Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Movie Quiz!

Movie quiz time over at Dennis Cozzalio's place. It is administered by Professor Moriarty, so you know that it's diabolical. This is one of the harder quizzes, so prepare for some soul-searching.

1) Best movie of 2016
Bringing Up Baby, same as every year.

Just kidding. I'm going to interpret these as "___ movie made in 2016, that I saw in 2016, in my opinion". So my answer is Deadpool, or maybe The Nice Guys.

2) Worst movie of 2016
London has Fallen was loud, stupid, and humorless, but not in a good way. Gods of Egypt was also very stupid, but we liked that.

3) Best actress of 2016
Gal Gadot for 5 minutes of Batman v Superman. No, I guess Mary Elizabeth Winstead, from 10 Cloverfield Lane. Say, how come we didn't see more Scarlett Johansson this year?

4) Best actor of 2016
Might as well go all in: John Goodman, 10 Cloverfield Lane.

5) What movie from 2016 would you prefer not hearing another word about? Why?
Rogue One or Dr. Strange, because I haven't seen them yet and I'm avoiding spoilers.

6) Second-favorite Olivier Assayas movie
Have only ever seen Irma Vep, so Clouds of Sils Maria.

7) Miriam Hopkins or Kay Francis?
Kay Francis has an amazing, aristocratic look, but Hopkins could really play comedy.

8) What’s the story of your first R-rated movie?
I'll tell Ms. Spenser's instead: She went to see French Connection with older friends when she was only 15. When the ticket taker asked her what year she was born, she hadn't done the math, and was stuck saying "1955, uh, 54." The ticket taker looked at a mobbed-up looking guy chewing on a toothpick who was behind her (the manager?) who nodded, and she was let in.

And she laughed because she thought she had fooled them.

9) What movie from any era that you haven’t yet seen would you be willing to resolve to see before this day next year?
I was going to say, any movie on my Netflix queue, but there are some movies that have been on the list forever, and I've never felt like watching them. Mostly "difficult" movies. So, Rogue One or Dr. Strange.

10) Second-favorite Pedro Almodovar movie
Labyrinth of Passion. Number 1 is Women on the Verge.

11) What movie do you think comes closest to summing up or otherwise addressing the qualities of 2016?
Wow, I'm getting bummed out just thinking about this one. Pass.

12) Chris Pine or Chris Pratt?
I say Pratt, Ms. Spenser says Pine. Why argue when you can have both?

13) Your favorite movie theater, presently or from the past
Let me tell you about the movie theaters of old downtown Palo Alto (mid-1980s). First and funkiest, the Festival, which was really just a room in an office building. They played all the classics on a tiny screen, and the front section was floor pillows and beanbag chairs. I think it went back to being an office in 1985.

The Bijou was a small theater next to a great ice cream joint (Uncle Bunny's?). We saw Hammett there. The guy ahead of us asked for a ticket to Hamlet, and was disappointed when he found out what was really playing. It became the first Gordon-Biersch brew pub.

The New Varsity, on the other hand, was a great old picture palace, all Mission Revival, with a spacious courtyard at the entrance. It was a Border's Books for a while, until they folded. We saw a Gumby festival there, with Art Cloakey himself!

Finally, the Stanford. Smaller than the Varsity, it is still a fabulous Art Deco Egyptian temple of film, complete with a mighty Wurlitzer, on which an organist plays "Isn't It Romantic," the Stanford's theme song. It was restored by the David Packard Foundation. It is still operating, and we really should go more often.

14) Favorite movie involving a family celebration
The Addam's Family. Not that the party scene is my favorite part, but that wasn't the question.

15) Second-favorite Paul Schrader movie
Turns out I haven't watched one movie that he directed or wrote. Pass.

16) Ruth Negga or Hayley Atwell?
Since I haven't watched Agent Carter, I will say Ruth Negga, a striking young actor.

17) Last three movies you saw, in any format
Easy: Ms. Spenser wanted our brother-in-law to see Mad Max: Fury Road and Predators, so we watched those early on New Year's Eve.

New Year's Day, we found out that our mail was still on hold from our vacation, so we watched Dune from the DVD we own (sadly "widescreen" = letterboxed on all four sides). It was better than I remembered, especially as an adjunct to the book, not a standalone movie.

18) Your first X-rated, or porn movie?
Let me see - it was July 3, 1976. I was hitch-hiking to Ellsworth ME to celebrate the bicentennial Fourth of July with a friend, and I'd made it to Portland. Since it was getting too dark to hitch, I got ticket for the midnight bus, and had a few hours to kill. So I stopped in a porno theater to watch Sexual Practices in Sweden and some foreign murder mystery (Italian giallo?) with intercut teenage orgy scenes edited clumsily in. Maybe you know the one I mean - someone was murdering swingers, and the detective thinks his wife is the next victim, but he can't get to her because she is with her lover.

The midnight bus to Ellsworth took about six hours to go the 120 miles, hitting every little town, so I arrived after dawn.

However, I also saw a double-bill of Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door in Boston's Combat Zone, and that must have been before 1976, so maybe those were my first.

19) Richard Boone or Charles McGraw?
What the Hec Ramsey? Richard Boone!

20) Second-favorite Chan-wook Park movie
Can I say The Good, the Bad, and the Weird is my favorite Jee-woon Kim movie?

21) Movie that best encompasses or expresses loneliness
2001: A Space Odyssey is the first thing that jumps to mind. The cold, isolated astronauts are never explicitly called lonely, but what else would you call it?

22) What’s your favorite movie to watch with your best friend?
My best friend is, of course, Ms. Spenser, and we watch an old Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode about once a week. Favorites include Pod People or maybe Night of the Blood Beasts.

23) Who’s the current actor you most look forward to seeing in 2017?
We usually wait for movies, or sometimes directors, not actors. But, what the heck, Scarlett Johansson.

24) Your New Year’s wish for the movies
That I'll get to see some of the "Very long wait" movies in my Netflix queue, and maybe even some of the 120 from the "Saved" list.

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