To change the subject abruptly (as my Grandpa Irv would say), here is one of those many-movie-questions memes that are floating around The Internets, and hey, I’m always up for talking about my thoughts on flicks.
(The answers are based on my mood this week. Next week I'd give 16 different answers.)
1. You only get to watch one movie for the rest of your life. Which one do you pick? The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. I grin almost from start to finish watching it.
2. You get to completely destroy and remove one movie from existence. Which one do you pick? Tim Burton’s remake of Planet of the Apes – leaving only Danny Elfman’s score behind to make the world think this film was far, far better. (I like that Burton later said “Hey, I’ve taken all of my films seriously – at least the ones I started filming before the poster was out.”)
3. Which movie that doesn't get nearly enough play would you recommend to everybody? Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. I still remember the moment in the film where I thought, “I’m liking this. I’m really liking this.”
4. Which as-yet-unreleased movie this year would you kill someone to see early? But I can’t do that; I might kill prospective MirrorMask viewers!
5. Which movie is the funniest movie you've ever seen? I laughed myself ill at the chase scene in Raising Arizona.
6. Which movie has made you cry the hardest? Perhaps surprisingly, The Truman Show. That film wrecked me on first viewing.
7. What's the best ending sequence to a movie that you've ever seen? Um…the film that plays in my head when I listen to Radiohead’s “Exit Music (From A Film)”? Man, this is a hard question to really answer…but the, shall we say, parade of unexpectedness that climaxes Monty Python and the Holy Grail ranks very, very high in my book.
8. What's the best opening sequence to a movie that you've ever seen? I don’t know if it’s the best, but I think the most brilliant part of Man On the Moon is Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman’s Foreign Man denouncing the movie you’re about to watch, then announcing that he re-edited it “to cut out all the baloney. So now it’s much shorter. In fact, this is the end.”
9. Who's your favorite movie character, and why? This changes as I watch more films, so I can’t say. Right now I have kind of a soft spot for Land of the Dead’s Big Daddy, the gas station zombie. (As Stephen King said, “He’s a genius. Well, for a zombie he’s a genius.”)
10. Which movie character do you think has had the best entrance ever in a movie? The first guy you see in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Talk about “in your face.” Literally.
11. Which movie character do you think has had the best exit ever in a movie? It’s not quite an exit, but it’s close: Henry Fonda with the harmonica in Once Upon A Time in the West.
12. Which supposedly good movie do you loathe? I’ve mostly avoided loathing-worthy movies. I have to go back to seeing Pretty Woman and wondering, “What’s the point of this?” Or not. Laughing. At all. At What About Bob? But really, life’s too short to want to burn movies simply for not liking them.
13. Which supposedly crappy movie do you love? But people now know Hudson Hawk’s not crap! “Oh! I guess you won’t be attending that HAT convention in July!” The Our Man Flint ring tone. “The guy on the donkey’s just a guy on a donkey.” “Helluva lot of Wong numbers.” The embarrassing slides. “Gooooood, Yogi.” Gold-plated Bernhard. “Our code names were diseases. Do you know what it's like being called Chlamydia for a year?”
14. You get to kill one actor/actress and get away with it. Which one do you get rid of? I. Can’t. Answer. That. No answers come. If it’s just “You get to inflict pain on an actor,” though, I’d choose Richard Gere. Gere + pain = evil comedy gold!
15. Which supposedly bad actor do you actually like? I know he’s not an actor, and he knows he’s not an actor, but David Letterman as a performer just makes me giggle and I wish he did more non-talk show appearances. (Think of his voice cameo in Beavis and Butthead Do America. Or Cabin Boy’s “Gosh you’re cute. Want to buy a monkey?” Or his cameo as a laid-back masked robber (!) in Bonnie Hunt’s early-‘90s sitcom The Building.)
16. Which supposedly good actor do you wish would just go away? I stopped “getting” Mel Gibson-as-an-actor a few years ago (with rare exceptions like Chicken Run). I’d be happier if he stayed behind the camera. He’s showing ever-growing glimpses of special directing talents; I didn’t enjoy The Passion of the Christ ("enjoyment" is the wrong criteria for critiquing that movie anyway), but man, I had to admire the cojones he had to risk pissing off a third of the world via a movie. And someone who can step up to the Braveheart level of moviemaking on only his second feature film is on one hell of a learning curve. Continue it! (This is probably a more positive answer than the question-writers were expecting…)