Friday, June 20, 2008


Craig Kennedy chose Peter Sellers' Dr. Strangelove as his avatar, and the character suits Living in Cinema well, as the site's spirited comments sections are as lively as the movie's infamous war room. Craig keeps the conversation flowing with frequent posts, starting with the weekly Watercooler where it all begins. And like me, Craig likes to write about conversations that never happened -- for that I am grateful. Marlon Brando said as Jor-El: "they are a good people, they wish to be," and this quote also applies to the Living in Cinema readers, as they contributed to a year-end Top 10 that ended up being a very enjoyable read with plenty of interesting comments. If these sound like your kind of people, please join them, and I know for a fact they won't welcome you with any "gooble gobble, gooble gobble --ONE OF US!" chant.

EARLIEST MOVIE-WATCHING MEMORY: 'My childhood is a haze of age-inappropriate drive-in movies that my father used to drag my older brothers and me to in the mid-70s. He used to pack us into the station wagon and head to the multi-screen Valley Drive-In for a double feature. More often than not, I'd be asleep in the back by the time the second movie came on, but I have fragments of memories from a bunch of different movies. It's hard to say which came first, but I'll go with Walking Tall or perhaps the re-release of Billy Jack.'

LAST DVD YOU BOUGHT: 'I know it's un-American, but I'm trying to break the habit of movie ownership. The last DVD I bought was quite a while ago, but I think it was the Criterion re-issue of Seven Samurai. If the director's cut of Zodiac comes to Blu-ray, that'll be my next purchase.'

IF YOU WERE A TCM GUEST PROGRAMMER, WHAT THREE MOVIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE: 'Wings of Desire, Dr. Strangelove and Raising Arizona. These have nothing in common other than they're among my favorites. Ask me again tomorrow and I might pick a different three. '

FAVORITE MOVIE ENDING: 'A number of endings to Stanley Kubrick films get me, but I'll go with Dr. Strangelove. It gives me a little chill every time. The squabbling inhabitants of the war room (who have learned nothing) are interrupted by Peter Seller's echoing exclamation "Mein F├╝hrer, I can walk!" followed by a cut to nuclear annihilation set to the strains of Vera Lynn's ironically optimistic "We'll Meet Again." Does it get any better than that?'

WHAT MOVIE ARE YOU ASHAMED TO SAY YOU'VE NEVER SEEN, AND WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE: 'For some reason, I've never seen all of Annie Hall which seems weird to me now that I'm saying it out loud. It's not that I was avoiding it, but I've never been one of those who was obsessed with Woody Allen and I've never gotten around to filling in the gaps in his filmography like I have so many other directors.'

Date With an Angel
Only Angels Have Wings
Angels in America
Angel Heart -- 'Seeing the Cosby girl naked in Angel Heart was a highlight of my late formative years. Nothing much has changed.'

WHO WOULD YOU AWARD AN HONORARY BEST ACTOR/ACTRESS OSCAR TO: 'He already received an honorary Oscar, but I'd have to say Cary Grant for His Girl Friday or any other of a number of films. He was good in light comedy or drama. He could be the romantic lead or he could be more sinister. He made it look so easy that I think he was taken for granted.'

LAST TIME YOU WERE AT A DRIVE-IN, WHAT DID YOU SEE: 'In 1985 my older brother was in town with his family and for nostalgia value we went to the same drive-in where my father had warped our tiny little formative minds. We saw Tom Hanks in The Man With One Red Shoe. It was awful.'

FILM ERA OR GENRE YOU'RE A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH: 'I'm strangely fascinated by a small batch of pre-WWII French films. Stuff like The Fanny Trilogy (Marius, Fanny and Cesar), The Baker's Wife, Le Million, Pepe le Moko, Grand Illusion, Port of Shadows, La Bete Humaine and Le Jour Se Leve etc. '

FILM CRITIC YOU TRUST THE MOST: 'I try not to read critics until after I've seen a movie, so trust isn't really an issue. I gravitate towards the ones who write well, regardless of whether they share my sensibilities. I like the NY Times crew quite a bit. Dargis and Scott. I have a soft spot for Ebert because of his passion for the classics, plus watching Siskel and Ebert as a kid taught me there could be more to movies than simple entertainment. '

'I think it's out of print, but Danny Peary's Guide for the Film Fanatic. It taught me that even populist stuff like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly could be works of art. Plus it was a treasure trove of things I had yet to discover. Sadly, I thumbed through it recently and found I disagreed with Peary's opinions about a third of the time.'

DESCRIBE THE FREQUENCY OF YOUR FILM INTAKE: 'In the last five years I've averaged about 250 movies a year, mostly on DVD. In the last year, I'm seeing fewer movies overall, but more new releases in theaters. '

1) When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
2) You want to find an outlaw, hire an outlaw. You want to find a Dunkin' Donuts, call a cop.
3) All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Email DVD Panache if you are interested in being featured on Friday Screen Test.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me play along Adam. I never get tired of talking about myself.

Anonymous said...

and we never get tired of reading you. :)

elgringo said...

Pepe le Moko, Grand Illusion, and Port of Shadows all blew me away when I saw them. Grand Illusion especially. Thanks for a couple other titles I need to check out.


elgringo said...

Oh, you're also right about "The Man With One Red Shoe." I was awful. Terrible, even. What a waste of my 90 minutes.