So it's been almost a month since the good professor Dennis Cozzalio assigned his latest questionnaire, Dr. Zachary Smith's Lost in the Space at the End of Summer Movies Quiz. My tardiness on turning this in is on-par with everything else I'm trying to do lately, but as always, Dennis has outdone himself with this quiz. Stop over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule for more interesting answers, and even more stimulating posts.
1) Your favorite musical moment in a movie
Two moments immediately spring to mind: the opening scenes of Danger: Diabolik and the opening credits-strutting of The Wild Bunch. Ennio Morricone's Diabolik score isn't for everyone, but I can't get enough of it, particularly the early scenes where we're introduced to Diabolik, Eva and their underground lair. At first I found the opening song "Deep Deep Down" to be annoying, but today I sometimes find myself humming it, and there are few electric harmonies better than when we meet Diabolik and Eva on their bed full of money. The beginning notes to The Wild Bunch are so perfect with Jerry Fielding's militant percussion and tense strings, giving you the impression that something big is about to go down. Fielding's guitar-strum conclusion matches up masterfully to Pike Bishop's terse "if they move, kill 'em!"
2) Ray Milland or Dana Andrews
Andrews, for his great performance in one of my favorite movies, The Ox-Bow Incident.
3) Favorite Sidney Lumet movie
Fail Safe. It's helped by my love for Dr. Strangelove, for which it serves as an interesting chaser, but it's also just so damn scary and contains one of the most petrifying endings I've ever seen.
4) Biggest surprise of the just-past summer movie season
Ummm, maybe the fact that I didn't see any theatrical releases during the summer? We thought about taking my then 7-month-old son to Wall-E, but he would have spent the whole time grabbing at a nearby person's hair, or desperately grabbing for a loose popcorn kernel.
5) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth
I'll take Tierney, obviously for Laura, but also for her nice appearance in Advise & Consent.
6) What’s the last movie you saw on DVD? In theaters?
Last night I convinced my wife to watch my new HD-DVD of Forbidden Planet, but I don't think the Krell drew as much sympathy from her as they did from me. In theaters, you'll have to go all the way back to In Bruges, seen at my favorite Portland theater -- Cinemagic.
7) Irwin Allen’s finest hour?
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, who else could come up with a sequel like that? "They go back into the ship, and there's plutonium onboard!"
8) What were the films where you would rather see the movie promised by the poster than the one that was actually made?
I've probably given this question more thought than all the others. One that stands out for me is the original poster and similar teaser trailer for The Fifth Element, which was simply a shot of space with "It Mu5t Be Found" on it and a date. The title wasn't even revealed, but it inspired a lot of intrigue. The movie was okay, but I was expecting a lot more after reading those four words on the poster.
9) Chow Yun-Fat or Tony Leung
Having recently watched the Infernal Affairs trilogy, I'll have to say Leung.
10) Most pretentious movie ever
I would actually say The Royal Tenenbaums. Like all of Wes Anderson's post-Bottle Rocket movies, it's a celebration of pretentiousness (pretentia?), and all the comedic potential it presents.
11) Favorite Russ Meyer movie
I'm utterly devoted to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. If I had my choice, The Carrie Nations would play at my funeral.
12) Name the movie that you feel best reflects yourself, a movie you would recommend to an acquaintance that most accurately says, “This is me.”
I've said before that Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) in The Third Man reminds me more of myself than any other movie character. I can't really put my finger on any one quality I share with him, but I see a lot of myself in the way he views the world and where he fits into it.
13) Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo
I honestly don't have too much of an opinion about either one, but Dietrich supplied one of my favorite lines: "What does it matter what you say about people?" (Touch of Evil).
14) Best movie snack? Most vile movie snack?
There's something comforting about the sound Raisinets make inside that movie theater box. You don't get it in a box anywhere else, and you really don't buy Raisinets anywhere but a theater. Most vile snack would have to be the movie theater nachos with awful nacho cheese and jalapenos. Gutter-quality nachos are bad enough to ruin a good movie.
15) Current movie star who would be most comfortable in the classic Hollywood studio system
Val Kilmer still looks like he could be a character in a classic film noir, and he obviously has great comedic chops. I'm sure he could have found himself a few (hundred) roles in the old studio system.
16) Fitzcarraldo—yes or no?
Yes! I didn't even realize this was a question. Not my favorite Herzog film, but a great cinematic achievement that still deserves to be marveled at.
17) Your assignment is to book the ultimate triple bill to inaugurate your own revival theater. What three movies will we see on opening night?
This would have to be three movies I would do anything to see on the big screen: Vertigo, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Point Blank.
18) What’s the name of your theater? (The all-time greatest answer to this question was once provided by Larry Aydlette, whose repertory cinema, the Demarest, is, I hope, still packing them in…)
19) Favorite Leo McCarey movie
20) Most impressive debut performance by an actor/actress.
Since I saw it only recently, I'm going with Matt Dillon in Over the Edge. Dillon was 15 and discovered at his high school for the role, which was maybe the best of his career, and one of the most definitive in the late 70s/early 80s teen rebellion movies.
21) Biggest disappointment of the just-past summer movie season
See question 4.
22) Michelle Yeoh or Maggie Cheung
I'm getting killed by these actor A or B questions this time, another one I really don't have an opinion on.
23) 2008 inductee into the Academy of the Overrated
Though I haven't seen it (see question 4), it seems likely The Dark Knight will eventually be labeled "overrated" for how much praise it's received.
24) 2008 inductee into the Academy of the Underrated
I'll say In Bruges: it's the only 2008 movie I've seen this year, and I liked it.
25) Fritz the Cat—yes or no?
God yes, I'll even give thumbs up to the sequel.
26) Trevor Howard or Richard Todd
Trevor Howard played one of the Krypton elders in Superman: The Movie. Edge: Trevor Howard.
27) Antonioni once said, “I began taking liberties a long time ago; now it is standard practice for most directors to ignore the rules.” What filmmaker working today most fruitfully ignores the rules? What does ignoring the rules of cinema mean in 2008?
It's so easy for me to say David Lynch, he writes his own rules and we're just trying to keep up.
28) Favorite William Castle movie
Battle of Rogue River, I've never actually seen it, but I've traveled many miles of the Rogue and would love to see what locations he used for the movie.
29) Favorite ethnographically oriented movie
The Big Lebowski
30) What’s the movie coming up in 2008 you’re most looking forward to? Why?
Hmmm, what else is coming out this year? I'll say Miracle at Saint Anna.
31) What deceased director would you want to resurrect in order that she/he might make one more film?
It would be fascinating to see what Sergio Leone would offer up.
32) What director would you like to see, if not literally entombed, then at least go silent creatively?
Whoever those idiots are behind all the Epic/Disaster/Shitty Movies. Just enjoy your money and live a rich life without inflicting any more pain on this world.
33) Your first movie star crush
Meg Ryan, at the height of her cuteness in Innerspace.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
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