One of my favorite film blogging traditions is the annual movie quiz with a funny title that Dennis hosts over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. This year the title is Professor Russell Johnson's "My Ancestors Came Over on the Minnow" Thanksgiving/Christmas Quiz -- wow, what monicker! I've completed a few of the past iterations of the quiz but never posted the results because, frankly, I didn't find my answers very interesting. But then I remembered how much I've enjoyed reading everyone else's responses. So this year I'm breaking the trend, ending my Scrooge-y ways, and sharing my own answers right here. Thanks to Dennis (and the rest) for asking the questions and providing the forum. Ok, coffee's ready, brain fired up, Imdb open in another window (it is not cheating), knuckles nicely cracked, let's go...
1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.
The most honest answer is that at any given moment my second-favorite picture from the Coen Brothers alternates between three films. Think W.C. Fields juggling cigar boxes, each with one of the following titles written on it: Blood Simple (1983), Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998).
2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible? (Question submitted by Peter Nellhaus)
The complete version of Napoleon (1927) accompanied by a full orchestra and a Lillet with lime.
3) Japan or France? (Question submitted by Bob Westal)
If forced to choose: France, where I would live in Lyon and spend the rest of my days working in the Lumiere mansion doing research and writing new films for the cinematograph.
4) Favorite moment/line from a western.
This willl do:
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?
Writing is more important but I value photography, specifically lighting, the most.
6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s (The Naughties?).
How exactly is a movie misunderstood? By whom?
7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.
I've never loved an actor or filmmaker but I've fallen hard for an economic developer.
8) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?
I didn't recognize the names and had to look both of them up. It turns out that I don't hold a strong opinion about either one. I recall Lom did some funny work as the victim of a series of seemingly endless disasters in the Pink Panther movies.
9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film (Submitted by Tony Dayoub)
I like 'em all, but Inland Empire (2006) was the first time I ever found myself feeling bored while watching a Lynch picture.
10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
I really like the look of the CU shots Hall achieved in the late 60s movies.
11) Second favorite Don Siegel movie.
Probably Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
12) Last movie you saw on DVD/Blu-ray? In theaters?
DVD: Puppet FIlms of Jiri Trnka (1951); BD: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006); Theater: A Generation (1955)
13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
Good question. Unfortunately, I have a very small private DVD collection so there's not much to choose from. How about Mulholland Dr. (2001)?
14) Eddie Deezen or Christopher Mintz-Plasse?
They should join together and bring order to the galaxy as father and son!
15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.
I don't agree that actors automatically elevate a project. A dud is a dud is a dud. I'll watch virtually anything with Chaplin, Groucho, or Daffy Duck though.
16) Fight Club -- yes or no?
Yes or no what?
17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?
I like De Havilland's peformance in Snake Pit (1948). Besides, some family members told me that when my grandmother was young she looked a bit like Olivia so I'm voting for my granny.
18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.
Too many to name but I posted a screencap of one of my favorite moments in a post about White Heat (1949)
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.
For some reason the beheading of the gangster with multicolored blood in The Song Remains the Same (1976) leaps to mind.
20) What's the least you've spent on a film and still regretted it? (Submitted by Lucas McNelly)
However much I spent on the tickets for my first date, which went poorly. (No, I won't reveal any more details)
21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?
It depends on the picture.
22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.
Are you kidding?
23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.
N.Y., N.Y. (1957)
24) In deference to this quiz’s professor, name a favorite film which revolves around someone becoming stranded.
After Hours (1985)
25) Is there a moment when your knowledge of film, or lack thereof, caused you an unusual degree of embarrassment and/or humiliation?
I'm sure there's been a few moments but none that I recall. Film bloggers can often be very forgiving and helpful, thankfully.
26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald? (Submitted by Larry Aydlette)
I haven't seen enough of Fitzgerald to make fair a comparison.
27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?
See answer to #17. Also, some of my relatives slightly resemble Robert Ryan but I'm told that there's no relation unfortunately -- I've got to get to work on that genealogy study.
28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?
I avoid gross-out comedies and torture-porn because there's no erase function for human memory and I don't need my brain recalling images of that #$%@.
29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.
The Holy Mountain (1926)
30) Gerrit Graham or Jeffrey Jones?
Jeffrey Jones by default.
31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).
To paraphrase Lang, cinema cannot be an antidote to social issues; filmmakers can only point them out.
32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.
The Longest Day (1962).
33) Favorite movie car chase.
They're not strictly car chases but I adore the hilarious extended chase scenes in Chasing Choo-Choos (1927) and Raising Arizona (1987).
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)
I don't advocate remakes of any kind so I won't propose one now.
35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?
I enjoyed watching Feldon on Get Smart.
36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.
Not House of Wax (1953)
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)
I'll leave that sort of thing to the likes of Torquemada and Goebbels.
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.
Great question. There have been plenty over the years. Gigi (1958), for example.
39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)
Max Ophuls for Lola Montes (1955) and Le Plaisir (1952)
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?
Thus spake Groucho: "I wouldn't want to be part of any club that would accept me as a member."
I chuckle and concur.
41) Your favorite movie cliché.
Redemption. And misplaced suitcases filled with money. I like the big kiss too.
42) Vincente Minnelli or Stanley Donen? (Submitted by Bob Westal)
If he choreographed the crazy night club number near the end of Damn Yankees (1958) then Stanley Donen.
43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.
The nightmare scene with too many Santa Clauses in La Cité des enfants perdus (1995)
44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.
High Noon (1952)
45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate? (Submitted by Bob Westal)
I'll leave that business to the likes of Torquemada and Goebbels too
46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?
I will not choose between such charming ladies.
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.)
There are many, but I'll choose The Graduate (1965).
49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?
The invention of cinema, what else?
50) George Kennedy or Alan North? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)
I've always liked the sound of George Kennedy's voice.