Over at the hallowed halls of
1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.
The Big Lebowski (1998). When I first saw this in the theatre I didn’t care for it (and couldn’t believe the lame ending) but I get something new out of it with each repeat viewing.
2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible? (Question submitted by Peter Nellhaus)
4) Favorite moment/line from a western.
“All I want is to enter my house justified.” (From the aforementioned Country.)
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?
Literature. All good movies need good stories.
6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s (The Naughties?).
Ghost World (2001). The reason I chose this as misunderstood is because I don’t understand its appeal…so apparently I don’t understand it.
7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.
James Woods. He used to be good once.
8) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?
9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film (Submitted by Tony Dayoub)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1993)
10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
If the only thing Hall ever did was In Cold Blood (1967) I’d still choose him.
11) Second favorite Don Siegel movie.
12) Last movie you saw on DVD/Blu-ray? In theaters?
The last movie I saw on DVD was Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936). And until further notice, I refuse to answer the “In theaters” question because the last movie I saw in a theater was Get Smart (2008). (You only do this to make fun of me in front of the class.)
13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
I don’t have a Blu-Ray machine yet, but the first disc I buy if I do get one will be North by Northwest (1959).
15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.
There are too many on my list to count, but I’ll go with John Garfield.
16) Fight Club -- yes or no?
17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?
I like Livvy, but I’m positively ga-ga over Teresa—The Little Foxes (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Pursued (1947), The Men (1950), Track of the Cat (1954), The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956) and her cinematic swan song, The Rainmaker (1997).
18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.
From His Kind of Woman (1951):
Mitchum: Whenever I have nothing to do and I can't think, I always iron my money.
Russell: What d'ya do when you're broke?
Mitchum: When I'm broke, I press my pants.
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.
Best: The engineer’s “arm” in The General (1926).
20) What's the least you've spent on a film and still regretted it? (Submitted by Lucas McNelly)
I spent three bucks to see Last Action Hero (1993) because I didn’t have A/C in my apartment. It wasn’t worth it.
21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?
Heflin. Not even close.
22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.
Remember My Name (1978).
23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.
One Bright Shining Moment (2005). One of the best political documentaries ever made. Runner-up: An Unreasonable Man (2006), another first-rate poly-doc.
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.
Well, I remember being in a chat room one time where several members of the female persuasion were discussing “GK” and because I thought they meant “Grace Kelly” so I mentioned I saw Fourteen Hours (1951) earlier that week. (They were actually referring to “Gene Kelly.”) But there wasn’t any humiliation involved—I just twiddled my tie in Oliver Hardy-fashion and we moved on.
26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald? (Submitted by Larry Aydlette)
This is a toughie, but I’ll go with Gerry on the strengths of The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945), Three Strangers (1946), Nobody Lives Forever (1946) and The Pawnbroker (1964).
27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?
28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?
The Passion of the Christ (2004). I don’t abhor violent movies, but several people I’ve talked to who’ve seen it say it’s a bit over the top.
29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.
A Simple Plan (1999).
31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).
I don’t think there is such an animal. Cultural stereotypes have always existed in films and as long as they are shortcuts to avoiding actual character development they’ll be around for a long while.
32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.
The Quiet Man (1952).
33) Favorite movie car chase.
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941).
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)
Since I abhor remakes as a general rule, I refuse to answer this question as it would compromise my principles. And if you don’t like my principles…well, I have others…
35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?
“If you don’t mind, 99, I’d like to handle this myself…”
36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.
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)
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.
I can’t think of a film that I actively hated…only to come around and embrace it like a bastard son in later life, but there are movies that left me cold and that I later warmed up to. The first time I saw Animal House (1978) I was completely stone-faced…but subsequent viewings (I highly recommend seeing it with a large crowd) changed my opinion a great deal.
39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)
Gotta go with Max on this one, for Exhibits A, B and C: Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Caught (1949) and The Reckless Moment (1949). (Not to mention La ronde , Le plaisir  and Madame de... .)
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?
My Delta Tau Chi name would be “Flounder.”
41) Your favorite movie cliché.
The bad guys are all seated around a table in a saloon, tossing back one after another—leading to raucous laughter and slurring of speech. When the hero enters, he eventually draws his gun—prompting all of the drunks to sober up at the drop of a hat.
42) Vincente Minnelli or
Minnelli. No contest.
43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.
Black Christmas (1974).
44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.
C. Aubrey Smith’s decision that he and wife Elizabeth Risdon will stay behind in Five Came Back (1939).
45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate? (Submitted by Bob Westal)
The cult of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?
Munro, but it was a close race.
47) Favorite eye-patch wearing director. (Submitted by Patty Cozzalio)
Raoul Walsh. (Was there any doubt?)
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.)
49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?
Turner Classic Movies. Without it, I would go insane.
50) George Kennedy or Alan North? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
If we’re talking about Police Squad!, North. Anything else, Kennedy.