Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.
~ Frank Capra
My pal Wildhair inspired me to throw this post together with her Movie Madness Meme. I poached the questions from her blog and combined them with a set of movie-related queries I've had hanging around for a while. It's a turbo cinema-fest! Enjoy!
The first movie that made you cry:
Gone With the Wind. I cannot even remember how old I was when I first saw this movie -- suffice it to say that I was very young, as I consider this film part of me. When Scarlett’s mama died; Mammy’s amazing scene with Rhett after the death of Bonnie Blue; when Melanie dies; when Rhett leaves Scarlett. All tear-inducing, even as a young girl.
The movie that everyone else seems to love, but you do not:
Forrest Gump. Heresy, I know. I find it saccharine, simplistic and slightly pandering. It grates. Yes, I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to this film. Plus I’m still mad that it won the Oscar over Pulp Fiction.
The movie that you'll watch over and over:
This Is Spinal Tap. I have watched this more times than I can remember. And I don't see that pattern stopping anytime. Ever. Love it beyond all reason. It's brilliant in its satire but also stands on its own as a pretty damn funny movie. Here's a trailer that sums it all up beautifully:
The movie you're happy you saw in the theater:
Have a couple. Gone With The Wind was one -- to see the full effect on the big screen of the sweeping expanse of the cinematography, especially in the Atlanta scenes -- war dead and wounded plus burning of Atlanta was phenomenal. I saw this on the big screen a couple of times, back when there was such a thing as individually owned movie theatres and the showings of true classic films in them was a regular occurrence.
And Song of the South is another -- the 1940s era Disney flick about the stories of folk figure Uncle Remus. I actually saw this with my parents when I was in my early twenties -- it was released for a limited engagement in theatres and they insisted on taking me. If you look at the movie head-on with the eyes of today, it does smack of stereotypes and what might be construed as political incorrectness. But so did many of the films of that era. The combination of animation and live-action was groundbreaking for the time in which it was made and Uncle Remus (the great and sadly underrated James Baskett) was not only a master storyteller but the epitome of charm and kindness. The real reason, though, that I’m glad to have seen this in the theatre is the fact that it meant a lot to my parents. You won’t find any two more tolerant and open-minded people in their generation than my folks -- but this film was a part of both their childhoods. They loved it and wanted to share it with me. And I’m glad I got to have that experience in the theatre.
The movie that scares you the most:
I’m not much for scary movies. At all. I guess I'd have to say Halloween, I suppose, because it’s the first R-rated movie I saw in a theatre (and I was only 14 -- how daring!) and I remember it scaring the heck out of me.
The movie in which you love all the characters:
While You Were Sleeping. Sandra Bullock. Bill Pullman. Peter Gallagher. Peter Gallagher’s Eyebrows (they took acting lessons from Joan Crawford’s Eyebrows and do a stellar job in this film.)
It’s a frothy little romantic comedy that I adore -- and every character, right down to the supporting cast, is wonderful. I especially love the character of Joe Jr, played with swarthy dim-witted egocentricism by Michael Rispoli. It’s another one of those movies that if I come across it while channel-surfing, I must stop and watch.
Your favorite kids’ movie:
The Jungle Book. It’s fun. It’s funny. It’s held up really well. And it’s got GREAT music. What more could a person want, I ask you?
Your favorite black and white film:
Tough one. So many to choose from... I’m very partial to the screwball comedies of the ‘30s-’50s. Given that, I’ve gotta go with Some Like It Hot. Jack Lemmon. Tony Curtis. Marilyn Monroe, in my favorite role of hers. Directed by Billy Wilder. Funny -- not just tee-hee funny, but laugh out loud funny; smart and sexy.
High on the list of my favorite movie scenes of all time is the final one of this flick... check it out:
The movie you love that you might be embarrassed to admit:
Dying Young. It’s schlock. It’s got a predictable plot and hackneyed dialogue. It’s got a score by Kenny G. But I love it nonetheless. I cry, I laugh, I swoon over Campbell Scott. And I’ll stop and watch it whenever I catch a glimpse of it on the telly.
Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times:
This Is Spinal Tap. While You Were Sleeping. So I Married an Axe Murderer. Pillow Talk. Gone With the Wind. Singing In the Rain. Amadeus. Grease. The Sound of Music.
I’ll stop now.
Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater:
Amadeus. Dangerous Liaisons. St. Elmo’s Fire. Grease. Working Girl.
I’ll stop now.
Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie:
George. Clooney. Duh.
Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie:
Name a movie that you can and do quote from:
This Is Spinal Tap. “It goes to eleven” and "There's a thin line between stupid and clever" get A LOT of play in my vernacular. Oh! So I Married An Axe Murderer, too. Always quoting that one. "Wow, you've turned into a right sexy wee bastard. Do you know that? " "Come, let us dance like children of the night!"
I'll stop now.
There are more, but these two are my go-to quotables.
Name a movie musical from which you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs:
The Sound of Music. Singing in the Rain. Grease. Mame (horrible movie -- Lucille Ball was so miscast -- but I know all the songs.) Hello Dolly! (horrible movie -- Barbra Streisand was so miscast -- but I know all the songs.) High Society.
I’ll stop now.
Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with:
Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see:
Singing In the Rain. Probably the quintessential movie musical. A lush, sumptuous Technicolor vision, it’s got charm in spades. Great music, classic dancing (it’s worth a view just for the title song alone, but there are many more hoofing delights to see) and a fun look at early Hollywood. It’s a picture that even those who turn their nose up at musicals say they like.
Name a movie that you own:
Don’t even know where to start. I’ve just begun the cataloging process and my little dent has tallied up to 56 DVDs. That does include TV series on DVD, though. But I’d wager that I own upwards of 200 movies. I’ll keep you posted.
Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops:
Cher. From Sonny's sidekick to Oscar winner. She's awesome.
Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Oh, heck yeah. It was not unusual for my parents to put my brother and me in our pajamas, toss us in the backseat of the car with our blankets, pillows and stuffed animals and head to the drive in for an evening out. We slept. They got to see a first-run movie. Good times.
When I was older, the drive-in was still around but was fast becoming a lost commodity. I remember seeing Porky's on a date and Big on a girls-night-out. Last movie I saw at a drive-in: Beavis and Butthead Do America. I fell asleep. Thus my drive-in experience went full circle.
Check this out... a retro drive-in intermission countdown, shown between the flicks of a double feature.
Ever made out in a movie?
Heck yeah. There were many movies during the summer of ‘82 of which I missed large plot points, thanks to a hot new relationship.
Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.
An Inconvenient Truth. Bad liberal! Bad liberal!
Ever walked out of a movie?
Once. A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy. But that was not so much about the movie as it was about the fact that my boyfriend and I wanted to go do some serious making out. I was 17 with ripe hormones. Go figure.
A small one. Coupled with milk duds. And a real coke.
How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
Does never count as an answer? All my movie viewing these days is done at home. Or on my iPod.
Last movie you saw in the theater:
I had to think about this one. Casanova, with Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller. Yes, it’s been that long.
Favorite/preferred genre of movie:
Comedy. Screwball. Romantic. Satire. Frat/Dude. You name it. If I can laugh, I love it.
First movie you remember seeing in the theater:
The Love Bug. Original recipe. I loved all those Disney movies of the '60s and '70s. There was a wit and sense of earnestness about them. And they all featured a cavalcade of stars that I'd seen on many a sitcom or game show: Joe Flynn (McHale's Navy!) Keenan Wynn. Buddy Hackett. Cesar Romero (The original Joker!). Hayden Rorke (Dr. Bellows!) Wally Cox (Underdog!) Dean Jones. Kurt Russell. Don Knotts. Good stuff.
Movie you wish you had never seen:
You know, I can’t even think of one. It must have been so bad that I blocked it out.
Weirdest movie you enjoyed:
Magnolia. More than slightly existential, it totally appealed to the lapsed English graduate student in me and baffled everyone else I saw it with. Might be time for a rewatch of this one...
Funniest movie you've seen:
Aside from Some Like It Hot and This Is Spinal Tap, I must say What’s Up Doc?, the underrated Barbra Streisand/Ryan O’Neal vehicle from the early 1970s. Directed by Peter Bogdonovich and featuring great performances from Madeline Kahn, Austin Pendleton and Kenneth Mars, it’s a screwball delight. And I laugh every single time I watch it, even though I know exactly what’s coming.
Your favorite movie of all time:
I don’t have only one. Cannot even begin to narrow it down. I simply love cinema.
Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater.