Got to take the latest quiz from Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. I encourage you to take it, too.
1) Favorite moment from a Coen Brothers movie
Got to be from The Big Lebowski, although I also love O Brother, Where Art Thou. How about this moment that never happened when Walter Sobchak answers Donald Trump?
2) Scratching The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty and The Hudsucker Proxy from consideration, what would now rate as your least-favorite Coen Brothers movie?
3) Name the most underrated blockbuster of all time
4) Ida Lupino or Sylvia Sidney?
5) Edwards Scissorhands—yes or no?
6) The movie you think most bastardizes, misinterprets or does a disservice to the history or historical event it tries to represent
The Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith's racist fantasy about the Civil War and especially Reconstruction, that did history and the nation the most lasting damage.
7) Favorite Aardman animation
"Won't you come in? We were just about to have some cheese."
"Oh no, not cheese. Sorry. Brings me out in a rash. Can't stand the stuff."
"Not even Wensleydale?"
8) Second-favorite Olivier Assayas movie
9) Neville Brand or Mike Mazurki?
10) Name the movie you would cite to a nonbeliever as the best evidence toward convincing them of the potential greatness of a favorite genre
11) Name any director and one aspect of his/her style or career, for good or bad, that sets her/him apart from any other director
Howard Hawks and the way he uses songs in non-musicals to advance character and heighten emotion.
12) Best car chase
Bullitt, the first true car chase and still my favorite
Bullitt: high-speed chase by LividFiction
13) Favorite moment directed by Robert Aldrich
Donald Sutherland inspecting the troops in The Dirty Dozen
14) The last movie you saw in a theater? On home video?
But really, Lost in Space on Blu-Ray has been my consuming passion lately.
15) Jane Greer or Joan Bennett?
16) Second-favorite Paul Verhoeven movie
17) Your nominee for best/most important political or social documentary you’ve seen
Adrenaline is the drug of choice for most Americans these days (that, and self-righteous bile). And of the over-the-counter mood-altering agents, it's also the most overrated, a jangling noise that drowns out any quiet thought of our own mortality.
But Monkey, you may well ask, who wants to contemplate their own mortality? Nobody, admittedly. The end of everything — knowing death is coming — is our unique curse as a species. But it's also our blessing. Do you think an animal is ever aware of a perfect moment, the fleeting in-between when the doing is done and we exist in harmony with the elements, and when, if you listen quietly enough, you can even hear the music of the spheres. The world keeps turning, of course, and the perfect moment ends almost as we become aware of it, but because we're aware the moment will end, we know just how special, how precious, how fleeting those moments are.
In this time of constant distractions, there's something quaintly charming about the notion that a four-foot curl off the coast of South Africa was once thought of as the perfect wave. These days surfers ride fifty-foot monsters in the middle of the ocean, waves they can only reach at the end of a towline, and riding them is more akin to falling off a mountain than anything your father ever did on a surfboard.
I imagine The Endless Summer, Bruce Brown's 1966 documentary about an around-the-world search for the perfect wave, has as much in common with today's surfing scene as flying a kite does to space travel.
Maybe that's why I like it.
18) Favorite movie twins
19) Best movie or movie moment about or involving radio
Ralphie Parker feverishly decoding an important message from Little Orphan Annie in A Christmas Story
20) Eugene Pallette or William Demarest?
21) Favorite moment directed by Ken Russell
22) All-time best movie cat
23) Your nominee for best movie about teaching and learning, followed by the worst
National Lampoon's Animal House in which no one learns anything.
A Little Princess, the 1995 re-make of a Shirley Temple movie (which was a re-make of a Mary Pickford movie), none of which, as Katie-Bar-The-Door always points out with a certain amount of vitriol, are faithful to the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel of the same name. But I haven't read the novel, so I can watch it with fresh eyes. They're all set in a girls' boarding school.
Ferris Buellar's Day Off, which is set in high school, but it's not really about teachers, except a few glimpses of how truly uninspiring the bad ones really are.
Star Wars, which has a classic student-teacher relationship at its core — Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Great movie, even if George Lucas has spent the last thirty-eight years crapping on his masterpiece, like Da Vinci deciding Mona Lisa needed a moustache.
And almost anything with Mary Pickford in it, particularly Stella Maris, Poor Little Rich Girl and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
None of which really answers the question.
Worst? Who cares.
24) Name an actor/actress currently associated primarily with TV who you'd like to see on the big screen
25) Stanley Baker or David Farrar
26) Critic Manny Farber once said of Frank Capra that he was "an old-time movie craftsman, the master of every trick in the bag, and in many ways he is more at home with the medium than any other Hollywood director, but all the details give the impression of a contrived effect."
What is the Capra movie that best proves or disproves Farber's assertion? And who else in Hollywood history might just as easily fit his description?