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 participate. 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, Sister Clodagh, Professor Arthur Chipping, Miss Jean Brodie, Professor Larry Gopnick, Professor Dewey Finn, Ms. Elizabeth Halsey, Professor Abraham Setrakian, Mr. Dadier, Professor Abronsius, Professor Moriarty, Professor Birdman, and Dr. Jonathan Hemlock are also available. Hard to believe it’s taken this long to get to Dean Wormer, but here we are… Let’s get to it:
1) You’re on a desert island (and you sort of are)—What three discs do you select out of your own collection to keep if you had to get rid of all the rest?
These questions are ruff because I hate choosing favorites from such a large pool, but at least they narrowed it to discs from my personal collection. Which isn’t tiny, to be sure, but it’s not exactly comprehensive either. Then there’s the added complication of format. Normally, The Godfather would be the immediate first choice, but I’m still working off of the DVD Collection, which is great and all, but I’ve been hoping I could leapfrog to 4K (given the number of double dipping they’ve done with this series on BD, it’s shocking that there isn’t a 4K edition yet). Same problem for The Terminator. So looking at my shelves and considering rewatchability and quality of the release, here’s what I’ve got: The Criterion release of The Silence of the Lambs (a classic that I rewatch far too often, and it being Criterion, there’s plenty of special features), the recent 4K release of 2001: A Space Odyssey (it’s funny, I don’t normally handle movies paced like this that well, but I’m always transfixed by this one, and it will be a good option to have for when I’m being more contemplative on the island), and oh, let’s just say the regular BD of Ocean’s Eleven (I want something fun and breezy, after the previous two). This was harder than I thought…
2) Giuletta Masina or Jeanne Moreau?
Jeanne Moreau by default, since I’ve actually seen her in movies and stuff.
3) Second-favorite Roger Corman movie.
Limiting this to movies he directed, I’m going with A Bucket of Blood. I only caught up with it recently, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it…
4) The most memorable place you ever saw a movie. This could be a film projected on a big screen or seen in some other fashion—the important thing is what makes it memorable.
It’s sadly not anything particularly special: I really loved going to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin for Fantastic Fest a few years ago. Fantastic time, good food, good beer, and a great crowd of cinema lovers.
5) Marcello Mastroianni or Vittorio Gassman?
I haven’t seen much of either (though in a twist for these, I’ve actually seen movies from both actors), but Marcello Mastroianni, because I’ll definitely be seeing him again when I get to some of the classics that I haven’t seen yet…
6) Second-favorite Kelly Reichardt movie.
Oof, I’m not a huge fan of the two that I have seen, so I haven’t seen more, but I’ve seen enough to answer the question: Meek’s Cutoff. I might like it better if it wasn’t so monotonously paced. Remember earlier where I said that I don’t usually handle this sort of thing well? Here’s an example where it doesn’t work for me, while 2001 for some reason does.
7) In the matter of taste, is there a film or director that, if your partner in a relationship (wife/husband/lover/best friend) disagreed violently with your assessment of it, might cause a serious rift in that relationship?
Depending on how violent they get, I don’t see any serious rifts developing because I think that the world would be a boring place indeed if we all agreed on everything (so long as we can agree to disagree). Now, if they, like, stabbed me or something because I liked/disliked something, that might be an issue… but that’s more the stabby-stabby part causing the issue. If we’re just talking about violent verbal assaults, we’re probably good.
8) The last movie you saw in a theater/on physical media/via streaming (list one each).
I believe the last movie I saw in the theater was The Invisible Man (which was great!), but it’s been a while. It may have been The Way Back (which I’m a little more mixed on). On physical media, it was Curse of the Golden Flower (Zhang Yimou needs more releases in the US). On streaming, it was Extraction (really solid action sequences with derivative glue inbetween, solid B movie territory here).
9) Name a movie that you just couldn’t face watching right now.
There’s lots of movies that I feel like I want to be in the right mood for, but I’m not particularly interested in tackling famously disgusting movies like Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom or A Serbian Film…
10) Jane Greer or Ava Gardner?
Definitely Ava Gardner. They both have some nice noir films to their credit, but Gardner also has wacky 70s horror like The Sentinel, which puts her over the top.
11)Edmond O’Brien or Van Heflin?
I’m going Edmond O’Brien. Mostly because I’ve seen more movies starring him, but also because I really do enjoy those movies moreso than the ones I’ve seen Van Heflin in (though I like those too).
12) Second favorite Yasujiro Ozu movie.
And here comes my first embarrassed mulligan. You might just shame me into watching Ozu as a quarantine opportunity.
13) Name a proposed American remake of an international film that would, if actually undertaken, surely court or inevitably result in disaster.
There was once a time when I really followed upcoming movie news, but that time has passed, so I’m finding it difficult to think an answer here. Are they still trying to remake Akira? That seems like a disaster waiting to happen…
14) What’s a favorite film that you consider genuinely subversive, for whatever reason?
I’m not exactly a connoisseur of subversive films, but let’s just say Pink Flamingos for the extremity and rawness with which it throws itself towards the human condition. That sounds good, right? Sure.
15) Name the movie score you couldn’t live without.
My mind first went to John Williams, but then I tried thinking of things that I actually listen to on a regular basis. I actually love the original score from The Terminator, so let’s go with that one.
16) Mary-Louise Weller or Martha Smith?
Mary-Louise Weller (this reminds me that I should probably rewatch Animal House as part of the 1978 project)
17) Peter Riegert or Bruce McGill?
Bruce McGill, without question. A lot of times with these questions I have to look up who the actor is, but not for him, a favorite “that guy”.
18) Last Tango in Paris—yes or no?
As always with questions like this: Yes.
19) Second-favorite Akira Kurosawa movie.
Well that’s a tough one! I could probably narrow it down to a top 5, but they’re always shifting in rank.
Let’s just say: Sanjuro, because I feel like it’s one of his more underrated flicks.
20) Who would host the imaginary DVD commentary you would most want to hear right now, and what would the movie be?
My first thought would be Quentin Tarantino, just for the sheer depth of his knowledge of the medium (and the number of recommendations and rabbit holes you could go down based off of a tossed off line in one of his commentaries). He doesn’t do a lot of commentaries, but they’re always great. As for what I’d want the movie to be, I’m not sure – it could be damn near anything, honestly. Let’s go with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, because it’s one of my favorites and I’ve been meaning to rewatch it lately. I also thought of a lesser example, which would be a Kevin Smith commentary for Zack and Miri Make a Porno. It’s basically the movie that broke Smith, not so much because of the filming, but because of the reception. There’s actually a lot to talk about with that movie and up until that point, Smith had been very open about the inner workings of his career, so it would have been interesting to hear his commentary on the film. His commentaries are always a lot of fun (or, er, they were up until that point) so it could have been an interesting expose of marketing and behind-the-scenes shenanigans. For whatever reason, I don’t think he even did a commentary for that one…
21) Favorite movie snack.
Look, popcorn is the answer, but it’s so obvious and ubiquitous that I’ll be more interesting and say: Soft Pretzel Bites (or some variation of Soft Pretzel). Most theaters just use crappy ones, but occasionally you’ll find a theater doing something more ambitous.
22) Second-favorite Planet of the Apes film (from the original cycle).
I guess it would be Escape from the Planet of the Apes. Nothing beats the original, but this one was a neat inversion.
23) Least-favorite Martin Scorsese movie.
I guess it would be New York, New York. I actually don’t remember too much about it other than that I wasn’t enjoying it and it was loooooong.
24) Name a movie you feel doesn’t deserve its current reputation, for better or worse.
Vertigo. It’s a fine movie, but it’s nowhere near Hitchcock’s best, and certainly not the best movie of all time.
25) Best movie of 1970. (Fifty years ago!)
I caught this on TV a couple years ago and man, I’d forgotten how good this movie is.
26) Name a movie you think is practically begging for a Broadway adaptation (I used this question in the last quiz, but I’m repeating it because I never answered the quiz myself and I think I have a pretty good answer)
My answer from last time: Planet of the Apes, especially considering there’s already a template that people absolutely love and really my answer was only that so that I could link to that clip, which is really so fantastic. You’ll never make a monkey out of me.
27) Louise Brooks or Clara Bow?
Clara Bow! Another person I actually don’t need to look up. Things are looking up for my chances in this quiz.
28) Second-favorite Pier Paolo Pasolini movie.
Oh, never mind, let’s take a second embarrassed mulligan. (Or maybe not so embarrassed – as mentioned earlier, I’m not rushing out to watch Salò these days)
29) Name three movies you loved in your early years that you feel most influenced your adult cinematic tastes.
The Terminator, Phantasm, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (woopsie, I usually try to avoid mentioning the same movies over and over, but then, here we are).
30) Name a movie you love that you think few others do.
Gabriel Over the White House, mostly because no one else has seen it. Let’s get Criterion on this ASAP.
31) Name a movie you despise that you think most others love.
To be consistent with previous quiz answers to similar questions: Easy Rider
32) The Human Centipede—yes or no?
Yes, though in this case, I don’t actually blame people for saying no.
33) Anya Taylor-Joy or Olivia Cooke?
Anya Taylor-Joy, mostly because I just love The Witch so much.
34) Johnny Flynn or Timothée Chalamet?
Ah crap, I don’t especially love either, but I guess Timothée has some more exciting movies on his filmmography.
35) Second-favorite Dorothy Arzner movie.
Third embarrassed mulligan. How many of those do I get? This is a very long quiz, at least.
36) Name a movie you haven’t seen in over 20 years that you would drop everything to watch right now.
I don’t know if it’s been 20 years, but I really want to revisit Raise the Red Lantern, which isn’t really available anywhere at this time…
We need to get Criterion on this!
37) Name your favorite stylistic filmmaking cliché, and one you wouldn’t mind seeing disappear forever.
My favorite would probably be long takes/tracking shots, even stitched together ones like I just saw in Extraction. My least favorite is the “shaky cam” aesthetic. It worked in Saving Private Ryan and Paul Greengrass can occasionally coax something out of it, but it’s otherwise a ghastly cliche that has thankfully been on the wane in the past few years…
38) Your favorite appearance by a real-life politician in a feature film, either fictional or a fictionalized account of a real event.
I love seeing Fred Thompson show up in everything, and he’s usually some sort of official. I’m particularly fond of The Hunt for Red October and In the Line of Fire. Smallish parts, I guess, but he’s got a memorable gravitas or something.
39) Is film criticism dead?
Nope! This is the sort of question that lead to Betteridge’s law of headlines.
40) Elizabeth Patterson or Marjorie Main?
I guess I’m going with Marjorie Main. I’ve seen movies starring both, but I feel like I remember Main more…
41) Arch Hall Jr. or Timothy Carey?
Timothy Carey, because I’ve seen more movies with him and they’re also pretty great movies he’s in…
42) Name the film you think best fulfills the label “road movie.”
Lots of options here, but my favorite would probably be Midnight Run.
43) Horror film that, for whatever reason, made you feel most uncomfortable?
Martyrs really gets under my skin. I can respect what it’s going after, but I will never watch it again and will never recommend it.
44) Least-favorite (directed by) Clint Eastwood movie.
The Rookie. I don’t remember much about it (I think I saw it on cable about 30 years ago and promptly forgot about any meaningful detail, other than that I didn’t like it).
45) Second-favorite James Bond villain.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He’s great, but got watered down by too many different depictions.
46) Best adaptation of a novel or other form that had been thought to be unfilmable.
The Lord of the Rings is a pretty strong contender for this one, but I’m tempted to go with Arrival or maybe even Naked Lunch. I’m having trouble deciding, so there. Deal with the three answers…
47) Michelle Dockery or Merritt Wever?
Michelle Dockery. I haven’t seen quite as many of her movies as Wever’s, but I like Dockery’s movies better…
48) Jason Bateman or Ewan McGregor?
Ewan McGregor is certainly the better actor, though they both choose a lot stinkers, which muddies up their filmographies.
49) Second-favorite Roman Polanski movie.
Chinatown, though it could easily swap with Rosemary’s Baby… but then, I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about the filmographies of fugitive child rapists.
50) What’s the movie you wish you could watch with a grandparent right now? And, of course, why?
All of my grandparents have long since passed away, so really it would just be anything, so long as they were alive…
51) Oliver Stone two-fer: Natural Born Killers and/or JFK—yes or no?
Yes, though JFK would be more yes than NBK.
52) Name the actor whose likeness you would proudly wear as a rubber latex Halloween mask.
A circa 1978 William Shatner mask with maybe a bit of white paint.
53) Your favorite cinematographer, and her/his greatest achievement.
Is Roger Deakins a boring answer? Because he’s great, and stuff like No Country for Old Men or Skyfall are really elevated by his work (especially the latter film, which might be the best looking Bond movie ever).
54) Best book about the nitty-gritty making of a movie.
I don’t know that I’ve read a book about one movie, but Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman is phenomenal and really gets into the details in a way that most accounts don’t… and I think it’s also worth noting Crystal Lake Memories, an absurdly comprehensive oral history of the Friday the 13th films that almost inadvertently becomes an exploration of how indie cinema evolved in the 80s.
55) If you needed to laugh right now, what would be your go-to movie comedy?
I don’t know that I have an actual go-to movie for this, but two movies I want to revisit: Blazing Saddles and Jackass: The Movie. I feel like we need more comedies in our lives, especially these days.
So there you have it! As always, looking forward to the next quiz already.