Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: Courtesy of SLIFR: Professor Russell Johnson's "My Ancestors Came Over on the Minnow" Thanksgiving/Christmas Movie Quiz

Friday, November 27, 2009

Courtesy of SLIFR: Professor Russell Johnson's "My Ancestors Came Over on the Minnow" Thanksgiving/Christmas Movie Quiz

by Tony Dayoub

Dennis Cozzalio is back with one of his fantastic cinephilic exams, posted at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. Visit his site to post your own answers. My answers appear after the jump.

1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.

Why don’t you ask me to pick my second-favorite child? The Big Lebowski (1998) since my favorite is Raising Arizona (1987).

2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible? (Question submitted by Peter Nellhaus)

Tati's Playtime (1967).

3) Japan or France? (Question submitted by Bob Westal)

La Nouvelle Vague, Cinema du Look, and the current crop of French directors, like Assayas, Breillat, and Desplechin; definitely France.

4) Favorite moment/line from a western.

The Searchers (1956):

Ethan: What you saw wasn't Lucy.
Brad: But it was, I tell you!
Ethan: What you saw was a buck wearin' Lucy's dress. I found Lucy back in the canyon. Wrapped her in my coat, buried her with my own hands. I thought it best to keep it from ya.
Brad: Did they--? Was she--?
Ethan: What do you want me to do? Draw you a picture? Spell it out? Don't ever ask me! Long as you live, don't ever ask me more.

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?

I can forgive a lot if the movie has a painterly feel to it. That being said, the kind of movies I love owe a lot to theatrical influences.

6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s (The Naughties?).

Unbreakable (2000). It was marketed to appear similar in tone to M. Night Shyamalan's previous success, The Sixth Sense (1999). Audiences were disappointed when it turned out to be something entirely different. A fantastic forerunner to the generally inferior superhero movies that have become so popular recently, its director mistook the lack of box office response as a critical negation of his attempt to try something new. This led to his ill-advised decision to continue producing films with trite twist endings a la The Sixth Sense.

7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.

Al Pacino has lost all sense of subtlety since winning best actor for Scent of a Woman (1992). Robert De Niro was on the same track, but has redeemed himself with his quiet performance in the upcoming Everybody's Fine.

8) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?

Patrick Magee

9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film ? (Submitted by me)


10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)

Damn you, Peet Gelderblom. Reluctantly, Gordon Willis... by the tiniest of hairs.

11) Second favorite Don Siegel movie.

Escape from Alcatraz (1979). The Beguiled (1971) is my favorite.

12) Last movie you saw on DVD/Blu-ray? In theaters?

DVD: Criterion's A Christmas Tale (2008) Theaters: Fantastic Mr. Fox

13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)

Criterion's Walkabout (1971)

14) Eddie Deezen or Christopher Mintz-Plasse?

Jerry Lewis.

15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.

Jeff Bridges and Mathieu Amalric

16) Fight Club -- yes or no?


17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?

Teresa Wright.

18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.

Double Indemnity (1944):

Phyllis: Mr. Neff, why don't you drop by tomorrow evening about eight-thirty? He'll be in then.
Neff: Who?
Phyllis: My husband. You were anxious to talk to him, weren't you?
Neff: Yeah, I was, but I'm sort of getting over the idea, if you know what I mean.
Phyllis: There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour.
Neff: How fast was I going, officer?
Phyllis: I'd say around ninety.
Neff: Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.
Phyllis: Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.
Neff: Suppose it doesn't take.
Phyllis: Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.
Neff: Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.
Phyllis: Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder.
Neff: That tears it.

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.

Best would be John Cassavetes exploding in The Fury (1978).

20) What's the least you've spent on a film and still regretted it? (Submitted by Lucas McNelly)

I saw Drag Me to Hell for free and was extremely disappointed.

21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?

Van Heflin in Shane (1953).

22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.

The only film I've seen of his is Mortal Thoughts (1991), and I'm not sure it's representative of his work.

23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.

At the Death House Door

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

Enemy Mine (1985)

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.

Fortunately, I haven't embarassed myself yet in front of anyone, but I'm ashamed at my lack of knowledge regarding world cinema.

26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald? (Submitted by Larry Aydlette)


27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?

Unfortunately, I've been told I resemble Eugene Levy.

28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen because really, what's the point?

29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.

Ang Lee's The Ice Storm (1997)

30) Gerrit Graham or Jeffrey Jones?

Gerrit Graham as Beef in Phantom of the Paradise (1974), "I know drug real from real real."

31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).

I don't know about the best, but the most recent one I can remember is Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou's Take Out (2004). It goes a long way to correcting the first impression most of the population has regarding Chinese immigrants, and all immigrants in general.

32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.

Donovan's Reef (1963).

33) Favorite movie car chase.

C'mon! The French Connection (1971).

34) In the spirit of His Girl Friday, propose a gender-switched remake of a classic or not-so-classic film. (Submitted by Patrick Robbins)

It's about time a female astronaut tried to tame The Planet of the Apes (1968).

35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?

Barbara Rhoades, homina-homina-homina...

36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.

I've only seen House of Wax (1953). But that's a pretty intriguing film.

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? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)

Uwe Boll (BloodRayne), because not only does he suck, but he's in smug denial about it.

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.

Blue Velvet... yeah, what did I know? In my defense, I was only 14 when I first saw it.

39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)

Sadly, I must pass. But I have a feeling it'd be Max.

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?

Delta Tau Chi, and my personality is most like Pinto's.

41) Your favorite movie cliché.

I love it when supporting actor X tells an interesting story that finally endows his character with a bit of humanity, setting up his inevitable death moments later. Best example: Sam Neill in The Hunt for Red October (1990).

42) Vincente Minnelli or Stanley Donen? (Submitted by Bob Westal)

Easy... Minnelli.

43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.

The opening film-within-a-film sequence of Blow Out (1981).

44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.

Ed Harris deciding to stay in The Abyss (1989).

45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate? (Submitted by Bob Westal)

You caught me at a bad time because right now, I'd have to say the Twilighters, Twi-Hards, or my favorite... Twerds.

46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?

Caroline Munro, grrrrooooooowl.

47) Favorite eye-patch wearing director. (Submitted by Patty Cozzalio)

Dull answer: John Ford.

48) Favorite ambiguous movie ending. (Original somewhat ambiguous submission---“Something about ambiguous movie endings!”-- by Jim Emerson, who may have some inspiration of his own to offer you.)

John Sayles' Limbo (1999)

49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?

It was a consistently good year with some real gems like The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, A Serious Man, and The White Ribbon. Even Star Trek was a top 20 contender this year.

50) George Kennedy or Alan North? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)

Tough one, but I gotta give it to Kennedy for Cool Hand Luke (1967).


Kevin J. Olson said...

Glad to see someone else out there claims Raising Arizona as their favorite Coen movie. I always get weird looks when I defend the movie. Also, I'm totally stealing your answer for the self-sacrifice answer. I still get choked up thinking about that scene. I need to go re-watch The Abyss.

Great answers here, Tony. Oh, and hell yes The Beguiled!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Tony, there are a couple of great pictures in your post-- that Donovan's Reef shot is superb, and, well, um, that one of Ms. Munro is kinda pretty. Also, I just can't resist:

"There really is a phantom!!!"

Thanks for these! I'm printing them all out tonight and taking a long bath!

Jake said...

Both you and Ed Howard listed Playtime as the film you'd love to see on a big screen, and I'd have to agree as well. Well, there are so many I'd love to see on a big screen, being young and in a place without revival houses -- Ran, Metropolis, ANY Kubrick but especially 2001.

I'm sad to say I'd have to pass on at least 8 of these so I didn't bother with doing my own, but I'd take France over Japan (apologies, Kurosawa, Miyazaki, Ozu and Mizoguchi) and my favorite noir line would have to be "I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me." from In a Lonely Place. Just punched me right in the gut when I first heard it and made me an instant Nicholas Ray fan (I think I'm gonna order the region-free import of Johnny Guitar in the near-future and revisit Rebel Without a Cause for the first time in 5 years) which is silly since he didn't write it but I'm an auterist so nyah.

Tony Dayoub said...


Isn't The Beguiled one of the most underrated films ever?


That Munro picture is really something... so I had to put it up. In that Hammer Glamour book I just reviewed, she states that her career lost traction because she refused to do nudity. But with her looks, did she really need to?


I had the opportunity to see 2001 on the big screen and it really is a sight to behold.