Monday, October 12, 2015

Can't Do My Homework

Finally got a break from work-work and did my homework. Although Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule has buried the quiz under two long Dressed to Kill posts, you can find it if you know where to look. And maybe it will cut down on the competition.

1 ) Favorite moment from a Coen Brothers movie
So many to choose from. To please the crowd, I'd say "There's a beverage here!" (note subtle self-plug). But I'd honestly have to say, "You know, for the kids!"

Ms. Spenser says least favorite is the puking scene in every one of their movies.

2) Scratching The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty and The Hudsucker Proxy from consideration, what would now rate as your least-favorite Coen Brothers movie?
Raising Arizona, because I haven't seen it yet. And it has Nic Cage in it.

3) Name the most underrated blockbuster of all time
 I really want to say Around the World in 80 Days, but its rating of "indigestible lump of spectacle" is pretty accurate. How about MASH? I'd say that really changed cinema comedy in fundamental way. But people now think of it more as a lead-up to the somewhat more conventional TV series.

4) Ida Lupino or Sylvia Sidney?
Ida Lupino for everything from They Drive by Night, to Jennifer, to Have Gun Will Travel. We especially liked the way she handled fights in that last.

5) Edwards Scissorhands—yes or no?
Never seen it, but Yes, I've heard it's great.

6) The movie you think most bastardizes, misinterprets or does a disservice to the history or historical event it tries to represent
I suppose it misses the point, but Knight's Tale. I get that they were trying get you to relate to the days of jousts, but I felt it was just wrong headed.

I'm not sure about Quest of the Delta Knights, either, but the fact that it was filmed at a Ren Faire to save money adds points for extra credit.

7) Favorite Aardman animation
The Wrong Trousers.

8) Second-favorite Olivier Assayas movie
I've only seen Irma Vep, and I loved it. Thought of it more of a Jean-Pierre Leaud movie, I guess because he was embodying the director.

9) Neville Brand or Mike Mazurki?
 Mazurki, for Moose Malloy and any number of flatfeet and palookas.

10) Name the movie you would cite to a nonbeliever as the best evidence toward convincing them of the potential greatness of a favorite genre
That's tough - Duck Soup for slapstick, Bringing Up Baby for screwball. But the people we're trying to convince would be like, "That's just silly" or "They talk so fast, it's making my head hurt" (these both really happened). So maybe you just can't convince people. They'll either come around or they won't.

11) Name any director and one aspect of his/her style or career, for good or bad, that sets her/him apart from any other director
Seijun Suzuki is the first that comes to mind - his deeply Japanese, utterly insane stories, full of stylized gestures and compositions may not be unique, but they sure stand out. Maybe you could compare him to Tim Burton, but more Japanese and with a lower budget (and an early career in gangster films).

12) Best car chase
Still Bullit.

13) Favorite moment directed by Robert Aldrich
 The opening of Kiss Me Deadly. No, wait, the end of KMD.

14) The last movie you saw in a theater? On home video?
 In the theater, nothing for years. At home, Witness for the Prosecution. Ms. Spenser hadn't seen it and I managed not to hint at the twist.
OK, I'll admit it, we watched Witness over two nights, with Age of Ultron between.

15) Jane Greer or Joan Bennett?
Jane Greer, mainly for The Big Steal. I think Joan Bennett never got serious until Dark Shadows.

16) Second-favorite Paul Verhoeven movie
 Starship Troopers, following Total Recall as number 1. Both did horrible damage to the original story, and in both (in all his movies?) he seems to make terrible artistic decisions and cover by calling it satire. So, I don't like his movies much, but I love Dick and Heinlein, and even if he mistreated them at least he got them onscreen.

17) Your nominee for best/most important political or social documentary you’ve seen
That's easy: Inconvenient Truth. It's pretty much the only one I've seen.

18) Favorite movie twins
Patty Duke doesn't count, right? Spock and Evil Spock? That's TV too. Let me ask Ms. Spenser. She says John and Boomer in Jackie Chan's Twin Dragons. Done!

19) Best movie or movie moment about or involving radio
I'm a big fan of "exposition radio", where the characters turn on the radio just in time to hear that the police are on the lookout for ... them! And of course Woody Allen wrote a whole movie around the days of radio.

But I'm going with the scene in Neighbors when the creepy music sets you up for a scare, until Belushi turns off the radio - diegetic sound jokes get me every time, and I think that was the first one I noticed.

20) Eugene Pallette or William Demarest?
I'm not playing if you are going to be mean.

21) Favorite moment directed by Ken Russell
For now, I'll have to say the Nuns and Nazis hallucination in Lair of the White Worm - only because I've seen it most recently.

22) All-time best movie cat
Rhubarb, for sentimental reasons. I saw Rhubarb when I was a child sick at home on the Million-Dollar Matinee. The actor, a marmalade tabby named Orangey, was also in Breakfast at Tiffany's and Comedy of Terrors, and played Minerva in Our Miss Brooks.

23) Your nominee for best movie about teaching and learning, followed by the worst
I saw Real Genius a while ago, and was surprised at how much I liked it. But even though it is a movie about college, did anyone learn anything? I mean, other than lessons about life? Sorry, I got nothing.

24) Name an actor/actress currently associated primarily with TV who you'd like to see on the big screen
Off the top of my head - Saul Rubinek. He has a way of turning up in shows we like (or being the best part of shows we don't). Also, he's a mensch. He's been in plenty of movies, but I associate him with TV.

25) Stanley Baker or David Farrar
Can't place either, but I see that David Farrar was Sexton Blake, so him.

26) Critic Manny Farber once said of Frank Capra that he was "blah-blah-blah"
What is the Capra movie that best proves or disproves Farber's assertion?
And who else in Hollywood history might just as easily fit his description?
Master of effects who can come off as contrived? I think that description fits almost everyone, except for the likes of Ed Wood and Coleman Francis, who are incompetent and contrived.

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