“You all know me… You know how I make my livin’…” Quint (Robert Shaw), Jaws
Well, the truth is, you probably don’t know me, although you may have an idea that I don’t earn my keep by sharkin’, like our very quotable friend above. I just like his dialogue, and the line seemed like a good way to worm my way into this week’s Fear of the Velvet Curtain as disarmingly as possible. For those of you who don’t know me apart from this weekly contribution I make to the general movie-fed insanity at Trailers from Hell, I have also, for the past 10 and a half years, written a movie blog called Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule (Why is it called that? Click here for the long-winded but hopefully entertaining answer) which, despite all odds, is still rolling along. Things aren’t as productive down on the old farm as they were in the first few years, but I like to think that though the posts may be fewer and further between than in the past, what’s there is still good—including links to FOTVC posts here. Maybe even better than before, because I’m only writing what I want to write and not worrying about being a daily stop for anyone, including myself.
And one of my favorite SLIFR traditions has followed the same pattern. Just over 10 years ago, way back on March 25, 2005, I posted a movie quiz of an unusual nature. Hosted by Ray Walston’s Mr. Hand, the gruff, impatient but ultimately fair and respectable teacher who butts heads with Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, that quiz wasn’t a movie trivia challenge. Instead, it was basically a 40-question interview for SLIFR readers about subjects they would hopefully have strong answers and opinions for, posers like “Name the one movie you’d drop everything just to see again” and “The movie you love that everyone else seems to hate,” or compare and contrast contests like “Katharine Hepburn or Carole Lombard?” Obviously, there were no correct answers—the idea was to observe the breadth of the answers themselves and what was on the obsessive minds and bucket lists of those who chose to take the challenge. Some questions were easy, some required more thought, and the longer the answer the better—those were almost always the most fun to read. And the immediate response was enthusiastic. In the early days of the blog, getting 28 returned quizzes in the comments column, combined with the level of the answers I received, led me to believe I was on to something.
I followed up with a new quiz four months later, and it was for this one, hosted by Groucho Marx as Professor Wagstaff from the classic comedy Horse Feathers, I adopted the pretense that these cinematic academics were actually staff members at the fictional SLIFR University, where Knowledge is Good and No Subject Is Ever Too Obscure Or Silly. This time I piled on 42 questions, and the response was even better. And each subsequent entry attracted more and more participants and ever more high-profile attention, often from other film writers who would be become good friends as well as important and treasured supporters of my blog.
Over the following 10 years I would roll out 21 more of these quizzes, hosted by such luminaries of movie academia as Professor Ned Brainerd (The Absent-minded Professor), Professor Dave Jennings (National Lampoon’s Animal House), Professor Irwin Corey, Professor Brian O’Blivion (Videodrome), Professor David Huxley (Bringing Up Baby), Dr. Anton Phibes (aka The Abominable Dr. Phibes) and even Sister Clodagh, the sexually repressed nun reigning from on high in Powell and Pressburger’s Black Narcissus.
And in what has been the SLIFR’s quiz format’s greatest and most formally daring coup to date, feminist writer and speaker on all subjects sexual, Susie Bright, who is herself a big fan of the blog’s quiz challenges, offered to craft one herself, this one centered on the history and various delights of porn.
Which leads up to the present day. The last SLIFR quiz, hosted by rockin’ substitute teacher Dewey Finn, posted last August, so I’d say it’s high time we took roll call and got another member of the SLIFR staff up to the podium to deliver the educational goods for quiz #24. And this time I’m happy to be able to invite the readers of Fear of the Velvet Curtain to participate in the fun too. Today, over at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule you’ll find posted Ms. Elizabeth Halsey’s Rotten Apple, Hot For (Bad) Teacher Summer Movie Quiz. Ms. Halsey, you may need reminding, was the none-too-committed teacher played by Cameron Diaz in the 2011 comedy Bad Teacher— in other words, the perfect choice to head up this session of cinematically based silliness. And in yet another first for this specious line of inquiry, I’m posting the quiz here as well, in the hopes that you’ll feel moved to take part and post your answers either here at Fear of the Velvet Curtain or over at my home base, or even both joints, if you’re feeling particularly heady and confident in your motion picture acumen.
The rules are the same here as there. If you choose to post your answers in the comments column, please cut and paste the questions too and write your answers underneath them, rather than just numbering your answers without providing the reference point of the answer. (Makes for easier reading that way, so we can follow your line of thinking without having to constantly bump back up to remind ourselves what the question was.) The only other “rule” is a final encouragement to be as loquacious as possible in your answers, because the longer, more detailed answers to questions like these are inevitably more fun to read.
So without any further delay, let’s sharpen up the #2s, bite the big apple (don’t mind the maggots) and get started!
1) Name a line from a movie that should have become a catch phrase but didn’t *
2) Your second favorite William Wellman film
3) Viggo Mortensen or Javier Bardem?
4) Favorite first line from a movie
5) The most disappointing/superfluous “director’s cut” or otherwise extended edition of a movie you’ve seen? *
6) What is the movie you feel was most enhanced by a variant version? *
7) Eve Arden or Una Merkel?
8) What was the last DVD/Blu-ray/streaming film you saw? The last theatrical screening?
9) Second favorite Michael Mann film
10) Name a favorite director’s most egregious misstep
11) Alain Delon or Marcello Mastroianni?
12) Jean-Luc Godard famously stated that “all you need for a movie is a girl and a gun.” Name one other essential element that you’d add to the mix.
13) Favorite one-sheet that you own, or just your favorite one-sheet (please provide a link to an image if you can)
14) Catherine Spaak or Daniela Giordano?
15) Director who most readily makes you think “Whatever happened to…?”
16) Now that some time has passed… The Interview, yes or no?
17) Second favorite Alberto Calvalcanti film
18) Though both displayed strong documentary influence in their early films, Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog have focused heavily on the documentary form late in their filmmaking careers. If he had lived, what kind of films do you think Rainer Werner Fassbinder, their partner in the German New Wave of the ‘70s, would be making now?
19) Name a DVD you’ve replaced with a Blu-ray. Name another that you decided not to replace. *
20) Don Rickles or Rodney Dangerfield?
21) Director who you wish would hurry up and make another film
22) Second favorite Michael Bay film
23) Name a movie that, for whatever reason, you think of as your own
24) Your favorite movie AI (however loosely you care to define the term)
25) Your favorite existing DVD commentary track *
26) The double bill you’d program on the last night of your own revival theater
27) Catherine Deneuve or Claudia Cardinale?
(* Questions provided by long-0time SLIFR reader and quiz participant Robert Fiore. Thanks, Bob!)
A COMPLETIST’S GUIDE TO THE SERGIO LEONE AND THE INFIELD FLY RULE QUIZZES
and a follow-up.
PROF. WAGSTAFF’S SUMMER OF 42 (QUESTIONS, THAT IS) MOVIE QUIZ (plus follow-ups)
PROFESSOR BRAINERD’S CHRISTMAS VACATION QUIZ (plus follow-ups)
plus a follow-up
plus a follow-up
MR. SHOOP’S SURFIN’ SUMMER SCHOOL MIDTERM, plus follow-ups