Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule recently posted a new installment of its maddening but fun seasonal movie quizzes. Here are my answers.
1. Best movie of 2016
This may be a massive cheat, but it's a four-way tie between Moonlight (Barry Jenkins), The Love Witch (Anna Biller), The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson), and Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
2. Worst movie of 2016
The Sea of Trees (Gus Van Sant)
Sorry, Gus. I love a lot of your movies, but this is so bad.
(Runner-up: the trailer for Collateral Beauty. I can't even imagine sitting through a minute of that film.)
3. Best actress of 2016
4. Best actor of 2016
Alex R. Hibbert
5. What movie from 2016 would you prefer not hearing another word about? Why?
Nocturnal Animals, because I had to sit through the trailer roughly 37 times and was so burned out by the experience I couldn't bear to see the film, even though it may be really good
6. Second-favorite Olivier Assayas movie
A New Life
7. Miriam Hopkins or Kay Francis?
Miriam Hopkins, primarily because I've seen more of her films. I think I've only seen Kay Francis in Trouble in Paradise.
8. What's the story of your first R-rated movie?
The still-open-until-1996 drive-in movie theater in my small Nebraska hometown had a practice of showing a PG or G movie first and an R-rated movie second during the weekend double features. However, one summer night in 1984, the projectionist accidentally reversed the order, so many of my elementary school pals and I were treated to the R-rated Police Academy instead of whatever PG film was supposed to screen first (my dim memory thinks it was Deal of the Century). It's a pretty terrible movie, and a pretty soft R, but it has nudity and dirty jokes, so my friends and I all felt like we got away with something big. We couldn't believe our good luck. It felt like a secret portal to the adult world, and it was the talk of the summer for weeks afterward.
9. What movie from any era that you haven't yet seen would you be willing to resolve to see before this day next year?
I'm going to opt out because making a resolution to see a movie by a certain date makes it feel too much like homework to me.
10. Second-favorite Pedro Almodovar movie
All About My Mother
11. What movie do you think comes closest to summing up or otherwise addressing the qualities of 2016?
William Klein's Mr. Freedom (1969)
12. Chris Pine or Chris Pratt?
Not a big fan of many of their movies, but I really like Chris Pratt on Parks & Recreation
13. Your favorite movie theater, presently or from the past
The Midwest, an old-fashioned single-screen movie palace in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and the original, much-missed Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado Street in Austin, Texas
14. Favorite movie involving a family celebration
The family celebrations in this movie all turn chaotic and messy, but I'm going with Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence
15. Second-favorite Paul Schrader movie
16. Ruth Negga or Hayley Atwell?
I've only seen one acting performance each (Negga in Loving and Atwell in an episode of Black Mirror), but Negga left a big impression and Atwell didn't
17. Last three movies you saw, in any format
Li'l Quinquin (Bruno Dumont) and The Summer of Sangaile (Alante Kavaite) on Netflix, The Black Cat (Lucio Fulci) from one of two great local video stores still open in Austin, TX
18. Your first X-rated, or porn movie
I can't remember what it was called, but we watched it at a junior high classmate's house when his parents were gone. Using the VCR clock counter, my classmate rewound it to the exact spot we started watching from and placed it back in his dad's dresser drawer where he found it when he was looking for loose change. I miss the pre-Internet days.
19. Richard Boone or Charles McGraw?
Going with Richard Boone since I recently watched one of his great performances in Budd Boetticher's The Tall T.
20. Second-favorite Chan-wook Park movie
21. Movie that best encompasses or expresses loneliness
Can't narrow it down to one, but three that come immediately to mind are Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow, Kenji Mizoguchi's The Life of Oharu, and Dennis Hopper's Out of the Blue
22. What's your favorite movie to watch with your best friend?
If it's not cheating to count my wife as my best friend, Pee-wee's Big Adventure. If we're going traditional best pals, anything from the '80s as long as it's accidentally stupid.
23. Who's the current actor you most look forward to seeing in 2017?
Ben Mendelsohn and everybody from Moonlight
24. Your New Year's wish for the movies
I'd like to see a revitalized film culture that stops focusing so much on TV and engages more with the movies, the lives we actually live, and the other arts, more variety in the multiplexes with less franchises and CGI behemoths, and an industry that isn't so dominated by white guys, both behind and in front of the camera.
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