Thursday, December 14, 2006

Meme proliferation: Movie questions.

Regular readers (and, from this point on, all regular readers will be identified with the word "Screamin" in front of their names - the ANTSS equivalent of being a Mouseketeer) Screamin' Cattleworks and Screamin' Mermaid Heather both tapped me to answer this series of film related questions and, though they're not specifically horror related, I was so tickled folks would even think of asking me that I'm going to dedicate this entry to my answer.

Back to the regularly scheduled horror stuff tomorrow. We'll be talking about Dracula and World War I and Sherlock Holmes and shock therapy, I promise. You'll dig it.

Today, though, the questions:

1. Popcorn or candy?

Candy. Aside from Halloween, movies are the major candy-related event in my life. Plus, I have fond memories of my mother, determined to cheat the over-priced concession stands out of their pound of flesh, sneaking candy into movie theaters. Normally, my mom was a straight and narrow type. This seemed, when I was young, to be her only moral failing: sneaking in food against the theater rules. This also meant we bought our movie candy at the local supermarket. Instead of eating a single-serving bag of Reece’s Pieces, we’d be hiding super-sized family bags of that stuff on our person. Good times.

2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever.

Aguirre: Wrath of God. I don’t know. It is one of those things that’s on my list. But whenever I have the requisite 4,057 hours of free-time needed to partake in said acknowledged masterpiece, I find my wondering whether I want to use this huge block of time watching something that’s going to drag me through the emotional wringer and leave me longing for the sweet oblivion of death.

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar: Who loses theirs and to whom?

I would have rather had the first Oscar for Best Flicker go to Keaton’s still-wonderful The General rather than the indifferent Wings. I feel that if it had started off on the right foot, we could have avoided some of the more regrettable choices that came later.

Though, every year, whenever there’s and Oscar pool, I write in Deep Blue Sea for best picture. Every year. ‘Cause it had giant, super-smart, killer sharks. That’s pretty boss. So, Plan B is that: American Beauty’s loss is LL Cool J’s gain. ‘Cause American Beauty didn’t have giant, super-smart, killer sharks.

4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Which will it be?

The exquisitely tailored suit of Petey Wheatstraw, Son-In-Law of the Devil. That or the mask of lucha legend Blue Demon.

5. Your favorite film franchise is…

The Santo movies are a particular favorite of mine. I once actually wrote a biography of Santo which treated his real life and the events depicted in his films as both equally true.

And that’s probably the geekiest thing I’ve ever confessed to.

6. Invite five movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why’d you invite them? What do you feed them?

We’re going to break the dead/live barrier so I can invite anybody I want. Here’s the guest list: El Santo, Buster Keaton, Vincent Price, Chuck Jones, and W.C. Fields. Mainly so I could pose for a group photograph El Santo, Buster Keaton, Vincent Price, Chuck Jones, and W.C. Fields. We’ll be having chili dogs. Damn, man; I could really go for a chili dog. I wonder if I could sneak away from work, get down to Nathan’s, and sneak back before anybody noticed I was gone.

7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theater?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record - giant, super-smart, killer sharks.

8. Choose a female bodyguard: Ripley from Aliens. Mystique from X-Men. Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. The Bride from Kill Bill. Mace from Strange Days.

I’m going to go with Mace because she is, after all, actually a bodyguard. Since I’m not a small and vulnerable looking female, I don’t think Ripley’s maternal instincts will be properly stoked. Mystique lost her powers, so she’s out. Conner has the same mom thing that took Ripley out of the running. And the Bride – Let’s face it, outside of a universe predicated on Tarantino’s love of Uma, the Bride wouldn’t stand a chance. She got the physique anorexics crave and some sort of block against the use of firearms. If you need a job done right, hire a pro.

9. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen in a movie?

Joey Adams trying to act.

10. You’re favorite genre (excluding comedy and drama) is?

Horror. Comedy and horror are, for my buck, the two most emotionally realistic genres film has to offer. Screaming and laughing are just about the only sensible reactions to life.

11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power?

Here’s a short list of what I’d do if given the power of life and death over a major studio:

Spike Lee attached to direct the Jackie Robinson story re-make, scripted by Colson Whitehead.

My now infamous “You telegraph the emotional punches because you don’t trust the audience” lecture ruins my first Spielberg lunch, but ultimately he comes around and our friendship is stronger for it.

Snap up rights to Tom Franklin’s “Poachers” and get David Gordon Green on it.

Give the entire studio a new rule: “Romantic comedies must be both genuinely romantic and genuinely funny.” I’ll happily greenlight any romantic comedies that meet the rule, though I suspect the issue won’t come up.

Sit down with Alexandre Aja and explain the idea of a logical narrative structure. “And here’s the take home, Ally Cat: cause and effect.”

Finally get the William Faulkner vampire script, Hateful Hollow, underway.
Bring back serials and short cartoons to show before the features.

12. Bonnie or Clyde?

Honestly, I’m more C. W. Moss.

13. Who are you tagging to answer this survey? (Three or more)

I’m too new at this. I don’t think I have three or more blog-amigos. Cattleworks already hit them all. I guess this means the chain stops with me. Faboo. A million years of bad luck. I’ll probably get eaten by giant, super-smart, killer sharks or something. Thanks a metric pant-load Cattleworks.


Anonymous said...

That's so cool that:
You did this;
I'm a Screamateer!

Unrelated, but your bio for Santo made me think of this (and by the way, maybe you should make a post of that... I'd love to read it!): for no good reason at all, I borrowed a library book on how to make 'zines or newsletters or something like that. It just looked like a fun publication and I'm easily seduced and distracted (sometimes simultaneously... which can be problematic). ANYways, there was a zine in there which essentially was a newspaper but all the news stories were dreams told as if they were true, which sounded like SUCH an inspired concept to me.

Plus, screw my designs on movie mogulism, your ideas actually sound pretty cool.
Yeah! Straighten that Aja dude out!
And HATEFUL HOLLOW..?! Wow, I'll have to ask my wife if she's heard of this...
All I can imagine is drunk vampires and a narrator who only has three lines but it still takes up 70 pages of script.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and yeah:
I didn't even think of him, but now that you mention it, Michael J. Pollard makes a lot of sense to me (for you).

CRwM said...

All I've ever seen of Hateful Hollow is a three- or four-page excerpt that appeared in Oxford American several years ago. From that short bit (which featured no actual vampires) it seemed like the plot involved a young woman being hired as the caretaker of a frail and elderly man who lived with his cold and distant sister in a secluded and decaying mansion. All very old school goth atmosphere. I believe it was set in England, though I may be mis-remembering that bit.

Anyway, the estate keeps it under lock and key because they hope to actually produce it some day.

That would be the horror-blog scoop of the century, if you ask me: excerpts from the missing Faulkner vampire script.

Anonymous said...

"And you telegraph the emotional punches"-- I'm not disputing this, but I'm curious to hear your specific examples. Because I think of Spielberg as being sentimental. But I never thought of him as telegraphing etc.
But I also like his work, so I'd just like you to explain this to me a little more, if you didn't mind, so i could appreciate this better.

CRwM said...

First, let me say that I'm a fan of Spielberg's work. I even like the criminally underrated A.I.. I think, however, as he grows older, he worries that the audience will "miss" the point of his works. Perhaps, ironically, the better he gets at making films, the more he worries that his audience won't get what he considers the important moments. Consequently, his movies have become increasingly laden with scenes in which some character basically explains the moral point of the flick – revealing how it is all going to play out. In Ryan, it's the Sizemore character's "the one good thing we do in the war" speech. Even in straight out thrill machines, the kinds of flicks Spielberg mastered with his first few films, he needs to add scenes in which the movie is explained to us. Is Jurassic Park better than Jaws for having a bunch of speeches about man's helplessness in the face of nature? It not only comes off as heavy handed, but the speech also reminds us of Spielberg's family obsession and lets us know that anybody with a connection to the kids (or who makes allusions to family: Ian) will survive.

Spielberg had (maybe he still does, but we don't see it anymore) an intuitive connection to the audience. It informs his best early works. His later films, however, are more coercive and manipulative because that intuitive link has been replaced by an unsure and distrusting one.

Anonymous said...

You know, I don't remember the Sizemore speech so much as the epilogue with "Matt Damon" as old man, which drove me nuts.
I see what you mean.