Fresh from celebrating his fifth anniversary as a model film blogger, my good pal Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule prepared another one of his impossibly difficult quizzes for the holiday. It’s taken me close to another five years to complete.
Here are my answers:
1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.
With Fargo, The Big Lebowski and No Country for Old Men ex aequo on number one and Anton Chigurh holding a gun to my head, I’ll probably go for The Man Who Wasn’t There.
2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible? (Question submitted by Peter Nellhaus)
Vertigo in VistaVision.
3) Japan or France? (Question submitted by Bob Westal)
Catherine Deneuve? Jean Seberg? Brigitte Bardot?
Isabelle Adjani? Emanuelle Béart? Julie Delphy?
That settles it, then.
I’d have to say France.
4) Favorite moment/line from a western.
The lip balm scene in ¡Three Amigos!
Here it is (use your imagination to fill in the blurred-out facial expressions):
5) Of all the arts the movies draw upon to become what they are, which is the most important, or the one you value most?
The brilliance of the cinematic art form is how it combines the best of possible worlds.
You can’t force me to choose, dammit!
6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s (The Naughties?).
Jonathan Glazer’s Birth, although the tide seems to be turning.
7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.
Based on his latest film alone: Michael Mann…
It pains me to say this, but as far as I’m concerned he’s gone creatively senile in record time. Public Enemies was an epic disappointment in nearly every respect, but the little it had going for it (expensive production design, a fascinating historical setting and an all-star cast) was completely ruined by the very element Mann usually excels at: the cinematography.
A looser aesthetic? History shot through the digital lens of immediacy? My ass! This movie’s capital U ugly.
I sure didn’t see it coming… Collateral and Miami Vice had proven Mann to be one of the most exciting filmmaking pioneers working in the digital realm, but Public Enemies throws all his finely calibrated sensibilities out of the window. Literally millions of dollars per minute are flushed down the toilet by an unceazing parade of burned-out highlights, smears of digital motion-blur, inconsistent lighting, dialogue shot in earthquake-cam and incomprehensibly edited action sequences.
Mise-en-what? Who shot who from where?
And, by the way, why should we care?
8 ) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?
9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film (Submitted by Tony Dayoub)
Wild at Heart. A typical case of too much of a good thing.
10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
I’m going to act contrarian here and vote for Connie, the less obvious Prince of Darkness. Look no further than Road to Perdition (trailer below) to see how expertly Hall arranges his compositions in vertical planes – frequently columns of three – using different shades of luminance to seperate foreground from background. This man truly understood how to paint with light.
13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
Jacques Tati’s Play Time… and it’s only available in a region imcompatible with my current player. AAARGH!
14) Eddie Deezen or Christopher Mintz-Plasse?
15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.
John Lithgow. Deliciously expressive, endlessly believable.
Will he play Gargamel in the upcoming Smurfs movie?
16) Fight Club — yes or no?
The movie: yes. The reality: no.
I was asked once by a relative to join an actual fight club, taking place in the basement of a hip restaurant in Amsterdam. I politely declined and told the dude to knock himself out on my behalf.
17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?
18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.
Juliet Forrest: “What are you doing?”
Rigby Reardon: “Adjusting your breasts. You fainted and they… shifted all outta whack.”
—Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
19) Best (or worst) death scene involving an obvious dummy substituting for a human or any other unsuccessful special effect(s)—see the wonderful blog Destructible Man for inspiration.
The decapitation by elevator in Dick Maas’ original De Lift. Great cinematic idea spoiled by the worst-looking dummy head in movie history.
20) What’s the least you’ve spent on a film and still regretted it? (Submitted by Lucas McNelly)
Around three euros for a shitty-looking letterboxed transfer of The Ninth Configuration. Not my cup of tea, after all, eventhough I quite like Blatty’s The Exorcist III.
21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?
22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.
I didn’t even make it through the title sequence of Mortal Thoughts.
23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.
The Master and His Pupil. A spellbinding documentary by Sonia Herman Dolz about the great Russian conductor Valery Gergiev giving a masterclass on the subject of art, the creative process and – best of all – charisma (yes, it can be taught!). Highly recommended!
24) In deference to this quiz’s professor, name a favorite film which revolves around someone becoming stranded.
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.
25) Is there a moment when your knowledge of film, or lack thereof, caused you an unusual degree of embarrassment and/or humiliation? If so, please share.
Every freaking time Dennis posts a quiz.
26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald? (Submitted by Larry Aydlette)
27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?
If I squint my eyes tight enough, my wife’s a dead ringer for Michelle Pfeiffer.
28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?
Paranormal Activity. Ghosts in a naturalistic setting freak me out.
29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.
Andrei Konchalovsky‘s white-knuckle ride Runaway Train.
30) Gerrit Graham or Jeffrey Jones?
This is going to surprise those who know me as a De Palma evangelist, but the face of Jeffrey Jones never fails to make me giggle.
31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).
32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.
33) Favorite movie car chase.
The French Connection. Not the most original answer, I know, but look at it:
34) In the spirit of His Girl Friday, propose a gender-switched remake of a classic or not-so-classic film. (Submitted by Patrick Robbins)
Beauty and the Beast.
35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?
36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.
House of Wax.
37) If you could take one filmmaker’s entire body of work and erase it from all time and memory, as if it had never happened, whose oeuvre would it be? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)
38) Name a film you actively hated when you first encountered it, only to see it again later in life and fall in love with it.
Scarface (1983), first seen on an extremely crappy pan-and-scan VHS.
39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)
40) In which club would you most want an active membership, the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, the Cutters or the Warriors? And which member would you most resemble, either physically or in personality?
The Deltas. I’d be whoever Dennis Cozzalio played.
41) Your favorite movie cliché.
“It’s quiet here. Almost… too quiet.”
42) Vincente Minnelli or Stanley Donen? (Submitted by Bob Westal)
Donen, I guess.
43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.
44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.
River Phoenix’s parents in Running on Empty, finally letting their boy go.
45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate? (Submitted by Bob Westal)
I say HANG the 1970s Bavarian sex comedy! Burn, hairy bums in Lederhosen, burn!
46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?
Caroline Munro, ’cause I just Googled her and I’m drooling.
47) Favorite eye-patch wearing director. (Submitted by Patty Cozzalio)
48) Favorite ambiguous movie ending. (Original somewhat ambiguous submission—“Something about ambiguous movie endings!”– by Jim Emerson, who may have some inspiration of his own to offer you.)
The sick Julianne Moore, safely (?) locked away from her environment, repeating “I love you” to her mirror image in Todd Haynes’ Safe.
49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?
A second Golden Age of Animation happening as we speak.
50) George Kennedy or Alan North? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
As enjoyable as the Naked Gun features are, George Kennedy’s Captain Ed Hocken can’t hold a candle to Alan North’s in the original “Police Squad!” series, yielding the blankest stare known to Man.