Thursday, September 27, 2012

20 Questions Every Movie Lover Should Be Able To Answer, Part 1

After reading, curling up on the couch and watching a movie has to be one of my favorite ways to relax.  I've been a movie buff for about as long as I can remember.  I think it's been a few years since I've answered a movie related meme, so when I saw this done by Yvette of in so many words..., I figured it was about time to jump on the bandwagon once again.

I wasn't going to separate this into two posts, but I think Yvette had it right.  After I answered the first ten questions and so how long this was going to be, I decided that two posts made a lot more sense.  So the second segment of this will post tomorrow.

1.  What is your favorite movie?

Where the ____ would I even start with on this one.  That's like asking what my favorite book is.  In either case, I love so many it would be really hard to make a decision like that.  Depending on any given day my answer would range from The Women (1939) to The Towering Inferno (1974).  I could even throw out such movies as The Thin Man (1934), The Haunting (1963), The Uninvited (1944), or even Willow (1988).  Since I can't not answer this question with a definite favorite, I think I'm going to have to go with Auntie Mame (1958).  Rosalind Russell is never better than she is in this movie, and I'm a huge fan of many of her films.  I don't think I could ever say too many good things about her performance or any other aspect of the movie.  It's sheer perfection.  It's that movie that cheers me up, regardless of anything else going on in my life.

2.  What is your least favorite movie?

I was hoping these questions would get easier to answer as the quiz moved along.  This is another category that could be answered with so many movies.  I could say The Watcher (2000) with Keanu Reeves since I'm still trying to figure out what the frickin point of it was.  John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001) would be right up there as well.  If a horror movie needs to be set in space, it's probably best to wait until it's on video.  Since remakes and sequels are coming up later, I won't even get into those movies.  I would also normally include any movie that stars Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Jim Carey, or Ben Stiller onto the worst movies of all time list.  I think for this go around though, I'm going to have to make a choice that many of you will denounce me for, but it needs to be said.  I will grant you that Tom Hanks is a great actor and anyone else in this role would have been worse, but Castaway (2000) has to be one of the worst movies ever made.  I can't even begin to tell you how often I wanted to get up and leave the theater, something I have only done with a few movies.  It was incredibly boring and if I had to listen to another one sided conversation with a volleyball, I was going to lose it.

3.  Name one movie you initially loved upon first viewing but then grew to hate?

I can't say that I really hate many movies that I once loved, even if I just don't love them as much the second time around.  Off the top of my head, the first movie that comes to mind is Gremlins (1984).  I loved this movie as a kid, couldn't get enough of it actually.  Now it just doesn't hold my interest as much and I find myself getting bored with it pretty quickly.  I'm still going to watch it this year, hopefully my blahness about it will have dissipated a bit.

4.  Name your biggest guilty pleasure film.

I'm going to have to cheat a bit here, as I have two of them.  I tried and tried to narrow it down to just one of them, but I can't.  They are two movies that are so cheesy, so wonderful to behold that I love them equally, though for different reasons.  Xanadu (1980) speaks for itself.  How can you not love a musical on roller skates?  Throw in Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton John, and I'm in blissful heaven.  The soundtrack, even if ELO denounces their work now, is one of the best I've ever heard.  My second pick is, The Monster Squad  (1987).  Put the major Universal movie monsters (though deny that's who they are) into one comedic horror movie written by the same man who brought us House (1986) and let the good times roll.

5.  Your favorite quote from a favorite actor/actress (line from a movie).

I was going to go with my favorite quote from Auntie Mame (1958) when she says "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"  But since I used that movie to answer the first question, I though I would go with a movie line from another of my favorite actresses.  In The Bat (1959), Agnes Moorehead plays Cornelia Van Gorder, a mystery novelist who has rented a rather spooky estate in the country.  During a conversation in the bank, Miss Van Gorder has something to say to her maid, Lizzie Allen, "When you refer to my books, please don't call me Miss Corny."

6.  Favorite quote from an actor/actress that is not a movie line.

I love what Barbara Stanwyck had to say about the movie roles she normally landed....  "My only problem is finding a way to play my fortieth fallen female in a different way from my thirty-ninth."

7.  Three favorite movie scenes.

I don't know how to even answer this one.  There are so many great scenes that I love.  I'm going to try to not use movie I've already mentioned, which may make it easier, but we'll see.  I know I'm going to leave a lot out, but here goes nothing.

In After the Thin Man (1936) Nick and Nora Charles, played by the brilliant William Powell and Myrna Loy, have just returned to San Francisco, right on time for New Year's Eve.  Wanting to spend their first few days at home, resting.  They are instead greeted by a massive welcome home party, where nobody there recognizes them.  The good natured way the two take things in stride and go with the flow is subtle humor at it's best.

Guillermo del Toro's breathtaking film, Pan's Labyrinth (2006), is filled with the type of scenes that any movie lover should go gaga for.  The entire movie is filled with some of the most magnificent scenes I've ever experienced.  The movie takes place in the Fascist Spain of the 1940s, and tells the tale of a young girl, Ofelia, who's new stepfather is a violent army officer.  She escapes the harshness of her new life by escaping into a world of fantasy, that in part mirrors the horrors of what's going on above.  Her journey into this other world is breathtaking and visually stimulating, but it's the end sequence that takes my breath away every time I see it.  My heart breaks for Ofelia at the point and that feeling doesn't leave me for quite some time.

I simply adore Irving Berlin's White Christmas (1954).  It's one of those Christmas movies that I'll watch in the middle of summer, just because I can.  While the movie is filled with some great scenes, my favorite has always been the Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen number when they dance to "The Best Things (Happen While Your Dancing)".  The scene works so well because of the terrific costume choices by Edith Head, the lines work so well because of those monochromatic clothes that makes Danny Kaye's legs look so long and straight.  The wonderful choreography by Robert Alton, unless it was one of the uncredited numbers by Bob Fosse, tied the music and the action together in such a graceful manner.  But it wouldn't have worked without the performances given by Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen, they were brilliant in the number and I never tire of watching it.

8.  Name four films that should have not won the Oscar for best Picture.

I don't even know where to start with this one.  I think I could name way more than four, and that's not even counting 1995, where most of the movies nominated didn't deserve it.  I'm not going to go back to the 1930s where I disagree with most of the winners.  I'm already screaming at myself for not including more, but the rules say four, so here are my choices.

1944 - Going My Way won against two other superior movies.  Gaslight should have won, but if not, Double Indemnity should have been the second choice.  The other two movies nominated that year were Wilson and Since You Went Away.

1994 - Forrest Gump beat out The Shawshank Redemption which is one of the best movies made in the 1990s.  The other movies that year were; Pulp Fiction, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Quiz Show.

1997 - Titanic, another best picture winner that I couldn't stand.  Like Forrest Gump I thought it was overacted and just a tad bit cloying in it's sentimentality.  L.A. Confidential was a better movie, with a superior cast.  As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, and Good Will Hunting were the other nominees.

2008 - Slumdog Millionaire won that year.  I don't want anyone to think I dont' like the movie, cause I do, but it wasn't the best of the year.  I would have preferred Milk to win, but even Frost/Nixon would have deserved it more.  The Reader and The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons were the other two nominees.

9.  Top five movies of the year.

I'm going to have to go the way of Yvette on this one.  I don't go to the movies very often anymore.  I tend to wait until they are on either On Demand or Epix.  Sometimes I'll buy a newer DVD before I've seen the movie but that's not very often.  So I'm going to have to go with five movies that I saw for the first time this year, even if that's not when they came out.

The Ides of March (2011)

Drive (2011)

Exam (2009)

Footsteps in the Dark (1941)

The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)

10.  Bottom three of the year, so far.

Union Pacific (1939)  I think I'm just not meant for "western" movies, even if Barbara Stanwyck is in them.  I guess I'll stick to The Big Valley if I want to see Barbara in western clothes.

Casablanca (1942)  I just don't get it.  Sorry to all the fans out there, but there was nothing about this movie that I could fall in love with.

Atlas Shrugged, Part II (2012)  It hasn't been released yet, but I'm not going to bother with it.  I loved the first movie last year, but I have no faith when they have changed the entire cast.


Kristen M. said...

Hah ... as soon as I saw question 2 I thought "Ghosts of Mars" and then I scrolled down. That film was just the most godawful piece of crap ever.
And I don't see why Xanadu is a guilty pleasure ... why the guilt? That movie is the best!

bermudaonion said...

I rarely watch movies at home but love to go to the theater. I agree with you assessment of Titanic - I thought that ship would never sink. I thought King Kong was way too long as well. I quote lines from Annie Hall all the time - it's one of my all time favorite movies. I'm not sure what that says about me. ;)

Yvette said...

Thanks for taking the quiz, Ryan. It really does reveal a lot about our varying taste in movies.

I liked Forrest Gump and wasn't sorry Tom Hanks won the Oscar, but THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION has the makings of a classic film which Gump does not.

TITANIC wasn't going to be denied that year though it's a movie I wouldn't watch a second time. My feeling is that if you don't want to see a film a second or even a third time, it's not
that fabulous.


I'm not that big a fan of CASABLANCA either. Though I don't dislike it. It's always been hard for me to picture Ingrid Bergman and Bogart together in any universe.

I'm going to disagree with you on two films - I didn't mind CASTAWAY at all. The only thing I didn't like was the cornpone ending. That actress in shorts looked like a reject from The Beverly Hillbillies.

I know you love PAN'S LABYRINTH but I didn't. The fantasy sequences just went on too long and while oddly beautiful in a kind of creepy way (the art direction is spectacular), they were not interesting enough. Something was definitely missing here. I know what it was: heart. Hey, even a movie of this sort needs a bit of heart.

Although I've occasionally liked movies without heart, i.e. ANGELS AND INSECTS, this one threw me.

But, as I like to say, the world would be a very boring place if we all liked the same things.

We're still friends - right? :)

Blodeuedd said...

Hm, Idees booooooored me ;)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Great post and thanks for sharing all these.

I think we watched Xanadu on tv a few years ago, but I remember it like yesterday. :) And I don't think I ever watched Monster Squad, if I did I didn't realize that was the title.

But my alllll time fav is White Christmas as well. :)

My anxious life said...

I didn't realize they changed the whole cast for Atlas Shrugged part II!! WHAT? I really dislike when people can't be bothered to sign up for a second movie...

I am also surprised you didn't think Forest Gump should've won best picture. I just think it is an amazing story and movie. The acting was wonderful too. Though The Shawshank Redemption is really good too... so that is a hard one.

I really enjoy these movie posts you write. I makes me realize how many older movies I have yet to see. Tomorrow night we are off to see Lopper... hoping for a good sci-fi flick!!


My anxious life said...

PS Monster Squad = horror movie like a BOSS!

Alexia561 said...

Excellent post! Love your choices, even if I haven't seen half of them. :) I really, really need to watch The Thin Man one of these days.

My guilty pleasure is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I don't know why, but it always makes me smile.

And Labyrinth with David Bowie! I need to watch that one again to make sure it's as fun as I remember!

Thanks Ryan! This was fun!

MarthaE said...

Fun posts. I would have to spend a little time thinking about my answers. You actually have listed several movies I've never seen like Auntie Mame which looks like one I would like. :-)
One oldie that I will always remember is Madame X.
I agree that Shankshaw Redemption is more Classic than Forrest Gump although they are both good.
My DH and I will re-watch LA Confidential but not Titanic.
Thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

1997 - Titanic - what a joke. Visually stunning, and the scenes of the ship sinking were fantastic but the rest was pure crap. Truly some of the worse dialogue I've heard in a movie in years.

Love The Ides of March - Clooney and Gosling were both so good in it and I loved the ending.

Simcha said...

I used to love watching movies but I just don't have the patience for them anymore. It doesn't help that most of the movies I've seen over the past few years weren't that great. I do love a good musical though and White Christmas is one of my favorites. My mother had me watch Auntie Mame after I read the book for a book report when I was in Elementary school though I can't say I loved it. I should probably give it another try, though, since I don't think I understood most of it. And i don't remember anything about the book.

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

I love your answers! Ditto on The Watcher...yuck! But I did like Ghosts of Mars. I know, I know. Totally agree with you on Gremlins. Hate that movie. Xanadu = a bliss of a guilty pleasure, but you already know how I love that movie. White Christmas is one of my all time favorites. I can just hear "Snow" in my mind right now. Man, I can't wait for Christmas! Totally agree about Gaslight and now, years later, I would have to agree about L.A. Confidential. Titanic was good, but I can't really watch it. It makes me incredibly sad.

Off to read Part 2!