Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule is good reason to resurrect this blog from the dead. Here are my answers to the latest collection of personality-revealing brain-melters.
Name the last 10 movies you've seen, either theatrically or at home:
I have only a vague idea about the last 10 I watched at home, but I keep a notebook of every movie I see on the big screen, so here's that list. Surprisingly (or not), only one is a new release. The other nine are repertory screenings from the Austin Film Society, whose theater space is awesomely only a few minutes' drive from my home.
Hospital (Frederick Wiseman)
A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang)
Wiener-Dog (Todd Solondz)
We Won't Grow Old Together (Maurice Pialat)
Loulou (Maurice Pialat)
Messiah of Evil (Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz)
A Nos Amours (Maurice Pialat)
Eraserhead (David Lynch)
On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray)
White of the Eye (Donald Cammell)
Favorite movie feast:
The noodle feast in Tampopo
Dial M for Murder (1954) or Rear Window (1954)?
I'm a fan of both movies and have been lucky enough to see both on the big screen, but I have to go with Rear Window. Dial M for Murder is really good, but Rear Window is one of the greatest.
Favorite song or individual performance from a concert film:
This changes every day, but right now I'm going to say Elvis doing "That's All Right/Tiger Man" in Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Excluding another film from the same director, if you were programming a double feature, what would you pair with:
Alex Cox's Straight to Hell (1986)?
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Beware of a Holy Whore (1971)
Benjamin Christensen's Haxan: Witchcraft through the Ages (1922)?
Jacques Tourneur's Night of the Demon (1957)
Federico Fellini's I vitelloni (1953)?
I haven't seen this one, so I'll have to blindly pick based on a plot description.
Peter Yates' Breaking Away (1979)
Vincente Minnelli's The Long, Long Trailer (1953)?
Also haven't seen this one.
Albert Brooks' Lost in America (1985)
Sam Peckinpah's The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)?
Again, haven't seen this one, even though I'm a big Peckinpah fan.
Don Siegel's Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
George Englund's Zachariah (1971)?
Yet another one I haven't seen. Let's go with Robert Downey Sr.'s Greaser's Palace (1972).
Favorite movie fairy tale:
Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural
What is the sport that you think has most eluded filmmakers in terms of capturing either its essence or excitement?
I'm not much of a sports fan, and I tend to prefer movies about sports to the actual sporting events, but no movie yet has helped me figure out what people find so enjoyable about football.
The Seventh Seal (1957) or Wild Strawberries (1957)?
My initial reaction is to pick Wild Strawberries, but I rewatched The Seventh Seal a few years ago and found myself completely engrossed despite its over-familiarity as a cultural reference and subject of parody.
Your favorite Criterion Collection release:
I'm ecstatic to have Cassavetes' Love Streams available on DVD and Blu-Ray for the first time in this country thanks to Criterion.
In the tradition of the Batley Townswomen's Guild's staging of the Battle of Pearl Harbor and Camp on Blood Island, who would be the featured players (individual or tag-team) in your Classic Film Star Free-for-all Fight?
A tag team match of Pam Grier and Divine vs. Tura Satana and Tony Curtis in his Some Like It Hot drag
Throne of Blood (1957) or The Lower Depths (1957)?
Sadly, I have not yet seen either one.
Your favorite movie snack:
Now, I enjoy a cold glass of beer with a movie, but as a kid, nachos at the drive-in and licorice (smuggled in to avoid paying the inflated concession prices) in the theater
Robert Altman's Quintet -- yes or no?
Yes AND no. It's so incredibly strange that it's worth seeing once, especially if you like Altman, but most of it isn't very good. However, I'm the kind of guy who prefers an interesting failure from a good filmmaker to a reliable film that doesn't take any risks.
Name the documentarian whose work you find most valuable:
Such a tough call. The world is too full of experience to narrow it down to one filmmaker or filmmaking team, and I like a lot of filmmakers who work in both documentary and fiction (and the blending of the two, though aren't most films a blending of the two?), but if forced to choose, I'll say the team of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky because their films played a big role in getting three unfairly incarcerated kids out of prison.
The Conversation (1974) or The Godfather Part II (1974)?
Can you imagine putting out both these films in the same year? I think they're both unimpeachable classics, but I have to go with The Conversation. It's my favorite Coppola, probably because I usually prefer the obsessively intimate to the sweepingly epic.
Favorite movie location you've visited in person:
Not very glamorous, but I got a real charge from seeing the Sixth Street Viaduct in Los Angeles, since it appears in pivotal scenes in so many of my childhood favorites.
If you could have directed a scene from any movie in the hope of
improving it, what scene would it be, and what direction would you give
the actor(s) in it? (question submitted by Patrick Robbins):
I have no directorial skills, but I think I could have improved any scene in Sam Mendes' unfortunate Revolutionary Road adaptation with the following direction: "Tone it down a few notches. And stop saying each other's names so often. You're in the same room."
The Doors (1991) or JFK (1991)?
Oliver Stone is one of my least favorite directors, so this is a bit like asking me which disease I want to catch. JFK is probably a better movie and has a fascinating supporting cast, but I'll go with The Doors because it's shorter and even more unintentionally funny, and a couple of my friends used this film to play the Drink a Shot Every Time Jim Has a Mystical Vision of a Native American Man game.
What is your greatest film blasphemy or strongest evidence of your status as a contrarian? (H/T Larry Aydlette)
People look at me in shock or disgust when I tell them I don't care that much about Lawrence of Arabia. Epics in general leave me cold, and so do war movies, though I have a large number of exceptions.
Favorite pre-1970 one-sheet:
Saul Bass poster for The Man with the Golden Arm
Favorite post-1970 one-sheet:
Japanese one-sheet for Suspiria
WarGames (1983) or Blue Thunder (1983)?
I may get my Generation X card revoked for saying this, but I've never seen either film all the way through.
Your candidate for best remake ever made:
I'm partial to John Carpenter's fantastic 1982 remake of The Thing
Give us a good story, or your favorite memory, about attending a drive-in movie:
I have so many great memories of the drive-in theater in my small Nebraska hometown, which stayed open until the mid-1990s. I got my first big-screen taste of future favorites Altman (Popeye), Joe Dante (his segment from Twilight Zone), and Coppola (Peggy Sue Got Married), and got busted sneaking into The Rocketeer. I also remember a freak hailstorm prematurely ending a screening of Lethal Weapon 3. A particular teenage prank one 4th of July weekend sticks in my memory as well. During a screening of the Goldie Hawn/Steve Martin comedy Housesitter, some friends and I parked on the dirt road behind the screen, donned purple wigs, ran in front of the screen while the film was playing, and lit several Roman Candles, watching them go off for a bit before making our getaway. I belatedly apologize for that disruption, former owner, if you ever read this.
Favorite non-horror Hammer film:
These Are the Damned, though a case could be made it's at least partially a horror film
Favorite movie with the word/number "seven" in the title (question submitted by Patrick Robbins):
Probably an obvious choice, but obvious because it's great, Seven Samurai
Is there a movie disagreement you can think of which would cause you to reconsider the status of a personal relationship?
No, I'd never end a relationship because of a movie disagreement, but I will quietly judge that person occasionally in my spare time.
Erin Brockovich (2000) or Traffic (2000)?
I haven't seen Erin Brockovich, but Traffic is one of my least favorite Soderbergh movies, excepting Benicio Del Toro's scenes.
Your thoughts on the recent online petition demanding that Turner Classic Movies cease showing all movies made after 1960:
I don't have cable, so I have no real dog in this fight, but the '60s, '70s, and '80s are far enough in the past now that it seems ridiculous to exclude them, as long as pre-1960 films still have plenty of slots on the schedule.
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