Thursday, November 26, 2009


Over at the Superlative Sergio Leone and The Infield Fly Rule, Denis has popped up another one of his fascinating Cinematic Voight Kampff Tests. I was happy to participate and thought I'd go ahead and share my answers here. If you like it head over to the site and check out some of the other fascinating posts.

1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.

Raising Arizona choosing between it and Blood Simple was a terrible choice. But this funny, beautiful movie holds so much of what I love about the Coens in it while simultaneously acting as a showcase for the heart they’re accused of not having. If this isn’t a humanist movie I’ll eat my hat. The Coen’s may mock the absurd little details of people but never the stuff that matters to them. And when HI’s dream plays out at the end, even though its absurd, its genuinely moving, I hope it comes true.

2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible? (Question submitted by Peter Nellhaus)

Shock Corridor.

3) Japan or France? (Question submitted by Bob Westal)

Ooh this is tough. If criticism and preservation where included I’d have to go with France. But I’m just going to go by the movies and pick Japan. At the end of the day there are only two French filmmakers who I truly couldn’t live without (Truffaunt, Melville) There are several Japanese ones.

4) Favorite moment/line from a western.

Favorite Line comes from Ride The High Country, “Hell, I know that. I always did... You just forgot it for a while, that's all.” The moving climax to one of my favorite films.

Favorite Moment has to be the final showdown in For A Few Dollars More. The best of the trilogy and I will duel at dawn to defend it. The multiple emotional climaxes happening, Morricone’s haunting score. The look on Van Cleef’s face. The sheer style of Leone. It was one of those formative movie going experiences that hooked me for life. Sheer cinematic bliss.

5) Of all the arts the movies draw upon to become what they are, which is the most important, or the one you value most?

I’d have to go with Photography. The Ability to compose and juxtapose are really cinema in its essence.

6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s (The Naughties?).

Vanilla Sky Cameron Crowe’s so ahead of his time on this one its not even funny. He’s the only filmmaker who understands just how much of our head space Pop Culture has co-opted. Our ideals of love are curtisy of Truffaunt, Father’s via Gregory Peck, Romance, Bob Dylan. This film is a landmark and a touch stone, a bravura visual work and touching character piece to boot.

7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.

I don’t really have one. I find that nothing ever really erases the affection I have for a particular artist, even when they’re actively destroying their own work (Lucas). Even when I no longer respond to what I once loved, I still retain my affection for the time it meant so much to me.

8) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?

Asylum gives Lom the edge.

9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film (Submitted by Tony Dayoub)

Dune remains an unredeemably muddled mess. Apologists be damned. Though the scene where Sting prances around in Blue Panties whilst the Baron murders a eunuch has its charms.

10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)


11) Second favorite Don Siegel movie.

Charley Varrick. Its like a lost Cormac McCarthey novel as reimagined by Richard Stark (happy ending aside).

12) Last movie you saw on DVD/Blu-ray? In theaters?

DVD: Son Of Frankenstein
Theater: An Education

13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)

Probably my import copy of Bullet In The Head (is that even out on Region 1 DVD yet)?

14) Eddie Deezen or Christopher Mintz-Plasse?

Mintz-Plasse, Role Models shows potential for him to eventually be more then McLovin.

15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.

Kate Winslet and Mark Ruffalo in the modern day. Most of the classic star’s presence (Cagney, Mitchum) will get me to watch anything no matter how dreadful the reputation.

16) Fight Club -- yes or no?


17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?


18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.

Moment: Marlowe attempting to put on his pants in Murder My Sweet.

Line: “You’re like a leaf that the wind blows from Gutter To Gutter” Out Of The Past

19) Best (or worst) death scene involving an obvious dummy substituting for a human or any other unsuccessful special effect(s)—see the wonderful blog Destructible Man for inspiration.

I’m awful partial to the guy in the wheelchair rolling down the stairs with a hatchet embedded in his face in Friday The 13th Part 2.

20) What's the least you've spent on a film and still regretted it? (Submitted by Lucas McNelly)

DVD - 5.00 Dollars Strange Days. Not because I thought it was bad, but because it really did upset me. And I’m a pretty cold fish when it comes to screen violence. It’s the only film I’ve ever returned on moral grounds. I didn’t want it in my house.

Movies – Free: Transformers. Christ I’m upset I wasted anytime at all on that travesty. Proud to say I didn’t get fooled again.

21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?


22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.

I’m aware of no such thing.

23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.

The Z Channel. It’s the most loving valentine to cinema I know. As well as a moving portrait of a broken man. It brings up such conflicted emotions because I recognize so much of myself in Jerry Harvey, we share a lot of history. In a lot of ways this movies was an intervention. But one I don’t mind watching over and over again.

24) In deference to this quiz’s professor, name a favorite film which revolves around someone becoming stranded.

Naked Prey.

25) Is there a moment when your knowledge of film, or lack thereof, caused you an unusual degree of embarrassment and/or humiliation? If so, please share.

Oh God yeah. I always make sure to put a quota on my film conversation “in mixed company” and have given up mentioning movies on a first date all together.

26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald? (Submitted by Larry Aydlette)


27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?

My uncle is the white Samuel Jackson. Looks, body language, even speech rhythms. It’s uncanny.

28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?

Transformers 2. See above. It’s only films that are time wasters that I avoid seeing altogether. Even if I have some hestation going into a film (A lot of Almodovar is that way just because I don’t feel like luxuriating in Anti-Catholic land for a few hours) It’s more of a “I’ll see it someday.” Then a “I won’t see it.”

29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.


30) Gerrit Graham or Jeffrey Jones?


31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).

A genius director (see Kurosawa)

32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.

El Dorado. Wayne. Mitchum. Hawks. The most incogrinous, out of nowhere, racist Chinese joke in the world performed by James Caan. What more does one need?

33) Favorite movie car chase.

Normally I’d say The Road Warrior, but I’m going to go with The Matrix Reloaded, because people don’t acknowledge that scenes specatacle admid all the other baggage that film has.

34) In the spirit of His Girl Friday, propose a gender-switched remake of a classic or not-so-classic film. (Submitted by Patrick Robbins)

True Romance.

35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?


36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.

House Of Wax. Play Dirty also deserves mad props.

37) If you could take one filmmaker's entire body of work and erase it from all time and memory, as if it had never happened, whose oeuvre would it be? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)

Its a cliché but probably Michael Bay, not because his films are loud crass and dumb. All three can occasionally be admirable qualities. But he has had a detrimental effect on film Grammar. I’m sure he’s shot some of the greatest action scenes ever filmed. Too bad you’ll find no evidence of this in his actual movies.

38) Name a film you actively hated when you first encountered it, only to see it again later in life and fall in love with it.

Deadman, and the few other Jaramusch films I’d seen at that point. Watching Stranger Than Paradise was like finding a key that allowed me to understand just what the hell he was trying to do.

Another notable is American Werewolf In London. Still think it ends with an anti climax, but the rest is golden.

39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)


40) In which club would you most want an active membership, the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, the Cutters or the Warriors? And which member would you most resemble, either physically or in personality?

Delta housem because fat drunk and stupid is away to go through life son.

41) Your favorite movie cliché.

I’m always down for a tale of righteous vengance

42) Vincente Minnelli or Stanley Donen? (Submitted by Bob Westal)

Minnelli was an interesting and ahead of his time filmmaker. Donen made two of the most perfectly entertaining films ever made. Donen for the win.

43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.

Does Jack Skellington’s moonlighting as Santa Claus count?

44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.

Jesus in The Last Temptation Of Christ “It IS ACCOMPLISHED!” I know it’s a corny choice, but as the film burns and Gabriel’s score comes in I can’t help but be moved anew.

45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate? (Submitted by Bob Westal)

Kaelites. Or rather that particular breed of Kaelite who thinks its there job to never enjoy anything, act as contrarians for the sport of it, and think the canon is a waste of time. Basically Armond White.

46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?

Caroline Munro, I have an odd affection for Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter.

47) Favorite eye-patch wearing director. (Submitted by Patty Cozzalio)


48) Favorite ambiguous movie ending. (Original somewhat ambiguous submission---“Something about ambiguous movie endings!”-- by Jim Emerson, who may have some inspiration of his own to offer you.)

Zodiac. No one knows. The past swallows another mystery without so much as a burp of indigestion.

49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?

Coraline. That something so delicate beautiful and idiosyncratic exists makes me glad. As does the fact that Neil Gaiman now has a decent Adaptation from his work. I’d give an arm for Selick to give Sandman the same treatment.

50) George Kennedy or Alan North? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)


No comments: