Professor Irwin Corey’s Latest Movie Quiz!


I eagerly await these quizzes – they’re always so terrific (and occasionally hard, too!) (Go check out Dennis’ site to see the answers from his commenters – a smart group of people, really fun to hang out there.) I answered in his comments section – but elaborated over here, so I won’t just be blabbing away on somebody else’s bandwidth.

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?

Breaking the Waves. I loved it the first time. Or thought I did. Imagine my surprise when I saw it a second time and realized that it was a piece of SHIT.

2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated

Even just looking at that makes me angry.

3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.

I love Cary Grant’s ad-libs which refer to his other parts in other movies, or just to himself. Like in His Girl Friday when he is trying to describe the character played by Ralph Bellamy and he says, “He looks like that actor – you know – Ralph Bellamy”. Or the whole “Jerry the Nipper” joke that starts in The Awful Truth and then is continued in the jail-cell scene in Bringing Up Baby. Katharine Hepburn tells the sheriff that poor David Huxley is ACTUALLY “Jerry the Nipper” – a criminal on the run – and David shouts at the sheriff, “Don’t listen to her, officer. She’s just making that up out of motion pictures she’s seen!” [Yes. And that motion picture would be The Awful Truth – starring you.] I love his self-referential humor. It’s an in-joke, I love it.

4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie

I have only seen The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus and I have to go with Black Narcissus because I adore nuns, and I adore Deborah Kerr – and nuns having nervous breakdowns due to sexual tension – with the Himalayas in the background? And Deborah Kerr in a habit? Please count me in.

5) Your favorite Oscar moment

The clip of the streaker running behind David Niven in 1974 is one of my favorite live-television moments of all time. Also – Niven’s brilliantly dry response to it:

Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings.

To come up with that off the cuff? Live? Genius.

I also think Russell Crowe’s acceptance speech was one my favorite speeches ever. He was very quiet and serious – and I remember this mainly: he spoke directly to unknown actors, people who want to do this crazy career – to keep going, not give up, don’t give up hope … he was humble and sweet, and I found it personally very inspirational.

6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?

Guy Pearce. I love Hugo Weaving too (especially in Proof which is when I first became aware of him) – but Pearce is more versatile, I think. Or at least he’s gotten roles that get to show more versatility.

7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it

The first thing that comes to mind is Maria Full of Grace. I knew OF those girls … but that movie delved into that whole world in a way that was truly eye-opening and horrible.

Another one that comes to mind is Children of Heaven – which was the first Iranian movie I saw, actually (Kate – member how much fun we had going to see that?) – and now I’m a huge fan of Iran’s films, and see as many of them as I can – but that one was the first. I ADORE that film.

Oh, and also Eiga Joyu. I saw this with my friend Ted in Chicago – and I’ve never forgotten it. A “biopic” if you will – about Kinuyo Tanaka, Japan’s first big movie star – a silent film star. Tanaka (and there is some footage of her films incorporated into Eiga Joyu) – was not mannered, or melodramatic. She was a true actress. Anyway, I knew nothing about Tanaka the woman until seeing Eiga Joyu, and now I’m SO glad I know about her. Maggie Cheung is incredible in the lead role.

Kinuyo Tanaka in “Dragnet Girl”

8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie

I’ve only seen The Big Red One – which was fantastic. It’s actually on the ol’ Netflix queue as we speak, cause I want to see it again.

9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?

Monica Bellucci

10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Strangely, Murder by Numbers is always a treat for me. There was a time when that was in constant rotation on some movie channel – and every time I surfed and tripped over it, I would stop and watch it. And every time I just lost myself in that story.

Also, if I’m having a blue day, and I’m channel surfing and I trip over The Cutting Edge – I then turn into the happiest girl in the world.

11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?

Forrest Gump. Sorry, I’ll stop bitching about my hatred for this movie someday.

12) Favorite John Boorman movie

I have a soft spot for Excalibur – which I saw at the age of 13 or 14 at Edwards (my RI friends will know what that means). But Deliverance is a great film.

13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?

I actually have never been a big Bruce Dern fan. I think he pushes too much (like in some of the final scenes in Coming Home where all I saw was a histrionic actor – rather than an angry husband). So I’ll go with Warren Oates.

14) Your favorite aspect ratio

I have never thought of this before, not really – but I suppose I need to go with the 4×3 Academy Standard one – and that’s only because most of my favorite movies (and, in my opinion, the best movies ever made) came from before 1950. I love the wide-screen too – and I get why it is superior, in many many ways – imagine some movies without it that wide-screen? Hard to do. But I’ll go with 4×3, just out of allegiance with my favorite oldies.

15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?

First of all, I love Truffaut. Let’s just get that out of the way. I think that to some degree what Truffaut says has always been true (if I’m understanding him correctly). Like – a good Howard Hawks movie has the stamp of Howard Hawks on it. You can TELL he directed it. The independent directors in the 1970s didn’t invent personal directorial stamp (although some of them THOUGHT they did). And I guess I think that nowadays – it’s NOT as true that movies resemble the maker. Not enough personal films being made – too diluted.

16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie

I am gonna have to go with Grizzly Man as my favorite at this present moment in time. It’s been almost a year now and I still cannot get that film out of my head.

17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts

For me, there can only be one:

18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?

Sandra Bernhard for this movie alone.

19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché

My favorite AND my most despised is the Slow Clap. Sometimes it is used to good effect and sometimes it is mortifying and you are embarrassed for everyone involved. The Slow Clap should be used very sparingly. For example, to my taste – it works very well in that last scene Lucas.

It’s a cliche, yes, but when it is done sincerely – and when the movie earns it – it can be great.

However: if you haven’t earned the Slow Clap? PLEASE don’t use it.

20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom– yes or no?

No. For one reason only.

I am a huge fan of this franchise – to this day – but I had a hard time getting past her – the character and the actress – and how she obviously was NOT the right “foil” for Indiana Jones. I wanted to smack her and tell her to shut the fuck up. Stop whining! Indiana Jones needed a Howard Hawks woman – which is what he got in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Classic old-school 1930s movie romance. I sat there, watching Temple of Doom, listening to that shrieking wench go on and on and on … and all I could see, like a desperate mirage, was …..

21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie

In a Lonely Place. Best Bogart performance ever. See it, if you haven’t. I wrote about it here.

22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated

I know Jeff Bridges is a big star and everything – it’s not like he’s suffering in obscurity – but I truly think he does not get the props he deserves. What props should he get? How about: Best American Actor Alive. THAT’S the prop I think he deserves.

23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television

Network – but I also love Broadcast News

24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?

Patrick Bauchau.

25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film

I think Grizzly Man is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?

This is one of my favorite questions of all time, and deserves a whole post. Arthur Penn speaks about the “happy accidents” that occur during making a film and that often those “accidents” are the moments people end up remembering the most. The medium of film is perfect for those accidental moments … if the director allows for it (and many of them do not).

The first thing that comes to mind is the moment when the guy at the table in Woman Under the Influence spills his entire plate of spaghetti into his lap. It looks like it HAD to have been an accident – I’ve seen it a bazillion times … and every single time I MARVEL at how … real it looks. His embarrassment is so silent and yet so palpable. It feels like it couldn’t have been planned. And if it was planned? Then it’s even more of a genius moment.

I have to think more about this – there are so many examples!!

27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie

28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?

Elizabeth Pena

29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)

I liked Godzilla’s tag line:


30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?

1. Know your field, please. If I sense a critic doesn’t have context, then it’s very hard to take him/her seriously. Their knowledge is shallow, they are dilettantes rather than experts.

2. The critics who know how to talk about acting – and what specifically an actor does that makes something good or not – are like GOLD to me. They’re rare, and I cherish those critics.

I spoke about my tastes in film critics here .

EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?

Nothing like a good movie. Be it Persona or Bring It On. If it’s good, it’s good. And that matters. To me, anyway.

Here’s a link to the quiz on Dennis’ awesome site.

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12 Responses to Professor Irwin Corey’s Latest Movie Quiz!

  1. Harriet says:

    The Big Red One! I’ve never seen the movie. But for long periods of time the Big Red One has been stationed at Fort Riley, and that’s where I’m from, so it always gives a moment of home-town pride and nostalgia to see it mentioned. I sure do miss Kansas.

  2. Sal says:

    I put mine up. Then I read yours. We share a mutual hatred of Gump.

    One great slow-clap moment: Strictly Ballroom.

  3. Sal says:

    Oh, and Shakespeare in Love. But it’s such a cliche.

  4. Jackie says:

    I adore Deborah Kerr, especially in a nun’s habit. Heaven Knows Mr. Alison is one of my favorites.
    Maria Full of Grace was for me too as you said, eye-opening and horrible.
    What makes me throw my tam in the air, Philadelphia Story. It makes me happy.

  5. red says:

    Jackie – Oh man, I so love Philadelphia Story too. What a perfect movie.

    Maria Full of Grace is one of the few movies that actually made me feel vaguely nauseous as I was watching it. The thought of those girls – swallowing all those pellets of cocaine – and … God, just the whole thing. It was totally intense.

  6. amelie / rae says:

    Sal — totally with you on Strictly Ballroom.

  7. JFH says:

    Wasn’t the “Slow Clap” invented by Lucas?… I can’t think of a movie that had it before.

  8. red says:

    JFH – hmmmm, that’s an interesting question. I think the “slow clap” came into being in the 80s but I would need to check my sources (her name is Alex). Alex: any SLOW CLAPPING in any movies before 1980??

  9. Hi, folks. If I may, although I can’t say with certainty that it originated here, my earliest and most cringe-inducing experience with the “slow clap” (not a venereal disease, thank you!) came not with Lucas in 1986, but instead in 1980 during the excruciatingly righteous conclusion of the Robert Redford vehicle Brubaker (directed by the recently deceased Stuart Rosenberg, who also made Cool Hand Luke and, alas, the original movie version of The Amityville Horror).

    Redford is a morally spotless, reform-minded warden who checks himself into a prison in order to experience the degradation and injustices suffered by the prisoners therein, so that he might be better informed to right all the various wrongs when he gets out. I don’t remember the circumstances that get him there, but after enduring the requisite beatings, and helping to reveal the secrets behind a series of murders as well (see, Brubaker finds out where the bodies really are buried), he ends up being marched out of the prison in full view of the prisoners on the yard, who by the end of the movie have become well aware of his golden intentions. They offer up what could be the original slow clap in honor of Sundance as he is led away, back to freedom, ostensibly to get working on turning this Southern-fried hell-hole into a right bearable institution of reformation, re-education and rehabilitation.

    The movie is passable melodrama, but neither the characterization nor the preceding events of the picture warrant such idolization of this twinkling do-gooder by these hardened murderers and rapists. It’s completely imposed on the movie by Redford’s desire to perpetuate the sanctimonious on-screen presence which would reach its nadir a few years later in Barry Levinson’s shockingly bad adaptation of Bernard Malamud’s The Natural.

    Jeez, Sheila, all I really wanted to do was stop by and thank you for participating in the quiz and, of course, for promoting it. There are few things that get me happier about my blogging experience than this little quiz tradition I’ve got going, because I so enjoy reading everyone’s responses. So far, I’ve gotten a ton of them, and they’ve all been just as entertaining and smart and funny and maddening (kind of like this comment) and juicy and provocative as the last one was, which I felt was the best group of answers yet given to one of these things. So thanks again! Between this and Don’t Look Now, I’ve effectively frittered away the time I was supposed to be spending at work having fun instead. Thanks for the chance to do just that!

  10. stennie says:

    Sheila, I saw your responses over at SLIFR and noticed that we had many answers in common, so I surfed on over to check out your blog. And here I found your recent movie meme, so I swiped that for some blogging material over at my site, which you can see here, if you’re so inclined:

    Always great to find another film fan out there, especially one who loves the classics as much as you do!

  11. red says:

    Dennis – hahahaha Your comments are always awesome. I have never seen Brubaker – but I am in awe of your ability to locate a pre-Lucas slow clap.

    If On the Waterfront was made today – Terry Malloy’s stagger-walk up to the dock door would be accompanied by a slow clap. The thought makes me shiver with repulsion.

  12. DAW says:

    I entirely agree about Temple of Doom. I remember ranting about that very thing when we left the theatre — how could they possibly have had a character like that as the female lead? They clearly didn’t understand their own “franchise”.

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