Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cowboys, Noir & the Fabulous Raquel Welch: It’s Time for Another “Sergio Leone & the Infield Fly Rule” Quiz!!!

Mack Daddy Dennis C. over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule is at it again, with one of his patented super-duper quizerinos, and who is LERNER INTERNATIONAL to turn down a challenge like this?

The title of Denny the C.’s test this term is: “Miss Jean Brodie’s Modestly Magnificent, Matriarchally Manipulative Springtime-For-Mussolini Movie Quiz”—a tongue-twister for sure!

And no, I haven’t seen The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, but like all of his quiz titles, DC is referencing a character from a film who was a teacher.
I guess Denny liked school…Well, nobody’s perfect.

Answers Below!
1) The classic movie moment everyone loves except me is:
“Get away from her, you bitch!” I saw Aliens at a sneak preview in Los Angeles a few weeks before it opened in 1986, and even then, that line—as it made everyone else in the theater stand up and cheer—made me groan. Still today, I consider it an obvious and heavy-handed play for the cheap seats.
It just seemed so simpleminded and obvious, that for me it was like finding a bug in my soup.

And now it’s gauntlet throwing time!
Fuck the “moment,” here are the classic movies everyone loves except me:
Honestly, I despise these films: everything about them.
These movies were all insufferably dull and condescending, with an exclusionary, self-important attitude that I cannot tolerate: they seem to be so proud with how “clever” they are, like a bratty kid doing a simple and routine magic trick who expects you to be impressed.

Poorly scripted, incomprehensible behavior from smug characters, in movies that made no sense to me—and it drives me even more nuts that I seem to be the only one who doesn’t like them.

It is almost tough to describe my distaste with these films; my reaction was so visceral it must have been on a molecular level.
With each of these films, honestly, within five minutes I was gnashing my teeth…

The Top Five HATE List
Godard’s Breathless (so he likes Bogie? Big fucking deal)
Bigger Than Life (Stumbling over itself to say something important, the flick ignores that James Mason’s a creep before he starts shooting up)
Ghost World (she’s got nothing to complain about—and now she lives in Williamsburg)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (a black cocktail dress does not a movie make!)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (C’mon, make up your mind: either Holmes is queer or not!)

Runner-ups: Tati’s Playtime, Dogtooth, Harold & Maude, The Princess Bride

Am I some kind of barbarian because I dislike these flicks? If so, then good.

2) Favorite line of dialogue from a film noir:
“I like talking to a man who likes to talk.”

“Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me: Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax—the only way you can save money nowadays.”

“The Future, Mr. Gittes, the Future!”

“Yeah, I even lost my cat.”

“Which is which?” “Take your pick…” (the last two lines of this particular film noir)

[It’s the quiz inside the quiz—can you identify where these quotes came from? Leave your answers in the comments!]

3) Second favorite Hal Ashby film:
The Last Detail (“I am the motherfucking shore patrol!!!”) 
[Favorite: Shampoo]

4) Describe the moment when you first realized movies were directed as opposed to simply pieced together anonymously:
When I was a kid, I saw Roger Corman’s name keep popping up on flicks I liked during The 4:30 Movie and Chiller Theater.

5) Favorite film book:
Zeroville by Steve Erickson: through “cineautistic” Vikar Jerome’s adventures in late-1960s/early-1970s Hollywood, we learn of the supernatural quality of film and how it infuses our collective unconsciousness—with the potential of bringing us closer to God (who may not be a very nice person).
Meanwhile the cast of characters includes all the “Movie Brats” who took apart Old Hollywood—and made the movie business ripe for attack by the bean-counters and greedheads. Hollywood outsider/insider John Milius appears as the shamanistic Viking Man, and there are a gazillion movie references for fans and trivia experts to mull over.

Zeroville is a book I reread every so often: It’s that good.

6) Diana Sands or Vonetta McGee:
McGee, for Repo Man.

7) Most egregious gap in your viewing of films made in the past 10 years:
Mumblecore? Nah, don’t mind missing it.
Neil LaBute? Too late to start playing catch-up…
Hong Kong Second New Wave? Saw one Wong Kai-wai film and fell asleep during it…

Nope, no egregious gaps here!

8) Favorite line of dialogue from a comedy:
That’s our Hitler!”

“What the hell we ’spose ta do, ya moron!?!”

“And even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far above our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days; even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field; even if every man woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn't matter because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk because they've got all the money! It just doesn't matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!”

“Nobody’s perfect.”

[It’s the quiz inside the quiz—can you identify where these quotes came from? Leave your answers in the comments!]

9) Second favorite Lloyd Bacon film:
Who? I guess I’m failing the history part of this quiz…

10) Richard Burton or Roger Livesey?
Livesey’s good, but there’s no comparison. This question is hardly fair.

11) Is there a movie you staunchly refuse to consider seeing? If so, why?
Anything with Sean Penn. That vile reptilian makes my skin crawl.
Robin Williams is extremely avoidable 99.999999999% of the time (World’s Greatest Dad—which used Williams’ gross sanctimony to good effect against him—is the only exception.)
Shia LaPoof, too.
DeCrapio before Tarantino redeemed him.

12) Favorite filmmaker collaboration:
Carpenter & Russell
Leone & Morricone
Siegel & Eastwood
Jerry Goldsmith & Apes films
Haneke & Huppert
Russell & Reed
Bronson & Winner
L.B. Abbott & Irwin Allen
Corman & Everybody

13) Most recently viewed movie on DVD/Blu-ray/theatrical?
DVD: Cosmopolis (2012; David Cronenberg) Even a disappointing Cronenberg is engaging and thought-provoking.

Based on Don DeLillo’s novel, and very faithful to the tone of his books, this is DC’s remake of Fincher’s The Game (1997), as a “foul and berserkly rich” man, full of self-delusions, has his world torn away from him by forces he refuses to notice. It’s a cool and cerebral contemporary twist on the 1970s trope of the asshole seeking redemption by engineering his own downfall.
The main character is an unfortunate creep who’s wasting his talents scooping up bucks, and has become a superficial and prissy money-obsessed sociopath—like all the other Wall Street scum. He’s a humorless rich prick countered by people who believe passionately in what they do, and the movie starts to unravel when he’s is given a “past”—it feels trite.

The film’s biggest problem is that none of the fat cats being satirized are self-aware in any way. And the movie doesn’t FREAK OUT enough, remaining too cool and distant too much; self-insulated in a bubble, like the main character and his spaceship-limo.

What these short-sighted, greed-obsessed Batemans don’t realize is that the more they raid the social safety net to line their own pockets, the more they increase the chance of a revolution that will have their heads on a stake as a result.
Maybe that’s for the best…

Theater: Coup de Tete (1979; Jean-Jacques Annaud) A perfect flipside to Cosmopolis! A working-class lout is kicked off the company soccer team, then loses his job at the factory (owned by the same guy who owns the soccer team), and then is railroaded into prison on false charges (to protect the soccer team’s star).
But when there’s an auto accident and players are injured, our hero is sprung from the slammer to play the “Big Game.” And play it he does, scoring two goals, winning the match.

Now that he’s the “hero” of the town, he gets his very sly and subtle revenge on the coaches, the boss, the other players, and even the cops. Wonderful stuff!

Streaming: Kongo (1932; William Cowen) Watched on the multiple recommendations of Erich of Acidemic, and not disappointed!

Another stellar performance by Walter Huston, giving us the Kurtz Coppola/Brando only dreamed of, as he plays Flint, the crippled yet ruthless and cunning overlord of 80 square miles of rotten jungle hell—and he’s been plotting his vengeance on the man who stole his wife and legs for over 20 years!
Turgid and convoluted Pre-code madness, this flick is a malarial fever dream of payback, madness and voodoo.

The film is dense and claustrophobic, but wildly paced, with a structure that’s best called “odd”: Time becomes meaningless—have they been in the jungle two weeks or two years? Why does it take “Gregg” so long to get to Flint’s compound?
And how the hell does a legless man become lord of the Congo?
Dope, booze, rape, nastiness, racism, voodoo, human sacrifices, revenge—it’s all here!

14) Favorite line of dialogue from a horror movie:
“Oh yeah? Well FUCK YOU, too!”

“They’re dead…All messed up…”

“Kill the brain, and you kill the ghoul.”

“You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me…”

“Once they were men. Now they are landcrabs.” 

“Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed... Forever.”

[It’s the quiz inside the quiz—can you identify where these quotes came from? Leave your answers in the comments!]

15) Second favorite Oliver Stone film:
The Hand (1981)
Favorite, and only outstanding film of his bunch: Salvador (1986)

Honorable mention: The Doors (1991), which is the unofficial Butthole Surfers story.

16) Eva Mendes or Raquel Welch?
Yo me gusta la Senorita Tejada mucho! (If you don’t know who she is, just look at some of  the photos I’m posting around this article.)

17) Favorite religious satire:
Humans by Donald Westlake; reviewed HERE.

(Life of Brian is too obvious an answer anyway)

18) Best Internet movie argument?

The one me and Toestubber had over Roger Corman—visit HERE.

19) Most pointless Internet movie argument?
And why should I follow and read something I consider pointless?

20) Charles McGraw or Robert Ryan?
Ryan by a mile, especially if you know how much I love him in Inferno (1953).
Another hardly fair question; despite my love of McGraw’s cameo as the Preacher in A Boy and His Dog.
Dennis, these gents are not equals! It’s like a race between a bicycle and a Ferrari.

21) Favorite line of dialogue from a western:
“I know the law… I have spent my entire life in its flagrant disregard.”

“If they move, kill ‘em!”

“Don't buy bread with that money, hombre! Buy dynamite! Dynamite!”

Back & forth:
“ ‘See you soon, ‘id...’  ‘id...’ ‘ids...’ ”
“ ‘Idiots.’ It's for you.”

Back and forth, and this is fantastic:
“I don't deserve this... to die like this. I was building a house.”
“Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.”
“I'll see you in hell, William Munny.”

And this movie’s got plenty of great lines, but this is my fave:
“Oh no, don't do that, don't do that. If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad.”

From sort-of a Western:
“Why don’t you try and be a leetle more poliiiiite?”

Favorite Line from a Biker Movie set in the desert:
“In Vietnam, when I killed someone, at least they paid me.”

[It’s the quiz inside the quiz—can you identify where these quotes came from? Leave your answers in the comments!]

22) Second favorite Roy Del Ruth film:
Haven’t seen any. Another D+ in history this term…

23) Relatively unknown Film or filmmaker you’d most eagerly proselytize for:
Pablo Larrain (he ain’t gonna be unknown too long)
Timo Vuorensola, who brought us the incredible Iron Sky (2012)

24) Ewan McGregor or Gerard Butler?
McGregor—who can act.

25) Is there such a thing as a perfect movie?
Sure: The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948; John Huston).

26) Favorite movie location you’ve most recently had the occasion to actually visit:
Dude, I live in NYC—people have tried to use my apartment as a movie set.

27) Second favorite Delmer Daves film:
The shocking and intense Guadalcanal sequence in Pride of the Marines (1945), an otherwise miserable and awful film.

28) Name the one DVD commentary you wish you could hear that, for whatever reason, doesn't actually exist:
Kubrick on Lolita.

29) Gloria Grahame or Marie Windsor?
Gloria Grahame, a stone fox who threw hot coffee right back in Lee Marvin’s face! Right on!
And let’s not forget she’s in The Todd Killings, too! 

30) Name a filmmaker who never really lived up to the potential suggested by their early acclaim or success:
Tobe Hooper. Honestly, what happened?

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?

I’m such an opinionated shithead that it’s surprising this hasn’t happened more often.
Used to get in lots of fights about films, then realized it was better to have cogent, thoughtful answers instead of solipsistic opinions. Of course, you should probably talk to my friends; they'd disagree...

And that’s it for my answers: Gotta say, I don’t quite see the comparisons like Dennis C. sees them. “Burton vs. Livesley” or “Ryan vs. McGraw” are….interesting, but a better, tougher and more thought-provoking question would have been “Richard Burton or Robert Ryan?”
See, you’re ganglia are twitching already pondering that one!

My fave answers to this quiz, though, are at The Kind of Face You Hate, who by his tone, I think was annoyed with Dennis a little more than me…

And if no one responds to my "quiz inside quiz" quote test, I'll eventually post the answers...somewhere....


  1. Fun read, as always, Ivan. And thanks for the all the great pics of Raquel :-)

  2. I gotta take that quiz me damn self now. Awesome answers / response.

  3. Gents, thanks for reading and commenting; I really appreciate it! And I'm sorry I haven't been posting as much as I want to. Good things around the corner: keep reading!
    Thanks again,

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