Yesterday’s gap has broken my streak of doing one of these a day until I run out of summer editions of the quizzes for Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, but I’m still powering through them anyway. Today’s edition comes from August of 2016 and is titled after a very novel looking fellow from Roman Polanski’s horror-comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers, famously the production in which he met his first wife Sharon Tate. I actually do wonder why I never got around to seeing it and hope to sometime soon, even though I haven’t been in a rush to watch a film by him since 2013 for obvious reasons (I also never caught the soundtrack to the musical adaptation Dance of the Vampires for the reason that I wanted to see this movie).
Anyway, with nothing to say about the namesake, let us move forward on his quiz.
1) Name the last 10 movies you’ve seen, either theatrically or at home
1 – The Wizard of Oz at the Siskel Center in 35mm
2 – Tombs of the Blind Dead off the new Synapse blu-ray
3 – Pontypool at home
4 – Smoking, the 1966 Joe Jones short film, at home
5 – Millennium Actress off the recent Shout! blu-ray
6 – Nope in IMAX
7 – Kwaidan at the Logan Theatre
8 – James and the Giant Peach at the Music Box
9 – Ring at the Logan Theatre
10 – Ju-On: The Grudge at the Logan Theatre
2) Favorite movie feast
Babette’s, baby! Would love to one day recreate it in the kitchen.
3) Dial M for Murder (1954) or Rear Window (1954)?
4) Favorite song or individual performance from a concert film
The Who stealing the fucking show from the Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus with the most explosive rendition of “A Quick One, While He’s Away” one can imagine without the use of their usual pyrotechnics, provided in their documentary The Kids Are Alright which feels like it fits enough as a concert film to not be cheating (if you think it is… I’ll go with Hendrix doing “Wild Thing” in Monterey Pop).
Excluding another film from the same director, if you were programming a double feature what would you pair with:
5) Alex Cox’s Straight to Hell (1986)?
Woof, I’m expecting a lot of these to be made up of movies I haven’t yet seen and Straight to Hell is particularly embarrassing because I’ve had this on DVD for 8 years now as a gift. Good thing “another film from the same director” is forbidden because my kneejerk was Walker, but with that eliminated… I guess Six-String Samurai, maybe.
6) Benjamin Christensen’s Haxan: Witchcraft Throughout the Ages (1922)?
The Love Witch, fully aware I’m invoking the work of Anna Biller within 24 hours of her showing her ass for the millionth fucking time.
7) Federico Fellini’s I vitteloni (1953)?
Easily Everybody Wants Some!!, like this is the laziest answer outta me for this one.
8) Vincente Minnelli’s The Long, Long Trailer (1953)?
Stanley Donen’s Two for the Road (I have not seen The Long, Long Trailer)
9) Sam Peckinpah’s The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)?
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (I have not seen The Ballad of Cable Hogue and in fact missed a Chicago Film Society screening of it this year)
10) George Englund’s Zachariah (1971)?
The toughest one because I haven’t even HEARD of this movie. Going off the letterboxd summary of its plot… I guess El Topo?
11) Favorite movie fairy tale
Is it really as basic as The Wizard of Oz? So soon after rewatching it? Probably.
12) What is the sport that you think has most eluded filmmakers in terms of capturing either its essence or excitement?
Wrestling, and I mean legit Olympic wrestling. Not pro-wrestling. Can you imagine the gay porn opportunities? I haven’t seen Vision Quest, is that gay enough?
13) The Seventh Seal (1957) or Wild Strawberries (1957)?
14) Your favorite Criterion Collection release
Tough call, I’ll go with the Brazil box set just for how exhaustive it is: the amount of on-set material, the laying about on what a fucking nightmarish battle it was to get released, the willingness to include the much-compromised cut by the studio, and on top of it all… you get to watch Brazil!
15) In the tradition of the Batley Townswomen’s Guild’s staging of the Battle of Pearl Harbor and Camp on Blood Island, who would be the featured players (individual or tag-team) in your Classic Film Star Free-for-all Fight?
Robert Mitchum and Marlene Dietrich, they both seem like people who could throw the fuck down.
16) Throne of Blood (1957) or The Lower Depths (1957)?
I have not yet seen The Lower Depths so while Throne of Blood is one of my favorite movies, you definitely do not want to underestimate any post-war Kurosawa picture.
17) Your favorite movie snack
I’ve moved away from movie snacks lately, but perhaps Jelly Belly jellybeans? Those are really the ones I’m willing to snack on in a movie theater these days.
18) Robert Altman’s Quintet— yes or no?
The closest I come yet to a hard no, that movie sucks. But I guess Altman had to get it out of his system somehow so I guess still gotta be my “every movie deserves to exist” yes.
19) Name the documentarian whose work you find most valuable.
Frederick Wiseman, just find his massive institutional fly-on-the-walls very inviting in structure and insightful in comprehensiveness.
20) The Conversation (1974) or The Godfather Part II (1974)?
21) Favorite movie location you’ve visited in person.
Third time I have to answer this this summer. I guess I’ll go with Woodstock, IL – shooting location of Groundhog Day – where I took my dog one summer day.
22) If you could have directed a scene from any movie in the hope of improving it, what scene would it be, and what direction would you give the actor(s) in it? (question submitted by Patrick Robbins)
Goddamn, this is a tough question to ask because honestly I try to approach movies as is and even when I criticize them, not be like “oh the director shoulda done this to fix it”. It’s like how if I see a painting I don’t like, I’m not gonna say the artist should have used a different style of paint, it just doesn’t speak to me.
In the spirit of the spot, I’ll go with a much too easy one: I woulda stopped Brando mid-sentence on the set of Superman and told his ass to pronounce “Krypton” correctly.
23) The Doors (1991) or JFK (1991)?
I never finished The Doors, a fact I’m sure my brother would disown me for if he was aware.
24) What is your greatest film blasphemy or strongest evidence of your status as a contrarian? (H/T Larry Aydlette)
Everything I hear about Marlon Brando off-screen suggests he was a fascinating human being, everything I see on-screen outside of On the Waterfront emboldens my attitude he was a terrible actor.
25) Favorite pre-1970 one-sheet
26) Favorite post-1970 one-sheet
27) WarGames (1983) or Blue Thunder (1983)?
I have not seen Blue Thunder.
28) Your candidate for best remake ever made
Some Like It Hot
29) Give us a good story, or your favorite memory, about attending a drive-in movie
Shout out to J.A.B., K.C., and Houston (whose last name I keep forgetting) about that time mid-2020 during the early points of the pandemic when the Thunderbird Drive-In in Ft. Lauderdale where we went to see Mad Max: Fury Road. If I were emperor of the universe, only road movies would play at drive-ins.
30) Favorite non-horror Hammer film
One Million Years B.C.
31) Favorite movie with the word/number “seven” in the title (question submitted by Patrick Robbins)
I’m basic as fuck, cause it’s Seven Samurai.
32) Is there a movie disagreement you can think of which would cause you to reconsider the status of a personal relationship?
If somebody told me they did not consider Triumph of the Will or The Birth of a Nation to be evil films. I mean, I find absolute aesthetic pleasure in the former and it’s fair to try to approach them both academically but someone who thinks they are not evil works of art is probably somebody I do not want to have in my life.
33) Erin Brockovich (2000) or Traffic (2000)?
34) Your thoughts on the recent online petition demanding that Turner Classic Movies cease showing all movies made after 1960.
Wack. I’m perfectly willing to admit cinema peaked with the silent era, but you don’t hear me demanding those are the only movies publicly exhibited. I just think it loudly.
(Seriously, though, any metric that does not consider The Sound of Music or Night of the Living Dead classic movies needs to be reconsidered).