Monday, July 07, 2008


So begins one of the great lengthy, recurring projects on this blog that cannot be blamed on my own uncontrollable logorrhea—it’s time once again to gather up in digest form my favorite answers from the most recent quiz, Professor Brian O’Blivion’s All-New Flesh for Memorial Day Movie (and TV) Quiz. This is the portion of our program where I get to highlight my favorite answers from you, Dear Readers, in the hopes that not too many of my own answers (hopefully coming this week) were trumped by your sharp and funny observations (It happened a couple of times, I can tell you.) There were so many great, detailed answers this time around, in fact, that I’ve divided the answers into three parts, so you’ll have three separate long posts to read and enjoy, rather than one gigantically looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong one to test your stamina and attention span. Everybody who participated is blurbed here at least once, some more than that, and the answers are posted here in roughly the order they were received. And all your answers were appreciated. I just think it’s fun to revisit them a little over a month later in a somewhat compressed format and remind you and me both of the great, thoughtful, funny readership this blog has. And why wouldn’t I want to share that? (Sometimes I couldn’t resist just a tiny comment of my own on your comments, though.) Here then are the first 12 questions followed by some of my favorite responses. Enjoy! And if you still have responses burning inside you and haven’t yet filled out the professor’s quiz for yourself yet, please don’t consider the thread dead and buried. There are still a few of the usual respondents who haven’t checked in this time. (You know who you are!) So please post ‘em, and I’ll respond to them as well! Here we go!

1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)

The transition is easy nowadays as TV writers, directors and actors go back and forth with no stigma attached. It was a lot harder in the seventies and before because TV was considered such an ugly stepchild. I personally can't stand him as an actor but I've always been impressed that John Travolta was able to go from playing a sweathog on Welcome Back Kotter to garnering an Oscar Nomination for Saturday Night Fever in less than a year. But that's TV to movies. Movies to TV? I'll say MASH or Buffy. Buffy in fact took a less than acclaimed movie and became a TV show that was much more acclaimed than the source. (Jonathan Lapper)

Director - John Brahm. See his Fox DVD set, and then, if you can, check out his work on the horror TV series, Thriller. (Peter Nellhaus)

Alfred Hitchcock with Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I kinda wish William Castle had tried that type of transition too. (Dave S.)

Candice (Day the Fish Came Out) Bergen and Cybill (Texasville) Shepherd fared far better after retreating to the tube. (Flickhead)

...and back again? How about David Lynch? Brilliant early in his film career and then went on to Twin Peaks. And although it's kind of a reversal, Mulholland Drive started as a television pickup ABC failed to capitalize on. (Chris)

House is the best thing Brian Singer has ever been involved with. (Krauthammer)

Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock. It’s like everything he’s done up to this point has been in service to this. (Mr. Middlebrow)

Though it actually started on stage, my vote is for The Odd Couple In the movie Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are really too much actor for the roles, and Jack Lemmon is the wrong kind of neurotic -- anxious, not a fussbudget. On TV, Jack Klugman is just enough actor for Oscar and Tony Randall was just born to play Felix.
(Robert Fiore)

By any sort of objective professional standard, it has to be Lucille Ball. Pre-TV she was doing bad comedies for Columbia with guys like John Agar and heading back toward second-billing land. After a decade in TV she was able to buy RKO Studios. No other actor ever reached her level of success and power as a producer. (Along with Desi, of course, who qualifies for the best transition from Latin dance bands to TV.)
(Gerard Jones)

I guess I should say Alec Baldwin, but how about Jim Belushi? I love, love, love According to Jim, one of the most underrated comedies on TV. Who would have thought he’d survive Blues Brothers 2000 and Traces Of Red. (Larry Aydlette)

Ernest Dickerson. As director of photography for Spike Lee’s first few features, he brought a highly stylized color palette, beautiful compositions, crisp lighting, and a seamy and sweaty undercurrent to everything from Do the Right Thing to Jungle Fever. His own directorial efforts—including Juice and the truly awful Bulletproof (I paid money for this one, on a date, and I’ve still got an axe to grind a decade later)—are dicier propositions. Lately, though, he’s been on a roll, directing stellar episodes of superb shows—six or seven for The Wire, a couple for Weeds, a few hothouse episodes of ER, and Heroes apiece. So, his choice in TV shows is generally better than that of full-length screenplays. Perhaps he’s found his niche. (Walter Biggins)

I think I'll go with Carroll O'Connor. He was in some pretty decent movie fare (Point Blank, Kelly's Heroes), but it wasn't until he became Archie Bunker that his talents were truly allowed to flower. (Patrick)

Kathryn Harrold. She made several rather forgettable films in the 80s, but became a regular, and regularly wonderful, on TV, if usually only in small roles. I’ll Fly Away was one of my favorite shows in the early 90s, in part because of her role as the district attorney. She also had a great but small role in the short-lived Mister Sterling with Josh Brolin. (Weigard)

Krzystzof Kieslowski. Regardless of what medium we’re talking, The Decalogue is one of the defining works of the twentieth century. (Paul Clark)

This isn't easy - I don't watch much TV anymore - what I've seen in the last 20 years I've caught up with after the fact... since it should be someone I've actually seen - I'm tempted to say Fred MacMurray - a fine film career, and then a big TV career - though he's bland on TV. William Demerast then? though I'm tempted to go to something more basic - Edward Everett Horton, whose voice is utterly engrained in my head... (Weeping Sam)

Everyone who knows me knows I'm going to say Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so just to be different I'll say Eiji Tsuburaya. His rubber suits probably work better on the small screen in Ultraman than on the big screen in most Godzilla movies. (Chris Oliver)

Chevy Chase. That talk show was the most awesome thing I've ever seen. (The Bandit)

2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly

Martin Brest. Seriously. Gigli was bad, but not that bad. (Peter Nellhaus)

Ken Russell. (Dave S.)

Hrm. That’s a good one. Oh, wait, I know. Peter Weir. Master and Commander is one of the most underrated films of the past couple of decades, as far as I’m concerned, and I think he’s only made a couple of movies that can be ignored outright. Everything else seems to me, to range between “interesting” and “phenomenal”. (Bill)

Richard Lester (Flower)

Samuel Fuller (I wish he could get the years back that were wasted trying to convince people he wasn't crazy or evil). Also, Alison Anders. (Erin)

Francis Ford Coppola. I think Youth Without Youth is a messy burst of exuberance and passion, and he needs to take that and run with it. Preferably more often than once a decade. (Chris)

This one stumped me for a couple of days, as I pondered the questions Dennis had offered up this time, and while I was tempted to list Francis Ford Coppola, I finally settled on Whit Stillman. Stillman has made two perfect comedies (Metropolitan and Barcelona) and one mixed success (Last Days of Disco, but in Stilman's defense, it's hard to make a good movie when Chloe Sevigny plays your heroine). And then he's disappeared for the last decade. The recent Criterion disc reveals a man still in full command of his verbal gifts and still passionately interested in the mechanics of cinematic storytelling-- so what gives? In an age of Ashton Kutcher, Stillman's graceful, Austen-like observations make him a crucial national resource, one which should be tapped far more often. (Brian Doan)

Francis Coppola, even if many of his movies admittedly fail, they fail in interesting ways. (Steven Santos)

I keep hoping that Peter Greenaway would seem more relevant to the greater public so that more of his films would be released either theatrically or on DVD around here. (Brian)

I wish that Stanley Tucci was more prominent and I was a fan of Whit Stillman, who seems to have dropped off the map. But mostly, I wish Michael Cimino’s career had not tanked so early. I see on Imdb that he has a film in production for 2009. To be honest, I would also welcome another Penny Marshall film. (John P.)

I would love to have seen more from Paul Brickman. (Mr. Middlebrow)

This will seem strange for someone who never seems to go away, but Quentin Tarantino. I think it's a shame that he takes so long to make a picture, and a shame that he lost his nerve after Jackie Brown tanked.(Robert Fiore)

Bill Forsyth most of all. Gregory's Girl, Local Hero and Comfort and Joy helped make the 1980s worthwhile. Bill, come back! Also Victor Erice, although he has never been a very public figure. I also agree with Bubblegum Cinephile about Whit Stillman. (Campaspe)

John Landis, he hasn't helmed a real movie since Blues Brothers 2000. Come on John, let's not have that be your coda. (Adam Ross)

Clare Peploe. She’s made three gems—High Season, Rough Magic, and Triumph of Love—over 18 years. Each one is radically different in time period, and they’re equally unclassifiable beyond that they’re all comic to some degree. She’s created her own genre—fancy-free, languid, gently sliding from one genre convention to the next without us being able to clearly identify the transition, and very, very sexy. (Walter Biggins)

Whatever happened to Lawrence Kasdan? Did he lose it? Or are we missing something wonderful? (Anne Thompson)

Elaine May, surely one of the prickliest and most original voices in American comedy. None of her films is easy to take, which probably explains why they’re not as popular as they really should be, but few directors have a more acerbic sensibility when it comes to portraying relationships onscreen, be they marriage or platonic friendship. May’s ramshackle style works perfectly in her seventies work- you can see the boom in several shots of Mikey and Nicky, fer chrissakes- but didn’t mesh nearly so well with the larger scope of Ishtar. But really, Hollywood bigwigs, it’s been twenty years. I don’t care how difficult May is or how big a flop Ishtar supposedly was, the world is better off with more May films than without them. (Paul Clark) (Paul, I love A New Leaf too!—Dennis)

I already miss Sydney Pollack...and yes, he's no longer living, but he was when you posted the quiz, so that's my answer...There's a part of me that has such a great affinity for his acting over his directing. He commanded the screen so well. And that cell phone ad of his that plays in cinemas was awesome. That might be how I always remember him. (Lucas McNelly)

Maybe he's not someone I "miss seeing on the cultural landscape," but I'm certainly looking forward to whatever Edgar Wright has to offer next, and particularly his next collaboration with Simon Pegg. (Stennie)

He's made some lousy films, but I can't believe that there's no room on the cultural landscape for Ralph Bakshi today. (Chris Oliver)

John Carpenter; sure, he still phones in some TV work now, but he hasn't directed a movie in seven long years; He still seems so cynical and funny and anarchic in interviews... but his MIA streak on the big screen and the seeming lack of inspiration in his post-1995 work suggests maybe he doesn't care anymore. (The Bandit)

3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn

Pallette because of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington… though Coburn worked with Hitchcock. (Dave S.)

Eugene Pallette has a great face and an even better voice. (Schuyler Chapman)

"Let us be crooked, Jane, but never common." (Brian Doan)

Wow, that's a long time ago. (Brian)

Pallette purely on the strength of his addled patriarch in My Man Godfrey. (Mr. Middlebrow)

Eugene Pallette. Coburn always plays his particular type of character effectively, but you truly relish Pallette's performances. (Robert Fiore)

I want to say Coburn just to see how Karen reacts (and he was so great in The Lady Eve, The More the Merrier and The Green Years). But it's Pallette, for his voice, Friar Tuck and because he wins the Heaven Can Wait smackdown with that scene over the funny papers. Plus, he has me howling with laughter every time I see My Man Godfrey: "Take a look at the dizzy old gal with the goat." "I've had to look at her for 20 years. That's MRS. Bullock." "I'm terribly sorry!" "How do you think I feel?" (Campaspe)

Oh, Pallette for sure. I like Charles Coburn--no one has ever been better at being Charles Coburn, in fact. But Eugene is just so goofy. The final sequence of Busby Berkeley's The Gang's All Here includes one of the most surreal images in cinema history: the disembodied, luridly greenish head of Eugene Pallette flying toward us, singing. Beats the hell out of that slashed eyeball in Un Chien Andalou (Gerard Jones)

So I wrote this long missive on how wonderful James Coburn was – and then I reread the question. Dang. No comment. (Weigard) (You and the guy who used to do the marquee for my hometown movie theater! It was routine to see up there every so often something like “Charles Coburn in The President’s Analyst” or “Charles Coburn in Cross of Iron.” Of course, this is how I found out who Charles Coburn was!—Dennis)

Coburn was a serious talent, capable of a wide variety of roles, but just seeing Pallette (or especially hearing that croak of a voice) is enough to guarantee that “tonight, I’ll merry, merry be.” So Pallette by a nose. Sorry, Piggy. (Paul Clark)

4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”

Catcher in the Rye (Jonathan Lapper)

My life (Peter Nellhaus)

Pong (Dave S.)

If we’re talking about books, or something like that, then I’m open to somebody taking a shot at just about anything. The books are still the books, so even if the movie really chews on it hard, there’s really no harm done. Outside of that, I guess I would say “whatever new horseshit idea Ashton Kutcher just came up with”. (Bill)

The Family Guy because I f*****g hate that show and the publicity campaign accompanying the film version would probably give me fits. (Schuyler Chapman)

Any Salinger story (I just re-read Franny & Zooey) (Ryland Walker Knight)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. "Who is John Galt?" Freddie Prinze Jr. (Chris)

The Catcher in the Rye, Aquaman, another Stephen King short story, My Mother the Car, Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut, Lost, or anything that George Lucas might be tempted to write and/or direct. (all for different reasons) (John P.)

If I were a praying man (and I'm not), I would pray that Ridley Scott never turns Blood Meridian into a movie, unless he were able to completely reinvent himself as a filmmaker. But I guess this is why I don't pray. (W. Australopithecus)

Star Wars, ever again. (Robert Fiore)

Gravity's Rainbow. (Anthony)

Spamalot, the musical version of Young Frankenstein, or any other Broadway shows based on classic films. It’s bad enough the Broadway draws on old movies to bring in the tourist crowd, but turning them back into movies again is just bizarre. Honestly, how many times will do they think they can get lucky like they did with Hairspray? (Paul Clark)

My deep, dark secrets? My sex life? Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably do that myself. (Lucas McNelly)

Eh, I'm usually pretty down with anything, so nothing's too sacred to make or remake... though I do dread most boomer musical biopics. So I'll say The Gordon Lightfoot Story. (The Bandit)

5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake

Veronica. She's responsible for 10% of my hits daily. People always want to see her naked. (Jonathan Lapper)

I like them both, but am more partial to taking Veronica out for a cup of joe. (Peter Nellhaus)

Lake, by a bang over an eye. (Dave S.)

Ooh, that's a tough choice-- how can one decide between Sullivan's Travels and Out of the Past? I'm giving the edge to Greer, but only because her introductory walk through that Mexican bar is so alluring, and the single shot I would choose if I had to define film noir. (Brian Doan)

Veronica Lake. To quote Greil Marcus (as well as I can remember), "Raymond Chandler called her 'Moronica' but who cares?" (Robert Fiore)

Oh, please! Jane Greer was an actress. Veronica Lake was a hairstyle. Greer in Out of the Past is the great Bad Girl in Hollywood history. But I will say that Veronica did not hurt Sullivan's Travels one little bit. In fact, her very blankness probably worked better for the character than any actress with personality could have. (Gerard Jones)

Lake left me so woozy in Sullivan’s Travels that I couldn’t think straight even when I was desperately trying to stay focused and catch all the jokes. Greer never left me punch-drunk, not even in Out of the Past. So, Lake. (Walter Biggins)

Greer. God, I hate Veronica Lake. (Stennie)

6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?

I saw Opera Jawa in a theater, because films like that need to be supported. I saw Day of Wrath, not the Dreyer film, on DVD, because I was curious, and an incurable smartass. (Peter Nellhaus)

In the theatre, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, because a friend wanted to go, and on DVD, Two-Lane Blacktop. I rented it because I liked what I’d read about it. It’s now one of my favourite movies. (Dave S.)

In the theater, it was Iron Man, and I saw it for the same reason everybody else saw it: Robert Downey, Jr. in a flying metal suit blowing up bad guys. And I loved it. On DVD, it was Ball of Fire. I saw that one because of how much good press it gets on this here website, and because of my growing love of Barbara Stanwyck, fostered in no small part, again, by this here website. And it’s a curious thing: I didn’t know before I saw the movie that it was co-written by Billy Wilder, and I’m starting to come to the conclusion that I don’t actually find Billy Wilder comedies very funny. I love his dramas, but not his comedies. However, while Ball of Fire didn’t make me laugh very often, I did SMILE an awful lot. And my love for Barbara Stanwyck ever increases. AND, out of the blue, the movie gives me one of the most genuinely and honestly touching moments I’ve ever seen. “Sweet Genevieve.” You didn’t ask about cable, but I also recently watched Count Yorga, Vampire, which I enjoyed immensely for all the wrong reasons. (Bill) (Let’s talk Count Yorga, Vampire sometime, Bill!—Dennis)

Thanks to a tip-off by Peter Nellhaus, 19-year-old Sophia Loren, smiling, singing, braless, bouncy and generally magnificent in the otherwise forgettable Too Bad She’s Bad (1954). Blowing Marilyn off the map, even her armpit hair was sexy. (Flickhead)

Theater - Speed Racer DVD - House of Games. Watched both in direct response to this blog's “Days of Speed Racer” post and comments thread. I loved Speed Racer and thought House of Games, which I last saw maybe eight or nine years ago, held up just fine, thanks. (Flower)

I think the last movie I saw in a theater was Southland Tales. I hated Donnie Darko, and everyone who liked that movie hated this one, so I figured that maybe I would like Southland. I was wrong. I watched The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant last night on DVD because, well, Fassbinder's amazing and I'd not seen that one yet. (Schuyler Chapman)

In theaters: Then She Found Me. On DVD: Daisy Miller (the 1974 Peter Bogdanovich version). Why? Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were supposed to go see Radney Foster in concert. We drove into Cleveland on a sunny afternoon and arrived at the Beachland Theater (the newspaper article said tickets would be available at the door). It was still a few hours until the show, but we thought we could get our tix early and then maybe grab a bite to eat. There was no one at the box office, so we decided to head to the basement record store that was also housed in the club. It was a very cool atmosphere, with stacks of vinyl, lots of vintage t-shirts, and a new wave/hipster ambience that felt inviting, rather than closed off. We asked the young man behind the counter how we might get tickets, and found out that the show had been cancelled, due to the sudden death of Foster's father. Shaken by the news, we decided to stay in the Cleveland area for the night, anyway, and maybe catch a movie. The Cedar Lee, Cleveland Heights' fabulous old (circa 1926) theater, which now shows indie and foreign films, was only about 20 minutes away, so we headed over to see what was playing. A number of good films were there, and we finally settled on Then She Found Me as one to see. It's very good, by the way, especially if you like your romcoms to be a bit prickly and uncertain.

As for Daisy Miller...That had been sitting on my TV table for a couple of months (thank god Netflix doesn't have late fees!), and I finally got around to it the other day. The film has a bad reputation, since it was a commercial flop, and since some folks can't imagine Cybill Shepherd in the title role. But I love Bogdanovich's 70s/early 80s work (They All Laughed is a lost masterpiece), and have been fascinated by Henry James ever since I read Rachel Cohen's brilliant anecdotal study A Chance Meeting (in which James plays a central role) and I was curious. It's not bad, actually-- it's full of beautiful long takes and lush location work in Switzerland and Italy, and Shepherd isn't terrible in the role, although I think she's miscast. The rest of the cast is excellent, especially the quietly controlling Eileen Brennan. (Brian Doan)

In the theatre: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because it was inevitable. On DVD: Spartan, because I went to see Redbelt in the theatre and it was good, but I wanted to remember why Mamet is great. I think he directed Spartan pitch perfectly. (John P.)

Last movies I saw in the theater was a double bill of The Man I Killed, Ernst Lubitsch's only Hollywood drama, and The Scoundrel, one of the pictures Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur made in their short-lived New York outpost of Paramount, at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Though a drama, The Man I Killed has some great Lubitsch Touches. Early in the picture is a mass in celebration of the first anniversary of the French victory in World War I, and there's a shot along a row of pews with a sword scabbard trailing out of every one. Later in the movie when the erstwhile French soldier is out walking in the little German town with the fiancé of the German soldier he killed, the door chimes of the shops play a chorus wherever they go as the shopkeepers open their doors offscreen to look at the couple. The Scoundrel brings to mind how appallingly irresponsible Hecht and MacArthur were to allow their cynicism and contempt for Hollywood lead them to fritter away their chance to work outside it. Based on The Scoundrel it doesn't appear that much was lost. What Hecht and MacArthur saw as making movies for adults was transporting the values of commercial theater onscreen: Artificial characters proclaiming artificial dialog in artificial settings, with a visual style that amounts to "point the camera at the actors," wrapped in a fantasy redemption plot that would make Louis B. Mayer blush (it involves divine intervention). The ambitions of the Astoria project would actually be realized in Hollywood by Orson Welles, and again frittered away through self-indulgence. The strategy of finding a creative modus vivendi with the commercial film industry has over the years been far more successful than the strategy of trying to work outside of it, if only for the reason that the commercial industry gives a filmmaker access to collaborators just as talented as himself.

The last movie I saw on DVD was Left, Right and Centre, a political satire starring Ian Carmichael and Alistair Sim, from a Region 2 collection of Alistair Sim pictures. Back during the golden age of British movie comedy spearheaded by Ealing Studios comedies often starring Alec Guinness, there was a second string from other studios often starring or featuring Sim. This was definitely second stringy, but with moments, mostly thanks to Sim. I watched it because Sim was in it. (Robert Fiore)

The baby makes it pretty hard to get out to a movie, all I've seen this year is In Bruges. I'm watching The Day the Earth Stood Still right now, just had to hear Bernard Herrman's Gort theme. (Adam Ross)

In a theater: I (Heart) Huckabees. I wanted to see what all the furor was about, but sadly the most memorable thing about it was Naomi Watts in a swimsuit. I work nights, so it's difficult for me to see movies in a theater, and they really aren't designed for my age group (I'm 52) anymore. On DVD: Hands Across The Table. Carole Lombard is my all-time favorite actress. (VP81955)

Today saw a double billing of Baby Mama and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Why? Because I've been sick for a week and I was going stir crazy. Off to the theater. We'd already seen everything good so it came down to these two flops. (El Gringo)

Theater: Iron Man. I wanted to take my nephew to see something that I myself wanted to see. Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Bridges made sure neither of us was disappointed. DVD: Once Upon a Time in the West. My father likes westerns, and he likes Leone, but he'd somehow never seen this before. That opening ten minutes never gets old. And I'll take any excuse I can to watch Claudia Cardinale at her most beautiful. (Patrick)

In theater: The Strangers, two evenings ago. The marketing campaign (with that great one-sheet hooked me in, I must admit. On DVD: Pirates of Blood Island (John Gilling, 1962) -- as a palate cleanser for The Strangers, and for the simple reason that I wanted to see a Hammer-mounted pirate action film. It didn’t disappoint. (Aaron)

In a theatre: Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? because it was playing in a beautiful 16mm print as the second half of a double-bill also featuring a personal favorite film maudit The Last Movie. A truly bizarre night at the cinema. How can I pass that up? On DVD: Ozu's Passing Fancy because I love Ozu and it's the last of his four silents available on R1 DVD I hadn't seen before. In fact, it's the last of the four Japanese silents available on R1 DVD I hadn't seen before! (Brian Darr)

In the theatre, I'd have to go all the way back to No Country for Old Men. On DVD, Lars and the Real Girl. Hmmm... and you ask why? I can tell you this much: since getting my big screen HDTV in January, I haven't felt much of a need go back to a theatre. (Stennie)

Theater-- Baby Mama, because Iron Man wasn't playing in Glendale (where I was doing other things Saturday), and because my wife wanted to support a comedy with two female leads, and because I generally think Tina Fey is great and 30 Rock is the best sitcom on TV right now. DVD-- Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion, as the climax of a 70's women-who-kick-ass triple feature (Switchblade Sisters and Sugar Hill started it off) for Memorial Day/My Birthday. (Actually, since I wrote this, I've seen the amazing Blast of Silence on DVD) (Chris Oliver)

7) Name an actor you think should be a star

Fairuza Balk. No, seriously, Fairuza Balk. I'm sure I'll catch hell for that answer. Jonathan Lapper)

Maggie Q is a star in Asia, damn it! (Peter Nellhaus)

I don’t know…there are so many. I’ve recently become incredibly impressed with Robert Sean Leonard’s work on the TV show House. His performance in the most recent season finale was devastating. (Bill)

Ciaran Hinds (Flower)

Chiwetel Ejiofor. And I predict an Oscar nomination within the next five years. (John P.)

Having seen Shotgun Stories just a couple of weeks ago, I will have to say Michael Shannon. (W. Australopithecus)

I guess I am supposed to name someone contemporary, so I pick the gorgeous, mesmerizing but underutilized Maria Bello. I also think Benoit Magimel should be a worldwide big name, although I have no idea if his English is up to Hollywood. As for neglected names from the old days, I'm working on a whole list of those. (Campaspe)

Bruno S. (Bemis)

David Tennant, the star of Dr. Who and Viva Blackpool, is intense, sexy, smart, lovable. He just needs the right breakthrough part. (Anne Thompson)

I remember a few years ago when I watched The Prestige for the first time, I found myself really enjoying the performance by the actress playing Hugh Jackman’s wife at the beginning of the film. I recognized the face, but it took me a while to place who it was. Finally, it came to me- Piper Perabo, who I don’t think I’d seen in a movie since her awesome turn in Lost and Delirious. Had it really been five years? And after her character exits the film, I began to miss her, wishing maybe she’d been cast in Scarlett Johansson’s role instead. Anyway, seeing her again onscreen made me think about her career, which never quite panned out as it should have. I considered the films she’s made- Prestige and Lost aside, a long string of forgettable roles in subpar movies. Gorgeous, talented, and charismatic, with a natural and engaging screen presence, she deserves much better than she’s gotten so far. Perhaps her name is a problem? Doesn’t seem to be an issue for Shia LaBeouf. (Paul Clark)

Should - it's not something I particularly wish on anyone, doesn't look like fun to me. Deserves to be, when it comes to talent: Sam Rockwell. At first I thought he was just a goofball, but he turns out to be quite versatile, he's done well in supporting and leads, comedy and drama.The same (minus the goofball thing) goes for Peter Sarsgaard. (California)

8) Foxy Brown or Coffy

Foxy Brown has the always delightful Sid Haig. Did I tell you that Pam Grier and I went to the same high school? (Peter Nellhaus) (Peter, you had a golden opportunity here, man…!- Dennis)

Coffy, because she was the Godmother of them all! (Dave S.)

Coffy! Can't beat the knives in the hair. Also a woman walking alone on the beach is my favorite way to end a film, see also: Under the Sand! (Erin)

Only Coffy will put razor blades in her 'fro! (Chris)

(*Hangs head in shame*) I've never seen either, but can either be bad if they both star Pam Grier? (Brian Doan) (Brian, the answer is no—Dennis)

I've only watched the male-dominated blaxpoitation flicks for some reason. (Krauthammer)

“You pink-ass corrupt honky judge, take your little wet noodle outta here and if you see a man anywhere send him in because I do need a MAN!” Foxy! (John P.)

Jackie Brown (Mr. Middlebrow)

Foxy, because she's a whole lotta woman. (Campaspe)

I'm pretty sure Coffy has more nudity. (Adam Ross)

Whichever one shows more of Ms. Grier, which I believe from exacting scientific research would be Coffy. (Larry Aydlette)

Coffy, Coffy, and more Coffy (Pacheco)

Aaarrrrgghh!!! Pacheco beat me to it. (Coffy, Coffy and more Coffy) My fault for being so slow. (Peter Nellhaus)

Neither. Go with Friday Foster (Walter Biggins)

I have signed one-sheets for both, but I’m of the same mindset as Jack Hill when he claims that Pam Grier films progressively got worse as she got more glamorous. So, Coffy. (Aaron)

I never, ever pick against someone named Foxy. Then again, there's the one name thing. How to choose? Damn you, Dennis! (Lucas McNelly)

9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set

As sure as my name is Boris Karloff, this is a Thriller. (Peter Nellhaus)

The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley. Also, Get a Life. At least there were about six episodes of the latter released, but I need the complete series. (Bill)

Spaced, which I hear is being rectified. (Chris)

The Six Million Dollar Man. If the glimpses of similar childhood faves that I’ve gotten from Hulu are any indication (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) I’m probably much better off with my memories of the show as seen through the uncritical eyes of a ten-year-old. (Mr. Middlebrow)

My favorite TV show without its own DVD box set, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Not Only But Also, will never get a DVD box set because of the ghastly British practice of erasing "light entertainment" programming in order to re-use the videotape. Most of Cook and Moore is gone, and a lot of groundbreaking work by Spike Milligan, and it's a stroke of luck that Monty Python escaped. It was the most appalling combination of stupidity, snobbery and penny wise/pound foolish (denominations appropriate in this case) thinking imaginable. Actually it's unimaginable that people would be so foolish as to throw away the money they spent on talent to save a much smaller amount on raw materials. (Robert Fiore)

This one’s a tossup. Max Headroom has still not been released on DVD. I haven’t seen this sci-fi show since I was a kid and I’m not sure its ideas would hold water 20 years later, but I’d like to find out. On the flipside of the same coin, I’m pretty sure the humor in Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures would be much hipper, stranger, and more subversive to me now than it did as a 12-year-old. (Walter Biggins)

10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand

I was a kid in the seventies - Jack Elam. (Jonathan Lapper)

Elam ‘cause of Kiss Me Deadly, though both of these guys could stare down just about anybody. (Why do I always feel guilty about answering these “A or B” questions? Is it because I’m Canadian?) (Dave S.)

Jack Elam. He looks like both of his eyes want to kill you, but for different reasons. (Bill)

Jack Elam, especially if he’s rocking the beard. (Schuyler Chapman)

Aside from Stalag 17, I'm honestly pretty unfamiliar with both, which says something about me, I guess, and also about the generational gaps that sometimes exist in the film blogosphere. (Brian Doan)

Although Neville Brand was in an Anthony Mann movie, Elvis Presley movie, and Tobe Hooper movie, Jack Elam was in Once Upon a Time in the West. Jack Elam wins. (Krauthammer)

Jack Elam, if only for his summary of the stages of a Hollywood career: "Who's Jack Elam?" "We could do this cheaper if we got Jack Elam." "Get me Jack Elam!" "Get me a Jack Elam type!" "Who's Jack Elam?" (Robert Fiore)

Neville, for Stalag 17 and DOA (Campaspe)

I admit I have no idea what you're talking about. I like Edam cheese, though (Middento)

Neville Brand, for Eaten Alive, That Darn Cat!, and The Ninth Configuration, and countless others (and for not appearing on Home Improvement as Elam did). (Aaron)

Elam. Though sadly, like many thirtysomethings, this great Western character actor is known almost exclusively to me (beyond the Leone movie) as the fake doctor in The Cannonball Run. (The Bandit)

11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?

Zazie dans la Metro, Omicron, Convicts 4, and anything that Albert Zugsmith had anything to do with. (Peter Nellhaus)

Pretentious as it sounds, its mostly foreign films that come to mind when thinking of an answer to this question… Films like Rashomon, The 400 Blows, Breathless, Umberto D… And the reason I would want to revisit classics foreign films is to remind myself of how great they are. (Dave S.)

Is this the question about movies you didn’t like, but everyone else seemed to love, so you want to check them out again to see if you missed something the first time around? If so, then my answer is Being John Malkovich and Fight Club. If the question is more general, than my answer is Lawrence of Arabia, Barry Lyndon and Picnic at Hanging Rock. (Bill)

A Perfect World, Sid and Nancy, I'm Not There, Alphaville, Psycho (the Van Sant version) and Happy Together and Kiss Me Deadly (Schuyler Chapman)

Nashville, Goodbye South, Goodbye, Chimes at Midnight, Millennium Actress, Fight Club, My Darling Clementine, Rohmer, Ozu, Chaplin, all those Costa films I saw a couple months ago, but I think Casa de Lava may be a lot better than I originally thought upon a first viewing... and on and on and on.... (Ryland Walker Knight)

The Rules of the Game, the richest movie ever made; Breathless, the one which most radically re-shaped my cinematic imagination; anything from Errol Flynn's late 30s period; nearly anything by Howard Hawks and Francois Truffaut; and The Godfather films, which stop me cold and force me to watch them whenever they appear on TV. (Brian Doan)

My problem isn't needing to revisit movies, it's revisiting ones I love too often, thus leaving less time to for the ones on my "drat, I still need to see that" list. If I loved it, I want to see it again. (Campaspe)

My one and only viewing of The Magnificent Ambersons left a sour taste in my mouth, I probably need to see it again before writing it off for good. (Adam Ross)

The Court Jester, because the people who are appalled when I say I can't stand Danny Kaye tell me it's The One. All the Ernst Lubitsches with Jeanette MacDonald because I've only seen a couple and that was before I kept reading how great Lubitsch (and his fans) thought she was.Mulholland Drive, because my wife and I felt we'd finally made sense of its overlapping realities after a couple of hours of post-movie dissection, and now I'd like to see if our ideas hold up to actually seeing it. (Gerard Jones)

The 400 Blows, because I really didn't like it. Blue Velvet, because I hated it. Radio Flyer, because I'm trying to remember if the story is supposed to be realistic, or if it's all actually an "imaginary situation" that allows the kids to escape from the trauma of an abusive parent. (Pacheco)

The Puppetmaster>, because was too ignorant first time I saw it. Ditto for Alphaville and many others. (Marc Raymond)

The Far Country and Bend of the River top the list because I've never seen them on the big screen and they're scheduled to play the Stanford Theatre next week. Though since they're Universal titles I'm going to call the theatre ahead of time to make sure the prints booked weren't destroyed in the fire. (Brian Darr)

Among older films - Kurosawa's The Idiot, which I saw on VHS many years back and didn't get much out of... Dreyer's Joan of Arc, just because it's been too long since I've seen it.... Rio Bravo, ditto.... more recently: The Ice Storm comes to mind... I need to rewatch some Cronenberg's - I might like them better. There are filmmakers I've seen once and want to see again - Olmi, Ichikawa, etc... And - RC reminds me - a couple Coen Brothers films - actually, about half of them, but especially The Man Who Wasn't There... (Weeping Sam)

Point Blank. This should be right up my alley, I love Boorman, I love Marvin... hell, I love the eight billion movies it inspired. For some odd, odd reason, the one and only time I saw it, on badly panned and scanned ancient VHS, it left me cold. (The Bandit)

12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men

Brian Doan's answer will be All The President's Men - just wanted to put that out there. Mine is Zodiac. (Jonathan Lapper)

Zodiac, ‘cause it’s fresher in my memory, and it’s about obsession with no definite resolution… (Dave S.)

Zodiac. I’m a fan of both, but Zodiac is one of those unexpected masterpieces we rarely see. At least, it was unexpected for me, given that, previously, I was at best ambivalent about David Fincher. Along with everything else that Zodiac does well, it is, with the possible exception of High and Low, the greatest police procedural I have ever seen. (Bill)

It’s a sign of changing generations that bloggers generally prefer Zodiac, a good, not great, work…but filled with that sense of ambiguity championed by those with abbreviated attention spans. I’m sure they see the Redford/Pakula film as hopelessly dated, when, in fact, it’s still fresh provided one is capable of appreciating its many qualities. It’s 2008 and here we are talking about All the President’s Men (1976). Thirty years from now, will anyone give a hoot in hell about Zodiac? (Flickhead)

Oh, All The President's Men, no question! Zodiac is okay, but Men is one of the three best American films of the 70s, and one of the most inexhaustible suspense films ever made. (It's also a great teaching tool). (Brian Doan)

All The President’s Men. But these kind of choices should get Cozzalio put on double-secret probation. (Larry Aydlette)

Zodiac. The Watergate case probably had more obvious far-reaching effects than the Zodiac murders, but we’re not talking about real life, but rather its cinematic reflection. And in that respect, Fincher’s movie wins hands down. All the President’s Men is a fine film, but it’s a fairly straightforward story of men whose intelligence and dogged perseverance gets them what they want. Zodiac isn’t so simple. Graysmith, Toschi, Avery, and the others work just as hard on their case as Woodward and Bernstein, but real life gets in the way of them tracking down the killer. Their best simply isn’t good enough, for many small reasons and a few big ones as well. It’s a more haunting variation on the theme, and a more mature one as well. (Paul Clark)

All the President’s Men. Zodiac was only okay, despite the presence of the sublime Robert Downey, Jr., but President was riveting. (Sharon)

So, so close. If only because I've seen it a billion times and it's stood the test of time, and was a legit product of its time rather than a flawless approximation of that era, I'll go with President’s. (The Bandit)

(Next up, part 2: Important film comedies, the Worst Movie Title Ever, reasons to blog, blasphemy, death and more difficult-to-impossible choices.)


bill said...

My favorite part of Count Yorga, Vampire is the scene where the guy is talking to someone on the phone, begins to hang up, and chooses the moment when the receiver is about two inches from the cradle to say "Goodbye".

Damian Arlyn said...

Damn. How did I miss this one? Some great questions too. :(

Anonymous said...

For those who missed it, my Coffy Break.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Bill: I have great memories of Count Yorga from seeing it theatrically when I was about 11 or 12-- great cat-eating scene, plus Quarry is very scary. I thought it held up pretty well when I saw it five or six years ago too. Can't vouch for the sequel, though-- it's just been too long.

Damian-- it's not too late!

And finally, God bless you, Mr. Nellhaus. Thankfully, for propriety's sake, I didn't see thosse screengrabs until after I posted this digest!

Anonymous said...

Penny Marshall's last good movie was "League of Their Own," preceded by "Big." Since then, it's all been drek.

Anonymous said...

I was talked into seeing Count Yorga by my so-called friends when it came out. I didn't make it past the opening credits before running out of the theater as fast as I could!

I've thought about watching it from time to time, but haven't made it happen yet. Perhaps it should have been my answer to question