Thursday, June 2, 2011

Latest Quiz From Sergio Leone And The Infield Fly Rule

Blog about movies long enough and eventually you discover Dennis Cozzalio's fabulous website, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, and his justly-famous film quizzes, which have become something of a semi-annual rite of passage.

As Beveridge D. Spencer so eloquently put it, "You know those dreams you have where you're in school with no pants on and there's a test that you didn't study for because you don't go to school any more, you're a grown up darn it? Well, that dream just came true! Unless you're wearing pants. Or still in school."

Seriously, these are wickedly hard tests.

It's been a while since Dennis posted one, but this month we get Professor Ed Avery's Cortizone-Fueled, Bigger-Than-Life, Super Big Gulp-Sized Summer Movie Quiz.

Here are my answers ...

1) Depending on your mood, your favorite or least-loved movie cliché
Least loved movie-making cliche would be the hand-held, barf-inducing shaky cam, coupled with frenetic editing and poorly-composed, poorly-thought-out action sequences. See, e.g., every summer action movie made in the last ten years.

Least loved story-telling cliche—admittedly more a problem with series television than movies—is where a central character does something that in the real world would land them in jail, the brig or at the very least, the unemployment line, but which the authority figure ultimately excuses because, dammit, the character is so good at their job. In the real world, nobody is that good at their job. See, e.g., MASH, House, Battlestar Galactica.

Favorite movie cliche is no doubt the traditional rom-com story arc ...

2) Regardless of whether or not you eventually caught up with it, which film classic have you lied about seeing in the past?
Maybe because I'm a lawyer, one of my pet peeves is people who insist on lying and then do a lousy job of it, spinning elaborate yarns filled with ridiculous exaggerations or easily-disputed alibis. If you must lie, remember: keep it simple, stick as closely to the facts as you can and then either omit the offending information or feign a misunderstanding of the situation.

In the long run, honesty is definitely the best policy, if only to establish your credibility down the road for the really big lie. As a matter of fact, the best lie of all is the truth. Master that paradox and you can rule the world.

3) Roland Young or Edward Everett Horton?
Love them both, but got to go with Edward Everett Horton, from pre-Code Lubitsch and Astaire-Rogers comedies, all the way to the narration of "Fractured Fairytales" on Rocky and Bullwinkle.

4) Second favorite Frank Tashlin movie
Son of Paleface? Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? One of his Porky Pig cartoons from the 1930s? Truth is, Susan Slept Here is the only Frank Tashlin movie I really like.

5) Clockwork Orange-- yes or no?
I have seen A Clockwork Orange many times ...

6) Best/favorite use of gender dysphoria in a horror film (Ariel Schudson)
Does Norman Bates count? It's a stretch, admittedly. As a general rule, using gender dysphoria as a horror device isn't really my cup o' tea.

7) Melanie Laurent or Blake Lively?
Mélanie Laurent, based on her work in Inglorious Basterds. I confess, I have no idea who Blake Lively is. Does that make me old?

8) Best movie of 2011 (so far…)
Couldn't tell you. The best feature film I saw for the first time in 2011 (so far) is Stella Maris, the 1918 Mary Pickford movie.

9) Favorite screen performer with a noticeable facial deformity (Peg Aloi)

10) Lars von Trier: shithead or misunderstood comic savant? (Dean Treadway)
The first one.

11) Timothy Carey or Henry Silva?
Henry Silva for his work as the Korean interpreter in The Manchurian Candidate.

12) Low-profile writer who deserves more attention from critics and /or audiences
The Mythical Monkey

13) Movie most recently viewed theatrically, and on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming
Theatrically? Maybe North By Northwest at the AFI.
DVD/Blu-Ray or streaming? The Heart of Texas Ryan a.k.a. Single Shot Parker, a 1917 western starring Tom Mix.

14) Favorite film noir villain
Jane Greer's Kathy Moffitt from Out of the Past.

15) Best thing about streaming movies?
Cheap, plentiful and immediate. Which is three things ...

16) Fay Spain or France Nuyen? (Peter Nellhaus)
I'm a fan of both countries, but have never heard of either actress.

17) Favorite Kirk Douglas that isn’t called Spartacus (Peter Nellhaus)
Chuck Tatum in Ace in the Hole. But I could name ten Kirk Douglas movies off the top of my head I like better than Spartacus.

18) Favorite movie about cars
Used Cars

19) Audrey Totter or Marie Windsor?
Marie Windsor, one of the greatest noir B-actresses ever.

20) Existing Stephen King movie adaptation that could use an remake/reboot/overhaul
Re-boot this, pal.

21) Low-profile director who deserves more attention from critics and/or audiences
If he's alive and I've heard of him, he can't be all that low profile.

22) What actor that you previously enjoyed has become distracting or a self-parody? (Adam Ross)
Ronald Reagan. If the real Reagan were alive today, Republicans would drum him out of the party as a left-wing RINO. Which tells you everything you need to know about the current state of the Republican Party.

23) Best place in the world to see a movie
Lying on my couch with Katie-Bar-The-Door and our dog.

24) Charles McGraw or Sterling Hayden?
Is this a trick question? Sterling Hayden, of course, protector of our precious bodily fluids.

25) Second favorite Yasujiro Ozu film
I Was Born, But ..., behind only Tokyo Story.

26) Most memorable horror movie father figure
Do they have fathers in horror movies?

27) Name a non-action-oriented movie that would be fun to see in Sensurround (Sal Gomez)
I'm actually old enough to remember Sensurround first hand. The correct answer is: None.

28) Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds?
Ryan Reynolds looked vaguely familiar when I googled him, so Ryan Reynolds.

29) Favorite relatively unknown supporting player, from either or both the classic and the modern era
Eugene Pallette, Edward Arnold, James Gleason, Jack Carson ... the list goes on and on.

30) Real-life movie location you most recently visited or saw
Well, I see Washington, D.C., practically every day.

31) Second favorite Budd Boetticher movie
So far as I can tell, when it came to motion pictures, Budd Boetticher directed pure crap, but he was the assistant director on The More the Merrier, starring Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur, so I'll say that. Oh, wait, that would be my favorite Boetticher movie. So, um, one of the episodes of Maverick he directed.

32) Mara Corday or Julie Adams?
Julie Adams, for all her television work.

33) Favorite Universal-International western
Amazing what you can find out with the advanced search function at Probably Winchester '73.

34) Favorite actress of the silent era
Musidora. This week.

35) Best Eugene Pallette performance (Larry Aydlette)
My Man Godfrey

36) Best/worst remake of the 21st century so far? (Dan Aloi)
Haven't seen a lot of remakes. The Manchurian Candidate, which I saw on cable, wasn't good, though.

37) What could multiplex owners do right now to improve the theatrical viewing experience for moviegoers? What could moviegoers do?
Slash ticket prices and turn off their electronic devices, respectively.

Postscript: Some time between when I cut-and-pasted the questions from Sergio Leone and when I posted my answer, Dennis added a question, which was number 34 on his list: What's the biggest "gimmick" that's drawn you out to see a movie? (Sal Gomez)

Presumably that means ever, because no mere gimmick has drawn me out to the theater in years. But within my lifetime, I would have to say the "dinner-and-a-movie date" concept has drawn me out to more movies than any other gimmick.


mister muleboy said...

Grandpa, I liked your answers.

I was surprised your gimmick wasn't the free streetcar rides to the double-features. . . .

mister muleboy said...

I kid, of course.

You appear already to have skewered yourself for a certain. . . estrangement from modern cinema.

Mythical Monkey said...

You appear already to have skewered yourself for a certain. . . estrangement from modern cinema.

I was thinking, well, I've seen a lot of movies this year, just not in a theater, then got curious and looked up my ratings on -- I've seen 531 movies since the beginning of the year! That's almost 3.5 movies a day. Admittedly, that's mostly ten-minute silent shorts, but still ...

Good God, no wonder I never want to go to the movies anymore ...

le0pard13 said...

Absolutely loved your answer to question 22! Fine pick for Jane Greer as film noir villain. BTW, you're missing out with regard to France Nuyen. Wonderful post, MM. Thanks.

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

So far as I can tell, when it came to motion pictures, Budd Boetticher directed pure crap

There are some things a man can't ride around.

Yvette said...

M.M. I loved this quiz and posted my own answers on my blog. Thanks for making me aware of its existence.

I liked most of your answers and laughed out loud at a couple.

I made sure to give you proper credit, by the way. :)

On your answer re: the cliche. I mostly agree with you although I did find that the hand held camera rapid cutting thing worked pretty well for me in THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM. The only time it has, by the way.