Professor Arthur Chipping’s Maddeningly Detailed, Purposefully Vague, Fitfully Out-Of-Focus, Back To School Movie Quiz

Dennis Cozzalio of the Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule blog has posted another of his famous movie quizes, and as always, I’m excited to provide my answers. Previous installments answering questions from Professor Hubert Farnsworth, David Huxley, Professor Fate, Professor Russell Johnson, Dr. Smith, Professor Peabody, Professor Severus Snape, Professor Ed Avery, Dr. Anton Phibes, and Sister Clodagh are also available… This time around, Professor Arthur Chipping, colloquially known as Mr. Chips, notes that “school is back in session, which means it’s time for yet another movie quiz.” There’s no real theme to the quiz this time around, but in the spirit of the Six Weeks of Halloween, I’ll try to steer things into the realm of horror whenever possible (Update: only partially successful at this.) Ok, enough jibber jabber, let’s answer some questions.

1) What is the biggest issue for you in the digital vs. film debate?

This is a tough one because all of the issues that are coming to mind are sorta meta-issues. In theory, digital lowers costs for productions and makes things much easier to distribute (this includes theatrical distribution, but also stuff like On Demand and, of course, the internets). In practice, the movie industry’s obsession with piracy has pretty much muffled most advantages on the distribution side of things, and theater chains haven’t exactly jumped at the opportunity to leverage digital distribution in an ideal way. It would be great if my local Regal dedicated a few timeslots a week to offbeat, indy, or even older film series. Judging from my own anecdotal experience with that theater, they could certainly stand to sell a lot of tickets that way. However, I know that this is easier said than done. Studios make showing movies in a theater an expensive proposition right from the get go, whereas, even a handful of tickets for something you already have the right to show will make you money. Again, digital could make this easier, in theory, but from what I’ve heard of digital distribution, the process is incredibly onerous and painful to use thanks to all of the copy protection, DRM, etc… The future is digital, and from a technology standpoint, we’re almost at the point where you’d be able to implement an ideal distribution network for all movies (heck, most media in general). Unfortunately, the business side of things is holding technology back.

2) Without more than one minute’s consideration, name three great faces from the movies

Since I’ve been watching a lot of horror films lately, the names that come to mind are Angus Scrimm, Bruce Campbell, and Shelly Duvall. Distinctive faces, all.

Bruce Campbell

If chins could kill…

3) The movie you think could be interesting if remade as a movie musical

I have a deep dislike for movie musicals. That being said, a full length Planet of the Apes musical, a la The Simpsons, would probably still be better than that Tim Burton remake. “I hate every ape I see, from Chimpan-A, to Chimpanzee!”

4) The last movie you saw theatrically/on DVD, Blu-ray, streaming

In theaters, Frankenweenie, which I enjoyed greatly (probably the best Tim Burton movie in a decade, probably more). On DVD, it was The Devil’s Backbone, which I also thought was quite good. On Blu-Ray, I’ve got Bernie, a movie that really surprised me in that I totally loved it. And on streaming, Bloody Birthday, a so-bad-its-good Kids are scary and hate you! movie (part of this past weekend’s Halloween horror movie marathon). Actually a pretty good run here.

5) Favorite movie about work

The obvious answer here is Office Space, though looking at other answers, I see Glengarry Glen Ross, The Hudsucker Proxy, and His Girl Friday, great movies all. But I’ll stick with Office Space.

6) The movie you loved as a child that did not hold up when seen through adult eyes

I realize I’m in the minority here, but Terminator 2: Judgment Day is kinda terrible. It still holds up as a solid action film with good special effects, I guess, but it jettisoned everything that made the first movie special without really adding anything interesting to the mix. I loved it at the time, but as I got older I started to see the cracks. This David Foster Wallace article neatly encapsulates my view, though I don’t know that I’d put it quite the way he does (nor would I extrapolate in the way he does). Ok, fine, it doesn’t “neatly encapsulate” my view, but you should read it anyway.

7) Favorite “road” movie

Many possible ways to take this. Mad Max and The Road Warrior are obvious answers, but I’m also fond of Midnight Run (a different sorta “road” movie, I guess), and in the interest of keeping it real with the Six Weeks of Halloween, Road Games makes for an intriguing concept. It’s perhaps not perfect in execution, but the premise of taking Hitchcock’s Rear Window on the road is beautiful and I really enjoyed it.

8) Does Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention change or confirm your perspective on him as a filmmaker/movie icon? Is that appearance relevant to his legacy as a filmmaker?

Completely irrelevant and it doesn’t change my feelings towards any of his movies, whether I love or hate them.

9) Longest-lasting movie or movie-related obsession

These questions seem awfully imprecise and vague. I’m not entirely sure what this is getting at, but in accordance with my marching orders, I’ll say horror movies.

10) Favorite artifact of movie exploitation

Again with the imprecision. Is this asking about exploitation films? Or about artifacts that are exploiting movies? For the former, my answer would have to be the trailers and posters, the trashier the better. For the latter, well, let’s just say that this action figure of Boba Fett sitting on my desk here holds a special place in my heart.

Boba waves hi!

Everyone wave to Boba…

11) Have you ever fallen asleep in a movie theater? If so, when and why?

I’m not sure if I ever fell asleep outright, though it was a very near thing when I saw The Squad at Fantastic Fest. It was a few days into the festival, in the midst of a day with 5 movie viewings scheduled, and it was just an awful, boring, stupid movie. I may have rested my eyes for a moment or ten.

12) Favorite performance by an athlete in a movie

The first thing that popped into my head: Kurt Thomas from Gymkata (he single-handedly defeated the Soviets… with Gymnastics!) Popular opinion seems to be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Airplane!, which is certainly a worthy choice. And if you count wrestlers, you’ve got Andre the Giant from The Princess Bride, and Rowdy Roddy Piper from They Live. But who are we kidding? Gymkata is set in the fictional country of Parmistan. Population: Communists. And they’re defeated because of their baffling but convenient placement of pommel horses throughout their country.

13) Second favorite Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie

It begins: I have not seen any Fassbinder movies. As usual, I expect similar answers to be given for several other questions in this quiz.

14) Favorite film of 1931

Hoo man, this is a tough choice. M or Frankenstein? Yikes. I can’t decide, as both are superb (though I can decisively pick them above other 1931 movies I’ve seen, which are surprisingly many).

15) Second favorite Raoul Walsh movie

Oh, this question is diabolical. Back in Professor Peabody’s quiz, you asked for our favorite Raoul Walsh movie. At the time, I hadn’t seen any, so I had to abstain, but I eventually went out of my way to watch White Heat, just because of the quiz (this came in handy on another quiz). Alas, that remains the only Raoul Walsh movie I’ve ever seen, thus I must abstain from this question as well.

16) Favorite film of 1951

Strangers on a Train, hands down. There are other worthy contenders, but no one beats the Hitch.

17) Second favorite Wong Kar-wai movie

I must admit that I’m not a huge Wong Kar-wai fan, though I’ve seen enough of his movies to declare Chungking Express my second favorite.

18) Favorite film of 1971

This is another tough one. I’ll go with Dirty Harry for now, but I do have a fondness for The Andromeda Strain as well. Lots of other juicy choices that year too, but I’ll leave it at Dirty Harry

You feeling lucky, punk?

You feeling lucky, punk?

19) Second favorite Henri-Georges Clouzot movie

The Wages of Fear, after Diabolique.

20) Favorite film of 1991

Raise the Red Lantern is a masterpiece, though it’s not something I love to rewatch all the time, like The Silence of the Lambs. Still, that’s a pretty great one-two punch.

21) Second favorite John Sturges movie

I’ll go with Joe Kidd, though I should really watch more of his movies…

22) Favorite celebrity biopic

The first thing that came to mind was Amadeus (does that count as “celebrity” in the modern sense, especially given that it’s more about Salieri than Mozart?), but Ed Wood is a ton of fun (hmm, Tum Burton getting a lot of action in today’s quiz).

23) Name a good script idea which was let down either by the director or circumstances of production

Too many to answer. Most recently, I was thinking this about a few German Krimi movies I watched for the Six Weeks of Halloween. Some really fantastic ideas there, but they wound up a little on the messy side when translated to the screen.

24) Heaven’s Gate– yes or no?

I haven’t seen the movie, but sure, why not? I find it hard to say “no” to a movie, even one I don’t particularly like or agree with. I kinda equate “no” with censorship, and fooey to that.

25) Favorite pairing of movie sex symbols

The one that immediately came to mind was Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but upon further reflection, the George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez combo in Out of Sight is probably a better choice, as that movie is clearly superior. I’m not even that big of a fan of Clooney or Lopez, but I really enjoy that movie and they have great chemistry together.

26) One word that you could say which would instantly evoke images and memories of your favorite movie. (Naming the movie is optional – might be more fun to see if we can guess what it is from the word itself)


27) Name one moment which to you demarcates a significant change, for better or worse, on the landscape of the movies over the last 20 years.

A lot of options here, but in accordance with decorative gourd season, I’ll pick something from the horror genre. The Blair Witch Project wasn’t the first “found footage” mock documentary (heck, it wasn’t even the only one of those from 1999), but for better or worse, it popularized the idea to the point where it broke out of the horror genre. Two other horror movies could also qualify for this: Scream (reviving slashers in particular, and horror in general) and Saw (popularizing the whole torture porn thing).

28) Favorite pre-Code talkie

Gabriel Over the White House, a completely bonkers but surprisingly relevant movie. I was totally flabbergasted by this movie when I first saw it. It’s this tacky, unbelievable leftist authoritarian fantasy, and it’s utterly riveting.

29) Oldest film in your personal collection (Thanks, Peter Nellhaus)

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1926), Hitchcock’s first movie (part of a collection I bought once).

The Lodger is clearly not evil

The Lodger is clearly not evil…

30) Longest film in your personal collection. (Thanks, Brian Darr)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Special Extended DVD Edition clocks in at 251 min (And the other LotR extended editions would probably also top most of my other movies). Coming in second would be the Das Boot Director’s Cut, clocking in at 208 minutes, barely edging out The Godfather: Part II which is “only” 200 minutes (though, notably, the only theatrical cut mentioned in this answer).

31) Have your movie collection habits changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

I don’t buy nearly as many DVDs/BDs as I used to. This changed most dramatically when I first signed up for Netflix (somewhere around 2005, give or take a year), though more recently the cheap availability of online streaming has also begun to change my habits. Discs are becoming more and more of a pain. I have to, like, get up and walk over to the player in order to swap out discs. Alas, when you’re into exploring obscure movies, discs are usually your only options.

32) Wackiest, most unlikely “directed by” credit you can name

I always enjoy it when Alan Smithee directs a film.

33) Best documentary you’ve seen in 2012 (made in 2012 or any other year)

I’ve not watched a ton of documentaries thus far this year, but I did really enjoy Bobby Fischer Against the World. Heckler was actually a very interesting discovery, and it becomes more of a meditation on criticism in general than heckling. Ok, so maybe “mediation” is too weighty, but I really enjoyed the movie. Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel and Machete Maidens Unleashed! were great fun, but not exactly insightful or anything.

34) What’s your favorite “(this star) was almost cast in (this movie)” anecdote?

Well, Tom Selleck was considered for Indiana Jones (apparently he turned it down). I don’t think other answers are possible.

35) Program three nights of double bills at a revival theater that might best illuminate your love of the movies

There are seriously way too many options here, but I came up with something that covered a few interesting themes:

Night one: James Cameron (back when he was still awesome)The Terminator and Aliens – These are just two of my favorite movies of all time. They pair well together and would make for an exciting, adventurous start to my three nights of double features.

Night two: Cultural Cross-ContaminationYojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars – Let’s see here, John Ford westerns inspired Akira Kurosawa to make structurally similar samurai films, then crazy Italian Sergio Leone takes one of those samurai films and converts it back to the world of westerns, infusing it with spaghetti. Bitchin.

Night three: Sensory Overload NightScott Pilgrim vs. the World and Detention – This will be an exhausting, but rollicking night. A good way to end a three day marathon of double features though.

36) You have been granted permission to invite any three people, alive or dead, to your house to watch the Oscars. Who are they?

I always stink at questions like these. Let’s see here. Stanley Kubrick, Armond White, and Alison Brie. Kubrick and White will either come to blows, or have the most interesting conversation evar, which will represent a nice bonding experience for me and Alison.

37) Favorite Mr. Chips. (Careful…)

Not having seen any of the movies featuring the good Professor, I will have to abstain from this question. I will, however, wax poetic about Charlie’s Chips. Does anyone remember Charlie’s Chips? It was this giant delivery truck that would tool around town, delivering potato chips in giant tins to anyone who subscribed. When you ran out, you simply put out the bin, and the Charlie’s Chips dude would pick it up and deliver you a full container of chips. This was somehow a rational business model in the 1980s. So there, nothing to do with movies, but all this talk of Chips made me think of it, so there. I hope you’re happy now.