Saturday, March 17, 2007

Another Interesting Movie Quiz

Dennis Cozzalio is doing another one of his fun movie quizzes over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. I have to admit that I love these things (even if they are somewhat of a humbling experience as they remind me how much more I still have to learn about film). Anyway, here are my answers to this latest quiz (my responses to the first one can be found here).

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
I didn't really "get" (and consequently didn't enjoy) 2001 the first time I saw it. Took me a couple more viewings, as well as reading some literature on it, to properly love and appreciate it for the great masterwork it is.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated.
Quinten Tarantino. Whenever I hear this guy praised as a "genius," hailed as "the next Scorsese" or referred to as the "voice of a generation," my heart just sinks (and no, I am not particularly looking forward to Grindhouse).

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
Gosh, where to begin? There are so many to choose from. I think I'm going to pick Burton's homage to Deliverance with the image of the Joker's hand emerging from the noxious chemicals in Batman.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie.
I'm sorry, but I have no idea who these people are.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment.
When Roger Moore joined Sean Connery onstage at the 1989 ceremony and introduced himself as "Bond," that was something I had been waiting my whole life to see. Oh, it was kind of neat that Michael Caine was there too.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
I plead the fifth.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it.
I know I've said this many times before and will no doubt have cause to say it again, but Schindler's List changed my life. As someone who was relatively ignorant of the Holocaust prior to seeing the film (as were a lot of people my age unfortunately), it certainly opened my eyes to the enormity of that dark period in history, but it also confronted me with how truly evil we human beings can be as well as illustrating the extreme level of nobility and heroism of which we are capable. As a friend of mine said: "Few films have unpacked quite so beautifully or honestly both the darkness and the light within the human soul."

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie.
Confession time: I have never seen one of Fuller's movies.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Monica is sooooo beautiful!

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to watch Young Frankenstein without feeling good.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
I haven't seen Armageddon. since I first subjected myself to it in the theatre, but did manage to catch a few seconds of it on TV not too long ago. My entire day was ruined.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie.
Need you ask? See #3.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Bruce all the way, baby!

14) Your favorite aspect ratio.

I'm flexible. As long as the style and subject matter of the film seems to "fit" its aspect ratio, I'm not too picky. Still, you gotta love those colorful landscape shots in glorious cinemascope!

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
I'd be interested to know precisely what Truffaut meant by "resemble." In what way exactly would a film "resemble" the person who made it... and why only one person? Is he predicting that films of tomorrow will cease to be collaborative efforts?

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie.
If we can count films he's acted in as well as directed... Incident at Loch Ness. I just love that movie.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts.
I'm almost tempted to give the same answer I gave to the last question... but I can't. I gotta go with the "ultimate" monster movie: Jaws. I must admit that I never tire of watching that film. In fact, I have to view it at least once a year (usually in the summertime).

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
God, I hate Sandra Bernhard!

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché.
Whenever someone says the line: "I'm goin' in!"


In re-reading my answer to this question, I noticed that I forgot to make it clear that it was my most DESPISED movie cliche and not my favorite. My favorite movie cliche would have the be the always beautiful shot of the drapes swirling gently in the wind to indicate someone has just escaped out the window. Thank God nobody in the movies ever owns venetians blinds.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- yes or no?
I really don't understand all the ill will that is directed at this movie. Granted, it may be the least of the three (soon to be four) Indy films, but compared to most other Hollywood fare, I think it's still quite good.

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie.
Only seen one: Rebel Without a Cause

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated.
I don't think Bruce Willis gets enough credit for his acting.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television.
Well, Network first comes to mind and I suspect it's the film most people will choose. Rightfully so, of course, as it was certainly a very prophetic film on the changing face of television... but then again, in many ways so was The Truman Show, so (just to be different) I'm going to go with the latter.

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Ganz gave what I consider to be on the finest performances ever committed to celluloid when he played Hitler in Downfall.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film.
Clear Cut: the Story of Philomath, Oregon (but my reason is somewhat embarassing to admit).

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The lobster scene from Annie Hall is such a wonderful example of two people who love each other just laughing and having fun together that the "reality" of the moment and the "fantasy" of the scene become virtually indistinguishable from one another.

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie.
Oh man, this is pathetic but... I've yet to see a Wim Wenders film too.

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
By default: Elizebeth Pena (not a big fan of Penelope Cruz).

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
Just to throw a little more love at the movie: "If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones."

30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
In our intensely relativistic age, I understand that a lot of film criticism essentially boils down to personal opinion (as, one could argue, does art analysis in general), but I wish there was more of a concerted effort in the criticism "community" for some degree of objectivity. Even if it proves to be something that is not actually attainable, I think it should be some type of "goal" or "end" to which all aesthetes strive. As it is, critics nowadays not only proclaim their subjectivity, they seem to actually celebrate it, thus leaving very little room for any kind of change, progression or personal growth. It's a very safe place to be, something they can almost "hide behind." After all, one can never be "wrong" when there is no such thing as "wrong" in the first place. That's why I admire critics who seem to have at least some sense of consistent criteria which they bring with them to their evaluations rather than merely being caught up in their own wittiness (such as using hyperbole and making clever puns out of the title of a movie they didn't like rather than trying to specify what was poorly done about the film).

Basically, I hope that the film critics of the future are more like Roger Ebert than Richard Roeper.

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
Movies will always matter. To me, that's like asking: "Does painting still matter? Or theatre? Or music? or dance?"


cineboy said...

Sam Fuller, Wim Wenders, Powell and Pressburger...

Damian, I think it's time to dive in and see a few of their films. I can just sense it. Here are some of my favorites.

Fuller films to see:
Shock Corridor (1963)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
The Big Red One (1980)

Wenders films to see:
Alice in den Städten (1974)
a.k.a Alice in the Cities
Der Amerikanische Freund (1977)
a.k.a. the American Friend - incidentally, Sam Fuller plays a role it it.
Paris, Texas (1984)
Himmel über Berlin, Der (1987)
a.k.a. Wings of Desire

Powell & Pressburger films to see:
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
The Red Shoes (1948)

Personally, I like Wenders the most, his films are more to my "artsy" tastes, then comes Powell & Pressburger, who I think you might like the most of the three, then comes Fuller (although many would put Fuller at the top of the list). But, heck, who wants to rank them anyway. Ya' just have to see 'em.

Damian said...

Yeah, I felt like an utter fool having to admit that I've never actually seen any of these filmmakers' movies, so I think will check a few of them out.

We have The Big Red One, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and The Red Shoes here at the video store, so I'll probably start with those. I'll eventually get around to Paris, Texas as well but I want to see Wings of Desire first. I have a friend who lives in Indiana and it's one of her favorite films. I'm going out there to visit her this summer and I've promised to watch it with her.