Honestly, let’s just see how many of these Holiday Quizzes of Christmas Past from Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule I can knock out within the 24th and 25th this year (probably only two but I might bang a few out during the rest of the weekend). This one is from December 2007.
1) Your favorite opening shot (Here are some ideas to jog your memory, if you need ‘em.)
Star Wars. Feel like I should have a more sophisticated answer than that (maybe Floating Weeds), but frankly nothing else sticks to my mind closer.
2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?
Mia Farrow. I regret to say that Weld’s performances don’t stick in my mind very much (I often forget she’s in Thief) and do not ask me which directors got the best performances out of Farrow.
3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh.
Central Intelligence. A lot.
4) Best Movie of 1947
5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?
6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?
Neither of them make that much of an impression on me. Going by each actor’s turn under John Sturges (both of whom gave the best performance I saw from either), I’d say McCallum is doing a lot more without trying so hard in The Great Escape, so he wins. For the record, I have never seen so much as an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (only the Guy Ritchie movie).
7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you’ve seen a movie.
There are oh so many locations I could choose just from Tarsem Singh’s The Fall (and it makes me deeply consider one day making a worldwide trip to the locations it was shot if I have the money and free time). I shall choose the Chand Baori in Rajasthan (which was also featured in The Dark Knight Rises but not nearly as impressively).
8) Favorite Errol Morris movie.
Gates of Heaven, which came to dethrone Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control once I found myself turning for amiable Errol Morris movies over cynical ones.
9) Best Movie of 1967
The Young Girls of Rochefort, one of my favorite movies.
10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies.
Lady I did not know masturbated next to me during a midnight screening of A Clockwork Orange and would not stop talking to the movie.
11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?
Julie Newmar was Catwoman. Like Anne Francis is a phenomenal pin-up, but c’mon…
12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)
Indiana Jones raising a whip while heads in amazement surround him and the Ark of the Covenant sits behind him.
13) Best Movie of 1987
Law of Desire
14) Favorite movie about obsession
The Red Shoes. Let’s see if one more Powell/Pressburger movie will pop up here.
15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature
I made the mistake of watching one of these three in a separate night, but generally: A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Chuck Jones’ version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Two tv specials that are less than 30 minutes and one feature that’s barely over 70 minutes leaves plenty of time for actual festivities.
If using short films is cheating, then replace the tv specials with Die Hard and Eyes Wide Shut. If I wanna be more Christmas spirit and less unorthodox, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Miracle of 34th Street.
16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?
Montgomery Clift. I’ve loosened up slightly (just slightly!) on feeling Dean’s a bit overrated on the basis of his unfortunate death but Clift still remains one of my favorite actors of all time and possibly the best of the 1950s.
17) Favorite Les Blank Movie
I have unfortunately only seen the pair of movies he made about Werner Herzog rather than the charming rustic ones he made collected in that Criterion box set that I need to get some day. I will settle for Burden of Dreams as my answer for now.
18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?
I concur with this brilliant moment of revelation on Ego’s part: particularly how he recognizes the thrill of passionate writing especially with the allure of negativity, the fact that criticism has no presence without the existence of art and thereby the passion behind that, and the desire for new risks. And the recognition that “a great artist can come from anywhere”.
19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?
On DVD, Chuck Jones’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. In a theater, still Tenet.
20) Best Movie of 2007
I’m too lazy to care about the minutiae of release dates for a year that is 13 in the past, soon to be 14. So I’ll say Ratatouille and be done with it.
21) Worst Movie of 2007
22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia
My early infancy: Disney animation
My early childhood: whatever is popularly talked about at the time, mostly to my mental deterioration.
My adolescence: getting more into action cinema, old timey sci fi or fantasy that relies on models, and the like.
My teenage years: start trying to get into silent cinema and more foreign-language stuff, recognizing a history and world of cinema beyond me. Definitely start trying to get into Mystery Science Theater and keep my love for models.
My early adulthood: attempting to be a filmmaker, find more fascinating with the actual artifice and construction of movies, begin getting more into horror movies for the gore effects and the vibe of it all.
Mid to early late 20s (as I am currently 28): I’m just trying to watch stuff I think I will like and dream about video projects just for my own edification rather than as a career.
23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?
Most recently La Flor, which I swear if you’re willing to make the 13-hour (chopped into three days) commitment you will find absolutely enjoyable. If that’s too much, there’s always the 7-hour Sátántangó.
24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?
Gene Tierney. No hesitance.
25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?
Smug answer: Ewan McGregor having to cover his mouth to prevent himself from being seen smiling as he says “killing younglings” in Revenge of the Sith.
Sincere answer: In terms of a moment of happenstance, that one shooting star that appears behind Roy Scheider in a scene of Jaws. In terms of a film of happenstance, probably Cassavetes’ Shadows. In terms of simplicity and quietude, pick an Ozu… any Ozu.
26) Favorite Documentary
Night and Fog
27) Favorite opening credit sequence.
I feel like I should have a way cooler answer than Monty Python and the Holy Grail and yet…
Runner up I will give to Enter the Void.
28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?
There are definitely SEVERAL though narrowing it down to one is tough. I suppose that Repo Man influenced my outlook on life having no meaning at all, but my response to that outlook is definitely different from what that movie intended for sure. I think Russian Ark – of all movies – actively instigated an interest in fine art that I maintain to this day, where no matter where I am… the art museums of that place have to be one of the stops. There’s plenty of films that continue to nourish that interest but Russian Ark is the one that lit the cannon.
29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?
Dana Andrews. Clearly from this “either or” question and the last one, I’m that much of a Laura fan.
30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards.
Fucking hell, I can’t make this about the 2007 Oscars now. I assume that like literally everybody else in the world on December 2007, I was sure as hell that Day-Lewis was taking Best Actor and the Coen Brothers were taking Best Picture.
My hopeful prediction for the 2020 awards is that First Cow MAY be able to inch into the Best Picture slate and would probably be the only movie I root for in a very unimpressive looking race. My cynicism says that Nomadland will fucking sweep.
31) Best Actor of 2007
Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
32) Best Actress of 2007
Juliette Binoche in Flight of the Red Balloon
33) Best Director of 2007
Guy Maddin for My Winnipeg
34) Best Screenplay of 2007
Joel & Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men, knowing full well I’m cheating here.
35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007.
The moment just before that aforementioned Anton Ego monologue where he eats the Confit Byaldi and is transported back to a warm childhood memory.
36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?
This is maybe a slightly easier case of “pretend I’m in the time period of the quiz” as any other time running through these. I was 15 years old when 2007 was closing out so I was obviously hoping The Dark Knight turned out to be the best movie of all time.