Thursday, March 21, 2013


Join us now for part three of Miss Brodie's epic class review of some of her favorite answers from her very own SLIFR movie quiz. We begin with a wink and a nudge in the direction of  the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, well known for his sense of humor...

17) Favorite religious satire

There are so few. Nasty Habits is a great movie but it is really a "Watergate satire." The Ruling Class is really a satire of the British ruling class. Bunuel's The Milky Way is really a tender homage to Catholic errata, not an attack. I guess I'll go with Scorpio Rising, which at least taints the Jesus story with gay porn and jukebox music. (Matthew David Wilder)

In God We Tru$t (xterminal)

Monty Python’s Life of Brian – “How shall we fuck off, oh Lord?” (Dave Stewart)

Bunuel's The Milky Way (estienne64)

Dogma (Anne Thompson)

Moore & Cook's Bedazzled.(Patrick)

The funniest ones actually are the ones that seriously intend to proselytize. (Edward Copeland) 

The Robe. And can I change my answer to number 10? (Jeff Gee)

Simon of the Desert (Josh K.)

Life of Brian is the runaway winner. (weepingsam)

The Tree Of Life? (Larry Aydlette)

Bedazzled (1967) featuring Raquel Welch-- so don’t go expecting consistency from me. (Mr. Peel)

Bedazzled. There is a belief that there is more than one version of this movie, but that's rank heresy. (Robert Fiore)
The Exorcist (Katherine Wilson)

I should say Viridiana or something, but Life of Brian got the job done. (David Cairns)

The Ruling Class. Brilliant and hilarious. (Robert T. Daniel)

I don't think I can come up with anything better than Life of Brian. (Sean Axmaker)

The Papal fashion show in Fellini’s Roma, just ahead of Bunuel’s The Milky Way. (Roderick Heath)

Does The Master (2012) count? (Tony Dayoub)

Life of Brian is the obvious choice, but I'm going with Guru Dutt's Pyaasa, about an obscure writer who becomes a cult phenomenon after he's reported dead Upon returning and seeing how lame followers are, rejects them all to wander the earth with the cute hooker who loves him. (Sean Gilman)

 18)   Best Internet movie argument?

      Matthias Stork's "Chaos Cinema." He went on to confuse his own ideas the more he tried to explain them (and became needlessly apologetic to his straw-man critics), but his original video essay is still a game-changer. (Craig)

All the arguments for The New World and Miami Vice on The House Next Door many years ago. (Sean Gilman)

I remember getting into an argument with a guy who wrote off Gordon Flemyng's The Split (1968) based solely on the fact that he couldn't buy Ernest Borgnine beating Jim Brown in a fistfight. I called bullshit on that argument, with Emperor of the North as my evidence, feeling not only could Borgnine win the fight but, win or not, the fight would've at least lasted a helluva lot longer than my idiot friend thought possible. (W.B. Kelso)

I did enjoy the debate started by Dan Kois's bullshit "cultural vegetables" piece for the New York Times. (Tony Dayoub)

I recently defended Armond White (yes, how did that happen?) in his defense of Seth MacFarlane throwing Hollywood’s tastelessness with regard to women back in the face of the Academy. It was a lively argument that needed to happen. (Marilyn Ferdinand)

I found the discussion on The Dark Knight over at Scanners to be really interesting and eye-opening. (Weigard)

I enjoyed that madness of Jeff Wells and the Rosemary's Baby aspect ratio, eventually settled by someone claiming to be Roman Polanski himself. (David Cairns)

If I take the time to fill out these quizzes, why doesn't the guy who writes them? (Larry Aydlette)

Any of the debates in the comment section at Glenn Kenny’s blog. (Josh K.)

A long intense argument about Malick right after “The Thin Red Line” came out, fought between about a dozen people on a private forum. It was lasted for days and wound up touching on a million ancillary subjects, and the participants were all smarter than hell. It got pretty nasty in places and nobody’s mind was ultimately changed, but it was a delightful way to chew up three or four days. (Tom Block)

Is Ferris Bueller a projection of Cameron’s, ala Fight Club? (Jeff Gee)

Any serious discussion of a film or filmmaker that doesn't degenerate into namecalling or insecure overraactions by people who still don't understand that all opinions about art are subjective and there is no right or wrong. (Edward Copeland)

Whether or not Deckard is a replicant. It's a debate that's no closer to being resolved now than it was before the internet came along. (Patrick)

The relative merits of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster films, and by extension the current state of White Elephant Art. (Scott Nye)
         I am continually astonished by the way Glenn Kenny gets his blood pressure raised in his blog. Last week some dumb college girl posted a very obscure thing saying "I Think Jazz Sucks!" It was dumb. She was dumb. I don't think jazz musicians were in danger of being rounded up and put in boxcars. But Kenny expostulated and exploded. Even in his rave reviews he finds stuff to splutter and push and jab his fingers into its chest. I am afraid to ever meet him in the flesh. (Matthew David Wilder)

19) Most pointless Internet movie argument?

      Anything in which the words "Lena Dunham" appear. The Siren signed off forever when someone on Twitter chimed in with, "Jean Renoir had a famous artist parent too." Good grief, enough already. Let's talk about Lloyd Bacon! (Self-Styled Siren)

      Here's the thing: I'm convinced you can have a good movie argument-- fun, forceful, perceptive, wide-ranging, full of animated gestures (or internet drawings of gestures) and facial expressions (or internet emoticons)-- about anything. The trick is to have it with the right people. Which means that avoiding the most pointless internet movie arguments is not about choosing a topic, but about avoiding those people you don't like or respect, who will drag it all down into name-calling, ad hominem accusations, and endless, irrelevant YouTube links. Know your trolls. (Brian Doan)

 “The death of film criticism.” Blogs like this, and the discussion they spur, prove that’s impossible. (Scott Nye)

Whether film criticism is dead. (Anne Thompson)

What's in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. (Patrick)

People who declare the end-times are upon us when they think an undeserving film wins the Oscar for best picture because they actually think the Oscar represents the "best" instead of just being a glorified opinion poll. Best example: People still carrying a Crash chip on their shoulder after seven years, calling it things such as "the worst film in cinematic history." 
They obviously haven't sat through enough shitty movies. (Edward Copeland)

Is Ferris Bueller a projection of Cameron’s, ala Fight Club? (Jeff Gee)

After hanging out on a movie forum for several years with the same group of people, I was amazed when the subject of subtitles came up one day and about half of them came firmly down on the side of dubbing. These were pretty knowledgeable people, too, but they all insisted that having to read and the frame space taken up by subtitles made dubbing a no-brainer. I thought it would be easy to sway them, and still remember beginning my first post on the subject with “Can you imagine watching a Jimmy Stewart movie and hearing someone else’s voice?” Nope! Two days later we were still at it. Three days later I’d murdered them all, and I’m now writing this from a supermax prison. (Tom Block)

Is film culture dead? (Josh K.)

See No. 18. (Larry Aydlette)

Whether Zero Dark Thirty defends the American use of torture in the years after the 
September 11 attacks. Seriously? (Sean Axmaker)

Is cinema dead? (Weigard)

The recent unwarranted attack on the AV Club and Scott Tobias in particular, by an Internet troll who shall remain nameless. You can read up on it over at Bill Ryan's The Kind of Face You Hate. (Tony Dayoub)

Most of them, probably. But every time the argument over aspect ratios for late 50s movies comes up, my eyes glaze over. (Sean Gilman)
      Anything concocted by the Neo-Auteurists, such as insisting the reliably shitty Paul W.S. Anderson is a major filmmaker or, worse, a better filmmaker than Paul Thomas Anderson. (hat-tip Steven Santos) (Craig)

Any film discussion or argument where someone uses the word, “EVER” with regards to film.  Be it “best ever” or “worst ever” it is pointless given the vastness of our film horizon and the variables that affect movie tastes.  For every person’s “ever” there’s another equally significant and adamant  ”ever” to counter it. (Citizen Screenings)

20) Charles McGraw or Robert Ryan?

McGraw is one fabulously cool customer, but come on--Ryan. (Self-Styled Siren)

      If he'd only done Crossfire, he'd be here. But the fact that Robert Ryan still had The Set-Up, The Woman on Pier 13, On Dangerous Ground, The Naked Spur, Bad Day At Black Rock, The Dirty Dozen and The Wild Bunch ahead of him makes him an easy choice. I'm also dying to see the Jay Gatsby he did for Playhouse 90. (Brian Doan)

 Ryan for sure, one of the most dangerous film presences. (Scott Nye)

       Ryan for sure. The man who greeted Michael Caine just as he arrived in the US at the Polo Lounge by cheekily pinching his arse. (Matthew David Wilder)

McGraw by three lengths. (xterminal)

This one doesn't seem fair. McGraw's fine, but Ryan's unbeatable. (estienne64)

Craggy, dignified Robert Ryan in The Wild Bunch is a thing of beauty. (Anne Thompson)

I love McGraw but he’s a character actor. Ryan had the range and body language of a major star, and an uncommonly intense emotional core. (Tom Block)

McGraw is very cool in Narrow Margin, and Ryan’s screen presence always left me a little queasy (which was the point, I know, but still…). On Dangerous Ground is a really impressive piece of work by Ryan, though, and I admire the fact that he dug as deep as he did in The Iceman Cometh. So I guess that tips it toward Ryan. (wwolfe)

Granite or steel cable? Both are essential to any monolithic undertaking. (David Cairns)

Ryan -- but there's nothing wrong with second place to him. (W.B. Kelso)

21) Favorite line of dialogue from a western

"Hyah!" (Thom McGregor)

“You boys gotta make up your minds if you want to get your cookies. Cause if you want to get your cookies, I've got girls up here that'll do more tricks than a goddamn monkey on a hundred yards of grapevine.” - John McCabe, McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Scott Nye)

“Hell, I even thought I was dead till I found out I was just in Nebraska.” (xterminal)

"Plantin' and readin', plantin' and readin'. Fill a man full o' lead, stick him in the ground an' then read words on him. Why, when you've killed a man, why try to read the Lord in as a partner on the job?" (Self-Styled Siren)

"Goin' into my own home justified"—Ride the High Country (Matthew David Wilder)

"A man needs a reason to ride this country. You got a reason?" (Sean Axmaker)

"When you pull a gun; kill a man." The true code of the West from My Darling Clementine. (Happy Miser)

 “A game-legged old man and a drunk. That’s all you got?” “It’s WHAT I got.” – Rio Bravo  (Josh K.)

“When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.” (weepingsam)

 "Where there's revolution, there's confusion, and where there's confusion, a man who knows what he wants stands a good chance o' gettin' it." -- A Fistful of Dynamite (David Cairns)

22) Second favorite Roy Del Ruth film

      I gotta get to know Del Ruth better. Taped today's TCM Woody Van Dyke festival, how will I ever get to it! Anyway, I know one Del Ruth real well...Always Leave ‘Em Laughing. Scorsese's Guilty Pleasures description of Laughing is more hard-edged than the movie, but it is still fun, and still amazing to think Uncle Miltie, in all his broadness and hostility, had a super-huge, globally hyper-famous moment in the sun. (Matthew David Wilder)
The Harry Langdon shorts would be far and away the best movies he was ever involved with, and The Cat's Meow was the best of those. My favorite talkie would be Kid Millions. (Robert Fiore)

First, I need a first. Blessed Event? (Larry Aydlette)

I’ve only seen Blonde Crazy, which I loved. I’m also a fan of the trailer for The Alligator People, but I’m guessing that’s not Del Ruth at his best. (Josh K.)

You’re killing me. Well, I’ve seen only two, and the silver medal goes to The Alligator People. (# 1 is the 1931 Maltese Falcon). (Jeff Gee)

It's the Lloyd Bacon question all over again. (estienne64)

Employee’s Entrance (after Blessed Event) - hey, maybe “go ahead, shoot! What are you, yellow?” ought to be my favorite line. Warren Wiliam is a good one. (But yes, Lee Tracy is better.) (weepingsam)

Um… I’ve only ever seen The Alligator People. (Dave Stewart)

Born To Dance, because I love Eleanor Powell. But honestly, I've only seen his musicals (and I think of The Ziegfeld Follies more as a Minnelli film). I stare at Roy Del Ruth's IMDb listing, and I see a wealth of films that sound spectacular, which I have not seen. To Netflix, to Netflix! (Brian Doan)

Employees' Entrance. (No. 1 is Blessed Event.) (Self-Styled Siren)

Well, either Blessed Event or Blonde Crazy is my favorite, so either Blonde Crazy or Blessed Event is second favorite. The Mind Reader, Employees’ Entrance, and Taxi! are all contenders for third. I also have a fondness for Beauty and the Boss, but it lacks del Ruth’s customary zip, despite Warren William in the lead). (wwolfe)

 23) Relatively unknown Film or filmmaker you’d most eagerly proselytize for

I do, for Radha Baharadwaj. She needs to start making movies again. (xterminal)

Doris Wishman (Dave Stewart)

The Player writer Michael Tolkin's The Rapture tackles religion and the afterlife in a way no one else has. (Anne Thompson)

Melvin Goes to Dinner. Four people talking, with cameos from Jack Black and David Cross, directed by Bob Odenkirk. Last I checked, it's not in Leonard Maltin's guide - which is okay, as it makes me feel like I've got a great secret. (Patrick)

Lisa Duva (Jeff Gee)

I saw Matthew Gordon’s The Dynamiter at the Austin Film Festival last year, and I wish someone would give this first-time feature filmmaker wide distribution for this beautiful film. (Josh K.)

Well, let’s just say Blessed Event and leave it at that. (weepingsam)

John Dahl, among modern filmmakers. The Last Seduction is a masterpiece, and his other movies show off a facility to slip between genres like the old studio hands could. (Larry Aydlette)

I’d love to be able to show a packed house Milos Forman’s Taking Off. (Mr. Peel)

Leo McCarey. He's well-known among readers of this blog, but I don't think most casual moviegoers would a clue who he was - even though many, if not most, would know one or more of his movies very well. (wwolfe)

Claire Peploe (Katherine Wilson)

Max Linder (Robert Fiore)

Maybe Yuri Norstein, I could convert anyone in under an hour, and you could watch his entire oeuvre in a day. With meal breaks. (David Cairns)

He's not anything close to unknown, but I really think Michael Winterbottom is underrated. (Thom McGregor)
      Lisandro Alonso's Liverpool is by no means unknown but I think it is a major film that should be better recognized. To turn the clock back, I think Byron Haskin's I Walk Alone is a hugely great movie, far better than a lot of better-known noirs that are frequently re-viewed and discussed. (Matthew David Wilder)

I've been thinking back to Canadian film I saw a decade ago at a film festival. It's called Punch, written and directed by Guy Bennett. Came out on DVD years ago and disappeared, but really deserves a serious look. Smart, provocative, and it acknowledges something that movies by their nature seem of overlook: that when one person punches another person without provocation, it's not something easily shrugged off. It's a transgressive act, an assault, and it can be humiliating and emotionally painful for the victim. I've never seen another film express that transgression in such intimate and emotional terms. (Sean Axmaker)

I don’t think I know any that are even relatively unknown, but here are a couple with local connections that I think deserved more attention:  Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon -- excellent documentary on a (formerly) small logging town that has increasingly become a suburb, and the conflict of cultures that resulted.  Bandits -- high profile actors, fun story, and I feel like I’m the only person who liked it. (Weigard)

Lebanese filmmaker Rania Stephan whose film The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosniabsolutely floored me. She’s an up-and-coming filmmaker whom I would gladly promote any hour of any day. (Marilyn Ferdinand)

24)   Ewan McGregor or Gerard Butler?

This question is so silly. Ewan is only the most beautiful, wonderful actor on the planet, and Butler is… not. (Thom McGregor)

To a Scotsman, that's like saying "Crieff or Paisley?" -- impossible to get excited about either. (David Cairns)

Ewan McGregor. I'd much rather have a pint with Ewan, or have a pint while watching one of his films. (Sean Axmaker)

Since being miscast as the title character in the doomed movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (it really would have helped to cast someone who can sing), and then dragging as the hero of the interminable 300 (named after how long its running time feels, no doubt) Gerard Butler has proven to be a charming leading man, but he's really only as good as his co-star. That means he's very sweet and sad opposite Hillary Swank in P.S. I Love You, but suffers when trying to make a convincingly real human out of Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth. My affection for Jessica Biel means Playing For Keeps is sitting in my i-tunes rental library, but the fact that I'm less enamored of Butler means I haven't rushed to watch it the way I might if it starred, say, Paul Rudd in his part.

Ewan McGregor, on the other hand, is a fantastic actor-- and at this point, a weirdly underrated one. I suppose the Star Wars prequels damaged some of his hipster cred, and I can't imagine going to see Jack The Giant Slayer anytime soon. But the list of films, big and small, that he's enhanced with with his blend of charm, menace, intensity and searching romanticism is simply endless: Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, Brassed Off, The Pillow Book, Down With Love, Velvet Goldmine, Moulin Rouge, Big Fish...Even something like The Island, which becomes Michael Bay's best film simply because of how thoroughly and uncondescendingly McGregor embraces the film's ridiculous conceit and makes it feel vital, at least for those two hours of watching. He's also a lot of fun in the two TV miniseries he made with Charley Boorman, Long Way Round and Long Way Down, which document their globe-hopping bike trips. And even though almost nothing about the Lucas prequels works as well as it should, none of that is McGregor's fault-- he mimics Alec Guiness' timbre and inflections beautifully, while also bringing a young man's controlled rage to the Jedi mythos. When, in Revenge of the Sith, he's finally allowed to cut loose and be an action hero, the smile that dances on his lips and the gleam in his eye makes up for a million Jar Jar Binks malapropisms. (Brian Doan)

That's a choice? (Larry Aydlette)

McGregor, but Butler’s an undertapped resource. (Scott Nye)

Ewan McGregor, although that may have something to do with the material the two have had to work with. I remember watching Timeline, for which I had high hopes that were summarily dashed, and there was only one person who actually seemed to be “right” in the movie, and that was Gerard Butler. I’d like to see him in some more interesting films. (Weigard)

Both are generally loathsome, but Butler actually showed acting chops in Coriolanus, something McGregor has yet to do. (xterminal)

McGregor's charm and 'have a go' attitude mean he just edges it. (estienne64)

McGregor can act, sing, do any genre believably, even romance, and likes to show off his body and penis (see Pillow Book, Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge, Beginners). Butler, while handsome and talented, picks badly and lets his inner boob shine through, especially in romances. I’m sure that his penis is smaller. (Anne Thompson)

Jesus. There’s a buddy movie to make your heart sink right to the fucking center of the earth. (Jeff Gee)

Ewan McGregor. I wouldn’t hire Gerard Butler to play the lead in The Gerard Butler Story. (Mr. Peel)

Ewan, if for nothing else than Down With Love. Butler is a canned ham with a bad beard. (wwolfe)

Ewan McGregor (despite his many crimes). (Jamie Lewis)



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