Monday, December 24, 2007

PROFESSOR BERTRAM POTTS' HELLA HOMEWORK FOR THE HOLIDAYS CHRISTMAS BREAK QUIZ

The bells have just chimed. Christmas Eve has officially rung in. And in just in time to be enjoyed for the holiday (or stuffed in somebody’s dangling sock), SLIFR’s Christmas present to you: homework. Some of you may be on official Christmas vacation, but that means precious little to the crack and hardy staff of SLIFR University, who have worked long and hard into the night before Christmas (Eve) to provide you with just the kind of distraction you’ll need during your time of rest, relaxation and holiday family refereeing. Yes, it’s the Christmas Break quiz, and here to present it is the latest member of our faculty, a stiff upper lip of a man who can nonetheless be undone by just the right combination of sass and sparkle as embodied by that straight shot of whiskey on legs (as she was so aptly described in the last quiz), Sugarpuss O’Shea. I’m speaking, of course, of none other than master linguist (See? I can pass up a bad joke if I really put my mind to it) Professor Bertram Potts. The good professor is proud to present to you for your delectation, frustration, delight and teeth-gnashing this latest batch of questions, which will hopefully be as fun for you to answer as it inevitably will be fun to read your answers. There is no grade. There is no curve. There is no right or wrong response. There is only, hopefully, much to keep your brain pleasantly churning in between unwrapping presents, dodging misteltoe and hastily gulping down nog. As always, Professor Potts would like to remind you to cut and paste the questions and include them with your answers in the comments column for everyone’s easier tracking and reading. If you’re ready, so is our esteemed educator. I’ll be taking a couple days off from the site (the occasional comment notwithstanding), but I’ll be back to ring in the new year with you all next week. Until then, happy head-scratchin’, and merry Christmas, everyone!


1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

4) Best Movie of 1947

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

9) Best Movie of 1967

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

13) Best Movie of 1987

14) Favorite movie about obsession

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

20) Best Movie of 2007

21) Worst Movie of 2007

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

26) Favorite Documentary

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

31) Best Actor of 2007

32) Best Actress of 2007

33) Best Director of 2007

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?


(Thanks in advance to all of you who look forward to participating in these quizzes as much as I do. And a special bow in the general direction of Jim Emerson, who provided even more inspiration than usual by outright providing two questions in this particular quiz. Professor Potts owes you a debt of gratitude, Jim, but he says it’s pistols at dawn if you ever look at Sugarpuss like that again. I think he’s serious, man.)

51 comments:

Schuyler Chapman said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

Well, there're are too many to pick. I do love the opening of "Repo Man," as I've written elsewhere, so I'll stick with that one as my definitive answer. But I'm a huge proponent of the trundling, menacing red truck that appears at the start of Arturo Ripstein's "A Place Without Limits" (so much more foreboding than any of the vehicles in, like, "Maximum Overdrive" or "Transformers"). I also adore the opening shot of "Werckmeister Harmonies." And if I can pick a TV show, I still think the crane shot at the beginning of the first episode of "Freaks and Geeks" is the best moment ever on the small screen (especially when the Van Halen tune kicks in).

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Even though Ms. Weld was on "Dobie Gillis" and is gorgeous, Ms. Farrow wins by a nose. Few people could win the hearts of both Frank Sinatra and Woody Allen.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Um... I'm pretty sure I laughed at "Big Daddy." And I'm pretty sure I was immediately ashamed of myself.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Man, what a good year for movies... I'll go with "Odd Man Out" (Carol Reed's great flick about the Irish Troubles that is criminally out of print on DVD). But I need to give honorable mention to the delicious Chaplin talkie "M. Verdoux" and Powell and Pressburger's "Black Narcissus."

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

"Mjolnir"

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Kinda always like Robert Vaughn in "Magnificent Seven."

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I saw "2001" at a theatre in Cork, Ireland, in 2001. Not terribly exotic, I know, but it was memorable (first time seeing it on the big screen).

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

"Fog of War," for sure.

9) Best Movie of 1967

"Point Blank"--Another good year, but Boorman's masterpiece takes the crown easily.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Well, there's always watching young men get turned on by the rape scene in "A Clockwork Orange" to curdle my blood. I've seen that happen more times than I'd care to remember.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Even though I was the appropriate age to fantasize about (or fetishize perhaps?) Michelle Pfeiffer in her plastic catsuit, Ms. Newmar has and always will be the only Catwoman for me.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

The poster for "Star Wars" in which Luke and Leia look nothing like Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher (http://www.nerf-herders-anonymous.net/images/StarWarsPoster.jpg)

13) Best Movie of 1987

"Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story" puts its competition from that year to shame and is probably Todd Haynes's best rock star bio yet (and it's got pretty stiff competition). That film should be no more than a trifling gimmick, but it somehow transcends the Barbie dolls to become a truly moving and harrowing portrait of Karen's decline. If I can't pick a banned movie, however, I'll go with the beautiful "The Cyclist" by Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

"Obsession"? No, not really. Maybe "Little Otik" with its horrific and droll representation of a childless couple's obsession with having a child. The "Madonna" shot in that film still makes me smirk and shudder.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

1. A Christmas Story; 2. Christmas in Connecticut; 3. The Wizard of Oz (I'm not sure it counts as a Christmas movie, but there's snow in it and it was on TNT the other night. That and I can't think of a third Christmas movie that I like.)

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Dean only became iconic because he died. Montgomery Clift is certifiably awesome. Always. And the Clash sang about him in a song. Take that James Dean.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

I've only seen "Burden of Dreams," but I think it's incredibly swell.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I would agree, and hasten to add that the critic is essential not only for the defense (or support) of the new but also for the defense of the undefended. I think it's incredibly important to say that something that might be easily dismissed as meaningless entertainment (like, um, "Robocop" in film or the works of Raymond Chandler in literature) are in fact great works of art. I think that's as important if not more important than supporting the new.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

Last movie on DVD was "Superbad." And I saw "I'm Not There" most recently in the theater.

20) Best Movie of 2007

"I'm Not There"--though I'm waiting to see several movies still (namely "Offside," "Eastern Promises," "There Will Be Blood," and "Sweeney Todd")

21) Worst Movie of 2007

"Elizabeth" is truly awful. It might have been a magnificent kitsch-fest but it decided part way through to take itself seriously. WTF?

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Ok, this is a BROAD overview. My tastes have always been muddled to a degree, so I'll just base this off of the films I decided I loved during those periods.

Ages 3-11--"Star Wars," "Jaws," "Batman," "Ghostbusters," and, um, "Cocktail"

Ages 12-15--"Pulp Fiction," Empire Strikes Back," "Clerks," and "A Clockwork Orange"

Ages 16-18--"2001," "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," "Boogie Nights," and "Taxi Driver"

Ages 19-22--"Chinatown," "Rules of the Game," "Nashville," and "Vertigo"

Ages 23-25--"In the Mood for Love," "Pierrot le Fou," and "Shock Corridor"

Ages 25-27--"Au Hasard Balthazar, "Underground," and "Deep Red"

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I've been trying to convince my friends and relations of Brian DePalma's greatness for years. Although some have enjoyed certain films ("Sisters" and "Dressed to Kill" get good reactions), no one has yet bought my arguments in favor of "Body Double" or "Hi Mom!" or "Black Dahlia."

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

I'll tackle the "simplicity and quietude" angle and say that the odalisque at the beginning of "Lost in Translation" fits that definitiion to a "T."

26) Favorite Documentary

"Sherman's March" by Ross McElwee.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

"Velvet Goldmine"

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

I'd have to say that my lifestyle has not been influenced to any significant degree by a film that I've seen.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford. I really like "Gilda."

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

I will laugh at least four times.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Josh Brolin in "No Country for Old Men." Bardem and Jones are good as usual. But Brolin was excellent, and he deserves some respect. Especially when you see how far he progressed from "Goonies."

32) Best Actress of 2007

NOT Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There." She was good. Christian Bale and Heath Ledger were better. I would like to air that grievance right now. Now, the best actress was Marian Cotillard.

33) Best Director of 2007

Todd Haynes

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

"Zodiac"

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

The moment in "The Lives of Others" when Dreyman chooses not to approach Wiesler. If they had actually spoken to one another, it would have destroyed the film for me.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

The Bandit said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

That blonde, Bo Hopkins looking dude's ugly mug filling the landscape, "Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."


2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia Farrow.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

"Freddy Got Fingered."

4) Best Movie of 1947

"Out of the Past," though it's no "Against All Odds."

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

"Iceman. That's how he flies. Ice cold. No mistakes." Brilliant.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Vaughn. WEBSCOE 4 LIFE.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

The Thai prison full of smoking-hot WB chicks who get to just sit around whining without much incident in the masterpiece "Brokedown Palace."


9) Best Movie of 1967

"You Only Live Twice," because Connery-as-Japanese = comic gold.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

The "Satan's Alley" finale of "Stayin' Alive." The direct/choreographer dude in the big sweaters and RIDING BOOTS really sells the magic.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

I like Jordana Brewster.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

"Scarface."

13) Best Movie of 1987

1987 is second ONLY to 1985 as the worst year of the 80s. '87 is one of the most depressing years ever in general-- bad hair, bad HAIR METAL, and a bunch of depressing, forgotten movies like "No Man's Land," "Secret of My Success," "Three for the Road," etc.

Even the big "good" movies of that year aren't very rewatchable-- anyone linin' up for that "Pelle the Conqueror" 3-disc set, or throwing "Last Emperor" into regular rotation on the BluRay?

I guess there are some well-remembered "geek"-- movies that year: "Evil Dead 2," "Near Dark," "Lost Boys," "Predator."

So I'll take one geek, "RoboCop," and one AWESOME: "Wall Street."

"Teldar Paper" 4 Life.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

"Sharky's Machine."

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

"Black Christmas," "Die Hard," and "Eyes Wide Shut."

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Dean by a mile.


18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

All I know is, Kenneth Turan annoys me. God, is he annoying.

That had nothing to do with the question, I know.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD: I rewatched Rob Zombie's "Halloween," the first hour of which is beyond brilliant.

In theaters, I saw "I Am Legend" yesterday. I was surprised it was so small, B, minor, and uneventful. It almost made last summer's truncated, slipshod "The Invasion" look like a rich epic.

20) Best Movie of 2007

"Into the Wild," then "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and "No Country For Old Men."

Of course, I'll watch "Zodiac," "American Gangster" and "Halloween" about 50 times each before I ever watch the "best" movies a second time, so, well, you know.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

I like pretty much everything. Examples: I liked "Revolver," "I Know Who Killed Me," and "Captivity." But "Wendell Baker Story" was pretty sloppy and dull, and some DTV I caught with Paul Walker called "Bobby Z" was damn near unwatchable.


23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

The entire oeuvre of the greatest filmmaker in the entire history of cinema, SIR TONY SCOTT. Tony Scott movies aren't just what all movies should be like. They're what LIFE should be like.

Yeah, I like Altman and Kubrick just fine, but at the end of the day, I just want GOOD-LOOKING PEOPLE IN AVIATOR SUNGLASSES doing AWESOME THINGS and HAVING SEX and SHOOTING AT PEOPLE with VENETIAN BLINDS and BLOWING CURTAINS in the background, and THREE-DAY SHADOW and WOMEN LOOKING HOT with TINKLY PIANO MUSIC DURING THE SERIOUS SCENES and a FILTERED TOP QUARTER OF THE SCREEN DURING SUNNY EXTERIOR SHOTS and GLOWERING VILLAINS who drive AWESOME CARS and FRENETIC PACING and EVERYTHING LOOKING ALL BLUE AND GRAINY.

He is the MASTER.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Jessica Biel.

26) Favorite Documentary

SOME KIND OF MONSTER!!!! Now they need to do one about SLAYER!!!!!

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Chevy's roll call of humiliation in "Modern Problems," with that awesome Tubes song playing.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

"Scarface," "Boogie Nights," "Domino," "GoodFellas," and "Fight Club" all get me TEMPORARILY pumped up to go out and be AWESOME IN LIFE, then I just revert back to being a neutered suburban dork.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

That 13-year-old kid from "Atonement" will get the annual "shock" (that isn't shocking at all) supporting nomination of a kid, amateur, newcomer, unknown foreign actor/actress... who will then go on to do NOTHING else, ever.

Er, well, at least after the Peter Jackson movie she's toplining next.

31) Best Actor of 2007

I'm sure it's gonna be Daniel-Day Lewis, but I haven't seen that yet.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Jessica Alba, "Awake."

33) Best Director of 2007

The Coens. Then Fincher. And the dude who made "Jesse James" whose name I can't remember.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

"No Country."

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Any moment with Josh Brolin sporting a mustache, though Ben Foster's impromptu karate moves in "Alpha Dog" were a DELIGHT.


36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That the Brothers Scott do their own version of "Grindhouse" called "Awesomehouse."

Flickhead said...

1) Your favorite opening shot.
The overhead pan across New Guinea, Jean-Pierre Kalfon’s narration and Pink Floyd’s music in La Vallée (1972).

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?
Which begs the question: does poor Mia have a fan base at all? Tuesday’s been one of my favorites for most of my life; Wild in the Country, Pretty Poison, The Cincinnati Kid, Who’ll Stop the Rain?, I Walk the Line, Thief and Heartbreak Hotel I’d watch anytime just for her.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh
Embarrassment for me began dissipating years ago…at this stage of the game, who cares?…so I’ll fess up to having seen Blake Edwards’s S.O.B. more than a dozen times. Recently I’ve grown quite fond of The Sweetest Thing. In fact, I’m a sucker for Cameron Diaz movies.

4) Best Movie of 1947
Beats me: that was a watershed year, no? For what it’s worth, at the age of twelve I could recite all the dialog from Dark Passage (1947).

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?
‘Apathetic.’ Quack, quack!

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?
Stephanie Powers.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie
The Mummy’s Hand in 16mm, after hours in a gift shop specializing in American Revolution and Civil War trinkets, presented as part of a fund raiser for a Baptist church.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie
I’ve never made it through one without falling asleep.

9) Best Movie of 1967
There are probably ten that would tie for ‘the best,’ and it would take me a month for me to figure out which would come first.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies
It was in 1976 at a theater showing That’s Entertainment Part II, and there were these women in the row behind us who just wouldn’t keep quiet. They were around my mother’s age, all yapping about Doris Day and Esther Williams and stuff. People did the ‘shhh’ thing and asked them to keep it down, but they kept on chatting away like they were having tea at the bridge club. After twenty minutes of this nonsense, I stood up and screamed loud enough to drown out the movie, “Shut up—NOW!” Never heard a peep out of them again. But the people I was with began sizing me up for a straightjacket.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?
Anne’s a better actress, but Julie…oh! Julie!

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)
In 1965 I stood in theatre lobbies for eons staring at the poster for Thunderball…it prompted me to pursue a career in design and illustration. Runner-up: You Only Live Twice.

13) Best Movie of 1987
Funny: there was so much in 1947 and 1967, but by ‘87 we’re really reaching.

14) Favorite movie about obsession
There are several. One I keep going back to is Barbet Schroeder’s Tricheurs, a modest but knowledgeable examination of compulsive gambling. It’d make a splendid co-feature with Jacques Demy’s La Baie des anges.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
Any three Michelle Pfeiffer movies with a bottle of Dewars, a freezer full of ice, two fine cigars, and my wife away at her sister’s house…preferably overnight.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
Monty in The Misfits touched me deeper than all of Dean’s work combined.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie
It’s a tie between Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers, Gap-Toothed Women and In Heaven There Is No Beer?.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?
I’m hungry. I think I’ll order a pizza.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?
DVD: Mann’s Border Incident. Theatre: Charlie Wilson’s War.

20) Best Movie of 2007
I haven’t seen them all.

21) Worst Movie of 2007
See #20.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia
1) Mildly screwed up. 2) Increasingly screwed up. 3) All screwed up. 4) Adjusting. 5) Somewhat comfortably screwed up.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
Aside from my love for the universally maligned Catwoman, I’m also a big fan of Spun (2002). But other than an old ‘reformed’ junkie I know, no one else seems interested in seeing it. It’s kind of like National Lampoon’s Requiem for a Dream, with some outstanding jittery work by Brittany Murphy, Jason Schwartzman, Debbie Harry, and Mickey Rourke as The Cook. Back in the days of Johnny Handsome and Barfly, Mickey was one of my favorites.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
Rita was glorious (dig that slow pan up her legs in Lady from Shanghai), but Gene was a more interesting actress and a unique beauty. Her overbite and pouty lips often remind me of the cartoon of Don Knotts as a fish in The Incredible Mr. Limpet, but that’s a personal quirk that shouldn’t concern you.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
When the lights accidentally dim in Pop Leibel’s bookshop in Vertigo; when the lights accidentally go out at the end of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang.

26) Favorite Documentary
While writing a recent review of Stuart Samuels’s Midnight Movies, I watched it four times in two weeks, so it’s my favorite at the moment. Stuart says there’s a deluxe DVD of Midnight Movies coming out next year; and he’s currently making a documentary titled 27, about Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, who all died at the age of 27.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence
Leo McKern throwing darts at The Beatles in Help!.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?
After I saw The Animals Film (1981), I didn’t eat meat, poultry or dairy products for more than ten years. Don’t be too impressed: I just called in for a pizza with extra cheese, sausage and pepperoni.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?
I’ve equal respect for both. But Ford is from a safer, cleaner place. Dana is nervous, on guard, his eyes know fear; he’s aware that the ground could swallow him up at any moment. This makes him a more interesting actor, especially in the decadent corners of Preminger and Lang.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards
Kathy Bates and John Williams will present the Award for Best Adapted Screenplay stone naked.

31) Best Actor of 2007
See #20.

32) Best Actress of 2007
See #20.

33) Best Director of 2007
See #20.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007
See #20.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007
Was it that great a year? Did I actually miss something? Somehow, I don’t think so.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
That it won’t seem like more of the same, as it has for too long.

Alonzo Mosley (FBI) said...

1) “Yojimbo”

2) Tuesday Weld (Poor Dobie Gillis).

3) I wouldn’t say I was embarrassed by it, but I think “Clue” Doesn’t get nearly as much praise as it should.

4) “Out of the Past”

5) Until either Martin Brest or Yaphet Kotto come after me with crowbars, it will remain Alonzo.

6) David McCallum. We miss you Ashley-Pitt. (It’s a shame the Germans didn’t).

7) Not many of those, though I do recall my wife and I watching “Sideways” on my laptop in a D.C. Bed and Breakfast several years ago.

8) “The Thin Blue Line”

9) “Cool Hand Luke”

10) Seeing “Sloth” in “Se7en”, and then filling in the backstory in my head before the Doctor had a chance to.

11) Anne Francis, just because I watched “Bad Day at Black Rock” for the first time last summer.

12) I don’t know if I have one, but I remember seeing the poster for “Life Stinks” when it first came out and inexplicably laughing my ass off. It’s kind of brilliant. http://www.altfg.com/blog/actors/mel-brooks-biography-by-james-robert-parish/

13) “The Princess Bride”

14) I was pretty damn impressed with “Zodiac” earlier this year. I’m far from having a short attention span, but it’s rare that a movie that long will hold me that rapt and oblivious of time passing (I can remember the original “Solaris” doing the same thing).

15) “The Ref”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Lion in Winter”.

16) Montgomery Clift.

17) Never seen one, I’m afraid.

18) It’s a lesson that was beaten into my brain while pursuing my Library Science degree, but it doesn’t make it any less true: We all bring different thing to the table and all those things, no matter our backgrounds or experience, can be valuable. So I agree with Mr. O’toole … er … Mr. Ego.

19) On DVD: “The Good German”. In the Theater: “No Country for Old Men”.

20) Again, “No Country for Old Men”.

21) As far as the ones I saw in the theater, I would have to say “Spiderman 3”.

22) Whoa. That’ll take more time to answer than I have on Christmas Eve, I’m afraid.

23) My wife is a particularly hard nut to crack in terms of new film experiences, but I hold out hope that I can get her to watch “Being John Malkovich” one day.

24) Gene Tierney (I think Hawkeye Peirce put it best: “If Vincent Price straightens that overbite, I’ll kill ‘em”.)

25) “The Lion in Winter” has held my top spot for as long as I can remember, though I would be first to concede it’s not a perfect film. Amongst it’s many great lines is one that kind of echoes the question. Henry touches a strand of Alais’s hair and says “Let us have one strand askew. Nothing in life has any business being perfect”.

26) “The Civil War”

27) By far, “Catch me if you Can”.

28) Again, “The Lion in Winter”. Henry’s response to Eleanor when she speaks of the eyes in the darkness is such a touching moment for me, and speaks of his love for her despite all that has preceded it..

29) Dana Andrews

30) Despite my success this year in creating a clipshow, there remains too many of them every year and I predict that 2008 will be no different.

31) Not an original choice, but I’d say Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”.

32) Cate Blanchett seemed to have a great year, though on the whole I was underwhelmed by the one film of hers I saw this year (“The Golden Age”).

33) Joel and Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men”.

34) Ditto.

35) The first duet in the music store in “Once”.

36) My wife’s Christmas present to me was a week’s worth of passes for the Florida Film Festival in April, so my hope is for a rich selection of movies for my week in Maitland.

bill said...

1) Your favorite opening shot.

This is cheating, since I’m basically stealing from Jim Emerson, but “Barry Lyndon”. Just looking at that screen shot on his site makes me unable to think of anything better.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Strangely enough, Mia Farrow. I don’t know, she’s just been in more movies that I’ve liked. “Rosemary’s Baby” alone puts her over the top.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Well, I think both “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” are funny, but I’m not really embarrassed about that. But I am embarrassed that I laughed once or twice during “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”, because that movie is awful.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Hell, I don’t know. Probably “Out of the Past”. “I don’t wanna die either, baby, but if I have to I’m gonna die last.” You can’t beat that. Nice try, “Love Laughs at Andy Hardy”, but you didn’t quite get there.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

People call me “The Boondock Saint”. I walk around quoting that movie all the time, and I dress in black t-shirts and beat-up jeans all the time, and I have a crucifix tattooed on my chest. Nobody likes me, and I have shitty taste.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Ashley-Pitt kind of screwed the pooch near the end of “The Great Escape”, so I’ll go with Robert Vaughn. I currently have no need for a personal injury attorney, but if I ever do I’ll go with whoever Vaughn recommends, in whichever city I happen to be in at the time.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Um…downstairs?

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

”Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred Leuchter, Jr.” is one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. No fooling.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Tough one. I am extremely partial to both “Cool Hand Luke” and “Hombre”, but if we’re going with what I actually think was “best”, that would probably have to be “Le Samourai”.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

I had a strange experience when I saw “Schindler’s List” in the theater. The liquidation of the ghetto sequence had begun, and it had reached the moment where several German soldiers are herding people from their rooms into the hallway. One man struggles slightly, is pushed down, and shot in the head. At that moment, a woman screamed. I was positive, at the time, that the woman was in the audience, and I felt flushed, looking around for this hysterical person, but I saw nothing. On subsequent viewings, I’ve realized that the scream is in the film, but it didn’t sound that way at the time.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Newmar. Best cat suit ever.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I like the Kafka-esque nightmare that is this “Weekend at Bernie’s” poster:
http://www.polishposter.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=1020&Category_Code=

13) Best Movie of 1987

“Stakeout”. Okay, “Empire of the Sun”, but I want to give an award for Best Movie of 1987 That Far Too Few People Have Seen to “Five Corners”.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

I don’t know what it would have been before “Zodiac”, but I don’t need to figure that out because the answer is “Zodiac”. I know I’m supposed to say “Vertigo”, but that’s not my favorite. My favorite is “Zodiac”.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

“A Christmas Story” twice in a row on TBS, then “Auto Focus”.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Clift. He was a really great actor, and The Clash wrote a song about him.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

How many has he made? “Burden of Dreams” and “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe” are the only ones I know about, and the only one I’ve seen is “Burden of Dreams”, so that’s what I’ll be going with. But it would probably be that one anyway, because it captured on film for all eternity Herzog’s speech about nature’s murderous impulses.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I agree with Ego 100%, and that is one of my favorite moments from one of the best movies of the year. In addition, I would like to quote something I read in a book earlier this year, “The Lecturer’s Tale” by James Hynes (I didn’t like the book, but I liked this quote): “A literary work is any work of imaginitive writing – prose, poetry, or drama – that is inherently more interesting – rich, complex, mysterious – than anything that could be said about it.”

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD, “Bug”. Can’t imagine why that one didn’t put asses in seats, but what can you do?

In the theaters, “Sweeney Todd”. With that combo, the only other thing I can say is, “Merry Christmas!”

20) Best Movie of 2007

So far, “No Country for Old Men”. But I haven’t seen “There Will Be Blood” yet.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Probably “The Number 23”. It’s one of those movies that you watch late at night, and if you doze off for ten or fifteen minutes you wake up and think, “Fuck it, I didn’t miss anything.”

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Like every male of my generation, I started out with you various “Star Wars”-es and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”-ses. Also, because I’m the youngest of seven boys, I saw a lot of Ray Harryhausen movies, the original “King Kong”, and that sort of thing earlier than most kids my age.

I did watch a fair amount of Hitchcock as a kid, but a lot changed for me when I was twelve and I saw De Palma’s “The Untouchables”. I’ve cooled on that movie, but it led me to a lot of other crime films of that basic type. Three years later, “Miller’s Crossing” knocked me for a loop (I haven’t cooled on that one.) I then got on board with Tarantino.

The strange thing is that all this time I know I’d seen a lot of other movies that informed my appreciation for films. I’d seen quite a few Kurosawa films, for instance, and a lot of old Westerns. Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s difficult to chart. But my big three moments are probably the aforementioned experiences with “The Untouchablse” and “Miller’s Crossing”, and then later when I saw “2001” on a huge screen in Washington, DC (hey there, Jonathan!)

But it’s always really been a hodgepodge, as is this answer. For instance, over the last four days, here are the movies I’ve watched: “Sweeney Todd”, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”, “Bug”, “The Bourne Ultimatum”, “Who Can Kill a Child?”, Tod Browning’s “The Unknown”, “The Girl Next Door” (NOT the ex-porn star comedy), “Shampoo”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, “Crawlspace” with Klaus Kinski, “Once”, …and before I have to go back to work on Wednesday I will also have watched the new “Halloween” and Michael Haneke’s “The Seventh Continent”. And it’s been like that for as long as I can remember.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I’m not sure, but there are some, like “Dead Man” and “The Ninth Configuration” that I don’t even bother recommending to people, because I’ll just end up getting smacked.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita Hayworth.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

You’ve asked this before, in another form. You’re trying to trick us.

Anyway, I can’t answer the “accidental” part of this, which is what I believe you’re going for. I can answer the “simplicity and quietude” part, at least I can give you the first good example that came to mind, which is the ending of “Big Night”.

26) Favorite Documentary

”Mr. Death” (see above).

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

I would never be able to pick one, so I’ll just go with one I really like that no one else will mention: “Spider”, with that strangely beautiful hymn, and the water stains on wallpaper that look like Rorschach inkblots.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

“Friday the 13th, Part II” taught me that murder is wrong. Since seeing that film, I haven’t murdered a single person.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Dana Andrews. “Curse of the Demon”, people.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Johnny Depp will win Best Actor. He’s probably not the best, but I’d be cool with that, since I loved “Sweeney Todd”.

31) Best Actor of 2007

These questions are going to be hard to answer, especially without having seen, among other films, “There Will Be Blood”. But right now it might be Hoffman in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”. Or Chris Cooper in “Breach”. Or Christian Bale in “Rescue Dawn”. Or Michael Shannon in “Bug”.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Ashley Judd in “Bug”.

33) Best Director of 2007

The Coens.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Adapted, it’s the Coens screenplay for “No Country for Old Men”. Original, I’m not sure…maybe “The Darjeeling Limited”.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

I really like Chigurh drinking milk and just breathing.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

My hope is that 2008 does its damndest to emulate its big brother, 2007. It won’t, but at least the Coens have another film coming out, as does David Mamet.

jim emerson said...

1) Your favorite opening shot

Besides "Barry Lyndon"? "The Searchers." This is the cinema, and I well up the moment that door cracks open and we see the vast Western light.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Ms. Farrow -- for screwing the devil... in "Rosemary's Baby" alone.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

"The Lonely Guy." Not because it's not funny, (It is! It made me laugh!) But because it was written, at least in part, by Neil Simon, who has never made me laugh before or since.

4) Best Movie of 1947

"Out of the Past," natch. Build my gallows high, baby.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Flan

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Napoleon Solo. I was seven when the show premiered. I wanted to be debonaire.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

"Bandit Queen" in a big, old downtown theater in Bombay (when it was still called "Bombay").

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

"Fast, Cheap & Out of Control"

9) Best Movie of 1967

"Bonnie and Clyde" would be too easy. I'll say "The President's Analyst."

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

The first time I saw Claude Chabrol's "Le Boucher" I felt by the end that I had lost several quarts of blood.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Honey West vs. Catwoman? I'm tempted to say Julie London (for "Cry Me a River" in "The Girl Can't Help It"). But I'm going to give Anne the edge for co-starring with Robbie the Robot.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Click here to see a wall in my living room:
http://blogs.suntimes.com/scanners/lroom.html
Polish poster for "Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (center). Runners-up: Polish poster for "The Phantom of Liberty" (left); American one-sheet for "Chinatown" (in kitchen).

13) Best Movie of 1987

Bill Forsyth's "Housekeeping."

14) Favorite movie about obsession

"Vertigo."

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

"A Christmas Story"
"Christmas in Connecticut"
"Monty Python's Life of Brian"

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Joe Strummer: "That's Montgomery Clift, honey!" ("The Right Profile," from "London Calling.") So, it's Monty by a nose. I'll put "Red River," "A Place in the Sun" and "Suddenly, Last Summer" up against "East of Eden," "Giant" and "Rebel Without a Cause."

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

"Burden of Dreams," of course, which is so much better than "Fitzcarraldo."

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Anton Ego is a bad critic, of course -- and his observation here doesn't quite fit within "Ratatouille." (Seems like a speech left over from an earlier draft.) In fact, Ego responds to Remy's ratatouille not because it awakens in him an excitement for "the discovery and defense of the new" but because it is a version of a traditional dish that bypasses his critical facilities completely and takes him reeling back to his childhood. (See Jonah Lehrer's book, "Proust Was a Neuroscientist.") His enthusiasm (like all good criticism) is entirely subjective; the criticism is an attempt to communicate the nature of his pleasure.

The truth is that any review of the average piece of junk (even one defending or glorifying it) may be more meaningful than the junk itself because: 1) it considers (and thus, elevates) the junk by considering it worthy of attention and scrutiny; and 2) to analyze a monstrosity or a mediocrity is to view the work within a moral and/or aesthetic context that the work itself does not necessarily illuminate on its own. Not everyone can become a great filmmaker (or a great critic), but a great filmmaker (or a great critic) can come from anywhere!

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD: "Breach." Theater: "Sweeney Todd." Former: one of the best movies of 2007. Latter: well, keep reading.

20) Best Movie of 2007

No contest: "No Country for Old Men."

21) Worst Movie of 2007

I was going to say "Southland Tales," but I think David Edelstein pointed out that it's not significant enough to feel that strongly about. So, I'll say "Sweeney Todd," for taking a masterpiece reducing it to a Goth tinker-toy. ("By the Sea" -- the most radical departure from the stage version -- is, ironically, the one piece that works best.)

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

3 - 33: mania
34 - 36: denial
37 - 40: bargaining
41 - 43: anger
44 - 47: depression
48 - present: acceptance

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

"Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist"

It's a great love story, but he does nail his penis to a board. That's not even the worst part, though. It's the phlegm.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Oh, gosh. "Laura" and Lubitsch's "Heaven Can Wait" or "Gilda" and "Lady from Shanghai"? Wait a minute! "Only Angels Have Wings"! It's Rita.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

The first one that springs to mind is THE moment from Chantal Akerman's "Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles." So many films have little flaws that I love. Perhaps the most fortuitous one is the pelican that plops into the water and provides the visual period (as in punctuation) for "Barton Fink." This was happenstance -- but the Coens knew a perfect moment when they were lucky enough to capture it.

26) Favorite Documentary

See above. "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control."

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

"North by Northwest"! (Recently: "Superbad")

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Too many to mention. But my hero is Johnny Case (Cary Grant") in "Holiday" (1938).

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

So, we're doing the "Gilda" vs. "Laura thing again, eh? Ford gets major points for being Superman's dad. But Andrews scores for making "Where the Sidewalk Ends" three years after "The Best Years of Our Lives."

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Daniel Day Lewis will get a nomination (and possibly win) for Most Acting.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Michael Cera, "Superbad," "Juno"

32) Best Actress of 2007

Laura Dern, "Inland Empire"

33) Best Director of 2007

Joel & Ethan Coen

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Joel & Ethan Coen

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

The dog. That dog: "No Country for Old Men." "Jaws" has nothing on this.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That more filmmakers will use tripods. Or, at least, something to rest the camera upon while shooting, to call less attention to the camera itself. If we visually experienced the world the way the hand-held verité-nistas (a Stephen Colbert word?) routinely show it (too often for no good reason other than to create the illusion of showy "action"), we'd never stop throwing up.

Happy Xmas -- War Is Over (If You Want I) -- to Dennis and SLIFRs! Now, go watch Sugarpuss do the "Drum Boogie" with Gene Krupa.

Peter said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

The door opens in The Searchers.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

I love Mia in Broadway Danny Rose. Tuesday has Pretty Poison, Thief, Bachelor Flat, Lord Love a Duck and Who'll Stop the Rain?. Was this suppose to be a Peyton Place question?

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

I'm not embarrassed, but I do like Hollywood Knights.

4) Best Movie of 1947

I always enjoy Daisy Kenyon which is on its way to DVD next year.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Sleepy

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Vaughn - he was a Magnificent Seven. Plus points for his book about the blacklist.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

There is a multiplex in Chiang Mai, Thailand that was laid out in a way that defies logic. Plus you have to bring your own toilet paper.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

Mr. Death

9) Best Movie of 1967

Point Blank

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

I briefly had a nightmare after seeing The Tenant.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

I'm not a fan of either, but I'll give it to Anne for playing a character named Flamingo McManamee in A Lion is in the Streets.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

A girl, a gun, a flash of panties.

13) Best Movie of 1987

A Chinese Ghost Story

14) Favorite movie about obsession

X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

My Night at Maud's, Die Hard and Eyes Wide Shut.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Rebel without a Cause is more re-watchable than anything with Clift.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Hot Pepper

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Tarnation.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a
theater?

DVD - I'll Be Seeing You. Theater - Joe Strummer.

20) Best Movie of 2007

Exiled.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

A Thai movie with the English title of Haunting Me.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

No stages, just one long trail that loops around, backtracks, meanders, and goes forward again.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

The Thai comedy, The Sperm. It bombed so badly that we may never see a DVD with English subtitles.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

The Lady from Shanghai, Gilda and Pal Joey to start, plus The Money Trap are reasons to love Rita.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

A Hard Day's Night was full of accidents that became art.

26) Favorite Documentary

Hiroshi Teshigahara's on Gaudi.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

The Fearless Vampire Killers.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

I grew a mustache after seeing The Longest Yard.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

I am still exploring the mystery that is Glenn Ford? He has the better Fritz Lang films, and I think Plunder of the Sun needs to be rediscovered. Also there are his films with Minnelli, Daves and Mate.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Marty Scorsese will hand out the Best Director award.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Anthony Wong - Exiled

32) Best Actress of 2007

Julie Christie - Away from Her

33) Best Director of 2007

Johnny To - Exiled

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Waitress

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Alone Masha Wattanapanich's solitary walk on the beach. She turns around and sees two sets of footprints.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That I can see more and write more.

bill said...

Jim - I am the furthest thing from a Goth, and I loved "Sweeney Todd", but you're right - the Goths are going to eat that movie up.

Anonymous said...

I must correct Flickhead on his above answer to #10, as I was sitting next to him in the theatre that day. He did not say "Shut up, NOW!"...he bellowed out, "Shut the fuck up: IMMEDIATELY." It not only silenced the women in back of us: it silenced the enture theatre as well. He was never a subtle boy.

-- Nelhydrea Paupér

Jonathan Lapper said...

I have no time to do this sadly. Once back at work I will have no time because of year-end duties. Ah well. Take Bill and Jim's answers and combine them in a creative way and you'll have mine. And sprinkle some Flickhead on there too. But really, Barry Lyndon, Vertigo, No Country for Old Men, Out of the Past, we're pretty much on the same page.

But for 67 and 87 - Playtime and Babette's Feast. And oddly, I'm with Tuesday Weld - she's sexier.

Haven't seen There Will Be Blood but Jim, from the previews (and I know you can't tell a lot from that) Day-Lewis seems mesmerizing. I don't necessarily think over-acting is always a bad thing. When I see a mediocre actor overact, like Betty Hutton, it can be grating. But when I see a Gary Oldman or Laurence Olivier or Charles Laughton overact, it can really be a thing of beauty. And as for the music of There Will Be Blood that troubles you so I have always felt Anderson uses music as a character (I think Matt talked about this over at the House Next Door) with Boogie Nights & Magnolia and I like the way it acts almost as an editing tool to develop pace and rhythm. But again, I haven't seen it yet so I'll give you the complete benefit of the doubt for this one. You know your stuff and I'll trust you. But really, in the preview at least, Lewis and the music seem exceptional.

bill said...

Jonathan - I completely agree with you about overacting. When done by the wrong person it can kill a whole movie, but who doesn't love watching Charles Laughton or Gary Oldman go nuts? And I really feel that Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor alive, so if someone were to point a camera at him while he was eating cereal and reading the phone book while making an angry face and screaming, I would buy three tickets to go see it once, then buy tickets for it again and sneak into something else. That's how much I love him.

Paul C. said...

1) Your favorite opening shot

We open on a college dorm full of nubile young lovelies. The camera stalks the outside of the building, spying on the girls. OK, so it's the killer's point of view. We then follow the killer inside the dorm as he sneaks around, seemingly unnoticed. We hear him breathing- how is it no one sees him? No matter. He slinks in and out of rooms, searching for his next victim. Suddenly, there she is, in the shower of course. He approaches, we see his hand pull back the shower curtain, she snaps her head around, opens her mouth and she screams... and the sound is like a small animal dying. Hilarious and perfect- Brian DePalma's Blow Out.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia. Not even the fallout from the Soon-Yi scandal could dissuade me.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

I sort of hate to admit it, but Tommy Boy makes me laugh every time. It's sort of glorious in its stupidity, and if nothing else Farley gives it his all. I think a lot of my affection for the movie was that when I was in the Ohio State Men's Glee Club we would watch it on every long bus trip. So half my laughter for the movie is remembering the funny incidental stuff we'd do along with it.

4) Best Movie of 1947

"Numbers sanctify, my boy!" Monsieur Verdoux, easily my favorite Chaplin movie, as well as his darkest.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

The Ghost. I avoid the sun, so I'm white as a sheet, and nobody seems to notice me when I'm around.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Nothing against McCallum, but only one of these guys is staring at my sternly from the back of my telephone book, and it ain't him. Bonus points to Vaughn for facing off against Pootie Tang.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Wish I had a cooler response for this, but the best I can do is the outdoor screenings that the Wexner Center for the Arts holds every summer in Columbus. It's a whole different experience watching movies like The Big Heat or The General under the stars.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

Gates of Heaven. Much as I love Morris, it's all been downhill from there. This maybe the most unexpected of masterpieces, a portrait of economic struggle and a philosophical treatise on mortality, all couched in a movie about pet cemetaries. Plus it inspired (see #17).

9) Best Movie of 1967

Belle de Jour, my all-time favorite. But it must be said that 1967 was a particularly special year for movies, filled to the brim with masterpieces that would have taken the top spot in many a lesser year. Belle de Jour, Play Time, Weekend, Two for the Road, Point Blank, Privilege, Mouchette, Le Samourai, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Branded to Kill... I could keep this up all day. Man, what a year.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Hard to top the guy getting his head bashed in with a fire extinguishes in Irreversible.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Anne Francis was gracious enough to conduct an interview for the Columbus Sci-Fi Marathon a few years back, so I'll give her the edge. Also, LOVE Forbidden Planet, plus she gets a shout-out in Rocky Horror.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Why tell when you can show? For me, it's a tie: the glorious sick joke of the Fargo poster and the gorgeous Polish one-sheet for The Phantom of Liberty. Fargo's is a pricess juxtaposition of the folksy and the violent that suits the film perfectly, and the Bunuel poster is just a jaw-dropping work of art, and pre-computer animation no less.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, still the best thing Todd Haynes has ever done. Forget what I said about Gates of Heaven- Superstar is the most unlikely masterpiece ever made. I know what you're thinking- a movie about a pop star with an eating disorder, acted out entirely by Barbie dolls, and it's good? No, it's AMAZING. Just because it's kitschy doesn't mean it's not also profoundly moving. Every movie lover should see this at least once. It's illegal, but don't let that stop you.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes, a beautiful, tragic tale about a dancer so consumed by her art that it leads to her death. And in glorious Technicolor, no less.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

My family watches The Muppet Christmas Carol every year, so that's as good a place as any to start. Then two personal Christmas favorites, Gremlins and the best one of all, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Personally, I find Dean to be overrated as an actor. I believe much of his legend rests on the "live fast, die young" mythology that surrounds his life. Clift had a life that was just as tragic, but in a way that was much less sexy. But what counts is acting, and frankly I think Clift blows Dean out of the water in the acting department. His later performances are particularly moving- his performance in Judgment at Nuremberg is the acting equivalent of an open wound.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Herzog is a great filmmaker, but an even greater character, and this incident looms large in his legend.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I mostly agree with what Ego has to say. For me, as a semi-pro critic, I take his thoughts less as a universal truth than as a challenge never to succumb to easy putdowns and lazy hyperbole. The opinions of a critic- positive or negative- are only vaild if (a) they're backed up by ideas, and (b) the critic comes by them honestly. It's the difference between Rex Reed and Armond White. Whereas Rex is less a critic than a putdown artist, I sincerely believe that White's reviews, wonky though they often are, flow directly from his honest opinions as a moviegoer. Where White fails, I think, is his overly heavy reliance on his preconceived notions of the filmmaker in question. For example, I have a hard time taking seriously his thoughts on any Spielberg movie, as he seems predisposed to loving anything bearing the Spielberg name. This is where Ego's final idea comes into play- if we are to give a movie the fair shake it deserves, we must exercise every possible effort to take it on its own terms. A great film can come in any form, and even the artists we cherish most are capable of doing subpar work.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

Last on DVD: 28 Weeks Later, which scared me more the second time once I stopped trying to compare it to the original. In the theatre: Charlie Wilson's War, a middling piece of toothless Oscar-bait, and a surprisingly one-sided view of American interventionism, told through the prism of the most cut-and-dried example of it in modern American history.

20) Best Movie of 2007

As far as features as concerned, it's a pretty close race between Zodiac and No Country for Old Men. But no new film of 2007 has hit me as hard as Don Hertzfeldt's new animated short Everything Will Be OK. In little more than fifteen minutes, Hertzfeldt tells the story of a man who is doomed to die. His doctors give up on him, his mother moves in to help, and the man himself goes off the deep end. And then, without warning, he suddenly gets better, much to everyone's annoyance. Everything Will Be OK has the feel of a Raymond Carver story, both in its sense of irony and its reliance on small but significant detail. But the twisted sense of humor and unique animation style is all Hertzfeldt.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Much as I'd like to pick on a terrible blockbuster like Transformers, I should be honest here (See #18) and say that the 2007 release that made me the most miserable was Luc Besson's Angel-A, a bargain-basement cinema du look take on It's a Wonderful Life. It's not that I'm opposed to It's a Wonderful Life clones, but if the story is going to work then its hero needs to at least show some sign of being worth the heavenly intervention. Instead, it's saddled with a loser of a protagonist whose worthless life somehow warrants the services of super-foxy angel Rie Rasmussen, who helps rid him of his debts and learn to love himself again. What a waste of perfectly good black-and-white 'Scope cinematography. Besson, wha' happened?

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Age 5-13/ watching movies for the sake of watching movies/ Disney, kids' movies, Spielberg, whatever my parents brought home from the video store

Age 14-16/ going to the movies with friends on the weekends, catching up with American classics on video/ Scorsese, Coppola, all the new releases

Age 17-22/ first viewing of Pulp Fiction leads to first experience with foreign-language films, attempt at highbrow snobbery in guise of cultivating good taste/ Bunuel, 60s-era Godard, Bergman

Age 22-25/ catching up with the canon, learning once again to trust own opinions/ Malick, Bresson, Kurosawa

Age 26-present/ embracing genre films and lowbrow stuff, preference for art in execution over Art in name/ Leone, Sturges, DePalma, Romero

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Only one? Yeesh... it's gotten to where I've stopped trying. I suppose it's kind of my fault, in retrospect. After all, if you recommend semi-obscure foreign-language films to your parents and non-cinephile friends then you've got nobody to blame but yourself when they stop listening to you.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita was a doll, but Gene's one of my absolute favorites. Sexy as all get-out (that overbite!) and almost certainly a better actress too. Rita never gave a performance half as affecting as Gene's in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

Way to make your mark, Prof. Potts. After all, I can't see Shoop asking a question like this. Anyway... I love that moment in Nashville when Bill, Mary and Tom are singing "Since You've Gone" and Mary clears her throat. Most musical numbers are so polished and obviously pre-recorded that it's delightful to realize that they're actually up there singing the song for the camera and the crowd. I love that Altman keeps that in the movie, and it's so emblematic of his style, which embraced imperfections and chaos that most directors feared.

26) Favorite Documentary

See #8.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

I love Godard's credits from back in the 60s, which were almost always unique and fun. He was always experimenting, even with the credits, and it's hard to pick one. But forced to choose, I'd go with the alphabet-soup credits of Pierrot le Fou, with a shout out to the ragtime montage of Band of Outsiders and the presence of Bardot's ass in Contempt.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

As much as I love movies, I don't think that any particular movie has influenced me deeply. Whenever a movie does influence me, it's in small ways, like trying a certain drink or buying a new hat. I guess I'm just comfortable with my own style, whatever that is.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Oh, I see what you're doing here. It's Gilda vs. Laura, isn't it? Well, of these two guys I gotta go with Ford, who was so good at playing the noble good guy that some of his best work comes in movies where that image got muddied up. The Big Heat wouldn't work half so well if we didn't believe he was clean at the beginning, all the better to get his hands dirty later on.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Without the writers working behind the scenes to write canned banter for the presenters, it should be much shorter than usual. At least, I hope so.

31) Best Actor of 2007

A great performance in a movie almost nobody saw- Sam Rockwell in Joshua. There are many things one expects from a evil-kid thriller, but a complex portrayal of the child's father is not one of them. But Rockwell's- and the movie's- triumph is that the story is just as much about the father as it is about the son. Rockwell is magnificent in the part, playing a man who isn't exactly prime father material, and who might have done all right with a son who shared his interests, but is completely out of his depth with conniving little Joshua. Rockwell isn't a bad parent, but he's sort of clueless, and once his son has set his plan in motion- assisted by the knowledge that the child invariably gets the benefit of the doubt- it's heartbreaking to see how Rockwell gets taken in by it. Seek this one out on DVD, folks.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Carice Van Houten in Black Book. She came seemingly out of nowhere to tackle perhaps the most challenging female role this year, and did it without breaking a sweat. Also, super hot. Also deserving of mention: Nicole Kidman in Margot at the Wedding, a blistering comedic performance from an star who was long overdue for a chance to really cut loose.

33) Best Director of 2007

David Fincher, Zodiac. It was tricky enough for him to make all of the story's facts and details and dozens of characters comprehensible and cinematic. The marvel is that he makes it spellbinding, while almost never relying on the trickery that has dominated his earlier films.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

This is always a tricky question, since I haven't actually read any. But there have been a number of well-written films this past year, notably Zodiac, No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton, Ratatouille, and most overlooked of all, Richard Shepherd's The Hunting Party, a dark comedy set during the war in the Balkans, which has the gonzo sensibility of Hunter Thompson infused with a surprising emotional heft.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Jeez, only one? I had a hard enough time narrowing it down to five for this week's column. But if we're talking re-watchability, the winner would have to be the dick-drawing flashback in Superbad, a drop-dead hilarious scene that's so fraught with emotion and full of detail that it had to be inspired by real life.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That they continue to surprise me every once in a while.

Brian said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

The Conversation, by Francis Ford Coppola. I keep meaning to write that up for Jim's project.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Momma Mia.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Tough question. I'd like to flatter myself into thinking I'd happily own up to any laughter without being embarrassed. But upon reflection I know that's not exactly true. One example of a film I've relatively recently laughed at with some measure of self-discomfort is this film made by a local filmmaker/cine-scenester going by the alias Placenta Ovaries: No Fatties. He seems to be intentionally pushing buttons he knows many of us would rather not be pushed.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Robert Rossen's boxing drama Body and Soul. Short subject division: Tex Avery's King-Sized Canary.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

I suppose you can call me "Frisco"...

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Robert Vaughn, for his incredible role as Dick Lecter in Pootie Tang if nothing else.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I've already told my the Killing Fields story here, so how about another Cambodian guest house tale: watching South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut on the leaky porch of a bargain-basement backpacker flophouse on the edge of Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh. I might even have been in a hammock.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

It's been far too long since a revisitation, but I must go with Gates of Heaven, not only on its own terms, but also because of its importance in Werner Herzog/Les Blank/Gary Meyer lore.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Jacques Tati's Playtime. Short subject division: Arturvazd Peleshian's the Beginning.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

I may have mentioned this one before, but I had nightmares for years after seeing John Hurt's chest-popping scene from Alien as a wee tyke.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Looking over their imdb credits, I was struck by how neutral I felt (probably because I've seen them each in so few movies).

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I don't know if foreign movie posters count as "one-sheets" but my favorite that I own is this Egyptian King Kong poster.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Abbas Kiarostami's Where Is the Friend's Home?. Short subject division: Todd Haynes's Superstar: the Karen Carpenter Story

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Well, it's gotta be Vertigo right? Practically the Alpha and Omega.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

I don't know about ideal, but the last time I did a triple on Christmas a couple years ago it was Tokyo Godfathers, Blade Runner and All That Heaven Allows, and that was very satisfying.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Dean's great, but his filmography is simply too small (though I just spied his walk-on in Has Anybody Seen My Gal). Clift made Red River and I Confess, and that would be about enough to beat Dean's output on its own, but there was so much more...

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Always For Pleasure, though there are a plethora of runners-up, including his most recent All In This Tea.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Beautiful act of innoculating self-criticism from the Pixar team, that ought to last it until its next Cars-level critical disappointment. (I loved Ratatouille, incidentally. Probably their overall best since Toy Story 2)

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

David Lean's Great Expectations on DVD; Ingmar Bergman's Persona in a theater (if a museum screening rrom counts); No Country For Old Men in a popcorn palace.

20) Best Movie of 2007

This isn't official yet as the year ain't over in my neck of the woods (and that goes for #21 and #31-35, too), but I'm thinking Syndromes and a Century. Short subject division: Everything Will Be OK. Oh, so you say those are actually 2006 films even though I had no opportunity to see them until 2007? Well then, maybe just put down Grindhouse (works as features and shorts). I'm still stewing on late-year releases.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

The worst one I've seen so far has been the Last Mimzy.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Pre-Caligari and post-Caligari. More on that later...

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Over my lifetime, probably Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, which has been a personal favorite since it was released. But people tend to either a) have seen it and are fans already, b) have seen it and hate it already, c) have never seen it, and refuse to because they think it'd just be stupid, or d) have a crush on me and thus are willing to watch it, but maybe aren't so sure about that after sitting through it.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

The most seemingly normal (and because of that, the scariest) of the Cinemaniacs, Jack Angstreich, knew what he was talking about when he brought up Rita Hayworth in that documentary. I don't consider Angstreich a role model, but he's essentially right. Hayworth, definitely.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

In trying to get my mind of the path of thinking about Ozu and his compatriots (I first heard the term wabi in a discussion Ozu films years ago) I may have misconstrued the meaning. But lately I've been thinking over and over about the last shot of Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light, which, as a composite of a setting sun and a static starfield, may not be the exact definition of "simplicity", but it does feel like something of a flaw, whether happenstance or not, that in effect imbues the entire film with a uniqueness and elegance that I find very intriguing.

26) Favorite Documentary

If I had to pick just one? Vertov's the Man With a Movie Camera.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

I'd never be able to pick a definitive favorite of all time, so let me just mention a terrific low-budget sequence I recently saw: Curt McDowell's Thundercrack!

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, because before watching it I was a fairly casual movie fan with a curiosity about unusual films I hadn't seen, and after watching it I became a semi-serious self-student of film history, immersing myself in film after film to try to understand what makes them tick. I can really trace my obsessive repertory calendar tracking to that film, if I want to.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Since I rewatched the Best Years of Our Lives earlier this year I've been high on Dana Andrews. Ford is terrific (especially in Gilda but I'm going with Andrews.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

If Johnny Greenwood gets nominated for his score to There Will Be Blood, he will win. But as a newbie composer, he won't get past the nomination stage.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Possibly Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

32) Best Actress of 2007

Probably Tang Wei, Lust, Caution (though I didn't really like the film that much)

33) Best Director of 2007

Maybe Paul Thomas Anderson

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Abstaining until I have time to read some screenplays.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

What comes to mind is the oil well explosion in There Will Be Blood. But don't quote me on that...

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That I am better able to process all the ones I see (this may mean seeing fewer, I recognize...)

Discman said...

No one has yet chosen "Raising Arizona" as the best film of 1987?

Jim Emerson: All the credit you earned with your wonderful essay on the hats in "Miller's Crossing" just blew through the woods.

Paul C. said...

In Prof. Potts' classroom, Question 13 is a rocky place where the Coens can find no purchase.

Bemis said...

1) Your favorite opening shot Boogie Nights. It's audacious, seductive, and arrogant in the best way.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIS EYES?!"

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Around the tenth time I watched Heavyweights, I realized that my laughter wasn't ironic.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Black Narcissus

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Killer.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Both have strong jaws, but only one ambushed Superman with carcinogenic Kryptonite.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

My wife and I saw The Darjeeling Limited at the Majestic in North Conway, NH. The theatre was in a cafe - we bought our tickets from a waitress, got snacks at the bar and discovered a 50-seat auditorium at the end of a long, winding red corridor.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

Gates of Heaven, because it's haunting and funny, and because without it, my answer to #17 wouldn't exist. But I must admit some difficulty embracing Morris since his petulant Oscar speech.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Bonnie and Clyde

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

During the trailers before Juno, the entire audience laughed at and mocked the premise of the border-crossing drama Under the Same Moon.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Don't feel strongly one way or the other, but Forbidden Planet is pretty great.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

The Alien one sheet is so simple and suggestive, but even when I was a small child and knew nothing about the film, it (and the tagline) were genuinely unsettling.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Wings of Desire

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Looking at my 100 list, there are a startling amount of movies about obsession. But yeah, Vertigo is almost inarguably the ultimate statement on the subject.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Gremlins, Eyes Wide Shut and Black Christmas (the original - duh).

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

James Dean, but they both kick Ryan Goslin's ass.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I can't wait to show Ratatouille to my daughter.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD, Two-Lane Blacktop, a movie I've been dying to see for a while that lived up to its reputation. The latter is Margot at the Wedding, a movie I liked a good deal more than most (I dig Harris Savides, and I'm sort of mean).

20) Best Movie of 2007

I have yet to see at least one film that I suspect will be high on this list (I'm referring, of course, to The Bucket List). As of now, it's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

The Number 23 is the worst movie Joel Schumacher's ever made. Really think about that.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

3-10 - Pure, unqualified adoration. Anything horror or sci-fi. Lots of Spielberg, Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam. A complete lack of discernment (2001 is awesome, so is Hook).

10-12 - Onanism. Anxiety. Self-loathing. Movies that validate my pubescent existential crisis (Brazil, Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, Vertigo). Anything with boobs. Pulp Fiction is a potent gateway drug to a new way of looking at cinema.

13-15 - Loss of religion dovetails with the concept of cinema as transgression. Boogie Nights. A Clockwork Orange. Blue Velvet. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Anything with weiners. Anything that would piss off dad.

15-18 - Intro to world cinema - Herzog, Truffaut, Bergman, Argento. Expressionism. Anything with brains. A soft spot for earnest, overwrought emotionalism (American Beauty and Magnolia).

18-22 - College. Forgetting how to just watch a movie. Lots of posturing and one-upmanship. "Hey, you know what would be an awesome way to watch Tron?" Lynch, Altman, De Palma, Malick. I'm starting to get the hang of this.

Now - The blog. Liking what I like. "Hey, you know what would be an awesome way to watch Barry Lyndon?" Roeg, Bertolucci and Malle all touch a nerve. Romanticism. Uncertainty. Watching my daughter freak out with delight whenever Superman, Willy Wonka or robots are onscreen.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Right now, pretty much anything. My generation is bombarded by hype and infotainment into complete indifference. If my friends would rather see Smoking Aces than The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, it's because the latter is an unknowable challenge while the former is comforting in its familiarity. The movies become comfort food, a media snack with the same value as a video game or a viral video played on a cell phone. In such an environment, how can I convince anyone that cinema has the ability to be beautiful, even transcendent?

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita Hayworth

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

The dog crossing the path in the opening shot of Birth, unknowingly violating the images' symmetry and creating a pleasurable dissonance.

26) Favorite Documentary

Gates of Heaven again.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

While I love elaborate, Saul Bass-style opening collages, I've always admired the plain yellow titles of McCabe and Mrs. Miller silently, craftily snaking in and out of the gloomy landscape like McCabe himself.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Eyes Wide Shut not only changed the way I thought about film, it challenged my 15-year-old assumptions about relationships, fidelity and even identity. I think it had a strong effect on my friend Tara as well (happy birthday, Tara!), as she took a classmate to see it again the next night and was shocked when the girl complained of boredom. Truly a case of "Did you see the same movie I did?"

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

In honor of No Country for Old Men, a Chuck Workman-edited montage of the greatest head shots in film history.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

32) Best Actress of 2007

Carice van Houten, Black Book

33) Best Director of 2007

Andrew Dominik

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

No Country for Old Men

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Jason Schwartzman showing Natalie Portman the view from his suite in the Hotel Chevalier. It touched a nerve more deeply than any moment this year.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

For the happy surprises. The other day I saw Sweeney Todd, a movie I wasn't really dying to see, and I adored it - there's no better feeling than that. 2007 was a year of one movie after another exceeding my expectations; let's hope it's the start of something.

Bob said...

My apologies, Prof, but I've been a quiz avoider up to now, but I guess it's my time....

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

It's not something I've given a lot of time to thinking about, and I find that, with rare exceptions, the very best films rarely have the very best opening shots, but I've just written about the very strange, Citizen Kane-derived opening shot of "Lenny", and there's the fun opening of Hitch's "Strangers on a Train" and I seem to recall loving the opening of "Yojimbo" though it's been awhile.

Nevertheless, I think I'll go with the simplicity of "Pulp Fiction" -- a very simple shot with two great actors that, for whatever reasons, contains loads of tension and delight. Maybe my favorite pre-credit sequence.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Tuesday! Tuesday! Tuesday!

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

"Balls of Fury" -- but I'm only embarrassed because the lead guy (whose name I can't remember) isn't funny.

4) Best Movie of 1947

I was going to try and be cool and say "Crossfire" (which I really like a lot), but if I'm going to be honest, "Miracle on 34th Street." Note: I haven't seen "Odd Man Out." I should ashamed.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

I don't know: "Cowboy Bob."?

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

My older sister had major crushes on both. Gotta go with Bobby Vaughn. The man was just born vaguely sinister yet lovable.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

The butt?

Or how about the San Diego Comicon, circa 1976-77 or so, the El Cortez hotel, watching endless trailers in 16mm and loving every moment of it.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

A tie: "The Fog of War" and "Mr. Death."

9) Best Movie of 1967

A very weird year -- the first I was sort of cognizant of movies (Commercials for "The Frozen Dead" and "The Deadly Bees" creeped me out majorly).

A tie -- "Don't Look Back" and "The Dirty Dozen". Honorable mention, "Bedazzled" (which I haven't seen in at least 1.5 decades, so it's hard to be sure) and "Mad Monster Party"...because of those great Jack Davis designs.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

For a scaredy cat like me, there's too many to name. Certainly, I was utterly unprepared for the opening of "The Andalusian Dog" and I STILL remember that. Oh, boy. Will never look at that again.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Julie! Julie! Julie! (Also, I love her falafel place on Fairfax...does she still own it?)

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I'm going to cheat and go with one you all remember so I don't need to link: "The Godfather." Nice and simple.

13) Best Movie of 1987

"Wings of Desire". Honorable mention: "A Better Tomorrow II"

14) Favorite movie about obsession

"Obsession"? Or maybe it's just the first one I think of.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

It's a Wonderful Life
Miracle on 34th Street
The Mr. Magoo "A Christmas Carol"

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Monty! (I would have answered the same if you'd pitted him against Marlon Brando. Just brilliant.)

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

I'm actually shocked I'm not the only person to name"Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe". That was great. Still haven't seen "Burden of Dreams", I'm ashamed to say.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy....."

To me, this statement is almost self-evident. It's ridiculous to elevate criticism to the level of creation, except to the extent critics can facilitate/improve the results, which is to say, hardly ever. Still, we're entertainers, too, IMO, and there's something to be said for that.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

DVD -- "Lenny" (for an upcoming piece); kind of underrated... In a theater -- "There Will Be Blood"...freakin' amazing. But slow/weird...but in a good way...I think

20) Best Movie of 2007

I'm way, way behind so it's too early to say. Right now it's very close between "Once" and "There Will Be Blood".

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Maybe it's not fair as I mainly avoid the true stinkers for the most part since no one's paying/inducing me to review a lot of random films. But I was unable to sit through "Transformers"...still, for me the prize goes to "Across the Universe". I'm one disappointed Beatlemaniac.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Ages 0-11: Had musicals and screwball/silent comedies forced down my throat by parents and some very odd friends, loved every delicious morsel. Found that I actually wasn't too scared to watch Universal Horror films. Found happiness with Woody Allen and Mel Brooks towards the end there.

Ages 12-14: Discovered comic books and science fiction. Temporarily lost a certain degree of interest in movies though "The Sting" and many other films continued to occasionally rock my world.

Ages 14-17: Fell in with a group of SF fans/movie geeks, love of movies gradually returning and stronger than ever. Discovered Alfred Hitchcock and classic Hollywood in a serious way. Discovered that I loved non-gorey, thoughtful horror/dark fantasy films like "Rosemarie's Baby." Saw "The Wicker Man,""The Apartment" and "Network" and realized that people actually write this stuff. Became a revivial house habitue....The Nuart and the Fox Venice became my second homes, eventually followed by Vagabond and the New Beverly. Also, discovered Roger Corman and exploitation films, up to a point."Star Wars", a big deal -- but not as much for me as for some others....

Age 18-20: Dreamed of film school. Saw "Rules of the Game" for the first time and generally discovered that not all good movies come from Hollywood.

Age 20-22: In film school. Saw way too many movies; worked on way too few. Discovered I liked a lot of films I might not have expected to. Learned to keep an open mind and stopped trying to force myself to love movies just because most people/critics/cinephiles think they're great. Had friends who worked at a revival house. More free movies.

22 to today -- pretty much a continuous love affair, with an occasional bad patch, like all long-lived relationships. Beyond that, every time I start to get disenchanted, I usually make a new discovery -- like discovering how much I loved westerns about ten-fifteen years back or finally forcing myself to watch Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" two months back -- and, in some way, shape or form, everything old is new again.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I've got a lot of these, but I'd have to give the prize to "Scaramouche" -- I just got the first of my friends to see that one.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Hmm. Rita, I guess.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

I'm not sure it's exactly the same thing, but there's an absolutely horrible transition in "Singin' in the Rain", in which Comden and Green clearly had no idea how to end the scene.

Cosmo:...Now look at me: I've got no fame, I've got no glory, I've got no big mansions, I've got no money! But I've got - what have I got?
Don Lockwood: I don't know, what have you got?
Cosmo Brown: I gotta get out of here.

Horrible. Yet it sets off the brilliance of nearly everything else in the film.

26) Favorite Documentary

"Crumb"

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

A tough one for me as I love those so. It's derivative of other favorites, yet brilliantly so...Again, "Pulp Fiction"...and anything connected with Saul Bass.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Well, considering how much I've been writing and drinking martinis and suchlike lately, gotta give some shared credit both to every James Bond movie and Frank Tashlin film, as well as "The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeosie".

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Hmm. Glenn, I guess.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

I'm guessing Tim Burton gets "Best Director" for "Sweeney Todd" but something more Oscary gets best picture...or maybe "Sweeney" gets that too.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Everyone's saying D.D. Lewis, but I gotta go with Chris Cooper, so far, anyway. Also, props to the amazing Viggo.

32) Best Actress of 2007

I'm so far behind, but I'm sure it's Laura Linney in something. She's just so awesome I could die.

33) Best Director of 2007

Again, hard for me to say yet since I have yet to even see "No Country" yet, but Richard Wong, who directed "Colma: The Musical" is definitely my new director to watch in 2007 and Paul Thomas Anderson drove me half-mad in "Blood." And David Cronenberg remains David Cronenberg, and I celebrate the fact.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

I'll say "Breach" just for the helluvait. Again, I've got a movie orgy ahead of me, so it's hard to be sure, but that was a damn fine piece of writing. Also, the last fifteen minutes of "There Will Be Blood" is sheer genius...but how much is writing, how much is everything else?

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Probably "Happy Place" from "Colma: The Musical"

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

My wishes are simple: stories and characters; characters and stories.

Bob said...

I should add that I barely looked at anyone's post before writing mine (though I caught the bit about "Werner Herzog"). I'm already noticing some interesting similarities....

Brian said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

No one has said Contempt yet, so I'll sayContempt.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Not really my generation. How about Tuesday Weld.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

I refuse to be embarrassed about Dumb and Dumber. I'll go with Mean Girls, though I don't think it's underrated by any means.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Good grief. It seems that I've neglected 1947. Looks like the answer is Black Narcissus, but I haven't seen it so I'm forced to pick the inferior Gentlemen's Agreement.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Huh?

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Ashley Pitt was one of my favorite characters in The Great Escape so it's got to be McCallum.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I saw the 25th anniversary release of The Exorcist in a theater in Vitoria, Spain, which was an unusual experience since the audience responded to the movie as though it was a comedy.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

Sorry, haven't seen any.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Seems like it might be Le samouraï when I get around to seeing it, but I'll go with a tie between Bonnie and Clyde and Point Blank.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

The best I can recall is going to see Titanic with a friend of mine who was trying to get over breaking up with his fianceé. Maybe not disturbing, but definitely weird.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Anne Francis.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I use this one below, but I always wanted a poster of Lawrence of Arabia. As for a more specific poster I can recall, nothing comes to mind.

13) Best Movie of 1987

I'll take the helpful hint and pick Raising Arizona.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Lawrence of Arabia is what comes to mind, though it's perhaps not in the same vein as what others have said...

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Die Hard, The Nightmare Before Christmas and, for added fun, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated one).

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Why aren't any of these closer to my age? Montgomery Clift seems like the right answer to me.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Burden of Dreams, though I actually liked Fitzcarraldo quite a bit more.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

It seems to me that the critic is also a producer, so I don't necessarily agree with Mr. Ego's appraisal of his own profession. For me, the good critic isn't necessarily in place to appraise the film but rather to read it, and therefore should not drop all preconceptions at the door but instead use them to mediate the film experience to the audience. Not that different from the filmmaker in the end.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD was Saraband, which I had from Netflix for around a month before I got the desire to watch it. In the theater was Charlie Wilson's War which was worth the price of admission for Philip Seymour Hoffman (and I didn't even know that he would be in the movie when it began).

20) Best Movie of 2007

I haven't seen more than a handful, for which reason I'll go with Ratatouille. I promise I'll catch up, though, since there are quite a few I still want to see.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Again, of those I've seen, The Bourne Ultimatum, which really wasn't bad, but I don't have much for comparison.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

I don't think it's really changed from the eclecticism of ten or so years ago when I really became a cinephile. I'm happy to look at anything that seems interesting, though I tend to avoid horror and blockbusters on principle (and experience).

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I've found too few fans of Bergman and Greenaway in my life, and it seems to be irrespective of the individual film in most cases.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Haven't seen either of them in anything, but I'll go with Gene Tierney on looks alone.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

If I understand this correctly, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me in connection to film. Filming is the act of capturing a happenstance moment, filtered to some degree through what the director has in mind, but then it is filtered again through the editing process, which separates the audience from understanding pre-filming intention. This results in what is both the improvement over and the drawback of film over theater.

That being said, for some reason I feel like The Passion of Joan of Arc is the best option I know.

26) Favorite Documentary

I must be in a bad mood or something. I tend to feel like this is a category which is not necessarily that helpful, not only because of films like This is Spinal Tap, but because of the very nature of film. Can we necessarily say that Neorealist films are less documentary-like since they use a script, though largely feature non-actors? The filter still doesn't change. Nevertheless, I'll say Woodstock.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Somebody said Contempt, but I used that earlier. And like before, Lawrence of Arabia comes to mind for some reason when I think of opening credits, but I used that before too. Ran feels like a good answer. It was my first color Kurosawa film, and its colors always fascinated me, particularly the greens of the landscapes.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Ran changed how I watch movies as it was the first time I consciously paid attention to form as well as content, but I'm trying not to repeat. Fanny and Alexander always convinces me that I maybe want kids, but then I don't have any yet so I'm not sure that counts.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

I saw Andrews in The Best Years of Our Lives, and he was good, though the film was very dated for me. I haven't remembered seeing Ford in anything.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Not a fan, so I predict that I won't watch it.

31) Best Actor of 2007

He's supporting, but I'd go with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War. (I'm sure there are others, but see #20.)

32) Best Actress of 2007

Pass.

33) Best Director of 2007

Pass.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Pass.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Since I haven't seen many 2007 films, I'll go with watching Fargo with my wife right before going to sleep, and then the two of us saying "Geez" every two minutes for the next month.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

More good moments like in #35.

Catherine said...

1) Your favourite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

In recent times, Pan’s Labyrinth and Zodiac have disturbed/impressed me in the cinema. As for older films I’ve seen on dvd, the Oz-like Technicolor of Blue Velvet and the warped mirror of Cabaret.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia Farrow, for Hannah & Her Sisters.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh


Probably "50 First Dates". Adam Sandler turns my stomach, but pair him up with Drew Barrymore and her charm is nearly enough to offset my nausea.



4) Best Movie of 1947

This won’t be the first time you read this, but I…don’t believe I’ve seen any. I thought “Key Largo” for a second, but that was the next year.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

The Novice.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Both were before my time, and it matters more in television than it does in the movies.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I saw “The Day After Tomorrow” one evening on a ferry. Sea-sickness and choppy seas combined with the environmental devastation of New York weren’t an ideal combination.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie
See #4. Also, I’m not a big documentary person. YET.

9) Best Movie of 1967

“Bonnie & Clyde”

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

I have a memory of being literally held down as a young girl to watch ET, and screaming until my lungs were sore, which I’m sure is extremely exaggerated (although not fabricated). Aliens have always creeped me out.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Not familiar with either.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

While not a great fan of the film itself, the one sheet for Pulp Fiction, with it’s faux-aged paperback look, complete with 10 cent sticker, is wonderful.

13) Best Movie of 1987

“The Princess Bride”

14) Favorite movie about obsession

“All About Eve”.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

1. Meet Me In St. Louis (because Judy Garland’s singing can move me to tears) 2. Singin’ In The Rain (not a Christmas film, but I saw it for the first time on Christmas Day and it’s such a feel good film). 3. The Wizard of Oz (absolutely nothing to do with Yuletide Cheer, but it’s such a holiday staple that it begs to be included).

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Montgomery is much more tragic. I pick him.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Regretfully, I haven’t seen any.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I was surprised and pleased to hear this speech in the middle of what could be construed as a lightweight, kid’s film. I think the critic has a place in modern culture, but overall I applaud Mr. Ego wholeheartedly.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

I saw both “Enchanted“ and “I‘m Not There“ this weekend in the cinema and “Finding Nemo” on television.

20) Best Movie of 2007

I haven’t decided yet; I’m Not There, Inland Empire or Jindabyne.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

I was going to say the “Nancy Drew” film with Emma Roberts but I feel bad calling it the worst film of 2007, as it was just so odd and poorly constructed that it was amusing. Plus, the filmmakers seemed to reference Lynch will wild abandon, so I was almost charmed by it. No, the worst film of 2007 (which I’ve seen) is Shrek 3, a bloated, unnecessary conclusion (I hope!) to the franchise.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

4 years old; A precocious child, I see The Lion King in the cinema. Beg my parents to see it again. Cry and cry and cry, when asked what I find so upsetting, reply “How one person [or lion, I guess] can destroy an entire civilisation”.

5-11; Don’t really care much about cinema. Read a lot instead. Enjoy The Princess Bride, Star Wars, animated films. Have a screaming fit while watching ET, am still suspicious of Spielberg.

11 years old; The Fellowship of the Ring. Instant devotion. Pay to see it six times. Cry non-stop throughout every viewing. Beginning of relationship with the cinema.

15; see The Ice Storm and All About My Mother in the space of a few weeks. Cry during both, half because of their plotlines, half because I can’t believe films like this exist. See All About Eve for the first time. Feel that life is transformed. Begin watching films regularly. Discover Taxi Driver, Heavenly Creatures, American Beauty on late night television. Cry more intensely.

16-present; foreign films, classics, art house. PT Anderson, Jarmusch, Almodovar are favourite directors. Constantly feel frustrated at lack of knowledge. And cry.


23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Pedro Almodovar films. He’s my favourite director, but when I try to explain the plots of any of his films, I get to the word “transvestite” before people tune out. I’ve stopped trying to get my friends to watch the films I enjoy.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

I’m a “Laura” fan, so Gene.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

Not a flaw, but when Bogie watches Lauren Bacall singing “And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine” in The Big Sleep and gives her a little salute, which she returns, is in my mind, the epitome of romantic simplicity and quietude.


26) Favorite Documentary

I haven’t seen any that blow me away, really. Aha! Cheating perhaps, but “Meeting People Is Easy”, Grant Gee’s film about Radiohead is a stunning portrayal of loneliness and stadiums.

27) Favourite opening credit sequence

I like ones that immediately plunge you into the cultural atmosphere of the film, like “Taxi Driver”. The character introducing footie match in “Trainspotting” is enormous fun to. If we can include television, “Twin Peaks” springs to mind.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

From Harvey. “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.” I think about this quote every few weeks and it always discomforts me somewhat, because for years I thought it was possible to do both. Now I’m not sure, and maybe happier for it.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

While he’s not the best thing about it, Andrews steals it purely for “Laura”.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

I will be sorely disappointed with every major category.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Chris Cooper in “Breach”.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Seeing as they were both 2007 releases for me, Laura Linney in “Jindabyne” and Laura Dern in “INLAND EMPIRE”.

33) Best Director of 2007

Todd Haynes

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Ratatouille or Zodiac.

35) Favourite single movie moment of 2007

“Hurdy Gurdy Man” following the car through LA in “Zodiac”.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me.

Anthony said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

Fight Club

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

For all of her obsessive child collecting, and the codependent incestuous mess that was woody allen, people keep forgetting that the woman could act--plus her first real role was peyton place, which seems prophetic.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

American Pie 4.

4) Best Movie of 1947

The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, Cary Grant and Jail Bait

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

The Moose

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?
Robert Vaughn did a clutch of fantastic teen deliquent movies in the 50s, and some great cowboy tv, David McCallum is brilliant on NCIS, plus a few early 60s war films, finishing with the great escape--but both were on MAn From UNCLE so its a draw.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

i saw pulp fiction in a time square grind house, in 1994, just before disney got a hold of it

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

for aesthetics, his beer commericals, for politics, dr death--which has more to say about faith, eveidence, and the difficulty of history then almost anything else

9) Best Movie of 1967

a time for burning, barbara connells earnest and problemetic discussion of how religion intersects with race in midwestern america, the failure of the social expriement seems to be a metaphor for america, but in a way taht is too slippery to be more specific.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

watching early de palma after reading rape and reverance, and trying to sort out the differences between the violence i enjoyed watching on screen and the violence that i felt an aboherence to in real life.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

julie newmar

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

its a lousy movie, but the optimism and madness found in the one sheet of the billy bob thorton astrounaut film, with the perfect twilight sky, his striding foreward in that suit, and the farm receding, about the technological, science and hope--says more then the movie ever does, in fact. the fact that he is on the horse, just seems to be the pulp surrealism that the movie lacks http://www.britfilms.tv/images/news/astronaut%20farmer.jpg

13) Best Movie of 1987

Withnail and I

14) Favorite movie about obsession
F is for Fake

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
silent night, deadly night; don't open until xmas, black christmas

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
Clift (he took his shirt off more)

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie
i dont have one

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

hes right, and in the age of the net, of the dvd revoultion, where everything is available, the ability to f ind culture, to remix it, to make it new, to connect it to the expereicnes of yr patricualr place, is so easy, that to do it well seems a miracle

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

marie antoinette, lars and the real girl

20) Best Movie of 2007
lars and the real girl

21) Worst Movie of 2007
bobby

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia
i dont think im a cinephile

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
Crossroads--the britney vehichle, which was more honest about family and about teenage sex then anything john hughes could have come up with

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
Rita Hayworth singing put teh blame on mame when she removes that glove, in teh piano scene in Gilda, is so wonderfully iconicly fetishy, that no matter how good GEne Tierney is (and i think she has had more films that were interesting than Hayworth), she cannot be beat---let me put it this way, those five minutes encompass almost anything that Tireney tried to do.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
Bresson, Diary of A County Priest

26) Favorite Documentary
Harlan County War

27) Favorite opening credit sequence
Anatomy of a Murder

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?
too many to name.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards
w/ the writers strike, it wont happen

31) Best Actor of 2007
Patton Oswalt, Rattouie

32) Best Actress of 2007
Patricia Clarkson, Lars and the REal Girl; Amy Adams, Enchanted

33) Best Director of 2007
paul greengrass

34) Best Screenplay of 2007
Portal

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007
the ending sequence in rattatoie

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
i see more of tehm

aaron said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

It’s an uninspired choice, but I’ll second (and third and fourth) THE SEARCHERS.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Farrow if she’s circa ROSEMARY’S BABY, though Weld is quite fetching as the town tease in John Frankenheimer’s I WALK THE LINE.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh?

I honestly can’t think of one. I’m not embarrassed for having laughed at recent “bombs” like THE BROTHERS SOLOMON or THE HEARTBREAK KID because there’s at least a source of real talent involved (Bob Odenkirk, The Farrelly Brothers), and stuff like DATE MOVIE or EPIC MOVIE (and whatever else that masquerades as the parody film these days) doesn’t make me laugh whatsoever.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Today it’s BODY AND SOUL (d: Robert Rossen), tomorrow it might be THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (d: Welles), and the day after that it might be NIGHTMARE ALLEY (d: Edmund Goulding). But that’s leaving out THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (d: Nicholas Ray), and I can’t be having that.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Hounddog.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

I re-watched SUPERMAN III in the past week and Vaughn’s souless, ultimately forgettable performance as a corporate villain makes me itchy to pick McCallum.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Given how scarce they’re becoming, I must cheekily answer: a drive-in movie theatre!

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

THE THIN BLUE LINE had the most hypnotic effect on me, perhaps due to the mesmerizing Philip Glass score.

9) Best Movie of 1967

John Boorman’s POINT BLANK.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Richard Donner’s SCROOGED blew my mind when I was a child because I couldn’t wrap my head around how it updated Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” to the modern age.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Newmar, if only for her flattering Catsuit.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

http://www.impawards.com/1955/posters/kiss_me_deadly.jpg

13) Best Movie of 1987

FULL METAL JACKET

14) Favorite movie about obsession

And another cheeky answer: De Palma’s OBSESSION.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

BLACK CHRISTMAS / A CHRISTMAS STORY / IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (a tad boring, but hey, it’s my ideal)

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Clift has the edge because there’s simply more to choose from, and also because he’s something of an antecedent to Dean’s acting style. I’ll arbitrarily choose Clift, if only because both actors worked with George Stevens, and Monty was in the better film.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

GAP-TOOTHED WOMEN (the only one I’ve seen)

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Consider me speechless.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD? A rewatch of Edgar Wright’s “Spaced” British television series.
In a theater? SWEENEY TODD.

20) Best Movie of 2007

Probably ZODIAC.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Probably THE NANNY DIARIES.

22) Describe the stas of your cinephilia

ages 6-12: rented copious amounts of horror (Universal, Hammer, slashers, etc.) films, initially becoming interested in the make-up effects of Tom Savini, Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, Greg Nicotero, and others. I directly attribute my cinema obsession to my parents’ lack of restriction when it came to R-rated fare (my dad being a big Charles Bronson fan, I’d seen all of the existing DEATH WISH films by the time I was ten.) THE ODD COUPLE and the rest of Neil Simon on film was also pretty important, too, at around age twelve. The odd Hollywood classic (like IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE and THE WIZARD OF OZ), but this was seldom. Steve McQueen emerging as the essence of cool through THE GREAT ESCAPE, PAPILLON, LE MANS, THE GETAWAY, and even stuff like THE HUNTER.

Ages 13-16: World Cinema (via Truffaut’s “The Films In My Life” at age fourteen: I made notes about every film mentioned in this tome, and consciously went out/rented any film Truffaut favourably referred to).
My brother’s burgeoning interest in 60s and 70s film made me catch things I would have otherwise missed: a weeklong CBC TV retrospective of the films of John Cassavetes, Hellman’s TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (an A&E television showing, along with REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE), the aforementioned I WALK THE LINE, as well as all of Scorsese, De Palma, Coppola, and the other usual suspects (anything with Pacino, De Niro, Hoffman, etc.) At age 16: “Who The Devil Made It” (Bogdanovich’s treasure trove of classic Hollywood director interviews) paved the way to the rest of the golden age of Hollywood, starting with all of Hitchcock (from the silents to FAMILY PLOT) and Howard Hawks (RIO BRAVO and EL DORADO being my then-favourites) to more obscure figures like Joseph H. Lewis and Raoul Walsh.

Ages 17-19: Italian neo-realism, nouvelle vague, Fellini, Antonioni, Bergman, et al with repeated viewings giving up more revelations. Increasingly heavy on exploitation at this time, seeing the non-Poe pictures of Roger Corman, and 70s New World / Crown International pictures. Started reading film criticism more seriously, first with Kael, then siding with Sarris, Rosenbaum, and other auteurists. Manny Farber at the tale end of age nineteen.

Ages 20-today: more of the same, though with a conscious decision to stay on top of modern world cinema. Keeping idiosyncratic favourites, with directors (Jack Starrett), actors (Scott Wilson), actresses (Marie-France Pisier), etc. alike. Television emerges as a valuable art-form, and not just for nostaligia sake (being a big Nick at Nite admirer from way back via classic tastes ranging from “The Fugitive” to “The Twilight Zone” to “The Invaders”.)

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

A recent experience: THE CHOIRBOYS. It’s too offensive and too oft-putting for most viewers – here is where the auteur theory holds weight: it helps to know a fair bit about Robert Aldrich.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

My girlfriend would select Tierney, but I’d have to go with Hayworth for her femme fatale performance in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. GILDA isn’t too shabby either.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37 in its entirety.

26) Favorite Documentary

HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Maurice Binder’s sequence for DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Not so much a film, but certain performances by actors. MODERN ROMANCE and Albert Brooks & THE HEARTBREAK KID and Charles Grodin being the two foremost examples.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford (come to think of it, he can exhibit a sincere dose of wabi.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

I usually only pay attention to the tribute awards, so I’m hoping it’s someone I’ve long treasured -- Richard Widmark.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Robert Downey, Jr. for ZODIAC

32) Best Actress of 2007

Ashley Judd for BUG

33) Best Director of 2007

William Friedkin for BUG

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Quentin Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

“Hurdy Gurdy Man” hauntily intoning on the soundtrack at the close of ZODIAC.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

A new film by Albert Brooks (not gonna happen).

Neil Sarver said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

Some part of me wants to be clever, but I just love the opening of A Clockwork Orange. I'm tempted by The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as well.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia Farrow.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Nothing. I guess there's a tinge of guilt that I enjoy the Jackass movies as much as I do, but not that I laughed at all.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Nightmare Alley.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

I've not bothered to come up with a handle since I thought SoftCell was a terrific idea, 15 years ago, so I guess it'd be that.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Robert Vaughn. Although, I believe my mom had a crush on David McCullum, for whatever that's worth either way.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I got nothing here. The park maybe?

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

Gates of Heaven.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Point Blank.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

I've thought a lot and I'm drawing a blank on this.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Julie Newmar.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I have this Titus poster on my wall and never tire of staring at it. There's not much I don't love about this Frankenstein Created Woman poster either.

13) Best Movie of 1987

RoboCop.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Well, I think the perfect Christmas double feature is A Bob Clark Christmas: Black Christmas and A Christmas Story. I suppose throwing Gremlins on after would work as would watching It's a Wonderful Life before.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Monty. By a mile. A country mile.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Apparently I have not seen one.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I have none really.

I think it's basically in the neighborhood of correct.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

DVD: Blade Runner. Theater: Beowulf.

20) Best Movie of 2007

I feel inconclusive as of yet. I'm leaning seriously toward Zodiac, but there are several key ones I've not seen still.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Wow! Looking at the list, there are more than usual that I really didn't like, but for some reason Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer especially pissed me off.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Childhood - Pretty omnivorous. Discovered "Sneak Previews" some time around 9 or 10 and learned to find more kinds of movies.

Early adulthood - Obssessed over Robert Altman and Woody Allen. Dug much deeper into "art movies".

Mid-20s - Starting with a year of solitude watching obssessively omnivorously.

Late-20s/early 30s - Less omnivorous. Reactionary suspiciousness of "art" or "indie movies".

Mid 30s/present - Re-opening to "art" and "indie", but increasingly insistent on passion and imagination. Some kind of real vitality.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Unfortunately, people know me, so I have difficulty with nearly everything.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita Hayworth.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

This question gave me a headache.

26) Favorite Documentary

Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of SMiLE.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

The Wild Bunch.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Nothing interesting.

Or perhaps I should say they all do in some small way.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Naked tubists.

31) Best Actor of 2007
32) Best Actress of 2007
33) Best Director of 2007
34) Best Screenplay of 2007


I don't feel ready to answer these yet.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Bart Simpson's wiener.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

More imagination.

I'd say that even if I'd been impressed with the imagination. I can't get enough of it, but let's be honest, there's a dearth of imagination all over the movies, even good movies, these day.

--

I feel half-uncomfortable with my year choices, as I was stuck looking through IMDb for

Neil Sarver said...

I didn't finish my footnote. Ooops!

I'm not convinced there weren't wonderful choices that weren't readily highly or muchly rated by IMDb voters in one or all of those years that I wasn't able to remember on my own.

That said, my three choices are solid favorites in my personal canon, so I'll live with them,

Patrick said...

1) Your favorite opening shot

Fade in. A foggy morning. Hoofbeats. King Arthur. Coconuts.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia's incredibly talented, but she hasn't been on the cover of two Matthew Sweet albums, now has she?

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Screwballs, a T&A romp from the '80s. Among other things, it had two shots of a guy in a gas mask walking by that went entirely uncommented on. There was also the married couple whose sex life is lacking, and they were named Ward and June solely for the chance to say, "Ward, i'm worried about the Beaver."

4) Best Movie of 1947

Out of the Past. One of the best films noir ever made.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Pen Man. And my rig would be the Pen Man's Ship.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Robert Vaughn got to be in The Magnificent Seven with Steve McQueen. David McCallum got to be in The Great Escape with Steve McQueen. I personally prefer The Magnificent Seven. (THERE'S a non-answer for you.)

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

The front lawn at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Watching Bogart ask Bergman, "Aren't you the kind who tells?" and hearing three hundred people go "Ooooooh" was a fun way to spend my first weekend on campus.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

"Neutered."

9) Best Movie of 1967

Gotta go with The Graduate.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

The baby crawling on the ceiling in Trainspotting. Gah.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Anne Francis gets a reference in Rocky Horror Picture Show. I say that's cooler than having your name in a movie title.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I'll go with Silence of the Lambs, for its ability to get a half dozen naked women onto the back of a moth and call it art.

http://www.posterwire.com/wp-content/images/silence_of_the_lambs.jpg

13) Best Movie of 1987

I went through a list of '87 movies arranged in alphabetical order, and I was all set to go with My Life as a Dog, and then at the very end, along came Withnail and I.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Vertigo is A favorite, but not MY favorite. My favorite would probably be Say Anything. There's not one scene in that movie where Lloyd Dobler's mind doesn't fixate around Diane Court. If that boombox hadn't been playing "In Your Eyes," we would've realized we were watching a pure stalker in action.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

The Ref, Bad Santa, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

We got to see Clift when he wasn't at the top of his game and he knew it. Those roles showed more guts than Dean ever needed.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

No idea. None.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Everyone's a critic.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

Blazing Saddles and Walk Hard, respectively.

20) Best Movie of 2007

Once.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Epic Movie.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

A) Hiding under the seat whenever Darth Vader came onscreen.
B) Buying Danny Peary's Cult Movies book and badly wanting to see 2/3 of them.
C) Regular attendance at Rocky Horror Picture Show.
D) Coming the used VHS bins at the local video store.
E) Living within walking distance of the local art house cinema and going there twice a week.
F) Budgeting to make do with less food when a good box set's about to be released.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Get Crazy, purely because it's next to impossible to find. Those who have seen it always come away raving.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

"Me, decent?"

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

In My Life as a Dog, Ingmar and Saga are boxing. She takes him into a clinch, which gradually becomes an embrace. The movie goes still for a moment, and in that moment, she touches the back of his head with her boxing glove. It's an incredibly tender few seconds.

26) Favorite Documentary

Wow, that's tough. I think I have to go with The Last Waltz. I've heard all sorts of stories about all sorts of faults - too much Robbie Robertson, not enough Richard Manuel, they almost didn't get the shot of Muddy Waters - but I don't care. Like the tagline says, it started as a concert and became a celebration.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

I'm going with Raging Bull. The slow motion, the image, the music, the flashbulbs... it all adds up the the most hypnotic opening I've ever seen.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

I can't say yes... They all contributed to making me who I am, but that's more a shoring up of what's already there than a transference of what's there to a whole new place.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

I like Laura too much to not pick Dana.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

The writers strike will be unresolved, requiring the show to be canceled.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Richard Gere's performance in The Hoax completely restored my faith in him. (Then his performance in I'm Not There completely banished it.)

32) Best Actress of 2007

Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There. Her work as Bob Dylan - excuse me; "Jude" - was a miracle.

33) Best Director of 2007

The Coen brothers, No Country For Old Men. Not even close. I marvel at the images they somehow show us before anyone else ever thought of them; that scuffed up floor will stay with me forever.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Again, No Country For Old Men.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

#1: The performance of the song "When Your Mind's Made Up" in Once. Particularly when the hired hand producer, who'd been so politely dismissive of the players before the take, slowly began to realize he had something good here.

#1A: When the REEL MISSING card came up in the middle of the sex scene in Grindhouse, and we then cut to the barbecue shack in flames.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That the Indiana Jones movie won't suck.

W. Australopithecus said...

1) Your favorite opening shot

To answer this correctly would take years of study and revisitations, so I'm just going to say Punch-Drunk Love and be done with it.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Pass.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Soul Man

4) Best Movie of 1947

Odd Man Out

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Australopithecus, baby.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Pass.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Late 80's/early 90's, I sat on the worn wooden flooring of the rat-infested cave my friend called an apartment during his bohemian period in Chicago and watched a 16mm (I think) print of The General that his roommate had checked out from the public library. We were completely astonished at what we saw.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

I'm behind on my Errol Morris - they're in my Netflix queue.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Of the ones I've seen, Bonnie and Clyde.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

After seeing Frailty on DVD in early 2003, I became convinced that nothing was going to keep the US from getting into more shit in the Middle East, since the movie's message was that a figure in authority who claims to be able to point out who are demons who should be destroyed is someone who should be respected and obeyed.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Pass.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I have this on my living room wall just because I like to freak out the Establishment.

13) Best Movie of 1987

I love Pelle the Conqueror - I don't care what anybody says - but I'll have to go with Au revoir, les enfants.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

I'll say Rules of the Game, because that's the way obsession always ends, isn't it?

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

I don't know how "ideal" it is, but the 1951 A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim as Scrooge, It's A Wonderful Life because what's Christmas without It's A Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story because my dad loves that movie.

And I'm going to cheat and show A Charlie Brown Christmas as a short.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Pass.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Pass.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

In general, this seems to me more applicable to a solitary pursuit like literature than a group endeavor like film, since the resources for filmmaking almost demand that an aspiring filmmaker wend his way to one of the centers for the art, whereas a Faulkner can loiter around Oxford, MS, or a Dickinson can stay holed up in her room and still make great art.

But maybe that's not even the point of the passage....

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

Rewatched Raising Arizona for the first time since I originally saw it many moons ago, my appetite for the Coens' work having been whet by No Country For Old Men.

Just got back from a late showing of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

20) Best Movie of 2007

No Country For Old Men

21) Worst Movie of 2007

I don't go to those movies, but I'm sure the worst movie I will see this year will be National Treasure 2, which I'm going to see Sunday A) because I get a big kick out of watching Nicolas Cage overact and B) I'm trying to prove to the movie group I run that I'm not a complete snob.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

It's all just a never-ending state of pain and alienation from my fellow man.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I gave up on that kind of behavior a long time ago, with film or music or...anything.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Pass.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

This is something I can't answer off the top of my head, but I will probably come up with all kinds of brilliant answers for it in the coming weeks.

26) Favorite Documentary

Crumb

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

My sister was once bitten by a moose....

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Pass.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Jon Stewart will not be as funny as he is every night on The Daily Show.

31) Best Actor of 2007

I haven't seen There Will Be Blood and the incomparable Mr Day-Lewis yet, but I'm pulling for Josh Brolin in what's a perfect performance that was somewhat overlooked next to Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Everyone's talking Cotillard, but I haven't seen that yet. Cate Blanchett was amazing in I'm Not There. And so was Saoirse Ronan in Atonement. So I don't know.

33) Best Director of 2007

Probably the Coen, though Fincher should get an award for making a movie in which you didn't even notice that 90% of the dialogue was exposition.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Were there any original screenplays this year? Everything was an adaptation. How about No Country.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

"If the rule you followed brought you to this, what was the use of it?"

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will not be, as it sounds from the title alone, the cinematic equivalent of Michael Jordan returning to the NBA in a Washington Wizards uniform.

Moviezzz said...

Stuck on a few, but here are the rest.

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

Have to go with CITIZEN KANE.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Just saw part of PRETTY POISON the other day, so I have to go with Tuesday Weld.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Moviezzz

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Since Robert Vaughn does all the local TV ads for lawyers, I have to go with McCallum.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Maybe not exotic to everyone, but the Enzian in Maitland Florida, a theatre that serves meals during the screenings. (During Mike Leigh’s LIFE IS SWEET, I unfortunately saw someone getting their food during the bulimic character’s purging scene)

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

THIN BLUE LINE maybe.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

THE STUNT MAN

13) Best Movie of 1987

Since I wrote about its twentieth anniversary, have to go with CAN’T BUY ME LOVE.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

CHRISTMAS VACATION / CHRISTMAS VACATION / CHRISTMAS VACATION

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

James Dean

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Haven’t seen enough to really be able to answer, but I will go with BURDEN OF DREAMS.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Just gave RATATOUILLE to my niece. Her parents seem to like it more. Great movie.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD, HELVETIC. In theaters, SWEENEY TODD.

20) Best Movie of 2007

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is in the running now, but still haven’t seen THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

That Lindsay Lohan film I KNOW WHO KILLED ME.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

8-15 See movies as the place to see the latest James Bond and Star Wars films.

15-20 Realize that there is more out there.

21-32 Become obsessed with movies. Discover foreign films. Watch every film from every major director. Drive hours to theatres showing screenings of rare films. Join mail order VHS rental company Home Film Festival to see harder to find films.

33-38 Realize everything makes it to DVD so you quit driving 2 hours, one way, to a single film that you can get from Netflix in 5 months. Stop frequenting the arthouse because putting up with poor picture and sound isn’t worth it in the age of DVD. Don’t have the patience for 4 hour art films anymore. Wonder if it all was a waste of time.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

This year, it has to be HAIRSPRAY. People just don’t like musicals.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita Hayworth.

26) Favorite Documentary

AMERICAN MOVIE?

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

That they will be cancelled due to the strike.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That they are even better that this year.

Amanda Stefaniuk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

Call me crazy, but right now I like the opening to Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil. kd Lang singing Skylark over a soaring shot of Savannah Georgia that features Johnny Mercer’s gravestone. It’s the best part of an overblown movie.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Tuesday Weld – for being the perfect unattainable girl on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Jackass 2. I’m not ashamed to say that it’s actually well made. Any movie that ends with a big musical number featuring ‘The Best of Times’ from La Cage Aux Folles is okay in my book.

4) Best Movie of 1947

The Lady From Shanghai. Orson Welles made Rita Hayworth cut her hair and it was worth it.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Little A

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

I’ve never watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E, so I’m unqualified to answer this. Going by their film work, David McCallum is in a favourite, The Watcher in the Woods, but Vaughn has had a fabulous career of baddies in comedies like Baseketball and Pootie Tang, so I’ll go with him

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

In the winter, they’ve projected films onto a screen made of snow here in Winnipeg. Very chilly, but fun!

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

The Thin Blue Line.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Wait Until Dark. Alan Arkin is amazing.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Not so disturbing, but during Saving Private Ryan, the sound kicked out, and people in the audience were providing the gunshots and bomb noises.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Anne Francis, because she loses Dick Powell to a teenage Debbie Reynolds in Frank Tashlin’s Susan Slept Here. She deserves to win something!

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

House on Haunted Hill. Giant skeleton hanging a woman? Try getting away with that today
http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/MG/143961~House-on-Haunted-Hill-Posters.jpg

13) Best Movie of 1987

Hands down, Raising Arizona. Second runner up – Planes Trains and Automobiles.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

The Talented Mr. Ripley. Who wouldn’t be obsessed with Jude Law in that movie?

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Going for laughs:
Home Alone 2 / Pee Wee’s Christmas Special/ National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Montgomery Clift all the way. James Dean was a wannabe.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

I haven’t had the pleasure.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Peter O’Toole deserves an Oscar for that performance.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD – Superman IV The Quest For Peace (funny to spot Jim Broadbent as an oily accomplice of Lex Luthor in this)

In a theater- Sweeney Todd

20) Best Movie of 2007

No Country for Old Men

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Because I Said So

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

My parents opened up a video store beside a movie theater in the 80s, so I was covered both ways. My parents didn’t hire babysitters, so on the weekends, we just went to work with them. We’d watch movies on the in store TV and VCR – I remember seeing the R rated Class of 1984 at an insanely young age. Saturday afternoons were spent at the theater back when they used to show cartoons like Jack and The Beanstalk and Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown. As I grew older, I ended up working by myself, so I had the luxury of watching at least 3 movies a day. Sadly, the video store was a victim to arson in 2004, and we lost every tape. But it was just as VHS was dying, so it ended up being okay. I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up any other way.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

1980's Midnight Madness. It's the best scavenger hunt movie of all time! And that includes the movie Scavenger Hunt.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Gene Tierney! Leave Her To Heaven is one of my favourite movies ever. And she was LAURA… Oh wait, can I go back and change my favourite movie about obsession?

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

My brain hurts trying to think of one.

26) Favorite Documentary

This Filthy World is 86 minutes of John Waters gold.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Anything by Saul Bass.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Not one in particular


29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford for Gilda obviously. I also like The Gazebo – where he played a writer working for Alfred Hitchcock.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Walk Hard will win Best Song. PLEASE!

31) Best Actor of 2007

Josh Brolin in No Country For Old Men; Planet Terror; World Cinema. Truth be told, I never thought he was anything special before. This year, I was blown away by all three of these performances, and in tandem with a 35mm screening of Thrashin’ that played our local art house; I’m his number one fan. I haven’t seen American Gangster or In The Valley of Elah yet (EWWW Paul Haggis!), but I’m sure he’s fine in both. That guy was busy in 2007!


I’m making a write in category for Best Supporting Actor for
Danny R. McBride in Hot Rod and The Heartbreak Kid. This guy is a comedic genius who is poised to be the next big thing.

32) Best Actress of 2007

I haven’t seen any of the movies where there’s supposed to be great roles for women. I imagine Cate Blanchett is amazing in I’m Not There and Ellen Page is someone to watch in Juno. I can’t say for sure.

33) Best Director of 2007

David Fincher for Zodiac. He gets this honour for the Pong scene alone.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Ratatouille by Brad Bird is some kind of wonderful. It was unexpected and imaginative. And obviously quotable per question 18.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Bill Hader’s cameo in The Brothers Solomon

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

Comedies get the respect they deserve. The Heartbreak Kid remake was NOT the worst thing ever made. Who’s Your Caddy however….

ThePeekabooMonkey said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

The best that comes to mind would have to be Clerks where Dante is underneath the piles of clothes laying on the ground just enjoying his life (whatever there is to enjoy) until the phone rings ruining his day and making the actual film begin. I could've just watched a whole movie of Dante in his house if every shot was a good as the him underneath the piles of dirty laundry on the floor. Wouldn't it be loverley?

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

The Farrow for Rosemary and Alice.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Little Man (I've said too much)

4) Best Movie of 1947

Miracle on 34th Street

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

The Wabi.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Vaughn

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Said this on another quiz but I'll say it again at the risk of embarrassing myself I once saw Top Gun on the toilet at a fancy building once.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

A Brief History of Time

9) Best Movie of 1967

The Graduate

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

The ending of Freaks was the only time a movie gave me nightmares (but I love it so...)

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Altaria Morbius or Catwoman? Catwoman because she makes her sexy outfit bad.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Thumbsucker's stick out like a sore thumb.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Full Metal Jacket (1987 in my opinion was a pretty bad year for cinema)

14) Favorite movie about obsession

The Virgin Suicides

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

A Christmas Story
Black Christmas (original)
Santa Clause 2

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

James Dean for the killer oil scene in Giant.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

That one where this dude met this other dude and things happened. (if you couldn't tell, I've never seen a Les Blank film)

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I'm incapable of actual thought on such a profound statement at the moment.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

Yesterday I went to the theater with my grandmother and saw the Great Debaters (ehh...) and re-watched Juno which was just as good if not better than the first time I saw it (last week)

Then I went home and watched a DVD that I rented from the library, Film Geek, and it was godawful. It made the sunshine go away and blackness appear. After vomiting I went to sleep trying to distance myself from the badness...it kinda worked but the stench will always be on me.

20) Best Movie of 2007
Juno (Before the Devil Knows Your Dead is a VERY close second)

21) Worst Movie of 2007
I Know Who Killed me hands down.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

1.After the movie I think about where I can go to think about the movie (if there's food then all the better.)
2. I think about the movie and decide whether I liked it or not.
3. A couple months down the line I make a list for something that that certain film qualifies for and then think about it before and change my desicion (not of liking but more of placeness)
4. After thinking about the movie I watch it again just in case I missed something.
5. Realized I missed nothing.
6. Congatulate myself on my brilliance.
7. Sleep
8. Dream about something for the movie.
9. Finish list and have it finalized.
10. Discard it until we meet again

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I've often tied down friends and family members (I apologize) to watch the greatness that is George A. Romero's The Crazies but people often turn quickly and decide to leave breaking $100's of dollars in rope. They always ask where the scary part comes in and I try to tell them to just watch the whole thing but they don't see the spark in the film that I see.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Tie

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

You don't really make the questions easy do you? Ok, the film that best supports your "wabi" would probably be High Fidelity. I don't really see anything new when I watch it, I've seen the charcters before and the storyline is familiar but there is an elegance because the although there is not much originality (no offense) there is a freshness because they take everything good about the storylines they borrow and make something where you don't squirm in your seat but applaud their take on the story.

26) Favorite Documentary

Hoop Dreams

27) Favorite opening credit sequence:

Magnolia

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Me and You and Everyone We Know really made me more contemplative on every-day small things and helped me reshape the possibility of their importance.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Andrews-He was in Best Years, too tough to beat.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the
upcoming Academy Awards

Cynical-George Clooney-Michael Clayton

Hopeful-Jennifer Garner-Juno

31) Best Actor of 2007

Steve Zahn-Rescue Dawn

32) Best Actress of 2007

Imelda Staunton-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

33) Best Director of 2007

Jason Reitman-Juno

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Juno

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

That twist in the ending of The Brave One. Didn't see it coming at all.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That the following actors will not be in any movies slated for release in the year 2008 (which I already know for a fact some are but it's a wish so...):

Martin Lawrence
Hilary Duff
Rob Schneider
Brian Geraghty
Miley Cyrus
The Wayan Brothers
or Hugh Jackman

Jamie L. said...

1) Your favorite opening shot

Vast emptiness of space. Tiny, broken craft. Depressing orchestral music and a sense of loss. Must be the beginning of Aliens. You mean this turns into the greatest war movie ever? I'm all eyes.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Tuesday Weld.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Never let them see you bleed? Nah! Never let them hear you laugh at "Hitch."

4) Best Movie of 1947

Brighton Rock.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

The Limey.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Robert Vaughn always had a whiff of the pervy Uncle about him. McCallum was in Sapphire and Steel, The Great Escape and The A Team and played a mean Judas. And he's Scottish.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

A shower block in a "Germans Only" holiday camp in Northern Spain. It was True Lies and was dubbed into Dutch with German subtitles.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

The Fog Of War, for making a mad old facist sound sensible.

9) Best Movie of 1967

You Only Live Twice? Poor Cow? Jungle Book? All great, but all suffering from not being The Dirty Dozen.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Halfway through "Bats" with my new girlfriend, realizing that if we worked out as a couple, this would be the first movie we saw together. It didn't last...

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Julie Newmar.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

"One weekend Major Smith, Lieutenant Schaffer and a beautiful blonde named Mary decided to win World War II." Nazi's falling from cable cars and a very sober looking Richard Burton looking like he could kill people with his hangover. It's Where Eagles Dare.

http://2aday.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/where-eagles-dare-poster.jpg

13) Best Movie of 1987
Hellraiser? Full Metal Jacket? Angel Heart? Withnail and I? Dudes? What a year...and with all those movies and more, the towering glory of Evil Dead II.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

The Punisher. "Don't let your memories kill you, Frank."

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

The Ref, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Die Hard.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Montgomery Clift for being able to do Judgement at Nuremberg AND The Misfits. Range, baby. Range.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Hearts of Darkness. And yes...it is HIS movie.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I'm right. Eat me.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

Matilda and I Am Legend.

20) Best Movie of 2007

Shoot 'Em Up...despite the grating carrot references.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Transformers.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

I don't have cinephilia. I'm a cineholic.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Mousehunt.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Gene Tierney.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

The car crash in Punch Drunk Love.

26) Favorite Documentary

Pink Floyd. Live At Pompeii. "A lot of people see us as being a band influenced by drugs. But we're not...honest!"

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Superman. The first time I realized how many people it took to make a movie and actually cared.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

The Indiana Jones Trilogy. I watched that and thought, "I want to do THAT for a living!"...and now I do. Honest.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Photo finish always goes to the dame named Dana.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

It will all be done as 2D animation.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Javier Bardem. It's about time people stopped winning for playing retards and started winning for retarded haircuts.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Please God, not the damp duo of Knightley and Blanchett! How about Ellen Page for Juno.

33) Best Director of 2007

Brad Bird for being so brave with Ratatouille.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Christopher Hampton for Atonement. Further proof the man can adapt just about anything.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

The end of The Mist. Please let this mean we can have more "Oh shit...It's all gone a bit Lovecraft" moments in the future.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That Hollywood hasn't noticed there are hardly ANY sequels coming out and the only ones that are (Indy, Batman, Toy Story) might actually be worth seeing.

Chet Mellema said...

Here's my post link (the links and pics seen at my blog) with the answers following. It was a lot of fun.

http://chetmellema.blogspot.com/2007/12/happy-new-year-slifrs-winter-break-quiz.html

1) What is your favorite opening shot? The single room, bird-in-a-cage solitude captured by Jean-Pierre Melville's camera in the opening shot of Le Samourai immediately comes to mind. The sparse living conditions with only the bare essentials in view, the rainfall outside the window, the intermittent chirping of the bird, and Alain Delon's slow exhaling of cigarette smoke all instantly evoke a mood that is set to last throughout the picture. Simple but brilliant.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow? I will go with the real Tuesday Weld almost entirely because of a few scenes in Once Upon a Time in America. I respect Farrow but have always felt at a distance from her performances.

3) What is a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh? Bridget Jones' Diary. I'm quite surprised as well because Renee Zellweger is intolerable. Just answering the question...and still embarrassed.

4) Best Movie of 1947? The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles)...keeping my fingers crossed for Kar-Wai's remake!

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle? The Ghost.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum? The Man from UNCLE of course; I love The Great Escape.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie? In my home office, on my computer screen. This is a practice that I must get and will be getting away from this year. Also, I'm ashamed I don't have a better answer to this question.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie? The Thin Blue Line.

9) Best Movie of 1967? Tie: Playtime (Jacque Tati) and Le Samourai (Jean-Pierre Melville).

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies. Paul Verhoeven was able to make me care about a Nazis officer and his no-longer-acting lover. I was disturbed (in a good way) at that result and also by the formidable (and almost opaque) skill with which the director was able to pull it off.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar? Anne who? Prrrrrrrrrrr!

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible). Chinatown. Better to view for yourself than for me to mangle a description.

13) Best Movie of 1987? Tie: The Last Emperor (Bernardo Bertolucci) and Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick). One recognized immediately and one still struggling for recognition.

14) Favorite movie about obsession? Heat (Michael Mann, 1995).

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature? My Night at Maud's (late afternoon)--Brazil (evening)--Eyes Wide Shut (night).

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean? For one reason or another, I'm just not a Monty Clift fan. Gotta go with Jett Rink on this one.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie? For fear of invalidation, I must admit I've yet to see a Les Blank film. But as an Iowa Hawkeye fan, I'm drawn to In Heaven There is no Beer?

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts? When I saw Ratatouille this summer, this monologue and Ego's out-on-a-limb support for Remi/Gusteau's was truly inspiring. The words are at once biting and uplifting to those who enjoy writing on all things cinema, whether he or she be blogger, critic, philosopher, essayist, author, etc. In addition to the defense of the new, I do think the writer enjoys and should exploit the position of shedding light on the overlooked films of the past. They're similar and worthy pursuits and do provide a level of honesty to the work and a sense of accomplishment.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater? DVD: Chinatown; Theater: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

20) Best Movie of 2007? I'm Not There (Todd Haynes).

21) Worst Movie of 2007? I am very judicious regarding which movies I see in the theater, so there are really only a handful that I didn't enjoy this year. Of those few movies, Lust, Caution was the biggest disappointment. But I am not even close to the point where that could be called the worst movie of 2007. There are a dozen or so in the theater right now that I'm sure are worse, but that I will never see. It should also be noted that expectations play a huge role in my opinion on such matters.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia. My cinephilia really didn't begin in earnest until my third year of college (1998-1999). So I have an extended "pre-cinephilia" and a break-neck-paced last ten years. In the last ten years I have transgressed the following general stages (with many discoveries and opinion shifts in between):

a) Obsessing on Star Wars (original trilogy)
b) Discovering Lawrence of Arabia
c) Re-discovering Kubrick
d) Navigating Godard, Truffaut, Kurosawa, Bergman, Antonioni, Renoir, Resnais & Rohmer
e) Obsessing on In the Mood for Love
f) Discovering Orson Welles post Citizen Kane
g) Dismissing Tarantino
h) Obsessing on all things Chaplin
i) Navigating Ozu, Mizoguchi, Cassavetes, Jarmusch, Zhang-ke Jia, Tsai Ming-liang & Alfonso Cuaron
j) Obsessing on all things Terrence Malick
k) Presently discovering and contemplating Deleuze

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate? Days of Heaven--It's my favorite film and I know of no other person that shares that opinion. Sigh.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth? Rita Hayworth without question. Connected to Orson Welles and The Lady from Shanghai, Jack White consistently name-drops her in his cryptic lyrics and David Lynch has a Mulholland Drive. This one was a no brainer.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you? Currently on my mind are the opening and closing segments in No Country for Old Men. You can feel the quietude...and it's affect is remarkable.

26) Favorite Documentary? When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Spike Lee, 2006).

27) Favorite opening credit sequence? Days of Heaven--The Sepia photo montage is entirely unique, places you in the film's setting, and wordlessly elucidates a mood and a feeling of destitution and frustration.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so? The Battle of Algiers and When the Levees Broke have both recently had an impact on some of my worldviews and political opinions, but I'm not sure a movie has actually altered my lifestyle. I wish my answer was different.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews? Glenn Ford by default.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards. Cynical--Casey Affleck will be nominated in the Best Supporting Actor as opposed to Best Actor category for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

31) Best Actor of 2007? Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

32) Best Actress of 2007? Carice van Houten, Black Book.

33) Best Director of 2007? Todd Haynes, I'm Not There.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007? Todd Haynes and Oren Moverman, I'm Not There.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007? Ed Tom Bell's closing monologue and the final shot / cut to black in No Country for Old Men. A perfect conclusion.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008? An end to the high-definition format war with Blu-ray emerging as the singular format.

Alex Jackson said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

I have to rely on my stock answer of virtually any Stanley Kubrick film made. But omitting anything before Lolita and great opening sequences as opposed to shots; I'll have to go with Lolita, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, and Eyes Wide Shut.

Have to pick one out of those I'll begrudingly go with A Clockwork Orange.

But frankly, the man owns this discussion.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Tuesday Weld. Does it matter that I haven’t seen any of her movies (except Once Upon a Time in America and I’m not sure that really counts)?

I have seen my fair share of Mia Farrow, and I’m not that into her bubble-head flower child schtick. I will admit that her performance as Daisy in The Great Gatsby is really the only casting choice that makes sense. And she fits better in Rosemary’s Baby than Tuesday Weld would.

But perhaps because I associate her so much with Pretty Poison (despite never seeing it), I see an iciness to Weld’s blondeness that I find a lot more interesting than Farrow’s “dumb blonde” routine. Plus, the woman is scorchin’ hot!

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

I’ve never been embarrassed to admit that I laughed at something I thought was funny. There was one time, I guess I was 14, when I saw a movie with my Mom and my sister and Mom told me she’d make me leave if I didn’t stop laughing. The movie was Alaska-- a children’s movie starring Thora Birch about polar bears. I couldn’t believe how horrible it was. I remember the wise old Inuit was saying something mystical and then his son, in a perfect Native American monotone, tells him to give it up because “this is the nineties”. I thought this was the funniest thing I ever heard and I began laughing hysterically. Of course, I was the only in the theater doing so, and so Mom began getting embarrassed.

So I guess if I had any shame at all, I would be embarrassed by that too.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Checking my list and the only great ‘47 film I’ve seen is Lady from Shanghai. Orson Welles! He’s King Midas, everything he touches turns to gold. His least effort is superior to most directors’ best film.


5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Clark Cedar. That’s the name of my first pet and the street I grew up on.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Dude, I totally need to spend more time in the 60s.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

The toilet.

About ten years ago I had a camcorder that was essentially a portable monitor with the camera on the side so you didn’t have to look through an eye-piece. They sold pre-recorded tapes to play in it, and I got two from my Grandma-- Forrest Gump and The Freshman. I actually took Forrest Gump with me to the bathroom and watched the whole damn thing on the john!

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

The Fog of War actually. It’s funny, political films are kind of a form of escapism to me. The issues they involve themselves with are so abstract that they don’t seem to have any relation to the real world. The Fog of War is a movie I can just pop in whenever I just want to relax.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Marat/Sade. I only had two other candidates (neither of them were Bonnie and Clyde or The Graduate, by the way); but Marat/Sade is definitely my favorite from this year and its status is pretty assured no matter how many more films I see. Great great movie. So obnoxious, exciting, sexy, weird, and beautiful. There’s so much going on in it. Its dense in a good way, you’re never quite through processing it. Plus, there is more to it than simply a complex text. The film, made forty years ago, is a surprisingly damning look at the United States’ invasion and rebuilding of Iraq, told allegorically through the example of the French Revolution and its disastrous aftermath. The film’s continued relevance to the contemporary milieu is the very definition of great art.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

In Black Christmas, Olivia Hussey had just told her boyfriend Keir Dullea that she’s pregnant and she’s having an abortion. He tells her, “sure, it’s just like having a wart removed”. Then the killer calls her and uses that same phrase, “Just like having a wart removed”. Holy shit, that got under my skin. Horror movies are rarely really scary, but that was scary. The idea that a stranger could call you on the phone out of the blue and know some of your deepest secrets plays on some kind of phobia I never knew I have. Before I saw Cache, I had just read Roger Ebert’s review and got a feeling for the premise of it, I had a nightmare about it.

But it’s not just that. There’s something really wrong with Bob Clark. I don’t know what it is. He’s not misanthropic exactly, it’s a lot more difficult than that. Most horror filmmakers seem to have an atheistic coldness, you die and the heat from your body dissipates into black space. With Clark, it’s as though he’s encouraging death as a communicable disease. Not because he hates human beings, but more like he’s an alien being that hasn’t learned that you’re supposed to cheer for the human beings and not the flesh-eating bacteria.

Needless to say, I never got the appeal of A Christmas Story; certainly one of the strangest and (cheerfully/intentionally) ugliest films I have ever seen. I don’t know why people find that shit funny. The “little piggy”, the tongue frozen to the pole, Santa Claus kicking the kid down the slide, the leg lamp. Watching that movie is like taking a tab of bad acid. I begin having hallucinations of meal worms burrowing into my ear drums and eating away at my gray matter. I wonder what it would be like if I died and felt my body decaying away.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Julie Newmar, because of her Catwoman. And because Anne Francis’ best work seems to be concentrated in the 50s; before she was Newmar’s contemporary.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Uh, this one for Alex Cox‘s Sid and Nancy.

Generally prefer posters made up simply from an iconic still from the film. Most honest form of advertising. This one in particular drudges up all the contradictory emotions one has during the movie and makes me want to see it again.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Had four other possible candidates here, but I think I’m going to stick with Full Metal Jacket. Kind of a difficult film, it’s more an anti- “war movie” than an anti-war movie; so you have to be prepared for that going in. But it does get better the more times I see it. And of course, one of the best opening sequences of all of cinema, the barber shop! Really creepy score too by Vivian Kubrick, credited as Abagail Mead. The bit in the bathroom with Private Pyle is really incredible.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Hmm, right now I’m inclined to say Ed Wood. I’ve liked harder edged stuff, but right now I’m thinking that obsession is a good thing if it can give an intrinsically purposeless existence some kind of purpose.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

On Christmas day, I always want to see something a bit hallucinatory perhaps to kind of replicate the feeling of waking up on Christmas morning and seeing your tree magically filled with gobs of additional presents.

I’d probably start with Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will to help things get off on a wacky start. Very visceral and kind of sweet and naïve, but the Nazis help give it a kind of a kick. Then Donnie Darko, I watched the Director‘s cut of that Christmas day two years ago I think it was, and that is a very good Christmas memory. Lyrical sci-fi horror in suburbia. Closing things up, hmm. How about Birth. Winter-y, kind of “women’s picture”, somehow seems to work for me as a conclusion to the evening.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Uh, James Dean I guess.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Never saw one.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Well, there are lots of things to respond to:

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.”

Believe it or not, I find negative criticism very hard and not much fun to write at all. It comes under scrutiny more often than positive criticism, and more than ever this is where you announce your value judgments which need to be perpetually consistent with everything else you have written and will write. Say that you dislike a film because the plot doesn’t make sense. It infers that films must make sense and if that’s the line that you draw in the sand how will you respond when you have to write about L’Age D’Or or Un Chien Andoulou. If you ask me this is where a critic earns his mettle and I have nothing but contempt for those who only write about things they like as they’re never really exposing themselves by concretely announcing their values.

“But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.”

Both things are absolutely true. Particularly the second one, the discovery and defense of the new is very dicey indeed in that you are relying entirely on your own sense of introspection. If you have a talented critic who likes something that you hate, you can see in their response the articulation of the soul of the film which give you something more to rail against.

“Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”

I think the art of film is less “pure” than the art of food. To keep the babble to a minimum let me just say that to be a good cook means having a good sense of taste, smell, timing, experience with spices and foods, et cetera. Good food is always “just” sensory. Good cinema hardly ever is. The cinema doesn’t only have a sensory aspect, but also an intellectual and emotional one. Liberal breast-beating cinema of the “O Brother Where Art Thou” variety has a bad rap but I think the vitriol should be directed more to the liberalism (for being simplistic) than the idea that the cinema is and should be an important art form for people who have something to say.

As to the question if “a great artist can come from anywhere”, I tend to agree to some extent when it comes to film but I think it’s difficult. I don’t think you can be a good filmmaker if you’re just trying to put food on the table or just because you love film. You need to have done some heavy soul-searching and know who you are and how you feel toward whatever you’re making your film about. Armond White might have a point that filmmaking is a bourgeois and you have to already be living pretty comfortably to work out these issues.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

The last movie I saw on DVD was the 1935 version of Scrooge. It was for my review of A Christmas Carol (1951) for Film Freak Central. The film was an extra and I actually liked it better than the main feature. Funnier and a little darker, fresher take on the material too. There was a time when I said I didn’t like movies from the 30s because they were too frivolous, but this was ridiculous. From Stand Up and Cheer to Maniac to now Scrooge, I’m convinced that the decade is filled with hidden treasure. Go and read my review if you haven’t already. And buy our book!

At this very moment, the last movie I saw in the theater was Sweeny Todd on Christmas Day but we will see Juno before I post this. Very good film, I’ve liked Burton’s last few films. While watching Sweeny Todd I felt a bit embarrassed for possibly overrating Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Big Fish; but there were a couple truly great moments in both those films that I think might have surpassed anything in Sweeny Todd which is at least Burton’s most consistently good film in recent years.

Ah, feeling like a bit of a babbler there.

20) Best Movie of 2007

Grindhouse. Not Planet Terror, not Death Proof; Grindhouse. It’s absolutely essential that you watch Death Proof after Planet Terror and the block of movie trailers; it’s designed to be the low-budget filler that bottoms out a double bill.

I know that sounds like an overly studied answer, because it’s this fairly popular film but it’s simultaneously a little esoteric in that you have to have seen it theatrically to have really seen it. But man, I love that movie. It’s a sick possessive love. I could watch it every day for a year. I think it’s too good for the pigs that bought tickets for it and it’s especially too good for the pigs that didn’t buy tickets for it.

It represents everything that I want from the movies and is going to go down in history as one of my very favorite memories.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Low and Behold. It’s a movie that I saw at Sundance starring Eddie Rouse of George Washington fame. It takes place in New Orleans after the flood and was filmed there. Absolute shit. Sappy and exploitive, earning unearned pathos through the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and sloppily employing improvisation in the vain hope that it will flesh out the underwritten superficially quirky script. It’s absolutely everything you’re afraid that a Sundance film will be. I don’t care that it was never distributed, very few films made in the studio system are ever this bad.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Stage 3 to be sure. Ever been to a website called List of Bests?

OCD is the right word for it. Right now, I cut myself off at forty lists, but some choice selections include: Roger Ebert’s Great Movies, The Criterion Collection, the complete works of Fellini, Pasolini, Welles, and Spielberg, Paul Schrader’s Film canon (published in Film Comment), Slant Magazine’s Top 100 Essential Films, all the Academy Award Best Picture nominees from the 90s, 80s, 70s, and 60s. Oh, and the “Leonard Maltin List” where I go through every page of Leonard Maltin’s 2002 movie guide and if I haven’t seen any of the movies listed there, pick one to watch. Took a hiatus from finishing that list when I got halfway through S.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

My stock answer is 1991’s The Dark Backward starring Bill Paxton and Judd Nelson as garbage men living in some kind of post-industrial future. There is a lot of garbage to pick up. This seems to be a single-use society and most everything looks to have been used. There’s a lot of gross-out humor in the film particularly around food and some monolithic corporation appears to have a monopoly on the processed food market. It occurred to me, writing in response to this questionnaire, that the film is kind of a spiritual sequel to Salo: 120 Days in Sodom in that Pasolini described the shit eating in his film as his response to the processed food industry. The Dark Backward could be seen in many ways as a spiritual sequel to that film-- made during the death knell of sensuality. And it’s a comedy, so it fits fairly well as a continuation of Salo’s last shot.

Anyway, the plot involves Judd Nelson wanting to be a stand-up comedian. He’s very bad at it, but gets a gimmick when inexplicably a third arm grows out of his back one morning. And so it becomes a parody of show business. The few people who took me up on my recommendation didn’t like it to say the least, and I guess that’s understandable. It’s anti-entertainment in the truest sense of the world, the rare film that I think actually captures the absurd horrifying poetry hidden behind really terrible low-brow comedy.

It also features an amazing performance by Bill Paxton as one of the cinema’s most disgusting and reprehensible characters. Also my default answer for favorite performances.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita Hayworth?

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

I love in Empire Strikes Back where Yoda draws in the dirt with his walking stick while he talks to Luke about going into the cave. Actors often give themselves some kind of little physical action to help make their performance feel more natural. Here they’re doing that with a puppet. It impressed me because drawing in the stick with your walking stick is supposed to be more about helping the actor out psychologically than convincing the audience. But by suggesting that this puppet needs this action, the film’s universe becomes much more convincing.

Funny, on a similar question two quizzes back that I didn’t participate in there was a similar question about your favorite “mistake” and if I answered that I would have put when, in Star Wars, Han solo laughs when Luke immediately and enthusiastically objects to him courting Princess Leia. The laugh looks so genuine that it appears that Harrison Ford had broken character in one take and they used that one.

Point being that there was apparently a time when George Lucas’ Star Wars films strived toward imperfection.

26) Favorite Documentary

Ah, I’m still in a Triumph of the Will mood.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Skip it.


30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

I’ll be super esoteric and super hopeful and say a nomination and win for Ben Russell’s Black and White Trypps Number 3 in the Best Short Subject category. It really got me excited for the cinema, a fantastically innovative kind of supernatural piece of work. Not sure it qualifies, I think even shorts might have to play theatrically; but that’s my fantasy pic.

31) Best Actor of 2007

I know it’s utterly reprehensible, but I’ll buck the popular trend just because it’s popular and NOT put Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men. How about Chris Cooper for Breach? Amazingly nuanced yet reprehensible character and I love how much of the “Chris Cooper persona” is utilized in the performance. I like him better here than in Adaptation actually.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Irk irk… Kelly MacDonald for No Country for Old Men. She held her own against Bardem’s Anton Chigurh, an impressive feat indeed. And though this is a really stupid reason for praising a performance, her accent was so good that I didn’t recognize her.

33) Best Director of 2007

Wes Anderson for The Darjeeling Limited. A technical savant who nonetheless owns every single shot in his film. A great filmmaker and a great film auteur, the film is his bodily tissue.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

The Coen Brothers for No Country for Old Men.

Dammit!

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Aw, some great ones in Darjeeling Limited, but I’ll have to go with the "Death Proof" segment of Grindhouse with Sydney Poitier relaxing on the porch of the bar, sticking her foot in the rain, and getting stoned. It literally made me almost cry just because I felt so fortunate to love a movie this much.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

While we had some true according-to-Hoyle masterpieces this fall; the spring was surprisingly good and really reminded me of why I love the movies. Breach, The Host, Zodiac, Paris Je t’aime, Hot Fuzz, and of course Grindhouse. Really terrific stuff. I hope this continues. Great movies combined with great weather really gets the old nucleus accumbens throbbing.

Cerb Chaos said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

Jesus Christ. Too many answers

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia Farrow, definitely, definitely, Mia Farrow.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

A comedy? If a comedy makes me laugh, I’m not embarrassed. Even if the film as a whole was terrible at least that one joke was good.

I do have a story about a movie that I’m ashamed I laughed at. Nosferatu. Nosferatu was one of the movies being played at the school’s Halloween party, and, as a embryonic cinephile I went to see it. I was overwhelmed by the sheer artistry of the film, but I was there with some friends and at that point in time we could not communily see a movie without cracking jokes, no matter how good the movie was. Nosferatu was an easy target, featuring acting now considered “hammy” and devices that are considered out-dated. I joined along, making stupid jokes that everyone laughed at, but I felt guilty at the same time. The laughter is gone, Nosferatu being one of my favorites of all time, but the shame remains. I’m embarrassed just writing this down.

4) Best Movie of 1947

At first I thought you said “1946” and I went crazy over having to choose between some of my all time favorites. Luckily you said 1947, a much more lackluster year. Well, when in doubt, pick Welles. The Lady from Shanghai is perhaps less then Kane, Ambersons or F for Fake, but it’s still a great, stylish picture. The famous mirror scene alone is worth the price of admission, and its overall sweltering ambience is the icing on the cake, so to speak.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Something along the lines of “Cerberus Chaos”

I wrote a long explanation as to why, but suffice to say, I came up with it in middle school, and it has stuck for better or (more probably) worse. It’s tradition. It certainly does sound like something a twelve-year-old would come up with, doesn’t it?

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Vaughn

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

We had a great Latin teacher who would allow us to watch a movie pertaining to anchient Rome (PG-13 or less) about once every quarter. We had run out of good, family-friendly, available pictures by the end of the year, so we watched… Raising Arizona. Yes, I watched Raining Arizona in Latin class. It was awesome.

This may not be as strange as some others, but it was certainly surreal at the time.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

I’ve been trying hard to get through Captain Blood without falling asleep for a week now…Oh. Errol MORRIS (I honestly did read this as Errol Flynn the first time around). I love documentaries, so it always confuses me when I tally everything up and discover I Haven’t seen most of the cannonical works. I have seen Fog of War, which was absolutely outstanding.

9) Best Movie of 1967

‘67 is often trotted out as one of the greatest years, and it certainly was a good one, but there wasn’t really anything other then Belle De Jour that left me feeling that it was true “gold level cannon material” as Schrader might say.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

In Creature From the Black Lagoon, there is an early scene when there is some poor sap in a tent, completely unaware of any “gill-man” lurking just feet away from him in the water. We never see the creature, just his hands. And I swear that those hands seemed to me the hands of the devil himself, I was so scared. The rest of the movie is very good, helmed by the criminally underrated Jack Arnold, but the suit was obviously rubber, while those hands looked much too real.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

I have this thing about actors, I cannot picture them unless they have been beaten into my head by critics/gossip columns and/or simply seeing them for at least ten times. I recognize both of those names, and realize that I should be able to put them to a face, but I can’t do it.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

There’s this great poster of Cukor’s “What Price Hollywood?” But my Google-fu is weak today. Off the top of my head, this one for “The Man with the Movie Camera” (http://www.zirigunfo.variavel.com/e107_images/newspost_images/man_with_a_movie_camera.jpg) has a really fun, modernist approach. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Citizen Kane poster (http://artfiles.art.com/images/-/Citizen-Kane-Poster-C10047715.jpeg) simply because of its blandness, especially when compared to the movie itself (I mean “It’s terrific?” though accurate, its not exactly the most original or effective tagline of all time.)

13) Best Movie of 1987

Hey! Raising Arizona is back again. Just like the 40’s default answer for lackluster years is Welles, the default answer for the 80’s is for the Coens

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Obsession, like voyeurism, is often overrated as a theme (Seriously, voyeurism seems to have become a complement in criticism) but, like voyeurism, it has some great movies to its name. The best off the top of my head is Cocteau’s Orphee, with Jean Marais obsessively writing down everything the local numbers stations says. His relationship with death (the being) can also be labeled obsessive. Cocteau has a great ability to make his works both ponderous and amazingly fun at the same time.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

It’s a Wonderful Life, just to get it out of the way, because it is actually pretty great

I would add a Jesus movie second, but full “life of Christ” pics seem more appropriate at Easter and there has been no Nativity movie made that was any more then horrible. So I’ll go with A Charlie Brown Christmas, which adds in a bit of Jesus at the end while not being horrible (an amazing feat!)

Third should be a relatively recent, secular movie to offset the classic and the Jesus-laden ones. A Nightmare Before Christmas seems just about right.
So there we go.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

This is really the battle of two performances for me, I’ve seen Dean in nothing other then Rebel Without a Cause, and Clift has never affected me nearly as much as he did in A Place in the Sun. Of the two I prefer Deans performance, but they’re both great.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

I actually got Burden of Dreams for Christmas, along with around 30-odd other DVDs. (I get it! You know I like movies!) but I haven’t seen it yet.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

There are many strange peccadilloes in critical thinking, high among them the lavish praise given to Brad Bird movie but I digress. Criticism is the baby boy of art, it wouldn’t be around without it’s mother, but it sure does lighten up everybody’s day (when it’s being nice, when it’s naughty and doodling on the walls it doesn’t help anyone) I’m against the snark filled pieces when they demand to be taken as actual evaluations of the film (though they can work as comedic texts) but if you’ve ever tried to write serious, non-contradictory criticism you know that it’s a lot harder then merely putting down your opinions. The idea that critisism is only for the new is a mistake, there need to be some keepers of the flame, defending old works against those youngsters with short-term memory (and they can often “risk” themselves doing so). Great criticism is better then crappy works of art, as it is a work of art in and of itself.

Concerning the “Not everyone can become a great ____” I trot out that old Shakespeare quote “Some are Born Great, Some Achieve Greatness, and some have Greatness Thrust Upon them.” There are some artists who seem to have emerged geniuses, some who work hard at developing their craft, and some who were just at the right place at the right time. And, yes, they can come from anywhere.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

I watched Killer of Sheep with my Dad and paternal Grandparents yesterday, what a great movie that is. In theatres I saw Charlie Wilson’s War, which I felt was moderately good with two great scenes courtesy of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

20) Best Movie of 2007

I cannot express in words how great No Country for Old Men is. Believe the hype.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Transformers is the worst movie I have ever seen in theatres (although this may seem like a major statement, I am not able to go to movies nearly as often as I’d like, so when I do I make sure to pick one I’ll like) It reduces all human emotion to pavlovian responses. Instead of pathos we get a dog in a cast, instead of humer we have a robot “pissing” on some F.B.I agent. I’ve never seen a Michael Bay film before, and after this I believe that he may be a robot, aware that we have emotions but unaware of how exactly they work other then surface levels. I’ve gotten used to movies insulting my intelligence, but this movie insulted my humanity.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia


This is a rough guide, ages mostly determined on what feels right.

2- Saw my first movie in theaters, Beauty and the Beast, according to my father I was happily devouring popcorn until the film started, I apparently kept a piece of popcorn an inch from my mouth throughout the entire movie, staring wide eyed at the screen. Cinephilia officially begins.

3-7 Watch animated movies and shorts, vastly preferring Looney Tunes over Disney, begin recognizing names of “Chuck Jones” and “Tex Avery’/Jones, Avery, Clampet, Freling

7-10 Discover Universal horror and certain 50‘2 sci-fi, fall in love with Dracula so much it worries my father, also fall in love with certain older films/Whale, Browning, Jack Arnold, Capra, Big-budget 60’s musicals

10-13 Lower my movie-watching habits to mostly blockbusters, spend more time on other things much to my later regret/ Jackson, Raimi, Jim Carrey vehicles

13-14 Acquaintance introduces me to stranger stuff. And by “stranger” I mean “John Waters and Experimental film” a quantum leap in my movie-watching/Waters, Browning again (this time for Freaks), Ed Wood, Burton

14-16 Have major crisis of film watching, realize that I have seen almost none of the classics. Dive headfirst and discover great directors I had never heard of before, read American Cinema by Andrew Sarris, dismiss it because he doesn’t like Kubrick / Welles, Goddard, Hawks, Mervyn LeRoy, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Wilder

16-18 Really start to read Sarris, discover more that I like then that I don’t. Reiterate my vow to watch more movies then humanly possible, watch lots of silent and experimental films.. And like them, Especially German Expressionism. Make peace with blockbusters Get obsessed over the Looney Tunes again. Generally insufferable when conversation turns to movies./ Murnau, Lang, Jones again, Coens, Griffith, Lean, Kurosawa, Browning again (this time for The Unknown), Scorsesse, anything I can get my hands on.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people
to see or appreciate?

No one other then my dad tends to listen to my movie recommendations, not because they don’t trust me (though some probably don’t) but because they generally don’t go to movies.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita Hayworth was Gilda man, Gilda.

I really, really, really like Gilda.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

Spirit of the Beehive has the “simplicity and quietude” down, but it seems to have been rigidly planned out-in a good way. I’m terrible at guessing which moments are planned and which are spontaneous, though I know for certain that the “I steal” portion of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang was accidental, at least the lighting. That’s actually a really good answer. I’ll go with that.

26) Favorite Documentary

Don’t Look Back closes the door to Dylan documentaries which Scorsese should never have tried to reopen. Even if the movie is not a complete portrait of the man, it is utterly fascinating and genious. Close second is F for Fake because, well, Welles.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Because everyone will have chosen the Saul Bass ones I’ll go with the To Kill a Mockingbird credits. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s the best part of the movie.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

No.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford was in Gilda man, Gilda.
He was also in Blackboard Jungle, The Big Heat and the original 3:10 to Yuma.
It’s hard to top Glenn Ford.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Jon Stewert will be less awesome then he was last year, but only due to the writers strike.

31) Best Actor of 2007
Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises. There is no other answer.
Unless, of course, you include supporting actor, in which case Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men is the only answer.

32) Best Actress of 2007

This will seem like I’m joking, but Rose McGowan in Grindhouse/Planet Terror.

33) Best Director of 2007

Coens

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Coens
35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Coens. Or, if we were to ignore that that movie existed for a bit, the reveal that Nicolas Cage would be Playing Fu-Manchu in Werewolves of the SS was pretty great. Strange, because otherwise that was by far the worst trailer of the bunch.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
That they will be good, what else can you hope for?

Damian said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

There are a number of opening shots that I really love, but I don't know that any first image in a movie could ever possibly get much better than the simple, but enormously effective, ultra-slow reverse zoom on Bonasera's face as he relates his tale of woe to The Godfather.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Whichever one didn't call Spielberg the "Leni Riefenstahl" of the Olympics.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

I'm not embarassed to admit it, but the Don Knotts/Tim Conway comedy The Private Eyes always makes me laugh even though I often feel like I'm the only one in the world who finds it funny.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Not sure I'm qualified to pick the "best" movie of '47 but I think one of the most under-appreciated movies of that year is Robert Montgomery's experimental first-person POV adaptation of Chandler's noir classic Lady in the Lake.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

"The Omen"

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Bobby, baby!

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I used to own a pocket television when I was younger and my introduction to a few movies (including Midnight Run as I recall) came from a black-and-white screen no bigger than a business card as I was tucked away in my bed late at night.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

The only one I've seen is The Thin Blue Line.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Well, continuing my theme of "most underappreciated" movie, I tend to feel that the cinematic value of In Cold Blood is somewhat overshadowed by the significance of its source material. Yes, it's a historic book, but (not unlike To Kill a Mockingbird,) it could also very well be a truly great film.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Earlier this year I brought home a movie from the video store entitled Film Geek about a lonely, eccentric young man working in an Oregon video store whose whole life basically revolved around movies and who ran a website devoted to that very subject. I have to say that, while being well aware of the many similarities I shared with him, I was disturbed by how utterly pathetic I found the character to be. What disturbed me even more was later when someone whom I had never even met possessed sufficient enough inisight to liken me to this same character. In case you've never experienced it, there's nothing more unsettling than seeing yourself in a movie and not liking what you see.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Julie Newmar because she was in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Again, there are so many to choose from, but the sheer simplicity and raw emotional power of the Unforgiven teaser poster is hard to surpass.

13) Best Movie of 1987

As before I wouldn't say it's the best movie of that year, but 1987 was the 25th anniversary of the first James Bond film and the producers marked that occasion by releasing a very respectable entry in the series (called The Living Daylights) which featured the debut of a woefully undervalued Timothy Dalton as a tougher, more intense Bond. I remember going to see it opening night on my family's first day of vacation in Seattle and there was literally a line around the block at the theatre. EVERYONE wanted to see the new Bond. It's interesting to me that so many people now are praising Daniel Craig's grittier, edgier interpretation of the Ian Fleming character (and this is not to take away from Craig's performance at all, because I thought it was fabulous), but he's not exactly doing anything new.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

My usual answer would be Vertigo, but I recently re-watched The Prestige and can't help but think that that's also a pretty decent meditation on the destructive nature of obsession.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

I'd probably start with two rather unconventional choices like Die Hard and Gremlins and then end with the more seasonally-appropriate and inspiring It's a Wonderful Life (I still tear up when Stewart cries "Please, God. I want to live again.").

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

With all due respect to Dean (who was indeed great in Rebel Without a Cause), I don't know how anyone who has ever seen the performance that Montgomery Clift gave in his one scene in Judgement at Nuremberg could not pick him.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

I have yet to see one, but in scanning his list of films on IMDB I see he did a short about Huey Lewis and the News. Gotta go with that one.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I remember when I saw Ratatouille in the theatre and I first heard that speech. I thought it was very compelling. I still do.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

DVD: Blade Runner Final Cut
Theatre: No Country For Old Men

20) Best Movie of 2007

Of the few film's I've seen so far, I'm going to have to say No Country for Old Men.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

That would be Transformers.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

(most ages are approximate)

2 - 8: As a young child we had a lot of movies around the house (my father got into the video business in its beginning years) and I spent a lot of time in front of the TV. My parents also took me to see a fair amount of films in the theatre (my earliest memories are of seeing The Muppet Movie and The Empire Strikes Back on the big screen). I wouldn't say that I necessarily loved movies more than any other pursuits/activities. They were simply a part of my everyday life like food, clothes, etc. In other words, yhey were just... there. The pendulum wasn't even moving. It was resting motionless in the center.

9 - 16: One day my dad brought home a video camera and I realized that I could create products similar to the ones I had grown up watching. Thus, a fascination for the mechanics of movie-making was born and I began to devour as many movies, books about movies and even movies about movies (such as the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark) as I could. I also began collecting soundtracks and learning whole films by heart (including my personal favorite to recite: Back to the Future). My tastes ran exclusively to Hollywood movies (past and present). The pendulum finally swung to one side.

17 - 24: As I was beginning to leave my teen years and enter adulthood, my love of movies slowly shifted to a love of cinema. Works like Schindler's List introduced me to the concept of film as an art and not just as an enertainment. In college my friend Tucker broadened my horizons with silent, foreign and arthouse films and their directors (whose names I had never heard of nor could properly pronounce). I came to the painful realization that I was an "expert" in a subject that I really knew nothing about. While it was humbling it also, unfortunately, led to my becoming a "film snob." The more I learned about Truffaut, Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman, et al, the more elitist I became. To borrow my friend Tucker's phrase: "If it didn't have subtitles, I wasn't interested." The pendulum swung way back to the other side.

25 - present: Eventually my cinephiliac arrogance tempered itself as I rediscovered my affection for the so-called "simple" pleasures of Hollywood filmmaking and realized that there was just as much artistic value in something made by Bryan Singer as there was by Louis Malle. I've also finally embraced the fact that I will always be learning about film. Indeed, I will be a lifelong student. Thus, the pendulum has found its way back to the middle once again, but unlike my early years it is still in motion and while I don't know where it will take me next I am eager to find out.


23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

See #3

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Laura is one of my favorite films.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

I miss being able to see both the chain below the bike and the tracks underneath the road signs at the bottom of the screen in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Those are two genuine mistakes that I think add a lot to the charm and artistry of that film.

26) Favorite Documentary

I think you've asked this question before, Dennis, and my answer's still the same. Clear Cut: the Story of Philomath, Oregon.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Once again, there are so many, but I think that the opening credits that Kyle Cooper designed for David Fincher's Se7en are truly extraordinary. I don't know that I've ever seen a main title sequence, for a film released in my lifetime at least, simultaneously prepare an audience so adequately for what they are about to experience, capture the "essence" of a film so succinctly or prove to be so innovative and (as can be seen from the number of imitators that subsequently followed) so influential.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Now this I am somewhat embarassed to admit, but I am known by my friends for wearing a lot of black. Not because I like Goth or am a particularly morose individual, but because I think it's a very beautiful and elegant (not to easy-to-match) color to wear. However, it wasn't until I saw the Bruce Willis vanity project Hudson Hawk that it really occurred to me how striking all black can look on a person. It may not have turned me into a cat burglar, but when a single film can inform one's fashion sense to such a degree, I think that qualifies as influencing a person's lifestyle.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

See #24

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Not a prediction really, but it's Oscar night is of my favorite days of the year, so I REALLY hope that it happens.

31) Best Actor of 2007

While I consider Daniel Day-Lewis and Johnny Depp two of our finest living actors (and I've yet to see There Will be Blood and Sweeney Todd), I watched Death Proof not too long ago and I think what Kurt Russell did in that film was beyond excellent.

32) Best Actress of 2007

This is going to sound terrible but I can't think of a performance by an actress that really stood out to me this year.

33) Best Director of 2007

At this point, I'm going to say the Coen brothers

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

I always feel it's unfair to answer this question without actually having read any of the screenplays.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

I don't know if this qualifies or not because it didn't actually occur during a movie (it's a more of a favorite moment inspired by a movie), but it occurred to me about 20 minutes after walking out of the theatre that the first 2/3 of Bourne Ultimatum actually took place in between the penultimate scene and the finale of its predecessor Bourne Supremacy, thus providing more information on the conversation between Matt Damon and Joan Allen, seen in the previous film, and throwing it into a whole new light (an aspect of the film I didn't see anyone mention in any of the reviews). The pleasure of this moment of realization was further elevated by the fact that I sent my observation to David Bordwell--in response to a piece he wrote on the film--and he very kindly mentioned my name on his blog (despite my cautioning him that he might receive some flack for doing so). Anyway, it's probably my favorite "movie moment" of the 2007 because it reminded me once again that I still do know a thing or two when comes to movies, something that I had sort of lost sight of during this past year.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

Add my voice to the chorus of eager/nervous fans who don't want the fourth Indiana Jones film to totally blubber.

bill said...

Damian - I was disappointed in "Death Proof", but you're right about Kurt Russell. One of the best performances of the year, no question.

Bob Turnbull said...

Geez Prof, this was your toughest yet...It's a good thing this was an open book exam...


1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

A few that spring to mind:

- "The Taste Of Tea": The short opening shot is of young teenage Hajime leaping in slo-mo over the camera as he chases a train leaving with a young girl. The entire sequence is great actually...Even though he's never spoken to the girl before, he has now invested his entire being into the idea of her. As he gives up pursuit, we see a straight on shot of him as the train suddenly comes out of his forehead (leaving a gaping hole) and flies off into the air with the young girl waving from it. The special effects border on being cheesy, but perfectly capture the moods and feelings of the character - and this sets up the rest of the film perfectly.

- "Boogie Nights": The huge long tracking shot that opens the film introduces all the major characters as it sweeps through the 70s atmosphere of the club. It's showy, but so well done.

- "Werckmeister Harmonies": The 10 minute opening shot weaves in and out of the drunken old men pretending to be planets and stars and contains one of the most evocative musical scores I've ever heard.

- "The Exodus": A straight back tracking shot from a closeup of The Queen (this helps sets the time period of the scene since it is set in Hong Kong) that reveals policemen dressed up in masks and flippers beating up a suspect. It's quite surreal and again sets up the rest of the film nicely as it jumps forward to present day.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia's likely the best actress (she was terrific in "Crimes And Misdemeanors"), but Tuesday was in "The Cincinnati Kid" and "Thief" and was gorgeous in "Lord Love A Duck" (the best thing about that film). Um, so I guess I like them both.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

"Jackass The Movie". It's completely juvenile, occasionally wince-inducing and in many ways a sign that the apocalypse is coming. But that damn golf cart scene is hysterically funny and there are several other moments that had me laughing in spite of my better judgement while also wondering how humanity could have gone so wrong...

4) Best Movie of 1947

"Out Of The Past". My favourite noir captures just about all the elements of the genre: flashbacks, a femme fatale (the quite ravishing Jane Greer), loads of shadows and a main character that knows and accepts his fate (Robert Mitchum at his cool best).

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Uh, given my first name, how about "Palindrome Man"? No? I got nothin'...

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Robert Vaughan easily...He has this smoothness about him that allows him to portray characters in control - whether he's the head of an evil corporation or an unflappable hero. No offence to McCallum, but Vaughan was in "Bullitt", "The Towering Inferno" AND appeared on "The Love Boat". Until McCallum can go mano-a-mano with Captain Stubing, he can't compete...

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Nothing overly exotic, but we saw "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" outside City Hall here in Toronto a number of years ago. It was a lovely summer night and a big screen had been setup in the open space outside the Hall (which is a skating rink in winter). Families were scattered about the place eating food from vendor carts and establishing their line of sights wherever they could. In the end it made a so-so movie much more entertaining because of the environment and atmosphere.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

"Mr. Death: The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter Jr." is an absolutely fascinating portrayal of a man in desperate need of validation - any validation. Leuchter is a designer and builder of death machines - from electric chairs to injection machines he has provided different jails methods of reducing their death rows. Morris tells this section of the film very stylishly, but it doesn't prepare you for the sudden shift in direction Leuchter's story takes as he a certain group of people with their own agenda start to lavish Leuchter with praise and get him to help their cause.

9) Best Movie of 1967

You're going to make me choose between Demy's "The Young Girls Of Rochefort", Kobayashi's "Samurai Rebellion", Melville's "Le Samourai:, Suzuki's "Branded To Kill and Tati's "Playtime"? Seriously?! OK, but that's the last favour I do for you for awhile (just try coming to ask for a couple of eggs again).

I'll take "Playtime" as I get lost in those wonderful sets and always find something new to look at. I missed a chance at seeing it on a big screen this past summer, but I hope to one day rectify that.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

During "Capturing The Friedmans" (the 2003 documentary about a father and son accused of sexually abusing children), there's a moment when the filmmakers are interviewing some of the police who helped with the case. While they spoke about the process and the interviews with the children (after rumours had been swirling), one of the cops says "well, of course, we had to help them remember...". It wasn't just the sudden realization that perhaps all was not clear cut or that the cops actually may have encouraged the kids to lie, but it was how absolutely matter of fact this guy was. He really thought this was OK...I let out a quite audible "Oh shit!" while in the theatre at that point.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Catwoman. After school. Age 11.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Pretty much the entire book "The Art Of Noir" by Eddie Muller. Beautiful colours, beautiful women and beautiful compositions.

Specific examples (some taken from a recent post on Beyond The Valley Of The Cinephiles:

Anatomy Of A Murder - Saul Bass, 'nuff said (though even cooler is this)

Point Blank - A gun coming out of Lee Marvin's head kinda says it all

Being John Malkovich - How could that not capture your attention and your imagination?

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt - I love the colour scheme of the puzzle pieces.

No Way Out (1950) - It has the feel of a classic Blue Note album cover.

13) Best Movie of 1987

"Raising Arizona" completely changed my view of movies. I'd never seen events filmed in such a dynamic fashion, nor with that kind of visual sense. My friends hated it, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Well, Fincher's recent "Zodiac" certainly qualifies. Not only does it hit the time period details perfectly and pull together a spawling two decade long tale, but it paints three great characters who are obsessed with finding the killer. Each ends up giving up a great deal.

"In The Realm Of The Senses" isn't what I would call a personal favourite and I'll likely never watch it again, but it depicts an all consuming obsession (of two characters for each other) like no other film I've seen.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

I'm finding it hard to top what we watched this year: "A Christmas Story", "Jungle Book" and "Christmas In Connecticut".

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

I never cared for James Dean...And Montgomery Clift had that great scene in "Red River" where he and John Ireland compared and shot off each others guns. Advantage Burns...Uh, I mean Clift.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Burden Of Dreams for showing us that Herzog may have been as insane as Klaus Kinski (and he may still be). Of course, "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" is terrific too.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy...but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I wouldn't necessarily agree that the critic risks nothing...Though it is usually to a lesser degree, the critic publically offers up their writing to be read and discussed - probably generating a greater deal of response than many other literary pieces in the same publications. The best kind of criticism can also be viewed as a form of art itself and therefore the authors put themselves in the same spot.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD: "Unfaithfully Yours" by Preston Sturges. This is actually one of my favourite Sturges films with Rex Harrison playing a symphony conductor who believes his wife is cheating on him. During a concert, he imagines different resolutions to the whole situation including revenge, forgiveness and Russian Roulette. And the entire long slapstick sequence at the end where Rex essentially destroys his apartment is simply terrific. The last first time viewing on DVD was "Decoy" as I'm finally getting around to watching the 4th Warner Film Noir box. Jeanne Gilles is kinda uneven in it, but the story is strong and it ends pretty much perfectly.

In the theatre: I caught a double header Saturday of "No Country For Old Men" and "Juno". "No Country" didn't disappoint at all while "Juno" (though very good in most ways) didn't quite live up to the huge hype I'd read beforehand (though to be fair, how could it?). Great performances, terrific handling of the viewpoint of a 16 year-old girl and a funny if perhaps over-written script (best example being that oft-quoted snippet from the trailer - the etch-a-sketch line is good, but it didn't need the "doodle can't be undid, home skillet..." part).

20) Best Movie of 2007

"You The Living" by Roy Andersson.

Be pleased then, you the living, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe’s ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot.

Through the many half-dead looking characters and short static washed out scenes, that above quote from the beginning of the film seems to say "find enjoyment in life where you can and make the most of it - because time is ticking...". The people in this film are just completely unable to do that. And yet the film is still very funny - much more so than 2000's "Songs From The Second Floor" (though it retains much of that film's style). Everything about this film - it's deadpan humour, the perfectly composed shots, the music, the strangely sympathetic characters - made me want to stay right in my seat and watch it all over again immediately.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

"Chaotic Ana" by Julio Medem. I wrote about it here and I don't want to waste any further breath on it.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Aside from looking forward to Saturday or Sunday night movies on TV (seeing "Jaws", "Close Encounters" and other 70s movies for the first time), the biggest push towards deeper investigation into film occurred during a Media Awareness course I took before University (I was 17). We watched "Network" and it worked for me on all sorts of different levels. I had never seen a movie that was capable of educating and skewering at the same time. And the acting...

I became a weekly movie goer with friends and then came along "Raising Arizona" as mentioned above. I began to notice directors and their styles. My interest continued to grow, but the next quantum leap was likely seeing the trailer for "Magnolia". I got goose bumps from watching the damn thing and caught the film twice in its opening week. 1999 was a terrific year for film and I had caught the bug. The next big step was several years later when I discovered a video store nearby my house. Wandering downstairs I found that they had quite the selection of foreign films which I had always meant to dive into. So I dove...

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

"Ocean's Twelve". People think it's a heist movie. It's not. It's an art film.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

"Laura" over "Gilda" in a walk. Tierney is stunning in everything, particularly "Laura" and in "Heaven Can Wait" (where she and Don Ameche make quite the fetching couple).

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

I found the following in Wikipedia describing "wabi" --> nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. So I immediately thought of the 2001 documentary on the art of Andy Goldsworthy called "Rivers And Tides". His artwork uses natural elements sculpted and arranged in nature. Once he is done with whatever he has created, he simply leaves it there - to eventually be destroyed or overgrown. Ice or sand sculptures are short lived, while rock stackings or structures made from found wood may last much longer. His creations provide some startling and beautiful images.

26) Favorite Documentary

I might have to stick with "Mr. Death" as it has that jaw dropping turn of events. I find it difficult to even whittle it down to 10 though - there are Political docs (like "Street Fight", "A Perfect Candidate", "Anytown USA"), Space docs ("For All Mankind", "In The Shadow Of The Moon"), Music docs ("The Last Waltz", "Stop Making Sense", "A Great Day In Harlem"), docs showing the world around us in different ways ("Lessons Of Darkness", "Man With A Movie Camera", "Microcosmos") and just plain entertaining docs ("Spellbound", "Wordplay", "Dogtown And Z-Boys"). But my overall favourite docs are usually those that discuss filmmaking itself. "Visions Of Light" lets the cinematographers have their say and provides clips of their work (this is where I first learned about "The Conformist") and "A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies" is a great lesson in 40s and 50s films with Scorsese passionately describing them (I love to listen to Scorsese talk about film).

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

A few:

- The slow zoom towards the pumpkin in the original "Halloween" with the classic theme music.
- David Fincher's "Panic Room" with those huge titles mixed in with the city's architecture.
- And like probably most other people who will respond to this - Saul Bass.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

I can't think of a film that would've have had that profound an effect on me. The notables would really be the ones that made me stand up and take notice of the possibilities of film itself and that have encouraged me to delve even deeper into this hobby. As mentioned previously, "Raising Arizona" and "Network" would be examples. I've certainly felt emotional gut punches and feelings of ecstasy from film before, but typically not something that is profound enough to alter my outlook on life as a whole. Just usually little tweaks here and there.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

"Ball Of Fire", "The Ox-Bow Incident", "Laura", "Fallen Angel", "Night Of The Demon". For those films as well as an amazing gift of being able to give someone an utter look of disgust, I have to hand it to Dana Andrews.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Neither "No Country For Old Men" nor "There Will Be Blood" will win Best Picture. Haven't seen TWBB yet (and I'm dying to), but even though they are both getting consistently startling reviews neither really sound like Academy type films.

31) Best Actor of 2007

I just haven't seen enough of this year's films and certainly few of the performances that are making the end of year lists, but my favourite male performance of the year was Michael Cera in "Superbad". He just hits all the right notes and I love his under the breath asides which are some of the movie's funniest moments. He was also terrific in "Juno".

32) Best Actress of 2007

Margo Martindale in the "14e Arrondissement" segment of "Paris Je T'Aime". She is so likeable, natural and without a shred of falseness to her. If at times you feel sorry for her, she certainly never once asks for your sympathy.

33) Best Director of 2007

Again, not having seen some of the ones I expect would be my favourites, I think Paul Greengrass did quite an amazing job of keeping the suspense and tension levels high through out "The Bourne Ultimatum". Having said that, I think it'll end up like the other two films of the trilogy - some scenes standing out in my memory and the rest fading away...Certainly the Coens put together a magnificent film with "No Country For Old Men", but I'm still letting that one rattle around in my brain for a bit.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

"Zodiac" weaved its way through a complicated story spanning several decades and didn't miss a beat. "Hot Fuzz" was terrifically funny.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

"You The Living". I wrote this on my blog back in September when I saw it:

"There's a moment in this film...It occurs just after a lengthy joyous dream a young woman has of marrying the guitarist she has recently met in a bar. The dream ends and the joy is brought back to the reality that the woman will not be making this far fetched dream come true. We cut to another woman casually sitting in a bathtub and she begins to sing. And she's singing this song we had heard not 10 minutes previously at a funeral. But now, there's this haunting beauty to it...

And at that moment I almost burst into tears.

I'm not quite sure why actually. Likely it was mostly due to the music (I'm a big fan of Scandinavian folk music) which was simply gorgeous. And it wasn't because I was emotionally torn up by any specific event in the film. But after the stark images that director Roy Andersson had supplied us with so far, the nightmares recounted and the dreams dashed, the happiness that seemed so far out of reach of the characters - this simple song seemed to capture everything that these people were missing."

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

More small and foreign films released to theatres. I'm thrilled with the availability of things through DVD and do most of my viewing that way, but I'd like a bit more choice for those occasions I want to hit the big screen. Having said that, I'm extremely fortunate to live in a city like Toronto with a variety of film festivals and a fabulous Cinematheque.

Ed Howard said...

I cheated and left out questions I can't answer offhand -- and I'm so bad with release years I certainly can't put anything for the 1947/1967 questions offhand.

1) Your favorite opening shot The extended credit sequence of Michael Haneke's Cache, a single verrrry long shot of a street, which brilliantly acknowledges the audience's likely thought processes when the first line is uttered from offscreen.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie Nowhere too exotic, I'm afraid. Closest was probably a press screening of Gerry in a huge, empty campus auditorium.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie Gates of Heaven

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies The first time I watched Mulholland Drive was during the afternoon, and it was such an engulfing experience, that when I went outside afterwards, the sunny fall day I was walking through seemed strange and unsettling. I could feel the film still working on me, infecting even the real world spaces all around me. I can't remember ever being so unsettled by a film in such a deep way, and the memory of that feeling still lingers with me everytime I revisit the film.

14) Favorite movie about obsession Probably Eyes Wide Shut, which is also about so much more, but (sexual) obsession is at its core.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean? Dean, if only for Rebel Without a Cause.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe wins almost by default, since I've only seen that and the also-great Burden of Dreams. It's hilarious and brilliant, though, and I'd love to see more Blank soon.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement... But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts? I've always believed in the idea behind the statement "Anyone can make art." The democratization of art is bandied about often in relation to new technologies and new movements, and I can't see it as anything but a good thing. Everyone can make art, and even if there's 1000 lousy artists for every great one, the good ones make it all worthwhile.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater? On DVD, two westerns, The Man From the Alamo and California. In the theater, Sweeney Todd.

20) Best Movie of 2007 I'm Not There

21) Worst Movie of 2007 I'm pretty selective of what I go to see, though occasionally I'll just hit up some random multiplex selection for big dumb entertainment. I'm sure there were plenty of disappointments in that regard, but mercifully I don't really remember them at the moment.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia Was moderately interested in mostly mainstream film as a child/teen, then in college began getting into more indie and semi-indie stuff (Tarantino, PT Anderson, Wes Anderson, etc). Then took over my college newspaper's film column and as a consequence was exposed to much more foreign, obscure, and avant-garde cinema, beginning a long process of discovery and exploration that has really blossomed in the past few years into full-fledged cinephilia.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate? I generally don't talk about film much beyond my blog, since in daily life I'm surrounded by people with very different interests in film than I have. I seem to be (nearly) alone in my appreciation of Southland Tales though.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth? Tierney

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you? Masahiro Shinoda's Ballad of Orin seems to represent this idea very well. It's a beautiful, quietly moving film, whose narrative is definitely concerned with the intersections of chance and destiny in the title character's life.

26) Favorite Documentary If it counts, Werner Herzog's Lessons of Darkness, which incorporates a healthy sense of the fictional in with its stunning documentary images.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence I already sort of covered that with Cache, but for more traditional credit sequences, I'd have to go with something by Saul Bass. I'll opt for North By Northwest, in particular, for the way its grid of abstract lines turns into the face of a building as the animation shifts to photography.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews? Andrews, as the perfect blank-faced noir hero.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards It will be just as boring as last year.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008? That there will continue to be good ones.

Chris Oliver said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

I can't remember if this is exactly the first thing you see, but to the best of my memory it is, so The Naked Kiss. A bald woman beating the shit out of some guy with a high-heeled shoe while some crazy bebop plays on the soundtrack. You know you have to watch the rest of the movie after that.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia Farrow is in a lot of movies I like, but I never really thought that much about her. So I guess it must be Tuesday.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

There's probably a better answer that I'm forgetting, but there's no excuse for me finding Mallrats as funny as I do.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Nightmare Alley, by a nose over Brute Force, which is probably a better film, but Nightmare Alley just plays to all my personal fetishes. It's probably my favorite noir.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Munchausen Biproxy.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?


Robert Vaughn is funnier. I don't really know either one very well. Never had the opportunity to watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E., so I can't work up much enthusiasm either way.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

There used to be this BBQ place in Helen, GA that had a back room where they'd show old comedy shorts. I watched the WC Fields movie where he keeps saying "It's not a fit night out for man nor beast" while eating an exceptionally good pulled pork sandwich.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. As a piece of art it's fantastic, the way the different subjects overlap so well that you sometimes get confused as to which one is talking. But I also found it inspirational at the time, to see people who actually enjoyed their jobs.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Playtime. I saw this almost by accident a couple years ago (out of laziness, really. I was going to see 40 Guns at the Aero that day, but I didn't want to drive across town, so I just went to the Egyptian instead), and I've been obsessed with Tati ever since.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

In college, got really stoned and watched Killer Klownz From Outer Space. Then went to the cafeteria for dinner, and I swear, everyone looked like a clown!

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Julie Newmar, even though I actually prefer Eartha Kitt as Catwoman.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

King Kong (1976). It promises a much better movie than it actually delivers. Maybe this poster for Godzilla vs. Megalon is even better.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Was this question inspired by that Raising Arizona/Evil Dead 2 double feature? Both rank high on my list, but I'll go with Near Dark. One of my favorite 80's horror movies (that's saying something), and a very quotable film ("I fought for the South").

14) Favorite movie about obsession

PeeWee's Big Adventure

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature


It's A Wonderful Life, Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas and Elf. Or maybe that Mexican movie where Santa defeats Satan.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

I don't know much about Clift beyond the Clash song, but I really do not get James Dean. He's the most egregious overactor in the movies. Maybe that's the point, but I don't really get it.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

OK, you stumped me on this one.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

What a load of utter horseshit. "We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read." I challenge you to find one critic who agrees with this statement. Yes, the negative stuff is easy and fun to write, at first. But it's a pleasure that wears off quickly. What critics actually "thrive on" is the very thing that Brad Bird...er, I mean, Anton Ego...thinks is the rare exception to the rule: finding something new and exciting, and wanting to tell the world about it. That is why people become critics. It's what drives them to start their own fanzines (or, nowadays, websites). They are passionate about the art that they love. Of course, you have to write something every week to get a paycheck, and there's not always something that makes you want to scream from the rooftops about it, so yes, critics do occasionally "criticize" art. Which apparantly makes artists very defensive. I see this attitude again and again, that critics are small men who must insult the work of the true artists whose creativity they so envy in order to make themselves feel signifigant (my favorite example is the "first art critic" in History of the World Part I), because God forbid any mere mortal be allowed to have an opinion about Real Art! The irony is that, every day these artists have people telling them to change the ending, make it more palatable, show what happened to Llewellyn Moss, whatever, and who is defending them? Who is championing the artist's work? CRITICS.

I especially don't get why Brad Bird has this attitude. I can understand someone like Shyalaman doing it, but what is Brad so defensive about? Has anything he's ever done EVER gotten a bad review?


19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

DVD: Once. Theater: Flash Gordon. (Planning on seeing Juno tomorrow).

20) Best Movie of 2007

So far, No Country For Old Men is probably the best I've seen, but Knocked Up and Superbad are my favorites.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Hairspray.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

3-5: Disney movies at the Drive-In are an overwhelmingly exciting experience. Annual viewings of Wizard of Oz on TV.

5-12: Star Wars, James Bond, Godzilla, Harryhausen, Mel Brooks, Airplane...the usual suspects.


13-14: Bladerunner, Apocalypse Now, and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly convince me that my tastes are maturing. Also got up the courage to start watching horror movies.

15-18: The arrival of VCR's allows access to a much greater variety of movies. My friends and I begin renting every horror movie we find. Using Danny Peary's Cult Movies as a guide, I obsessively hunt down Pink Flamingos, Eraserhead, Fritz the Cat, 2000 Maniacs, every Monty Python movie, etc., and new movies like Brazil, Repo Man, Afterhours. And I become obsessed with Woody Allen, and manage to see every one of his movies except Interiors (finally got around to that one last year).

19-22: This should be the part where I seemlessly move from Lynch and Waters to Fellini, Bunuell, et al. But actually, in college, my movie watching greatly declines.

23-29: Living in Athens, GA, and finally having access to a genuinely great video store and a very good revival theater, I go about checking things off the list. After finally satifying my cult movie itch, I begin systematically watching all Universal horror films, a lot of films noir, that sort of thing.

30-39: Living in L.A., it's almost impossible not to take it up a notch. I finally buckle down a bit and start watching those "eat your vegetables" movies (you know, Begman and stuff).

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I've shown Fritz the Cat to a lot of people, and most of them don't see much beyond the lame joke of "ha ha, cartoon animals being dirty!" I think there's so much more to the movie than that, but most people don't see it.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

I'll go with Rita Hayworth, mostly for Lady from Shanghai.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

I'm going to skip this one for now, and maybe come back to it later, since it's holding up the process.

26) Favorite Documentary

Fast, Cheap and Out of Control

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Freaked. Actually, deep in my heart, even though there's not anything particularly great about it, I get this warm feeling every time I watch the opening credits of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

This is a great question, but I can't think of a single answer.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

When I looked up Glenn Ford's picture, I thought he was the guy from The Girl Can't Help It, but that's not on his resume, so I don't know who he is.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Persepolis will win Best Animated Feature.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Michael Cera. Possibly the funniest man alive right now.

32) Best Actress of 2007

I can't think of a really good answer, but I really liked Leslie Mann in Knocked Up.

33) Best Director of 2007

Ah, I'll give it to the Coens.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Knocked Up or Zodiac or Ratatouille.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Jude Quinn opening fire on the crowd at Newport in I'm Not There. Or Remy experiencing mushrooms and cheese in Ratatouille. Or the pies in Waitress. Oh, wait, no...Rosario Dawson's final high-kick at the end of Death Proof. Yeah, that's it.

That the strike ends quickly (and ends well for the writers), so everyone can get back to work (and that the strike doesn't kill any projects I'm looking forward to).

stennie said...

1) Your favorite opening shot.

The statue of Jesus suspended over Rome in La Dolce Vita.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia, I guess.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Probaby Dodgeball. Just the parts with Jason Bateman, though.

4) Best Movie of 1947

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Can I be Sugarpuss?

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

I'm gonna go with Vaughan. First of all, "Napoleon Solo" is a cooler name. Second of all, Vaughan wrote a great book about the Blacklist era called "Only Victims," which I recommend highly.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I wish I had some sexy answer to this, but I can't think of anywhere unusual that I've seen a movie.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

I haven't seen a Morris film that I didn't like, but Vernon Florida's always been my favorite.

9) Best Movie of 1967

The Graduate, or maybe Bonnie and Clyde.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

There was a trailer for some horror film in the early '70s that scared the pants off me. I have no idea what movie it was for, but it featured a close-up of an eye, and some odd swirly effect... I can't even describe it, but I still to this day get a clear picture of it in my mind and I still find it unsettling.

Speaking of eyes -- that scene in Un Chien Andalou didn't do me any favors either.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Anne Francis.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Buster Keaton's The Goat, seen here: http://images.eztakes.com/resources/0000202/posters/0000202_large.jpg
This shot is not in the movie, it's just a great picture.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Hope & Glory

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Treasure of the Sierra Madre

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

The one I watched this year wasn't bad: It's a Wonderful Life, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and Bad Santa

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Dislike them both. I'm tempted to say Dean because he only made three films, hence they are a lot easier to avoid. On the other hand, I did enjoy Clift in Judgment at Nuremberg.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Okay, you got me on this one.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “[snip!].” Your thoughts?

Kind of a long route to take just to say, "Those who can, do; those who can't review."

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

DVD: Touching the Void. Theater: No Country for Old Men

20) Best Movie of 2007

Tie: No Country for Old Men and Darjeeling Limited

21) Worst Movie of 2007

30 Days of Night

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

My cinephilia is far enough along that I actually scheduled time in my day today to finally answer this quiz.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I'm sure there's several of these, but I can't think of one. I remember when I worked in a video store in the late '80s, I was always trying to get people to see Heathers.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Gene Tierney

25) What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

I didn't schedule enough time to come up with an answer to this. I reserve the right to come back to it later.

26) Favorite Documentary

Capturing the Friedmans

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

I Know Where I'm Going! In a two-minute sequence, the viewer is introduced to the character of Joan, and it tells us who she is and what she wants, and everything that's led up to this moment in her life that we're about to see. It does so with humor, and also includes one of my favorite methods for getting titles across: printing them on pieces of the set and/or props. So we see five-year-old Joan writing a letter to Father Christmas demanding a pair of silk stockings, then the camera pans to the right to her chalkboard where the credits are written.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

The best answer I can think of to this is when I saw It's a Wonderful Life as a sophomore, it started a lifelong love affair with classic films.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Dana Andrews! Yum!

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

That they will be as irrelevant as they are every year.

31) through 34)

I haven't seen enough films for 2007 to make an informed decision.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Can't. It's a spoiler.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

More good movies than bad.

cinebeats said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)
The opening shot from Le Samourai has been a favorite for years.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?
I really like them both a lot. Weld is probably the better actress, but she made lots of films I don't care for much even if her performances were terrific in them. Mia has made a lot of great films and often elevated them with her vulnerable and smart performances. If I was forced to choose one it would probably be Mia, but for now I'll say it's a tie.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh
I'm almost 40 and way over being embarrassed about much of anything, much less a movie that made me laugh but I recently wrote about Last of the Secret Agents? and some responses I got seemed intent on making me feel embarrassed for liking the movie.

4) Best Movie of 1947
My current Top 3 are: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Lady from Shanghai and Kiss of Death.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?
How about Sinebeats?

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?
I really like both men a lot. I've always preferred McCallum in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., probably because he was super cute and had that fabulous British accent. Vaughn is undoubtedly the better actor though. His performance in The Magnificent Seven has always really impressed me. It seems like I've written about both actors a lot this year so picking one over the other sort of feels dirty.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie
One of the most unusual movie experiences I can remember is seeing The Sound of Music while I was in Japan as a kid way back in 1976. I was there with my mother visiting a relative who was working for the Peace Corps and teaching English there. My mom and I went to see The Sound of Music which had been dubbed in Japanese without subtitles just to get a "taste of home" I suppose. Of course I could only understand the songs, which were still sung in English, and we were the only Americans in the audience. According to imdb the Sound of Music was re-released in Japan in 1975 so I guess the movie was still playing in some theaters due to the revival there. Even now the experience seems like a strange dream.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie
The Fog of War. I like all of his films a lot actually, but The Fog of War is an incredibly important historical document as well as a great film that affected me much more than any of his other movies. Of course when I say The Fog of War, I mean the complete uncut version of the film with the additional footage only available on the DVD. It's a stunning movie and deeply disturbing. It should be required viewing for every American frankly.

9) Best Movie of 1967
You have to be kidding? This must be a trick question because there were so many great movies released in 1967 and I wouldn't trust anyone who would dare to claim that one film was "the best." As a matter of fact, I would vote for 1967 as being one of the greatest years for film. Period. With all that in mind here's my Top 20 for today which is subject to change at any time: Le Samourai, Point Blank, Branded to Kill, Spirits of the Dead, Belle de Jour, Poor Cow, Week End, Jewel Thief, Reflections in a Golden Eye, I’ll Never Forget What’s ‘is Name, Death Rides A Horse, The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Graduate, Casino Royale, In Like Flint, Bedazzled, The Shuttered Room and The Fox.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies
See #8

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?
I love them both and Julie was amazing as Catwoman, but Anne was Honey West! I wish Julie had gotten her own TV show in the sixties called Catwoman, but Honey West is fantastic, plus Anne has made some good films as well. My vote goes to Honey West!

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)
I've got a lot of favorites and you can see many of them in my Flickr Poster Gallery

13) Best Movie of 1987
This was actually a pretty good year for film. My Top 12 for 1987 would currently include Wings of Desire, The Belly of an Architect, Opera, Goodbye Children, City on Fire, Angel Heart, Full Metal Jacket, Siesta, Aria, Hellraiser, Evil Dead II and Empire of the Sun.

14) Favorite movie about obsession
Antonioni's Blowup (1966)

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
My ideal Christmas movie marathon would involve six hours of Rankin/Bass.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
I love Monty, but James Dean changed the way I looked at films and started appreciating acting when I was a young teen. The first film poster I ever bought was for Rebel Without a Cause when I was only 12 years old, which was quickly followed by a life-size - yes, you read that right - a life-sized poster of that iconic image of Dean as Jett Rink in a topless car with his feet up and cowboy boots on. Nobody has ever looked better in a pair of jeans. I get shivers thinking about Dean's performances in East of Eden and Giant. As much as I love Monty, he's never given me the shivers or made my heart skip a beat just by smiling and Dean has.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980)

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

I personally don't thrive on the negative and I often find critics and bloggers that do to be a task to read so I avoid them. On the other hand, when I really dislike a film that 95% of the people seem to love, I enjoy reading a smart argument pointing out its flaws. As for the "discovery and defense of the new," I agree that this is probably the most important thing a critic can do. I would also add to that the importance of "discovery and defense of the old" which I try to do as much as possible in my own blog. I'm not sure I agree with the statement that critics "risk very little" since now more then ever they seem needed and good ones are hard to come by. There is a strong "herd" mentality among critics (and people in general) who like agreeing with each other and slapping one another on the back as if they're playing team sports instead of using their critical thinking abilities. Critics are also becoming too easily swayed by press junkets and blinded by the celebrities they mingle with so that they can't possibly use their critical abilities to judge a film without it becoming "personal." Any critic who can sidestep all that crap and put their opinions out there even if they're unpopular should be applauded. I'm kind of baffled that something as self evident as "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." isn't common knowledge. Last but not least, my mind wanders to thoughts of Truffaut and I wonder how many critics and film buffs actually know where he came from?

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?
On DVD - Eastern Promises
In a theater - Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

20) Best Movie of 2007
So far, it's a tie between Eastern Promises and Zodiac, but I still need to see a lot of movies. No Country for Old Men, Control, I'm Not There, This is England, Sunshine, Away from Her, The Orphanage and 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days are just a few movies still on my "must see" list.

21) Worst Movie of 2007
How about, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry? I haven't seen it yet myself, but I'm afraid that the commercials and numerous clips I've seen tell me all I need and want to know about the movie.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia
Stage 1: Ages 3-8/ Watch lots of old movies on TV with my dad and go to the drive-in every weekend with my parents. Fall in love with horror films, sci-fi and westerns. Become enamored with anything shot in black and white. Learn to dance from musicals like West Side Story and Viva Las Vegas. Worship at the church of Disney.

Stage 2: Ages 8-13/ Bitterness and disappointment set in early when my father passes away. The TV set becomes my babysitter when my mom is forced to work fulltime and I watch countless movies week after week. Worship at the churches of Kung Fu Theater and Monster Matinee. Start to appreciate actors as artists. Start reading books about Horror cinema and biographies about actors. Become enamored with Kazan's films and fall in love with Brando and Dean who cover my bedroom walls while other kids my age only seem to have posters of bands and teen idols.

Stage 3: Ages 14-21/ Become obsessed with British cinema. Nicolas Roeg, Lindsay Anderson, Kubrick and Antonioni become my favorite directors. Discover documentaries thanks to concert films like Gimme Shelter and become fascinated with them. Start going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show almost every Sat. night with friends at the local revival theater. Memorize every line and enjoy shouting at the screen while the movie plays. Start buying Fangoria magazine whenever I can afford it and read Joe Bog Briggs’ syndicated reviews every weekend in the SF Chronicle. Write my first movie review for my high-school newspaper. Get mad crushes on filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch and Alex Cox who I consider "rock stars." Start getting the urge to make my own films.

Stage 4: Ages 22-25/ Become obsessed with Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave. Attempt to see as many foreign films as possible. Realize I like Eurohorror and British horror films more then American horror films. Decide to go to college and focus on film and English lit. with the hope that I'll one day write and direct my own movies. Discover there are only two other women in my film classes and realize cinema is still an art form dominated by male filmmakers and male critics. Obsess over filmmakers like Welles, Huston and Hitchcock, as well as the surrealist films by directors like Cocteau and Maya Deren. Realize I'll never be able to come up with the money to make my first student film so I drop out of college. Give up my dreams of making movies, but never give up my love for film. Discover the Cinema of Transgression and start reading magazines like Film Threat and Film Comment. Attend film festivals as often as possible and start writing for lots of zines. Fall in love with British film directors working on the fringe like Peter Greenaway & Derek Jarman. Start hating Hollywood films and modern horror movies. Become really bitter and unable to watch comedies. Work part-time at a video store, which just adds to my bitterness.

Stage 5: Ages 26-31/ Meet my future husband at a screening of Blade Runner and discover that film obsession can lead to love. Bitterness begins to fade and thankfully I'm able to enjoy comedies again. My hate for Hollywood grows so I continue watching lots of foreign films and obsess over Japanese and Hong Kong cinema. Start spending large amounts of money on Laser Discs and finally get to see Argento and Bava films uncut. Become obsessed with French crime films or "policers" and Alain Delon, which leads me to create the first Alain Delon fansite and meet other film-obsessed nuts. Volunteer for local film festival. Still have some need to see every crappy film released. Continue writing for various zines.

Stage 6: Ages 32-36/
Start buying lots of pre-80s films on DVD and reading lots of film books. Become obsessed with Japanese crime films or "yakuza" cinema as well as Italian gialli and German krimi films. Realize I don’t care for 75% of the film criticism published. Stop going to the movies every week and learn to enjoy watching films at home. Begin visiting lots of film chat boards, websites and blogs that suddenly have started appearing almost daily. Become a lurker because film chat boards tend to be dominated by men with inferiority complexes. Decide I really want to write about the films I watch and enjoy, but figure no one will publish me. Stop writing for zines and start contemplating film-related book proposals.

7. Ages 37-39/
Realize they're are very few women writing about genre films online (or anywhere for that matter) and feel the urge to change that. Create cinebeats.com with the idea of having a place to celebrate the movies I like where I can write and self-publish whatever I want, whenever I want. Stop lurking and start posting on other people's blogs and enjoy chatting with other film fans online. Start getting positive feedback for my writing. Try to keep my head above all the critical bullshit being said about bloggers and online film criticism. Attempt to take part in a local Film Projectionist Training Program, but don’t get accepted. Vow to try again next year. Continue contemplating various film related book proposals. Start contributing to other film blogs. Continue watching lots of older films on DVD and not caring much about new releases.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
The films of one director come to mind right away since he probably contributed to the end of a few friendships and that is Peter Greenaway. I love Greenaway and I have defended his work against some of the most idiotic and venom filled criticism you're likely to hear.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
Rita is fabulous and I adore her, but very few actresses hold a candle to Gene Tierney in my mind. Not only is she one of the most stunning women that I've ever seen, she literally casts a spell on me when I spot her in a film. Rita’s lovely and cute, but Gene is absolutely magnetic and almost otherworldly. She was also a great actress with terrific range that wasn't used enough. She could be sugary sweet and just plain evil and I never questioned either side that she presented in a film.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
For some reason almost the entire body of Jess Franco's work came to mind. All his films seem to be flawed if they're measured by typical standards and critics have no problem tearing them apart, but the flaws in Franco's films give them life and make them personal. In many ways the flaws in Franco's films have made him one of my favorite filmmakers.

26) Favorite Documentary
At the moment it's a tie between Peter Whitehead's The Fall (1969) and Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies (1967).

27) Favorite opening credit sequence
There's so many great ones, but most recently I watched Last of the Secret Agents? and the opening credit sequence for that film is pretty wonderful so it's a current favorite.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Without a doubt, James Whale's original Frankenstein. It was the first horror film (probably the first film, period) that I fell in love with when I was just child and because of my love for the film I finally read the original novel by Mary Shelley when I was about 11 years old and it became my favorite book. From there I got passionately interested in Mary Shelley and read every biography I could on her which lead me to discover more gothic literature. I became obsessed with the romantic poets Percy Shelley and Byron when I was in my late teens. When I went to college in my twenties I focused on film and English literature thanks to my initial interest in Frankenstein. Even after dropping out of college my interest in the Shelleys & Byron has never waned. I'm a bit of independent scholar still and I try to collect various versions of Frankenstein whenever possible. I've been a member of the Byron Society and the Shelley Association and when I traveled to Britain I visited many historical places associated with the Shelleys & Byron. One of the highlights of my life so far was spending an afternoon with John Murrays great granddaughter (Byron's publisher) in London where she gave me a tour of Byron's rooms and let me hold the pillow Byron died on. I'm not sure where my interest in Frankenstein will take me in the future, but thanks to the original film I've met many fascinating people and I suspect that my interest in the book and it's author (as well as the people she knew and surrounded herself with) will never end.

29) Dana Andrews
Clearly this has become a Gilda vs. Laura quiz. I love Gilda, but Laura will always win my vote and so does Dana Andrews. Andrews is terrific is so many great films. Something about Glen Ford has always rubbed me the wrong way for some strange reason and I'm not sure what it is exactly.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards
I'd like to see David Cronenberg - an absolutely brilliant director who works outside the mainstream and has always been ignored by the Academy - be rewarded for his work this year in some way. Unfortunately, I don't think many critics or movie viewers really understood or appreciated Eastern Promises so I don't think that will happen.

31) Best Actor of 2007
Currently it's Viggo Mortenson (Eastern Promises)

32) Best Actress of 2007
Currently it's Ashley Judd (Bug)

33) Best Director of 2007
At the moment it's David Fincher (Zodiac)

34) Best Screenplay of 2007
Original screenplay - Steven Knight (Eastern Promises)
Adapted screenplay - James Vanderbilt (Zodiac)

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007
So far it's been Viggo's nude fight scene in Eastern Promises.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
More ambiguity, more imagination, more risks, more ugliness, more beauty, more brains and more magic. I wouldn't mind seeing a few more nude fight scenes featuring male actors as well.

stennie said...

The link for my one-sheet didn't work, so try this: http://tinyurl.com/2g7mug

As far as wabi goes, having read everyone else's responses, I'm stealing Bill's -- the final scene of Big Night.

Larry Aydlette said...

1) Your favorite opening shot
The tracking shot across the newsroom in Hawks' "His Girl Friday."

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?
Weld.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh
Never be embarrassed by what makes you laugh.

4) Best Movie of 1947
"Pursued." Raoul Walsh. Robert Mitchum. James Wong Howe.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?
The Shamus. Of course.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?
Neither.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie
"Annie Hall" on the beach in Monte Carlo. The French laughed hard at the line about Balzac.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie
None. I have never understood the love for his movies.

9) Best Movie of 1967
"Bonnie & Clyde."

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies
Cary Grant's scene before the judge in "Penny Serenade."

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?
I prefer Lee Merriwether, especially as Miss Kitka, the most beautiful journalist ever to work for the Moscow Bugle.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)
Alan Rudolph's "The Moderns."

13) Best Movie of 1987
Probably "The Princess Bride." But my favorite cinematography of 1987 is in Greenaway's "The Belly of an Architect." And my single favorite scene of 1987 is in Frears' "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid," in which Sammy is sitting on his sofa listening to music through earphones, snorting coke, drinking a milkshake and looking at the centerfold in a girlie magazine. All at the same time. When is "Sammy and Rosie" going to come out on DVD, by the way?

14) Favorite movie about obsession
Aren't all movies about obsession?

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
The same one I see every year: "A Christmas Story," "A Christmas Story," "A Christmas Story."

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
Dean. I've never gotten Monty.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie
Never seen one, sad to say.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so..." Your thoughts?
Clearly penned by a screenwriter still smarting from a bad review.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?
On DVD: "War," Jet Li and Jason Statham. In a theater: "Charlie Wilson's War."

20) Best Movie of 2007
"Zodiac."

21) Worst Movie of 2007
Pick your blockbuster: Pirates, Spidey, Fantastic 4...

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia
1. Curiosity. 2. Rapture. 3. Obsession. 4. See No. 3. 5. See No. 3...

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
"You've Got Mail." Nobody believes me when I tell them I prefer it to "The Shop Around The Corner."

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
Tierney! Better actress, too.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
"La Jetee."

26) Favorite Documentary
"Finisterre," the beautiful semi-documentary about a day in London, set to the music of Saint Etienne. It's very wabi.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence
"Strangelove." For the font.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way?
No.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?
Ford. For "3:10 To Yuma." And "The Courtship of Eddie's Father."

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards.
I'd really like to see the show with the writers' strike still going on, because it might actually be more enjoyable without the scripted inanities.

31) Best Actor of 2007
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises."

32) Best Actress of 2007
Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There."

33) Best Director of 2007
David Fincher, "Zodiac."

34) Best Screenplay of 2007
"No Country For Old Men," the Coens.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007
The car chase scene in "Death Proof."

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
Shorter running times.

Grover said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

Favorite opening shot of 2007 was Zodiac - that panorama of the SF Bay with fireworks popping in the distance while the man asks, "How can people be so heartless?". Puts the whole movie in context right from the top.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Mia

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Euro-Trip.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Nightmare Alley.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Fledermaus

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Vaughn

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Not that this is really any of those things, but I grew up about a mile from a drive in theater which offered $2 weekend double features for kids 18 and younger. Spent a lot of summer nights watching movies, and doing, well... other things as I got older.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

Shamefully ignorant of his earlier works, but The Fog of War is a beaut.

9) Best Movie of 1967

IMDB tells me that Tati's Play Time was released in 1967 (I thought '68?). If that's so, then it's an absolute no brainer for Tati. If not, runner up is Belle du Jour, and then Weekend.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Watching Fight Club on opening night and having some speed freak hicks get in a fist fight about three rows in front of me just before the big third act reveal. People screaming, running for the exits. Complete fucking anarchy.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

These quizes, though I love them, make me feel like I've never watched a movie in my life. Just, like, shamefully ignorant. I'm going Newmar because she was Catwoman.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Thinking... thinking...

13) Best Movie of 1987

Full Metal Jacket.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

The Conversation.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Sleep, followed by food, then more sleep. Oh, wait, movies? I'll tell you just as soon as I wake up.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Dean was cute as a button, but Monty was the better actor in every way.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Again with the shameful ignorance! Thanks.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Who can really disagree with that last part?

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

The Bourne Ultimatum on DVD. Charlie Wilson's War in theaters.

20) Best Movie of 2007

So far, it's No Country Without Men. I sort of hate going with the consensus on this, but I guess the consensus is right, sometimes. No movie got to me this year the way No Country did.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

So far, it's The Number 23, the stinkiest of stinkers, though also surprisingly enjoyable in the end. The theater was about half full at the start of the movie, but by 2/3 of the way through it was down to me, my friend, and three teenagers, all of us laughing our asses off.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Casual interest, followed by tentative exploration, then full blown passion - a stage I have yet to outgrow.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

The New World. When I saw it back in early '06, I thought it was a masterpiece. The girl I went with said it reminded her of a bad Gap commercial. None of my friends saw it during its brief theatrical run, and I think maybe one or two have caught up with it since. I don't know if it's that they don't believe me or they just don't care...!

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Hayworth. Good sweet lord, Rita Hayworth.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

The way Harry Lime is introduced with a smile in The Third Man.

26) Favorite Documentary

I hate things that are real. Pffpt. No, seriously, my favorite doc is probably something by Werner Herzog, but I'm not sure I could choose just one.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Tim Burton's Batman.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Woody Allen movies, because I was a farm kid who liked literature and classical music, and Allen was the only guy out there who made that kind of stuff seem vaguely cool.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Ford!

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

The writer's strike will cause the whole thing to be canceled. I'm not sure if that's a hopeful prediction or not.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises. Matthew Amalric is a really really close second.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Carice van Houten, Black Book

33) Best Director of 2007

The Coen Brothers.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Same.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Michael Cera singing his sweet little heart out in Superbad.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

Lots of great movies. That's all I ever hope for, man.

Walter said...

As always, I've posted my responses to the quiz at my own site, so as to avoid over-clogging the comments box. Happy New Year!

Sheila O'Malley said...

Late to the party, Dennis!! It's been great reading thru all of these. Here are my answers, to add to the pot!

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)

I'm going with the opening shot of The Searchers, although there are so many more that come to mind. The opening of the door - the black silhouette of the woman - the incredible Western vista seen through the doorway ... and then to have it be echoed, so devastatingly, in the amazing LAST shot of that movie ... kinda can't get any better.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Tuesday Weld

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

I'm not embarrassed by much. If it's a comedy, and I laugh ... then I feel "mission accomplished". If I laughed all the way through The Best Years of Our Lives or something, then maybe I should be embarrassed. I will say that I guffaw like a hyena when I watch Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. But again, I'm not all that embarrassed.

4) Best Movie of 1947

I'm going with Lady From Shanghai, although 1947 was, in general, a great year for movies. But I love Lady From Shanghai so much, so I'm going with that one.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

I'm not sure I understand the question. So perhaps my movie handle is: Me No Speak That Language.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Robert Vaughn

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Nothing really comes to mind - besides my experience seeing Schindler's List with a boyfriend, in a vast old movie palace in Ithaca. It had columns, and a red velvet curtain - a balcony - and we were at a matinee, and the only ones in that theatre. We had already seen Schindler's List, and the theatre was completely deserted - so we made out for a while. As the Holocaust occurred on screen. Seinfeld stole my lifestory.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

I love The Thin Blue Line

9) Best Movie of 1967

Ack, you kill me with having to make a choice. I think I'm gonna go with The Graduate ... although Bonnie & Clyde also pulls me to its warm deathly embrace.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

I saw a TV movie called Bless the Beasts & the Children when I was, oh, 10 years old - and I can say without exaggeration that it changed my life. I was tormented by that movie, and literally lay awake at night, my heart HURTING at the revelations revealed in that film. I couldn't bear it, the unfairness of life, the loneliness - the brutality ... I was probably way too young to have seen the movie (and have never seen it since) - but I'm serious when I say a bit of my childhood died after I saw that film. I was never so innocent again. Weird.

Then also, there is the spectacle of Sylvester Stallone singing a country song in a country western bar in Rhinestone. That was pretty disturbing, too.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Julie Newmar

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

The Chinatown poster

Still has the power to stun and shock. A perfect poster.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Raising Arizona

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Notorious

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Muppet Christmas Carol
Christmas Story
Its a Wonderful Life

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Montgomery Clift.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

I haven't seen any - although the fact that he did a short film about Huey Lewis & the News already endears him to me tremendously.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

Yeah, I get it. My favorite moments from critics (the ones who can write, I mean) is when they "defend the new".


19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

DVD: War Games
Theatre: What Would Jesus Buy?

20) Best Movie of 2007

Not sure if I'm ready to really go there. I think my 3 favorites were The Darjeeling Limited, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood. But I gotta say, I adored Rocky Balboa, too. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, my life flashed before my eyes, and etc. and so forth.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Haven't seen enough of the current crop of films to decide.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Well, it all began when I saw Bugsy Malone as a youngster - and I've never looked back. Movies are a lifelong obsession - the obsession takes different forms, and so I follow the path, asking very few questions. I have seen every Cary Grant movie ever made. Multiple times. I have been on a Bogart binge. I can't get enough of Dean Stockwell. I am obsessed with the careers of Kurt Russell and Jeff Bridges. I'm a "fan", in the classic (and not scary) sense. I go through phases where I need to see every work, IN ORDER, of a certain director. Whatever. And alongside all of this, of course, is my deep enduring love for movies like GI Jane, Blue Crush, Center Stage and Bring It On. But all roads lead back to Bugsy Malone, as far as I'm concerned.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

I've had arguments about Moulin Rouge. Every element seen as a negative by certain people - I think is a vibrant POSITIVE. I love that movie. I love every shot, every frame.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Rita!

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

The funeral scene in Red River. A cloud passed by overhead, sweeping its shadow across the landscape ... a total accident - Howard Hawks took advantage of it. It's an amazing-looking scene - you see the funeral from far off, the small crowd of people - the hills behind them - and then ... whoosh ... the shadow swoops by, like a living thing. You can't plan for something like that. You just have to be ready to capture it when it comes.

26) Favorite Documentary

Do You Believe in Miracles? HBO doc. about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team. It might not be the best - and I thought of putting down Crumb, which is one of the best movies I've ever seen - but "favorite" has got to be "Do You Believe In Miracles" - since I watch it, on average, once a week. It never gets old. Narrated by Liev Schreiber.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Kind of a dumb movie - but The Panic Room's opening credit sequence - with the letters of the cast and crew showing up as huge gleaming signs on actual buildings - is one of the best I've seen.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Again, all roads lead back to Bugsy Malone. Jodie Foster is older than I am - but we were close enough in age that when I saw it, as a young kid - I thought: WHO IS THAT KID WHO IS MY AGE AND SHE'S IN A MOVIE?? She blew me AWAY. I wanted to be her, sure, and be in that movie ... but it was really more about realizing, at a very young age, that I was going to be an artist. Or a performer. Or SOMEthing in the arts. Because I had to. I just had to. Bugsy Malone started it all.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Dana Andrews. I love him!

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

I don't do predictions.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood

32) Best Actress of 2007

I haven't seen any of the big movies with major actresses in them this year.

33) Best Director of 2007

Paul Thomas Anderson

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Darjeeling Limited

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

The three brothers in Darjeeling Limited, in their cabin on the train - bustling around, bumping into each other, arguing, talking ... I totally believed they were brothers.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

Just keep making movies, folks. You'll always have an audience member in me. Always. Make some good stories. Funny, sad, heroic, whatever. I'll be there.

Weigard said...

1) Your favorite opening shot
Don’t know if it’s my favorite, but no one’s mentioned it, so I will: the movie screen is blank, you’re waiting for the film to start, then suddenly WHAM! There’s a big J on the screen. The letters come faster, and you realize it’s a typewriter, spelling out a dateline for a news story. Nothing like giving you a bit of the panic the characters will later experience in All the President’s Men with a rather literal “power of the press” opening.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?
I know of Tuesday Weld, and I’ve even seen some of her movies, but she’s never made enough of an impression for me to remember her. Mia Farrow – she was in The Purple Rose of Cairo!

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh
The Stupids. I love this movie, but I don’t even bother to recommend it to friends. I can’t help but think that if they had taken more time with the writing, and got better actors, and had a director who had a concept of what this film could be, it would be a comedy classic! Then I realize what I’m thinking …

4) Best Movie of 1947
I haven’t seen many. I’ll go with Miracle on 34th Street, but I had no idea there was a bio film on Albeniz; I’d love to see that.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?
Well, my first thought was “The Fat Man”, but I’d like to think that’s only a temporary state, so I’ll go with something much more rare and unattainable from the same film – The Dingus.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?
Dead heat for me. Don’t suppose they could square off on American Gladiators or something?

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie
I saw Gorky Park on an airline flying to Hawaii. Nothing like arriving in paradise totally depressed.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie
I love most of his films, but my favorite is still The Thin Blue Line. Perhaps it’s just my lack of knowledge of documentaries, but it seems like it was one of the first in the recent trend of documentaries where the person behind the camera has a clear leaning in the interpretation of the subject matter. Perhaps not the greatest trend in film, but boy, sure was warranted in this case. Helped get an innocent man out of jail. And perhaps most importantly, the best film about Texas I’ve ever seen.

9) Best Movie of 1967
I have to go with Playtime, but I am also extremely fond of The Jokers. Maybe my movie handle should be Red George!

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies
The first sex scene I saw in a film was in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Scarred for life.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?
I don’t really remember either of them.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)
I really haven’t paid much attention to them since I was about 10 years old – kind of odd, since I do like the artwork. Well, here’s one that I really liked when I was 10. http://imdb.com/title/tt0071671/posters

13) Best Movie of 1987
I’ll say Raising Arizona as well, although I also want to mention a film I really like that hasn’t come up yet -- 84 Charing Cross Road.

14) Favorite movie about obsession
Fitzcarraldo. All obsessives could learn something from opera fans!

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
We’d start with Miracle on 34th Street, and then progress to the musicals -- Holiday Inn and White Christmas.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
I don’t know either very well, but I’ve never really been all that excited about James Dean, so I’ll give a slight edge to Clift.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie
Never seen one.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. ... Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?
Preach it, Brother Ego!

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?
DVD: Children of Men. Wonderful film! My impression from what I had seen last year was that it would be thoroughly depressing, but I didn’t find it that way at all. Good acting, well written, incredible single-shot takes.
Theater: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Yeah, OK, I don’t get out much lately. I enjoyed it, but I seriously doubt that this film even made sense to the writers.

20) Best Movie of 2007
Before I answer these, I should give you an idea of just how little I got out this year. The films I’ve seen are: 300, Curse of the Golden Flower, Live Free or Die Hard, The Lives of Others, and Pirates of the Caribbean. (I’ll count Lives and Curse since they didn’t open here until 2007. So …
Best Movie of 2007: The Lives of Others

21) Worst Movie of 2007
Actually, on an airline, I also saw the first 10 minutes of The Jane Austen Book Club before pulling my headphones out of the jack and going back to my book. I’ll vote for that one. If you’re going to make a movie having to do with Jane Austen, it seems like you ought to at least get some really good writers.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia.
1. Disney and musicals
2. Spielberg and Lucas
3. Jacques Tati and Ealing comedies
4. Hitchcock and Koyaanisqatsi
5. The Academy Awards winners
6. The Coen Brothers and Christopher Guest
7. Critics’ Circle Awards
8. Filling in a few of the gaps between these. And blog perusing.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
Well, I guess that would be Koyaanisqatsi. Perhaps my response to it is somewhat unique, but I’ve never seen a more breathtaking film, and those I can convince to watch it are either bored or puzzled.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
Rita Hayworth appears to fall in one of those gaps – but who cares? I love Gene Tierney!

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
Being There?

26) Favorite Documentary
Still Koyaanisqatsi.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence
I love the Pink Panther cartoons, so have to mention those -- Return of the Pink Panther is probably my favorite. One credit sequence that I like probably better than anything in the movie that followed was in My Best Friend’s Wedding -- a thoroughly silly bride-and-bridesmaid dance to Bacharach’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’” sung brilliantly by Ani di Franco!

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?
I can’t really think of one. I can think of a few I wish had done so!

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?
Dana Andrews.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards
I’m hoping for an hour shorter on account of the writers’ strike! (Although I’ll take the extra hour if we could just get that little thing settled.)

31) Best Actor of 2007
Ulrich Mühe, The Lives of Others

32) Best Actress of 2007
Martina Gedeck, The Lives of Others

33) Best Director of 2007
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, The Lives of Others

34) Best Screenplay of 2007
I’ll keep going with the Flo.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007
In The Lives of Others, Wiesler’s interrogation of Christa. Consider your public.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
Good or bad, that I’ll get to see more of them!

Steve said...

I missed the last quiz, mainly 'cause I'm too cool for summer school. :-) But we won't give this a miss, no sir.

1) Your favorite opening shot

The first one that came to mind is the abrupt, oddball opening shot of Punch-Drunk Love. So we'll go with that.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

Tuesday Weld is cuter and has that undercurrent of weirdness. If the only thing she had done in her career was Lord Love a Duck, she'd still be worthy of immortal status.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

I think the movie as a whole is pretty lame, but one of the biggest laughs I've ever gotten from a movie was when Henry Winkler imagines the rival coach with a giant baby's head in The Waterboy. See also: Little Nicky, the one Sandler comedy I'm not ashamed to love since it's made up entirely of inexplicable moments like that.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Henri-Georges Clouzot's terrific policier Quai des Orfevres.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

That's easy -- the Dread Pirate. Ask anybody.

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

Looking at McCallum's credits tells me that I haven't seen him do anything ever. So I think I have to go with Vaughn by default -- at least I could pick Vaughn out of a lineup.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

I watched Bubble and Robert Greenwald's Wal-Mart film on a portable DVD player while sitting in a Starbucks. Not that exotic, I know, but at least the latter choice involves a measure of irony.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

I'm seriously lacking in my Morris -- of his entire resume, I've only seen Mr. Death and The Fog of War. I liked the former, but the latter is my favorite film of 2003.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Whole hell of a lot to choose from in this year, but nothing tops Belle de Jour. Bunuel's cool like that.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Heh... my raison d'etre is collecting disturbing moments from films. However, I'm not sure that's what this question is angling for. So I'll instead cite a disturbing moment inspired by a film: The standing ovation given to Lady Vengeance at Alice Tully Hall, with me sitting in the middle of it wondering why people were applauding this profoundly sickening celebration of vigilante justice.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

Anne Francis, as Honey West, got to have a pet ocelot. Julie Newmar, on the other hand, was Catwoman. This, I think, calls for a tie.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

I've always been fond of the 'Orgy of the Living Dead' triple-feature poster since running across it in a book about exploitation films (I think it was Richard Meyers's For One Week Only). It's the blurb in the corner about John Austin Frazier that makes it so special. Tim Lucas has a good shot of it here (second photo down in the post).

13) Best Movie of 1987

I've seen The Princess Bride roughly a million times since the age of eight, and it never stops being awesome.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

The correct answer is Vertigo. No other answer is correct. That's just how it is.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Start with A Charlie Brown Christmas for the warm fuzzies. Follow it up with Bad Santa for the bile. Top it off with the original Black Christmas for the frissons. (And how sad is it that I now have to specify which Black Christmas I'm talking about?)

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

Sal Mineo! No, wait...

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Not that I've seen it, but come on... it's got Werner Herzog! Eating his shoe!

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

God, I love that movie.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

DVD: The chilling documentary Deep Water.

Theater: There Will Be Blood. Good, but not the masterpiece many are claiming.

20) Best Movie of 2007

Ratatouille! Pixar's back, baby!

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Please don't ask me why I went and saw Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. I got what I deserved.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

Until about 17, I spent more time gathering information on films I should see than actually seeing them. From about 18 to 22, I was obsessed with seeing everything current at the expense of older films. Starting at the age of 23, I began to take more of an interest in filling in the sizable gaps in my cinephilic credentials while simultaneously becoming ever more enamored with the theatrical experience over the video experience. Starting at 26, I took a larger interest in repertory screenings and older films on DVD and less of an interest in the new. These days, I go to the theaters less than I ever have since reaching legal smoking age, preferring instead to stay home and watch a DVD. I'm obviously getting crotchety, and I look forward to the day when all I'm watching are melodrama from the '40s-'50s and Italian zombie films.

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist. Never mind that it's one of the most enormously moving and funny motion pictures I've ever seen; once you warn people about the "Hammer of Love" scene, it's all over. You might as well be advising them to poke themselves in the eye with a curare-tipped spear.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

Veronica Lake.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

Warren Oates brokenheartedly mumbling, "It wasn't worth her," to his unusual cargo in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

26) Favorite Documentary

Does Man with a Movie Camera count? 'Cause it should.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

Hurtling through Edward Norton's synapses in Fight Club.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Star Wars + Triumph of the Will + Lady in the Water + Clerks II + Zardoz + The Bed Sitting Room = me getting married.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Glenn Ford is in The Big Heat. The Big Heat is awesome. Ergo, Glenn Ford.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

Prediction: I won't see a single minute of them again this year.

31) Best Actor of 2007

Ulrich Muhe, The Lives of Others. Minimalism in action, pt. 1.

32) Best Actress of 2007

Luisa Williams, Day Night Day Night. Minimalism in action, pt. 2.

33) Best Director of 2007

Tsai Ming-Liang, The Wayward Cloud. Minimalism ruptured by action at the climax. (I mean that in all senses of the word.)

34) Best Screenplay of 2007

The adapted screenplay for Gone Baby Gone is so terrific that its implausibilities never occurred to me. In the Boston we're showing by the Affleck Duo, even the frankly illogical twist at the end seemed perfectly played and wholly credible.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Anton Ego's flashback in Ratatouilleis pretty hard to beat, though I've also got a soft spot for "Cut You with a Linoleum Knife" from Aqua Teen Hunger Force Etc.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

That they not suck completely.

Stacie Ponder said...

I am so late, but I'm not never!

Seth Gordon said...

1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)
Umm... part of me wants to say Batalla en el cielo, just 'coz, but seriously, Blue Velvet. At least today. Tomorrow I might go with The Good, The Bad & The Ugly or something else.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?
Tuesday, any day

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh
Nothing embarasses me.

4) Best Movie of 1947
Out Of The Past

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?
"Stalemate"

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?
Let's put them to the McQueen Meter: Vaughn was in Bullitt, McCallum was in The Great Escape... hell, I can't decide.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie
Some have said my apartment is pretty unusual.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie
Thin Blue Line

9) Best Movie of 1967
Tough... Cool Hand Luke. Much love to Bonnie & Clyde and Marat/Sade though...

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies
Watching Pink Floyd: The Wall, realizing that Pink Floyd weren't nearly as cool as I'd thought.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?
There was always something kind of evil about Anne Francis' eyebrows. Kinda dug that.

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)
The movie wasn't anything particularly great, but...
http://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/22/A70-11447
...I kinda like the poster.
Runner-up - not a one sheet, but this is easily the strangest double-feature of all time:
http://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/23/b70-11957

13) Best Movie of 1987
Wings of Desire wasn't released in the US until 1988... but officially it was a 1987 movie.
But if it has to be that I saw it in '87... Hell of a year, really - call it a tie: Full Metal Jacket, Evil Dead II, Radio Days...

14) Favorite movie about obsession
The Fugitive - you have to watch it from Tommy Lee Jones' perspective, though. (With kudos to runner up Buttman's European Vacation)

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
Schindler's List
Broadway Danny Rose
Eat Drink Man Woman

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
James was cool, but Monty had more depth IMHO.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie
Chulas Fronteras - just 'coz the music is awesome.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, etc etc etc ... Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?
Well, duh.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?
DVD: The Dragon Lives Again
Theater: There Will Be Blood

20) Best Movie of 2007
Ratatouille, No Country, Superbad - all for different reasons...

21) Worst Movie of 2007
I probably didn't see it, whatever it was. Oh, wait, I did see Norbit.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia
Well, the usual stuff at first: Star Wars, Raiders, etc. And anything with boobies - Porky's, et al. The first movie I remember seeing where I was, like, really enveloped for reasons other than the potential of seeing naked girls or non-stop action with cynical comments by Harrison Ford... I think might have been The Killing Fields. Strangelove came fairly early as well, though I'm sure I didn't fully "get" it at that age. High school years brought Lynch into the picture - Blue Velvet was the first I saw of his. And Leone. Wenders' Wings of Desire had HUGE impact on me. The BBC serial The Singing Detective, as well - which is sort of a film. Mamet's House of Games was a big deal as I recall. I dunno, those seem like some of the early standouts. Oh, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (of course...)

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
Exorcist III: The Heretic

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
If I am to base the decision purely on lustful feelings, Tierney.

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
The Last Picture Show

26) Favorite Documentary
Salesman

27) Favorite opening credit sequence
I like the straightforward ones Woody Allen uses.

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?
The Singing Detective (the original one, not the crappy-ass Robert Downey Jr remake) made me want to wear a trenchcoat and make snide, cynical remarks to everyone back in the late 80s. Luckily I got rid of the trenchcoat.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?
Well, Glenn Ford played The President... and Dana Andrews, at best, only ever played a General. And Ford was "President Richardson" to boot (in Virus, if you must know...) and I was for Bill Richardson before it became obvious he'd never win the primary... so I'm going with Glenn Ford.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards
They'll be blissfully short. That covers both, I think.

31) Best Actor of 2007
Hmmmm... Day-Lewis.

32) Best Actress of 2007
Summer Bishil, Nothing Is Private - a film which will probably never be released.

33) Best Director of 2007
Hmmmm... The Coens.

34) Best Screenplay of 2007
Tie: Ratatoullie and Superbad. Though part of me wants Juno to win the AA just 'coz I like seeing Diablo Cody on TV.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007
Tie: (go figure, from the two favorite screenplays)
1. Everyone else has picked it, but Anton Ego's flashback.
2. "McLovin!!"

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
The same wish I've had for the last decade: that Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry team up again to write and star in a PBS miniseries adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Mason and Dixon.

Simon Hsu said...

Way late to the party; kicking off with a hyperbole.

1) Your favorite opening shot.
I keep a dose of atropine handy whenever I watch The New World - it's opening river pan & painterly reflection of clouds is so utterly transcendent there's always the risk of hypotensive shock. On the painterly note, Flowers of Shanghai's opening canvas is equally gorgeous.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?
Mia. Not everyone can fuck the devil and live to tell about it.

3) Name a comedy you're embarrassed to admit made you laugh
I normally don't feel any embarrassment, as those moments are authentic even if the movie might not be. Juno was awful in stretches, but had its share of funnies. Gosh I wish I could come up with a more "embarrassing" title. I suppose A Night at the Roxbury will do, but then again I was 12 (yea I know, I'm still a baby).

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie
I watched the original Star Wars trilogy on a friend's front lawn during his bday party a while back. It was a projector + bedsheet setup with solid speakers, a fire for roasting marshmallows/making s'mores. I don't think I've been more sick of graham crackers and George Lucas in my life. Credit to graham crackers though; I was able to stomach them again eventually.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie
I don't see any other way other than The Thin Blue Line. I haven't gone through the comments yet but I'd wage 10 bucks & a guilty plea that it's the pop vote.

9) Best Movie of 1967
Forget Bonnie & Clyde. The Graduate (says the adult in me) and The Jungle Book (the kid in me) are the bare necessities. There's a certain Bunuel film I haven't seen from that year though...

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)
I've always been a sucker for Gilda's poster. The Prestige's Vertigo-inspired poster is also neat.

13) Best Movie of 1987
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story easily.

14) Favorite movie about obsession
Steering away from more obvious selections and going with Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, one I re-visited over the holiday break. The movie's self- consciousness and Dustin Hoffman's embarrassing act brings it down a few notches, but damn, its ambition, visual/aural/[nasal] sumptuousness, and daring to venture "out there" are impossible to ignore - it's a far more successful The Fountain, if you will. Ben Wishaw has been unrightfully slammed for his stoic performance. Alan Rickman is fantastic.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
Edward Scissorhands
Bad Santa
Eyes Wide Shut


I guess it reads more like an anti-Christmas triple feature.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
Definitely Dean.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: [exerpt] Your thoughts?
I remember squirming in my seat at that opening sentence, but gradually nodding as the monologue continued, which ends with a truism I found myself wholly agreeing with. A critic's work definitely ain't easy, nor do the ones worth reading thrive on negative criticism. Not anybody can become an artist, that much is guaranteed. On negative criticism, some are fun to read, some do a swell job of convincing one to avoid trash, then there are those that read like acerbic, ad hominem attacks. The last are always more painful than the movie(s) they denounce.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?
DVD - The Lady Eve, for the first time (yea, I know). Jean Harrington ranks among the forefront of Stanwyck's many wicked, wicked creations. What brought me to this fine film was Ball of Fire, first viewing too (yea yea double foul...) a few days before that. I just barely met you professor, but if you'll kindly raise your mitts once more, the better man can claim the lady. Line starts behind me gentlemen.
Theater - Cloverfield, see #36.

20) Best Movie of 2007
The Wayward Cloud

21) Worst Movie of 2007
Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Gives me the willies just thinking about it.

23) What is the one film you've had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
The New World. If after the first viewing you're still not a member of Malick's church, it's damned near impossible to convince you to join.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
See #12

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
Film(s): Badlands, Days of Heaven, Winter Light
Moment: See #35.

26) Favorite Documentary
Umm The Thin Blue Line. I don't see many, sadly.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence
The Age of Innocence - meaningful, beautiful, melancholy
Charade - lots of spinnin' but a lot of fun

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?
Near impossible to cite one, or even a few. The Movies as a collective whole.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards
That it take place without the writers' aid. It guarantees more laughs.

31) Best Actor of 2007
Josh Brolin, NCFOM
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

32) Best Actress of 2007
Julie Christie, Away from Her

33) Best Director of 2007
Tsai Ming-Liang, The Wayward Cloud

34) Best Screenplay of 2007
The Coens, NCFOM

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007
The lake of watermelons, followed by the asleep-on-the-swings scene in The Wayward Cloud. It's simply sublime.

36) What's your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
That Cloverfield is the bottom of the barrel.