Saturday, April 28, 2012


Dennis Cozzalio of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule always does a great job coming up with questions that leave me mulling my answers for days. In fact, he's so good at it, that I usually take so long to answer the questions that by the time I finish answering them, there's a new quiz to tackle. Luckily, I hunkered down with a good beer the other night and found the time to answer Dennis' spring quiz. I've omitted the questions that I chose to pass on.

Onto the answers...

1) Favorite movie featuring nuns

Since everyone is going with Black Narcissus, I was going to say something silly like Nuns on the Run, but I think I’ll go with Ken Russell’s The Devils.  

2) Second favorite John Frankenheimer movie

I’ve always had a soft spot for 52 Pick-Up.

4) What movie, real or imagined, would you stand in line six hours to see? Have you ever done so in real life?

I would stand in line for the never-to-be-filmed yet always-rumored-to-be-in-production adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece Blood Meridian

7) First movie you remember seeing as a child

If you’re talking about going to a movie theater to see a movie, then I distinctly remember going to an overcrowded showing of Batman in Portland where I sat on the floor of the theater. Also, my brothers and I took the bus downtown seemingly everyday to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Otherwise, I’m sure some kind of Warner Bros. or Disney cartoon was the first movie I watched as a child, but that experience seeing Batman (and drinking from the Taco Bell collector cups during the summer of Batman) is the first one that really sticks with me.

8) What moment in a movie that is not a horror movie made you want to bolt from the theater screaming?

I’m assuming this means leave the theater screaming in horror because something disturbed you instead of leaving the theater because something was so bad you couldn’t stand it anymore, so I’ll go with Nick Nolte pulling out his tooth in Affliction. I have a thing about teeth.

10) Best movie Jesus

Does John Turturro from The Big Lebowski count? If not, I’ll go with Dafoe. 

11) Silliest straight horror film that you’re still fond of?

There a ton of slasher movies I could choose from, but I’ll go to Italy and choose Virus aka Hell of the Living Dead – Bruno Mattei is one of my Italian horror heroes for how awesomely bad his movies are.

13) Favorite cinematic Biblical spectacular

Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings for its great use of 70mm Super Technirama, especially during the Sermon on the Mount scene. 

14) Favorite cinematic moment of unintentional humor

There are a lot of examples from There Will Be Blood that spring to mind. I found myself laughing a lot during that movie. It was great – don’t get me wrong – but there were a lot of moments in the film (especially regarding DDL’s performance) that were hilarious. In a similar vein, The Shining has a lot of these kinds of moments, too (again, especially regarding the film’s lead performance – one of Nicholson’s most hilarious), and I’m tempted to just call this one a tie...but I'll say DDL's delivery of the line, "Bastard in a basket" always makes me laugh. The obvious answer from the same film is the famous "I drink your milkshake!" scene. 

16) Most effective faith-affirming movie

A lot of Bergman films could be placed here, but I think I’ll have to go with my favorite film: Fellini’s 8 ½ which never ceases to reaffirm everything I believe in about friends, family, memories, movies, and life in general.

17) Movie that makes the best case for agnosticism

Bergman’s Winter Light is the best example of this, but his The Silence might not be far behind. In fact, his so-called “faith trilogy” kind of qualifies here. Just brilliant stuff and some of the auteur’s finest work; it’s also one of the first Bergman films I remember seeing, and it still affects me deeply today after numerous viewings. 

18) Favorite song and/or dance sequence from a musical

I really, really like the Aimee Mann sing-a-long from Magnolia, but I could also put the fantastic dance sequence between Woody Allen and Goldie Hawn from Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. I know there are a lot of classic examples to choose from, but these have been at the forefront of my mind latterly (the former thanks to a recent viewing and the latter thanks to Woody’s wonderfully fantastical Midnight in Paris).

19) Third favorite Howard Hawks movie

Tough one…but I’ll go with His Girl Friday.

21) Movie most recently seen in the theater? On DVD/Blu-ray/Streaming?

Theater: I think the last movie I saw in the theater was The Descendants
Blu-ray: The Dirty Harry trilogy
DVD: The Rookie (The Clint Eastwood version)
Streaming: Frankenstein Island (Rifftrax version)

22) Most unlikely good movie about religion

The Apostle comes to mind because I remember thinking that it was going to be one of those movies that has a really good performance at the expense of the people the filmmaker (star of the film, Robert Duvall) was making the movie about. It was actually a pretty genuine take on Pentecostal revivals and the southern towns that embrace that kind of sensationalism in their religion; it wasn’t condescending in any way, and that surprised me. However, I think people kind of knew that at least the film would have a good performance, so I don’t know how “unlikely” it is that Duvall’s film was actually good; so with that being said, I guess I would have to say Dogma since it’s probably one of two Kevin Smith movies I can stand.

24) “Favorite” Hollywood scandal

The quotes make me think this is a sarcastic kind of favorite, so I’ll go with the obsession people have about movies going over budget. This, of course, is especially salient now with the entire John Carter backlash despite the film actually (from what I’ve read and heard) being pretty darn good. It reminded me of the undue backlash against harmless-enough films like Waterworld. The prime example is Heaven’s Gate, of course, a movie not nearly as bad as its reputation makes it out to be. I hate it when critics predetermine that a film is going to suck merely because it had some production problems. 

25) Best religious movie (non-Christian)

Point Break – Swayze was so deep as the zen surfer. Okay, seriously there are so many to choose from: Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring; A Serious Man; Kundun; Malcolm X. But I would have to go with Ichikawa’s 1956 version of The Burmese Harp – I’m a sucker for when film portrays religion in an intelligent way as a means for healing. 

26) The King of Cinema: King Vidor, King Hu or Henry King? (Thanks, Peter)

King Vidor~!

27) Name something modern movies need to relearn how to do that American or foreign classics had down pat

I’ve been working on something for the blog about how editing in action movies is so bad. I know this is nothing new, but after watching the Dirty Harry series and Lethal Weapon recently, I’ve noticed that movies just don’t know how to track action anymore. There does seem to be a little bit of hope, though (films like Salt and the new Mission Impossible movie come to mind). I like the idea of animators doing live-action action films (Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton) because their brains are programmed to think in panels and to plan the action out instead of just throwing the viewer into the kind of chaotic aesthetic where it becomes impossible for the viewer to get their bearings. Even while watching something as awful as Clint’s The Rookie recently, I was still in awe of the stunts and the action scenes because I could track the action; I could always tell what was happening and, most importantly, why it was so impressive.  

28) Least favorite Federico Fellini movie

I don’t know if I really have one; however, if forced to choose, I would say that his neo-realist stuff doesn’t really do anything for me. 

29) The Three Stooges (2012)—yes or no?

Yeah…on DVD.

31) Best movie-related conspiracy theory

Either the hanging little person from The Wizard of Oz or the ghost child in Three Men and a Baby (even though it’s so easy to debunk, it’s still a lot of fun to show to gullible high school students). 

32) Your candidate for most misunderstood or misinterpreted movie

I’ve been saying it ever since its release: Michael Mann’s Miami Vice is a misunderstood masterpiece

33) Movie that made you question your own belief system (religious or otherwise)

A tie: White Chicks and Little Man – I had to think long and hard about my belief in the human race after I realized both of those movies went beyond the 100 million mark.


  1. Some great answers here, Kevin. Love your appreciation of Frankenheimer's '52 Pick-up' and especially for the thoroughly underrated 'Miami Vice' by Michael Mann (which I again teed up last month). Great response, too, on editing and tracking action for #27. Well done.

  2. Ditto on 52 Pick-up; it's a top-five Frankenheimer for me and definitely one of the most underrated films of the 1980s. Will have to consider Miami Vice now after avoiding it since its release.

  3. I would love to watch this movie, i heard so much good things about it, this is the best action movie for me , i am a fond of Sc-Fi Movies

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