Friday, October 30, 2020

Sergio Leone's Dr. Henryk Savaard's Hair-Raising Home Run, Bloodcurdling At-Vampire-Bat, Field Of Screams Baseball-Horror Movie Quiz (with a dugout assist from Savaard’s sinister sidekick, Doc Roberts)

Well, no sooner did I post my answers to that old Sergio Leone quiz yesterday than I found he'd posted another quiz just this week, this time a combination of World Series and Halloween questions. So here we go again.

1) Ricky Vaughan or Nuke LaLoosh? (question courtesy of our main Maine monster, Patrick Robbins)
Going with Nuke LaLoosh. Bull Durham is a better movie than Major League, Tim Robbins is a better actor than Charlie Sheen, Nuke LaLoosh is a starting pitcher (Ricky Vaughn is a closer) which is worth more in terms of Wins Above Replacement, LaLoosh is younger, and from what I could see, has much more upside — assuming he can scrounge up a little more spare change for that five-cent head of his. Plus he will hit the bull for kicks!
2) Best moment in the Friday the 13th film series.
When they were over. Truthfully, I only saw two of them — the first and whichever one was in 3D — and I hated them both.
3) Henry Hull or Oliver Reed?
They were both in movies about werewolves, Werewolf of London (1935) and The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), respectively. The former is utterly forgettable; the latter, I've never seen. Beyond that, Henry Hull was a pretty minor character actor whereas Oliver Reed was a star, so I'm going with Reed.
4) What is the last movie you saw in a theater?
Haven't been in a theater since, what, December? Covid. But in case you really want to know, the answer is The Gentlemen, Guy Ritchie's cockney gangster comedy starring Hugh Grant and Matthew McConaughey. Katie-Bar-The-Door and I loved it, but then we love Guy Ritchie.
5) Best movie casting for a real-life baseball player, or best casting of a real-life baseball player in a movie.
The late, great, deeply-missed Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in 42 is the best performance by an actor as a real-life baseball player. Best casting of a real-life baseball player in a movie? That's tougher. Maybe Babe Ruth in the silent Harold Lloyd comedy Speedy?
6) D.B. Sweeney or Ray Liotta?
They both played Shoeless Joe Jackson, Sweeney in Eight Men Out, Liotta in Field of Dreams. I'm going with Ray Liotta if only because he was the star of Goodfellas.
7) Given that the fear factor in 2020 is already alarmingly high, is there a film or a genre which you would hesitate to revisit right now?
Not from any anxiety about covid. Now, PTSD from my cancer days, sure ...
8) The Natural (1984) — yes or no?
Yes. It's not perfect, but Randy Newman's score is iconic and the final scenes are great — even if it has nothing to do with the novel which, as the great Thomas Boswell has pointed out, is just an overrated mishmash of baseball anecdotes and cliches.

By the way, it was one year ago today that Howie Hendrick hit the biggest home run in Washington Nationals' history, giving the Nats a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning of game seven of the 2019 World Series ...

Now that was exciting.

9) Peter Cushing or Colin Clive?
They both played Dr. Frankenstein — Colin Clive in the classic Universal horror films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, co-starring Boris Karloff as the Monster; Peter Cushing in the Hammer Horror classic, The Curse of Frankenstein, with Christopher Lee as the Creature. Cushing is a better actor overall, but Clive is the best mad scientist ever.

10) What’s the lamest water-cooler hit you can think of? Of course, define "lamest" however you will, but for "water-cooler hit" Dr. Savaard is thinking about something zeitgeist-y, something everyone was talking about the weekend it opened and beyond, something everyone seemingly had to see — The Other Side of Midnight residing at #1 in 1977 for two weeks is not what the professor has in mind.
Probably not what you're talking about, but I remember all the hype and blather about The English Patient, which won the Oscar for best picture, but which for some of us was just sheer torture.

11) Greatest single performance in horror movie history.
There are some good ones — Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Anthony Perkins in Psycho, Kurt Russell in The Thing (1982) and that big hairy ape in King Kong (1933). But I'm going with Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester in Bride of Frankenstein, the Nick and Nora Charles of Universal Studio horror.
12) Ingrid Pitt or the Collinson Twins?
Ingrid Pitt starred in Countess Dracula, the Collinson Twins (Madeleine and Mary) were in Twins of Evil, both from 1971. I have a vague recollection of maybe seeing Countess Dracula, so I'll go with Ingrid Pitt, but truthfully, I have no opinion.
13) Name one lesser-known horror film that you think everyone should see. State your reason.
I'm going with The Phantom Carriage, a 1921 Swedish silent film directed by and starring Victor Sjöström (who would later play the old professor in Ingmar Bergman's classic Wild Strawberries). The Phantom Carriage (a.k.a. Körkarlen, in the original Swedish) is the story of the last man to die on New Year's Eve, a real scoundrel who is condemned to serve as the Grim Reaper for a year. Visually brilliant, truly spooky, and for anyone who thinks silent movies are all about damsels tied to railroad tracks, a real eye-opener. It's in the public domain — check it out!
14) Do the same for an underseen or underappreciated baseball movie.
Some contenders: For Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner as a major league pitcher alone with his thoughts while tossing the game of his life. Mr. 3000, starring Bernie Mac as an egomaniac who retired with exactly 3,000 career hits only to find out that, thanks to an accounting error, he actually came up short. Mr. Baseball, starring Tom Selleck as an aging ballplayer who goes to Japan to stretch his career. Probably others.

But I'm going with season three of television's Brockmire, a brilliant comedy about a play-by-play announcer who blew up his career and is now working his way back to the big leagues. Real insights into baseball, recovery, death and how you can talk about absolutely anything as long as you keep the pitch count straight. With Hank Azaria. Streaming on Hulu. Highly recommended.

15) William Bendix or Leslie Nielsen?
I assume we're talking about William Bendix as the umpire Bill "Two Call" Johnson in the 1950 baseball comedy Kill the Umpire versus Leslie Nielsen and his stint as the stand-in umpire in The Naked Gun. Look, I haven't seen Kill the Umpire and I don't have to — for sheer laughs, Leslie Nielsen's work behind the plate is the funniest performance in a baseball movie ever. Plus you get the added bonus of him singing the national anthem. Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo! Enrico Pallazzo! Enrico Pallazzo!

16) Would you go back to a theater this weekend if one reopened near you?
The Columbia 14, about five minutes away, opened a few weeks ago. Haven't been and won't be going.
17) Your favorite horror movie TV show/host, either running currently or one from the past.
Svengoolie, who seems to genuinely appreciate classic, pre-slasher horror.
18) The Sentinel (1977) — yes or no?
Never heard of it, and I was sixteen when it came out and was seeing everything. Features all sorts of people — Ava Gardner, Martin Balsam, John Carradine, Arthur Kennedy, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach, Sylvia Miles, Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach. TV Guide gives it one star, and I've got to say, any movie with that much talent that I've never heard of must be terrible!
19) Second-favorite Ron Shelton movie.
Ron Shelton wrote and directed Bull Durham, the best sports movie ever made and a real contender for the best movie of 1988. But he's never been able to replicate that success, critically or commercially. Tin Cup and White Men Can't Jump have their fans, but I guess I'd go with Dark Blue, a police procedural about a corrupt cop (Kurt Russell) investigating a murder.
20) Disclaimer warnings attached to broadcasts of films like Gone With the Wind and Blazing Saddles — yes or no?
Saw just such a disclaimer warning when we streamed an old favorite, Lady and the Tramp, on Disney Plus a couple of weeks ago. It actually made me look at the movie in a different way. Frankly, I'd always only ever seen it as a very charming romantic comedy about dogs. Afterwards, I had to admit that, yes, Lady and the Tramp is full of cultural stereotypes — but it also celebrates America's immigrant heritage, and if anything, I wound up appreciating the movie more.

Besides, if disclaimers keep old classics un-cut and on the air, I'm all for them.
21) In the World Series of baseball movies, who are your NL and AL champs?
Bull Durham is the champ of the National League (given Crash Davis's distaste for the designated hitter). For the AL, you gotta go with one starring the Bronx Bombers — how about The Pride of the Yankees? But it's Bull Durham in a four-game sweep.
22) What was the last horror film you saw?
I watched the Hammer Studio's version of The Hound of the Baskervilles on TCM a week or so ago. Stars Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville. Good stuff.
23) Geena Davis or Tatum O'Neal?
Geena Davis in A League of the Their Own versus Tatum O'Neal in The Bad News Bears. I'd say overall that Geena Davis is a better actress, but I gotta go with Tatum O'Neal in The Bad News Bears. She and Walter Matthau are great together.
24) AMC is now renting theaters for $100 - $350, promising a more "private," catered party-movie experience. What do you like or dislike about this idea?
If it keeps movie theaters afloat, I'm all for it. But I won't be coughing up for it.
25) Name the scariest performance in a baseball movie.
How about that giant dog on the other side of the fence in The Sandlot? You're killin' me, Smalls!
26) Second-favorite Jack Arnold movie.
Jack Arnold was a master of 1950s schlock horror — with the highlights being Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Came from Outer Space and The Incredible Shrinking Man.

My favorite of the bunch is It Came from Outer Space. I saw it at a little revival theater in Hendersonville, Tennessee, back in the 1970s — 3-D glasses and everything (bonus trivia: the theater at that time was owned by local tv news anchor Chris Clark who shared anchor duties with Oprah Winfrey when she was just getting her start. Clark personally sold me a box of popcorn ...)

I really don't have a second favorite, at least none tangentially involving Oprah Winfrey ...
27) What would be the top five films of 2020 you've seen so far?
I've seen three "films" (all streaming) that were officially released in 2020 — Enola Holmes, Palm Springs and Hamilton, and I enjoyed them in that order. Enola Holmes is a fun murder mystery about Sherlock Holmes's teenage sister. Palm Springs is an existential time-loop comedy starring Andy Samberg of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Nine-nine!). And Hamilton is, of course, one of the most celebrated Broadway musicals of all-time.

28) What are your top three pandemic-restricted movie viewing experiences so far in this ... unusual year?
Well, if you mean what experiences I've had jumping through hoops to see a movie in 2020, the answer is none — if I haven't watched it while sitting on the couch alone or with Katie-Bar-The-Door, I haven't seen it. We did enjoy watching the Western Noir collection of movies on The Criterion Channel — one movie every night for about two weeks. The best of the bunch was probably The Man from Laramie starring Jimmy Stewart, the oddest was Rancho Notorious with Marlene Dietrich, the least satisfying was Lust for Gold with Glenn Ford and Ida Lupino stuck in a largely pointless flashback.


mister muleboy said...

That was a fun read.

I consider Charlie Sheen a better actor than Tim Robbins, but I consider Tim Robbins a poor actor. Nevertheless, I also find Tim Robbins much more likable, and would probably rather hang out with him for a couple of hours before five minutes with Sheen. All academic, Nuke is Nuke and Rickey Vaughn is . . . who? Silly question.
the gentlemen Is OuTStanding

All movies should be that much fun

screw Godfather II
Bride of Frankenstein is greatest sequel of all times.™️

We liked Enola Holmes a lot. And watched her brother Sherlock help the very same Henry Baskerville

I am just babbling in type

Mythical Monkey said...

>>I am just babbling in type <<

You babble brilliantly, in type or in person, Mister Muleboy!

Mythical Monkey said...

My brother emailed me his answers and added an interesting story about Dixie Walker, Jr., the son of the foul-mouthed Phillies manager in 42:

answers to some of your questions:

1. Laloosh all the way. for the reasons you said.

4. last movie we saw in the theatre: 1917 we both thought it was great.

6. Ray Liotta. loved field of drams and goodfellas

8. yes!

14. for the love of the game—actually read the book also.

15. william bendix

I know i’ve told you this, but the coach of the freshmen baseball team at auburn was fred walker, jr , also known as Dixie Walker. his father was the infamous, but great ballplayer Dixie Walker. Dixie, Jr cussed so much that he would have made a drunken sailor blush. unfortunately for him, he was eaten by a shark in the early 70’s.

mister muleboy said...

Getting eaten by a shark -- much like dating Charlie Sheen.

Big fan of "For the Love of the Game." I think that the love story was portrayed badly, but I just substituted a well-done love story in my head (while accepting all of the single-mindedness after injury, the determination and obsession, the encroaching distraction of a life bigger than the obsession, etc.). In other words, the movie with Kevin Costner was really good (and well-executed), and my mind made the rest of it a really good movie that I thought didn't deliver what it could have.

And Wm Bendix

mister muleboy said...

PS The Collinson twins SUCK. SUUUUUUCK. And not in a vampire-y way. Twins of Evil is awful -- at least as far as they're concerned.

But Peter Cushing portrays an absolute bastard of an uncle -- he's great.