Monday, July 27, 2009

Benny or Barrymore?


There's a great questionnaire over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, which I got to via Allure.
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Some are impossibly hard - I mean, do you have a favourite use of high-definition video on the big screen? - and some are just plain fiendish. But it certainly gets you thinking.
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Here are my answers, and I officially call on absolutely everyone to join in.
Happy head-scratching!
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1) Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.
Tricky. Hate so many, can stand so few. Of those that seem to me to be most tolerable, I suppose the second most tolerable (after Lolita) is The Shining.
2) Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil.
Unsimulated sex in mainstream narrative cinema
3) Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?
Clint. No question.
4) Best Film of 1949.
Abbott & Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff
5) Joseph Tura (Jack Benny) or Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore)?
Tough - but Oscar has it, just.
6) Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?
Is Bob Hope a Catholic?
7) What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?
I can't remember. Another of the many advantages of growing up with BBC-2.
8) Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) or Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre)?
If only they were all this easy. Mr who?
9) Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).
The Great Escape (1963)
10) Favorite animal movie star.
Mut (A Dog's Life [1918])
11) Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.
The Moon is Blue (1953)
12) Best Film of 1969.
Taste the Blood of Dracula
13) Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.
Theatrically - Piccadilly (1929). (It was yesterday, by the way: I have been to the cinema since 1929, albeit only once or twice.) On DVD - The Tuxedo with Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt in sexy specs.
14) Second-favorite Robert Altman film.
No answer possible. I don't have a second favourite disease either. Or a second favourite fascist.
15) What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print?
So many blogs.
16) Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji?
Purely on the basis of a Google image search, I'd have to go with Meiko.
17) Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?
Jennifer Tilly, hands down.
18) Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.
Freaks (1932)
19) Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.
See question 14
20) Favorite movie that is equal parts genre film and a deconstruction or consideration of that same genre.
An American Werewolf In London (1981)
21) Best Film of 1979.
Moonraker
22) Most realistic and/or sincere depiction of small-town life in the movies.
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
23) Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).
George Zucco's Mexican Flying Serpent
24) Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.
The Conversation is the only one I like. Of the rest, the only ones I can see anything in at all (ie: interesting visual style) are One From the Heart and Dracula, and of the two, the one with least else wrong with it is One From the Heart.
25) Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.
Freddy Got Fingered
26) Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.
The screen tests in The Black Dahlia. But everything else the man's ever done: just terrible.
27) Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.
Any moment in Singin' in the Rain. But two-strip is more fun.
28) Favorite Alan Smithee film.
The Birds 2: Land's End (1994)
29) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?
No idea who either of these characters are, but it's a pretty fair bet the correct answer is Walter Matthau.
30) Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.
Anything Else (2003)
31) Best Film of 1999.
Had no ready answer for this so did a net search - turns out it was probably the bleakest year for movies in the medium's history: American Beauty, Star Wars 4, Notting Hill, Being John Malkovich, The Mummy, The Spy Who Shagged Me, In Dreams, The Bone Collector... and I could go on. How did we get through it?
Yet, somehow, amidst all this madness and shallow ambition, they accidentally made the best film of the whole decade: The Straight Story.
32) Favorite movie tag line.
"The Hero Is A Berk." (Top Secret)
33) Favorite B-movie western.
Apache Drums (1951) - a great Val Lewton movie still awaiting its due.
34) Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of his or her work.
W. Somerset Maugham
35) Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) or Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard)?
Oh Carole.
36) Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.
The girl in the radiator in Eraserhead
37) Bruno (the character, if you haven’t seen the movie, or the film, if you have): subversive satire or purveyor of stereotyping?
Taking the question at face value: purveyor of stereotyping. Strange question though.
38) Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet.
Charles Laughton, Fay Wray, Cecil B De Mille, Clara Bow, Robert Benchley. (Jennifer Love Hewitt came in sixth.)

5 comments:

Juliette. said...

Interesting survey!
Most I've come across are the same old line, you know?

Jennifer Love Hewitt, huh? ;)

Anonymous said...

1) Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.

Don't hate him but think I have to go with Matthew, Lolita 1st Shining 2nd

2) Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil.

For evil, action-film sequences that seem specifically designed to be incorporated into spin-off video games

3) Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?

Clint

4) Best Film of 1949.

Whatever Powell & Pressburger made

5) Joseph Tura (Jack Benny) or Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore)?

Jack

6) Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?

Haven't seen enough recent films to know

7) What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?

As Matthew, and whatever happened to great films on BBC 2? Not to mention Channel Four

8) Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) or Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre)?

Lorre

9) Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).

Sink the Bismarck

10) Favorite animal movie star.

Laughing Gravy

11) Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.

Incorporating footage from the 1931 Frankenstein into the opening of 'Van Helsing', thereby giving people something to compare it with

12) Best Film of 1969.

Midnight Cowboy

13) Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.

I'm too embarrassed to say the last time I went to the cinema, in this company. DVD, La Grand Illusion

14) Second-favorite Robert Altman film.

Favourite being Pret a Porter on the strength of Marcello and Sophia ('You were a communist, I was 14'), second would be 'A Wedding'

15) What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print?

Our gracious host

16) Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji?

Likewise based on a Google image search, everyone male or lesbian is a winner. (Thanks for the Anna May Wong pictures, by the way, she's luminous even in stills)

17) Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?

MARISA

18) Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.

Octopussy?

19) Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.

Not sure what it is

20) Favorite movie that is equal parts genre film and a deconstruction or consideration of that same genre.

Slavishly following Matthew again, American Werewolf

Anonymous said...

21) Best Film of 1979.

Manhattan

22) Most realistic and/or sincere depiction of small-town life in the movies.

The Wicker Man. No, Kes (but I laughed at your Ken Loach jokes)

23) Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).

The invisible id-monster from Forbidden Planet. I still find it genuinely scary. Wait, does it count as giant? If so the alien from Alien

24) Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.

Peggy Sue Got Married being the favourite, I suppose it would have to be Apocalypse Now, although I hate all the fan-geekery around it

25) Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.

Star Wars

26) Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.

I suppose the Odessa steps 'homage' from The Untouchables but I'm with Matthew as to his merits

27) Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.

Call me leper but this is over my head

28) Favorite Alan Smithee film.

I gather Sidney Lumet took a Smithee credit for a TV cut of 'Q & A', so that

29) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?

Matthau

30) Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.

Everyone Says I Love You

31) Best Film of 1999.

Not being bothered to find a list, and since I've agreed with you too many times, Being John Malkovich.

(Why do you keep holding it up as an exemplar of all that's worst in modern films? I thought it was at least original and imaginative)

32) Favorite movie tag line.

'Does for rock and roll what "The Sound of Music" did for hills' - Spinal Tap

33) Favorite B-movie western.

Assault on Precinct Thirteen

34) Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of his or her work.

On the strength of 'The Razor's Edge' and 'Secret Agent' I'd have to echo Matthew yet again and go with Maugham

35) Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) or Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard)?

Carole

36) Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.

Francis L. Sullivan as the escaped-lunatic opera singer in Jessie Matthews's 'Climbing High'

37) Bruno (the character, if you haven’t seen the movie, or the film, if you have): subversive satire or purveyor of stereotyping?

Based purely on reviews, satire of celebrity culture, stereotyping of rednecks

38) Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet.

Erich Von Stroheim, John Huston, Alastair Sim, Sophia Loren, Stan Laurel


-- George

Matthew Coniam said...

Juliette -
Doesn't everyone love Jen?

George -
Greetings from the other side! Your answer to question 25 was so funny I seriously considered deleting your comments entirely and changing my answer to Star Wars. Or Police Academy.

I'd forgotten they used classic Universal footage in Van Helsing, otherwise that would have gone in too. I've never seen a more concise and perfect example of the redundancy of modern Hollywood than that film. When you can't even do pastiche properly it's time to draw the curtains.

Being John Malkovich original and inventive? You do yourself an injustice. In idle moments on sunny afternoons you have come up with ideas as good as that a hundred times. The only difference, the only thing that made it seem creative, is that whereas you put the thought aside and got on with putting up shelves, this guy actually bothered to go all the way with it. You or I would see the self-indulgent folly and pull out of the idea once the script had been prepared. Anything looks inventive if you bother to do it lavishly, and stick to it, and play it trendy-straight all the way, and most important of all: don't have any more ideas at all during the whole time you are making it. Lazy, pompous crap.

Stan Laurel came within a whisker of being in my list, too. He was stood right behind Jennifer Love Hewitt in the queue. (So I doubt he was complaining.)
Oh, and another answer of yours I want to steal and swap for mine is number 33. A good point, and a genuinely good movie too. (I own, but have never seen, Rio Bravo. I have a sneaking feeling I'd end up still preferring Assault, just as - and this is purely between us - I still vastly prefer the Mel Brooks To Be Or Not To Be to Lubitsch's.)

Nice to hear from you again!

Lolita said...

Ha ha, I need to do this one! I will have to figure out all the answers first, though...