Friday, July 13, 2007


Part 2 of Professor's Irwin Corey's Honor Society: BELLUCCI/CUCINOTTA, HAPPY PILL/SAD PILL, BOORMAN, OATES/DERN, ASPECT RATIOS, TRUFFAUT’S CRYSTAL BALL, HERZOG, RAMPAGING BEASTS, BERNHARD/SILVERMAN, CLICHES and THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. The following are the professor's favorite answers to his Spring Break Quiz. You can access Part 1 of the Honor Society roundup right here.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

BILL: Bellucci. She’s almost inhumanly beautiful, and even
though I didn’t like the film, she was awfully good in Irreversible.

JIM EMERSON: Maria Bello Alla Carbonara.

TLRHB: All in all, I'd rather have Laura Antonelli.

RYLAND WALKER KNIGHT: How can you choose? I'll say Cucinotta cuz of her neck.

KEN LOWERY: Bellucci. While both are beautiful, she may actually be a construct sent from the future to destroy us all, she's so perfect. Also, a talented actress.

WEIGARD: Alida Valli! Oh, OK, Monica Bellucci then, for Malena.

JEREMY RICHEY: Is this a real question? Bellucci is one of the most beautiful women on the planet and one of the best actors. She is the new Sophia Loren.

PAUL C: Bellucci, definitely. Cucinotta is hot, but could she have pulled off that great moment in Brotherhood of the Wolf in which Bellucci’s body metamorphoses into a rolling landscape? I think not.

PEET: Monica Bellucci. Just the sound of her name makes me want to have sex.

CAMPASPE: I don't think I am qualified for this question, as a moviegoer or as a Virgin Mary-watcher.

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

BILL: Glengarry Glen Ross, but that’s probably just me.

JIM EMERSON: Ordinary People? (Just kidding -- MTM joke!) Anything by Preston Sturges, especially if it has Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Betty Hutton or Eddie Bracken. Or Edward Arnold or William Demerest. Does that just about cover it?


STENNIE: Galaxy Quest -- the antidote to a crappy day.

DAMIAN: It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to watch Young Frankenstein without feeling good.

PACHECO: Versus, Surf Ninjas, or Pump Up the Volume. Films that bad always make me feel better about myself.


ADAM ROSS: Thankfully this is a long list for me, and it includes: The Royal Tenenbaums, The 'burbs, Ride the High Country, Ghostbusters and This is Spinal Tap.

CINEBEATS: Viva Las Vegas. I can get naturally high from watching Ann-Margret & Elvis together.

SETH: Big Trouble in Little China. Pure delight from its opening frame to the final chord of Carpenter’s crazy end-credits song.

KEN LOWERY: Bull Durham. It never, ever fails to make me laugh. Not ever.

MARTY McKEE: Either Ordinary people or Change of Habit.

SFMIKE: The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao.

LANCE TOOKS: Master Killer (AKA The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) features Gordon Liu in the most good-natured martial arts film ever made. I videotaped it 25 (!) years ago off WHT, an early variant of cable. I had to use an external mike to do so, so my weathered copy has a built in laugh track featuring my family & friends who were in the room at the time. But the film’s just as much fun without it.

JOHN SHIPLEY: Suspiria. It blows out the tubes, as Jerry Garcia used to say.

THOM McGREGOR: Moulin Rouge and Singin’ in the Rain. Music lifts my spirits as nothing else can. And yes, I'm getting more sentimental the older I get.

PEET: Watching any Road Runner cartoon together with my boys fills my heart with joy.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

FLICKHEAD: Live and Let Die, a depressing reminder that my childhood was gone for good.

BILL: I saw Mannequin once.

FILMBRAIN: Any post 1990 romantic comedy. Doubly destructive if it contains a Motown song on the soundtrack.

PETER NELLHAUS: I'm stronger than any lousy movie.

FLOWER: Geez, I don't think there's any movie I hate that much (thank God).

STENNIE: I can't really think of a movie that pissed me off more than Orson Welles's The Trial.

DAMIAN: I haven't seen Armageddon since I first subjected myself to it in the theatre, but did manage to catch a few seconds of it on TV not too long ago. My entire day was ruined.

SHEILA: Forrest Gump. Sorry, I'll stop bitching about my hatred for this movie someday.

MOVIESZZZ: Anything by Gregg Araki, or Eric Schaeffer

CHRIS (2): Just seeing trailer for 300 nowadays makes me want to cry both because of the number of people who have told me “It’s the greatest movie I’ve ever seen” and because I can’t disagree with Time’s assessment that it is the “future of cinema.” Or at least the future of some cinema. Some, as in “way too much.”

ADAM ROSS: Any movie completely lacking in joy or creativity, this list is always headed by Last House on the Left, though thankfully I've never seen it on TV.

DR. CRIDDLE: Any number of my favorites edited for TV: Pulp Fiction, The Fly ('86), Scarface. But to answer the question properly, I'm going to have to say White Chicks.

GARETH: Nuns on the Run just makes me angry, it's so bad.

JOSEPH B.: Anytime I come across one of the Eddie Murphy movies where he dresses up as 8 characters or has to watch lots of children. I had the flu back in early February and had to sit in a doctor's office waiting for 3 hours while Daddy Day Care was on. Truly horrid.

ROBERT FIORE: Actually, it's so much fun to express your disdain for a movie by making a disgusted noise and flipping past that it's more of an up than a down. The remote is technology's greatest contribution to film criticism.

STEVE: My Big Fat Greek Wedding has been known to induce a psychotic episode or two in me. And the artistic failure of Jan Svankmajer's Lunacy left me in a state of depression for several hours afterward.

DAN ALOI: You Light Up My Life. Kinda ironic, huh?

THOM McGREGOR: Anything from Henry Jaglom. Or an anonymous, grainy-looking Western on a hot Sunday afternoon.

PEET: Irreversible, for sure. (The only Monica Bellucci film that doesn’t turn me on.) I also truly despise Louis de Funès.

CAMPASPE: I don't even have to glimpse it. Just knowing that there are copies of Jackass out there circulating in the world is enough to make me retire to a quiet room, draw the shades and lie down with a cold cloth on my forehead.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

SEAN: Hell In The Pacific.

FILMBRAIN: Point Blank

SHARON: The only one I’ve seen is Deliverance and I don’t think I’d count that as a ‘favorite.’

CERB CHAOS: Although Deliverance is my favorite, I have to give a shout-out to the massively underrated Hell in the Pacific.

FLOWER: I really want to say Zardoz. Alas, I haven't seen it, but come on... Zardoz! The answer, for now, is Point Blank.

STENNIE: I am totally Hope & Glory’s bitch. It even makes up for Zardoz.

CHRIS: Zardoz, duh. Charlotte Rampling, people. It doesn't matter what's going on around her, it's Charlotte Rampling.

MORE-ONIONS: Deliverance, though I'd vote Tailor of Panama as most underrated.

SCHUYLER CHAPMAN: Zardoz. Really. I'm serious. Followed closely by Point Blank, though, so I can keep my credibility.

SETH: Point Blank. Nothing quite like falling fist-first on to a hitman’s crotch, all in silhouette.

BANDIT: Exorcist !!!!! SERIOUSLY! That Ennio Morricone slide-flute riff is like the greatest thing ever, and the psycho electric guitar rendition heard over the end credits of the shorter cut (and over the trailer on the DVD) is the greatest piece of music EVER. This movie is INSANE. Burton in his safari outfit muttering incoherently. James Earl Jones SPITTING A GIANT BALL while wearing a BEE COSTUME then lecturing about "The Good Locust." The hypnotic drone of Louise Fletcher's contraption. All AWESOME.

JEFF MCM: Point Blank, the perfect melding of modernist cool and existentialism.

ROB: Deliverance. I still have strange dreams from the POV of Jon Voight climbing that cliff to kill that hillbilly.

JEREMY RICHEY: Point Blank, but Beyond Rangoon is one of the 90's most underrated films in my estimation.

ROBERT FIORE: Point Blank, but here's a heresy for you: I just saw it again and I actually think I like Payback more.

THOM McGREGOR: I like both Deliverance and Hope and Glory, but can hardly believe they were directed by the same man. Were they?

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

DAVE: Warren Oates, ‘cause of Race With the Devil.

FILMBRAIN: Aww...this is like Sophie's Choice! Have to go with Oates only for his "Are you trying to blow my mind?" line from Two Lane Blacktop.

a. fan: Another tough one, but I’ll pick Bruce Dern for demonstrating so aptly how closely madness lurks beneath the surface for us all.

MEAGAN: Bruce Dern, for being in The ‘burbs.

JIM EMERSON: Oh, not fair! But Warren Oates: Ride the High Country, Wild Bunch, The Shooting, Two-Lane Blacktop, Badlands, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, China 9/Liberty 37, The White Dawn...

SHARON: They both bring their own kind of weirdness to their roles, but I’ll go with Warren simply because my dad once said that he liked him.

TLRHB: Bruce Dern would start up one of his bug-eyed crazy routines and Warren Oates would slap the shit out of him. And then stuff his head in a bag and throw it in the front seat of the car and go look for some ice.

FLOWER: If Bruce Dern had made Cockfighter and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (in one year!) he would be the easy winner. But, you know, he didn't, so he's not.

MORE-ONIONS: Bruce Dern, for Black Sunday.

CHRIS (2): There are only a dozen or so actors who do not lose in a “Warren Oates or X” competition, and the redoubtable Bruce Dern is not one of them.

CINEBEATS: That’s a really tough question! I want to say tie, but if I’ve got to pick one Bruce Dern would get my vote due to the fact that he’s been in so many great movies that I like. I think Oates was often better than the movies he was in.

PATRICK: Warren Oates, for the line "Lighten up, Francis."

BEMIS: Both are great, and Dern's performance in Silent Running is brilliant. But I'll have go go with Oates, mostly for his understated performance as Sissy Spacek's father in Badlands.

MARTY McKEE: Toughest call I’ll make all year, you bastards, but…I’ll say…Dern, who starred in Drive, He Said and The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant in the same year.

MATTHEW: Warren Oates, if only for Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Bruce Dern might have won, but he shot The Duke.

LARRY GROSS: Warren Oates. Dern is a fine, fine actor, but Oates is one of the gods.

STEVE: Dern's cool, but Warren Oates is a walking trump card. Nothing beats him -- you can end entire arguments just by saying, "Warren Oates!" even if the argument isn't film-related.

AARON: You’re killing me here, but to use John Huston’s quote about Stacy Keach, Oates isn’t a star, but a constellation. Those early, supporting roles specializing in rough-edged, grinning rogues in Ride the High Country (as one of those licentious Hammond brothers) and his first of two episodes of The Fugitive (whose title sums up his 60s roles quite succinctly – “Rat in a Corner”), unexpectedly, but not surprisingly, gave heft to the world-weariness and lives full of regret on display in The Hired Hand, Cockfighter, Alfredo Garcia, and especially, China 9, Liberty 37. He could do so much with so few gestures, and nearly all of it could be conveyed through those dark, despairing eyes. The mere fact that I haven’t brought up The Wild Bunch, Two-Lane Blacktop, Dillinger, Badlands, or The White Dawn should be reason enough why I choose him over Dern, an actor I’m otherwise always fond of.

SETH GORDON: Let's see... on one side, you've got The Wild Bunch, In The Heat Of The Night, Badlands, Cockfighter, Two-Lane Blacktop, Alfredo Garcia, and, what the hell, Stripes. On the other side you've got Coming Home and... um... Tattoo? As if there's a choice. Seriously lopsided question there, man.

THOM McGREGOR: What a grizzled question. I find both a bit harsh, but I guess that's the point. Warren Oates makes me laugh sometimes, but Bruce Dern is too creepy.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

BILL: Whichever one Kubrick preferred.


JIM EMERSON: 1.33:1[silent] or 1.37:1 [sound] -- the "Academy ratio" in which most of the greatest movies have been made in. But I love black-and-white anamorphic (2.35:1).

FLOWER: The ol' 2.35:1. It's the most majestic of the aspect ratios (can't believe I just typed that, but it's true) and also the most challenging. If that ultra wide frame is well used, it's bliss, man.

SHEILA: I have never thought of this before, not really - but I suppose I need to go with the 4x3 Academy Standard one - and that's only because most of my favorite movies (and, in my opinion, the best movies ever made) came from before 1950.

RAMI: 2.20:1 The most cinematic of aspect ratios.

PAUL C: I suppose this answer would be kinda cheating, but since it’s partly about aspect ratio I’ll go ahead and include it. I’ve always been fascinated with films that are in black-and-white ‘Scope, from that relatively short window between the time ‘Scope films became more widespread and black and white began to tail off. There are very few things that will get me more pumped to watch an old movie- especially one from the early-to-mid sixties- than finding out it’s B/W Scope. The Hustler may be my favorite example of this near-dead art form, but there are many others to consider- The 400 Blows, The Apartment, Yojimbo, Advise and Consent, Last Year at Marienbad, Branded to Kill, and more recent examples like Manhattan and The Elephant Man.

CAMPASPE: 1:37:1

BRIAN: I keep hoping for the day when all my favorite films are available in Circle-Vision 360.

THOM McGREGOR: Oh, my God.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

FLICKHEAD: Whoa, dude, that’s like totally existential…

BILL: Until films are being made by giant space lizard-people with robot hands, and movies have jetpacks on them, then no. And if you think I’m being unfair to Truffaut, then consider that he shouldn’t have used the phrase “film of tomorrow”.

COPELAND: Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino

SEAN: Doesn't every film resemble the person that made it? Hasn't it always been that way?

a. fan: I have no idea what Truffaut meant by this

MEAGAN: Yes, Wes Anderson. Also the fact that people actually know directors, even shitty directors.

JIM EMERSON: Yes, and it has been for some time. I think you can always tell something about a director's personality (and often a lot) by their movies.

CERB CHAOS: No more then it was when he said it. The great filmmakers have always been able to put a stamp of themselves into the movie, while the mediocre ones will always have trouble.

PETER NELLHAUS: The film is Tarnation.

FLOWER: Two words: Mel Gibson.

STENNIE: I gotta be honest here, I have no idea what Truffaut means by that. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made -- tomorrow? Or the person who made the film? I think the films of yesterday and today resemble the people who made them, to a degree. The films of Oliver Stone are bloated and self-important and paranoid, for example. Truffaut's films resemble him, I think. So I can't really answer the part of about the "film of tomorrow."

DAMIAN: I'd be interested to know precisely what Truffaut meant by "resemble." In what way exactly would a film "resemble" the person who made it... and why only one person? Is he predicting that films of tomorrow will cease to be collaborative efforts?

NATHAN M.: Truffaut was both right and wrong. It seems that the whole history of cinema hinges on this idea. If you take any era of movies, from any country, and you'll find that some movies bear the mark of their directors, some their writers, some thier studios. This has not really changed much over the years as far as I can tell. There may be times when his comment is more true than other times, but no more. The funny thing about him saying this is that his own films resembled the person who made them.

SHEILA: I think that to some degree what Truffaut says has always been true (if I'm understanding him correctly). Like - a good Howard Hawks movie has the stamp of Howard Hawks on it. You can TELL he directed it. The independent directors in the 1970s didn't invent personal directorial stamp (although some of them THOUGHT they did). And I guess I think that nowadays - it's NOT as true that movies resemble the maker. Not enough personal films being made - too diluted.

DANIEL L: Is this anything like how dog owners start to resemble their pooches? I don't see this being much more truthful than it would've been pre-1984, but I suppose it could apply a bit more to the 90s indie crowd, whose personalities are often reminiscent of their work. But wait, wasn't this true of most directors of any era? Auteur theory, anyone? Heh?

ADAM ROSS: I don't think that future is possible, nor has it ever been because films for a long time have been born from a wide variety of influences and rarely exhibit any more than a sliver of who is truly making them.

BEMIS: Just the fact that you can now make a film entirely by yourself and get it seen proves Truffaut right.

ROBBIE KENDALL: Makes no sense to me, maybe the meaning is clearer in the original French.

KEN LOWERY: Are you telling me you or anyone believes that wasn't always true? Because if so, I've got a bridge to sell you.

GARETH: I don't know what he means, but I'd love to meet his translator.

PAUL C: In many ways, I believe that Truffaut’s statement was as true when he made it as it is today. One needs look no further than the films of his ex-Cahiers du Cinema colleague Jean-Luc Godard to see it in practice. I’d say that just as true as Truffaut’s statement is the idea that any film can be interpreted as a portrait of its maker. For example, the Kill Bill movies, which many have criticized as empty fanboy homages. However, consider the character of Bill, who the film explains was the child of one mother and many surrogate fathers. Consider also that Quentin Tarantino was raised by a single mother as well, and that movies were a major part of his life even as a child. Finally, examine the films’ closing credits, which include a list of movie greats to whom he dedicates the films- Lo Lieh, Chang Cheh, Sergio Corbucci, and so on. Could these men be seen as surrogate fathers to Tarantino, not only in their influence on his work, but also for their presence as icons of his youth?

STEVE: I'll bet Caveh Zahedi would agree with that statement.

AARON: Like his famous essay “Certain Tendencies in the French Cinema”, I think Truffaut was trying for another galvanizing statement that’s part poetry and only meant to be taken slightly at face value. For me, and for seemingly much of Truffaut’s own criticism, it has always been true.

BRIAN: Two questions in one, huh? I think Truffaut was right, especially if I interpret "tomorrow" to mean, "the films remembered tomorrow". I'd argue that all films outlive their moment in time in proportion to the degree to which they resemble their makers. And in that sense, it's always tomorrow. Or it never is.

THOM McGREGOR: I think it was true if you take his "tomorrow" as meaning right after he died. There were a lot of movies with a very personal imprint on them in the mid-to-late '80s, though not popular films. Films seem more impersonal to me now, though Grindhouse (which I can't see due to my low tolerance for violence) certainly sounds like it resembles its creators. Did I even understand this question?

CAMPASPE: I admire Truffaut's movies a lot, but here I have no idea what in the blue blazes he was talking about. Don't all films resemble their creators? does he mean literally, the way old couples look like each other or people start to resemble their pets?

THOMAS MOHR: Did he really say that, or is it just a poor translation? After all, like every work of art, films have always “resembled” the people who made them and always will. So, ultimately, this strikes me as an utterly banal statement (from a director whose films haven’t stood the test of time that well, either).

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

FLICKHEAD: Kaspar Hauser…though Grizzly Man hit home — I once had a distant connection with the crazy guy in it.

FILMBRAIN: No One Will Play With Me - Incredible short about an ostracized child. Herzog's most touching film.

a. fan: All of them. However, in gun-to-my-head, forced-to-choose mode, I pick Fitzcarraldo, for giving a happy ending to a character who probably doesn’t deserve one.

DAMIAN: If we can count films he's acted in as well as directed... Incident at Loch Ness. I just love that movie.

RYLAND WALKER KNIGHT: I'm kind of in love with The White Diamond right now but Kaspar Hauser is also pretty unbelievable.

BEMIS: Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

SETH: Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Possibly the greatest movie ever made.

KEN LOWERY: The remake of Nosferatu. I thought it would be TERRIBLE, because the original is practically sacred to me. I was unbelievably surprised.

WEIGARD: Fitzcarraldo! Excruciatingly slow and beautiful, and maybe the best film ever about opera. (Not that opera is excruciating.)

JOSEPH B.: I'm not a huge Herzog fan. I guess I'd toss out 2 short documentaries he did- La Soufriere about an evacuated town at the foot of a volcano and another (whose name escapes me) about a German ski jumper. Both films use image and music well.

DAN E.: The formalist in me says Aguirre. The hipster says Grizzly Man. But really, it's My Best Fiend for me. It's a document made about his life with his best friend, and it never backs away from the truth, even when it isn't flattering to anyone.

PAUL C: Other Herzog films may have been more ambitious or have more legendary backstories, but none is more fascinating than Stroszek. Transporting a band of oddballs- a dumpy hooker, a little old man, and real-life paranoid-schizophrenic Bruno S.- to Middle America makes for some positively riveting cinema. Just when you think it might become conventional (around the time Bruno and the old man hold up a bank), it shifts gears altogether, leading up to one of the greatest endings ever committed to film.

STEVE: Lessons of Darkness. Few films are as potent, poetic or forceful.

THOMAS MOHR: Dunno what it is with you Americans and Werner Herzog. Being German, I hate all of his stuff. Pretentious, overblown, boring and mostly inept.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

DAVE: The 1933 version of King Kong, though props to The Birds (for being an excellent movie by one of the greatest filmmakers ever), the original Godzilla (for being so damn cool and for actually being about something), Reptilicus (for being so awful), The 50-Foot Woman (for being so, well, so… 50-Foot in its feminist themes and rotten execution), Squirm (for being creepy and for having a sense of humour), Dante’s Piranha and The Howling (for also having a sense of humour and for actually being entertaining) , An American Werewolf in London (for being scary and funny), Jaws (for still making me scared of bodies of water) and, finally, to every Ray Harryhausen movie --- They are the reason so many kids from my generation love movies. Man, the list of also-rans could go on forever…

FILMBRAIN: Is it too soon for me to say The Host?

CERB CHAOS: Godzilla is too easy an answer. Too bad my answer’s Godzilla.

STENNIE: Night of the Lepus. Hee hee. Bunnies! Big bunnies!

DAMIAN: I'm almost tempted to give the same answer I gave to the last question... but I can't. I gotta go with the "ultimate" monster movie: Jaws. I must admit that I never tire of watching that film. In fact, I have to view it [i]at least[/i] once a year (usually in the summertime).

PACHECO: Does Rocky IV count?

SHEILA: Ghostbusters. No contest.

MOVIESZZZ: The original Piranha, Joe Dante’s version.

SCHUYLER CHAPMAN: War of the Gargantuas.

CINEBEATS: I have a soft spot for It Came from Beneath the Sea because I love Ray Harryhausen and the movie shows a giant monster octopus trying to destroy the San Francisco Bay. I saw the movie on TV one weekend when I was a kid and it terrified me since it took place where I lived. In the past 25 years I have not been able to cross the Golden Gate Bridge without wondering if a giant octopus is going to raise itself out of the ocean depths and attack the bridge just as I’m crossing.

SETH: My inner-child’s favorite: Godzilla Versus Mechagodzilla. The best: Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

MARTY McKEE: Does a bloody, 400-year-old midget Indian spawned from a womb attached to Susan Strasberg’s back count? In that case, I’ll go with The Manitou, though, really, how can you pick one William Girdler movie over others like Grizzly and Day of the Animals? How about if I go with Beginning of the End, if only because it’s set in and around my hometown of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois?

PAUL C: Love Kong, love Godzilla and pals, and no one can argue with Frankenstein’s monster. But having just seen and loved The Host the other night, I seriously think that the giant rampaging tadpole ranks up there with his illustrious predecessors. Yes, a few of the creature effects are too effect-y, but the filmmakers’ conception of the creature trumps any technical concerns. Far from being a simple, elegant killing machine, he’s got real personality- ugly, clumsy, and sort of awkward, right up to the point where he starts ingesting random people. In short, this creature has been crafted with care and, yes, love, which makes him one for the ages.

DAN ALOI: Dude! Night of the Lepus! There's something so RIGHT about the movie mill running out of truly creepy B-movie monsters, and someone getting the bright idea to have a small town beset by ... giant bunnies!!! My absolute favorite non-cheesy movie in this genre centers on a giant beast who's mineral, not animal: The Iron Giant.

THOM McGREGOR: "Mitchell"!

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

DAVE: They’re both great, but Bernhard by a tooth gap.

BILL: I’m getting a little tired of her schtick, but Silverman. The only possible way Bernhard could have gotten my vote is if the question had been “Sandra Bernhard or I cut of your balls?”

FILMBRAIN: Blasphemy! That Silverman gal isn't even worthy to shine the great Ms. Bernhard's shoes!

SHARON: Bernhard. Silverman is too… icky.

PETER NELLHAUS: Man, I'm a sucker for smart Jewish chicks. My mom would have been happy had I married either one of them. Sarah is cuter, but Sandra was in The King of Comedy. I also like her Without You I'm Nothing and the cable show she hosted, Reel Wild Cinema.

PACHECO: Sarah Silverman, but not watered down School of Rock Sarah Silverman. Give me the good stuff.

ADAM ROSS: I've never appreciated anything Sandra Bernhard has done, although seeing her drop into a vat of molten gold in Hudson Hawk came pretty darn close.

SETH GORDON: Silverman's kinda cute and all, but there's nothing particularly sensual about her. And you know Bernhard's got to be awesome in the sack.

CAMPASPE: Sarah Bernhardt. Less smug than either one of them and far more interesting.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

FLICKHEAD: Imposed nihilism, a subject far too broad for this space.

BILL: Most despised is “the-best-friend-who-was-trying-to-help-earlier-is-really-the-bad-guy!” horse-crap that we still can’t get away from, and
which killed the ending of Minority Report for me.

SEAN: Most despised: That film reached its peak when baby boomers came of age and have been in steep decline ever since

JIM EMERSON: Most hated: The Character Who Is Supposed To Be One Thing... But Turns Out To Be The Very Opposite! In the vast majority of cases, this twist/reveal is utterly meaningless.

CERB CHAOS: I hate it when the villain’s on a ledge or something, the hero saves him and the villain attacks again, giving the hero permission to kill him. Either let the villain fall or let him live, don’t resort to this moral copout.

PETER NELLHAUS: I'm tired of the Thai film cliche of the fat guy in a dress used for an easy laugh.

STENNIE: Favorite: I am a sucker for a sing-along scene, no matter how contrived.

Most despised: the "character you know is going to die." In a war movie, it's the guy who shows everyone a picture of his girl back home (or the guy with the lucky charm who later loses it just before a crucial mission). In a cop movie, it's the crusty old guy who's just a few days away from retirement.

DAMIAN: My FAVORITE movie cliche would have to be the always beautiful shot of the drapes swirling gently in the wind to indicate someone has just escaped out the window. Thank God nobody in the movies ever owns Venetian blinds.

SHEILA: My favorite AND my most despised is the Slow Clap. Sometimes it is used to good effect and sometimes it is mortifying and you are embarrassed for everyone involved. The Slow Clap should be used very sparingly. For example, to my taste - it works very well in that last scene Lucas. It's a cliche, yes, but when it is done sincerely - and when the movie earns it - it can be great.

However: if you haven't earned the Slow Clap? PLEASE don't use it.

MOVIEZZZ: How can you not love the slow clap?

MORE-ONIONS: Most despised: the moments leading up to a "big twist", when we get a quick, usually lamely-edited flashback of everything that's transpired, "proving" that the twist makes sense.

CINEBEATS: Any racial stereotypes that have been used to death and are now cliché really get on my nerves like East Indians working at Kwik-E-Marts, all Asians know martial arts or are super smart/old & wise, etc. I'm also really tired of the hooker with the heart of gold and the single-mom stripper who really loves her kid, but needs the money and can't do anything else to make a buck. Blah!

RAMI: Is there anything more insulting to my intelligence than using someone's weight as a point for making fun of them. Shameful.

BEMIS: The apparent death of a supporting character in an action movie that causes the main character to save the day by himself. Once the villain or threat is defeated, the dead guy appears in the denouement with mild injuries (this is referenced brilliantly in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).

SETH: Countdown timers on bombs that beep. What a load of horseshit.

KEN LOWERY: The TV News being on at the right time, and the volume subtly rising to indicate SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO THE PLOT IS HAPPENING. Seriously, directors and screenwriters of America, have you watched TV news lately? The only thing they update you on is the popularity of The Secret or whatever piece of human trash is claiming Anna Nicole's fortune today.

Runner up: Romantic comedies whose whole premise is that a gorgeous and successful woman just can't seem to land a date. Yeah, because that happens SO often.

Runner-runner up: In action movies, where the various protagonists are paired off against their counterparts in the villain's camp. The big good guy fights the big bad guy, the bumbling sidekick fights the bumbling villain sidekick, the girl fights the bad girl. Usually there's a spinning fan or unspecified factory warehouse involved.

DAN E.: Every horror movie since Alien has some sort of traitor. And you know which one from the very beginning of the movie. Pisses me off. I want a united front against the monster. No deals or anything like that. Just avoid that "twist". Please.

LARRY GROSS: Most loved--Men wordlessly acknowledging the competence and skill of other men. Ireland going over to Wayne's bunch in Red River. Pike Bishop's gang polishing off a bottle of whiskey after their big score. Pacino holding De Niro's hand as the latter dies in Heat. Ed Burns nodding to Matt Damon before the final battle in Saving Private Ryan.

PAUL C: This isn’t so much a cliché as a genre nowadays, but is anyone else getting sick of suburbian ennui? Yes, we realize that behind their McMansions and perfectly manicured lawns, the upper-middle-class residents of suburbia have issues too. But why do filmmakers act like this is a profound message? As a child of suburbia myself, I can’t help but think that it’s like white kids whose parents had money feel the need to compete for cred with people from more hardscrabble backgrounds, so they imagine their idyllic neighborhoods as being wasps’-nests of intrigue, infidelity, and resentment, as though this will somehow help them to transcend their backgrounds. Well, guess what- I’m not buying. Suburbia is mostly just boring, and if you want to get your revenge, move the hell out.

STEVE: I have a love-hate relationship with the Damn-Cat! false scare that seems to have become the dominant mode of fear delivery in modern horror films. On one hand, a well-executed false scare can throw the viewer off balance and leave them open for the real scare (i.e. The Descent). On the other hand, it's way too tempting for most young filmmakers to sacrifice atmosphere for a constant stream of stings, leading to apathy when it comes time to deliver the real goods. Shock is easy, dread is hard.

SETH GORDON: Most despised would be the entire movie Crash (Haggis' Crash, that is, not Cronenberg's). Really, any movie where the main characters "learn a little bit about each other... and a little bit about themselves." Also not a big fan of the good guy never doing anything bad, so the bad guy has to die through some accidental means after the good guy decides "I won't kill him, because then I'd be on his level!"

BRIAN: I don't know about favorite or despised, but it's fun to spot their exceptions. I recently saw a film with a pretty startling one: in Hong Sang-soo's Woman On The Beach a major character coughs for no particular reason, without it portending that she's going to die of a terrible illness later in the film. I suppose I still have yet to see a film in which a woman of child-bearing age throws up without it meaning that she's pregnant.

PEET: Whenever a naked actress gets out of bed and wraps the sheets around her. Who the hell came up with that?!?

THOMAS MOHR: Any scene featuring Michael Douglas’s ass. No, seriously, the older I get, the more painful (and em-bare-assing) it becomes to watch actors fake sexual intercourse, especially if it’s softly backlit, with a Kenny G.-style saxophone playing on the soundtrack. Yech.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?

FLICKHEAD: Destroy all prints. Burn the negative.

BILL: No. I love Spielberg, and Indiana Jones, but that’s
one of his two or three worst movies.

JIM EMERSON: YES! It's the best one, by far! Scarier, creepier, and captures more of the faux-exotic b-movie serial atmosphere. And it has that meta-rollercoaster ride through the mine.

FLOWER: My brain says no, but my heart says yes.

DAMIAN: I really don't understand all the ill will that is directed at this movie. Granted, it may be the least of the three (soon to be four) Indy films, but compared to most other Hollywood fare, I think it's still quite good.

MORE-ONIONS: Helllllll no. So big a no that when the trilogy finally got a DVD release I created a "Hall of Shame" section in my DVD rack on the bottom shelf, just for movies that I purchased as part of trilogies or box sets that I wouldn't otherwise be caught dead with. The only other current members are a couple Oliver Stone movies and Beverly Hills Cop 3.

(And yes, this implies both ownership of the BHC Trilogy AND acceptance of BHC 2 as an acceptable experience).

ANAND: The movie- hell no. Amrish Puri- hell yes.

ADAM ROSS: Absolutely yes. It was the first real movie I ever watched and I will always hold it in high regard partly because of that. It's possible that I've seen it more than any other movie, and I will continue watching it around once a year until it becomes unpractical.

CINEBEATS: No, thanks, but I actually do like the musical opening which is soon followed by a crappy movie. I like crappy movies, but only when they don’t cost millions to make.

BEMIS: An emphatic yes. I really don't understand the hate - it's actually much better than Last Crusade.

SETH: Best of the three, by far. The first has a better co-star (big time), but neither of the others can compete with the purity of the chase at the end of Temple of Doom. Racist? Yup. Stupid? Beyond belief. But it manages somehow to top the first, which is a major accomplishment. The less said about the third, the better.

KEN LOWERY: My first Indiana Jones movie, which I saw when I was 7 or 8. I am incapable of seeing flaws in it. (Same for Return of the Jedi.)

BANDIT: Of course, yes! WAY better than the original, which has NO ACTION. Raiders is all brown and dusty and, after the great opening sequence, takes FOREVER to get going again. I'm exaggerating, of course, but my younger self associated "action" with cops and robbers and neon and Eastwood and bombed-out urban neighborhoods. Compared to Fort Apache, the Bronx, Karen Allen mugging in a giant basket through the bazaars of India didn't cut it.

PAUL C: Yes, although with one big reservations. Simply put, Willie is a terrible match for Indy. After Marion, an adventuress in her own right who could fight alongside the boys, Willie has little to do but scream and grate on the nerves with every line she utters. But the scenes between Indy and Short Round make up for this, and I can’t help but wonder why Spielberg and Lucas didn’t ditch the girl altogether, besides the fact that Spielberg got a wife out of the deal. And while the villains may seem racist, I don’t read them that way, any more than I interpret Indiana Jones to be a realistic representation of an archeologist. Plus the last 20 minutes are exciting as hell.

STEVE: When I was a kid, yes. I haven't seen it since then, though. I still count myself a fan, but Lord knows what I'd actually think of it now. Maybe I should find out.

AARON: Wasn’t Lucas going through a divorce at the time? I’ve read a number of reports that claim that’s why it’s so dark and vicious. So, yes, if only because I don’t think either Spielberg or Lucas could make the film today, what with the extraction of the heart by hand and other gross-out scenes, and it remains an interesting showcase for some of their personalities’ more sickly humorous qualities.

THOM McGREGOR: No, no, no. Shrieky. Causes headache.

PEET: Are you kidding? That’s the film that made me realize just how much I loved the movies. The best of the trilogy--no question!

CAMPASPE: Yes to the opening, no to the rest.



Anonymous said...

Stennie, I have to ask: what in the world pissed you off so much about Welles's "The Trial"?

Kimberly Lindbergs said...

Good grief! I couldn't stand reading all the negative Bruce Dern stuff. I feel the need to defend the guy since clearly people have not seen many of his films.

Sure Oates has the car flick Two Lane Blacktop (suddenly popular 1971 movie that everyone seems to have discovered recently), but Dern has multiple badass biker films under his belt like The Wild Angels, The Cycle Savages and The Rebel Rousers. And of course he was also in the great car crime movie The Driver.

He was in countless Roger Corman films!

Dern's drug movies The Trip and Psych-Out are great counterculture relics. Not too mention the terrific Hitchcock films he made like Marnie (super small part but one of Hitch's best in my opinion) and Family Plot which is one of Hitchcock's most underrated films.

And who can forget the great creepy thriller Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte where he played Bette Davis' lost love.

And of course there are the many westerns and gangster films he was in such as The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Will Penny, Hang 'Em High, Support Your Local Sheriff!, Bloody Mama and of course The Cowboys were he plays one of the nastiest bad guys ever and gets to deliver one of the ultimate counterculture moments on film by killing John Wayne.

In the middle of all that the guy made They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Silent Running, The King of Marvin Gardens, The Great Gatsby, Black Sunday and Coming Home. I'm not even going to touch on his career after 1980 but there have been some good moments.

Now I love Oates and he was in some great Sam Peckinpah & Monte Hellman movies, but he didn't have much to do in Badlands. I wish he had been used more and that's a feeling I've often had after seeing Oates pop up in a film.

Anyways, my point is people really need to watch more of Dern's films and see what a great and diverse actor he was. He did a hell of a lot with his small roles and often hit it out of the park with his big roles. I hate putting these two men up against one another (damn you Dennis!) but poor Dern needed a better defense than he was given above, so here it is ... sorta of.

Anonymous said...

I liken viewing The Trial to being a rat in a maze, only when you finally get to the end, there's no cheese. I don't mind a movie that's difficult to follow, but I like to have a reward at the end.

Truth be told, I probably should have put Welles down for Academy of the Overrated. I'm not impressed by him that much -- not as a director, and definitely not as an actor. I have respect for his radio work and that's about it. I admire the boundaries he stretched with Citizen Kane, but I believe the credit should go more to his DP Gregg Toland.

Anonymous said...

Ah. I can't say I agree with you, but fair enough. I just have never heard of anyone, outside of William Randolph Hearst, getting pissed off about an Orson Welles movie.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Last House on the Left lacking creativity and Jackass a reason for depression? Count me as out of the loop. I find LHotL to be an incredibly creative movie. Upon first seeing it I was pretty blown away and consistently amazed, finding it to be utterly original and of its own. A bizarre mix of amatuerness and control over what it was doing. Not to mention the music. Oh well. As for Jackass, well, different strokes I guess. I consider the two films (not to mention the tv show) to be some of the best comedy films of recent years and welcome a world in which they exist and entertain.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Cinebeats, your impassioned, levelheaded defense of Dern is much appreciated. He's a very underrated performer whose sometimes perverse choices as an actor (in projects, and in the moment) can be difficult to deal with, but he's no less valuable because of that. I'd just seen The Driver again recently and have longed to see Black Sunday again for quite some time, but I'd completely shelved the memory of his performance in Hush, Hush... Sweet Charlotte for some reason. Yeah, the point of the comparison was to think about two counterculture movie heroes who I thought were roughly equitable in their roles and the effect on movie culture. Oates was my own pick, but I didn't expect the results to be so lopsided or dismissive of Dern's work! Thanks for the rmeinder!

Adam Ross said...

And let's not forget that a whole generation of movie fans were introduced to Bruce Dern through "The Burbs"!

"Who's going to clean up this mess?"
"Well you're going to clean it up because you're ... the garbage man!"

Greg, I'm with you on the amateurness of LHotL, but you lose me after that. I'm not discounting your opinion, but for me it's hard to find much to like in a movie when the first 10 minutes are spent with characters discussing how awesome a girl's newfound breasts are, and from there all we get is the same kind of uninteresting captivity drama you find in "Hostel."

Better movies have proven that the above formula can work (even by way of Craven himself in "The Hills Have Eyes"), but I just couldn't find anything redeeming about LHotL when I saw it.

Unknown said...

The problem for me with Bruce Dern is that for some reason his first role that comes to my mind is Silent Running, which I just couldn't abide watching for the first time at age 28. I should have been half that age or younger.