Stop! Answer Time
Another great quiz from Dennis Cozzalio, and another set of answers from me.
1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Vertigo. The first time I was just too green. Now it's in my Top 5.
2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Capra-corn makes me want to vomit. The only one I've liked is It Happened One Night. It's A Wonderful Life would be great if it left any part of it in slight doubt.
3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Swingers. A bunch of guys sit around a table talking about how much Tarantino rips off Scorsese. One of them remarks about how all movies steal from other movies. Cut to the guys walking down the street a la Reservoir Dogs. Too perfect.
4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
They're high on my list of movies to see. But it's a big list. A very big list.
5) Your favorite Oscar moment
For lack of any other ideas, I'll go with the streaker in '73.
6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Guy Pearce is a better actor, to be sure, but Hugo Weaving has the iconic role of Agent Smith. I love Agent Smith. Agent Smith is one of the best parts of The Matrix. But I can't see Weaving as anything but Agent Smith. Guy Pearce I can see in anything. Guy wins.
7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
I don't understand a lot of things. I'm white. I'm male. I'm from the suburbs. For the sake of argument, I guess I'll go with Do the Right Thing. From my limited perspective, it seems very intelligent and realistic when it comes to race relations.
8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
Alas, I have seen none.
9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
I don't know who that last one is, but Bellucci was in The Passion of the Christ and Terry Gilliam's only mediocre movie. I think I'll go with Cucinotta by default.
10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Strangely enough, The Silence of the Lambs is my most watchable film. Hannibal Lecter can always put a smile on my face. I'm not quite sure what that says about me, though.
11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
I can't really think of any movies that can destroy my day, though anything with Hugh Grant certainly puts me down a bit. But there's nothing that I can't recover from.
12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Deliverance, the only one I've seen.
13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Bruce Dern gave birth to one of the best actresses working today. What has Warren Oates' loins given us?
14) Your favorite aspect ratio
Standard 1:1.85 is good for me, though I don't play favorites. I like them all.
15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I don't think there's any more personality in films now than there were when Truffaut was making movies. Pan's Labyrinth certainly seems like it resembles Guillermo del Toro, but no more than Vertigo resembles Hitchcock. So, I guess, yes. But then again, I think it was Truffaut's tomorrow yesterday.
16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
The formalist in me says Aguirre. The hipster says Grizzly Man. But really, it's My Best Fiend for me. It's a document made about his life with his best friend, and it never backs away from the truth, even when it isn't flattering to anyone.
17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Can these beasts be zombies? If so, I'll take Dawn of the Dead. If not, you just can't beat King Kong vs. Godzilla.
18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
I believe Sarah Silverman is the heir to the Woody Allen great Jewish comedian throne. Sandra Bernhard is just annoying.
19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Every horror movie since Alien has some sort of traitor. And you know which one from the very beginning of the movie. Pisses me off. I want a united front against the monster. No deals or anything like that. Just avoid that "twist". Please.
20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
There is just something way too funny about the fact that the PG-13 rating was designed for Temple of Doom, yet it got a PG. For being the cause of the middle ground, I would say yes. And the carts on railroads is still a phenomenal scene.
21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
Rebel Without a Cause, considering it's the only one I've seen.
22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Allow me to present Andrew Niccol, one of the great investigators of identity in modern cinema. Gattaca, The Truman Show, Lord of War, the man is more impressive than most other directors out there, and yet he recieves next to no recognition.
23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Network may be the popular answer, but it's the popular answer for a reason. It's (in my opinion) the best movie in the past 35 years. It has one of the best screenplays ever written, and it predicted the popularization of the news and the rise of disturbing reality television. The direction is great, the performances are great, and the screenplay is, as I have said, amazing.
24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Considering I haven't seen either of them in a major role, I'm going to flip a coin. Heads, Ganz. Tails, Bauchau. Tails wins, so I guess I prefer Bauchau.
25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
See Question 16.
26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The best accidents are the ones where the scene just keeps going. Usually a fall of some kind, like John Belushi in Animal House. But my favorite come courtesy of General Buck Turgidson. Nothing quite as funny as George C. Scott falling over backward and continuing his line. It adds to the humor of the film, and to the development of Turgidson as a man so entirely devoted to his cause that nothing will stop him (from destroying the world).
27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
I've seen only one, so I guess Don't Come Knocking is my answer.
28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Penelope Cruz has starred in some utter shit, but if Volver is any indication, it's all Cruz in my future.
29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
"Makes Ben Hur look like an Epic" - Monty Python and the Holy Grail
30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
I'm never quite sure what I want from film criticism. Sometimes I want someone's opinion of a film. Sometimes I want in depth analysis. Sometimes I want to know what I missed when I say a movie. Maybe I want someone to shoot down my opinion. Maybe I want focus on some symbol which helps to elevate a film to a whole new level. It's almost always different than what I wanted the last time.
I'd like to think that film criticism is heading for a greater place. Because when you get past the knee-jerk fanboy reactions, the internet can give us all views on a film we never would have seen otherwise. There are so many voices that there's always something worth reading. It makes me smile to think that every day I can find something new to read. Something interesting. Something informative. Something exciting. Maybe I'm just an idealist.
EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Not all of them. Some of them don't matter. But then again, some of them 60 years ago didn't matter. And some of them did. There will never be a year when no movies matter.