Saturday, July 25, 2009
Every so often Dennis Cozzalio of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule posts a massive quiz for other film bloggers to tackle. Here are my responses for his latest one.
1) Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.
Lolita (my favorite is Eyes Wide Shut).
2) Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil.
The best trend is seeing various intelligent, visually sophisticated directors — David Lynch, Michael Mann, David Fincher — transition to digital video and use it in interesting ways.
3) Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?
Definitely Buffalo Bill, from one of Robert Altman's most unfairly overlooked films. Newman turns in a fine performance, and the film itself is a thoughtful examination of showmanship, patriotism and the appeal of the frontier.
4) Best Film of 1949.
Tough and economical: The Set-Up.
5) Joseph Tura (Jack Benny) or Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore)?
Twentieth Century is a masterpiece, probably Howard Hawks' least known screwball comedy but nevertheless deserving of a place among his best films. And Oscar Jaffe is a big part of the fun.
6) Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?
Of course, which doesn't mean that it can't also occasionally yield something interesting.
7) What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?
Probably Kurosawa's Yojimbo, courtesy of a college roommate who loved samurai movies.
8) Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) or Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre)?
9) Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).
Hiroshima mon amour.
10) Favorite animal movie star.
The spider monkey who stares down Klaus Kinski at the end of Aguirre, the Wrath of God.
11) Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.
The helicopter disaster during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie.
12) Best Film of 1969.
My Night At Maud's.
13) Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.
The last film I saw theatrically was Public Enemies, and on DVD was Hollow Man.
14) Second-favorite Robert Altman film.
I'm vacillating between whether I prefer The Long Goodbye or the much-underrated A Wedding, so I guess whichever of those ultimately loses out is my second favorite.
15) What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print?
I couldn't pick a favorite, but I voraciously read many, many, many movie blogs, which provide my main source for writing about movies.
16) Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji? (Thanks, Peter!)
17) Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?
As much as I enjoy Bullets Over Broadway, Mona Lisa has to win out.
18) Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.
The famous funhouse mirror sequence at the end of Welles' Lady From Shanghai.
19) Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.
David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE, which brilliantly uses digital video effects to heighten the disorienting terror of his vision.
20) Favorite movie that is equal parts genre film and a deconstruction or consideration of that same genre.
I've got Paul Verhoeven on the mind lately, and that sentence sounds like it's meant to describe him, with Showgirls and Starship Troopers as the most obvious examples.
21) Best Film of 1979.
This year has The Brood, The Third Generation and The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting... and you want me to pick just one?
22) Most realistic and/or sincere depiction of small-town life in the movies.
For some reason, the example that's jumping to mind is the portrait of tranquil suburbia being invaded by a foreign threat in Paul Landres' horror classic The Return of Dracula.
23) Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).
Either The Creature From the Black Lagoon or Cronenberg's Brundlefly.
24) Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.
Either the first or the second Godfather film, I suppose.
25) Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.
North By Northwest could've spawned endless sequels as far as I'm concerned: who couldn't watch Cary Grant wittily escaping from spies in movie after movie?
26) Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.
27) Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.
The startlingly unreal, disorienting matte-painted backdrops in Black Narcissus.
28) Favorite Alan Smithee film. (Thanks, Peter!)
I don't think I've ever actually seen a Smithee film, but the best thing to ever feature Smithee was surely the wonderful and much-missed Directorama.
29) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?
It's so wrong to even imply that Costner could conceivably ever be superior to Matthau.
30) Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.
I'm probably one of the few people who thinks this a hard question because there are just so many good ones, but if pressed I'll go with the lovely, witty Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
31) Best Film of 1999.
These seem to be tough years: it's a toss-up between Eyes Wide Shut and Beau travail, both haunting masterpieces.
32) Favorite movie tag line.
I never pay attention to these.
33) Favorite B-movie western.
34) Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of her or his work.
Raymond Chandler's a good enough writer that he doesn't really need the help, but he's had so many good films made from his books that it's hard not to pick him.
35) Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) or Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard)?
I like Lombard, but no one touches Hepburn.
36) Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.
Rebekah Del Rio in Mulholland Dr., a scene that nearly brings me to tears every time I see it.
37) Bruno (the character, if you haven’t seen the movie, or the film, if you have): subversive satire or purveyor of stereotyping?
Neither, just entertainment.
38) Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet. (Thanks, Rick!)
Jean-Luc Godard, Myrna Loy, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Jules Feiffer.