Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Give Myself a D+

Spurred by Dennis Cozzalio and the need to interrupt the silence of the last two months lest some pornographer declare imminent domain on my site, I've decided to take a stab at Professor Ed Avery’s Cortizone-Fueled, Bigger-Than-Life, Super Big-Gulp-Sized Summer Movie Quiz.

I already know I've failed, as I can't give satisfactory answers to several of the below questions, thanks mainly to a lack of familiarity with the subjects. However, this is as good a way as any to put one foot in front of the other and start writing some stuff over here again. (Incidentally, you should have read the stuff I was going to write over the last eight weeks. Man-o-man.) 

Here we go:

1) Depending on your mood, your favorite or least-loved movie cliché
Most-loved: I can't think of an actual example right now, but I always chuckle at variations of the following:

The BAD GUYS are making their desperate escape but the helicopter is lurching under the weight of the AK-toting villains and their purloined loot.
MINOR/DISPOSABLE VILLAIN: It's too crowded in here!
LEAD VILLAIN (archly): I couldn't agree more.
The Lead Villain tosses the Minor/Disposable Villain from the helicopter, thus lightening the load.

I guess what I'm saying is I love the no-honor-among-thieves cliché (and I just thought of an example while writing this: Russell Crowe dispatching Peter Fonda in the 3:10 TO YUMA remake).

Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah; John Cale's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah; anybody's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah; the Hallelujah chorus; etc. ... all used to telegraph what those things typically telegraph. You know what I mean.

2) Regardless of whether or not you eventually caught up with it, which film classic have you lied about seeing in the past?
The only instance of this that springs to mind is a conversation I had with a friend wherein I faked my way through knowing the plot of 61*, that HBO telefilm about the 1927 Yankees, hardly a "film classic". I even guessed enough plot points correctly to pull the deception off. What I could have possibly gained from this lie is beyond me. I think we were having an agreeable conversation and I didn't want it to fall into awkward silence.

With the internet, it's a lot easier to feign knowledge of these things. So I could pretend to have seen a few Tashlin films to help boost my score. But I won't.

3) Roland Young or Edward Everett Horton?
Here's where my ignorance begins to infect the proceedings. They're both in RUGGLES OF RED GAP, a film long on my to-see list (it's been rumored as a looming Criterion release for years). I have seen one film of Young's (THE PHILADELPHIA STORY) and two of Horton's (ARSENIC AND OLD LACE and LOST HORIZON). I prefer PHILADELPHIA STORY to either of the other films so... Young.

4) Second favorite Frank Tashlin movie
I'd have to see one to even begin to fake my way through this. Sorry.

5) Clockwork Orange-- yes or no?
Yes. Admittedly, I'm not as enthusiastic as I was when I first saw it at the age of 21 (the night before the Columbine massacre, oddly enough). But I hold that it's one of the few adaptations that's better than the book. I find Burgess' "but I've grown out of all that raping and violence stuff" coda worth discarding in favor of Kubrick's "I was cured alright."
6) Best/favorite use of gender dysphoria in a horror film (Ariel Schudson)
Great question. And I'm pretty out of my league here, too. Can a case be made for DEAD RINGERS in this category? Obviously, Elliot and Beverly have their share of identity crises without bringing gender into the equation. ALIEN RESURRECTION also pops in my head for some reason.

7) Melanie Laurent or Blake Lively?
The only two pieces of evidence I can weigh in this case are:
EXHIBIT A: Lively channeling Amy Ryan in THE TOWN
The jury's verdict is unanimous (see the picture above).

8) Best movie of 2011 (so far…)
CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS. I'm lucky I saw it Friday because, otherwise, my answer would have been SOURCE CODE, a fine enough film but I've already quite forgotten it.

9) Favorite screen performer with a noticeable facial deformity
(Peg Aloi)
Skelton Knaggs. I first noticed him during his brief walk-on in ISLE OF THE DEAD. Then, in rapid succession, I saw THE LODGER, GHOST SHIP, and BEDLAM.

10) Lars von Trier: sh*thead or misunderstood comic savant? (Dean Treadway)
I'm going to cop out and say both. I get a pass on this since it's based on a false dichotomy. ANTICHRIST straddles both of these sides rather perfectly.

11) Timothy Carey or Henry Silva?
I really like Henry Silva. I do. But this trumps everything.

12) Low-profile writer who deserves more attention from critics and /or audiences
It's these types of questions where I find myself too downstream from all the people who have dedicated their lives to sussing out these sort of guys. I think James Gray gets better with each script. That Dostoyevsky adaptation was amazing. But doesn't Gray get enough attention from critics if not audiences? Can I shamelessly plug my own unsold/unproduced work here?

13) Movie most recently viewed theatrically, and on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming
DVD - BLACK DEATH [score: 58/100]
Streaming - THE WINDMILL MOVIE [72]

14) Favorite film noir villain
But this is impossible. Laird Cregar in THIS GUN FOR HIRE and I WAKE UP SCREAMING and Lawrence Tierney in BORN TO KILL are the immediate candidates. But... come on. It's like a forty-way tie for first.

15) Best thing about streaming movies?
Seeing Peter Watkins' THE WAR GAME and William Cameron Menzies THE MAZE, just to name a couple eenie-meenine-miney-moes my wife and I have recently test drove on Netflix.

16) Fay Spain or France Nuyen?
(Peter Nellhaus)
Being wholly unfamiliar with their work, I'd have to do a Google Image Search. And I'm not lowering myself to that.

17) Favorite Kirk Douglas that isn’t called Spartacus (Peter Nellhaus)
Part of me wants to say 20,000 LEAGUES just so I don't have to say the obvious (ACE IN THE HOLE).

18) Favorite movie about cars

19) Audrey Totter or Marie Windsor?
 For the right reasons and the Google Image Search reasons.

20) Existing Stephen King movie adaptation that could use an remake/reboot/overhaul
Ugh. Who cares? Aren't there other unsung horror writers with stories to tell? There should be a moratorium on King adaptations until at least one competent Lovecraft film is released. Or more M. R. James-based screenplays. Barring that, I'd say DREAMCATCHER. And I'd say it with malice.

21) Low-profile director who deserves more attention from critics and/or audiences
See my answer to number 12. Lodge Kerrigan, if I have to choose.

22) What actor that you previously enjoyed has become distracting or a self-parody?
(Adam Ross)
I'm not a fan of taking swipes at fading matinee idols. But: Harrison Ford.

23) Best place in the world to see a movie
The Egyptian Theater, during Noir Fest.

24) Charles McGraw or Sterling Hayden?

25) Second favorite Yasujiro Ozu film
Not really qualified seeing as, other than TOKYO STORY, I've only seen snippets of his films.

26) Most memorable horror movie father figure
Off the top of my head:

27) Name a non-action-oriented movie that would be fun to see in Sensurround
(Sal Gomez)
MOTHLIGHT. (Yeah I'm getting glibber. What of it?)

28) Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds?
I've been in Reynolds' corner since THE NINES.

29) Favorite relatively unknown supporting player, from either or both the classic and the modern era
Skelton Knaggs again.

30) Real-life movie location you most recently visited or saw
I think we passed the motor inn(s) from the last section of SOMETHING WILD last time we journeyed up US301.

31) Second favorite Budd Boetticher movie
COMANCHE STATION. SEVEN MEN FROM NOW is my favorite as of right now.

32) Mara Corday or Julie Adams?
OKAY. You got me. My decision is based solely on the Google Image Search:

33) Favorite Universal-International western
Another tough one. WINCHESTER '73 is hard to beat.

34) Favorite actress of the silent era
Maya Deren

35) Best Eugene Pallette performance
(Larry Aydlette)

36) Best/worst remake of the 21st century so far? (Dan Aloi)
Not exactly the best but I think that Demme did right by both of his. I'm not a fan of CHARADE so I was particularly pleased with TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE. 

Worst: I thought it was unnecessary to remake PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN all those times.

35) What could multiplex owners do right now to improve the theatrical viewing experience for moviegoers? What could moviegoers do?
Multiplex owners could use giant butterfly nets to apprehend those moviegoers who insist on sputtering their poorly arrived conclusions/bon mots at the screen. Or those moviegoers could just stay home.

Thanks for that test Dennis! Now I remember why I dropped out of school.

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