Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cinematic Reviews 20 Questions (Part One)

Twenty Questions! Found this quiz over at Mythical Monkey's blog (I love movie quizzes) and decided I must answer the questions immediately. (Monkey see, Monkey do - well, you know I had to slip that in.) Don't forget to check in over at the Monkey's and see his answers - when you finish reading mine, that is. The quiz originated at Cinematic Reviews so go take a look at those answers too.

I'm doing as Monkey did (yet again) and breaking the answers up into two posts. One today. One tomorrow.


This is a tough one because in truth I have about five favorites I can watch at any time simply because. But forced to choose, I'd say the movie that always springs to mind for me is DIVA (1982). But at the risk of copying the Monkey once again, I also love THE THING From Another World and THE THIN MAN. Then there's LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and Jean Cocteau's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST or THE GHOSTBREAKERS with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Actually I have about 10 favorites that I can (and often do) watch repeatedly.

2) WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE MOVIE? Oh, this is really tough because I don't usually sit through bad movies. I either get up and leave or turn off the machine. But if pressed I'd say that my least favorite movie of recent years was director Roland Emmerich's mish-mash fiasco, ANONYMOUS which purported to debunk the idea of Shakespeare having authored his plays. Incoherent and dreadful.

A few other films I disliked intensely:  DE-LOVELY (2004), a musical life of Cole Porter starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. It was amazingly ham-handed and thoroughly un-watchable. Third runner-up would be the first SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Fourth runner-up, IT'S COMPLICATED (2009)with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin - horrible.

3) NAME ONE MOVIE YOU INITIALLY LOVED UPON FIRST VIEWING BUT THEN GREW TO HATE: Well, there have been several, but the one that leaps instantly to mind is SWASHBUCKLER (1976) with Robert Shaw and Genevieve Bujold. I loved this movie when I first saw it in the theater eons ago. But when I was finally able to watch it again earlier this year, I disliked it intensely. Though the opening sequence and wonderful music still work their magic.

4) NAME YOUR BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE FILM: I have so many I feel extra guilty just settling on one. But I guess I'd pick, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948).


IN & OUT starring Kevin Kline, Tom Selleck and Joan Cusack.

Left at the altar by high school teacher Kevin Kline who has been outed as gay though he himself is still unsure, the very frustrated bride (Joan Cusack) runs from the church and hits a local bar in her bridal get-up. There she meets up with Tom Selleck who buys her a drink but tells her that he too is gay. Joan Cusack flings herself dramatically onto the counter top and wails as only Joan Cusack can wail, "IS EVERYBODY GAY?" 

I laughed so hard I almost fell off the sofa. And by the way, Tom Selleck is actually quite wonderful in this.

Another line I love, from MOONSTRUCK (1987): "Snap out of it!" said by Cher to Nicholas Cage when he professes his love for her. As she says her line she slaps his face, but then they go into a mad clinch. (If I'm remembering correctly.) Another line from the movie is uttered near the end at a contentious family breakfast where one couple breaks up and another couple plans a marriage. The ancient grandfather played by the lovable and legendary Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. complains, "I'm confused." Between you and me, I don't blame him.

Yet another great movie line is uttered by Bob Hope in THE GHOSTBREAKERS (1940), when his gun goes off in the hotel hallway and he thinks he's shot someone. 'Is it murder if you kill a 
perfect stranger?'

6) FAVORITE QUOTE FROM AN ACTOR OR ACTRESS THAT IS NOT A LINE FROM A MOVIE:  "I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face."  Johnny Depp

7) THREE FAVORITE MOVIE SCENES?: Off the top of my head? I'm like the Monkey in this as well: Ask me tomorrow and I'll probably answer with three different scenes.

1) John Barrymore plays a ham-bone Broadway director in TWENTIETH CENTURY (1934) only too eager to pretend he's dying when attacked (not very severely) in his train compartment. As his pals rush in, he moans, "The final irony, killed by a lunatic!" It's the way that Barrymore says it - as if it were the grandest of dramas. Hilarious! Love this scene and it works for me every time I see the film which is, needless to say, often.

2) The montage of brief scenes from THE BLACK STALLION (1979), photographed by the brilliant Caleb Deschanel which show the horse and the boy (stranded on a desert island) growing closer, especially the first time the boy rides bareback, the first time the horse eats from the boy's hand, the horse perched on the cliff, the close-up of the horse at sundown, falling asleep as the boy clutches his mane - all done in beautiful natural light.

3)The big reunion scene between Heath Ledger (Ennis Del Mar) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Jack Twist) in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. In the script, the two men haven't seen each other in four years and their emotional reunion is incredibly moving. Just gorgeously done. Director Ang Lee improves on the workings of the scene as set in Annie Proulx's short story.


2005 - CRASH won instead of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. An incredible oversight - no excuse. Other films nominated that year were: CAPOTE, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, MUNICH.

1998 - SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE won, when most any of the other nominees HAD to be a better picture. Other films nominated that year were: SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL,  ELIZABETH (well, maybe not this one), THE THIN RED LINE.

1948 - HAMLET won instead of THE RED SHOES which for me, after repeated viewings, remains a classic of movie making. Other films nominated that year were: JOHNNY BELINDA, THE SNAKE PIT, THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.


9) TOP FIVE MOVIES OF THE YEAR - Currently? I can only go by movies I've watched on DVD so far this year, since I rarely go to the actual movies anymore, rarely see anything brand new. Truth be told, I simply prefer older movies.

1) CAIRO TIME (2009) starring Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig.

2) PRIVATE ROMEO (2011) starring Hale Appleman and Charlie Barnett.

3) HUGO (2011) starring Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee and Sacha Baron Cohen.

I've got MY WEEK WITH MARILYN starring Michelle Williams, sitting and waiting to be watched when I have a moment, but that's about it - new-wise.


1) A DANGEROUS METHOD (2011) starring Viggo Morgensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightly. A real stinkeroo.

2) ALBERT NOBBS (2011) starring Glenn Close. A major disappointment.

3) THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN (2011) Boring. I was expecting something fun.

I'll have the ten final answers to the quiz, tomorrow. Stay tuned.


  1. I did so enjoy this, look forward to tomorrow's!

  2. Loved reading your answers! Heck, I wouldn't call A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN a guilty pleasure--I think it's a legitimately fine pic.

  3. Haha, Anonymous was AWFUL. It's still not as bad as The Serpent's Kiss, though, that has to be the absolute worst movie I've seen.

  4. Well Rick, then maybe I'd better change it to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Ha!

    Any of a handful of films set way back when meet the criteria for me.

  5. I've never heard of THE SERPENT'S KISS, Tasha. But maybe that's just as well. :)

  6. Perhaps, Patti. Although I think you're more of a realist than I am. :)

  7. I love these posts, the questions and the answers here. Lots more movies to add to my TBS list (to be seen).

    However, as loyally as I follow this blog, I have added many of these from previous posts and seen some of them in the meantime.

    I wish I could remember films like this, although I would put Notorious, The Lady Vanishes, Shawshank Redemption, Invictus, My Brilliant Career, The Visitor, Frozen River and some of the Bogart/Bacall on any answer list.

  8. Excellent choices, Kathy. I know, I know, if you stick around here long enough, you'll see the same books and films pop up. I can't help it - they're what I love.

  9. Yvette, you've got an impressive 20 Questions Quiz here! Here's my list for Part One:

    Favorite Movie: NORTH BY NORTHWEST! Romance, suspense, Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, great locations, great script by Ernest Lehman (which he later borrowed elements for THE PRIZE); what's not to love? Runners-up: THE THIN MAN, REAR WINDOW, CHARADE, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD.

    Least Favorite Movie: BULLET - no, not the Steve McQueen crime/action thriller, but Julien Temple's dreary 1996 drama about a Jewish Brooklyn family, most of whose sons are gangsta types and losers. Even Adrien Brody's presence as the youngest, most attractive, and least reprehensible of the brothers isn't enough to make me want to watch it again; life's too short to squander precious time that way!

    Movie I Love But Grew To Hate: Richard Rush's erotic thriller COLOR OF NIGHT. At first I liked its overwrought nutzoid over-the-top plotting and performances (they didn't need a craft service table when the actors had lunch breaks; they had all that scenery to chew!). I don't full-tilt hate it, but over time it became more exhausting than suspenseful, and that weird calliope music was just odd!

    Guilty Pleasure: CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC (Couldn't stop the '80s, though! :-))

    Favorite Quote: From David Mamet's THE SPANISH PRISONER, uttered by Ricky Jay: "Worry is like interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due."

    Favorite Quote From a Performer NOT from a movie: Bill Murray: "I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: 'Try being rich first. See if that doesn't cover most of it.'" (That'd work for me! :-))

    3 Favorite Movie Scenes:
    Gertrude Short to Harold Huber in THE THIN MAN: "I don't like crooks, and if I did like crooks, I wouldn't like crooks that were stool pigeons, and if I DID like crooks that were stool pigeons, I STILL wouldn't like YOU!"

    REAR WINDOW: Grace Kelly balks at globe-trotting photographer James Stewart's reluctance to commit to their relationship: "I can't fit in here, you can't fit in there. According to you, people should be born, live, and die on the same spot!"

    THE PRODUCERS: Zero Mostel muttering to himself while Gene Wilder tries to calm down from his hysteria: "They come here. They all come here. How do they find me?"

    Films That Should've Won the Best Picture Oscar: I agree with all your choices, except that I'd add DOUBLE INDEMNITY to that list!

    Must stop here for now, my friend, as I must get deadlines out of the way...but I'll be ba-a-ack! :-) Great quiz!

  10. Yvette, it's fine to see some movies and books pop up again and again. It reminds me to see the ones I put on my TBR and TBS (to be seen) lists and then to actually go to the library website and put them on reserve. And to rewatch old favorites, like A New Leaf. (And I may even be venturing near Netflix.)

    Moreover, I love your commentary, so write away, repeat, whatever. I read, I laugh, I blog.

  11. I think almost all the Best Picture nominees for 1995 were horrible, including the winner, Braveheart. Babe should never have been nominated.

  12. Dorian I love your answers, not so much because I agree - I've never heard of a couple of your choices - but because you gave them some thought.

    Thanks, m'dear.

    I love movie quizzes. Wait, I already said that. Ha!

    The Zero Mostel quote from THE PRODUCERS is one of my faves too. Actually, there are several from that film. Remember, "...he's wearing a helmet."

    A great movie.

  13. Thanks so much, Kathy. Well, it's true that with blogging as in life, you're bound to repeat a thing or two or three.

    Netflix is the way to go if you run out of films to watch at the library. :)

  14. I disagree with you on BABE, Ryan. A lovely, quite, beautifully conceived and executed movie.

  15. I loved Babe! I'm afraid to see it again as I'd tear up at the adorableness of it all.

    And I like James Cromwell and admire him for brave things he's done in his life.

    And I love those quotes by Gertrude Short, especially, and then Grace Kelly and Zero Mostel.

    I wish I could like The Producers, but it's hard for me to combine Nazis and humor, but then again, it's Mel Brooks, the lunatic genius, who always makes me laugh. (I can't even listen to him for 2 minutes without loud laughter, just listening to his voice gets me going.)

  16. Well, Kathy, you know that Mel Brooks is Jewish. So if he can laugh at the horror, then who are we to deny him? If anyone else had made this film it might not have worked as well as it does.I might not have laughed as hard.

    Mel maintains that laughter is the best medicine - the best way to defeat hatred.

    I too love James Cromwell. I love BABE and watched it recently. Loved it just as much as the first time. What an amazingly good film. Though, of course, it is bittersweet.

  17. Well, the Jewish community was split on The Producers.

    I've seen parts of it and laughed, and, of course Mel Brooks, the lunatic genius, makes everything funny.

    James Cromwell, in addition to being a great actor, went to Mississippi, risking his life, in the 1960s to help register Black people to vote.

  18. Cromwell also became a vegan after filming BABE. He's a good guy. Maybe we need to start a James Cromwell fan page on Facebook. :)


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