Friday, August 24, 2007

FRIDAY SCREEN TEST: Season 1 Wrap-up


Sometime in early January (while in the shower), I came up with an idea that I hoped would catch on for DVD Panache. A take-off on a long-time feature in The Oregonian's entertainment magazine, I envisioned Friday Screen Test as a way to publicize fellow film bloggers while also adding my own personal touch. Most of all, I knew that my fellow bloggers could deliver the goods, with interesting answers that would keep people coming back week after week.

Last week was the 30th Friday Screen Test, and a good signing-off point for the first season of the series. To let me maximize my efforts on other projects here at DVD Panache, and to also set the stage for a re-tooled "2.0" version of Friday Screen Test, the series is being put on hiatus. I want to give huge thanks to everyone who participated, as well as those who enjoyed the series enough to read it regularly. I already have a few good names in the hat for Friday Screen Test's next go-around, and if you have a blog and some unique opinions, don't hesitate to drop me an email to let me know you're interested.

For the season wrap-up of Friday Screen Test, I've chosen a favorite or interesting line out of each week's entry. Here they are presented chronologically, starting with the very first one (the links take you to that person's Screen Test). Enjoy, and thanks for reading!


ANDY HORBAL: 'LSD + Night of the Living Dead = A lifetime of looking over your shoulder...'

PIPER: 'I bought the first season of Venture Brothers on DVD and I can't quit talking about that show. Everybody hates me because I always talk about it and how funny it is and subtle and brilliant.'

DVD GUY: 'Battlefield Earth made me quit Scientology.'

EDWARD COPELAND: 'I've always had great fondness for Julien Temple's Absolute Beginners, so much so that I've been afraid to ever revisit it for fear it might break the spell. As for the opposite, I'm not dumbfounded as to why I dislike them as much as I am as to why others like them (say, Dr. Zhivago or The Thin Red Line).'

PAUL MARTIN: 'The first film to really overwhelm me with a desire to discuss it with others was Lost Highway. I pestered my significant other that night, and the following two days discovered the power of the internet by researching it online. This was also the first film that I wrote a significant review on, which was only relatively recently.'

DAVID LOWERY: 'I've been in a myopic pursuit of the same career since I was seven years old. Of course, it was a movie that set me on that path, so I suppose the question could be rephrased as "Has there ever been a movie that made every other possible career seem entirely unappealing?" And the answer, as it would be for so many others in this line of work, would be Star Wars.'

JOSEPH B.: 'I've had a major affinity for director Tony Scott for years now, and I can't figure out why. I once wrote a 3000 word essay analyzing and dissecting his films (in the late 90's I believe, sadly lost 2 computers ago and a message board now floating in cyber space). So, when films like Domino, Enemy of the State or Deja Vu creep up on my favorites lists, it always baffles some people. And I have a hard time justifying that these films are more than popcorn action flicks.'

ALAN LOPUSZYNSKI: 'My brother spoiled the ending of The Empire Strikes Back for me, and after I watched it I wouldn't have minded having a group discussion with him and my fists and his breadbasket . . . that movie probably was one of my earliest subjects of film discussion with friends. All of us had cut our teeth on Star Wars and this rather soundly rocked our worlds.'

LUCAS MCNELLY: 'On the worst days, the recipe is something like this: pizza, several good beers, and Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Sequel as needed. Alternately, substitute in good wine and some Woody Allen.'

STACIE PONDER: 'Shark Attack 3: Megalodon is THE greatest bad movie in the history of ever. It's really an awful movie in virtually every respect, but it's also a SUCH joy to watch that it's become one of my favorite movies, period. The effects must simply be seen to be believed there's green screens and stock footage galore. I was literally on the floor at times, howling with laughter. The longer it goes on, the better it gets. I want to buy everybody in the whole world a copy; I want to introduce as many people to it as I possibly can; I want to make out with Shark Attack 3.'

DAMIAN ARLYN: 'I don't really believe in not finishing a movie once I've started it. The only time I've ever walked out of a film halfway through it was when I was forced to do so by the people I went to see it with (my family). The movie was Super Mario Bros. I didn't particularly like it up until that point but I didn't hate it either. Years later I actually finished it. We didn't miss anything.'

TUWA: 'I've probably adopted more [dialogue] of Seinfeld and The Simpsons, though for awhile I was fond of "just put that anywhere"; and "he's a good man, and thorough."

TED PIGEON: 'Andy Horbal recently wrote that he considers film study less and less a relexation or hobby, but more like a job. That's essentially how I feel. I keep a log of everything I see and hold a list of films I'd like to see in the future. I try to keep a rigiorous schedule but I don't always stick to it. Right now, I'd guess I see on average about three movies a week. I do, however, see movies in pieces more now, which has been a really interesting way of seeing films. I try never to watch a movie in pieces the first time I see it, but I think it is essential to see movies you're familiar with broken down. It's a great way of getting into the mechanics of the film and to understand how it's doing what it's doing.'

DENNIS COZZALIO: 'It wasn’t central to my decision to pursue a career as a teacher (a career path upon which I am just now embarking), but seeing Nicholas Philibert’s �tre et avoir (To Be and to Have) a couple of years ago helped to rekindle a dormant interest I had in teaching that has now fully reawakened. I want to see this movie again very soon.'

CHRIS STANGL: 'Summer evening 1957, drive-in theater, black & white ’55 Bel Air convertible, girl in tight sweater in passenger seat, Attack of the Crab Monsters double-billed with Not of This Earth. This is where you go when you die. I would willingly chop off a finger to go back in time and experience this.'

THOM RYAN: 'As a teenager I once sneaked a bottle of beer into a small theater showing a midnight movie. I was just trying to impress my friends ("stupid is as...etc."). I had the bottle hidden in my coat and it slipped out. The screening room had a bare concrete floor so there was a crash, and glass and beer everywhere. The worst part was that they hadn't brought the house lights down yet so everyone in the place (including the management who were not amused) knew I did it. I was invited to find the nearest exit. Embarrassing but true.'

STEVE CARLSON: 'I'd do a whole month of Midnight Kink -- midnight showings of movies with oddball sexuality. I'd try not to leave anything out, either. From S&M (Maitresse and Sick) to transvestiteism (Glen or Glenda?) to transexualism (Let Me Die a Woman) all the way to necrophilia (Nekromantik) and bestiality (The Wedding Trough), plus a few catch-alls (Visitor Q, The Telephone Book, a '70s porno roughie or two)... I'd try and represent all I could. Just seeing the crowds that showed up would be entertaining enough.'

SQUISH LESSARD: 'Before I received a tome called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die for Christmas 2005, I was more a contemporary modern day film fan. Since that time I've delved into, pretty exclusively, classic films and having discovered so many silent era titles that moved me so much, I'm a changed man forever.'

JOHANNA CUSTER: 'I have this thing for About Schmidt and pretty much every movie that has a male everyman character who is just this total slob of a man, lost and unable to connect with anything around him. when I'm bummed and I feel like looking for something that's on my emotional level at the moment I pop in a movie like that. Bill Murray movies tend to be good for that too, as do Wes Anderson flicks. When I was younger and channeled my emotions more physically, I think I would have responded with something sillier, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Life of Brian or Army of Darkness.'

NEIL SARVER: 'I see Hollywood like as an abusive spouse. I'm hopelessly in love with it. I know what it's capable of, and on it's best days, it makes me so deliriously happy that I want to forgive it on the days that it neglects and abuses me. The most basic crime it commits, and has since its very beginnings, is thinking that audiences as a whole fail to respond to anything beyond the surface. If Jaws is successful, perhaps it's not because they are hungering for movies about killer sharks, but for the well-realized characters and greatly crafted thrills in a general way. If the Lord of the Rings movies are successful, maybe there's something more to their success than wizards and dragons.'

PETER NELLHAUS: 'I have had several. The best were at Telluride. Of those, my favorite moments were a brief meeting with Julie Christie in 1974, and interviewing Henry King by a creek, an appropriately pastoral setting ... I had a nice chat with Jonathan Demme about mutual acquintances that I knew from NYU. Part of my neighborhood in Miami Beach was used for second unit filming of Transporter 2. My wife looked longingly at Jason Statham's stunt double ... There was also the time I worked at the Greenwich Theater in NYC, and saw how James Coco kept his weight up.'

EVAN WATERS: 'Historical epics often lose me -- they get a weird buttoned-down solemnity at their worst, which has a distancing effect. Even though major historical details may be changed, you still feel like the filmmakers felt they had a responsibility to Take Things Seriously. The best films of this genre are either so brilliantly executed that the solemnity is appropriate (Das Boot, Schindler's List, etc.) or cast off that feeling completely and work as entertainment (The Aviator, 300). I also tend to be disengaged by that kind of horror movie where you know there's no point getting involved with any character except the designated survivor because everyone else is just there to pad the body count.'

PEET GELDERBLOM: 'I’m a sucker for lyrical tragedy. As far as that’s concerned, nothing beats the ending of Brian De Palma’s Blow Out. It’s a movie so ripe with drama and metaphor that it becomes part of your metabolism. When Jack kneels down to hold Sally’s lifeless body in his arms and the fireworks go off in the background, he’s really holding America’s lost innocence. A profound moment; tragic, beautiful and blackly humorous at the same time.'

TUCKER TEAGUE: 'Sometimes I wonder if watching movies is something I dreamed I used to do. Life has been so crazybusy the past couple+ years that the frequency of my film viewing has been erratic and sporadic at best. If I am lucky I see a couple a week, if not I see one every two weeks (which appalls me, frankly). I used to watch many a films a week, often one a day in college, and several each weekend. But there is a bright spot; I have been introducing the cinematic art to my daughter (7 years old!) and that has given me the chance to see a few more films. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that many of the films I like she shouldn't watch until she’s older. I would like to stay up and watch them, but alas, I go to bed early so I can get up early to do homework before real work. So it makes sense to pick films she can watch too. Lately we have seen several Hitchcock films, among others.'

JEFF IGNATIUS: 'I can't think of any particular prompt, but at some point in the mid-1990s, for a period I wrote an essay about every movie I saw, and the one that sticks in my faulty memory is Atom Egoyan's Calendar. Steve Buscemi's Trees Lounge and Hitchcock's Vertigo were also important movies for me at that time, and what I wrote about them helped me better understand how movies work and my relationship with them. Writing about film turned me from a passive viewer to an active participant.'

ROSS RUEDIGER: 'What the hell has happened to independent film? When was the last time a true indie made some waves? Open Water? There was supposed to be this huge revolution with the technology that’s now available, but it doesn’t seem that anybody’s using it properly or we’d be seeing more breakout hits. Simply put: Digital cameras do not write great scripts. At least Hollywood still has the ability to get behind a handful of great scripts every year and they may even be one of the last hopes for decent, English-speaking film.'

ANDRE GOWER: 'Doing a guest spot on The A-Team was great. I mean, how many kids have ever chopped down a tree with Mr. T?! I might be the only one. They were great to work with, very fun, yet professional set.'

EMMA: 'At the best of times, I’m just an angry teen, ready to drill holes in the wall, and watching comedy films really do cheer me up and stop me from behaving this way. Ones that I can watch over and over again are Finding Nemo, Legally Blonde, Harvey, Some Like It Hot, and Sabrina.'

CINEBEATS: '1991 was really special because I met my future husband that year at a screening of the director’s cut of Blade Runner and I can’t forget that. Who knew that Ridley Scott’s neo-noir science fiction thriller could bring two people together?'

JOE VALDEZ: 'I paid money to see Species II in a theater. Is that embarrassing?'

5 comments:

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Sarver said...

I know! I adore this series and was quite honored to be a part of it. I look forward to the next season.

Thom said...

I'll wager the best is yet to come. Thanks for this excellent series, A.

Stacie Ponder said...

I'll ditto what Neil said. Thanks for involving me, and for introducing me to some great blogs. You've added a good half hour/hour of computer time to my days...

..wait, you're a jerk!

:D

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