically, and it has made me a better person. Also, I learned not to get hung up on teenaged girls' knees. (M. Peachbush)

Beautiful, vivacious, quirky women are irresistibly attracted to moody, scruffy, brainy introverts. This knowledge is sure to pay off any day now. (Eric)

That every day occurrences are so much more poetic with a soundtrack. God bless the iPod. (Lucas McNelly)

5 comments:

bill said...

Who the hell are you to judge us?

But really, thanks for this, Dennis. I always look forward to these.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Great list. I think this was my first ever comment on your blog back when I was just starting to make myself obnoxiously known. And it was my first exposure to Bill. So good memories all around.

Please don't do the new quiz until after the holidays or I'll never be able to join in. When I'm home it's too busy. It's when I'm at work that I can really slack off and spend hours surfing the internet.

Brian said...

Tremendous to read through these again (a first pass, anyway; I'll have to come back for seconds and thirds another time). A couple of my own answers stick out for me again after six months. I did see Le Doulos at the Castro and was thrilled by it. My new favorite Melville for sure. And my non-answers to questions 27 and 28 (because I found it too morbid to give answers in the realm of possibility) were interesting to revisit as well. Just yesterday I read an interview with Tim Burton in which he appeared to be claiming to have seen London After Midnight (I suspect editorial ignorance is to blame though). And seeing my #28 answer, the long-demolished Fox Theatre, juxtaposed next to Ryland's answer reminded me that the Coronet, which six months ago was the largest non-IMAX screen in town, has been leveled to a grassy lot in the meantime.

Finally, though I didn't answer the extra credit six months ago, let me finally supply an answer to the atheist film festival question: M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. I suppose that needs some further explanation, but I gotta run for now...

Cinebeats said...

This was fun to scan through (I hope to give it a deeper read soon) and it was great to read my comment or request for Criterion to release Naked Prey since that terrific film is going to be released by them next month. At the time I mentioned it I had no idea the movie was even in their hands, but I'm really looking forward to that DVD release!

Happy holidays Dennis!!

Bob Turnbull said...

What a great thing to browse through on a lazy Christmas morning (in between yells of "Daddy, this is what the Vulture Droid looks like in attack position!"). I read through just about everyone's initial responses back in the summer and this "Best Of" highlights some great writing and ideas.

Small nit though...There's a bunch of the snippets that aren't attributed (considering you pulled out literally a thousand quotes, I'm not complaining!). OK, I suppose I care mostly because some of them are mine, but really, this isn't about me...B-)