Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chips Ahoy

Wow, this was a tough film quiz. I don't think I've ever been so late for a quiz I actually finished. Even Dennis beat me (by months) with his answers and he is always late!

So now I submit my work, and get my reward - I can now read everyone else's answers.

1) What is the biggest issue for you in the digital vs. film debate?
None. I have no dog in this fight, no horse in this race. Since I watch everything at home on DVD/Blu-ray/streaming, it's all digital to me. But I guess preservation (and to a lesser extent, access) has got to be first. Let's not lose films to bit-rot and backup crashes the way we used to lose them to exploding film stock.

2) Without more than one minute’s consideration, name three great faces from the movies
Michael J. Pollard, Ned Sparks, Simone Signoret. Wow. Where did that come from? 

3) The movie you think could be interesting if remade as a movie musical
GREAT question! I'd have to say, any of them! 12 Angry Men! Alien (heavy metal music with Butoh dance)! La Dolce Vita (since 8 1/2 has been done)! In fact, everything can and should become a musical - Watergate, Hurricane Katrina, Red Sox win the pennant in 2004, what I had for lunch. 

I guess it helps if you have a reasonably large ensemble (Alien might be tough because the cast isn't large enough) and comedy works better than drama. But it all depends on the music. 

4)  The last movie you saw theatrically/on DVD, Blu-ray, streaming
As of now, we are in the middle of Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame in Blu-ray. We are loving it, but we fell asleep.

Theatrically, I got out to the Stanford Theater (see sidebar) to see Olson and Johnson's Crazy House, the follow up to Hellzapoppin'. It was, indeed, crazy.

5) Favorite movie about work
Since I've never seen Office Space, I'm not sure what to say.

6) The movie you loved as a child that did not hold up when seen through adult eyes
I remember loving Visit to a Small Planet when I saw it in a VT barn as part of some community kids event. I just re-watched it, and remembered my favorite part: The dog, Rags, still holds up. The rest is pretty weak.

Do I get partial credit?

7) Favorite "road" movie
I want to say The Hobbit, but it isn't out yet. So, Vanishing Point.

True confession: I haven't seen Damnation Alley, that SF race across radioactive future America in tanks cars movie, unless I saw it in 1977 when it came out. Since I don't remember, I guess it can't be my answer.

8) Does Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention change or confirm your perspective on him as a filmmaker/movie icon? Is that appearance relevant to his legacy as a filmmaker?
No real effect on my notion of him as an artist. I guess I knew he was a Republican asshole, although I was a little surprised to see him fall for the Republican empty suit.

I don't think much of the personalities and politics of most artists. Bob Dylan, the greatest song writer of our era, is by all accounts an asshole. Yet Ronald Reagan, our greatest president, was a terrible actor.

Heh, got through that last part with a straight face....

9) Longest-lasting movie or movie-related obsession
Ann Blyth's status as the actress to play men's fantasy roles - the silent mermaid, the lusty barmaid, the oriental princess, the girl whose every prayer is answered, and my favorite, Killer, the rich, perfume-soaked, lovestruck teenager from Once More, My Darling. I taped this from a late-night AMC show - note "taped" and "AMC" to estimate era - and still have the tape.

10) Favorite artifact of movie exploitation
I recently enjoyed the cameo of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen doing their dirty hit, "Everybody's Doing It Now" in Hollywood Boulevard.

But Pam Grier's shower scene in Friday Foster might be my favorite.

11) Have you ever fallen asleep in a movie theater? If so, when and why?
Many, many times. It's worse at home, of course (see answer 4). Now, our friend friend Billy was famous for this - we would say that a boring movie did not pass "Billy's Z test".

But falling asleep in front of a movie can be so much fun - the irresistible drug-like urge to drowse, the dreams that merge with the movie, the struggle to maintain consciousness. Some of my favorite movie experiences include sleep.

12) Favorite performance by an athlete in a movie
Rico Browning as the Gill-man.

13) Second favorite Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie
Wow - turns out I haven't seen any of his movies. It's just as well, they look depressing. I think I have been getting him mixed up with Wim Wenders. Which one made Ali: Fear Eats the Flesh and which one made The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick?

14) Favorite  film of 1931
Probably should be City Lights, but I'll go with Maltese Falcon. But, man, what a good year.

15)   Second favorite Raoul Walsh movie
Strawberry Blonde, with White Heat as number 1, both Cagneys.

16)   Favorite film  of 1951
Not as good a year as 1931, but there were some good ones. I pick African Queen.

17)   Second favorite Wong Kar-wai movie
Ashes of Time and Eagle Shooting Heroes are a tie for first and second place.

18)   Favorite film of 1971
Great year for car films - Two Lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point, Le Mans. But I'm going with Fists of Fury.

19)   Second favorite Henri-Georges Clouzot movie
Looks like I've only seen Diabolique, so I don't have a second favorite.

20)   Favorite film of 1991
This is not such a good year, at least according to the most popular films from 1991 on IMDB. A lot of slick, derivative stuff, IMNSHO.

However, I love Jackie Chan's Operation Condor. Fun, action-packed, and the 3 female leads - sex-ay!

21)   Second favorite John Sturges movie
Miracle of Morgan's.. wait - John? Not a favorite director, but I'd say The Great Escape. I saw it when it came out, I guess, and loved it. I guess everyone's first fave is the same.

22)   Favorite celebrity biopic
I'm going to answer this straight - The Benny Goodman Story. First: Great story of boy from the ghetto makes good, crosses racial lines, and makes hot swing popular on the West Coast where they listen to his East Coast midnight shows on radio at 9:00. Second: It's filled with the real musicians - the clarinet parts are really Benny. Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Kid Ory, Stan Getz, Harry James, etc, all play themselves. And Steve Allen does a pretty good job as the star. Almost a documentary.

23)  Name a good script idea which was let down either by the director or circumstances of production
Do you mean a whole script that went wrong, like Starship Troopers? Not the idea of doing it as a parody of militarism, but doing it without the powered suits.

24) Heaven’s Gate-- yes or no?
Not yet, but I'd like to. I've heard it's pretty good.

25)   Favorite pairing of movie sex symbols
Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman, real life.

26)   One word that you could say which would instantly evoke images and memories of your favorite movie. (Naming the movie is optional—might be more fun to see if we can guess what it is from the word itself)
So, this has to be my favorite movie, right, not just my favorite movie that can be evoked with one word? I guess I would have to say "intercosta-clavicle" (if that is really a word).

27)   Name one moment which to you demarcates a significant change, for better or worse, on the landscape of the movies over the last 20 years.
Netflix, hands down.

28) Favorite pre-Code talkie
The Glorification of the American Girl - It's not really racy, but has a couple of nifty dance numbers, just a kid on stage kicking up her heels.

29) Oldest  film in your personal collection (Thanks, Peter Nellhaus)
By release date or date of acquisition? Release date is probably DeMille/Colbert's 1934 Cleopatra. But the movie I have owned the longest (and still own)? Probably a tape of the Spike Jones TV show that I bought when a Blockbuster forced the local video store out of business in the late 80s.

30)   Longest film in your personal collection. (Thanks, Brian Darr)
Wish I still had Brooks' Mahabharata, but I gave it to a friend.
31)   Have your movie collection habits changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?
Um, DVDs? I had a beautiful collection of 100+ VHS tapes - obscure musicals, Jackie Chan, Pam Grier, store-bought (not traded) Mystery Science Theater 3000 tapes, Firesign Theater's Hot Shorts, The President's Analyst, Marx Bros., silent slapstick, oh boy. Mostly bought secondhand from video rental places converting to DVD.

We just took them all to the recycling (well, except for Hot Shorts, The President's Analyst, and ...). We have a VCR (with a DVD dubbing feature), but it's just too much trouble to watch. We don't miss slow fast fwd or rewind. But I do miss the collection. 

32)   Wackiest, most unlikely "directed by" credit you can name
While working on this quiz, I saw a movie and when I got to the director's credit, I said, "That's it! That's the answer to question 32!" I wish I remembered what movie that was...

33)   Best documentary you’ve seen in 2012 (made in 2012 or any other year)
Looking over my notes, I don't see too many. We rather liked Year of the Horse, but mostly for the music, less for the old clips, and we didn't really pay attention to the interviews at all.

34)   What’s your favorite "(this star) was almost cast in (this movie)" anecdote?
Ronald Reagan was going to be Rick in Casablanca, right? 

35)   Program three nights of double bills at a revival theater that might best illuminate your love of the movies
Boy, you want us to work for this, don't you? I'll pick 3 of my favorite genres, with a more and less famous example

Night 1: Bringing Up Baby and Once More, My Darling (see above).
Night 2: Duck Soup and Hellzapoppin'
Night 3: District B13 and Raging Phoenix

Or mix them up: Baby and Phoenix, Duck and Darling, B13 and Hellza! It's all good!

36)   You have been granted permission to invite any three people, alive or dead, to your house to watch the Oscars. Who are they?
My maternal and paternal grandmothers and my paternal grandfather (my mother's father died before I was born). They weren't particularly big movie fans, but you've given me the power to raise the dead, if only for the length of a telecast. Sorry, family comes first.

37) Favorite Mr. Chips. (Careful...)


le0pard13 said...

Wonderful answers, CB. Great pick of Fist of Fury for 1971 (I forgot about that Bruce Lee film). Good to find another fan of THE GREAT ESCAPE (which reaches its 50th anniversary next great, and will be spotlighted at the TCM Film Festival here in Hollywood). I know it's subjective, but Reagan over Lincoln?

Weigard said...

Lincoln was our greatest president, but he was only mediocre as a vampire hunter.