Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bumpy Jonas, John Merrick, and the mother ship.


Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infinite Fly Rule has just presented another fascinating quiz, and I figured I'd share my answers here as well. I encourage you to share your answers over at SLIFR, one of the liveliest and best-written film blogs around.

1) Does film best tell the truth (Godard) or tell lies (De Palma) at 24 frames per second? Truth, though I'd argue that Godard and De Palma are equally manipulative, and that De Palma uncovers greater truths by embracing the heightened reality of film.

2) Ideal pairing of actors/actresses to play on-screen siblings Tilda Swinton and David Bowie

3) Favorite special effects moment The reveal of the mother ship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

4) Matt Damon or George Clooney? Clooney.

5) What is the movie you’ve encouraged more people to see than any other? Probably The Shining, because it's brilliant and because a person's response to it tells me a great deal about the person.

6) Favorite film of 1934 The Black Cat

7) Your favorite movie theater The Coolidge in Brookline, MA. Beautiful old movie house, great programming, fun midnight series. Well worth the three-hour drive.

8) Jean Arthur or Irene Dunne? Arthur, for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

9) Favorite film made for children E.T., which completely engages a child's capacity for awe.

10) Favorite Martin Scorsese Movie Raging Bull. Stark, visceral, spiritual.

11) Favorite film about children Small Change. The scene of the teacher talking to his students about the perils of childhood is one of Truffaut's finest moments.

12) Favorite film of 1954 Seven Samurai.

13) Favorite screenplay written by a writer more famous for literature than screenplays Peter Benchley (with Carl Gottlieb, John Milius, et. al.), Jaws

14) Walter Matthau or Jack Lemmon? A very tough call. But between Shelley Levene and his heartbreaking monologue in Short Cuts, I'll give the edge to Lemmon.

15) Favorite character name Bumpy Jonas (Moses Gunn), Shaft.

16) Favorite screenplay adapted from a work of great literature, either by the author himself or by someone else Apocalypse Now - few film adaptations have reinterpreted their source material to such staggering effect.

17) Favorite film of 1974 The Godfather Part II

18) Joan Severance or Shannon Tweed? Man, I don't even have an opinion.

19) jackass: the movie-- yes or no? I'm in a generous mood - yes.

20) Favorite John Cassavetes Movie The only one I've seen is A Woman Under the Influence, and it was great. So there it is.

21) First R-rated movie you ever saw On video, Halloween. On the big screen, JFK (I was seven, and it was deemed important to see by my grandmother).

22) Favorite X-rated film (remember that, while your answer may well be a famous or not-so-famous hard-core film, the "X" rating was once also a legitimate rating that did not necessarily connote pornography) A Clockwork Orange (former X, but still).

23) Best film of 1994 Pulp Fiction. It's like naming The Beatles as one's favorite band, but whatever - it's just fun as hell.

24) Describe a moment in a movie that made you weep There are many scenes in The Elephant Man that reduce me to a blubbering mess. The final scene, scored to Barber's "Adagio For Strings," is the worst. If you haven't seen The Elephant Man, do yourself a favor, skip ahead, and rent the film as soon as possible.

After saying goodnight to the compassionate Dr. Treves, Merrick adds his signature to the model cathedral he has been carefully working on for most of the film. Then, he reclines on his back, ending his own life with normal sleep. The film then dissolves to a limitless field of stars, and the frozen profile of Merrick's mother as we travel through space. Before the film fades to black, we hear Merrick's mother in voiceover, whispering:

"Nothing ever dies."

It's a transcendent moment.

25) Ewan McGregor or Ewan Bremner? The scene in Velvet Goldmine where McGregor, as Iggy Pop surrogate Curt Wild, covers himself in glue and glitter, exposes himself, and starts a small fire, sort of clinches it.

26) One of your favorite line readings (not necessarily one of your favorite lines) from this or any year "We stop at pancakes house." - Peter Stormare, Fargo

27) What, if any, element in a film, upon your hearing of its inclusion beforehand, would most likely prejudice you against seeing that film or keeping an open mind about it? The involvement of Chris Columbus, for personal as well as obvious reasons.

28) Favorite Terry Gilliam Movie Brazil. We're all in this together.

29) Jean Smart or Annie Potts? Just rewatched Pretty in Pink, so I'll have to go with Annie Potts.

30) Is it possible to know with any certainty if you could like or love someone based partially on their taste in movies? If so, what film might be a potential relationship deal-breaker for you, or the one that might just seal that deal? Absolutely. Popeye. She liked it.

6 comments:

Endless Greg said...

First R-rated movie you ever saw.

I have a pretty good one I think. Steven Segal's tour de force Hard to Kill. I was like 8 or 9, and I remember being over at a friend's house (they were really poor, and a pretty troubled family, but to my young mind Ramen for dinner and playing Nintendo until midnight was paradise) when the family popped the tape in. I think I even said something like "um, maybe I shouldn't watch this" to my friend's mom. she didn't really care either way. I was so excited I was shaking, at the thrill of watching my first R (my mom was pretty strict about what I rented in those days). The wanton and ridiculous violence of the film was shocking to me. I felt dirty afterwards, but like I had reached a necessary plateau. The next R flick I caught, Robocop, had a similar effect. Man what a great question.

Bemis said...

My parents were weird about R-rated movies, throwing out any typical standards for films they liked (horror for my mom, stuff like Animal House for my dad). Every once in a while, they would specifically forbid a movie -the funniest was T2, which I had to wait years to see because my mom had heard it was the most violent film ever made. So I'd get that same kind of thrill out of seeing a film I had specifically been told not to watch, like A Clockwork Orange or Natural Born Killers. And I wish Robocop had been one of my first Rs - that must have been revelatory.

Endless Greg said...

i was standing next to the tv with the remote, watching robocop at an extremely low volume, while my mom clipped cupons on the dining room. she somehow heard some swears and said something like "real nice show!" (tv and movies are "shows" to my parents) but suprisingly didn't make me turn it off. i think i had to take a break when that guy drove into the vat of acid, it was just too gruesome. i was a really really sensitive kid when it came to stuff like that, and i didn't even start watching horror movies until i was a freshman in high school. i remember lying to kids about horror flicks i'd seen, reciting plot synopses from my best friend whose mother owned the video store that used to be within walking distance of my house. the third r-rated movie i watched was that movie gas, food, lodging. first r-rated flick with nudity was probably more illicit and thrilling. i was so worried my parents would know i checked it out from the library that i even brought it to school with me every day, keeping it stashed in my backpack. i could go on for days about this kind of stuff, maybe i'll write an article.

Bemis said...

I think that's a great idea; there's a treasure trove of material here.

Anonymous said...

I knew Chris years ago and he was a fun guy who threw great parties. What the bloody 'ell happened to this guy with his awful movies?

Bemis said...

Who knows? It's hard to believe that the guy who wrote Gremlins could have gone so soft. My wife and I had one of our screenplay ideas passed along to him a few years ago, and we got word back that he was looking for a good family-oriented script to produce. Two days later, we were told to forget about it - he'd found something. At the end of the year, Christmas With the Kranks was released like a plague.