Mar 14 2013

SLIFR 2013: Miss Jean Brodie Regrets

The 2013 incarnation of Dennis Cozzalio’s perfectly subjective and maddeningly demanding SLIFR quiz is out. After answering on-site, I decided to put them here as well.

You can participate at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule.

1) The classic movie moment everyone loves except me is:

Hey, what’s not to like?

2) Favorite line of dialogue from a film noir

“Va-va-va-voom! Boom! Pow”

Just kidding. I’ll cheat a little and use a brief dialogue exchange:

“Next time you wake up, Bart, look over at me lying there beside you. I’m yours and I’m real.”
“Yes, but you’re the only thing that is, Laurie. The rest is a nightmare.”

3) Second favorite Hal Ashby film

“The Last Detail”

4) Describe the moment when you first realized movies were directed as opposed to simply pieced together anonymously. *

I really cannot recall the a-ha moment. I must have snuck up on me somewhere between a late-night TV showing of “Bride of Frankenstein” and seeing “Excalibur” in the theater.

5) Favorite film book

“The Parade’s Gone By,” Kevin Brownlow. I was going to go with “The Phantom Empire” by Geoffrey O’Brien (which I’ve handed out as a present many times), but Brownlow’s book had a bigger effect on my than any film book before or since, and I still return to it for its information, its passion for its subject, and way all those voices combine to offer an evocation of an era.

6) Diana Sands or Vonetta McGee

Vonetta McGee

7) Most egregious gap in your viewing of films made in the past 10 years

Sadly, more gaps than I care to remember. The most glaring I guess is Bela Tarr: I’ve seen only two of his films, and only one from the last decade. And both of them, mind you, were amazing.

8 ) Favorite line of dialogue from a comedy

“Puht-in onna Ri-i-i-i-i-itz!” (It’s all in the delivery)

9) Second favorite Lloyd Bacon film

“42nd Street”

10) Richard Burton or Roger Livesey

Roger Livesey, hands down. He’s just better company. Plus he knows where he’s going.

11) Is there a movie you staunchly refuse to consider seeing? If so, why?

I think I’ve survived just fine all this time without seeing “Salo” so that’s a film I think is best left that way.

12) Favorite filmmaker collaboration

Director Chuck Jones, writer Michael Maltese, voice actor Mel Black. Screwball surrealism meets vaudeville existentialism in on 7-minute cartoon after another.

13) Most recently viewed movie on DVD/Blu-ray/theatrical?

Watched “Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence” on DVD from the 20th Century Fox Cinema archives last night. But if you include streaming, I just signed up for a free Hulu Plus trial and saw “The Murderer Lives at Number 21″ via Roku.

14) Favorite line of dialogue from a horror movie

“You can’t kill the bogeyman.” Halloween

15) Second favorite Oliver Stone film

“Platoon”

16) Eva Mendes or Raquel Welch

Eva Mendes – worked with Werner Herzog and Leos Carax. End of argument.

17) Favorite religious satire

I don’t think I can come up with anything better than “Life of Brian”

18) Best Internet movie argument? (question contributed by Tom Block)

There probably are some, but I can’t think of one off the top of my head.

19) Most pointless Internet movie argument? (question contributed by Tom Block)

Whether “Zero Dark Thirty” defends the American use of torture in the years after the September 11 attacks. Seriously?

20) Charles McGraw or Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan is the correct pick every time, no matter what the choice.

21) Favorite line of dialogue from a western

“A man needs a reason to ride this country. You got a reason?”

22) Second favorite Roy Del Ruth film

“Blessed Event”

23) Relatively unknown Film or filmmaker you’d most eagerly proselytize for

I’ve been thinking back to Canadian film I saw a decade ago at a film festival. It’s called “Punch,” written and directed by Guy Bennett. Came out on DVD years ago and disappeared, but really deserves a serious look. Smart, provocative, and it acknowledges something that movies by their nature seem of overlook: that when one person punches another person without provocation, it’s not something easily shrugged off. It’s a transgressive act, an assault, and it can be humiliating and emotionally painful for the victim. I’ve never seen another film express that transgression in such intimate and emotional terms.

24) Ewan McGregor or Gerard Butler

Ewan McGregor. I’d much rather have a pint with Ewan, or have a pint while watching one of his films.

25) Is there such a thing as a perfect movie?

There must be. There’s no other explanation for “Sunrise.”

26) Favorite movie location you’ve most recently had the occasion to actually visit *

A couple of years ago, I visited the Old Tucson Studio, now transformed into a kind of old west / western movies & TV theme park. And there walked the dry gulch where John Wayne made the prisoner exchange for Dean Martin in “Rio Bravo.”

27) Second favorite Delmer Daves film

I should know his films better. Never did see “The Hanging Tree” or “The Badlanders.” I may have to go with “Dark Passage” on this one, though my 25-year-old memory wants me to put “Cowboy” in this spot.

28) Name the one DVD commentary you wish you could hear that, for whatever reason, doesn’t actually exist

Director Phil Tucker on “Robot Monster.” I really, really want to know what he thought he was making.

29) Gloria Grahame or Marie Windsor

Gloria Grahame. Because duh, GLORIA GRAHAME!

30) Name a filmmaker who never really lived up to the potential suggested by their early acclaim or success

I really thought that Clark Johnson had a major career in front of him. Only a couple of features to his name, and of those the TV movie “Boycott” (2001) is terrific and the theatrical feature “S.W.A.T.” is awfully well directed for such an insubstantial film (the best stuff is unscripted byplay between Sam Jackson and Colin Farrell). But he directed the pilots and early episodes of both “The Shield” and “The Wire” and was integral to setting the style and sensibility of those shows. Since then, I haven’t seen him really extend himself. He’s got a solid career directing television, and he does it well, but he should be directing features or developing shows himself. He just seems to be marking time on other people’s projects.

31) Is there a movie-based disagreement serious enough that it might cause you to reevaluate the basis of a romantic relationship or a friendship? *

In my twenties, maybe, but not anymore.

3 Comments

  • By Dennis Cozzalio, March 14, 2013 @ 9:52 am

    Thanks again for checking in on this, Sean. As I commented underneath the post at my site, you’ve really piqued my interest about Guy Bennett’s Punch. An aspiring filmmaker friend of mine attempted something similar years ago, although I’m sure on a less ambitious scale (his movie was only about five minutes long), but it’s a subject that is really intriguing and, I think, full of potential for empathy and emotional exploration. I’m glad you mentioned that, at one time at least, it was available on DVD, which means that hopefully there’s a cop floating around out there somewhere. I also love your answers for #16 25 & 29. What more needs be said?!

  • By admin, March 14, 2013 @ 10:05 am

    Dennis, your quizzes are maddening because I can’t NOT engage with them, and I can’t just toss off the answers. Not all of them, anyway. Punch is a tough one to find, but it’s rewarding. And it’s apparently available on Amazon streaming, if you do that sort of thing.

    Congratulations on another superb quiz.

  • By Dennis Cozzalio, March 14, 2013 @ 10:57 am

    I do have Amazon streaming, but I’ve never used it. This sounds like a good way to get my feet wet. Thanks again, Sean!

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