Silence, you maladroit mental midgets! You lugubrious laggards! Now that I have your attention, I promise never to be so rude again. I didn’t really mean any of that. I just thought I’d grab your attention by getting you used to the kind of treatment typically offered slothful students under the watch of SLIFR’s latest professorial legend. Rather cranky after several decades drifting lost in space with America’s processed and pasteurized astronaut family the Robinsons, Dr. Zachary Smith makes up in salient cinematic investigation what he lacks in common courtesy and scruples. We have implored him to channel some of his impudent intelligence and arrogant approbation of concerns du cinema into quiz form. The results are the questions now set before you. Dr. Smith only asks that, as you complete your answers and post them in the comments column, that you include the questions along with your answers so that they are more easily paired and read. Failure to do so, the professor has asked us to remind you, may result in the kind of linguistic lashing and verbal violence often visited upon Will Robinson on the occasion of his and Dr. Smith’s inevitable entrapment in some mind-bending mire of mystery and miscommunication on an unknown, arid, foam-rock-strewn planetoid. Danger, danger, indeed! So now, as Labor Day approaches and the first rays of light at the dawn of the traditional school year draw near, it is our pleasure to impart to you Dr. Smith’s Lost in the Space at the End of Summer Movie Quiz. Tread faithfully and with great care, young Robinsons, for heaven only knows what traps of reason, nostalgia and personal prejudice await you, for the good doctor will out your cinematic passions at all costs. As he once so delicately put it, “Since you are obviously devoid of any mechanical aptitude whatsoever, I know this is difficult for you to comprehend, but let me assure you the system is foolproof!” Catastrophe then soon followed, right on schedule. (Access other smidgens of Smithian sagacity here!)
1) Your favorite musical moment in a movie
2) Ray Milland or Dana Andrews
3) Favorite Sidney Lumet movie
4) Biggest surprise of the just-past summer movie season
5) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth
6) What’s the last movie you saw on DVD? In theaters?
7) Irwin Allen’s finest hour?
8) What were the films where you would rather see the movie promised by the poster than the one that was actually made?
9) Chow Yun-Fat or Tony Leung
10) Most pretentious movie ever
11) Favorite Russ Meyer movie
12) Name the movie that you feel best reflects yourself, a movie you would recommend to an acquaintance that most accurately says, “This is me.”
13) Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo
14) Best movie snack? Most vile movie snack?
15) Current movie star who would be most comfortable in the classic Hollywood studio system
16) Fitzcarraldo—yes or no?
17) Your assignment is to book the ultimate triple bill to inaugurate your own revival theater. What three movies will we see on opening night?
18) What’s the name of your theater? (The all-time greatest answer to this question was once provided by Larry Aydlette, whose repertory cinema, the Demarest, is, I hope, still packing them in…)
19) Favorite Leo McCarey movie
20) Most impressive debut performance by an actor/actress.
21) Biggest disappointment of the just-past summer movie season
22) Michelle Yeoh or Maggie Cheung
23) 2008 inductee into the Academy of the Overrated
24) 2008 inductee into the Academy of the Underrated
25) Fritz the Cat—yes or no?
26) Trevor Howard or Richard Todd
27) Antonioni once said, “I began taking liberties a long time ago; now it is standard practice for most directors to ignore the rules.” What filmmaker working today most fruitfully ignores the rules? What does ignoring the rules of cinema mean in 2008?
28) Favorite William Castle movie
29) Favorite ethnographically oriented movie
30) What’s the movie coming up in 2008 you’re most looking forward to? Why?
31) What deceased director would you want to resurrect in order that she/he might make one more film?
32) What director would you like to see, if not literally entombed, then at least go silent creatively?
33) Your first movie star crush