PROFESSOR BERTRAM POTTS’ HELLA HOMEWORK FOR THE HOLIDAYS CHRISTMAS BREAK QUIZ

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

Black Narcissus


5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

The Misfit.

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

88 Minutes.

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.

PROFESSOR DAVE JENNINGS’ MILTON-FREE, UNIVERSE-EXPANDING HOLIDAY MIDTERM

So, I’m pretty sure this was my first ever encounter with Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule blog’s quizzes and that I ended up posting my answers way back in a facebook note for my friends rather than any blog which I did not have at the time. I’m sure those answers were all very useless and stupid as I was certainly in undergrad at the time (this was originally posted in December 2006 but I’m pretty sure I encountered and engaged with it in 2012). Now that I’m out of college and a member of society… my brain has developed… it has evolved… now I’m stupid faster!

1) What was the last movie you saw, either in a theater or on DVD, and why?

In theaters was still Tenet unfortunately as I am filling this out at the end of the dread year 2020. On DVD was A Charlie Brown Christmas because it’s that time of year, y’all.

2) Name the cinematographer whose work you most look forward to seeing, and an example of one of his/her finest achievements.

Emmanuel Lubezki is the basic answer but he is absolutely the one I look most forward to, especially given that I don’t think I’ve seen him work on a film since Song to Song. And I’d definitely point out any collaboration with Cuarón or Malick as one of his finest achievements but I particularly think of Knight of Cups in its radical look at Los Angeles and Las Vegas.


3) Joe Don Baker or Bo Svenson?

Never bet against Mitchell.


4) Name a moment from a movie that made you gasp (in horror, surprise, revelation…)

The moment that door knocks at the end of The Public Enemy which James Cagney, I knew exactly what was gonna end up behind that door and it didn’t feel any less cold of a move when the brother opens the door and I gasped at a movie for the first time.

5) Your favorite movie about the movies.

Singin’ in the Rain. I’m that easy.


6) Your Favorite Fritz Lang movie.

M. I’m REALLY that easy.

7) Describe the first time you ever recognized yourself in a movie.

In a Lonely Place when Humphrey Bogart uses two of the only people who can tolerate him to gleefully describe a murder to their discomfort.

8) Carole Bouquet or Angela Molina?

I haven’t seen much with either actor (and I think Molina’s roles that I saw were more homages rather than the actual thing), but Bouquet plays one of the most underrated Bond Girls ever in For Your Eyes Only and that makes me want to give this round to hers.


9) Name a movie that redeems the notion of nostalgia as something more than a bankable commodity.

The wrong fucking question to answer in the age of Disney buying up every nostalgic property and using it as a brand, but I’ll answer it anyway and choose Logan. And to illustrate this further, I’ll use Dark Phoenix as an example: that’s a movie that has zero emotion to it because we’re barely familiar with the characters in that manner. Logan – particularly as a sober farewell to certain characters – functions as impressively as it does because Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Xavier are as familiar to us as they could possibly be 17 years later and it actually uses that recognition as something that deepens this story of one man watching his body finally fail and die on him.

(I could have also went with Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood but that would have been too easy).

10) Favorite appearance by an athlete in an acting role.

Jim Bouton in The Long Goodbye

11) Favorite Hal Ashby movie.

Harold and Maude

12) Name the first double feature you’d program for opening night of your own revival theater.

Demons and Goodbye, Dragon Inn (and in the eventual closure of that theater that would definitely happen, it would also be the final double feature).

13) What’s the name of your revival theater?

Same answer as I had the last time I did this: The Colour and the Shape.

14) Humphrey Bogart or Elliot Gould?

Bogie as Marlowe and as actor, though I do love me Elliot Gould and especially with his Altman performances including The Long Goodbye. I will say neither of them are as good in the role of Phillip Marlowe as the real MVP, Mr. Dick Powell.


15) Favorite Robert Stevenson movie.

Mary Poppins, baby.


16) Describe your favorite moment in a movie that is memorable because of its use of sound.

Charles Chaplin in City Lights taking his first opportunity in a sound film to overdub some stately speech-making affair with absolute gibberish.

17) Pink Flamingoes— yes or no?

Yes. It was a date movie. It has sentimental value to me.

18) Your favorite movie soundtrack score.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, though I do sometimes lean 8 1/2.


19) Fay Wray or Naomi Watts?

Naomi Watts. Though it is a bit unfair. Wray was the superior Ann in her King Kong movie but Watts just gets more opportunities. Wray has had to work hard to prove herself a great actress, never got roles worth her talent, and certainly never got such a silver platter role as Mulholland Dr.


20) Is there a movie that would make you question the judgment and/or taste of a film critic, blogger or friend if you found out they were an advocate of it?

The Birth of a Nation. This late in the game, I have failed to hear any compelling argument of its place in history besides being at the right and wrong place at the right and wrong time.

21) Pick a new category for the Oscars and its first deserving winner.

Best Choreography and while the years most recent would be packed to the brim of hard competition, I imagine this year only really lends itself to Birds of Prey as the most deserving winner, as would likely be the case of any movie whose 2nd unit involved Chad Stahelski.

(Which it IS, those fight scenes were the most fun I had with the movie)


22) Favorite Paul Verhoeven movie.

RoboCop


23) What is it that you think movies do better than any other art form?

It specifies that each viewer sees the same thing for the same amount of time, as that’s basically what the cut – the most distinguishing element of cinema as an art – grants us: a unity of image and a duration to it. And yet it’s still able to be non-prescriptivist enough that not everyone is going to get the same thing out of the same thing. It’s capable of abstract unrealities (or reality simulcra) that communicate the same thing to audiences without dictating how to process them and that is impressive.

24) Peter Ustinov or Albert Finney?

Albert Finney, with much love to Ustinov anyway for Quo Vadis and The Great Muppet Caper.


25) Favorite movie studio logo, as it appears before a theatrical feature.

The VistaVision logo.


26) Name the single most important book about the movies for you personally.

The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb. The first textbook I had during undergrad in film that I actually enjoyed reading and it gave me a direct idea on the trials and tribulations of filmmaking and problem solving while having the context of what resulted in one of my favorite movies. Not as good a read as The Disaster Artist or as dissecting as Hitchcock/Truffaut and there are many more movie-based movies that bring me to a more exploratory or intellectual mood, but you never forget your first.

27) Name the movie that features the best twist ending. (Please note the use of any “spoilers” in your answer.)

Ah, now “ending” is the operative word because I was pretty close to just making this Psycho and being happy with it. The Sting is probably my favorite twist ending but the best has to be The Empire Strikes Back… I can’t imagine any more heavy twist ending in a movie to date outside of that one. If I have kids, I will do anything I can to make sure that ending is not spoiled for them before they watch it.

28) Favorite Francois Truffaut movie.

Shoot the Piano Player.

29) Olivia Hussey or Claire Danes?

Olivia Hussey, as Juliet and as actor.


30) Your most memorable celebrity encounter.

Ryan Gosling almost bumped into my friend as four of us were walking down a street during Cannes 2014 and everybody except me recognized him. Realizing that I didn’t actually look at the dude that passed us by, my friends and I ended up trying to catch up with him and what I assume were his bodyguards… as slowly as possible… down a dark street at night… in France.

We figured very early on that we were definitely stalking that guy to our embarrassment.

31) When did you first realize that films were directed?

(I cribbed this one from The House Next Door. Thanks, Matt! Great question!)

I wanted to take a moment to copy and paste the answer I gave the first time I did this: “At the age of 12, I decided I wanted to act in movies (on a relevant note, I am not a good actor), but couldn’t find anyone who was making a movie so I may as well make my own. And my first thought was ‘Who makes a movie?’. I mistaked the producer’s job with the director’s (or I think I mixed their tasks together). I had been familiar with the name of Steven Spielberg, but I thought he was just the guy everybody owed money to in Hollywood.”

But that takes the question at its most literal, I presume, and I think what it really shoots for is “what moment while watching a movie made me RECOGNIZE they were directed?” And I think that may have ended up being Who Frames Roger Rabbit‘s ambitious usage of live-action and animation in one frame while mixing in noir making me recognize “Holy shit, someone actually thought of mixing these tones and actively put it all together in one.” So nicely done, Zemeckis. And I expect Back to the Future‘s whole third act also added to this revelation.

PROFESSOR JULIUS KELP’S ENDLESS SUMMER CHEMISTRY TEST

Let’s go through another one (yes, I’m probably going to go through all of these SLIFR quizzes until I run out in order to avoid the continuous writer’s block I have as a critic). This one is from July 2006.

1) Does film best tell the truth (Godard) or tell lies (De Palma) at 24 frames per second? (Thanks, Peet)

Is it too much of a cop out to say both? I think it’s essentially a little from column A and a little from column B. But if I’m going to have to pick a side, I lean with Godard and not just because I actually like his movies as opposed to De Palma but… the 24 frames per second IS the lie, really. That’s how it imitates motion without capturing it.

2) Ideal pairing of actors/actresses to play on-screen siblings.

John Legend and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Racial differences notwithstanding, they literally have the same face type.

3) Favorite special effects moment.

The skeleton fight in Jason and the Argonauts. Makes me feel like a kid again every time I watch it. True love and care put in each combatant.

4) Matt Damon or George Clooney?

George Clooney easily. Though this is going to be so backhanded a compliment, but I really appreciate how the best Matt Damon performances utilize his dry bland looks.

Max was a real one.

5) What is the movie you’ve encouraged more people to see than any other?

I’m confident this is probably World of Tomorrow but it may also be Mad Max: Fury Road. So, y’know, 2015 was a good fucking year.

6) Favorite film of 1934.

The Thin Man, 100% relationship goals.

7) Your favorite movie theater*

Oof, how timely a moment to answer this question. It is and will possibly always be the Pollack Tempe Cinemas in Tempe, AZ. Second run strip mall theater with a ridiculous lobby in neon hot pink populated by memorabilia and a crowd of wax statues and worthy wide auditoriums with excellent presentation. Caught midnight cult movies there and also cheap late runs of new releases that were so much cheaper. A lot of sentimentality for the beginning of the past decade developing my love of movies while juggling three jobs, 2 majors, and no money. A real miracle and given that it’s literally been a giant expense of one dude for 21 years who just wants to make an accessible state-of-the-art movie theater for us folks, I really hope it’s able to open its doors once everything is safe (they voluntarily closed down since March).

Honestly, between Pollack Tempe Cinemas, The Loft, and Harkins Cinemas (and none for Alamo Drafthouse), I think Phoenix might be my favorite city to watch movies over Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City.

8) Jean Arthur or Irene Dunne?

Irene Dunne. Holds her own better against Cary Grant and also holds her own against Charles Boyer on top of it. Plus took her awesome stage skills to the screen with Show Boat. Definitely enough to forgive Cimarron. Jean Arthur has appeared in a lot of movies I like, but feels more often a liability to those awesome movies.

9) Favorite film made for children.

My Neighbor Totoro

10) Favorite Martin Scorsese Movie

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

11) Favorite film about children

My Neighbor Totoro doesn’t count? In that case… I shall fuck us up unnecessarily with the other 1988 Ghibli picture Grave of the Fireflies.

12) Favorite film of 1954.

Johnny Guitar.

13) Favorite screenplay written by a writer more famous for literature than screenplays.

Double Indemnity, with the awesome involvement of the hardboiled icon Raymond Chandler.

14) Walter Matthau or Jack Lemmon?

Jack Lemmon. Even the most gifable of Matthau’s faces cannot compete with how much Daphne in Some Like It Hot changed my life.

15) Favorite character name.

I’m between three ridiculous 80s hero names: Matt Hunter from Invasion USA, James Dalton from Road House, or John Matrix from Commando. I think I’m leaning more Matrix because it’s the most unorthodox of all these surnames.

16) Favorite screenplay adapted from a work of great literature, either by the author himself or by someone else.

I could cheat and say Double Indemnity again but I will switch to Solaris with the way it reconstructs itself and its distribution of knowledge (even if Stanisław Lem hated that approach).

17) Favorite film of 1974.

A Woman Under the Influence

18) Joan Severance or Shannon Tweed?

Barely recognized either based on the few movies. I guess I’ll lean Severance ’cause she’s the closest to being an entity in See No Evil, Hear No Evil between that and Of Unknown Origin (the only Tweed movie I’ve seen).

Also killer steel fucking eyes.

19) jackass: the movie— yes or no?

I turned into my adolescence in the early 2000s so though I have not seen a full episode of Jackass or any of the movies outside of Bad Grandpa, I must salute them for their ballsiness.

20) Favorite John Cassavetes Movie.

Same as my favorite movie of 1974 above: A Woman Under the Influence.

21) First R-rated movie you ever saw.

It was either Terminator 2: Judgment Day or it was The Matrix. In either case, it was a result of visiting somebody else’s home with my family and in either case… because my parents were strict as fuck, I was not supposed to be watching these movies.

22) Favorite X-rated film (remember that, while your answer may well be a famous or not-so-famous hard-core film, the “X” rating was once also a legitimate rating that did not necessarily connote pornography).

I’ll split the difference between porn and feature film: Flesh Gordon.

23) Best film of 1994.

Trois Couleurs: Rouge. Quentin Tarantino was right: Pulp Fiction stole its Palme.

24) Describe a moment in a movie that made you weep

The final meeting in Brief Encounter. Probably means less outside of the context of the movie, so y’all should watch it soon.

25) Ewan McGregor or Ewan Bremner?

That’s not fair, setting someone who looks like Ewan Bremner against someone who looks like Ewan McGregor.

26) One of your favorite line readings (not necessarily one of your favorite lines) from this or any year.

This year: “You are sick of prosperity and indulgence. Cannot you invent a few hardships for yourself and be contented to stay?” from Emma.

2006 (if I’m trying to match the time this quiz was first posted): “Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled.” from The Prestige

Any year: “What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? … And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!” from A Man for All Seasons

27) What, if any, element in a film, upon your hearing of its inclusion beforehand, would most likely prejudice you against seeing that film or keeping an open mind about it?

I will confess that learning about Mank‘s creation made me braced for the adaptation of “Raising Kane” that it relievedly was not. But if I’m thinking about 2006, probably the knowledge that Douglas Adams died before he could complete or sign off on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy screenplay.

28) Favorite Terry Gilliam Movie.

Brazil

29) Jean Smart or Annie Potts?

Annie Potts. Don’t even have to second guess, I love her too much.

30) Is it possible to know with any certainty if you could like or love someone based partially on their taste in movies? If so, what film might be a potential relationship deal-breaker for you, or the one that might just seal that deal?

I imagine it depends on different combinations of person to person. I definitely think I can hang and chill with people based on their tastes in movies but definitely have movies that are total dealbreakers for me – how am I supposed to trust a girl that doesn’t like Lubitsch? – while having practically no movies that “seal the deal” for me since… i dunno, I’m sure I should be having more concerns than if they have the same movies I love. Just gotta make sure she doesn’t have those movies. Like if they like my baby dog Bruno.

PROFESSOR VAN HELSING’S JUST-BEFORE-SUNRISE WOODEN-STAKE-THROUGH-SPRING-BREAK QUIZ

Y’all should know by now how this shit rolls. A poll from April 2006, but I’m too lazy to play “pretend you are in that time period” with this one as you will see by my answers. Let’s roll!

1) What film made you angry, either while watching it or in thinking about it afterward?

Michael Haneke’s US remake of Funny Games definitely was the point where I recognized what an intolerable presumptuous bitch he was. Even while I still swallow it and continue watching his movies in the hope that they provide something worthwhile, I’ve never lost that anger towards him as a filmmaker or storyteller.

2) Favorite sidekick.

Really tough to qualify Tigger by the strictest concept of a “sidekick” so I may instead opt for my homie Sebastian in The Little Mermaid. In any case, there was no way I wasn’t going to pick a Disney character for this.



3) One of your favorite movie lines.

“Remember you’re fighting for this woman’s honor which is probably more than she ever did.”



4) William Holden or Burt Lancaster?

Burt Lancaster without a second thought. Not to disrespect Holden.

5) Describe a perfect moment in a movie.

The titular dance sequence in Singin’ in the Rain. Pure happiness, maybe the happiest moment in all of cinema.



6) Favorite John Ford movie.

Now here’s a tough fucking question. I might just stay with the classical Stagecoach, but holy shit does this flip over and over. One of my favorite directors.

7) The inverse of a question from the last quiz: What film artist (director, actor, screenwriter, whatever) has the least–deserved good reputation, artistically speaking. And who would you replace him/her with on that pedestal?

Marlon Brando fucking sucked as an actor. I don’t know who I’d replace him with because actors don’t need more shit getting to their heads.

8) Barbara Stanwyck or Ida Lupino?

Barbara Stanwyck without a fucking thought. Again no disrespect to Ida Lupino.


9) Showgirls— yes or no?

Fuck yes. You meatheads were able to quickly decide Starship Troopers was satire but somehow missed Showgirls even when it got to it by the same methods.

10) Most exotic or otherwise unusual place in which you ever saw a movie.

Caught the top secret world premiere back in Fall 2019 of a certain 2020 Sundance release in a Masonic Temple in Downtown Miami. The ambience was more rewarding than the movie, to be honest.

11) Favorite Robert Altman movie

Nashville

12) Best argument for allowing rock stars to participate in the making of movies.

Never seen a rock star appear in a movie without having a shitload of screen presence, good or bad.

13) Describe a transcendent moment in a film (a moment when you realized a film that just seemed routine or merely interesting before had become become something much more).

The final few scenes of William Castle’s Macabre where they really tried to throw us into a real shocker of a reveal after an awesomely creepy cemetery sequence. Y’know how it is, Castle always wants to hit ya hard.

14) Gina Gershon or Jennifer Tilly?

Jennifer Tilly, almost exclusively on the weight of her performances in the Chucky movies.


15) Favorite Frank Capra movie.

It Happened One Night

16) The scene you most wish you could have witnessed being filmed.

The climactic morgue battle in Re-Animator. Imagine getting to watch a whole bunch of makeup effects covered naked people surrounding and attacking Jeffrey Combs, while we have a headless dude running around, a decapitated head effect acting, and that one fucking giant intestines grabbing dudes. It’d be like a kid in a candy store for me.

17) Robert Ryan or Richard Widmark?

Robert Ryan in all his muscularity.

18) Name a movie that inspired you to walk out before it was finished.

The remake to Prom Night where my friends realized that The Forbidden Kingdom was actually playing right next door. Only mildly an upgrade, but we were 15 at the time so a Jackie Chan and Jet Li movie sounded like the greatest idea of all time.

19) Favorite political movie.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

20) Your favorite movie poster/one-sheet, or the one you’d most like to own.


21) Jeff Bridges or Jeff Goldblum?

Jeff Bridges. Even with Goldblum’s addictive weirdness and even with Bridges going from originally playing every role post-1998 as The Dude to playing every role post-2010 as Rooster Cogburn, Bridges just has more performances I love.

22) Favorite Ken Russell movie.

The Devils.

23) Accepting the conventional wisdom that 1970-1975 marked a golden age of American filmmaking in which artistic ambition and popular acceptance were not mutually exclusive, what for you was this golden age’s high point? (Could be a movie, a trend, the emergence of a star, whatever)

Francis Ford Coppola winning the Palme d’Or and the Best Picture Oscar for different movies within the same movie year.

24) Grace Kelly or Ava Gardner?

Ava Gardner. Night of the Iguana made me a man.


25) With total disregard for whether it would ever actually be considered, even in this age of movie recycling, what film exists that you feel might actually warrant a sequel, or would produce a sequel you’d actually be interested in seeing?

Would genuinely like continuations of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension where a new actor plays Buckaroo Banzai each movie and my Dream Team for each one is: John Cho, Lakeith Stanfield, Kitano Takeshi, Tilda Swinton, Dev Patel, Steven Yeun, Maggie Cheung, Taika Waititi, and Robert Pattinson. It’ll never fucking end, baby!

PROFESSOR BRAINERD’S CHRISTMAS VACATION QUIZ

It’s past midnight where I am so (EDIT: it was when I was first entering the answers here but I fell asleep with three non-consecutive questions left), let’s just get right to the thick of it. Another Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule Quiz in my journey to have them all done, even despite it being from 2006 and it not being Christmas yet. I just wanna dive right in, baby.

1) Describe the moment when you knew you loved the movies.

Watching the “Earth Angel” sequence in Back to the Future as a kid and feeling the same sort of lift in my soul as Marty when he stands up because his parents kiss right in the nick of time.

2) What prop or costume from a film do you most covet? *

Prop: The Beast from Mandy (although a less contemporary pick is the needle book from Re-Animator)

Costume: either Alain Delon’s suit from Le Samourai or Willem Dafoe’s kimono from To Live and Die in LA.

3) Take a famous role and recast it (for example, Audrey Hepburn instead of Andie McDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral)

I have an answer that would get me run out of town if this ever got out, but I stand by it anyway: replace Marlon Brando in The Godfather with Burt Lancaster.

4) Charlton Heston or George Kennedy?

Charlton Heston. My affinity for his misanthropy in Planet of the Apes outweighs my hate for the NRA.

5) Best performance in an otherwise terrible movie

Raul Julia in Street Fighter, a performance I was just waxing rhapsodic with a few friends (shout out L-C-, F-G-, and A-Y-) as I tried to recommend it amongst our future watch nights.

6) Worst performance in a famously revered or otherwise great movie

I just sniped for Brando in The Godfather so let me go for another answer… Robert Armstrong in King Kong, way too slow talking for the sort of role that is.

7) Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing?

Peter Cushing, a hard choice between two of my favorite actors. Better in Star Wars though and better in Hammer movies even.

8) Favorite Walter Hill movie.

I have only seen two Walter Hill movies so far and The Warriors was the one that was not bad.

9) Favorite musical score from a movie.

Michel Legrand’s for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

10) Describe the most scared you’ve ever been in a theater, or the scariest moment you recall seeing in a movie.

Scariest moment for me is probably the hallway turn to seeing the twin girls in The Shining.

Meanwhile the most scared I’ve been in a theater has probably been one of the times I’ve been using a certain college theater all alone that I should not be using and thinking about the likelihood of locking myself in the theater all night if I didn’t leave in time (J-B- would know what I’m talking about).

Or the time when I saw Show Dogs with only one other person in the theater and she was laughing at everything and then trying to explain every joke to me like I fucking knew her.

11) Ingrid Pitt or Barbara Steele?

Feel like this is an question that was already asked and answered in a future quiz. My answer is still Barbara Steele.

12) Favorite Holiday Movie (doesn’t have to be Christmas oriented).

A Charlie Brown Christmas. Really warms me up every time I watch it.

13) Worst Holiday movie (doesn’t have to be Christmas oriented).

Ron Howard’s version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Nightmare fuel.

14) Your all-time favorite hammy actor.

Maybe it’s because I just rewatched The Rock but Nic Cage is the first answer I have in my head so I’ll go with that.

15) Favorite Federico Fellini movie.

8 1/2, one of my top ten favorite movies.

16) Your favorite film critic.

Andrew Sarris.

17) Jason Lee or Jason Mewes?

Jason Mewes is probably the less impressive actor, but I find Jay a really charming presence in his puerileness (certainly enough to make me love Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) and from what I hear Mewes is also a cool dude while Lee is an asshole. So Mewes.

(I actually encountered Mewes for 3 seconds in the middle of the night about 6-8 years ago. Which was probably the worst time to have someone cross the street to you asking “Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes?”, to which Mewes immediately responded “Yes, m’am” and the two of them disappeared behind a doorway.)

18) Best use of a natural location setting in a movie.

Badlands probably. It’s at least a Terrence Malick movie for certain.

19) Worst squandering of a natural location setting in a movie.

I honestly can’t think of any instance of natural landscape location shooting where I didn’t at least like the landscapes a tiny bit enough to be a plus. Even in movies I don’t like which keeps me from claiming The Rider or The Mountains Between Us as my answers since those garbage movies are still gorgeous. Maybe I’d go with the horrible fucking cinematography at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Skelling Michael with the single ugliest shot in all 11 live-action theatrical Star Wars movies.

20) Favorite song from a movie.

“Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.

21) Madeline Kahn or Teri Garr?

Madeline Kahn, by far. And Teri Garr is no slouch.

22) Favorite Roger Corman Movie.

The definite answer at this point is The Haunted Palace, but I used that before for an answer before in regards to “Second Favorite Roger Corman Movie” because my top two used to keep switching. I will give this shout out to The Little Shop of Horrors instead.

23) Your biggest movie-star crush.

Old-school: Diana Rigg. New-school: Lea Seydoux.

24) Director you’ve always felt deserved more attention than he/she ever got or has gotten up to this point, and a highlight for you from his/her career.

Rob Zombie and my highlight for him is The Lords of Salem.

25) Michelle Yeoh or Ziyi Zhang?

Michelle Yeoh easily. Both are awesome in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, though.

26) If the movies’ were to give you a Christmas gift, or a gift for 2006, what would it be? (I mean “the movies” in the most general sense—the film industry, the actors, a director making a certain film, whatever)

Putting myself in the mindset of 2006, probably a continuation of Serenity that isn’t those Dark Horse comics and more Aardman features and for the sequel to Batman Begins to be fucking dope.

DR. HENRYK SAVAARD’S HAIR-RAISING HOME RUN, BLOODCURDLING AT-VAMPIRE-BAT, FIELD OF SCREAMS BASEBALL-HORROR MOVIE QUIZ (with a dugout assist from Savaard’s sinister sidekick, Doc Roberts)

Obviously, I have been in the middle of just trying to smash through all of the previously existent old quizzes for Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule and lo and behold just in time for Halloween, Dennis has provided us with a new one so I don’t have to pretend it’s 2012 or 2005 or what have you for this one. Let’s go ahead and dive right in.

1) Ricky Vaughan or Nuke LaLoosh? (question courtesy of our main Maine monster, Patrick Robbins)

Quite unforgivably, I haven’t seen Major League yet despite baseball being my favorite movie sport (being not born in America, my favorite sport in general is football… World Cup football, not Super Bowl football). Bull Durham is one of the reasons baseball is such the case and so Nuke wins by default, but also that character is a douchebag so I need to see Major League soon so I can change my answer. Team Crash all the way.

2) Best moment in the Friday the 13th film series.

Oh hey and just in the middle of my diving into the beautiful new Shout! Blu-Ray set (I expect that’s why this question is here). I want to say it’s the sleeping bag death in The New Blood, but that seems like the easiest answer so I will go with that one shot in Friday the 13th Part 2‘s climax where Ginny gets in that random cabin and you see Jason running towards her through a window in the background. Or really the whole sequence because what she finds and uses when she gets into the next room is also awesome. Spoilers for that YouTube clip.

3) Henry Hull or Oliver Reed?

This is kind of an unfair question, not only because Oliver Reed in general is so obviously a superior actor with more longevity but also because Reed’s alcoholic ass is like… the ideal actor to have play a werewolf (given that “who was the better werewolf is the REAL question I think is being asked here?”). I mean my answer is still Reed’s imposing masculinity (even if Curse of the Werewolf is slightly worse overall than Werewolf of London) but I want to give Hull love for playing a real awful son of a bitch even before his character became a werewolf.

4) What is the last movie you saw in a theater?

Wide release, it’s Tenet, a fact of which I am quite ashamed of (not because of the movie, it’s great but this is the worst fucking time to go to theaters) and it will definitely remain Tenet for the time being.

(In terms of not “wide release” but “used access to a movie theater that is obviously not being used to watch something”, my last movie proper was Survival Skills as part of watching of the Nightstream film festival programs).

5) Best movie casting for a real-life baseball player, or best casting of a real-life baseball player in a movie.

For the first question, I don’t know too many movie castings of baseball biopics that I like to begin with but it is not faint praise to say Chadwick Boseman was extraordinary as Jackie Robinson in 42.

For the second question (and damn you for disqualifying tv because The Simpsons and Curb Your Enthusiasm have some excellent ones), I’m only thinking of Derek Jeter getting shot by Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys which is only the latest in a long line of hate crimes by that Boston Bastard and it totally suits him to play a piece of shit cop who shoots a black man.

6) D.B. Sweeney or Ray Liotta?

Don’t care for both as actors in general, but once again the real question here is “Who was the better Shoeless Joe?” and that’s definitely Sweeney in Eight Men Out.

7) Given that the fear factor in 2020 is already alarmingly high, is there a film or a genre which you would hesitate to revisit right now?

Believe it or not, no. In fact, I’ve been taking this time to watch or rewatch more existentially draining pictures and it doesn’t make me feel bad to watch those (movies that make me uncomfortable, my pause is extended no matter when the fuck they exist). Whatever’s happening is happening and I do what I can to help and outside of that, I watch what I want.

Meanwhile, I did try to watch Justified for the first time and while I’m sure it’s gonna be my jam… I made the mistake of trying it this past June and decided that “nah, this opening scene is not for me right now”.

8) The Natural (1984)– yes or no?

Yes, though that movie is way too weird for what it’s trying to be.

9) Peter Cushing or Colin Clive?

Peter Cushing. Better Dr. Frankenstein and better actor without even fucking trying. I don’t even have to second guess this.

10) What’s the lamest water-cooler hit you can think of? Of course, define “lamest” however you will, but for “water-cooler hit” Dr. Savaard is thinking about something zeitgeist-y, something everyone was talking about the weekend it opened and beyond, something everyone seemingly had to see—The Other Side of Midnight residing at #1 in 1977 for two weeks is not what the professor has in mind.

The first two Meet the Parents movies (so also Meet the Fockers). It was good for pretending I was an adult when I was 8 and 12 but once I rewatched them as an adult, I was just like “get the fuck outta here”.

11) Greatest single performance in horror movie history.

Boris Karloff’s two-film arc as the Monster in Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein, full of humanity and confusion and tragedy and all that jazz while being this big scary brute. It is exactly the sort of performance that earns our fascination and identification with the movie monsters and honestly just thinking about the way he says “We belong dead” gets me chills.

12) Ingrid Pitt or the Collinson Twins?

I have never seen Twins of Evil or any of the movies the Collinson Twins have been in so Ingrid Pitt wins by default.

13) Name one lesser-known horror film that you think everyone should see. State your reason.

Lake Mungo since it’s the most recent horror movie discovery I’ve made and it’s genuinely shattering as an experience: even without the verisimilitude of its mockumentary presentation, it is equal parts chilling and heartwrenching.

14) Do the same for an underseen or underappreciated baseball movie.

Eight Men Out didn’t make back its budget so I’ll go with that one.

15) William Bendix or Leslie Nielsen?

This is tough. Nielsen has lower lows (barring that I haven’t seen Bendix’s infamous Babe Ruth biopic) but his umpire performance in The Naked Gun is much funnier to me than Bendix’s otherwise charming turn in Kill the Umpire so I guess I’ll give it to Nielsen.

16) Would you go back to a theater this weekend if one reopened near you?

The Music Box is in fact open right now and nope, I’m good.

17) Your favorite horror movie TV show/host, either running currently or one from the past.

Svengoolie, as I prove to be thankful that even before I moved to Chicago, Phoenix was receiving him at the time when I was in undergrad.

18) The Sentinel (1977)—yes or no?

Haven’t seen it but I have been interested since I was a teenager.

19) Second-favorite Ron Shelton movie.

Tin Cup is the only other Ron Shelton I’ve seen (besides the afore-mentioned Bull Durham), but I have been interested in White Men Can’t Jump for decades (a childhood friend had it as his favorite movie and also Stanley Kubrick had it as one of his favorite movies, so no better two people to recommend it).

20) Disclaimer warnings attached to broadcasts of films like Gone With the Wind and Blazing Saddles— yes or no?

Absolutely. I don’t see how it hurts anyone to let them know what they are going into and allow them to decide on what they want to watch based on that. As someone who rejects presentism in his approach to art, I’m happy to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in assuming they understand how times have changed and contexts (the latter of which disclaimers could totally do well to educate others on) but that doesn’t mean we have to eschew basic consideration of others and what they would be uncomfortable with. Anybody who would have a problem with disclaimers is being a snowflake.

21) In the World Series of baseball movies, who are your NL and AL champs?

I have no idea how we are determining what’s a National League and what’s an American League baseball movie but I guess A League of Their Own will be NL and Bull Durham will be AL.

22) What was the last horror film you saw?

Hour of the Wolf tonight in an attempt to dig through all the Ingmar Bergman. How fortunate that I got to this one in October.

23) Geena Davis or Tatum O’Neal?

Ohhhhhhh this one is very hard. I think O’Neal is the better overall actor (or at least she was in her childhood) and I love her turn in The Bad News Bears (since the angle to this question is their baseball movies, for sure) but Geena Davis in A League of Their Own is a scene-stealer even up against Tom Hanks of all actors and her movie is also comfort for me in a way that The Bad News Bears isn’t (… yet) so Davis takes this one.

24) AMC is now renting theaters for $100 – $350, promising a more “private,” catered party-movie experience. What do you like or dislike about this idea? 

Obviously I like that it gives folks a chance to watch a movie as it’s meant to be seen and let’s you and your friends pool together for a movie night. But what I really don’t like (other than the fact any gathering in public is a risk, even with your friends) is how it removes the opportunity for a legitimate communal response to a movie the way that only a full theater with others watching something for the first time could provide. 10 buddies that you personally know what they like or are into is not going to match up with the pleasant surprise and the real influence of 40 or 50 strangers in the shadows that are live and near you that you know nothing about and will probably never encounter again… it’s made even the shittiest movies feel like a shared experience.

25) Name the scariest performance in a baseball movie.

The only possible contender to this that I can think of is Robert De Niro in The Fan.

26) Second-favorite Jack Arnold movie.

The Incredible Shrinking Man, second to Creature from the Black Lagoon.

27) What would be the top five films of 2020 you’ve seen so far?

  1. First Cow (Kelly Reichardt)
  2. Ride Your Wave (Yuasa Masaaki)
  3. Tenet (Christopher Nolan)
  4. Emma. (Autumn de Wilde)
  5. The Fall (Jonathan Glazer)

So it’s not a particularly bad top five considering the year. But it’s also just sad that I haven’t encountered a true five-star movie this year yet. Maybe First Cow could get a curve later.

28) What are your top three pandemic-restricted movie viewing experiences so far in this… unusual year?

  1. Five friends and I joining in for a 24 hour marathon of weird genre films in my living room last month as our last time together before I moved up here to Chicago (The movies were – in order of playing – Hercules in New York, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, The Wizard of Speed and Time, Tremors, Dolls, The Creeping Terror, The Last Dragon, Crippled Avengers, The Room, Flash Gordon, The Gong Show Movie, Troll 2, Miami Connection, and King Kong). Shout out to Josh (yes, that Josh), K.C., Houston (whose last name I realize I don’t know), A.N., and V.P.
  2. Watching and interacting via kosmi streaming and text with my friend L.C. in the middle of the night with a random comfort blanket watch of Pokémon Detective Pikachu as they became a deep believer of the power of the CGI Pikachu’s cuteness (we have added friends to later kosmi watches – Shout out F.G., A.Y., and C.B. – that were fun as well but nothing beats the sudden whim of the Pikachu, baybee!)
  3. Watching Mad Max: Fury Road at the Swap Shop Drive-In and just gushing with J.A.B. over how fucking perfect that is and how awesome it feels to watch it while sitting in a fucking car.

Close honorable mention(s):
– Seeing The Color Out of Space at midnight at the Coral Gables Art Cinema in January and the unspoken sense of ceremony to it all as Josh (yes, that Josh again!) brought his brother, many of my friends decided on the spot to just attend as well (and a few others I just ran into there), the same J.A.B. above introduced the film, and I even ran into all of which I think the film mostly lived up to in its cosmic horror atmosphere even despite the areas where it disappointed me.
– Watching Satantango‘s new 4K release (which is reminding me to order that on Blu-Ray) just before the pandemic hit. Just taking 3 seatings in one day to really settle in that 9 hour dive and feeling everybody else around me sink into the movie as well (and from what it sounded like, I was the only attendee at that screening who saw the movie before).
– Breaking out my new 3D home setup by watching the 2009 My Bloody Valentine remake and having a ball with the ridiculous gore effects in my face.

Does not qualify but would probably be number two if it did:
Watching the Oscars at the crowded-ass Metrograph Theater with my homies J.D. and G.C. and feeling the entire building fucking rumble with every win that Parasite got up until Best Picture made us fear that nobody was walking out the door alive. I swear that moment was more hype than any New Year’s celebration I’ve ever been to.

Forgive me for going overboard with my answers here but it reminds me that it’s not just watching movies that gets me in love with them. It’s the act of watching movies.

MR. HAND’S SPRING 2005 POP MOVIE POP QUIZ

Still using Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule’s surveys trying to charge myself this October between working, moving (there will be a post about that shortly), binging horror movies, trying to get back into writing here, and generally just trying to keep above water, like Spicoli on those waves of his dreams.

Since I’m here and you’re here, let’s use our time to go all the way back once again to 2005 (again the year I actually started getting full throttle in my film buffing in 7th grade, which may also have been the year I first saw Fast Times at Ridgemont High) to the very first quiz on that side – thereby a pop quiz in the most literal sense because of how unexpected it must have been for Dennis’ readers at the time. Now, I have the benefit of hindsight so…

1) The one movie you’d drop everything just to see again.

There’s several… I feel like it’d be cheating to go with Johann Lurf’s ★ since that’s essentially an art piece and constantly changing but I literally emailed him at one point asking for a copy during COVID times and got no response. Ah well.

Anyway I guess barring that, I had plane tickets to Minneapolis just to see Cunningham in 3D at the Walker Art Center and unfortunately that got cancelled because of COVID. So now I’ve seen it but it’s in the 2D version and since there’s no 3D home video version of it available, if the movie ever shows up anywhere near me in 3D… I’m jumping on it.

2) The one movie you never want to see again under any circumstances.

That’s a toughie since I do say that there are movies I’d never see again, but “under any circumstances” adds a new level of magnitude to the question. I guess I will go with Birdemic: Shock and Terror, a legendary bad movie that had no ironic pleasure for me and since it’s been reviewed on this site, I have no reason to revisit as opposed to say… Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

3) The most treasured DVD in your personal collection.

I’ll play by 2005 rules and not involve blu-rays, so my most treasured DVD is the copy of Army of Darkness I got autographed by Bruce Campbell when they shot Burn Notice outside the building my mom works at. I even recall getting daggers shot at me by Gabrielle Anwar.

4) The most coveted DVD you like to add to your collection.

I was just talking to someone about the Limited Edition Wooden Box set for The Wicker Man with the 95-minute version and how I wish I had that to round off my copies of the movie. I got the 88-minute version by buying it off my local Hollywood Video when it was closing down and that’s how I first got exposed to one of my favorite movies and then I got the 92-minute Final Cut Blu-Ray. Just need that one other available cut for a movie whose actual director’s cut will never be available.

Also while I do have my white whale copy of Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition as either a birthday or Christmas gift from my friend B-R-… it unfortunately did have the sleeve so that’s still on the hunt. But it had the Zombi cut, baby!

5) Best NYC movie?

I’m stuck between The French Connection and Do the Right Thing. I’ll probably split down the middle and claim it’s The Last Dragon. I did tell Taimak that Bruce Leroy was my guide to the city before I even moved there.

6) Best LA movie?

Repo Man. Repo Man with Alex Cox directing and Robby Muller shooting captured my myth of Los Angeles just the same as The Last Dragon captured my myth of New York City.

7) Best movie ever made in or about your home state, or country?

I’ll go with home state first, Florida: Magic Mike, although that might change to Miami Blues whenever I rewatch that.

Country, Algeria: The easy answers are The Battle of Algiers or Z, but I posit as a contender to the title Chronicle of the Years of Fire. Plus that one is actually made by an Algerian.

8) Humphrey Bogart or Jimmy Cagney?

Cagney has almost certainly got more overall talent given his versatility and his vaudevillian background and physicality. But Bogey has been a guy that I wanted to emulate for a long time so I hand it over to him.

9) Best movie remake?

My favorite is His Girl Friday, but if I had to give it to what I consider the Best… it has to be Some Like It Hot. Hot hot hot.

10) The one movie you’d most like to see remade, and by whom (director, cast).

I honestly can’t think of one, so I’ll just go with my default sarcastic answer:

Larry Kassanoff’s Casablanca starring Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff, Eva Longoria, Wayne Brady, Christopher Lloyd, etc.

11) Best integration of an existing piece of music into a movie.

“La Marseillaise” in Casablanca sung by a cast of refugees in defiance drowning out Nazi scum.

12) Most unwelcome pop song typically used in a movie montage.

I don’t know about “typically used”, but that Amazing Spider-Man 2 montage to fucking that banal “Gone, Gone, Gone” song made me want to set myself on fire. Doesn’t help that that song was overplayed during my time as a lifeguard.

I guess my actual answer for typically used is how every kids movie in the 1990s to early 2000s had to use “It Takes Two” for whatever reason.

13) Movie that made you want to change your life, or the world.

Movie that made me want to change my life? Miami Connection.

Movie that made me want to change the world? Xanadu.

14) Katherine Hepburn or Carole Lombard?

Katharine Hepburn, which I almost feel bad about saying given how unfairly short Lombard’s career was and how excellent she was during it.

15) Your father’s favorite movie.

Probably either The Battle of Algiers or L’Opium et le Bâton. The Algerian Revolution obviously is a big thing.

16) Your mother’s favorite movie.

If it’s not some Egyptian movie I hardly know, it’s either Kill Bill or Aliens. I’m confident it’s one of those and too lazy to ask.

17) The movies’ most handsome leading man or character actor, and the role which most perfectly featured him.

Alain Delon and I don’t know if we’re talking best performance – which would obviously be Le Samourai – but I’d claim Purple Noon the best use of his features.

18) The movies’ most beautiful leading lady or character actress, and the role which most perfectly featured her.

I’m between Maggie Cheung or Diana Rigg (Grace Jones was also a contender until I remembered she isn’t really a character actor or regular leading lady). I’d probably go with Irma Vep for the former and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service for the latter (If I had seen Vamp, I imagine Jones would be that one and not Conan the Destroyer or A View to a Kill).

I’m giving the edge to Rigg because she actually has been my screen crush for decades now, but…

19) Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant?

Cary Grant and despite loving Jimmy, it’s not a tough question. Grant is my favorite actor, after all.

20) Your favorite actor who almost nobody knows about.

In the past couple of years, I’ve been introduced to the work of Dominique Abel (and his collaborator/wife Fiona Gordon) and I expect he has more popularity in France than in the US but I don’t hear him discussed very much in either circles. Which is outrageous for a couple of actors and directors whose physical elements are extraordinary enough to make for the sort of silent cinema worthy of Chaplin and Keaton but with a gleeful eye for color and mood that only modernity would allow (shit, that last part refers more to Abel and Gordon’s ability as directors but still!).

21) Your favorite actress who almost nobody knows about.

Obviously for balance, I could go with Fiona Gordon here. But let’s switch things up here, shall we?

She’s probably getting a lot more eyes on her thanks to Black Panther, but Danai Gurira has not had nearly enough eyes on her and frankly she should have been getting more attention since Mother of George or even The Walking Dead.

22) The movie you love that everyone else seems to hate.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is great. It’s you all who are crazy.

23) The movie you hate that everyone else seems to love.

Scream sucks. It’s you all who are crazy.

24) Your most memorable moment related to the movies.

My first time going to a movie theater by myself simply because I could and it was Evil Dead II on 35mm at the no longer existing Madcap Theater in Tempe and it opened with a Lowe’s theater etiquette starring the Sesame Street Muppets that really made me aware of where I was.

25) Your most unpleasant moment related to the movies.

Probably my dad busting in late at night wondering why we weren’t asleep because he saw the tv light through my window coming in.

26) Most revolting eating scene in a movie.

You’d think it wouldn’t work as well nowadays, but The Private Lives of Henry VIII still got it going. (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is disqualified on account of racism)

27) Joan Crawford or Bette Davis?

Joan Crawford off the power in Johnny Guitar.

28) Your favorite sports movie.

Bull Durham but maybe one more rewatch of A League of Their Own will finally dethrone that. Or finally sitting down to watch Hoop Dreams.

29) Your favorite movie sex scene.

In the Realm of Senses and I am too much of a gentlemen to describe it.

30) Your favorite movie car chase.

The Moscow sequence in The Bourne Supremacy. Full-on impact, maybe the best adaptation of Greengrass’ trademark confusion into a genre movie setpiece.

31) Your favorite death scene.

Roy Batty in Blade Runner. Calm, satisfied, at peace.

32) Your favorite movie gross-out.

The vomit-feeding sequence in Audition. Legit gets me cringing.

33) Your favorite movie rating.

Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song being “rated X by an all-white jury”.

34) Your favorite movie theater.

I’ve mentioned this in a past post but can’t remember where but it’s Pollack Tempe Cinemas. A second-run theater in a strip mall in Southeast Tempe whose lobby was in hot pink and populated by endless wax figures and would be a cheap escape for me weekly in its big auditoriums and good projection.

35) Your favorite movie snack.

Buttered popcorn, Raisinets, Peanut M&Ms, Twizzlers, occasionally Dots if I’m feeling really self-loathing.

36) Your favorite movie speech.

Fuck, I already used the Blade Runner “Tears in Rain” speech in my “favorite movie deaths”. It’s my answer for sure, but just to have something new… I’ll go with Yang-Yang’s final speech in Yi Yi.

37) Your favorite movie about movies.

8 1/2, which obviously uses that as a pretext to be about Federico Fellini himself but in that way engages with what the movies reveal about the maker and the viewer and vice versa and the dreams in between.

38) Your favorite Hammer horror movie.

The Revenge of Frankenstein. The darkest thing that studio ever did and it carries that weight marvelously.

39) Your favorite Kurt Russell Disney movie.

I’ve only seen Sky High and The Fox and the Hound (which I’m sure is not what Dennis is looking for, but you work with what you gotta). I hate The Fox and the Hound and was pleasantly surprised by Sky High, so that one.

40) Your favorite Dean Jones Disney movie.

Would you believe that I have never seen a single one of his Disney movies? I mainly recognize him for being OG Bobby in Company before OG Bobby.

Aced it!

PROFESSOR WAGSTAFF’S SUMMER OF ’42 (questions, that is) MOVIE QUIZ

It’s that time again. Everytime I want to keep myself wired in writing here, I head back to the ol’ Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule site and check either the most recent one of his reliable surveys or I dig deep into Dennis Cozzalio’s past quizzes from before I even was waved his way.

Today, I reached far back to 2005: not only half a decade before I started blogging (from the ol’ blogspot site which nobody will ever find) but in my opinion the year that 13-year-old me actually resolved to have his pulse on film culture as a whole and not just follow along on whatever movie I felt like looking at. Anyway, I’m sure the answers I’ll bring to the table will turn out to be much different from the ones I would have given in 2005, but ain’t that the miracle of growing as a film buff overtime? Let’s get started.

1) Your favorite movie genre, and a prime example of it.

The musical with Singin’ in the Rain playing as the most affable example of how that sort of attempt to make image and sound fire on all aesthetic and emotional cylinders can give you an experience like no other. It’s not my personal favorite musical (though it is absolutely among my favorite movies) but there’s a reason it’s the one EVERYBODY thinks of when they hear the word “musical” film. It’s so bright, energetic, and smiling the whole way through.


2) Your least favorite movie genre, and a prime example of it.

The Biopic and my favorite biopic is Lawrence of Arabia, but I expect that “prime example” should refer to a prime illustration of what I don’t like about that genre. For that, I humbly present A Beautiful Mind‘s deathly boring and polished self-embalming.

3) Donald Duck or Daffy Duck?

Love to them both but Donald has never had a single height as high as Duck Amuck and I am sorry to say that because I do think Donald has a higher quantity of heights. But Daffy takes it.


4) Your favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie.

North by Northwest. There was a time when Vertigo overtook it in honest exhaustion with overexposing myself to Northwest but now I’m back on its side with its non-stop thrill of the chase. Plus, I do recall the first time I watched it in high school and walking away thinking that is probably the world’s biggest FML.

5) The longest you ever waited in line to see a movie (and, of course, the name of the movie that inspired such preparation and dedication).

I’m worried that the answer to this may be I Am Legend, which would be completely embarrassing (I’m not entirely certain). It may also in fact be one of several ol’ 35mm screenings with the Secret Celluloid Society at the Coral Gables Art Cinema (like maybe Hedwig and the Angry Inch or Miami Connection), but I can’t be certain.

I will instead deflect answering the opposite of this question: the shortest I’ve waited to watch a worthwhile movie in the time before Moviepass and AMC A-List rendered lines obsolete. Which was The Dark Knight Opening Day, which not only was I able to get in the theater quick but I was also able to sneak in 7 or 8 friends that foolishly did not purchase their tickets in advance even though I told them to and this despite getting an auditorium right next to the usher.

And now that I finished that anti-answer, I just remembered the actual answer: it was Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s IMAX screening at the AutoNation theater in Ft. Lauderdale with my homies H-M-, S-F-, and A-A- where our place in line wrapped around the science museum building (and Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the same theater with the same folks minus A 2 years prior may be a close second). Needless to say, that did not pay off as much and I was in fact the one who was kindest to the film of the four of us when we left, though the audience sounded into it at least.

6) Your favorite nature documentary.

Koyaaaaaaaaaaaaanisqatsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

7) Steve Martin or Jim Carrey?

I grew up in the era of Jim Carrey but I grew harshly out of his comedy as an adult now but find him extremely appealing as a straightforward dramatic actor. But Steve Martin still has the same comic appeal for me as he did when I was a child – flipping back and forth between imbecile and asshole – plus his love for bluegrass music (and Bright Star‘s songs) helps me give the prize to him.

8) Your favorite concert movie.

Tough throw up between The Last Waltz, Monterey Pop, and Stop Making Sense. The desire to have the most underrated choice makes me nearly go with Pop, but David Byrne’s style in Stop Making Sense (not to mention recalling the time my friends saw his swinging around in “Psycho Killer” and told me “That’s that Salim swag”) makes me want to get up and dance like nothing else.


9) Your favorite movie about or incorporating religion or religious themes.

I like a lot more of these than I care to admit as an otherwise angry atheist (it’s the inherent ambition from the right approaches). Anyway, it’s not a question of if it’s a Carl Theodor Dreyer picture for me, but WHICH Carl Theodor Dreyer picture and admitting that I don’t particularly think religion is “the point” of The Passion of Joan of Arc, I’ll select his miraculous 1955 Ordet.

10) Your best story (long or short) about attending a drive-in movie.

What an unexpectedly timely question for 2020. I don’t have many good stories about the drive-in, though so I’ll just settle for when Josh Martinez (yes, THAT Josh Martinez) went to a local pop-up that friends of mine made during Quarantine-era and after I got my fried tacos, I walked through the gate back to our car to see a bunch of dirtbikers practicing for a race or something and watching them for several minutes missing most of the picture just ’cause it was such a weird activity to see in a small lot during the pandemic.

(I have also been to real-deal drive-ins like the Swap Shop Ft. Lauderdale, but I don’t have any stories)

11) Your favorite Brian De Palma movie.

Phantom of the Paradise. The absurd weirdness of that stands out from most of De Palma’s Hitchcock Jr. stuff, which I don’t really care for.

12) Name one movie you initially loved, saw again and ended up thinking significantly less of.

A whole lot of these sadly (and a lot that I don’t even intend to rewatch in fear that I’m not going to care for them anymore – Blue Is the Warmest Colour and Hereditary mostly). I think the main one I’ll pick out is American Beauty, where my esteem of it had already depleted extensively long before certain revelations made the movie unattractive to the public. It’s pretty funny that a movie that ends with Kevin Spacey smugly stating “you probably don’t understand what I’m saying, but you will someday” like it’s a movie more relatable with midlife crisis a thing in your life makes me feel like getting older is what removed the rose tints of what feels pretty juvenile in retrospect dressed up in Oscarbait prestige.

13) Name one movie you initially hated, saw again, and ending up liking or loving.

A lot of these too and I think the movie that most grew in my esteem is Yankee Doodle Dandy, of which I am on record saying “could suck my Yankee Doodle Dick” when I first saw it but afterwards just found James Cagney’s vaudevillian energy just to infectious to deny it.

14) Vivien Leigh or Olivia De Havilland?

Very tough one, but Vivien Leigh’s performance as Scarlett O’Hara is a one of a kind force of nature. Shame the character’s a fucking racist but as Larry David says “Well, here you have somebody who not only doesn’t want you… doesn’t even acknowledge your right to exist, wants your destruction! That’s a turn-on.”

15) Favorite blaxploitation movie theme song.

It is the easiest thing to claim it’s “Theme from Shaft” or “Super Fly” (I’d go with the latter) but I’d like to pull from something away from the two giants mostly because it is not only a phenomenal song, but also because it did double duty as the theme song for the original film it was written for AND for Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation homage in Jackie Brown.

Take it away, Bobby.


16) The first movie you remember seeing in a theater.

Pocahontas. Sucks that that’s the answer, right? Could be worse… my second movie is Space Jam.

17) The movie you remember most fondly from childhood.

I joke that anything I liked as a kid is garbage, but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs still have its place in my heart introducing me to movies to begin with, let alone animation and fantasy and romance and all that jazz. Still have the same VHS copy in my possession from when I was a baby.

18) Your favorite Clint Eastwood movie.

Acting? The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Directing? Unforgiven, barring an eventual rewatch of The Outlaw Josey Wales or Letters from Iwo Jima

The boring choices but I mean, most of his works are pretty beloved by me.

19) Best use of 3-D in a movie (not Best 3-D movie)

I was definitely gonna need that “not best movie” qualifier because while I really don’t care for the movie itself, Dial M for Murder‘s central sequence where Swann breaks into the apartment to try to kill Margot. The spacing feels so much more immediate and threatening with that enhanced depth and Grace Kelly’s fourth-wall break reaching out is so much more chilling when it feels like she’s reaching out to YOU.


20) Least-deserving Oscar Winner for Best Picture

I want to assume this is not asking for the worst Best Picture winner (which remains Cimarron) so I’ll assume The Broadway Melody (which is not that far away from the bottom) as my answer. They wanted to give the newfangled techmology of sound cinema an Oscar so badly that they picked a shoddily mixed movie like this one.

Fortunately, the follow up winner All Quiet on the Western Front has one of the all-time best soundtracks in all of film.

21) Least-deserving Oscar Winner for Best Actor

Fortunately, the worst winner is also my actual answer here: Cliff Robertson in Charly. I don’t know what got in my water, but somewhere during college I started getting more and more annoyed with neurotypical actors playing mentally disabled really started grinding my gears as naked Oscar ploys with few actually worthwhile performances coming out of them (I’m being kind… I honestly can’t think of any good performances off the top of my head in this style but maybe if I sat down…).

22) Least-deserving Oscar Winner for Best Actress

Sally Field in Places in the Heart and Mary Pickford in Coquette are the low-hanging fruit and they are certainly worse than Katharine Hepburn’s performance in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but I think I pick the Hepburn because it shares the frustrating quality of being one of 3 Oscar wins Hepburn – one of the greatest screen actors – won for her few bad performances on top of feeling like full-on white mediocrity in comparison to Sidney Poitier’s shutting out from a Best Actor nomination that year, thereby making its already shallow attempt at race commentary feel so much more performative as well as the Oscar’s attention to Kramer’s characteristically grating and labored social drama.

And yes, I am intellectually aware that Poitier more likely did not get his Oscar nod because he had three performances battling for the spot between Guess Who, In the Heat of the Night, and To Sir, With Love. But still…

23) Michael Bay— yes or no, and why?

Much as I like to admire how well he latched onto the one-for-me, one-for-them method of film career the best of anyone this side of Soderbergh and his movies definitely have a recognizable style and personality, it is a personality I would not want to spend ANY time with in person and he has made several movies I find intolerable with only one I possibly like, so I am going to go with no.

24) Your favorite movie about food.

Ratatouille. I deeply would like to claim it’s Tampopo but deep in my heart, I find Ratatouille‘s presentation of its meals so much more aesthetically pleasing while also finding its approach to the art to be universal enough to speak to anyone’s passions even beyond the cuisine. But it does inspire me to explore cuisine further.


25) Your favorite disaster movie.

San Francisco and of course you know what disaster it is from that title, but it is a wonder of sound crushing us from all sides when that strikes.

26) Steve McQueen or Lee Marvin?

Lee Marvin is by miles the better actor than McQueen, but as a fan of speed and the feeling of it behind the wheel and watching the Formula 1, McQueen already earns my respect beyond Marvin as a personality.

McQueen’s the King of Cool, y’all.

27) Best adaptation of a book or other source material into a movie.

Orson Welles’ The Trial, basically being able to change nearly nothing in the great source material while still making sure that every single dizzying feeling is expressed by the visuals – angular and imposing – and the performances rather than the letter.

28) Worst adaptation of a book or other source material into a movie.

I’ll cheat into that “other source material” part and go with stage material here but George Cukor… HOW do you fuck up My Fair Lady like that? The script and the music are phenomenal enough to hand this shit to its filmmakers on a fucking platter and Cukor is generally an excellent filmmaker, but holy shit did they just gut all the wonderful visual elements and replace Julie Andrews with a deathly miscast Audrey Hepburn (much as I love Hepburn) and it makes me cry how mediocre it is. They should have just let Vincente Minnelli make it, he probably would have had the good sense to keep Andrews from Broadway (who would have by that point made The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins) and have more life in it.

Granted, it won the Best Picture Oscar, so what the fuck do I know? My answer was almost The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King so ignore me.

29) Tippi Hedren or Kim Novak?

Kim Novak easily. What can I say, Roar is the sort of movie that makes you doubt the people involved are all there.


30) Your favorite Marx brother.

This should absolutely be a lot more of a Sophie’s Choice than it actually is since the holy trinity of Groucho, Chico, and Harpo all bring something irreplaceable (much love to Zeppo too), but the straightforward fact that Groucho talks shit faster than Jimmy John’s while having wonderfully visually expressive eyebrows and mannerisms that could rival Harpo takes the cake.


31) The most frightening movie you’ve seen that is not strictly a horror movie.

Through a Glass Darkly, simply because Hariet Anderson’s weighty and demanding performance. When I said that “religious movie” question could easily have a Carl Theodor Dreyer answer, I forgot that Ingmar Bergman could be an answer as well.

32) Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi?

Karloff is significantly the superior actor, but Lugosi’s never taken a role without giving it his all while still feeling like someone of stature rather than someone muddling and he’s one of the many faces I think of when I think of the word “B-Movie”, a word that gives me no limit of warm feelings. One of my favorite actors, despite not liking most of his movies.

33) Your favorite movie about high school.

Dazed and Confused. And I do wonder if I was lucky enough to have seen it for the first time in my freshman year of college and so just right down the middle between looking back the way Linklater does with the film and looking forward like the characters do on at the beginning of another chapter (a vibe I think Linklater is very good at capturing since he gave me the same vibe in Boyhood the summer when I graduated from undergrad). The only movie that almost gives me that same sense of timeliness was seeing American Graffiti in my senior year of high school.

34) The movie you’d most like to be subjected to a DVD commentary, and the person or persons (living or dead) who you’d like to hear talking on it.

I should absolutely have a better fucking answer than this but I can’t help that my brain first goes to Miami Connection with Bong Joon-ho and Y.K. Kim conversing mostly in Korean so English viewer need subtitles for the commentary. I’m not even sure it would vibe given Bong is pretty clearly a socialist and Kim feels like he’s more capitalist, but who knows? They both seem like fellas who are eager to make friends.

35) Your favorite animated movie.

I’m going with Grave of the Fireflies for right now, but this is a question where the answer is always fluid from me. In fact, I very nearly went with Duck Amuck above but that felt lazy to use it twice.


36) Most overly familiar dialogue phrase used in screenwriting, usually to connote coolness of a character or, more often, the screenwriter (Example: “Do the math!”)

I honestly can’t think of any uses of “nice shot” or “made you look” except for Captain America: Civil War for the latter, so I might go with “Tell him I’m coming!” except the only ones I can remember are The Limey, Tombstone (which I haven’t seen but I’ve seen the clip), and Resident Evil: Extinction and they’re all too cool.

“Have a nice trip” is one that I imagine used by a whole lot of action heroes when they just kill a dude but the only memory I have of it is the weird non-sequitur use of it in The Dark Knight.

37) Your favorite Howard Hawks movie.

His Girl Friday and I don’t even need to think twice and I never will think twice and you can’t make me think twice and look here fella…


38) Carrie Fisher or Natalie Portman?

The hat trick for my “_______ is the better actor but…” responses to these questions. In which case, Portman is the better actor – sold 100% after the 2018 one-two punch of Annihilation and Vox Lux – and I do admire a lot about her attempts to get more women behind the camera but Carrie Fisher’s writing is incredibly charming and by a country mile the material I’d prefer to remember her by over her acting.

Plus if we’re talking Star Wars, I do think Leia is better-written and Fisher got to improve by each movie while Portman just kept getting worse and worse writing with each installment. And because I am a shallow dude, I found Leia hotter.

39) Your favorite kung fu movie.

Jackie Chan’s Police Story, with its amusing Buster Keaton physical elements even outside of the amazing fight sequences.


40) In the spirit of Freddy vs. Jason, devise a fantasy smackdown
matchup between two movie characters, fictional or drawn from life.

John Wick vs. Kuwabatake Sanjuro. The unstoppable vs. the unkillable.

I know this makes no temporal sense at all and is logistically impossible, but it’s not like it’s gonna be made and I’m just trying to have fun and I’m fucking terrible at this.

41) Your ultimate fantasy drive-in double feature.

Planet Terror and Death Proof

Death Race 2000 and Vanishing Point or Duel and Maximum Overdrive

I’ve long decided since leaving a drive-in showing of Mad Max: Fury Road a few months ago that the only movies to watch at a drive-in are road movies or car-centric movies. I figure the two I named are a fitting enough pair for breezy good times.

42) Funniest… movie… ever!

I know I said I didn’t want to recycle Duck Amuck for two answers, but fortunately I did not have to invoke Duck Soup when answering the Marx brothers question and only used a clip. So now I’ll just use a second clip for the funniest movie ever.

DEAN VERNON WORMER’S LOCKDOWN-FRIENDLY, DOUBLE-SECRET PROBATIONARY QUARANTINE-QUALITY MOVIE QUIZ

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Still rolling through the 2010s lists – I’m hoping to have the Best and Worst Posters of the 2010s up tomorrow – but just provide myself a little cooldown, I once again look to the reliable surveys of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule and lookee here, they even have one relevant to the quarantining happening ’round town. Let’s dive into Dean Wormer’s little questionnaire.

1) You’re on a desert island (and you sort of are)—What three discs do you select out of your own collection to keep if you had to get rid of all the rest?

Very wise loophole-proofing this by saying it has to be “discs” because whoah would a whole lot of box sets be selected otherwise. I guess I’d go with the Criterion blu-rays I have of The Passion of Joan of ArcTokyo Story, and the FOX blu-ray of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. I do it for the culture, in case they are destroyed outside of my little island.

2) Giuletta Masina or Jeanne Moreau?

I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier version of these “this or that” questions in these surveys. Giulietta Masina is adorable, gave us two of the best screen performances of all time, and honestly reminds me of one of my ex-girlfriends (specifically her performance in La Strada), so that is a no brainer for me.

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3) Second-favorite Roger Corman movie.

This is kind of tough because my actual favorite Roger Corman switches often, so depending on the day, it could either be The Little Shop of Horrors or The Haunted Palace (I of course assume this is referring to Corman-directed rather than Corman-produced). I think I’ll go with The Haunted Palace today because I’m REALLY feeling Horrors‘ sense of humor, but come tomorrow….

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4) The most memorable place you ever saw a movie. This could be a film projected on a big screen or seen in some other fashion—the important thing is what makes it memorable.

Definitely feel like this would be a good place to talk about how Pollack Tempe Cinemas is my favorite movie theater that I have ever encountered, but I don’t think that’s nearly all that unorthodox a location to watch a movie. I don’t know if a bar is an unorthodox place to watch one either, but I don’t know how you’d manage it with the sound and I can’t think of anywhere else that’s interesting than the time about a year and a half ago when a friend (Big up, A-S-) was showing me this horror punk bar in downtown Savannah called The Jinx and The Warriors was playing on the tv above the bar. We ended up watching the whole thing – not hearing a single line of dialogue (I explained any relevant exposition to my friends – also big up L-C- – as it was their first time watching it) – except for the wild hardcore punk playlist that bar had on its PA system which fit very well with its aesthetic.

5) Marcello Mastroianni or Vittorio Gassman?

Mastroianni. I just like his style more. This was tougher than I make it sound, but Mastroianni looking at someone from above his sunglasses is just the slickest.

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6) Second-favorite Kelly Reichardt movie.

Y’know, a while ago Old Joy would have been my pick for favorite but a recent rewatch of Meek’s Cutoff made me seriously re-evaluate the later film hard enough to dethrone Joy down to second place, so at least it still gets acknowledgement up in here.

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7) In the matter of taste, is there a film or director that, if your partner in a relationship (wife/husband/lover/best friend) disagreed violently with your assessment of it, might cause a serious rift in that relationship?

I don’t see myself getting close to anyone who would be in a position to disagree VIOLENTLY with me on a movie-related subject (it sounds like dating myself, which sounds exhausting), but I will say that I don’t think I could possibly maintain a relationship with someone who categorically rejects the work of Ernst Lubitsch. Like if I show them the movie and they’re like “that was garbage, why would you show me that?” I’m showing them something else: the door.

8) The last movie you saw in a theater/on physical media/via streaming (list one each).

In a Theater: Ride Your Wave via semi-illicit means although my last proper movie exhibition in a theater was Emma. the night just before AMC shut down for COVID.

On Physical Media: I kind of fell asleep to The Good, the Bad, the Ugly because it was late at night. Looking forward to rectifying that soon since it’s too perfect of a movie not to complete, no matter how many times I’ve already seen it.

Streaming: Love in the Afternoon, where Gary Cooper tries a role that was definitely made for Cary Grant and in turn makes it way too obvious what their differences are.

9) Name a movie that you just couldn’t face watching right now.

I am constantly THIS close to rewatching Shoah before I rewatch The Last of the Unjust for my Best of the 2010s catch-up and I frequently find myself saying “y’know, just because I have the time doesn’t mean I HAVE to watch a 9-hour Holocaust doc. I could just get to the 4-hour one that’s not as a upsetting.”

10) Jane Greer or Ava Gardner?

It took me time to get used to Greer in Out of the Past, but no such issue with Gardner in Night of the Iguana, so the latter’s had a headstart to win this.

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11) Edmond O’Brien or Van Heflin?

Edmond O’Brien because he looks as zoned out at life as I do.

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12) Second favorite Yasujiro Ozu movie.

Late Spring.

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13) Name a proposed American remake of an international film that would, if actually undertaken, surely court or inevitably result in disaster.

I don’t even like Akira that much but seriously… Akira.

14) What’s a favorite film that you consider genuinely subversive, for whatever reason?

I don’t have to give the reasons that Psycho is subversive, do I? I’m too lazy to think of a less obvious answer.

15) Name the movie score you couldn’t live without.

Joe Hisaishi’s score for Hana-bi has long been a comfort blanket for me before I even ended up seeing the film. I’d like to say The Umbrellas of Cherbourg but I don’t think it would bring me down from certain experiences the way that Hana-bi‘s score does.

16) Mary-Louise Weller or Martha Smith?

I mean, I’m basically being asked to pick between their Animal House characters and while they’re both attractive, only Babs gets me to Universal Studios.

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17) Peter Riegert or Bruce McGill?

I’m very much tempted to disqualify McGill just for the awfulness of FDR: American Badass but then I remember how much ownage he delivered in that one courtroom scene in The Insider and I wipe that smirk off my face and admit McGill is the dopest.

18) Last Tango in Paris—yes or no?

I hardly remember anything about the movie except how awfully Bertolucci exploited Maria Schneider so I can’t say yes, but I also feel like I should remember more about the movie before I say no.

19) Second-favorite Akira Kurosawa movie.

Ran. Asking this question is akin to asking the second-best movie in the world, to be honest.

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20) Who would host the imaginary DVD commentary you would most want to hear right now, and what would the movie be?

I cannot imagine that the future Criterion release of The Other Side of the Wind won’t include Peter Bogdanovich getting down on the commentary and I sure hope so.

21) Favorite movie snack.

It used to be Dots, but I haven’t had them in a long while. (Author’s Note: I have since left to get some).

22) Second-favorite Planet of the Apes film (from the original cycle).

If you hadn’t specified from the original cycle, I’d be dropping Dawn up in here. Instead I’m going with Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, which I also feel is the best-shot and that’s probably not a coincidence.

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23) Least-favorite Martin Scorsese movie.

Boxcar Bertha.

24) Name a movie you feel doesn’t deserve its current reputation, for better or worse.

I feel like it’s probably believable that more filmmakers in the early American industry saw The Birth of a Nation than Cabiria – even if Cabiria pre-dates it, even as movie watched at the White House – but we’re really telling on ourselves by choosing to establish the Klan agitprop film as the foundational text of long-form narrative cinema.

25) Best movie of 1970. (Fifty years ago!)

I’m worried that I’m forgetting something when I say The Conformist, but it is probably The Conformist.

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26) Name a movie you think is practically begging for a Broadway adaptation (I used this question in the last quiz, but I’m repeating it because I never answered the quiz myself and I think I have a pretty good answer)

*shifts eyes around to make sure nobody is listening* …Suspiria.

You can’t tell me it’s impossible to make a good Suspiria adaptation for Broadway. You’d need somebody who really is tuned-in to the material, though.

27) Louise Brooks or Clara Bow?

Louise Brooks. Made a bigger first impression with me than the It Girl. Dream of both in black and white, though.

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28) Second-favorite Pier Paolo Pasolini movie.

Mamma Roma.

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29) Name three movies you loved in your early years that you feel most influenced your adult cinematic tastes.

Spider-Man
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

30) Name a movie you love that you think few others do.

Full Frontal. Which is a-ok, I get to play with it more.

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31) Name a movie you despise that you think most others love.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I absolutely do not understand the love people have for it. I hear them claim that it’s misunderstood because it’s a comedy, but that doesn’t get us past the point where the movie is just not funny. And unfunny comedies are the worst things in the world.

32) The Human Centipede—yes or no?

Still haven’t seen it. Not really on my watchlist. I’m gonna assume the NO position for now.

33) Anya Taylor-Joy or Olivia Cooke?

Anya Taylor-Joy, who I have been obsessed with since The Witch. Meanwhile I am haven’t yet been brought on-board the Olivia Cooke train, but I could be convinced eventually.

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34) Johnny Flynn or Timothée Chalamet?

Johnny Flynn. I’m really not into the Chalamet hype at this point, he’s not a good actor, he’s just some twink y’all are over obsessed with because twigs make you thirsty.

35) Second-favorite Dorothy Arzner movie.

Dance, Girl, Dance

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36) Name a movie you haven’t seen in over 20 years that you would drop everything to watch right now.

“In over 20 years” is a very hard call to make, especially considering that I was a kid back then. I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen City on Fire the one time before I was ten years old and would definitely like to revisit it knowing the sort of influence it has on Hong Kong crime cinema and Quentin Tarantino’s storytelling.

37) Name your favorite stylistic filmmaking cliché, and one you wouldn’t mind seeing disappear forever.

You can never over-oversaturate your colors for me, I want colors when I go the movies before I want anything else.

Meanwhile, anybody who is still shooting features with iPhones are my mortal enemy forever. If Steven Soderbergh couldn’t accomplish it, that means it’s the devil.

38) Your favorite appearance by a real-life politician in a feature film, either fictional or a fictionalized account of a real event.

I don’t like at all when politicians do this. I think it adds way too much to the current memification of politics which makes me want to set stuff on fire. The closest I am to fine with it is Saadi Yacef essentially playing himself in The Battle of Algiers, especially considering how it involves an event he was personally involved with and especially since that movie is propaganda anyway (my nationality may also explain my leniency on this one).

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39) Is film criticism dead?

Absolutely not. I have been feeling like it’s on the edge for nearly 6 years now, but to be quite honest, I don’t see it ever disappearing fully no matter how dry the money gets. The only thing people want to do with movies more than watch them is to talk about them and there’s no other way that the conversation can actually expand into the rest of the world.

I do feel like we’re leaning more and more into a trend of focusing on the material rather than the aesthetic craft itself that breaks my heart, but whatever keeps the conversation going…

40) Elizabeth Patterson or Marjorie Main?

Marjorie Main. She’s been in more movies I love.

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41) Arch Hall Jr. or Timothy Carey?

I have sadly seen no movies with Arch Hall Jr., but looking into his wikipedia page, it sounds like he would absolutely be my jam, so I need to rectify this immediately.

No offense to Carey as one of our most unforgettable character actors, but whoah what style on Archie there.

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42) Name the film you think best fulfills the label “road movie.”

The Road Movie“, I declare with a giant grin.

But impishness aside, I am inclined to go with Y tu Mamá Tambien.

43) Horror film that, for whatever reason, made you feel most uncomfortable?

Wolf Creek for all the obvious reasons.

44) Least-favorite (directed by) Clint Eastwood movie.

The 15:17 to Paris, oh my word. Eastwood is the last director who should be working with non-actors and it was also the least-baked of his “interrogating a hero” films that he’s in the current phase of making.

45) Second-favorite James Bond villain.

If we’re counting TV movies then Peter Lorre’s version of Le Chiffre from the television Casino Royale. If we’re not, then Goooooooooldfingah!

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46) Best adaptation of a novel or other form that had been thought to be unfilmable.

Cloud Atlas specifically because – in addition to its boundless ambition – instead of trying to adapt the structure of the novel, it opts to use the power of the cut to have an experiential thoroughline instead.

47) Michelle Dockery or Merritt Wever?

I must confess to being hardly familiar with either actor – I especially have never seen either of their popular TV show performances (though I have seen the Downton Abbey movie) – but in terms of appeal, I do dig Dockery. She’s also the single redeeming factor of the horrible experience that was The Gentlemen.

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48) Jason Bateman or Ewan McGregor?

I lied. THIS is the easiest “This or That” question that SLIFR has ever posited to me. McGregor, by far. The only thing Jason Bateman did that has retained a place of pride in my head is Arrested Development. McGregor is constantly entertaining me, no matter how bad the movie surrounding him is.

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49) Second-favorite Roman Polanski movie.

Rosemary’s Baby.

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50) What’s the movie you wish you could watch with a grandparent right now? And, of course, why?

3/4 of my grandparents are dead, one of them died before I even met him. Of the ones I know or knew, none of them were really into movies that I could tell. Maybe The Quiet Man might appeal to at least one of them, possibly my single living grandmother.

51) Oliver Stone two-fer: Natural Born Killers and/or JFK—yes or no?

No to Natural Born Killers. Yes to JFK.

52) Name the actor whose likeness you would proudly wear as a rubber latex Halloween mask.

Vincent Price. At which point I would remove my Vincent Price mask to reveal Dr. Phibes! It’s a perfect Halloween idea!

53) Your favorite cinematographer, and her/his greatest achievement.

Oh my word, that is such a tough question. My kneejerk is to say Emmanuel Lubezki (in which case his achievement is Knight of Cups, in my opinion) but I don’t want to seem basic and I would like to throw onto this holy trinity Gordon Willis (The Godfather Part II being his achievement) and Miyagawa Kazuo (Yojimbo being his best achievement).

54) Best book about the nitty-gritty making of a movie.

I don’t know about best because there is a whole lot of great stuff out there, but Greg Sestero’s The Disaster Artist was such an impressive little combination of character study, conflict, and making-of behind-the-scenes and it was quite the thrilling read for that reason.

The Jaws LogThe Making of The Wizard of OzFuture NoirAlfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, and Breaking In: How 20 Directors Got Their Start are definitely close runner-ups for me.

55) If you needed to laugh right now, what would be your go-to movie comedy?

Duck Soup. Always a new joke I catch with that one.

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DR. JONATHAN HEMLOCK’S ARTSY-FARTSY, HISTORICAL-SCHMISTORICAL SANCTIONISTIC SUMMER VACATION MOVIE QUIZ

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.

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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 StreetFreddy’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).

elizabeth_debicki_victoria_vinciguerra-xlarge-770x47012) 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.

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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.

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