Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More answers for the Good Professor

I'm a little late on the uptake, but PROFESSOR HUBERT FARNSWORTH'S ONLY SLIGHTLY FUTURISTIC HOLIDAY MOVIE QUIZ went up over at Dennis Cozzulio's Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule on December 23rd. filmicability participated in this sort of stunt back at the beginning of fall in September 2010, and is excited to throw in again (and is even more excited to hear it's a turn-of-the-season tradition). The professor's questions are alternately expected, surprising and occasionally inscrutable, but always fun. I decided to become more terse with my answers, as you'll see. Here we go:

1) Best Movie of 2010

2) Second-favorite Roman Polanski Movie

3) Jason Statham or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Jason Statham

4) Favorite movie that could be classified as a genre hybridThe Wicker Man (1973) (horror/mystery/musical)

5) How important is foreknowledge of a film’s production history? Should it factor into one’s reaction to a film?
Production histories can be interesting if we're talking about older titles. Interest in them should never overtake the movie itself, though; it's the movie that's the important thing, right? Following a film from production to completion via the press is a dicey, pricey proposition. Sometimes troubled production histories stand in the way of enjoying a really great movie (like Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate). Sometimes, production histories make us think a so-so movie is cleverer than it is, simply because it was financed and made in a chancy way (say, Kevin Smith's Clerks). On and on it goes. Astounding, actually, are the myriad of ways your moviegoing could be fudged up by too much foreknowledge of all aspects of any film. So, day to day, I try to stay away from stories about a film's production, again, unless it's an older title.

6) William Powell & Myrna Loy or Cary Grant & Irene Dunne
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne were sexier, if not as witty.

7) Best Actor of 2010

I wish I could say it was Edgar Ramirez in Carlos. But it was Ben Stiller in Greenberg.

8) Most important lesson learned from the past decade of watching movies

CGI looks just as fakey as the worst stop-motion out there.

9) Last movie seen (DVD/Blu-ray/theater)
On DVD, it was Clint Eastwood's Blood Work. On VHS, it was Marvin and Tige with John Cassavetes. On computer, it was The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. And in the theater it was The Fighter.

10) Most appropriate punishment for director Tom Six
Without recognizing his name at first (he's the guy that's responsible for The Human Centipede series): complete moviegoing indifference.

11) Best under-the-radar movie almost no one else has had the chance to see
Tuesday, After Christmas from Romania, about the dissolution of a marriage. Brave and straightforward drama, with no outlandishness whatsoever.

12) Sheree North or Angie Dickinson
Angie Dickinson! I ain't crazy, yo!

13) Favorite nakedly autobiographical movie
All That Jazz

14) Movie which best evokes a specific real-life place
A late 1970s southern high school in Dazed and Confused

15) Best Director of 2010
Apitchapong Weerasethakul for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

16) Second-favorite Farrelly Brothers Movie


17) Favorite holiday movie
A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's A Wonderful Life

18) Best Actress of 2010
Greta Gerwig in Greenberg

19) Joe Don Baker or Bo Svenson
Joe Don Baker

20) Of those notable figures in the world of the movies who died in 2010, name the one you’ll miss the most
Overall, I'll miss Harvey Pekar the most. But his dip into movies was a slight one. Jill Clayburgh, Dennis Hopper, Sally Menke, Arthur Penn, and Dino De Laurentiis would top my list, really. And Maury Chaykin...does anybody out there know who Maury Chaykin was? Only the best character actor to come out of Canada in the last 30 years.

21) Think of a movie with a notable musical score and describe what it might feel like without that accompaniment.
Lawrence of Arabia without Jarre's music would be like thirstily visiting a well devoid of water.

22) Best Screenplay of 2010
Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network

23) Movie You Feel Most Evangelistic About Right Now
Greenberg, of course! Can't you tell?

24) Worst/funniest movie accent ever
Worst accent might be Matthew Broderick's on/off again British accent in Richard Donner's Ladyhawke. What makes that worse than, say, Kevin Costner's multitude of bad tongues in things like JFK, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Thirteen Days is that we expect MORE of Broderick, even at that young age. He had, after all, come from an acting family and a smart start on Broadway. I notice Broderick has never tried to do accents since. Funniest movie accent is John Cleese's "outrageous French accent" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (he also, as the sorcerer near the end, does a funny Scottish one in it, too).

25) Best Cinematography of 2010

Best that I saw: Mikhail Krichman's work in the Russian film Silent Souls. Best that you might have seen: Adam Kimmel's lensing of Never Let Me Go.

26) Olivia Wilde or Gemma ArtertonGemma Arterton, though this is only based on looks alone.

27) Name the three best movies you saw for the first time in 2010 A Matter of Life and Death, Los Angeles Plays Itself, and Edvard Munch

28) Best romantic movie couple of 2010J.R. Ackerly and Tulip in My Dog Tulip. Two humans? Okay...well, I could go with Stiller and Gerwig in Greenberg again, and I have good reason to. But instead I think I'll cite Ellen Burstyn and Martin Landau in Lovely, Still.

29) Favorite shock/surprise endingThe last 10 seconds of Takeshi Miike's Dead or Alive.

30) Best cinematic reason to have stayed home and read a book in 2011Scott Pilgrim excepted, all movies with superheroes in them.

31) Movies in 2011 could make me much happier if they’d only......keep paying attention to examining the lives of real, everyday people.


Joseph Aisenberg said...

Hellow Dean,

Like this list. I will try to watch Greenberg. You guys over at Movie Geeks seem to have been quite a bit more up on this than most of the other public radio critics I heard, who were generally quite cold to it. I'll be honest, I'm not a big fan of Noah Bumbach, whose films seem so deliberately underwritten, the dramatic elements so undeveloped that I just don't care much about the rather unpleasant characters. I'm thinking here of The Squid and The Whale. It's funny the way that the Jews in this film treat art so grimly and solemnly that even accountants seem to have colorful lives by comparison. As I recall, even the symbol of the squid and the whale seemed like it didn't go with the theme of the movie. Isn't this also the director who made Nicole Kidman look really ugly? I thought that was the funniest joke of his.

Dean Treadway said...

Yes, he is indeed a director who takes a glimpse at life through a muddied screen-door. I disliked MARGOT AT THE WEDDING intensely, while appreciating THE SQUID AND THE WHALE for what it was: a look at intellectuals who weren;t as smart as they'd like to be. I found GREENBERG a departure, not only with Harris Savides beautiful widescreen cinematography, but also in Baumbach's more sympathetic and empathetic writing. Plus there ARE people you can love in it. Not that that's necessary for any film. I'd just recommend you give GREENBERG a little time out of your life. It's worth it, I think.

Joseph Aisenberg said...

Yeah, I didn't mean it was necessary or particularly important to make characters likable, more that his figures did lots of unpleasant things without his making it very clear why, either because he does not have the means to give dramatic structure to their inner lives, like say, O'Neil did in Long Day's Journey into Night, or else he's being deliberately oblique, like bad New Yorker short stories written by authors afraid of coming off melodramatic if they just say what they mean, and who somehow think its more arty if the audience provides the motivation themselves. By which I do not mean to impugn the use of poetic ambiguity, as in Bergman's Persona or Three Women (personal favorites). But I will watch Greenberg because I've always loved Stiller. By the way, and I know this is really, really weird, but I have to say that Julia Roberts was right, you do have a great laugh!

Dean Treadway said...

I've noticed in theaters that sometimes my laugh can make other people laugh, which is cool. So, thanks for that!

Tony Dayoub said...

I finally got around to seeing GREENBERG (on your recommendation), and loved it. I definitely think it was one of the better original screenplays of the year. And as a valentine to LA it is a superior alternative to Sofia Coppola's vapid SOMEWHERE.

muondo said...

bravo pour ton remarquable travail.just one word:Wonderful!