Friday, December 26, 2008


Dennis Cozzalio has posted his traditional Christmas quiz, and, once again, it's kinda extraordinary in its genius. Dennis has one of the best blogs on the interwebs, and, with this year's quiz, he has outdone himself. It is only in the classes of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule University that you will be asked to choose between Ida Lupino and Mercedes McCambridge, but not before you create the main event card for the ultimate giant movie monster smackdown.


Here are my answers:

1) What was the last movie you saw theatrically? On DVD or Blu-ray?

The last movie I saw at the cinema was The Day The Earth Stood Still. There is a scene at a McDonald's where Keanu Reeves meets with James Hong, also an alien pilgrim (SPOILER!), and the two start having an interplenary tête-à-tête in Mandarin. It’s supposed to be a pivotal scene, but all I could think of was Wayne's World 2 where Mike Myers and James Hong also start conversing in Mandarin – the latter is played for laughs, the former gets them gratis. I half expected Keanu to take out a katana blade. Not that katana blade.

I finally saw Thank You For Smoking on DVD last Sunday. It’s a very entertaining film, subtle yet powerful, and, at times, incredibly funny. Aaron Eckhart carries the film – without him, the film might, just might, have floundered a bit.

Sod it. I cannot tell a lie. After Thank You For Smoking was over, I realised I had time for another film before I hit the sack. My choice? The Wedding Date, with Debra Messing (who is one of the most photogenic actresses of her generation), and, er, that guy.

You know?

Always wears a shirt?

Him, yeah!

I usually enjoy tripe, but this was tripe mixed with saccharine: an equally egregious combination as food and as metaphor.

2) Holiday movies— Do you like them naughty or nice?

I like them nice. It’s A Wonderful Life is Capra’s best film. Bell, Book and Candle. Die Hard!

And it’s not just Christmas, either. I just love holiday flicks. Groundhog Day! Trains, Planes and Automobiles!

I even enjoy Jingle All The Way. What? WHAT?

You didn’t ask, but here's my favourite sequence from an Arnie film:

3) Ida Lupino or Mercedes McCambridge?

Mercedes McCambridge. Her voice had amazing range, and was almost as distinctive as that of Orson Welles. Didn’t they have a thing?

4) Favorite actor/character from Twin Peaks

Michael Horse as Deputy Hawk. He was also in a great episode of The X-Files, too.

5) It’s been said that, rather than remaking beloved, respected films, Hollywood should concentrate more on righting the wrongs of the past and tinker more with films that didn’t work so well the first time. Pretending for a moment that movies are made in an economic vacuum, name a good candidate for a remake based on this criterion.

The Princess Bride. Here is why.

6) Favorite Spike Lee joint.

25th Hour.

It’s not the most obvious example of his oeuvre, but it’s one that has resonated with me the most over the years.

A few months ago, almost a year ago actually, I saw Jungle Fever for the first time. There is a scene where the women sit around a living room, and talk about men, society, race – but mainly men. I read that the dialogue was mostly improvised, and it turns almost musical accompanied with Stevie Wonder’s dulcet score in the background. It’s one of the greatest scenes in cinema.

7) Lawrence Tierney or Scott Brady?


I love Tierney for a lot of things, but, mostly, for his work as Cyrus Redblock and Joe, er, the Gangster (I so wanted to type Plumber), in Star Trek: TNG and Reservoir Dogs respectively.

And Scott Brady? Dude! Gremlins! Come on!

8) Are most movies too long?

No, but most questionnaires are.


Anyway, no. Only the bad ones outstay their welcome.

9) Favorite performance by an actor portraying a real-life politician.

Micheal Sheen as Tony Blair in The Deal and The Queen. I am so fricking psyched for The Special Relationship. And, while we are on the subject of British politicians, I also like Ian McKellen’s John Profumo in Scandal (though it’s John Hurt who steals the show, overall, in that flick).

Finally, I am also a fan of Martin Sheen’s prescient performance as Barack Obama in The West Wing.

10) Create the main event card for the ultimate giant movie monster smackdown.

I have to go along with Rob Reiner here: Kramer vs Kramer vs Godzilla.

11) Jean Peters or Sheree North?

Viva Josefa Zapata!

12) Why would you ever want or need to see a movie more than once?

It’s most definitely not true what they say. You can’t have too much of a good thing.

(If it were true, life would not exist)

13) Favorite road movie.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Again, you didn’t ask, but, I’ll tell you. Favourite actor whose name starts with an M and ends with icheal McKean: Michael McKean.

14) Favorite Budd Boetticher picture.

Ride Lonesome. In fact, that’s the only one of his pictures that I’ve ever seen, I think.

15) Who is the one person, living or dead, famous or unknown, who most informed or encouraged your appreciation of movies?

My dad.

Others: Roger Ebert, Jim Emerson, Matt Seitz, and Dennis Cozzalio.

16) Favorite opening credit sequence. (Please include YouTube link if possible.)

North By Northwest.

17) Kenneth Tobey or John Agar?

John Agar.

18) Jean-Luc Godard once suggested that the more popular the movie, the less likely it was that it was a good movie. Is he right or just cranky? Cite the best evidence one way or the other.

He is being cranky. There’s a Robert Graves quote about Shakespeare: “Despite the fact that everyone says he's very good; he really is very good.”

Though, this summer, most people were wrong. The Dark Knight is bollocks.

19) Favorite Jonathan Demme movie.

The Silence of the Lambs (see above quote on Will).

20) Tatum O’Neal or Linda Blair?

Both; at the same time, thanks.

21) Favorite use of irony in a movie. (This could be an idea, moment, scene, or an entire film.)

A Mighty Wind. Harry Shearer’s character, Mark Shubb, has had a sex change and he’s talking about it to the camera, sitting next to his bandmates, Christopher Guest’s Alan Barrows and Micheal McKean’s Jerry Palter. He goes into a bizarre rant:

“It was like a great big door opening for me... Town Hall... after that concert, I realized I wanted to spend as much of the rest of my life as possible playing folk music with these gentlemen and I wanted to spend all of it as a woman. I came to a realization that I was - and am - a blonde, female folk singer trapped in the body of a bald, male folk singer and I had to LET ME OUT or I WOULD DIE.”

Jerry Palter breaks the uncomfortable silence: “When you put it that way, it's almost poetry.”

Alan Burrows, after a beat: Almost.

22) Favorite Claude Chabrol film.

Not a big fan of his work. I remember not disliking Madame Bovary.

23) The best movie of the year to which very little attention seems to have been paid.

The X-Files: I Want To Believe and Swing Vote were both considered duds – critically, and financially. They’re both excellent.

Also, Forgetting Sarah Marshall was as good, if not better, than the admittedly wonderful Pineapple Express.

24) Dennis Christopher or Robby Benson?

Dennis Christopher.

25) Favorite movie about journalism.

Broadcast News.

26) What’s the DVD commentary you’d most like to hear? Who would be on the audio track?

Orson Welles doing live commentary on his film version of Arthur C Clarke’s Childhood’s End. While drunk.

(There is a script of this project somewhere in LA – if you find it, send it over please)

27) Favorite movie directed by Clint Eastwood.


28) Paul Dooley or Kurtwood Smith?

Paul Dooley. Love him in Curb. Love him in A Mighty Wind. Love him in everything.

29) Your clairvoyant moment: Make a prediction about the Oscar season.

It’s going to be wank.

30) Your hope for the movies in 2009.


31) What’s your top 10 of 2008? (If you have a blog and have your list posted, please feel free to leave a link to the post.)

Not finished yet, since there is so many films that have yet to open here in Turkey.

BONUS QUESTION (to be answered after December 25):

32) What was your favorite movie-related Christmas gift that you received this year?

A shot of Dolores Madeleine Haze, taken by Jim Emerson’s Blackberry, in his back porch. He calls it his Let The Right One In shot. It’s glorious.


Kevin J. Olson said...

Fun list....but how dare you disregard Kurtwood Smith! Haha. I'm just biased towards anyone from Robocop.

That's all. Look forward to your year-end list.

Ali Arikan said...

Hah! Robocop was on again the other day - "Can you fly, Bobby?" Great line, brilliantly delivered.