Few who have attended classes here at SLIFR University over the past seven years are likely to have known about the school’s modest but relatively ambitious religious studies program— faith, ritual, evangelism and the presence (or lack thereof) of divinity and providence in modern society are subjects of endless fascination for the staff here, but not ones they are given to pontificate at length upon, at least during school hours. (SLIFR history professor Mr. Hand has been seen of late standing on a milk crate across from the campus bookstore, haranguing passersby about Planned Parenthood.) However, one eminently qualified staff member is quite passionate on the subject of God and cinema, and we’ve decided that, upon the occasion of the opening of the new SLIFR House of St. Faith Divinity Annex and Multiplex Cinema, located high in the Himalayan Mountains, it’s time to give Sister Superior Clodagh her time on the pulpit before she and the department head for the hills. Sister Clodagh expects that the move to her new, more isolated educational and spiritual facility will facilitate better focus on godly matters and push away some of the rather more worldly influences that have tugged at her attention over the past few semesters. To that end, she has fashioned a quiz organized loosely around themes of religious belief and representation in the movies, and like all of her students in habit-forming (sorry) classes like Church History and Scriptural Analysis, as well as more popular
credits like Catechism for Coffee House Hipsters, Convent Oscar-Party Etiquette, Cutting-Edge Fashions for the Cloister or Wine Tasting: How to Choose the Right Chalice for Your Heavenly Claret, she expects your undivided and immediate attention to these probing questions. And do not doubt that Sister Clodagh has her yardstick ready for knuckle-rapping, should any of you decide to loaf or read old copies of Mad magazine tucked inside your missals instead of paying attention to the questions. Beware and be reverent.
There are just a couple of bits of the usual formality business before we proceed. When you answer your questions, please be sure to copy and paste the questions into the comments column along with your answers—this is so readers will not have to continually scroll up and down referencing the questions to your answers. And speaking of the answers, Sister Clodagh does, as do all of the staffers here at SLIFR, value your honesty but equally so your loquaciousness, your willingness to participate elaborately. Answers are always much more fun to read if they go beyond the simple one or two-word response. Your logorrhea will not be punished here, only your reticence. (Your poor knuckles will come to appreciate this advice.)
So let us tarry no further. Sharpen up the number twos, adjust your collars and habits and enjoy Sister Clodagh’s Superficially Spiritual, Ambitiously Agnostic Last-Rites-of-Spring Movie Quiz. Communion has officially begun. (Extra credit for spotting the religious reference in the text below that is NOT found in any of the questions.)
1) Favorite movie featuring nuns
2) Second favorite John Frankenheimer movie
3) William Bendix or Scott Brady?
4) What movie, real or imagined, would you stand in line six hours to see? Have you ever done so in real life?
5) Favorite Mitchell Leisen movie
6) Ann Savage or Peggy Cummins?
7) First movie you remember seeing as a child
8) What moment in a movie that is not a horror movie made you want to bolt from the theater screaming?
9) Richard Widmark or Robert Mitchum?
10) Best movie Jesus
11) Silliest straight horror film that you’re still fond of
12) Emily Blunt or Sally Gray?
13) Favorite cinematic Biblical spectacular
14) Favorite cinematic moment of unintentional humor
15) Michael Fassbender or David Farrar?
16) Most effective faith-affirming movie
17) Movie that makes the best case for agnosticism
18) Favorite song and/or dance sequence from a musical
19) Third favorite Howard Hawks movie
20) Clara Bow or Jean Harlow?
21) Movie most recently seen in the theater? On DVD/Blu-ray/Streaming?
22) Most unlikely good movie about religion
23) Phil Silvers or Red Skelton?
24) “Favorite” Hollywood scandal
25) Best religious movie (non-Christian)
26) The King of Cinema: King Vidor, King Hu or Henry King? (Thanks, Peter)
27) Name something modern movies need to relearn how to do that American or foreign classics had down pat
28) Least favorite Federico Fellini movie
29) The Three Stooges (2012)—yes or no?
30) Mary Wickes or Patsy Kelly?
31) Best movie-related conspiracy theory
32) Your candidate for most misunderstood or misinterpreted movie
33) Movie that made you question your own belief system (religious or otherwise)