Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Professor Russell Johnson's "My Ancestors Came Over On The Minnow" Thanksgiving/Christmas Movie Quiz

I have skipped Dennis Cozzalio's last few quizzes on his recommended Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule blog, because they're so intriguing and thoughtful that it's difficult to find the time to think about my answers. However, in the spirit of the holiday season, I thought I would tack my thinking cap on and tackle his latest. You can find my answers to previous quizzes here and here.

Please feel free to take the quiz yourself and leave your answers in the comments below and/or over on Dennis' site.

1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.
FARGO. Even the laziest man in Los Angeles County can guess what my favorite is.

2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible?
THE NAKED PREY, which I saw many times on TV and VHS over the years. I was so pinwheeled to finally see it in its original aspect ratio on the Criterion DVD. It’s gotta be a great adventure on the big screen. I’ll also say STARCRASH, not because of seeing it on a big screen necessarily, but because it would be a fun experience with a crowd of hundreds of fans.

3) Japan or France?
Jet Jaguar’s home country of Japan.

4) Favorite moment/line from a western.
“If that’s a Bible, you read it. If not, you drop it.”—Dean Martin to Robert Mitchum in FIVE CARD STUD (may be paraphrased).

5) Of all the arts the movies draw upon to become what they are, which is the most important, or the one you value most?

6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s.
THE LIZZIE MCGUIRE MOVIE. Just kidding. I don’t have an answer for this.

7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.
Dennis Miller. How depressing what has happened to him.

8) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?
I have to go with Inspector Dreyfus’ slow descent into madness in Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther films

9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film?
Am I the only one who doesn’t like Lynch films? I’ll go with DUNE, which was so ugly, boring, and incomprehensible (the theater gave us a glossary to follow along with) that I’ve never forgotten it.

10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall?
I’m going with Hall, because he didn’t direct the execrable WINDOWS. On the basis of their cinematographical skills, they’re probably a tie.

11) Second favorite Don Siegel movie.

12) Last movie you saw on DVD/Blu-ray? In theaters?
Blu-ray: Severin’s HARDWARE. Theaters: BOONDOCK SAINTS II (and I’ve never seen BOONDOCK SAINTS I).

13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray?
My all-time favorite film: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. What is Paramount’s problem? Do they not like money??

14) Eddie Deezen or Christopher Mintz-Plasse?
The Deez!

15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.
I could make a very long list here, but Lance Henriksen is the first name that comes to mind. No matter what DTV dud it is, I will probably Netflix it if he’s in it.

16) Fight Club -- yes or no?

17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?
Can I say Thelma Ritter?

18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.
My mind is blank.

19) Best (or worst) death scene involving an obvious dummy substituting for a human or any other unsuccessful special effect(s)—see the wonderful blog Destructible Man for inspiration.
Michael Craig’s dummy that is exploded by Steve Railback’s machine gun in TURKEY SHOOT/ESCAPE 2000 is one of the funniest death scenes ever.

20) What's the least you've spent on a film and still regretted it?
I’ve only walked out of a theater once in my life, and I didn’t even pay admission: COPS & ROBBERSONS.

21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?
I always thought Johnson was a lightweight (THE CAINE MUTINY’s clear weakness), and Heflin is great with Glenn Ford in 3:10 TO YUMA.

22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.
I think ENDANGERED SPECIES is the only Rudolph film I’ve seen, for some reason.

23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.
SICKO couldn’t possibly be more timely, but HARLAN COUNTY, U.S.A. still is as powerful as ever three decades later.

24) In deference to this quiz’s professor, name a favorite film which revolves around someone becoming stranded.

25) Is there a moment when your knowledge of film, or lack thereof, caused you an unusual degree of embarrassment and/or humiliation? If so, please share.

26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald?
I’ll go with Ann.

27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?
People tell me I look like a combination of Tom Cruise and Paul Newman. What?

28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?
I have avoided most of the current trend of so-called “torture porn” horror movies, including all Rob Zombie’s films (which may or may not qualify). Frankly, they don’t sound “fun” to me, and while I have little problem per se with horror movies that aren’t fun (THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE comes to mind), life is too short to spend any of it intentionally seeking depression.

29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.
The recent WIND CHILL was the first that came to mind, but MCCABE & MRS. MILLER did this the best.

30) Gerrit Graham or Jeffrey Jones?
Graham, because he was in USED CARS, where he performed the most amazing stunt I have ever seen in a film.

31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).
Breaking the rules to include FREAKS AND GEEKS for the way the series portrayed its “freak” and “geek” characters realistically and sympathetically, but also its view of the Midwest, for once not being portrayed as populated by quaint rubes.

32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.

33) Favorite movie car chase.
Stuart Whitman bashing around Montreal in STRANGE SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM is the greatest cinematic car chase that no one has seen.

34) In the spirit of His Girl Friday, propose a gender-switched remake of a classic or not-so-classic film.
An all-chick THE THING (John Carpenter’s version) might be interesting.

35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?
Rhoades is a terribly underrated ‘70s sexpot, but there’s only one 99.

36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.

37) If you could take one filmmaker's entire body of work and erase it from all time and memory, as if it had never happened, whose oeuvre would it be?
I would no sooner recommend a film be destroyed than a book be burned. Even Michael Bay’s and Andy Milligan’s films deserve to live and be seen by those who wish to.

38) Name a film you actively hated when you first encountered it, only to see it again later in life and fall in love with it.
I won’t say I hated it before or love it now, but I have grown to appreciate the good stuff in Spielberg’s messy 1941: the special effects, the score, the stunning musical number, some of the performances, Mifune, Christopher Lee and Slim Pickens together.

39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls?
I have no opinion either way.

40) In which club would you most want an active membership, the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, the Cutters or the Warriors? And which member would you most resemble, either physically or in personality?
Being from a small Midwestern town, I certainly identify somewhat with the Cutters.

41) Your favorite movie cliché.
Cars that explode incredibly easily. Sometimes they drive over a cliff and explode in midair!

42) Vincente Minnelli or Stanley Donen?

43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.

44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.
Gene Hackman at the end of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE gets me every time.

45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate?
As previously noted, I wouldn’t want to take away any movie or anything else that brings others pleasure, but the cult that worships Jesus Franco as a competent filmmaker baffles me.

46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?
No knock on Miss Carlson, but Caroline Munro is one of the five sexiest women who ever walked the Earth. Now if you had asked me to pick between Munro and Barbara Bouchet, I’d still be here deciding on Labor Day.

47) Favorite eye-patch wearing director.
Wait, we’re back to de Toth again?

48) Favorite ambiguous movie ending.
Carpenter’s THE THING.

49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?
That so much exists on DVD and Blu-ray, films I never thought I would ever see when first learning about them in the pages of Michael Weldon’s essential THE PSYCHOTRONIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FILM in 1983. How could I have know all those obscure slasher flicks and European genre classics would one day be so accessible?

50) George Kennedy or Alan North?
An unfair question, really. I have to go with Big George, although if I can only judge according to their respective work with Leslie Nielsen…I don’t know, Alan might get the nod.


le0pard13 said...

Hey! I resemble your answer to question 1 ;-). Great answers, by the way. Thanks.

Unknown said...

And I thought that I was the only one who'd never seen Boondock Saints. And I own it.

Anonymous said...

#19 - Come on Martin!!! Batman serial ... elevator shaft?!?!

#40 - Cruz, Watts, Moxley, Hammer, etc.....


Marty McKee said...

I actually did think of that Batman elevator shaft!! But I had to rank it #2.