Y’all know how it is: if I take way too long between posting (and that’s a fucking understatement for what has been my lowest year of activity for this site since… possibly ever?), I feel like I gotta go back to school before I can get back to writing. And y’all of course know my favorite pastime for that is nothing less than Dennis Collazo’s quizzes over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, so maybe I can knock-off all of his summertime quizzes over the next few days and get to the others at the appropriate non-time travelling season.
For now, I jump into this quiz from July of 2007, associated with a character from a movie I have not seen – Carl Reiner’s Summer School – but looks rad enough…
1) Favorite quote from a filmmaker
I’ve lately found myself thinking of François Truffaut declaring “Today, I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between.” and what that means about the wide spectrum of movies I love engaging with and grappling with. I’ve heard it a billion times and I don’t know what about the last few months triggered it rolling around in my brain but it’s already ready for delivery on seeing this question.
2) A good movie from a bad director
Actually got faced with this question not too long ago, so I fortunately already have an answer all lined up: The Guest is the only movie where Adam Wingard (and his writer Simon Barrett)’s obnoxious sense of self-aware humor actually is a boon to the picture as it enhances the unease of one character’s perspective on the titular lead. It helps that the third act has Wingard’s most interesting visuals and even more that Dan Stevens gives an excellent lead performance.
If I want to play fair and not use a movie released after this quiz’s original posting in 2007, I’ll choose Stanley Kramer’s Inherit the Wind.
3) Favorite Laurence Olivier performance.
Hamlet. I think the director really loved him and wanted to hand that movie over to him, whoever that director was.
4) Describe a famous location from a movie that you have visited (Bodega Bay, California, where the action in The Birds took place, for example). Was it anything like the way it was in the film? Why or why not?
I’ve recently come back from a trip to Vienna where I specifically made a point of visiting locations from both The Third Man and Before Sunrise and it’s interesting looking back to think about some of the locations those movies shared and which movie’s voodoo was most overpowering visiting the spot (I can definitely say that the Riesenrad was 100% The Third Man‘s). I can’t say it felt like “stepping into the movies”, but it did bring a sense of romance to me sliding through those spots.
5) Carlo Ponti or Dino De Laurentiis (Producer)?
Part of me does want to go for de Laurentiis just for how interesting that dude’s sense of mercenary was, but I can’t pretend Ponti doesn’t have the larger quantity of masterpieces under him (though the two share one with Fellini’s La Strada) and seemed to have the better pulse on what’s gonna make a great picture.
6) Best movie about baseball.
Bull Durham, no question.
7) Favorite Barbara Stanwyck performance.
The Lady Eve
8) Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Dazed and Confused?
Tougher question than I expected it to be. I’m going with Dazed and Confused, just because it feels like it captures the sense of life just beginning that I liked to feel at the end of every school year. School was just the bullshit in between.
9) What was the last movie you saw, and why? (We’ve used this one before, but your answer is presumably always going to be different, so…)
Jessica Kingdon’s sex doll documentary short It’s Coming!, in preparation of tackling her feature debut documentary Ascension. Since that short film post-dates the creation of this quiz, I shall further play fair by selecting the thing I watched before my pre-bed visit of Kingdon’s shorts: Charlie Brown’s All-Stars. Which I watched in following with Tim Brayton’s project of catching the seasonal Peanuts specials throughout the year, except I was a few days late from the actual All-Stars game that occurred this past Tuesday.
10) Whether or not you have actually procreated or not, is there a movie you can think of that seriously affected the way you think about having kids of your own?
Not particularly, I think it’s my personal life that makes me not want kids (or marriage, to be frank). Maybe Bambi, it does make me think how fucking shitty it’d be to die while my kid is still a kid. Or The Shining, just fearing I’m capable of the sort of cruelty that movie portrays.
11) Favorite Katharine Hepburn performance.
Extremely tough question. For right now, I might lean on The Lion in Winter but there’s so many candidates for this, honestly.
12) A bad movie from a good director
Same as the question about “good movie from bad director”, I actually have an answer already for when I was asked this question earlier this week: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Thanks for the Seu Jorge exposure, though. It says something that even with the completionist side of me, this is the one Wes Anderson Criterion blu I haven’t gotten. I’ll get it eventually, though.
13) Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom— yes or no?
Yes. It is essential to exist as a work of cinema, political protest, and vulgarity; I would not suggest it is essential for everyone to watch but I’m at least glad I did.
14) Ben Hecht or Billy Wilder (Screenwriter)?
A lot easier to answer than I expected: Hecht’s dialogue is some of the sharpest around but I truly do align with the never-dull always-devastating cynicism that virtually every bit of writing Wilder produced has delivered on. Wilder is my choice.
15) Name the film festival you’d most want to attend, or your favorite festival that you actually have attended.
My experience with film festivals as attendee, filmmaker, press, and volunteer worker are all so deeply exhausting and probably a major part of my burnout from seeking out film as something I’d want to make my profession, so I sadly demur from that second half of the question. The first half though… probably the UCLA Festival of Preservation, just on account of the rarities that’s ensured to exhibit.
16) Head or 200 Motels?
I regret I have not seen 200 Motels. I especially regret that it looks like the sort of thing I would have loved as a college student but now will probably find exhausting. Still as a former Zappa devotee, I feel obligated to fix that gap.
17) Favorite cameo appearance
(Try visiting here and here for some good ideas! This question was inspired by Daniel Johnson at Film Babble)
I’m sure it has to be something other than Orson Welles as the Boss of Hollywood in The Muppet Movie, but I can’t think of the true answer right now sadly.
18) Favorite Rosalind Russell performance.
His Girl Friday, no question. Possibly the greatest accomplishment in comedic acting.
19) What movie, either currently available on DVD or not, has never received the splashy collector’s edition treatment you think it deserves? What would such an edition include?
Erich von Stroheim’s Greed. We’re at least entitled the latest reconstruction in the best definition, that good ol’ 239 minutes… roll that good shit.
20) Name a performance that everyone needs to be reminded of, for whatever reason.
I guess this is a chance to remind y’all that Marisa Tomei deserved her Oscar for My Cousin Vinny and so did Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich.
21) Louis B. Mayer or Harry Cohn (Studio Head)?
Neither of them are people I think I could possibly get along with, despite having a good head for the business in itself. I’ll go with Cohn because I think he was a little less prescriptive and conservative to people’s tastes in cinema, he kept a finger on that pulse.
22) Favorite John Wayne performance.
A much tougher choice than I would have confessed ten years ago: I think I’ve significantly come around on Wayne as an emotional actor. Probably will go with She Wore a Yellow Ribbon right now, but don’t hold me to it.
23) Naked Lunch or Barton Fink?
Barton Fink. Love them both but no contest.
24) Your Ray Harryhausen movie of choice
Jason and the Argonauts since I was a child. Might just be the case that I’ll get to finally see it in 35mm in two weeks, if I can drive fast enough back to Chicago from Detroit overnight. No Sleep ’till Music Box.
25) Is there a movie you can think of that you feel like the world would be better off without, one that should have never been made?
Not really, to be honest. Come to realize art doesn’t work like that.
24) Favorite Dub Taylor performance.
I’ll be honest, I’ve seen a lot of movies with this dude without ever registering him in them. I guess Bonnie and Clyde is the one where he made the most impression on me.
25) If you had the choice of seeing three final movies, to go with your three last meals, before shuffling off this mortal coil, what would they be?
The Tree of Life, The Wizard of Speed and Time short film, Singin’ in the Rain.
26) And what movie theater would you choose to see them in?
Cineteca Matadero. Feels pretty appropriate to watch my last movies in a slaughterhouse before I die.
Your proposed entry in the Atheist Film Festival
Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light, which I confess deeply feels like, even though it comes from an ex-Christian point of view, resembles my path from Muslim to atheist in exact ways right down to my thought process and my return to Islamic tenets as a guideline.
What advice on day-to-day living have you learned from the movies?
Not that I always particularly follow this advice, even though I believe I should, but a lot of my best “taken from the movie advice” comes from the coolest fella ever, Dalton in Road House. And specifically the line I try to live by is “Be nice… until it’s time to not be nice.”
2 thoughts on “MR. SHOOP’S SURFIN’ SUMMER SCHOOL MIDTERM”
As a Kramer fan, I’m honestly curious what you think makes Inherit the Wind different from his other films. I love it, but I love it in the same ways I do Judgment at Nuremberg, and I know you don’t like that.
I’m guessing it might have to do with March and Kelly’s performances?
March is a very big part of it, he’s among my favorite dramatic actors of classic Hollywood. But I also think Kramer got “can’t miss” material in the form of the stageplay and was able to craft something dramatically swift in a way that I honestly don’t find Guess Who or Judgment at Nuremberg.
Also to be fair to him, I do enjoy On the Beach and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World so I think Kramer has more than one instance where he passes for me. But I often did hold my nose preparing to dive into one of his pictures for the first time, including admittedly Inherit the Wind before I was surprised.