Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's Only a Movie Meme

From the delightful Laura Anderson at Miss Read comes a Movie Meme she suggests that everyone has a go at. This obviously originated from one of those darn colonials because they use the word “theater” when they mean, “cinema”, and as we know from William Ivory last week, calling a cinema a film theatre is just awful snobbery. That said, here are my answers...

01. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.

Great, let’s start with an easy one. Now with their availability on shiny disc there are numerous movies I’ve seen again and again. These are the films made by Hitchcock, Kubrick, Michael Mann, Billy Wilder, David Lean and Ridley Scott and any number of other great directors past and present. But because I’m a reasonable guy who has just experienced some very unreasonable things, I’ll plump for John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China.

02. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.

I suppose there are quite a few. During those fun-filled years at The Esteemed School of Art you could never get everyone wanting to see a movie to go at the same time, so I’d see it with one group and then again with another. No wonder I ended up going to see new releases alone to save the hassle. Then there were films from before the days of VCRs let alone DVDs, so you saw it while you could. The very first film I was ever taken to the cinema to see for a second time when I was a kiddie was Where Eagles Dare.

03. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.

I don’t think I ever choose to watch films simply based on the actors involved, mainly because you know they don’t always make the right decisions so there’s always an utter dog in the offing. Then again, there were always actors I was glad to see in a film, like Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin and Alec Guinness. Amongst the living I suppose I look forward to seeing Michael Caine now that he chooses roles he wants to play rather than simply signing up to pay the mortgage.

04. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.

Meg Ryan and Ben Stiller are two actors who, being all perky and needy, just make me want to vomit myself inside out. I would quite happily watch them get chased down by ravenous dogs, or, if they starred in a remake of Hostel, I’d book my ticket well in advance. In the meantime I can do without seeing them on screen, thank you.

05. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.

I’m sure there are movies that I quote from all the time, whether realising it or not, but the best one to drop into conversation is “His real name is Arty Morty!” from Without a Clue.

06. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.

A big fail on this one, I’m afraid. There are some films that, at a push, I know the lyrics to some of the songs, but not all.

07. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.

I may not know all the words to all the songs but Untitled, Cameron Crowe’s director’s cut of Almost Famous, is the film I probably sing along to most. The Tiny Dancer sequence on board the tour bus is simply genius.

08. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.

Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death. It needs no more explanation. And after watching it everyone should continue on with the rest of Powell & Pressburger’s classic films.

09. Name a movie that you own.

Oh, there are many. But one film I was really pleased to finally get on DVD was Whit Stillman’s debut feature, Metropolitan. If you ever want a tale of adolescent angst that takes place against the backdrop of New York’s debutante society, this is the movie for you.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.

Does Jason Lee, previously a professional skateboarder, fit the requirements? He was great as one of the band members of Stillwater in Almost Famous, and the supervillain Syndrome in The Incredibles. His best role so far is as Banky Edwards, the “tracer”, in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?

Not many drive-ins around this way, or even back in the Westcountry. There have been numerous times I’ve wanted to drive a tank through the front of the cinema and fire a depleted uranium shell into the projectionist’s booth.

12. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.

I’m not a great fan of Italian Neo-Realism and everyone associated with it. Although he’s revered as one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century, I’ve avoided the films of Federico Fellini. I saw La Dolce Vita many years ago, which almost put me to sleep. Although I may regret it I keep meaning to catch Fellini’s . So far the closest I’ve ever got to it is watching Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories.

13. Ever walked out of a movie?

There have been a few that I’ve fallen asleep watching, not least Jackie Brown during which I nodded off three times, but the the only time I ever got up and left was during Mean Streets, which was second on a double bill with, I think, Taxi Driver. To be fair it was close to the end of the film and if I stayed any longer it would mean waiting a whole hour for the next bus back home to Dartmoor. And anyway, by then I had pretty much had enough.

14. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.

As a callow youth I hated films that purposefully try to manipulate the emotions, but as the years go on I find myself welling up at the drop of a hat. The last one that had me blubbering like a little girl was Pixar’s Wall-E.

15. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?

Unless a film justifies being seen on a big screen, I tend to wait for it to be released on DVD. That way I can watch it in comfort and not be pestered by any nearby proles. Recently I went to the O2 Centre to see Star Trek on a massive screen with an ear-bleeding sound system. Before that it was probably The Dark Knight, which was enough to put me off going to the cinema altogether.

16. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?

A good drama that doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence. So, not exactly asking for a lot there.

17. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?

I’m sure it was Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book, which was the first movie I was ever taken to see. The sequence where Baloo and Bagheera attempt to rescue Mowgli from King Louie stands out in particular. Obviously I was too young to understand that the vulture quartet was supposed to resemble The Beatles, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

18. What movie do you wish you had never seen?

Without doubt, The Matrix Revolutions. Not only was it a dreadful piece of shit that sullied the reputation of the rather fine original, but this was at a preview screening on a Sunday morning... at the BFI IMAX. So not only was it horrible, it was BIG and horrible. Frankly, I’d have preferred to watch a close up of a cat’s arsehole for two hours. What the hell were they thinking?

19. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?

Obviously discounting a bunch of weird movies that I utterly hated, Bruce Robinson’s How To Get Ahead In Advertising was pretty darned strange, but for sheer weirdness and a damn good laugh, it comes a very distant second to the utterly bonkers The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Laugh while you can, monkey boy!

20. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?

Without question, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. There are films that have some great shocks but The Shining has a pervading sense of unease that simply scares the shit out of me to this day. Not to be a complete wuss but I can still only watch it during daylight hours.

21. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?

Modern comedies tend to leave me unmoved. I remember laughing my head off at the Coen brother’s Raising Arizona and the sequence in Laurel and Hardy’s Swiss Miss where Stan and Ollie’s attempts to carry a piano across a rope bridge are hampered by an escaped gorilla. But, beating His Girl Friday and Dr Strangelove to the punch, the best all round comedy has to be the four Marx Brothers in the stone cold classic Duck Soup.

So that's me done. Your turn.


At 12:21 am, Blogger Valentine Suicide said...

That's two of us that remember Buckaroo Banzai then?

"Is someone crying out there.?!

At 9:10 am, Blogger Laura Anderson said...

Good choices - glad I wasn't the only one welling up at Wall:E.

I keep meaning to watch Fellini's 8 1/2 as well - it's on the old Lovefilm list. Finally caught up with Dr Strangelove at the weekend, which I found every bit as funny as I'd wanted to, thankfully.

At 1:49 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


I know a couple more folk familiar with the Hong Kong Cavaliers, so we’re not alone in knowing that doomed is our soul and damned is our life.

And of course director W.D. Richter had a hand in the almost as bonkers Big Trouble in Little China. It’s a shame the pair of movies didn’t lead to healthy franchises. I would have preferred to see their further wacky adventures than alien robots beating the crap out of each other.


I find myself choking up at just about everything nowadays, but when it came to Wall-E I was an utter wreck. While the credits were rolling and parents were leading their kiddies out of the cinema I was still sitting with my head in my hands trying to regain my composure.

I think this is why Pixar’s films are so much better than Dreamworks Animation’s output. Whereas the latter just go for easy gags, most of which aren’t that funny, Pixar really invests in their characters. I watched Kung Fu Panda and really couldn’t care less. By comparison, the little robot, which was essentially a box with a pair of binoculars for eyes left me a complete emotional mess. Be warned, I’ve heard that the opening sequence of Up alone will just destroy us.

After the sheer dullness of La Dolce Vita drove me to contemplate eating my own feet for entertainment, I don’t hold out much hope for , but at some point I should give it a go. Actually, La Dolce Vita did provide a great opening sight gag for LA Story (which was the only thing funny in LA Story).

I’m really glad you finally got to see Dr Strangelove and enjoyed it. The dialogue is just brilliant – “Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.” is the classic line – and the performances from Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn and the great Slim Pickens are just perfect.

Oh, and I had to make a quick edit to question three because I realised I’d suggested that Gene Hackman was dead, so I replaced his name with Burt Lancaster. I blame that on the effects of the anaesthetic wearing off, honest.

At 6:22 pm, Blogger rob said...

"You paid your dues, Jack?

The cheque's in the mail."

Excellent choices!

At 11:22 pm, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

Great meme! Good answers. I'll have to have a go now...


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