Yeah, I get it… June has past now and the only review I’ve put down was Raiders of the Lost Ark. In my defense, I was having a pretty swell past two weeks and might even discuss a certain movie-related aspect of it later on in a post.
Nevertheless, I still intend to pop in every now and again and finish writing reviews for the other favorites I named in that post over time plus whatever else I’m feeling in future (I’m potentially feeling Ari Aster’s short films + Midsommar and also possibly doing the other three Indiana Jones movies). I just am not rushing myself.
Meanwhile, I often forget and then remind myself what fun it is to see the latest movie quiz out of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule and take a swing at it to revitalize my movie shit-talking voice so here I go with the new one:
1) Name a musician who never starred in a movie who you feel could have been a movie star or at least had a compelling cinematic presence.
This is a lot harder of a question than I expected because many of my major choices (Vince Staples, Dave Grohl, Gene Simmons, Lemmy, Janelle Monae, Dave Brockie) HAVE acted in movies, just not in a major enough sense but still with enough credits to disqualify them.
I will give this up to Tobias Forge, either in character Cardinal Copia (a la Unknown Hinson’s credit in Squidbillies) or as himself. Being the frontman and creator behind the theatrics of Ghost – a band of people basically acting while playing – already implies he has a leaning toward performance (and in addition to the silly YouTube videos he’s been making on the hijinks of “The Church”, there was an interview recently where he suggested an interest in making a Ghost-centric feature film). In particular, I think he could bring some absurdity to certain films by playing Cardinal Copia playing a role like a priest in an indie horror film but also utilizing his own charm and charisma (which I expect is not that different from his live performances except maybe less puerile) for other non-Horror movie projects.
2) Akira or Ghost in the Shell.
Ghost in the Shell and its honestly not all that close. Much as it is futile to pretend Akira didn’t light a goddamn fire in the filmgoing world recognizing not only that there are non-US-centric animation industries but also that animation can be used as a medium to portray adult properties or discuss adult themes, and especially much as Akira was an animated tour de force in design and fluidity, I think Ghost in the Shell took the things Akira started and ran with them to further places. Plus Ghost in the Shell feels much more complete and direct of a narrative in talking about the fluid nature of all facets of identity and what a world of artificiality means about extending or changing that identity.
Still, I did buy myself the Kaneda Capsules jacket earlier this year since it is now 2019.
3) Charles Lee Ray or Freddy Krueger?
You know, Freddy Krueger defined my childhood and was practically my gateway to horror cinema (and in my tweens, just looking at him scared me). And I honestly find Robert Englund to be quite charming as an actor who embraces his horror cult fandom and takes any creepy indie horror role with much relish. But Freddy Krueger as a character only got worse and worse as the franchise went on. There are frankly three movies total where Krueger is scary: OG Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy’s Revenge and New Nightmare. The rest he’s an obnoxious clown who ought to shut the fuck up please.
Chucky? He’s consistent. He’s actually funny in a way that adds to the pictures he’s in. And Brad Dourif is one of the most gifted character actors among us, so even when the movies suck (and at this point the only one I feel strongly negative towards is Child’s Play 3), Dourif keeps Chucky’s frustrated and animalistic anguish at being made a toy that has to work twice as hard to murder people firing at all cylinders. And I know this is kind of cheating, but the moment he gets a new screen partner in the form of Jennifer Tilly playing his girlfriend Tiffany, I’m in movie character heaven.
So yeah, maybe like 10 or 15 years ago, I’d have said Freddy Krueger but now it’s Chucky all the way.
4) Most excruciating moment/scene you’ve ever sat through in a film.
In theaters? Probably the moment in Purple Rain where the Kid slaps Appollonia and the entire theatre laughed.
At home? My mom walked in one time on a sequence from The Great Beauty where a naked woman ran her head into a stone wall until it was bleeding as a performance art piece.
In general, as in the scene was fucking terrible? The mom on pot brownies in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, followed by the dogs humping in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, followed by “I am beneath the enemy’s scrotum” in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
5) Henry Cavill or Armie Hammer?
Hammer. Doesn’t need a minute’s thought.
Armie Hammer is actually a talented actor (his performance in Call Me by Your Name outdoes his co-stars) and Henry Cavill is the new Keanu Reeves, a one-expression fella who is getting parts he’s wildly underqualified for (though I think like Reeves having roles that benefit from that, Cavill’s frozen chiseled face aid his Superman and Mission: Impossible – Fallout quite a bit).
Cavill can’t even shave his moustache.
6) Name a movie you introduced to a young person, one which was out of their expressed line of interest or experience, which they came to either appreciate or flat-out love.
I don’t really talk to young people these days (unless I count as young people at age 27 which I think is pushing it) but I can talk about either the time back in 2006 when I asked my cousin if he wanted to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest when it came out and lent him The Curse of the Black Pearl so he could be aware of what was up in the story beforehand and his immediate adoration of the movies, possibly opening him up to fantasy movies later on when he first dismissed them for lack of realism.
Or the random point that my sister joined me to see Blade Runner in theaters about 4 years ago just to have something to do on a Saturday night and ended up talking about it the whole car ride home.
7) Second favorite Robert Rossellini film
I mean, Rome Open City is my favorite so I guess this answer is Journey to Italy because I’m a sucker for a good Ingrid Bergman vehicle.
8) What movie shaped your perceptions of New York City, Los Angeles and/or Chicago before you ever went there and experienced the cities for yourself.
I got a very lucky chance last year to tell martial artist Taimak that The Last Dragon by Berry Gordy really shaped my idea and expectations of New York City long before I stepped foot in that place. Which is funny given how The Last Dragon portrays an evidently pre-Giuliani version of NYC that does not resemble the city I ended up living in at the time.
Los Angeles has several movies. A part of me wants to say Drive in that fantastical neon city synthwave manner or Repo Man for the grimey attitude of the whole place, but my first time in LA was 2007, well before I saw those movies. So I guess I’ll go with the cool busy city of night lights shown to us in Michael Mann’s Collateral. Or I can just stop pretending to be cool and say Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
And Chicago, which I went to for the first time earlier this year, was probably most familiarized to me through The Dark Knight. Which is silly given how I complain that that movie isn’t really set in Gotham but I guess that lack of disguise to Chicago made me recognize many of the downtown areas that I spent much of my time in there.
9) Name another movie that shaped, for better or worse, another city or location that you eventually visited or came to know well.
I spent a lot of time in the past few months in Philadelphia for work and hokey as it may be, watching the Rocky movies certainly prepared me for what kind of city I was gonna be looking at.
10) Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee?
Lugosi Bela is one of my guilty pleasure favorite actors based on his iconic nature, but Christopher Lee has just got a refined charm in spades and certainly gives the more vicious Dracula performance between the two of them so Lee.
11) Elizabeth Debicki or Alicia Vikander?
Ooooohhh this is a tough one. I might go with Debicki because I’ve been enjoying more of the movies I’ve seen her in than Vikander and feel that my favorite Debicki movie (Widows) is better than my favorite Vikander movie (Ex Machina).
12) The last movie you saw theatrically? The last on physical media? Via streaming?
Theatrically: Spider-Man: Far from Home, which was so vile that it broke my heart.
On physical media: Duck Dodgers of the 24 1/2 Century, but if we want to disqualify short films then the terrible 4th of July creature feature Frogs.
Via streaming: Blake Edwards’ bank heist thriller Experiment in Terror just before it and the rest of Criterion Channel’s Columbia Noir collection left the service.
13) Who are the actors, classic and contemporary you are always glad to see?
Classic: Myrna Loy is often a surprising bit of fun, even beyond her Thin Man performances.
Contemporary: Awkwafina lately, for the similar reasons of her being fun as hell.
14) Second favorite Federico Fellini film
8 1/2 being among my top 20 movies of all time, I’ll lay it out on Nights of Cabiria. Or La Strada. Either way, Giulietta Masina is the greatest.
15) Tessa Thompson or Danai Gurira
Not nearly as hard as I expected to firmly state I prefer Danai Gurira (Mother of George is just that good and her work in Black Panther is probably my favorite performance in a popcorn cinema flick of the decade), though I think it’s important to point out that both actors are giving some of the best performances I’ve seen lately. 100% behind both of them.
16) The Black Bird or The Two Jakes?
I have not seen The Black Bird but I have seen The Two Jakes and disliked it, so Black Bird is de facto winner.
17) Your favorite movie title.
Twitch of the motherfuckin’ Death Nerve. Please remove the profanity for the full title. Shamefully not the more popular title of the Mario Bava giallo film but still… it’s the best one.
18) Second favorite Luchino Visconti film
The Leopard, in second place to The Damned.
19) Given the recent trend, what’s the movie that seems like an all-too-obvious candidate for a splashy adaptation to Broadway?
The Greatest Showman is so very much the easiest choice but like… that’s for a reason. It’s literally made with songs written by Pasek and Paul and shit.
20) Name a director you feel is consistently misunderstood.
First of all, Lee Daniels has so much more sympathy for his characters than y’all are giving him credit for. Secondly, other than the two Oscarbait films with Precious (which is great) and The Butler (which is ok), he’s been making pretty evident camp trash cinema and y’all just don’t like fun.
Also, Paul W.S. Anderson has been reliably giving us the best and most joyful video game cinema forever.
21) Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth?
Hemsworth is only good when his role has a comedic bend, Evans is has been funny before in Not Another Teen Movie and even the Fantastic Four films and has been reliably great since 2012. Evans, it is.
22) What’s the film that most unexpectedly grew in your estimation from trivial, or unworthy, or simply enjoyable, to a true favorite with some actual meat on its bones?
Probably Battleship Potemkin, which started as “the other 1925 Eisenstein film” to me realizing “Oh there actually ARE things this movie brought to the way cutting functions as storytelling these days!”
23) I Am Curious (Yellow), yes or no?
It is shamefully one of my movie gaps. I gotta check if it’s on Criterion Channel or summat.
24) Second favorite Lucio Fulci film
Zombi 2 and while I love it very much, the gap between it and The Beyond (my favorite Fulci) is very wide.
25) Are the movies as we now know them coming to an end? (http://collider.com/will-streaming-kill-movies/)
Yes and no. Cinema is dead, but cinema’s been dead since the 1920s. Stop putting stuff in my movies, they’re all bad. It’ll get better and worse and whatnot.