Wednesday, July 15, 2009


So, where were we? Oh, yes, we were reviewing the best submissions to Professor Peabody's Hysterical Historical Wayback Spring Break Film Quiz and had managed to get as far as the heated debate over the best adaptation of a play into cinematic language. If you want to refresh yourself as to the answers gathered in part 1 of this roundup, have a click right here. Elsewise, let us resume the fun with a side-by-side of Jed Clampett and Uncle Joe. We'll tail off until part 3, the concluding chapter, with another taste test pitting teen flesh (Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron) against slightly less teen-y flesh (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson). Shift the Wayback into "drive" and let's get at it!

13) Buddy Ebsen or Edgar Buchanan?

Edgar Buchanan, who brought a whole world to his every performance. (Richard T. Jameson)

I definitely gotta go by way of Edgar here. The man talked like a frog – how can you not love that? (Bob Westal)

Petticoat Junction wins here. Edgar Buchanan. (Peter Nellhaus)

Edgar Buchanan, please. (Jim Emerson)

Ebsen, in no small part because my favorite Los Lobos instrumental—from 1996’s Colossal Head—is entitled “Buddy Ebsen Loves the Night Time.” (Walter Biggins)

Buddy! I started watching Barnaby Jones because the Beastie Boys referred to it in some song or another, and I was, like, totally down with him. (Schuyler Chapman)

A man called Jed. (Beveridge D. Spenser)

This is kind of a tough call but I’ll go with Buchanan on the strength of both his movie and television work. I know Ebsen had a lengthy film career but outside of Attack! (1956) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) I couldn’t name any additional ones without some help from the IMDb. (Among my favorite Buchanan flicks: The Talk of the Town [1942] and Ride the High Country [1962]. (Ivan G. Shreve)

As far as sheer stupidity in a TV show goes, Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies, neither were my cup of tea. So, I'll pick Edgar Buchanan for "moving kind of slow." (Troy Olson)

14) Favorite Jean Renoir movie?

Rules of the Game might be my favorite movie ever. I think it’s gorgeous and heartbreaking. And that scene with the skeletons? My favorite cinematic moment. Ever. So, although that has to be my choice, I want to give him credit for some other magnificent work: Boudu Saved from Drowning, La Bete Humaine, Les Bas-fonds, and The Southerner. And Grand Illusion isn’t bad either. Nor is French Cancan. Or really anything he did. (Schuyler Chapman)

Le Crime de M. Lange. (Richard T. Jameson)

Another easy one as it was my official “favorite movie” for decades: The Rules of the Game. (Bob Westal)

Rules of the Game is hard to deny, but I was really bowled over by his pre-noir noir La Bete Humaine. (Flosh)

French Cancan. Because I lived with it for weeks when we played a gorgeous restored print at the Market Theater in Seattle. (Jim Emerson)

The River (Aaron)

I’ve only ever seen Rules of the Game and it bored the hell out of me. And I watched it a second time, and it still bored the hell out of me. (Dave S.)

Really surprised by the answers for this question. So many 'Not sure' or 'Not seen enough'. Renoir was once considered one of the three greatest directors ever. His The Rules of the Game and Grand Illusion are landmarks, but my favorite is La Bete Humaine. Amazing to think these three films came out in three years 1937-39, what a streak! (Jamie)

15) Favorite one-word movie title, and why

if... because it's ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! It even has ellipses for the viewer to fill in his or her blank. If what?! If the kids take over? If anarchy reigns? If revolution succeeds? Who knows! What a brilliant title! (Greg)

Unbreakable. It's evocative, thematically coherent with the film. The film itself is outstanding. (Quinn)

The temptation is strong to say M (Lang's, of course). Or Él. But I'll go long and say Stagecoach, because it's the archetypal movie, and the title not only denotes the vehicle and invokes the genre the film helped exalt -- it testifies to and celebrates the glory of movie as journey, journey as movie. (Richard T. Jameson)

Wayne Wang’s Smoke (1995), which unfurls as slowly and thickly as its title. (Walter Biggins)

Trash because it’s anything but. (Schuyler Chapman)

Dick. Just no way you can improve upon the use of this title for a film about Nixon. (Peter Nellhaus)

Zotz! I don't know why. By critical acclamation, this is one of the worst motion pictures ever made, but I was really taken with it when I was a little kid. I think I was just taken by the concept. Haven't tried to watch it again since. (Robert Fiore)

Gummo. The title basically dares you to not watch it. You don't think...oooh Gummo! That sounds like fun. (Kevin J. Olson)

Sssssss. It sums up all you need to know about the movie (Also, it stars Dirk Benedict and Strother Martin -- I need to rewatch this on late night cable once again). (Troy Olson)

Frogs! Compelling, yet a head-scratcher. (Josh Pincus Is Crying)

Hud, because I can hear his father say it as I type it. Also funny to think it was the start of Paul's three one word H films. (Harper and Hombre being the others). Hud also features the boy from Shane as a young adult, another pretty good one-word title movie. (Jamie)

Oh, great question. I'll treat this as a great one-word title, as opposed to a great movie with a one-word title, and say... Patrick. I don't care how bad it is - it's really cool to have a movie with my name. (Patrick)

16) Ernest Thesiger or Basil Rathbone?

Basil Rathbone for being the best nemesis Errol Flynn ever had. (Greg)

Ernest Thesiger for Bride of Frankenstein, and for being an early, obvious and much needed gay presence. (Dave S.)

While the camp in Thesiger's character has been wonderfully explored, I don't think people give him credit on just how scary he could be at the same time. The same line
reading makes me laugh and sends chills down my spine. There's talent. (Krauthammer)

Rathbone (there was never a better villain swordsman... he really knew the moves) (le0pard 13)

Basil Rathbone. Thesiger's wonderfulness was mostly confined to the bent universe of James Whale (not that there's anything wrong with that!), whereas Rathbone – "that young man with two profiles for a face" -- might turn up anywhere, in stellar or character parts. Even looking out of a Xanadu pool-party photo in Citizen Kane. (Richard T. Jameson)

It's an unfair comparison because Rathbone did so much, but Dr. Pretorius is one of the very greatest movie villains ever, so I say Thesiger. (Samuel Wilson)

Rathbone all the way. One of the greatest of character actors and probably the finest swordsmen in all of Los Angeles in his day. (Bob Westal)

Rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, icon beats character actor, Rathbone beats Thesinger. (Robert Fiore)

Basil, my dear Cozzalio. (Jim Emerson)

17) Summer movies—your highest and lowest expectations

Meaning this summer? My highest expectation is for Inglourious Basterds, despite being underwhelmed by the trailer. Soul Power! is pretty high on my list, with Raimi's Drag Me To Hell following up. Lowest expectations are kind of incalculable in this environment, but if Wolverine were to prove marginally entertaining, it would exceed my expectations by a huge margin. (Chris Oliver)

I never have expectations one way or the other. I avoid the summer movies in the theatre and catch them on DVD later. So... in about six months I will actually have expectations, but not now. (Greg)

I’m waiting for John Carter of Mars in the summer of 2012. (Howard Chaykin)

Because of my famed gore-phobia, I have some qualms, but I have to go with Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards and just hope that Quentin doesn’t decide it’s time to do the full Fulci on this one. On the other hand, Year One which looks to be some form of spoof of cave man movies starring Jack Black, Michael Cera, David Cross, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, directed by Harold Ramis sounds really, really funny to me, though. As for lowest expectations, I’ve gotta go with the Transformers sequel, as I was unable to sit through the first one. (Bob Westal)

I hope Woody Allen’s return to New York, with Whatever Works, is good. It stars Larry David, which is a good start, and perhaps David’s abrasive and less genteel sensibility (and ease with improvisation) will rub off on Woody. I’m cautiously optimistic. On the flipside, the Star Trek franchise had a good, three-decade run. Let it die without my having to interpret Kirk and Spock through the Generation-Y lens. Please. (Walter Biggins)

The fact that I'm almost entirely ignorant of what's coming out this summer, as opposed to the half dozen or more I was at least half planning to see last year, would indicate that my lowest expectation is for summer movies. Up I see as a late spring movie and Inglourious Basterds (however misspelled) as a Quentin Tarantino movie, but if those are considered summer movies then those are the summer movies I'm looking forward to. There are so few newly released movies I have any expectations for that when one comes out I'm on it like a wolf on a porkchop, and it's down the hatch that quickly. (Robert Fiore)

Highest-New Woody Allen film
Lowest-The fact that my city will not be getting the new Woody Allen film. (Jeremy)

Excited for Julie and Julia and, strangely, for the Transformers sequel. (Veronique)

18) Whether or not you’re a parent, what would be your ideal pick as first movie to see with your own child (or niece/nephew)? Why?

Well, I am a parent and I can't remember what the first was. I honestly think this question will be easier for non-parents because then it will exist purely in the hypothetical. In reality, your kids see dozens of movies before they can understand them and the first several you watch together have no lasting impact on them. By five or so they can start appreciating story lines and characters. By seven and eight it's a lot better. Our youngest is now fully conversant in the language of thirties movies after years of watching them with us. So I wouldn't pick a first movie, but a first period and make sure it's old. In other words, all the new stuff on cable is unavoidable to them anyway so best to get them well-versed in the flow and pacing of older movies at a young age when they can build a lifelong appreciation for them. (Greg)

Man, I don’t know. 10 Rillington Place? Is that good for kids? I’m bad at judging these things. (Bill R.)

If I went by my own biography, it might be a Hopalong Cassidy picture: Class A program-picture making. And I was very dubious about being taken to Ivanhoe, but loved it for the next twenty years. But the first film I always think of, when the idea of showing something good to kids is mentioned, is Gunga Din. Exotic setting (which is really that most inexhaustible of movie-movie locations, Lone Pine, Calif.), exhilarating action comedy (later on you can introduce the kid to the Keaton influences), epic bromance (not that there's anything wrong with that!), genuinely frightening (but parentally manageable) villainy, and as Leo McKern would say, "the value of blood well shed" (anticipate showing the little nipper Help! sometime down the road). (Richard T. Jameson)

I’d want something that I think a small child would love, be completely entertained by, but also a film that I respect philosophically and artistically. So therefore, Baby Dumpling gets to see The Incredibles. (Ivan G. Shreve)

Wall-E because not only is it a highly entertaining movie, with loads of spectacular visuals, fun references to other film classics, and has a dystopian outlook initially, it's a story of optimism and a journey of how one learns to love. It displays how one's soul is more than the physical parts that make us human. I defy anyone who views that one sequence where Eve tries her damnest to bring her Wall-E back from the dead and says they did not feel anything while viewing it. Finally, it will stand multiple viewings, and the test of time. (le0pard 13)

That's a tough one. It'd probably one of the old classic Disney movies, perhaps a Pixar movie or even some Miyazaki (for a young child, I think My Neighbor Totoro would probably work best). If my child is particularly brilliant, perhaps I'll start them on Star Wars. But I just know it will be something like Dora The Explorer: The Movie. (Mark)

I want to see Buster Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. with my kid. When I wrote about it two years ago, Darren Hughes responded with the following: “Walter, four or five years ago, I made my three nephews watch Sherlock, Jr., which is one of my all-time favorites. They were 7, 8, and 10 at the time and had probably never seen a black-and-white film, let alone a silent one. After two or three minutes, they were chuckling, and by the end of the film they were rolling and making me stop and rewind. It's just about the most perfect movie ever made.” I’d like to think that it’ll generate the same reaction in my child. (Walter Biggins)

Hmmm… I think The Wizard of Oz because it’s my favorite “children’s” movie. It means so much to me and always will, that I’d want to share that with my own child. And when they’re 12, I’d make them watch 400 Blows with me because I’m eternally grateful to my father for having done exactly that. (Schuyler Chapman)

The trouble with this question is that you're limited to what a very young child is going to appreciate, but even so there's a good answer, and that's Pinocchio. You have someone whose inner life is about 75% make believe to begin with, and ideally you're going to a surviving movie palace like the El Capitan, so you're taking the kid to a magical place to see a magical thing done in a magical way with transcendent craft. To reframe the question slightly to which movies you would most relish introducing the kid to when the proper time came, what comes to my mind are the Marx Brothers, the Korda/Powell Thief of Baghdad, 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, and Alien. The latter I imagine sitting there next to the kid with my hands folded over my chest, invisible halo over my head, knowing what's coming while the kid doesn't . . . I don't have any children, but I have a niece now college age who likes the books I give her at Christmas, which is gratifying. I think I really won her over when I gave her Cat's Cradle when she was a junior in high school. Last year it was South Wind by Norman Douglas, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, The Circus of Dr. Lao and Gascoyne by Stanley G. Crawford. (Robert Fiore)

Robocop. But assuming Tricia nixes that, I'll go with Wall-E. (Troy Olson)

Charlie Chaplin in either City Lights, The Kid, The Gold Rush, The Circus or Modern Times. I always thought Chaplin was the perfect character to show to children. He's childlike himself, he's a comic hero, his humour reaches everyone of all ages. The fact that he's from the silent era also makes him perfect to introduce your child to the film language. (Jeremy)

As a child no movie did more for me than Cronenberg's Scanners, but I'd assume most parents would deem that inappropriate. So I'll say something 'techincolor glorious' like The Red Shoes or Bonjour Tristesse. A child wouldn't know what’s going on, but at that age it's not really the point. Jean Seberg is hypercolor is. (Jamie)

I'm hoping that my daughter will be ready to go to the movies by the time Where the Wild Things Are is released. I think about this subject quite often. When my wife was pregnant with Luna, I read an article in the New York Times (I think) about how kids are becoming increasingly "platform agnostic" - a movie, a TV commercial and a video game on a cell phone all have the same value. So besides wanting to pass on my geekiness, I actually think it's important for parents to encourage an appreciation for movies, books and all stories that inspire curiosity and wonder. (Bemis)

19) L.Q. Jones or Strother Martin

Strother Martin, for the delivery of the line "cozy up to the Finkelstein boy" in Up in Smoke. (Patrick)

Jones, I think. Martin could be a little cartoony for my taste. Plus, Jones is so heartbreaking in A Prairie Home Companion, and he directed A Boy and His Dog. (Bill R.)

Once again, I've never heard of either of these. However, I'll go with L.Q. Jones, not because he was in The Wild Bunch, but because he was in Lone Wolf McQuade and he steals every scene he's in... (Mark)

Unless you can show me the Ken Twitchell L.Q. Jones mural, Strother Martin. Really, this is like Finals 2002 Lakers v. Nets. (Robert Fiore)

20) Movie most recently seen in theaters? On DVD/Blu-ray?

Theaters: Two Lovers (awesome); DVD: The Hole (Tsai Ming-Liang’s—it too was awesome) (Schuyler Chapman)

Sunshine Cleaning, which was quirky and entertaining. On DVD, it was Hoodlum starring a young Lawrence Tierney. And though you wouldn't think it to look at him in Reservoir Dogs, when he was a young man he resembled a bulkier, pissed-off Professor from Gilligan's Island. (Alonso Moseley FBI)

Theater: Adventureland, which hit way closer to home than I thought it would.
DVD: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. I absolutely hate hipster NYC kids, but it's a charming movie. (Flosh)

I saw State of Play and 17 Again last Saturday. And on Dennis’ recommendation, I watched The House Bunny on DVD over the weekend. Really, Dennis, WTF?

My theory is that recommending The House Bunny was an experiment to see how many people would watch The Brown Bunny by mistake. (Robert Fiore)

21) Do you see more movies theatrically or at home? Why?

Most at home. 99 percent of movies I see in the theatre are older films from the silent era through the fifties. I am blessed to have the AFI five minutes away meaning I can see classic Hollywood and Foreign films on the big screen regularly. But we've got four kids, three living at home, so most are seen on DVD. (Greg)

At home. The company's better, and my 56-inch DLP displays a better image than most multiplex screens. Better movies most of the time, too. (Richard T. Jameson)

Home, because I watch more old movies than new, and if I want to see, say, King of Kings or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or Hardcore, to name three recent examples, home on DVD is the only option I have. But I see at least one movie, new or old, in a theater each week. (Flosh)

At home. Theatrical standards (projection, facilities, audience behavior) are not what they used to be, and it makes me sad. But also, after years of having my daily dictated by screenings, I treasure being able to watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it -- on a good-sized screen, with first-rate sound, and in a decent print. (Jim Emerson)

Theatrically. Despite the talking and chair-kicking people that insist upon sitting next to me, there’s nothing like the immersive experience of sitting in the darkened theater and allowing myself to be engrossed in the world unfolding before me. I’ve yet to truly replicate that elsewhere. (Sharon)

At home, now. For the past five years, I’ve been making a point of educating myself on cinema classics. Since I don’t live in a city with a strong repertory cinema, well, that mostly means DVDs or downloading the obscure movies and watching them on computer. (Walter Biggins)

At home… I’m a grad student, and so movie-watching is usually something I do late in the evening when I’ve put the books to bed. That said, I live within walking distance of two decent theaters now and see more movies theatrically than I have in, say, six years. (Schuyler Chapman)

At home thanks to Netflix/Hulu/living across the street from a performing arts library. (Veronique)

At home, because I keep buying DVDs. It has something to do with the everybody-I-like-is-dead-or-not-feeling-very-well phenomenon, something to do with middle aged energy deficiency, and something to do with not wanting to think I wasted my money on the DVD. However, I do still make a point to see a movie I'm really interested in on the big screen first, which is why I haven't seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or Kwaidan yet. (Robert Fiore)

Home. Hell is other moviegoers. (Daniel L.)

22) Name an award-worthy comic performance that was completely ignored by Oscar and his pals.

Pretty much anything by Jack Black. He really should have been nominated by now. And honestly, as great as Robert Downey jr was in Tropic Thundder, Black made me laugh more. (Greg)

(Greg, I really like Jack Black too, especially in Shallow Hal and in his shoulda-been-nominated performance as Nacho-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o Libre!-- Dennis)

Anna Faris in Smiley Face & Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Silver Streak and Willy Wonka (OK the GGs nominated him for the latter two films…) & Steve Martin in The Jerk, LA Story, The Man with Two Brains and Bowfinger (how the GGs nominated him for Father of the Bride 2 and not any of those other ones is beyond me… At least they gave him one for All of Me. (Schuyler Chapman)

This list is tragically endless: Miriam Hopkins in Design For Living, Thomas Mitchell in Stagecoach, Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in The Shop Around the Corner, Cary Grant in His Girl Friday, Joel McCrea in Sullivan's Travels, Eddie Bracken in Hail the Conquering Hero, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot, Bill Murray in Tootsie, Jack Nicholson in The Fortune, Jeff Daniels in Purple Rose of Cairo, Kristin Scott Thomas in Four Weddings in a Funeral, Alan Alda in Crimes and Misdemeanors, Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, (Larry Gross)

Anna Faris in The House Bunny. (Howard Chaykin)

John Barrymore and Carole Lombard, Twentieth Century; Cary Grant in The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, and supremely His Girl Friday; Rosalind Russell, too, in HGF, as well as a special Oscar ensemble award for the criminal-courts reporters. We could fill this category with performances from Richard Lester movies: Victor Spinetti in the Beatles films, Leo McKern's Clang, Michael Crawford and Donal Donnelly in The Knack, Zero Mostel in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (though I have an aversion to awarding actors for roles they created on stage), Michael Hordern in the same movie. Beyond the Lesterverse, Colm Meaney was robbed (by a rules change) for The Snapper. William Demarest in almost any of his Preston Sturges roles. Luis Alberni as Louis Louis of the Hotel Louis in Easy Living, plus why not Jean Arthur? John C. Reilly, especially for Boogie Nights (he did get one of Chicago's few merited nominations). And for a recent supporting gem, Brad Pitt's hanging Chad, Burn After Reading. (Richard T. Jameson)

A: Nicolas Cage, back when he was good in either Raising Arizona or Vampire’s Kiss. He didn’t deserve it for Leaving Las Vegas. (Dave S.)
Can we get a group nomination for the cast of the Ocean's Eleven remake?
(Alonso Moseley FBI)

Where do you start? Nearly all of them, but why don’t we go with James Cagney for One, Two, Three? (Bob Westal)

Oliver Platt in The Ice Harvest. He steals the film. (Flosh)

Eddie Murphy in The Klumps: Nutty Professor II. Not only were there several distinctly different characters, but Murphy reminded me how laugh out loud funny he could be. (Peter Nellhaus)

There are no doubt quite a few between Buster Keaton in Our Hospitality and James Franco in Pineapple Express, but I'll stick with those. (Jim Emerson)

Most of them, frankly. But when heartthrobs and hunks stretch their wings to do comedy, and do it well, the lack of recognition really stings. Which brings me to the sad fact that George Clooney’s finest performance, as pontificating ne’er-do-well Ulysses Everett McGill in the hilarious O Brother, Where Art Thou?, didn’t even get nominated for an Oscar (or a Golden Globe, if I recall correctly). I find that almost as unforgivable as the notion that Cary Grant was nominated for neither His Girl Friday nor Bringing Up Baby, or even The Philadelphia Story. (Walter Biggins)

Easier to name an award-worthy comic performance that wasn't, isn't it? Ignoring comic performances is what the Oscar is about. (Robert Fiore)

Spring Byington in The Devil and Miss Jones (1941). (Ivan G. Shreve)

Too many to name, but I’ll throw out Madeline Kahn in What’s Up, Doc? (Sharon)

Many answers would fit, but Rick Moranis as Lewis Tully in Ghostbusters should have gotten the Best Supporting Actor. (Jamie)

Well, we could go all the way back. Did Groucho or Harpo ever get a nod? Who got awards the year Duck Soup came out? I don't feel like looking it up right now, but I bet the answer is pretty embarrassing. (Chris Oliver)

23) Zac Efron & Vanessa Hudgens or Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart

Best question on this list :P I'll take the High School Musical duo any day by virtue of the fact they are prettier to look at and have a modicum of facial expressions and charisma. And, I don't begrudge them their fame. For some reason, with Pattinson and Stewart, I begrudge. (Troy Olson)

I like Kristen Stewart, but I wish that Pattinson guy would stop with all the eyebrow posing… yeech! Plus he looks like a skinned rabbit. I’ll go with them though, because Stewart’s so good. (Dave S.)

Ask me in five years, all four have yet to make one serious film between them. I'll judge then. I will say I think Hudgens will have the shortest career, Efron the longest. (Jamie)

Goddamn kids and their boom-bang music. (Krauthammer)

Huh? Who? (Bob Westal)


UP NEXT! The Best of Professor Peabody’s Hysterical Historical Wayback Spring Break Film Quiz Part 3: EVEN MORE ICONS, TOO MUCH PAIN, DELIGHTS BELOW THE RADAR AND THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WATCHING MOVIES!



Robert Fiore said...

Following up, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is going to be on the big screen at the Billy Wilder theater this weekend, so I'll finally see that.

Sharon said...

Walter Biggins, I'm happy to report that they ever-yummy George Clooney did indeed win a Glolden Globe award for his performance in O Brother Where Art Thou?