1) Best transition from movies to TV (actor, actress, producer/director, movie/show)
Pace some of my commenters on the "stars I don't like" post, Lucille Ball set the gold standard for that long ago.
2) Living film director you most missing seeing on the cultural landscape regularly.
Bill Forsyth most of all. Gregory's Girl, Local Hero and Comfort and Joy helped make the 1980s worthwhile. Bill, come back! Also Victor Erice, although he has never been a very public figure. I also agree with Bubblegum Cinephile about Whit Stillman.
3) Eugene Pallette or Charles Coburn
I want to say Coburn just to see how Karen reacts (and he was so great in The Lady Eve, The More the Merrier and The Green Years). But it's Pallette, for his voice, Friar Tuck and because he wins the Heaven Can Wait smackdown with that scene over the funny papers. Plus, he has me howling with laughter every time I see My Man Godfrey: "Take a look at the dizzy old gal with the goat." "I've had to look at her for 20 years. That's MRS. Bullock." "I'm terribly sorry!" "How do you think I feel?"
4) Fill in the blank: “I pray that no one ever turns _____________ into a movie.”
The Paris Hilton Story. My dream is that I will one day ask my children who Paris Hilton was and get the blankest of blank stares.
5) Jane Greer or Veronica Lake
Greer was the better actress, but Lake was in Sullivan's Travels, wanting to work with Lubitsch. So Lake it is.
6) What was the last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD? And why?
In the theater, Cluny Brown, because it's very hard to find. (Once again, Fox, I have to ask, what the HECK is wrong with you people and your stinginess with your library?) On DVD, last was A Slight Case of Murder, for Edward G. Robinson (and indeed it was very cute and so was he). On cable, Love Songs, which turned up unexpectedly on TV5.
7) Name an actor you think should be a star.
I guess I am supposed to name someone contemporary, so I pick the gorgeous, mesmerizing but underutilized Maria Bello. I also think Benoit Magimel should be a worldwide big name, although I have no idea if his English is up to Hollywood. As for neglected names from the old days, I'm working on a whole list of those.
8) Foxy Brown or Coffy. Foxy, because she's a whole lotta woman.
9) Favorite TV show still without its own DVD box set
Frank's Place. I watched the whole series in its all-too brief run and it's one of the few TV shows I would buy.
10) Jack Elam or Neville Brand
Neville, for Stalag 17 and DOA.
11) What movies would top your list of movies you need to revisit, for whatever reason?
My problem isn't needing to revisit movies, it's revisiting ones I love too often, thus leaving less time to for the ones on my "drat, I still need to see that" list. If I loved it, I want to see it again.
12) Zodiac or All the President’s Men
All the President's Men. I haven't seen Zodiac, but Se7en left me unimpressed, to say the very least.
13) Using our best reviewer-speak, what is an “important” film comedy? And what is to you the most important film comedy of the last 35 years?
If it's funny, a comedy eschews the very notion of importance, as Groucho said: "What significance? We were just four Jews trying to get a laugh." With apologies to George S. Kaufman, an "important" comedy is what closes Saturday night. By that yardstick, the most important comedy is 1941 I guess.
14) Describe the ideal environment for watching a movie.
Big screen, good sight lines for the vertically challenged (like me), a sound system that is enveloping without being deafening and, most important of all, an audience that doesn't think any type of big emotion is automatically "camp."
15) Michelle Williams or Eva Mendes
I have seen very little of these ladies, but I'm going with Williams just because she isn't in that remake of The Women.
16) What’s the worst movie title of all time?
Curse of the Cat People, because to this day it misleads people about the content of that jewel of a movie.
17) Best movie about teaching and/or learning
The Miracle Worker. That last scene, when Helen Keller at last understands the basis of language, gets me every time. There's no more beautiful depiction of unlocking a mind than seeing Patty Duke fly around the backyard, pounding each object and begging to be told its name.
18) Dracula (1931) or Horror of Dracula (1958)
Horror of Dracula. I think the older one is just too creaky and, at this point, too familiar. It's as impossible to watch now as it is to look at the Mona Lisa with eyes unshaded by the gazillion dreary misuses she's been put to.
19) Why do you blog? Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs? (Thanks, Girish)
I started blogging to stave off insanity while adjusting to a new, much quieter city. I continued blogging for all the freebies from high-end retailers. What, you mean YOU'RE not getting those? No, actually I blog so I can revenge myself on ex-lovers on the front cover of the New York Times Magazine...
20) Most memorable/disturbing death scene.
The execution in Paths of Glory--the one soldier openly sobbing, no grace or courage, dying for nothing at all, dying because that is all their leaders know how to do any more, send young men to die.
21) Jason Robards or Robert Shaw
Robards. He's the one thing I truly enjoy in Once Upon a Time in the West.
22) A good candidate for Most Blasphemous Movie Ever
Viridiana, for sure. Not just blasphemy, but layered, complex, endlessly funny blasphemy. When I posted about it one of my regular commenters, Gloria, pointed out that the infamous "Last Supper" also contains a visual pun on a Spanish idiom, with the one beggar woman "taking a picture"--which is slang for flashing your undies.
23) Rio Bravo or Red River
Red River by a mile. Rio Bravo is fun and all, but Red River has the depth, plus John Wayne's best performance ever. I don't have to sit through any ersatz Gene Autry singalongs in Red River. And while Dino could have drunk Monty under the table any day, I think he would have been the last person to try and out-act him.
24) Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage—that’s reality. Try to outdo reality by concocting a match-up of director and title for a really strange imaginary remake.
I know I'm supposed to be funny here but I'm inclined to try this experiment for real. John Huston said in his memoirs that Hollywood took the wrong approach to remakes--they re-did something that was perfect the first time around. He said they should take movies that had good elements but somehow didn't come off, and cited his own "Roots of Heaven" as an example. So, to be serious AND weird--Claude Chabrol could handle The Sound and the Fury, which was butchered so badly the first time around. He has the intellect but also the skepticism necessary to approach the Faulknerian South without wanting to remind us constantly how damn colorful and Gothic and meaningful everything is. Quentin Compson--continue the old, odd tradition of Brits playing Southerners and get Jamie Bell, just because he could do it and because Quentin should NOT be a heartthrob.
25) Bulle Ogier or Charlotte Rampling
At work I fielded a phone call from Charlotte Rampling once, and she was every bit as snooty as her Georgy Girl character. I loved it, finding out she was exactly as I wanted her to be. Charlotte all the way.
26) In the Realm of the Senses— yes or no?
It's been eons since I saw it (at home on VHS, must have been early 90s) but I remember thinking it was interesting but quite anti-erotic; the guy I was dating fell asleep. As a seduction ploy I got much better results with 8 1/2. So I'm going with no.
27) Name a movie you think of as your own (Thanks, Jim!)
Letter from an Unknown Woman. I will probably never see this in a theater with an audience simply because, like Jim, I cannot bear the thought of the morons tittering over anything that doesn't seem sufficiently "realistic."
28) Winged Migration or Microcosmos
Haven't seen them but I still pick Winged Migration. I am not a bug person.
29) Your favorite football game featured in a movie.
"Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, this time I think we go up-a da middle." Horsefeathers. This is what Oliver Stone should have watched before making Any Given Sunday. Or maybe he did.
30) Wendy Hiller or Deborah Kerr
Deborah, although Wendy's divine.
31) Dirtiest secret you have that is related to the movies.
I have no movie secrets. If I love Yolanda and the Thief and the world does not, then the world is WRONG, wrong, wrong.
32) Name a favorite film and describe how it is illuminated and enriched by another favorite film.
I think the two Imitation of Life versions really form a dialogue about race, caste, class, and women's issues in the U.S. over the course of 25 years.
33) It’s a Gift or Horsefeathers
Horsefeathers. I'm a dedicated Marxist.
34) Your best story about seeing a movie at a drive-in.
I have never been to a drive-in. I was a deprived child.
35) Victor Mature or Tyrone Power.
Victor is the best thing in von Sternberg's mad and marvelous The Shanghai Gesture. But Tyrone could really act, witness Nightmare Alley. So it's Power.
36) What does film criticism mean to you? Where do you think it’s headed?
Oy, this is a little too much for me to contemplate at the mo but I do think it's becoming more fragmented. The days of one powerful voice having an outsize influence, whether it be Crowther or Kael or Ebert, are gone.