Every so often the mighty Dennis Cozzalio at the fab, recommended and much loved film blog Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Ruleputs up one of his awesomely film-nerd-o-riffic movie quizzes, and this time The National Film Board of Ivanlandia ain’t eatin’ no dust! We have joined the fray!
The Statute of Limitations is seven years, right? I hope I check before publishing this….
In the summer of 1986, our friends Cannon/Golan & Globus (come back, boys! We need your brand of entertainment again!) were using the campus of Pomona to film portions of the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling truck driver flick Over the Top (nope, I still haven’t seen it—and I have no intention to either—and to see it now after all these years would be like CHEATING, right? So I won’t. Sorry, Messrs Golan and Globus).
That summer, the last before I graduated and had to work even more for real—I stayed in SoCal, even experiencing being awakened by an earthquake! (Verrrrrrrrry minor, but cool! BTW, that summer I said “cool” so much that one of my roommates, Konan the Vegetarian, called me out on it. I was shocked, but afterwards appreciated his honesty. And since then, I do try and watch what I say.)
Working as the janitor/delivery man for the school bookstore (and part-time driver for trips to the museum or airport pick-ups for the college (thank Cthulhu for work-study programs! Jeez, do those things still exist?)) I was able to get away from the office and cruise aimlessly around the campus and town.
The Over the Top film crew had taken over much of the campus, and during one of my drive-bys, I noticed that one very important prop, the statue of the founder of the military academy that Pomona was standing in for, was left at the top of the stairs outside the old sociology building (also a location for the infamous and Ivanlandia-loved Massacre at Central High).
Now this wasn’t just any old Hollywood fiberglass statue of a college president: It was Emil Faber.
You’ve seen it; you know who he is—and it’s his head on the front of the Deathmobile in the climax of Animal House. In Chris Miller’s novelization of Animal House—very funny on its own, and not quite as “nice” (which I like!), there’s a brief scene at dawn the day of the parade, where the sight of the headless statue still on its college square pedestal is a bold portent of doom.
The statue was also zapped by the initial test of Val Kilmer’s laser in 1985’s Real Genius—also filmed at Pomona, including extensive scenes in what would become my freshman dorm, Harwood (where I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time in the dorm’s VCR).
And there the Statue of Emil Faber was: unguarded, alone, in an empty area, with absolutely NO SECURITY, except the campus rent-a-cops random-never cruises. At the top of the front stairs of a Roman-esque academic building with plenty of columns to hide behind. He’d returned to Pomona, and he was destined to stay.
I roped Konan the Vegetarian into a plan to nab it, and he agreed: We needed it more than anybody—we being AGS, our fraternity. The Fraternity. BTW, it is pronounced Ay-Gee-Ess. Never “Ags.” Blegh…
My attitude was we walk calm and cool, dumping it at the first sign of trouble, and heading in opposite directions. Konan suggested doing it early, just after dark, when two guys calmly walking with something large—like a goddamn statue!— might be interpreted as normal, as opposed to midnight when snoops would start asking pesky questions. I agreed, also knowing that I couldn’t hold out too long.
The film crew offered a meager reward for returning it, but a case of beer for THIS ARTIFACT OF COOL? Fuck you, man. That’s laughable. It’s Emil “Knowledge Is Good” Faber. Make a real offer or don’t make one at all.
According to THIS SITE, “The statue of Faber College founder Emil Faber with the Knowledge is Good motto on the base was a prop created specifically for the film.”
The rest of the summer it was in my off-campus room (the house we rented was owned by a cop, and was never entered by him and his pals—you bet we paid the rent on time, sometimes early), and when the college reopened and we could access our fraternity room (the basement of one of the dorms; Pomona’s fraternities were not allowed “houses”—not that that stopped anything), Emil Faber’s last residence became the kitchen of the AGS room. It was there for either five or eight years, rumor has it. Nobody called him Emil Faber, we renamed him “The General.” I heard that he either got smashed up by a FUBAR brother who should have known better, or that when the college outright banned fraternities for various infractions, and started cleaning out and disposing the rooms’ contents, The Founder of Faber College was tossed in the trash. Meanwhile, 1988 was the last time I saw Konan: After a heroic night of drinking where we picked up a woman on the deck of the Empire State Building, had tour guides yell at me cryptically, lost the woman to an Australian rugby team—then drove to outside Boston to crash at my aunt’s place before Konan headed north to the Maine Boatbuilding School, and points unknown….
Konan the Vegetarian: Where are you, brother? We miss you!
And now, let’s get on with Dennis Cozzalio’s “Professor Ed Avery’s Cortizone-Fueled, Bigger-Than-Life, Super Big-Gulp-Sized Summer Movie Quiz!”
[One final pre-quiz digression to put you in a goooood mood, Prof E: I don’t like Nick Ray’s Bigger Than Life. Okay, let’s start:]
1) Depending on your mood, your favorite or least-loved movie cliché
Least fave: The soldier showing the pic of his girlfriend before getting killed. When I saw this in Platoon, I knew the movie was going to suck.
YES! And I’m glad Stanley K. ditched Burgess’ 21st chapter: that ending is a cop-out.
6) Best/favorite use of gender dysphoria in a horror film
Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (a lame horror movie—not enough gore or violence—but a genius flick about being gay and in the closet, even from yourself) (I had to look up what “gender dysphoria” means…)
7) Melanie Laurent or Blake Lively?
Neither. Both are cute, but I hated Melanie Laurent’s character in Ingroppable Fatherless Children (why was she so mean to that nice sniper?); and while I know I’ve seen her boobs, I’m not even sure I’ve seen Lively in anything. (Oh, she was in The Town? Sorry, I didn’t like that movie.) 8) Best movie of 2011 (so far…)
I Saw the Devil(released in US in 2011) Followed by Insidious And I really enjoyed Thor. I brought no presumptions, and had a great time. (I’m a Kirby fanatic—his Galactus for my next tattoo? Perhaps, perhaps—but never read the Thor comic) I love the “Spectacle” of Hollywood product as much as anybody—as long as it’s done well. Just make a good action/sci-fi flick about Norse Gods in contemporary America dealing with cute civilian astrophysicists and weird spies. And they did: kudos!
9) Favorite screen performer with a noticeable facial deformity:
13) Movie most recently viewed theatrically, and on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming
As of June 4: Thor (in theaters) Sometimes a Great Notion (bootleg DVD—damn good movie, also available on Netfliclck Stsrzzeeming) Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (streaming)
14) Favorite film noir villain
Noah Cross (and don’t try and tell me Chinatown isn’t film noir)
15) Best thing about streaming movies?
It’s like how NYC TV was growing up—a huge variety of flicks of varying formulas and genres that you can watch 15 minutes, then fall asleep on the couch and not care if you see the rest of—but better: Because if you do like it, you can finish watching it. Heaven.
22) What actor that you previously enjoyed has become distracting or a self-parody?
Tie: Woody Allen/Sean Penn
23) Best place in the world to see a movie Inside my brain—where it gets FIXED
24) Charles McGraw or Sterling Hayden?
Pot-smoking madman, author and sailor Sterling Hayden. Did you know it was his “I sure picked the wrong time to quit smoking” line in the original Zero Hour that inspired Lloyd Bridges’ whole shtick in Airplane!? Add that to General Ripper (“pure grain alcohol…”) and Captain McCluskey? And that he blew off Jaws for tax reasons? Man, that’s a rumble nobody can cool.
25) Second favorite Yasujiro Ozu film
Only seen one, sorry, and that was I Was Born, But… Sorry…
26) Most memorable horror movie father figure
Jack Torrance, natch.
27) Name a non-action-oriented movie that would be fun to see in Sensurround
That was my original idea for the title of this blog, a sort of summation of nearly everything I'd ever wanted cinematically: regularly playing on the ABC Channel 7 4:30 movie--or on WOR-TV Channel 9's 4 O'Clock Movie--the greatest monster movie in the universe, and incredible combo of miniatures, men in suits and stop motion, with entire continents destroyed!
But then there was a coup d'etat, and Tzar Ivan I of Ivanlandia took charge.