Happy New Year everyone, I’ve been in hibernation for much of December, busy with family, friends, and a whole heck of a lot of other stuff, but I’m hoping to be posting more new stuff soon. In the mean time, I thought I’d start 2017 off with a fun movie quiz!
This quiz comes courtesy of Dennis Cozzalio’s blog Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule which is a blog I greatly admire, and it’s always a welcome treat to get one of Dennis’ quizzes particularly on a festive time like this. Here’s looking forward to a new movie year.
1) Best movie of 2016: I am still playing catch up on some of the films I still want to see before my official top ten list but so far I have to say the best/funniest/weirdest/darkest/most delightful movie is “The Lobster”. A deadpan masterpiece of finding a mate in a world where you can only be compatible with someone who you share a certain commonality with. The film touches on so many themes of love, loneliness, and companionship, and what that means to each individual.
2) Worst movie of 2016: For my money, no other film felt more like random pieces put together from a studio Frankenstein monster lab than “Suicide Squad”. Despite good tries by Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and MVP Viola Davis, this film felt overly stuffed, with a plot and character development that made no sense. It introduced its characters at the beginning as if they were players from a video game where we saw snippets of what they were capable of. When these band of misfits get together “Guardians of the Galaxy” style, we are meant to care about them, and then believe that they have quickly become the best of friends who would die for each other. My favorite moment is when Robbie as Harley Quinn plays dead while dangling from a helicopter wire, only to pop back up again smiling and laughing like a live rag doll, the only time this film caught me by surprise, if only that one moment of fun and playfulness would translate for the rest of the film.
3) Best actress of 2016:
Again playing catch up on a lot of films, but certainly my favorite performance from this year came from Kate Beckinsale in “Love and Friendship”. Backinsale with the help of Whit Stillman, and Jane Austin created my favorite character of this past year. Her Lady Susan is a wry manipulator and cunning conniver in her pursuit for wealth as she exploits her own in-laws in order to stave off poverty. Beckinsale is more than capable to pull off the script’s witty dialogue and had me in stitches through most of the film, Lubitsch would’ve loved her in this.
4) Best actor of 2016: I have not seen the big awards contenders yet, but again I have to go with Colin Farrell from “The Lobster”. As Farrell has shown with his work with Martin McDonough, if he gets the right role, he can be dynamite, and his sad-sack, yet selfish, lonely heart won me over. Farrell is the hero of the film, but he’s not afraid to become unlikable, even cowardly on some occasions, so much so we’re really not sure what his big decision will be at the end, whether he’ll sacrifice it all for love, or take the coward’s way out, Farrell creates a wonderful comic creation.
5) What movie from 2016 would you prefer not hearing another word about? Why? I would appreciate never hearing the merits or demerits of any super hero movie that was released this year ever again. Super hero movies can return to the comic book pages from whence they came for awhile, I don’t feel all that inspired one way or another by them.
6) Second-favorite Olivier Assayas movie “The Clouds of Sils Maria”, my first being “Summer Hours” which to me is one of the best films I’ve seen in the last ten years.
7) Miriam Hopkins or Kay Francis? Oh Hopkins of course, you’ll always end up with her in the end.
8) What’s the story of your first R-rated movie?
It was at the big North Hill cinema in Calgary which is no longer with us, and “Die Hard: With a Vengeance” had come out. I was 14, I went with my brother and friend. I loved the theatre, I had been there before for the release of “Jurassic Park”, and “Back to the Future Part 2” in my younger years, but “Die Hard: With a Vengeance” was going to be my first R rated movie. I was a fan of the first two films, and I remember liking this one quite a bit, but I was a little disappointed that unlike the first two films, this one didn’t take place at Christmas. I was also upset to see that John McLean was once again separated from his wife (Did he not learn a thing from the first film?) Also I enjoyed Samuel L. Jackson who was somewhat of a new face back then after breaking out in “Pulp Fiction” but I was also upset not to see McLean with his real soul mate Al Powel (Reginal Veljohnson) from the first two, I thought it would’ve been fun to finally have those guys team up for real and not just be on the other end of a walkie talkie or telephone. All in all it was good, and I really liked Jeremy Irons as the villain.
9) What movie from any era that you haven’t yet seen would you be willing to resolve to see before this day next year? So many to choose from, but since I am such a huge Buster Keaton fan, I would love to finally see “The Cameraman” which is a film by him that has eluded me all this time.
10) Second-favorite Pedro Almodovar movie: Can you believe I have not seen an Almodovar movie? Don’t shame me.
11) What movie do you think comes closest to summing up or otherwise addressing the qualities of 2016? One movie can’t do it alone, I don’t think one has been made. “Idiocracy” is the one that comes to mind, but I don’t like thinking of it.
12) Chris Pine or Chris Pratt? Pine please.
13) Your favorite movie theater, presently or from the past: The Princess Theatre in Edmonton
14) Favorite movie involving a family celebration:
I’ll go with my New Year’s movie of choice George Cukor’s “Holiday” with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. There is a big family celebration on new years as Grant announces his engagement to Hepburn’s sister. However he feels more at home with Hepburn’s black sheep and her drunken brother in the family play room. The more I think of what this movie says, the more I love it.
15) Second-favorite Paul Schrader movie: “Affliction”, if I could count “Taxi Driver” as number one.
16) Ruth Negga or Hayley Atwell? Ruth Negga
17) Last three movies you saw, in any format: “La La Land (2016)”, “Fourteen Hours(1951”, “No Way Out (1951)
18) Your first X-rated, or porn movie? “Midnight Cowboy”
19) Richard Boone or Charles McGraw? Charles McGraw
20) Second-favorite Chan-wook Park movie I have only seen “Oldboy” I know, I know, don’t shame me.
21) Movie that best encompasses or expresses loneliness:
I’m cheating a little with this but I would say the films of Yasujiro Ozu in my opinion best express the idea of loneliness in the world. When a character is alone in an Ozu film, that’s all the is needed, he perfectly encapsulates this in “Tokyo Story”, “Late Spring”, “Late Autumn”, and “An Autumn Afternoon” the best. If I were to pick probably the father in “An Autumn Afternoon” who is full of nostalgia of the past, but with his daughter married off, he is left with nothing, and probably the saddest image in any Ozu film for me (although there is so many) is the father returning home at the end of the film, drunk and alone. It’s a fitting, sad conclusion in what would be the great director’s final film, and it tears my heart out each time I view it.
22) What’s your favorite movie to watch with your best friend? Gosh, well I have a lot of best friends, and I wouldn’t say I watch a lot of movies with them. My movie watching is kept mostly in a solitary pursuit, but a good comedy is always nice. Recently I had a great time watching “The Hudsucker Proxy” with a friend, also a nice “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” or “The Jerk” has always been great to watch with friends alike.
23) Who’s the current actor you most look forward to seeing in 2017?
Good Question, I am mostly unaware of any actor appearing in anything, but if Michael Shannon were to pop up in anything, I know I would love to see that. Just recently seeing him in a bit part in “Loving” put a smile on my face, that’s when I know this guy must be something special to me.
24) Your New Year’s wish for the movies: I wish for more individual stories in the studio system. I long for some sort of implosion in the blockbuster mentality to happen and to have us revert back to the type of films we got from the 1970s. Especially since there is so much talent out there that hasn’t been given their due. I know it’s wishful thinking with Marvel and DC making a list of movies till 2020, and a new Star Wars coming out every year now, but till then I’ll haunt the art houses whenever I can and appreciate a great studio movie when it happens.