Wednesday, July 15, 2009


We're in the final stretch, students. A reminder: You can take a look at the original quiz, or catch up with part 1 and part 2 of this Best Of series before marching forward, or, if you're doing a marathon read, then you'll be ready to rumble right now. We open with movies too painful to experience more than once, check out a couple more icons along the way, heed some recommendations for films to see that may not be top of the mind, and then end up, in anticipation of the posting of the next quiz tomorrow, with a consideration of what SLIFR readers like to enrich their lives with when they're not soaking up film images and written thoughts about them. Proceed, Shermans.

24) Name a great (or merely very good) movie that is too painful to watch a second time (Thanks to The Onion A.V. Club)

The only movie that I can think of off the top of my head that I absolutely loved but will forever refuse to watch again is Grave of the Fireflies. It’s much, much too draining. (Schuyler Chapman)

I can't think of any. I revel in movies that make me want to turn away because of the horrors of life or death that they are showing me and try to return to them often. So if it's painful, I WANT to watch it again. Now, there are plenty of comedies that I liked enough to not watch again because I'm afraid they will lose their appeal. (Greg)

No great or good movies come to mind, but two I found excruciating were the last two Terry Gilliams, The Brothers Grimm, which was like having nails driven through my hands, and Tideland, which was like having my skin pulled off. This is a career that's gone completely off the rails. (Robert Fiore)

If I think a movie is truly good, painful or not, I tend to not have much problem going back to it. So I don’t really think I have an answer to this one, but, okay, second viewings of The Piano Teacher or See the Sea would take some gearing up for. (Bill R.)

William Wellman's Island in the Sky is a pretty good film with a performance by John Wayne that is worth noting. However, I almost tore my eyes out at the dorsal view of Andy Devine in swim trunks. At least he wasn't wearing Speedos. (Peter Nellhaus)

Salo: 120 Days of Sodom. (Jim Emerson)

Titicut Follies (1967). (Pretty much a gimme, don’t you think?) (Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.)

Oh, that's easy... Million Dollar Baby. Don't get me wrong, it's simply a great film and I love it. But, it's still laying in a drawer, unopened. I want to see it, but it's such a devastating movie, I can't get it into the DVD player. (le0pard 13)

I've never been able to rewatch Boys Don't Cry. The film's second half is brutal not just for the violence and simulated rape, but because Kimberley Peirce and Hilary Swank do a frighteningly strong job of putting you in Brandon Teena's shoes - I left the movie feeling violated and emotionally drained. I tried watching it once on cable, but when Brandon and Lana kiss for the first time I decided to change the channel and leave the movie on high note. (Bemis)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988). Once was enough for me. If I sat through it again I might just throw myself in front of an oncoming train. (Kimberly Lindbergs)

Grave of the Fireflies. I still find it odd that most people find this film so sad... I found it infuriating. But then, both of those traits make it difficult to watch. It is an exceptional film though, and it's one of those films that you could pull out to traumatize people who think that you can't tell real stories with animation. Incidentally, it's kinda cruel to point to that AV Club article, as it's a pretty comprehensive list... Most of the stuff I considered shows up there. (Mark)

25) Beyonce Knowles or Jennifer Hudson?

I don't have a preference, but my wife just yelled out a vote for Jennifer. (Alonso Moseley FBI)

Tough call, so far Ms. Hudson has shown more chops as an actress, but Ms. Knowles seems to have greater potential, range etc. (Larry Gross)

Jennifer's got a much, much better quality/fluff ratio. (Patrick)

I truly don't have an opinion. Hudson, because who doesn't like to root for an underdog? (Bemis)

26) Favorite Robert Mitchum movie?

His best is probably Out of the Past, but my favorite? The Big Steal - Ramon Novarro chasing William Bendix chasing Robert Mitchum chasing Jane Greer chasing Patrick Knowles through Mexico. (Beveridge D. Spenser)

Hard to choose between Out of the Past and Night of the Hunter (Larry Gross)

The Yakuza. (Peter Nellhaus)

Dead Man (1995). Also should be noted as the only Jim Jarmusch movie that I like. (Walter Biggins)

Until it comes out on DVD and I can verify my memories of how awesome Friends of Eddie Coyle was/is, I’ll go with Thunder Road. I think Mitchum’s performances in Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear and Heaven Knows Mr. Allison are better, but those movies all have scenes that annoy me and I fast-forward through now. Thunder Road isn’t flawless either, but I can plop my ass down and watch it front to back without reaching for the remote (except to rewind that awesome scenes where Mitchum wrecks a rival’s car using his cigarette!). (Ivan)

The Big Steal. (Howard Chaykin)

I’ll specifically avoid Night of the Hunter, because that’s really the only answer that’s possible here, and go with Farewell My Lovely, since it’s nearly as good and probably the best cinematic Marlowe (sorry Bogie). (Schuyler Chapman)

The little known Sydney Pollack film, The Yakuza. (written by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne). He was almost 60 when he made it, and still carried off his role in what was a tribute to the (at that time, little known) Japanese gangster film. Few actors could carry off weary and dangerous with that ease--even fewer, anywhere near that age. (le0pard 13)

"Chilllllll....dren?" (Patrick)

27) Favorite movie featuring a ‘60s musical group that is not either the Beatles or the Monkees

The strangely ambitious Having a Wild Weekend by the strangely ambitious Dave Clark Five. It's practically neo-realist. (Robert Fiore)

What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, featuring the Lovin’ Spoonful. Or maybe that should be featurin’. (Bill R.)

Hold On! with Herman's Hermits. A total hokey Beatles rip-off. (Josh Pincus Is Crying)

Cliff Richard and the Shadows in Thunderbirds are GO. Rent the flick just for their appearance: your mind will explode. (BTW, Thunderbirds are GO is a perfect double-feature with Team America: World Police.) (Ivan)

Petulia, featuring The Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company in performance. (Peter Nellhaus)

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Strawberry Alarm Clock -- and, of course, the Carrie Nations). (Jim Emerson)

Criminally underseen The Girls On The Beach with The Beach Boys (though the plot deals with The Beatles). (Aaron)

Have you ever seen The Ghost Goes Gear starring the Spenser Davis Group, with Aker Bilk and a few never-weres? Well I have. It stinks. (Beveridge D. Spenser)

The Kids are Alright, the 1979 documentary on the Who. A high-energy jumble with some incredible performances, and it's a treat to see Keith Moon at his best. (Patrick)

28) Maria Ouspenskaya or Una O’Connor?

Maria Ouspenskaya. She warned Larry Talbot. (Josh Pincus Is Crying)

Una O'Connor – but after all, she worked with Ford, Whale, Lubitsch, and Wilder, whereas Ouspenskaya ... Sam Wood? (Richard T. Jameson)

Ok, I warned you. I'm overriding Dennis' question and replacing it with my own. The funny thing is that I don't really have a good answer. Kane Hodder, I guess. Though Derek Mears has potential. This is one that needs to be revisited after the next few movies come out. (Mark)

29) Favorite Vincent Price movie?

Witchfinder General… no wait, Theatre of Blood… no, The Tingler, uh-uh, Edward Scissorhands…I mean, The Abominable Dr. Phibes… Okay, Witchfinder General. (Dave S.)

Ouch. Wait, no, it’s Witchfinder General. That’s a great movie, and Price is at his best there. The only really tough competition, I think, would be Theater of Blood, in which Price is also outstanding, but there’s quite a bit of dated camp in that one, which knocks it down a peg or two in my book. (Bill R.)

The Pit and the Pendulum. It's the most crazily effective of the Corman films I've seen, and Price just rolls with it. (Krauthammer)

I am woefully deficient in my Vincent Price knowledge. I've only seen a couple. For now, I'll say The Abominable Dr. Phibes because I saw it recently and was struck by how much some recent films seem to take from it (notably Se7en and Saw). I've already placed a number of Vincent Price movies in my Netflix queue, basing some of my choices on the selections of Dennis' readers. (Mark)

Witchfinder-General (aka The Conqueror Worm). However, he never topped the way he said "Truuuuuuue!" in The Pit and the Pendulum. (Let's stipulate that Laura isn't a "Vincent Price movie.") (Richard T. Jameson)

I've never seen a Vincent Price movie from start to finish. (Flosh)

The Masque of the Red Death. (Aaron)

I do love The Abominable Dr. Phibes, but I’ll have to go with Witchfinder General (aka Conqueror Worm, which might be the best movie title ever). (Schuyler Chapman)

Theatre of Blood - Vincent, a far better actor than given credit for, performing as a second rate, ham British stage actor was simply splendid here. Co-star Diana Rigg considered it her best film, too. (le0pard 13)

That's rough but it's probably a toss-up between The Haunted Palace and The Last Man on Earth. (Kimberly Lindbergs)

30) Name a movie currently flying under the radar that is deserving of rabid cult status.

Crap, I don’t know. I don’t want to go with one of my fall-back answers, so I’ll go with a movie that’s truly great and unique, but which may already have a rabid cult following: Saul Bass’s Phase IV. If it doesn’t have a rabid cult following, that’s only because it used to be so hard to find. Not so hard now, because I saw it via Netflix, even though somebody claimed I was mistaken, and that I must have seen something else, which I was confusing with Phase IV. But no, it was Phase IV, all right. Super ants, Michael Murphy, etc. Anyway, amazing film. (Bill R.)

The documentary Capturing the Friedmans got a lot of attention when it came out, but has since disappeared from the popular consciousness. It really shouldn't have--it's one of the most fascinating stories committed to film in years. (Chris Oliver)

“Death Laid an Egg. (Dave S.)

Again, Me and My Gal. Also the Mann-Alton-Menzies-Yordan The Black Book (I hope the new DVD is decently BLACK-and-white). And can we get a release, or even a few TV runs, for Sidney Gilliat's The State Secret? (Richard T. Jameson)

Gigli (more weird then bad). (Anthony)

John Woo's Red Cliff. A huge hit in Asia, but only available as an import DVD stateside. It's the top nominee for the Hong Kong Film Awards for good reason. (Peter Nellhaus)

Deep End, Moonlighting, Winter Kills, Psycho III, Brain Candy, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Housekeeping, The Long Day Closes... (Jim Emerson)

Since Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery came out in 1993, it was immediately lost under the Soon-Yi Previn fallout. As a murder mystery, it’s a little slack, but only because Woody’s interested more in the middle-aged marriage that underpins it than the whodunit factor. (Besides, the whodunit’s not so bad, and the climax is terrific.) As a portrait of a couple in-progress, resolving its troubles, it’s funny and remarkably light on its feet. It’s worth revisiting. In fact, it’s damn near brilliant. (Walter Biggins)

For gross fun - Slither; for crime fiction - Hickey & Boggs (le0pard 13)

Please cut me some slack, but I’m going long: The Love God? (1969) is written and directed by Nat Hiken (a vet of the Sgt. Bilko show and Car 54 Where Are You?). This flick is an unholy mess that’s worth renting for weirdness value alone. The brightly colored mutant love child of Walt Disney and Russ Meyer, The Love God? is Squaresville trying to make sense of the sexual revolution—and becoming schizophrenic for its efforts. Don Knotts and his brand of goofball-loser comedy is The Love God?’s greatest asset and liability. In some scenes, Knott’s comedic acting is transcendent: totally brilliant. But in others, he pulls out the now-stale Barney Fife routine. But The Love God? is hardly a dumb movie: lots of topical issues are satirized, some better than others. Not only does The Love God? poke fun at sex itself, the flick makes fun of student unrest, First Amendment rights advocates and abusers, women’s lib, the ACLU, media manipulation of public opinion, and the corporatization of the mob. (Speaking of the mob, B.S. Pully’s performance as J. Charles Twilight is fantastic! Gee-whiz, rent the movie just to watch him.) (Ivan)

Well, there’s The Edge, which is, you know, David Mamet’s movie about bears. And also Anaconda, which is pretty much the best movie about snakes ever. (Schuyler Chapman)

Said it before, say it again - Get Crazy. All it needs is a DVD release for people to become aware of it. Anyone? Anyone? (Runner-up: Three O'Clock High.) (Patrick)

Fearless. A movie with the kind of moral clarity that gets people crucified. (Robert Fiore)

I don't know that it's officially 'out' yet, but I just saw Jeffrey Goodman's brilliant neo noir The Last Lullaby at the Salem Film Festival. If people get out to see it, it will turn the man into a go-to director for these kinds of thrillers. It's really a brilliant film. (Kevin J. Olson)

Once again, it's sometimes difficult to tell when something is flying under the radar, especially on the internet where there can be a dedicated following to even the most obscure of movies, but I figure my top 10s are a good place to start (incidentally, there's no way to narrow this down to 1 movie). From 2008, we've got Teeth, The Bank Job, Mad Detective, Timecrimes, Ladrón Que Roba a Ladrón, The Promotion, and Spiral. A good pick from 2007 that's making the rounds on cable right now is Stardust and a good pick from 2006 would be James Gunn's excellent Slither. There are some movies I've heard of that still haven't been released but that sound awesome, notably Trick 'r Treat. I could probably list off a dozen others from the past few years, but I'll leave it at that. (Mark)

Invasion USA. I think a lot of conservative talk show hosts would find it eerily prescient and latch onto its "message" (that communists are taking over the country and are out to kill us all!). Me, I just find it amazingly silly and awesome. (Troy Olson)

The excellent Belgium horror film Linkeroever. It was released in 2008 and it was easily one of the best films released that year and one of the best horror films I've seen this decade, but I'm the only person who seems to think so. (Kimberly Lindbergs)

Due to rights issues, The Beaver Trilogy is one of the few cult films left that can basically only be seen on seventh-generation bootlegs. And it's well worth the effort - check out this ( and other YouTube clips and you'll see what I mean. Sidenote: I've just found out, through the comments on that page, that Groovin Gary died in February. That totally sucks - RIP, Olivia Newton Dawn. (Bemis)

Easy, Stuart Gordon's new to DVD in the last year or so From Beyond. One of the greats for a number of hilarious reasons, please everyone see this film. (Jamie)

31) Irene Ryan or Lucille Benson (or Bea Benaderet)?

Oh, Bea wins this one in a walk if only for her radio work alone. A superb comic actress who worked alongside Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Lucille Ball (My Favorite Husband), Dennis Day, Jim & Marian Jordan (Fibber McGee & Molly), Mel Blanc, Harold Peary (The Great Gildersleeve), Red Skelton, Ozzie & Harriet Nelson—not to mention dramatic turns in The Mercury Theater on the Air, Grand Central Station, Lights Out, Suspense, The Cavalcade of America, etc. (I’m going to chalk up your inclusion of Benson among these two as temporary insanity, Dennis.) (Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.)

Okay, pops, I’m getting off the lawn… (Ivan)

Granny was also in Bonzo Goes to College. (Jim Emerson)

Irene. I always had a soft spot for the Beverly Hillbillies. (Schuyler Chapman)

*yawns, checks watch* (Patrick)

When you ask us to pick between people I don't know, I die a little inside. Pass. (Krauthammer)

32) Single line from a movie that never fails to make your laugh or otherwise cheer you up. (This may be obvious, but the line does not have to come from a comedy.)

“I don't mind if you don't like my manners. I don't like them myself. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings.” – Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (Michael Miller)

Groucho in Horse Feathers: "I'm the plumber, I'm here in case something goes wrong with her pipes. That's the first time I used that joke in 20 years." (Jeremy)

I have several but they're all because of achieving inside joke status between my wife and I. For instance, that horrid line of Gloria Stuart's in Titanic, the one about "he saved me, in every way that a person can be saved." Well, my wife and I laughed at the line instinctively together the first time we heard it and have used it ever since. Bad day at work? "My boss screwed me over, in every way that a person can be screwed over." Sick the night before? "I vomited. In every way that a person can vomit." And so on. Also, you have to say using Stuart's voice. Also the line by Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night where she says "I'll get us a ride and I won't use my thumb." Using her exact inflection my wife and I have gotten extraordinary mileage out of the last part of that line, especially if the reference is off-color. Example: I have to go take a shit, and I won't use my thumb. Oh man, it can be used for anything, again and again and again. (Greg)

In My Darling Clementine, J. Farrell McDonald's response to Henry Fonda's plaintive "Mac, you ever been in love?": "Noooooo, I been a bartender all me life!" (Richard T. Jameson)

“I got this badge, I got this gun, and I got the love of Jesus right here in my pretty green eyes.” --Clint Eastwood, The Gauntlet, 1977 (Ivan)

“So what – you’re gonna jog broke?” (Bob Einstein in Modern Romance). I’m pretty sure I say it daily. (Aaron)

“How’s my hair?” or “Damn! We’re in a tight spot!” or “I don’t want Fop, goddamnit! I’m a Dapper Dan man!” All are said by George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). (Walter Biggins)

Ryan O'Neal at the end of 245 degree pan holding a gun on Rudy Ramos in The Driver, and he says: "Give up." Also Mitchum to Greer in Out of the Past--"Would you mind getting out of here, I have to sleep in this room." Also Bogart responding to Lorre's complaints about his always having a clever answer for every situation: "What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?" And of course Bridges as the Dude, "My thinking about this case has gotten very uptight." and "it's like Lenin said man, who benefits from the crime." (Larry Gross)

"Well, I'm a mushroom-cloud-layin' motherfucker, motherfucker!" - Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction (like you needed me to tell you that). (Patrick)

So, so I'll choose the first one that came to the top of my head -- Nick Cage from Wicker Man, "How'd it get burned, how'd it get burned, HOW'D IT GET BURNED!" Bad acting at its finest. (Troy Olson)

33) Elliot Gould or Donald Sutherland?

Donald Sutherland. "I'm serious. This is my job!" (Quinn)

I think I generally prefer Gould, but Sutherland has two great horror films under his belt -- Don’t Look Now and Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- so my choice has to be him. We horror fans must show our support. (Bill R.)

Elliot Gould has done a lot of good work, but Sutherland has given five or six GREAT performances. He can be terrible too--but Sutherland has been GREAT a lot. To go from the madness of Attila in 1900 to the normality of the dad in Ordinary People indicates creative genius. Gould's real gifts don't go that far. (Larry Gross)

I was going to say: How can you make me choose? But then, thinking more, I realize that as good as Elliot is in The Long Goodbye, I can’t really think of anything else by him that I really like (aside from his cameos in bothNashville and Kicking and Screaming). Donald, on the other hand, has Don’t Look Now, Klute, Animal House, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, etc. So Sutherland by a landslide. (Schuyler Chapman)

I'm sure Gould deserves it more, but Donald Sutherland, for Oddball. "Stop with the negative waves, Moriarty." (Beveridge D. Spenser)

Elliot Gould's performance in The Long Goodbye is one for the ages, but Donald Sutherland is maybe the most underrated '70s-era actor. MASH, Don't Look Now, 1900, Animal House, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ordinary People... (Bemis)

Both! I refuse to select Donald over Elliot because my father would rollover in his grave. (Kimberly Lindbergs)

34) Best performance by a director in an acting role

A couple points of clarification: 1) I’m taking Woody Allen out of the betting pool, since he appears in over half of his movies; and 2) I’m interpreting this question as “Best performance by a director (who isn’t known as an actor) in an acting role,” because we otherwise have to consider George Clooney, Helen Hunt, Ida Lupino, Clint Eastwood, and others who started out as actors first and foremost, and gradually made their way to the other side of the camera, even if—as with Hunt, Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck—they’ve only done it once. (Would it be fair, for instance, to put Sean Penn [director of Into the Wild and, um, sort of a big deal as an actor] against Quentin Tarantino’s, um, “performances”?) So, harrumphing aside… My favorite is François Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Yes, Truffaut has acted aplenty but mostly in tiny, non-pivotal roles. His gentle warmth in CETK, however, is among the movie’s many gems, a sense of quietude and humaneness amidst the noisy, brilliant spectacle. I miss Truffaut. (Walter Biggins)

Um…honestly, boring anwers, but Scorsese in Taxi Driver. Terrifying and funny. He’s never acted so well since. And I’m not a fan of either Takashi Miike or the film Hostel, or even of Miike’s delivery of his one line in that film, but I do like the line: “You can spend all of your money in there.” Ten times scarier than the rest of the film. (Bill R.)

Francois Truffaut, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Quinn)

Of course all the Welles performances in the films he directed are wonderful, as is true of Chaplin and Keaton, but I will still say, my fave is Renoir as Octave in Rules of the Game. (Larry Gross)

Martin Scorsese in Round Midnight. (Howard Chaykin)

Among those who are primarily directors as opposed to actor/directors the one I enjoy the most as an actor is John Huston. Best performance would be Noah Cross in Chinatown. Roman Polanski does a nice turn in that as well. (Robert Fiore)

David Cronenberg is frighteningly convincing as a killer in To Die For and Nightbreed. It's also fun to see him get killed by Jason Voorhees in Jason X. (Bemis)

Orson Welles in The Third Man, but how about Sydney Pollack in just about everything he did, but maybe especially Eyes Wide Shut. (Bob Westal)

Suzuki Seijun in Sleepless Town. (Peter Nellhaus)

Most recent seen that I liked: Eastwood, Gran Torino, Lucio Fulci, Cat in the Brain. (Ivan)

Sam Fuller in Pierrot le Fou. (Schuyler Chapman)

Alfred Hitchcock's cameo in Frenzy. Really pulls the whole movie together. (Beveridge D. Spenser)

35) Favorite Barbara Stanwyck movie?

Double Indemnity. (Everyone said my mom looked like Barbara Stanwyck.) (Josh Pincus Is Crying)

Changes daily. For today, let's say... um... Ball of Fire. (Greg)

You are cruel. Double Indemnity. (Krauthammer)

So many, so hard to make up one's mind--but my fave is her in Meet John Doe. A great comic performance I should have put in the earlier question on that subject. I think she's neat in Fuller's 40 Guns. (Larry Gross)

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Kimberly Lindbergs)

My favorite movie that she’s appeared in is Double Indemnity, but my favorite performance from her is in The Lady Eve. (Bill R.)

The Bitter Tea of General Yen. (Richard T. Jameson)

Stanwyck has always been one of those actresses I've never fully gotten why she was so beloved. But the other day, my wife and I caught Remember the Night on TV. There's a scene near the beginning where her lawyer is weaving together a defence in the courtroom completely unknown to her. She sits there and suddenly gives a little smile in response to it. THAT'S when I got it. (Alonso Moseley FBI)

Young Babs: Bitter Tea of General Yen. Never ask a woman her age Babs: Forty Guns. (Peter Nellhaus)

The Lady Eve is currently my second favorite movie of all time. She's had better roles, but this movie has everything: Henry Fonda in a sexual fog, Charles Coburn AND Eugene Palette, Eric Blore, William Demarest. "Definitely, the same dame." (Beveridge D. Spenser)

The Lady Eve, but then Sullivan's Travels is my favorite Veronica Lake movie, Miracle of Morgan's Creek is my favorite Betty Hutton movie, Palm Beach Story is my favorite Carole Lombard (and Mary Astor) movie, Easy Living is my favorite Jean Arthur movie . . . I don't know if there's a writer/director who gave women more good things to do onscreen than Preston Sturges. Maybe Lubitsch. (Robert Fiore)

You know, I realized in looking over her body of work that I’m not that big a fan. (Sharon)

Outside of reading film criticism or other literature about the movies, what subject do you enjoy reading about or studying which you would say best enriches or illuminates your understanding and appreciation of life, a life that includes the movies?

I love history. I read up on it whenever I can and have begun to incorporate it into Cinema Styles. For now, it's History and the Movies posts but it's really just an excuse to write about the past. I find knowledge of the past invaluable. There's nary a phrase in existence that can ruffle my feathers more than "I don't that, it was before my time." The idea of only knowing what is in your time makes me cringe. The past is there and so much of what has happened is already forgotten, lying dormant, waiting for someone to rediscover it and take away the proper lessons. (Greg)

Death. I love reading about death and unusual way people have died. (Josh Pincus Is Crying)

Recently I've really gotten into political theory. I think it's incredibly important to question your basic assumptions about these kinds of things, to actually read and try to understand thinkers who have completely different viewpoints than you. I can't really tell you how much I've rethought about society this year, or how much reading people like Burke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Hobbes, Mill or many others has helped me make sense of society just a little bit more, either by pointing new ideas out to you or by your violent disagreement with them. It's also interesting in that you understand the arguments of your opponent and your own so much better by understanding the underlying assumptions and presuppositions in their and your arguments. It's actually helped me to become less polemical and more understanding of other viewpoints. What this has to do with movies I don't know, but it’s become one of my passions. (Krauthammer)

Literature. They share a lot in common, but are still completely separate and distinct artforms. To be honest, literature probably means a bit more to me than film, but both, in their own ways, have given me an appreciation of the art of saying something, or showing something, in just the right way. Nailing a moment, or a sentence, or a thought, or a turn of the story, or a line of dialogue. The great artists in both mediums know that the smallest touches can be the most important thing, and can connect the work to the audience in a way that no amount of showboating or grandstanding can ever accomplish. (Bill R.)

I don't know that there's a single answer for this one, but history is an obvious choice, even if I don't read that much of it. I do read a lot about technology and the like, which I find interesting and illuminating. And lately, I've been reading a lot about video games, if that counts. (Mark)

Baseball. Baseball is life. Constant failure. Constant need to drag yourself to your feet and try again. Constant need to forget the past and not think about the future, and focus only on the present. (Quinn)

Hate to be obvious but the great theoretical texts about literature like Aristotle's Poetics or Frye's Anatomy of Criticism give still-valid terms for classifying narrative cinema, and give you solid reason to skip Syd Field and those other hucksters giving the watered-down version of Frye's and Aristotle's ideas. (Larry Gross)

It's not quite the answer your question deserves, but at this point I'd have to say politics. Not so much local politics (indeed, hardly at all), but national politics. Especially politics-as-show-business. Ultimately, for better or worse, we're talking about history. (Richard T. Jameson)

I’ve actually read relatively few books about film – until recently I always figured I spent enough time on that in the rest of my life. I’d say world and U.S. history and politics, but I need to get back into eastern philosophy and various esoteric matters. (Bob Westal)

Jazz criticism. (Howard Chaykin)

Art History, Art Theory, for the formal visual working thru of narrative ideas. (Anthony)

Buddhism. (Peter Nellhaus)

Neuroscience. (Jim Emerson)

I love essays, especially deep-think critical essays about the intersections between art and life, so the collected works of Lawrence Weschler rank highly with me. Also, you might have noticed my appreciation of jazz critic Whitney Balliett before now. Jazz criticism is especially illuminating because it necessarily shows off how one can write intelligently and critically about the intangible and ever-changing. (Walter Biggins)

I’m a literature student. I read a lot. It’s what I do. I’m paid to do it. My worldview is so governed by the texts that I’ve read, that I pick a single area would be futile. I can say with some certainty that the way I interact with and understand the world derives in large part from Roland Barthes. Seriously. It sounds a little pretentious, but his willingness to perceive the ideas that lie behind quotidian things (Mythologies) blew my mind when I was 20. And the way in which he examines the erotics of reading (or encountering any text) is also important to me. Barthes is intellectually a guiding light for me and someone I enjoy reading to boot. (Schuyler Chapman)

Good question. I read a lot of philosophy, particularly the existentialists. It's all in the mind, you know. (Bemis)

Hmmm. Hard to think of anything broad, but Foucault's The Order of Things revised the way I examine and analyze any number of subjects, up to and including film. (Daniel L.)

Everything I love the most has a strong element of humor to it. (Robert Fiore)

I have an affinity for postmodern literature...authors like Rushdie, McEwan, Amis, Coetzee, Swift, Winterson, and the like. Since I went to school to study literature I usually find myself reading a lot of literary theory like Lyotard and Baudrillard; Umberto Eco's book On Literature is one of the best ever written on the topics of semiotics and why we interpret things the way we do. I also am intrigued by world cultures and their religions. So I read a lot of stuff that varies from Joseph Campbell to Thomas Merton. All of the above help me better understand myself and life, and allow me to view life through a variety of lenses. (Kevin J. Olson)

Well, I also love reading about sports, TV, and comic books...although the extent to which any of those things significantly help me to appreciate life more is questionable. (Troy Olson)

Psychology - because almost everything boils down to love and sex. (le0pard 13)

Generally speaking my interest in History and music/photography. My appreciation of horror/fantasy film has also greatly benefited from my long time interest in gothic fiction and all things esoteric & fantastique. (Kimberly Lindbergs)

Painting. The book Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant Garde by Branden W. Joseph is required reading, I think. (Jamie)

Robinson Crusoe. As one might say “Such a book as Robinson Crusoe never was written, and never will be written again.” ;) (Michael Miller)

Reading about the history of American music in the 20th century gives me a great insight into who we are as a people and a country. (Chris Oliver)


Stay tuned, sharpen your pencils and shake your wrists out-- The new quiz is coming tomorrow!