In between holiday schmoozin' and cold-induced snoozin', I completely missed that Dennis Cozzalio and the wonderful Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule posted a year-end Movie Quiz. Lucky for me, he explicitly stated to take our time with it, especially since one question couldn't be answered until after the holidays.
So as sort of a preface to the personal movie challenge I'm giving to myself in 2009 (more on that in a day or so), here are my answers to...
Professor Kingsfield's Hair-Raising, Bar-Raising Holiday Movie Quiz:
1) What was the last movie you saw Theatrically? On DVD or Blu-Ray?
In the theaters it was MILK, which startled me by its delicacy and dedication to character over some of the (wonderful) stylistic choices made in the film. On DVD (sorry, Blu-Ray is unfortunately on a distant horizon after kids, kids, and, uh, kids) it was Jean-Luc Godard's BREATHLESS, which is coincidentally the first movie I'll be talking about in the new movie section kicking off this year.
2) Holiday movies - do you like them naughty or nice?
I really only ever watch two "holiday" films - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and ELF, with occasional forays into MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS and THE BISHOP'S WIFE when I can, so I think "nice" is the safe answer. Plus, I woefully admit to not having seen BAD SANTA yet, so...
3) Ida Lupino or Mercedes McCambridge?
Ida Lupino for her work behind the camera as well as the awesome HIGH SIERRA with Humphrey Bogart.
4) Favorite actor/character from Twin Peaks
I know I'm not alone in professing the enormous crush I had on Sherilyn Fenn. The saddle shoes, the cherry stem...sigh. It's hard to pick out an individual in Twin Peaks because one major reason for its greatness lay in the spectacular ensemble. Least favorite, though...much easier: James Marshall/James Hurley. Sorry, but how Laura or Donna fell for you still boggles my mind.
5) It’s been said that, rather than remaking beloved, respected films, Hollywood should concentrate more on righting the wrongs of the past and tinker more with films that didn’t work so well the first time. Pretending for a moment that movies are made in an economic vacuum, name a good candidate for a remake based on this criterion.
DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS. Like THE THING (but not THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL), I think in the right hands you can do some really great things in terms of themes and situations without taking away anything from the fun of the 50's horror/sci-fi classics. Plus maybe this will allow people to stop re-making INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.
6) Favorite Spike Lee joint.
4 LITTLE GIRLS. I think there was a long period of time Lee lost his way as a narrative filmmaker throughout a lot of the late 90's right through to INSIDE MAN. Nothing he's done in the last 15+ years have had the impact his documentaries have.
7) Lawrence Tierney or Scott Brady?
All those incredible Film Noir box sets by Warner Bros. have really opened my eyes to how great Lawrence Tierney is. BORN TO KILL, baby...BORN TO KILL.
8) Are most movies too long?
It's been said elsewhere, but bad movies are too long. Good movies are too short.
9) Favorite performance by an actor portraying a real-life politician.
Jimmy Stewart in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. And don't crush my fantasy by telling me there never really was a Jefferson Smith!
10) Create the main event card for the ultimate giant movie monster smackdown.
Your choice versus Frank Zappa's Cheepnis. Now THAT'S a monster I want to see brought to the big screen!
11) Jean Peters or Sheree North?
Jean Peters, although it's with a shamed face that I admit I chose her after having to look up both actresses. 2009 resolutions, and all that...
12) Why would you ever want or need to see a movie more than once?
Man, any number of reasons. Maybe you didn't "get it" the first time you saw it (NASHVILLE was like that for me - too young I guess), maybe it's the type of film that brings something new every time you view it (pretty much anything by Stanley Kubrick, but most recently THE SHINING) or, and maybe this is the best reason, because there's something there, either in the film itself or in the circumstances you came to see it, that pulls at your heart in such a way that you can't help but seek it out again and again. The first date I took my now wife to was THE FISHER KING way back when, and we come back to it time and again to experience those first few moments when we just knew.
13) Favorite road movie.
Does SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS qualify? Oh, who am I kidding? My juvenile heart scream for HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE.
Sorry. Really, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS.
14) Favorite Budd Boetticher picture.
Gee, why doncha get a little obscure, Dennis? I just looked through his IMDB, and I haven't seen a single thing he's done. What do you recommend?
15) Who is the one person, living or dead, famous or unknown, who most informed or encouraged your appreciation of movies?
My father. 'Nuff said.
16) Favorite opening credit sequence. (Please include YouTube link if possible.)
You got it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEGbQx2ZQPc
17) Kenneth Tobey or John Agar?
Kenneth Tobey played Jim Bowie in Disney's DAVY CROCKETT, so he automatically gets the win.
18) Jean-Luc Godard once suggested that the more popular the movie, the less likely it was that it was a good movie. Is he right or just cranky? Cite the best evidence one way or the other.
Just because he's cranky doesn't mean he's not at least partially right. Look at TITANIC. I don't want to rain on James Cameron's parade, but both my and I almost walked out when we saw it in the theater. On the other hand, PULP FICTION was a HUGE success spawning dozens of cheap imitations, and I still believe it's a great movie.
19) Favorite Jonathan Demme movie.
My gut was telling me to go with SOMETHING WILD, but after a quick IMDB check I was stunned to learn he not only directed but wrote CAGED HEAT. Ladies and Gentlemen we have a winner!
20) Tatum O’Neal or Linda Blair?
I love THE EXORCIST, but gimmie PAPER MOON. Tatum O'Neal.
21) Favorite use of irony in a movie. (This could be an idea, moment, scene, or an entire film.)
Is it ironic that the guy in BREATHLESS who points out Michel to the cops is the guy who wrote and directed the movie, thereby directing the course of the story in the actual story? I hope so...I was never very good at pointing out irony.
22) Favorite Claude Chabrol film.
Haven't seen any yet, but that's another 2009 resolution. I only saw BREATHLESS for the first time this morning!
23) The best movie of the year to which very little attention seems to have been paid.
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES. You could definitely feel John Sayles' writing in there. Just a great, powerful children's movie that talks to children instead of shouting at them in nothing but bold primary colors.
24) Dennis Christopher or Robby Benson?
Even if Dennis Christopher wasn't perfect in BREAKING AWAY, I can't forgive Robbie Benson for all the horrible television he heaped upon us.
25) Favorite movie about journalism.
Please tie HIS GIRL FRIDAY and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY in a pretty knot and have ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN escort them both to the prom, where they will be stunned at the revelation that the dude in JUST ONE OF THE GUYS is actually, get this: a girl.
26) What’s the DVD commentary you’d most like to hear? Who would be on the audio track?
I would love to hear David Lynch explain all of the ideas that ran through his head while making INLAND EMPIRE, but if he refused I'd beg for the full story on what happened during DUNE.
27) Favorite movie directed by Clint Eastwood.
Much as I love UNFORGIVEN, I'd like to move away from the herd and pick the film that also happens to have Kevin Costner's best performance: A PERFECT WORLD.
28) Paul Dooley or Kurtwood Smith?
How can anyone born around my time (1973) not pick Samantha's dad? Paul Dooley.
29) Your clairvoyant moment: Make a prediction about the Oscar season.
We'll all miss John Stewart.
30) Your hope for the movies in 2009.
Really, I just hope to see them. 2008 was a great year for film, and being a new Dad I unfortunately just didn't have the time to see everything I would have liked.
31) What’s your top 10 of 2008? (If you have a blog and have your list posted, please feel free to leave a link to the post.)
My Actual Top 10 can be found here. My Almost Top 10 can be found here.
BONUS QUESTION (to be answered after December 25):
32) What was your favorite movie-related Christmas gift that you received this year?
Scorsese, by Roger Ebert. My favorite reviewer expounding on one of my favorite directors.