Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quizmaster Quatre

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So Dennis Cozzalio put up one of those quizzes again, and since everybody else has already done it but me, I figured now the time was ripe for me to step in and show all you hosers how we take quizzes 'round these parts. With pictures.

1) Best Movie of 2010
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Carlos.
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2) Second-favorite Roman Polanski Movie
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Chinatown. The more I see it, the more I realize that Rosemary's Baby really is just about flawless, and certain things -- such as Cassavetes' performance -- just get better and better as the years go on. Second best between Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby is kind of a silly thing to try to figure out, though.
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3) Jason Statham or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
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Oh, don't make me choose! Okay, Statham, because I have liked a few of his movies. The Bank Job, The Expendables, and so on. Not Crank, though. I do not literally wish death on Neveldine and Taylor, but I certainly do figuratively wish death on them.
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4) Favorite movie that could be classified as a genre hybrid
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Ah, why is this one so hard!! All I can think of are things like Event Horizon, which are like horror movies but in space! And on that same note, I'd rather not choose something as easy as Alien.
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While neither is my favorite, I will put in a good word for Eastwood's two "supernatural" Westerns, High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider -- there aren't enough strange Westerns out there, and Eastwood, the classicist, has made two.
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5) How important is foreknowledge of a film’s production history? Should it factor into one’s reaction to a film?
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It's not remotely important. It can be interesting, but it's meaningless when it comes to how the film effects me. I'm sick of people who hate Spielberg trying to take Jaws away from him by saying "You know, he wanted to show the shark a lot more!" Yeah, well, I want to punch your teeth out; I should still get credit for not doing so.
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6) William Powell & Myrna Loy or Cary Grant & Irene Dunne
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I've decided to not actually admit to any shortcomings in this particular quiz, because it's become too much an embarrassment -- practically its own feature -- over the years. So I'm going to answer this question by simply saying that I really like Cary Grant a whole lot.
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7) Best Actor of 2010
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Based on what I've seen, Edgar Ramirez.
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8) Most important lesson learned from the past decade of watching movies
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That while I may be an ass man, everybody who makes movies is super into boobs.
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9) Last movie seen (DVD/Blu-ray/theater)
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DVD was The Return of Doctor X, which was a delight in many ways. Bogart's one horror film and it took me until just last night to finally watch it, but Bogart sure did the job asked of him, and it would have been really interesting to see more in this genre from him. Although, I have a vague memory of reading something about him not much liking this kind of film, so I guess it wasn't to be, at least not once he became a star.
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In the theater it was True Grit. I've mentioned this film around here before.
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10) Most appropriate punishment for director Tom Six
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You want me to say that I think he should be forced to eat shit out of somebody's ass, don't you? Well, I'm not going to do it.
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11) Best under-the-radar movie almost no one else has had the chance to see
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I never see movies before anyone else has had a chance to see them.
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12) Sheree North or Angie Dickinson
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Angie Dickinson. She has movies like Rio Bravo in her past, and plus she looks like she...like she knows how to do...things.
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13) Favorite nakedly autobiographical movie
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Fitzcarraldo. Or Stardust Memories.
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14) Movie which best evokes a specific real-life place
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It would have to be one I've been to, yes? Otherwise, how would I know? And it has been my misfortune, I guess, to never really see any of the places I've lived or visited depicted on screen in a way that fully evoked my own experiences. Certainly, the big city I know best, Washington, DC, is always depicted as That Place That Has the Washington Monument In It, and little else of color or interest is given any time. However, the other night I was watching Machete, and a couple of times I thought, "Hey, that looks like Austin." And it was!
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15) Best Director
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Olivier Assayas. I'm sounding like a broken record here, but Carlos defeats all comers.
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16) Second-favorite Farrelly Brothers Movie
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I'm not sure I have a first-favorite Farrelly brothers movie. By and large, I think their stuff is...fine. I used to hate There's Something About Mary because the heaping piles of adulation dumped before it reaked pretty badly, but I've come around to being able to appreciate the little things -- Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller saying "He told me it was against the law" -- but it's still not my idea of a great comedy, or a great anything. I tend to enjoy their forgotten films, like Shallow Hal and Stuck on You, a bit more than the ones people ever bother talking about, but even then I'm forced to wade through vestigial tales and Cher in order to get to the stuff I like. Which, at this late date, I'm having trouble remembering. But whatever, Stuck on You, I guess.
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17) Favorite holiday movie
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I do wish my answer was more interesting, but A Christmas Story is the one true answer. It was a staple in my childhood, and to this day something seems amiss if I don't see at least half the film every Christmas. I love the setting, a suburb in the 1940s, and the sense of detail -- my dad grew up back then, and that film was like going home for him, at least in some small ways -- and, of course, Darren McGavin, who worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oil or clay.
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To give you some idea of the hold this film has on my family, for Christmas one of my brothers bought another one of my brothers a Red Ryder BB gun (75th anniversary edition), and much time was spent plunking cans that night, I can tell you. The absence of a compass in the stock or a thing which tells time was but a passing disappointment.
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18) Best Actress
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Natalie Portman.
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19) Joe Don Baker or Bo Svenson?
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Svenson as Buford Pusser -- I haven't seen Walking Tall in a long time, but by God that ending was like a kick in the teeth -- but Baker for Mitchell (Mitchell!), and for looking like Hoyt Axton's no-good brother.
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20) Of those notable figures in the world of the movies who died in 2011, name the one you’ll miss the most
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Scrolling through a few morbid lists, I'm struck again by two: Sally Menke, Quentin Tarantino's extraordinary editor, and one of my favorite charactor actors, Maury Chaykin. Chaykin's absence will be more palpable -- I recently found myself picturing him as a character in a book I'm reading -- and, as is often the case, he was never appreciated to the degree he deserved, which makes it worse. Menke's genius was more subliminal, and as she worked almost exclusively with Tarantino it will be hard to gauge her loss until he makes another film. But of course that's selfish reasoning, and both she and Chaykin are gone too soon, no matter what they did for a day job.
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21) Think of a movie with a notable musical score and describe what it might feel like without that accompaniment.
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Without Bill Conti's score, The Right Stuff would feel cold and unhappy and off-putting. With it, my heart pounds every time.
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22) Best Screenplay
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Is it really going to be Carlos again?? I think it is!!
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23) Movie You Feel Most Evangelistic About Right Now
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"Evangelical" implies, to me, a film that nobody else is particularly eager to back, at least not with my level of fervor. So with that in mind, my answer is "I don't know." I'm not feeling terribly evangelical at the moment, I guess, although of the films of 2010 the one I feel most deserves a rigorous defense against the naysayers is Shutter Island.
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24) Worst/funniest movie accent ever
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Marlene Dietrich's Cockney accent in Witness for the Prosecution. She's not playing a Cockney, but she's supposed to be a good enough mimic that she completely fools Charles Laughton. And it's the most absurd thing I've ever heard. She was like a Klingon who'd taken some ESL classes.
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25) Best Cinematography
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True Grit.
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26) Olivia Wilde or Gemma Arterton
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27) Name the three best movies you saw for the first time in 2010 (Thanks, Larry!)
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Yikes! It's times like this that I wish I kept records of this kind of thing! Which, I think it goes without saying now, I don't! But I'm pretty sure I saw Vincente Minelli's Some Came Running for the first time this year, as well as Fuller's White Dog. Oh, and Nightmare Alley! Wow, thank God I have a movie blog so that I can check such things.
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28) Best romantic movie couple of 2010
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My boot and your ass!
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29) Favorite shock/surprise ending
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Of all time, you mean? I don't know, man -- I realized in the last year that I don't really like those kinds of endings as much as I used to, as much as I might like the films to which they're attached. But I guess David Mamet's Homicide, if that even counts. I just love the dawning sense that everything he did was for nothing.
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30) Best cinematic reason to have stayed home and read a book in 2010
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Bradley Cooper. It's not like the guy was everywhere, but at some point while watching The A-Team, I realized, very quietly and without fanfare, that I really hate that motherfucker.
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31) Movies in 2011 could make me much happier if they’d only _______________
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If they'd only let some ambition into horror films. I'm tired of "That was actually pretty good" being the most enthusiastic reaction I can hope to have.

14 comments:

Greg said...

28) Best romantic movie couple of 2010

My boot and your ass
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As reader of this quiz I don't think I deserved that. Oh wait, were thinking of Ryan when you wrote that? All makes sense now. My bad.

bill r. said...

I was thinking of everyone except you.

Dean Treadway said...

Great answers all around. You shamed me into mentioning Maury Chaykin, for whom I felt a palpable pang of loss when his obituary was announced, but who I didn't think anyone would recognize by name. But screw them! RIP Maury Chaykin! http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-answers-for-good-professor.html

bill r. said...

Thank you, Dean. I'd actually forgotten about bouth Menke and Chaykin until I started refreshing my memory, and it was quite depressing to be reminded.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Chaykin was tremendous in a very small role in Casino Jack which I guess (without checking IMDb) might have been his last role. Seeing him here I realized just how much I'll miss him too. The movie itself is mediocre, but he's terrific in it, as is Barry Pepper. (Spacey is, as is usually is for me these days, just a shade too much.) And Menke's passing was so heartbreaking. The effect of her loss on what Tarantino does will be interesting to track, but I really appreciate what you said about the fact that whatever her and Chaykin's day jobs were, they're still gone too soon.

God bless you for #12, #16, #21, #24, #26, #29-- I needed a good laugh and some lovely imagery this morning. (Got a real CCH Pounder of a headache raging full on.) And dammit, that's a great pic of Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. I wish I'd known about it during my conversation with Farran Smith Nehme last summer-- it would have been perfect!

Thanks, Bill!

bill r. said...

Thank you, Dennis! This quiz was less nerve-wracking than I'm used to, so allow me to thank YOU for that one.

And I don't know what to say about the Grant/Dunne picture. I typed "cary grant irene dunne" into the ol' Google machine, and it popped right up.

Peter Nellhaus said...

For Best Romantic couple, I almost got snarky and was going to mention Precious and her bucket of fried chicken.

bill r. said...

Fortunately, I chose to take the question seriously.

Bryce Wilson said...

Man I am right there with you on Cooper.

It's like someone cloned Vince Vaughn, doubled the smarm and self satisfiedness and took away the shiftiness that occasionally makes Vaughn endearing.

bill r. said...

Oh, I like Vince Vaughan. Or maybe, more accurately these days, I have it within me to like Vince Vaughan. Cooper offers nothing but smarm.

Tony Dayoub said...

No love for CARLOS, Bill?

bill r. said...

NONE!!!!

otherbill said...

WAY off topic- Bill, just wanted to thank you for mentioning "The Shark Infested Custard" over at Some Came Running. It a) reminded me that I'd been meaning to read more Willeford for years and b) caused me to start with the book in question. Here's my review: Holy. Shit.

bill r. said...

That sounds about right. You know, that one got rejected a bunch of times because of how blackhearted it is, and wasn't published until Willeford had died. Now it's almost everybody's favorite of his books, or right up there, anyway. So glad you liked it!

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