Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hallelujah! The April 2012 Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule Quiz!

Testing, testing—one, two, three…

Once again, it’s time for one of Mack-Daddy Dennis Cozzalio’s fab movie quizzes via his essential film blog, Sergio Leone & the Infield Fly Rule (sorry I’m late to the party)—this time it’s a quiz sort-of centered on nuns and religion—personally I could’ve used some more seriously religion-oriented questions—but I’ll be throwing some of my own questions into the mix later, so….
[Previous Ivanlandia entries into Sergio Leone Quiz Territory can be found HERE and HERE.]

Before we start—
One thing that really ticks me off about snarky, self-consciously hip flicks—and Todd Phillips’ Road Trip immediately comes to mind, but I’m sure there are others (mumblecore, I don’t trust you!)—is that they make a character an obvious and devout Christian for no other reason but to mock that person further, so stupid “crazy” things come out of the character’s mouth. It’s a cheap shot, and usually done without a point. The dickhead R.A. at the dorm from Road Trip doesn’t need to be a Xian just for more cheap shots.

And I like films that respect a person’s belief—it was such a breath of fresh air to have Keith David’s space traveler in Pitch Black be a devout Muslim, and that the film treated his devotion with respect.
I believe in respecting other peoples’ religions because I’m superstitious, and I like to hedge my bets.
However, I have a tattoo of Cthulhu on my leg as A) a memorial to my late stepfather, Keith Michael McMahon Lerner; and B) as a catch-all image to demonstrate my belief in The Big Weird Thing(s) OUT THERE Beyond Our Comprehension.

Personally, though, I do think monotheist desert religions are just lots of bad news—religions are fascinating to me overall because they are all mythologies, just stories—but some are still believed, however. And the desert monotheists just seem to want to start trouble…

I love the Japanese yokai concept, on the other hand, that there are spirits everywhere and in everything—and most of the time they don’t care about you. Ghosts and the supernatural ain’t always after you per se.
The indifference of the Spirit World is comforting to me…

And Now, from the wonderful Sergio Leone & the Infield Fly Rule,
Sister Clodagh’s Superficially Spiritual, Ambitiously Agnostic Last-Rites-of-Spring Movie Quiz:
1) Favorite movie featuring nuns
The Blues Brothers (visiting The Penguin!)
Ms. 45
But I much prefer it when nuns are used as a sinister background element, as in Michael Winner’s Death Wish, or (if I remember correctly) in Brian De Palma’s Sisters or the vastly underrated Exorcist III: Legion. The X-Files: I Want to Believe also used background nuns in a similarly sinister fashion.

Also, I really wish I could think of a porn movie where hot wenches were wearing latex nuns’ habits but I can’t remember any right now, as my porn collection ain’t what it used to be.
I do recall that Marilyn Chambers (RIP) was accosted by nuns in The Mitchell Brothers’ porn-classic Beyond the Green Door (1972), but I can’t remember if that scene was any good…

Ivanlandia’s Fave Pervo Comix About Nunz: The Convent of Hell

2) Second favorite John Frankenheimer movie
The Manchurian Candidate
First: (tie) Seconds/The Train
Third: (tie) Black Sunday/Ronin
Fourth: (tie) Seven Days in May/The Island of Dr. Moreau (a crazy, crazy, crazy movie that jumps the rails and doesn’t stop going—until it implodes: an unholy mess that I like very much. I saw this in the theater opening day, and I now own a copy of this outrageous movie. I also own Frankenheimer’s The Train—damn, that is probably one of the best action films ever made: they crashed genuine life-size trains! That’s madness! And awesome. Thank you, John Frankenheimer!)

3) William Bendix or Scott Brady?
Seen both in plenty of movies, but don’t know enough about either—
Maybe it’s a familiarity thing—had you asked “Geoffrey Lewis or Richard Jaeckel,” I might have an answer. (Jaeckel!)

4) What movie, real or imagined, would you stand in line six hours to see? Have you ever done so in real life?
Let’s see, on May 28, 1977, my parents and I arrived at the Loew’s Astor Plaza at 12:30pm to pick up tickets for the 2pm show. We were informed that 2pm was sold out, and that the line that went around the block—and the next corner—and the next—was for the 5pm show. We got tickets, got in line, and that’s when we saw Star Wars.

Annnnnnnnnd—I remember at first being really disappointed that there were no trailers before the movie! HA!
But once it started, that’s all she wrote.

That said, the only movies that I’d stand in line for six hours to see as an adult (can I be the only one in the theater, though? Please?) are imaginary films:

Stanley Kubrick’s The Wasp Factory
John Frankenheimer’s American Tabloid
John Milius’ biography of General Curtis LeMay (a movie he was actually trying to make for some time; I’d love to read the script!)
Sam Peckinpah’s The Hunger Games
Bruce Lee’s Ip Man
Otto Mannix’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Ivan Lerner’s Plutonium Hyperdrive

5) Favorite Mitchell Leisen movie
The “People Are Alike All Over” episode of The Twilight Zone (1960).
But otherwise, I am very completely unfamiliar with this director’s work.

6) Ann Savage or Peggy Cummins?
See #3 (although Cummins—heh-heh—has got a sweeeeeeeeeet tush! Love those tight cowgirl pants she wears in Gun Crazy.)

7) First movie you remember seeing as a child
The ones that stick with me—
If it wasn’t Attack of the Crab Monsters or George Pal/Byron Haskin’s The War of the Worlds on WNEW Channel 5 one Saturday afternoon, then it was Goldfinger on the ABC Sunday Night Movie.
In a theater for the first time, I know I must have been to others before this—we were a serious movie-going family—but I think it was either THX-1138 or The Andromeda Strain (I remember the big “601” projected on a screen).
Or else it was the late-1960s revival of Fantasia: I remember seeing the dancing mushrooms from a seat in a theater….

[We were/are a genre family, too: Mater enjoyed partaking in “New Wave Feminist Science Fiction,” like Anne McCaffrey or Ursula K. LeGuin, as well as works by Frank Herbert and Philip Pullman; while Pops dug the pulpy &/or druggy sci-fi and comic books: Robert E. Howard, R. Crumb and Jack Kirby could be found in his “mancave,” and he was a rabid fan of Clint Eastwood movies and horror flicks.]

8) What moment in a movie that is not a horror movie made you want to bolt from the theater screaming?
The, uh, climax of In the Realm of the Senses. Yeeeeee-OUCH!
True story: the first time I saw In the Realm of the Senses was at a revival theater in San Francisco in the late-1980s.
In the audience, for some reason, was a blind man.
The blind man did not speak Japanese, so he had someone whisper the subtitles to him!

It would have been annoying, but the whisperer was doing it so well: very sotto voce—that the sound of her voice was a relief in the more tense and unnerving moments in the flick, a sort of a distancing element.

Hmmmmm… It’s funny, while writing the preceding paragraph, I was actually reliving how I felt when I saw In the Realm of the Senses for the first time ages ago, not how I felt when I watched it a few years ago, after my career in porn had desensitized me to cinematic portrayals of uglies bumping.

With that later screening, I wasn’t shocked, and was even kind of bored by the sex scenes. “C’mon,” I’d yell at the screen. “Get back to the symbology about the ruinous effects of Japan’s past militarism!”

But that first time? With no real prep? In the Realm of the Senses was intense.

The movie that drove me out of the theater in sheer unrelenting boredom was Derek Jarman’s The Last of England. I was so happy when I willed myself out of the seat and walked out the door.

9) Richard Widmark or Robert Mitchum?
I refuse to choose between these two pillars of awesome.
See #3

10) Best movie Jesus
Kenneth Colley in The Life of Brian
2nd Place: South Park’s cartoon Jesus—he’s so sweet and awesome! “Happy Birthday to Me!”
3rd place: Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke

11) Silliest straight horror film that you’re still fond of
Roger Corman’s Attack of the Crab Monsters, natch.

12) Emily Blunt or Sally Gray?
See #3
(How about, Mimsy Farmer or Martine Beswick?)

13) Favorite cinematic Biblical spectacular
I’ll go old school here and vote for CB DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956).
But honestly, it’s been almost 30 years since I watched a “Bible Epic”—they used to be shown all the time on the old 4:30 Movie on NYC’s local ABC-TV affiliate; I remember they showed many of the Victor Mature biblical movies, like Samson & Delilah, and would repeat Robert Aldrich’s Sodom & Gomorrah all the time.
Both of those movies are deffo snoozers, BTW, but with great explosive endings. Sort of like The Bible itself…

14) Favorite cinematic moment of unintentional humor
You can’t beat the sun setting into the East in The Green Berets.

Then there’s Pacino’s juggling the speakerphone over his cocaine-covered desk in Scarface (but that actually could be in the flick intentionally).

15) Michael Fassbender or David Farrar?
See #3—but I’m really looking forward to Fessbender’s perf in Prometheus, as well as seeing the DVD of A Dangerous Method; and I did enjoy Mike F.’s Magneto in X-Men: First Class, and he was okay in Ingluutonis Bizturds.

16) Most effective faith-affirming movie
If you mean by that, the film that touched my soul as no other one has, and made me actually feel good to be part of the human race—not in any intellectual “I’m glad about civilization” way, but in a spiritual, “holy moly I’m glad to be alive way!”,
I’d say Lili.
Released in 1953, directed by Charles Walters, and all about fixing broken hearts, the supremely magical Lili starred Leslie Caron (very young and lovely), Mel Ferrer and a bunch of puppets. The film is a favorite of both John Waters and H.L. Mencken (Baltimore loves Lili, eh?), and has never been available for home viewing, except for a rare showing on Turner Classic Movies.

Charming and (bitter)sweet, Lili really gets under your skin—probably because like its main character, the film is guileless: perfect for melting cold, cold hearts.

17) Movie that makes the best case for agnosticism
Agnosticism means needing proof that there’s a deity—or deities—some sort of Supreme Intelligence, or Power Unseen, Prime Mover Unmoved, right?

Well these give proof of something moving its hand across the waters, as it were:
The Blues Brothers
The Ninth Configuration
The World’s Greatest Sinner
The Rapture
George Pal/Byron Haskin’s The War of the Worlds
Final Destination

And this second batch says, nope, there is no supreme being, it’s just us projecting our beliefs onto one another until we are all at each others’ throats:
United 93
Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Blue Collar (God is an illusion used by The Man to keep us in line)
Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue
Men Behind the Sun

I do like it when a movie takes a stand and says, “Yes, there is a God,”
but movies that reinforce a doctrine bug me—like The Exorcist or The Omen (so the Catholic Church is right? Yipes…), or Raiders of the Lost Ark (so there was a guy named Moses and these tablets are from a mountain where they were carved by the flaming finger of Yahweh?).

But I prefer my deities with a heap of mystery—
To think that something/-body that immense cares or even pays attention to us is pride at its worst.
I do believe in “God helps those who help themselves,” however, that hard work and Direct Positive Action will always trump prayers:
Only when you are doing everything you can to get something done, that is the time your prayers will be answered.
If you are not already giving 150%, then ain’t no chance of some supernatural ultraterrestrial sky cake showing up and rubbing some luck on you.

I believe (that’s what it always is about, right?) that there is a supernatural side to things; but for me, it’s stuff we haven’t discovered beyond a theoretical stage—like the fourth dimension, or alternate universes, or simply things we cannot yet see or hear because our senses can’t detect them—like the critters in From Beyond that “share” our space, for example.
Maybe our pineal glands do need to evolve some more…

Not that I ever turn down any good luck that anyone offers—I’m like Gordo Cooper in The Right Stuff when he's on his way to the big radar dish in the middle of the Australian outback; the native men ask Cooper if he wants any help. Sure, Gordo’s amenable: the astronauts could use all the help they can get.
While science has explained this away as mundane phenomenon, I like the movie’s interpretation that the sparks from the Aborigines’ fire ceremony took off through the atmosphere and into orbit to help out John Glenn’s capsule—that the old gods don’t look disapprovingly on man’s latest adventures—
They encourage us, we’re fun:
“Look Hera, the latest Ulysses has a new type of flying boat that goes so high!”

18) Favorite song and/or dance sequence from a musical
Dremble Wedge & the Vegetation from Bedazzled
"Uncle Fucka" from South Park
"Stay One Step Ahead" sung by Boris Karloff in Mad Monster Party
Christopher Walken’s number in Pennies From Heaven (1981)
The retelling of Uncle Tom’s Cabin {“The Little Cabin of Uncle Thomas”} in Yul Brynner’s The King and I—“Run, Eliza, RUN!”
That said, I am a big old softy for Singin’ in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz, as well.

Meanwhile, I think the scene with “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” from Bob Fosse’s Cabaret is brilliant and completely unnerving.

19) Third favorite Howard Hawks’ movie
Glad you asked for third, because like hell if I could figure out Number One.
As such, I’m copping out with a tie: Ball of Fire/The Big Sleep.

20) Clara Bow or Jean Harlow?
See #3

How about…
The Apostle or The Conversation?

21) Movie most recently seen in the theater? On DVD/Blu-ray/Streaming?
Theater: The Cabin in the Woods—reviewed HERE
Streaming: The Gate (1987)
DVD: Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixen (1979)

22) Most unlikely good movie about religion
Bad Lieutenant

23) Phil Silvers or Red Skelton?
Never liked that dipso Skelton; always loved Sgt. Bilko.

24) “Favorite” Hollywood scandal
Kirk Douglas raping and beating Natalie Wood
Robert Mitchum’s dope bust
Douglas Kenney’s “mysterious” death

25) Best religious movie (non-Christian)
Sita Sings the Blues,
Kung Fu Hustle (cameo by the Buddha!),
Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain,
and John Milius’
Conan the Barbarian. I’m serious.
Conan’s wonderful, neo-existential, very pagan prayer before the confrontation with Thulsa Doom and his goons:
“Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... So grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!”

Special Mention goes to Mustapha Akkad’s The Message for making the type of sentimental middle-of-the-road epic H’wood used to churn out, but this time it’s Islamic, and a biopic of the Prophet Mohammed, someone whose image can never be depicted!

Milius also provided us with the rousing adventure tale The Wind and the Lion, which is also very respectful (and supposedly very accurate) in its depictions of Islam.

26) The King of Cinema: King Vidor, King Hu or Henry King?
King Vidor made The Fountainhead—a great film;
King Hu made Come Drink With Me—a great film;
Henry King made Twelve O’Clock High—a great film;
and Stanley Kubrick is the King of Cinema.

27) Name something modern movies need to relearn how to do that American or foreign classics had down pat
Modern movies need to
make me think that the people behind the camera have emotional ages above 14,
and had read some books beyond what had been assigned in class.

28) Least favorite Federico Fellini movie
Y’know, I hate to say this, but I haven’t seen enough Fellini movies to come up with a “least favorite.”
Holy moly, me be am ignant! I just checked IMDB, and I’ve only ever seen two Fellini movies:
La Strada, which I’ll admit I love, and the
“Toby Dammit” sequence from the triptych movie The Spirits of the Dead—in which some idiot had dubbed Terence Stamp’s beautiful voice into Italian (!), but is still a necro-licious cinematic headtrip. So to speak…

29) The Three Stooges (2012)—yes or no?
Yes, but on DVD from the library for free. I’m sure if I pour enough booze down my gullet, I’ll laugh.

30) Mary Wickes or Patsy Kelly?
See #3

31) Best movie-related conspiracy theory
That Kubrick made 2001 as a run-up to NASA’s faking of the moon mission.

32) Your candidate for most misunderstood or misinterpreted movie
Now, there’s a difference between “misunderstood and misinterpreted,” and “controversial,” which basically means, “Some People Get It, And Some People Are Assholes.”
Now recognized as a classic, Peeping Tom was misunderstood and misinterpreted enough upon its initial release that Michael Powell’s career was effectively ruined.
And then the now-recognized-as-atomically-incredible Kitten With a Whip was a critical and financial flop that stopped writer-director Douglas Heyes’ film career in its tracks—afterwards he only worked in TV—and scared Ann-Margaret away from meatier roles until Carnal Knowledge, which maybe gave her the courage to return to Kitten With a Whip territory when she headlined Ken Russell’s Tommy.

Released in 1964, Kitten With a Whip is wonderfully sleazy, with excellent, crisp and stark B&W cinematography—probably greenlit as a mash-up of Lolita with Touch of Evil, it’s still overwrought campy madness with some beatnikilicious “hepcat” lingo peppered throughout that must’ve really zlorched some brains back in ’64. “You think you’re a smoky-something, but you’re really a nothing painted blue!” taunts our heroine at one point.

Speaking of Ann-Margaret, she is just… fantastically feral, pinballing from emotion to emotion, keeping the intensity level always above “8” and usually around “10.”
John Waters said that he and Divine would see this flick while tripping on LSD, and that explains a lot.

Kitten With a Whip is another flick that I’d known about for decades but hadn’t gotten around to seeing till recently—and am kicking myself really hard over that.

Other misunderstandings—
Personally, I cannot see why moviegoers worldwide didn’t love both Will Farrell’s Land of the Lost [reviewed HERE] or Johnny Knoxville’s The Ringer.
Both of these flicks were incredibly hilarious—for me, nonstop laugh riots. I was laughing so hard at one point during The Ringer that I had to stand up; my sides were hurting so much.

And that they’ve generated so much critical rage simply blows my mind. I could get why some might not like these two flicks, but yowzers! The hatred!
At Rotten Tom, LotL gets 27%—ooof!—and The Ringer? It lucks out with 40% (but that is 85 reviews as opposed to 181, so…).

I’ll also say that the Scooby-Doo remake is absolutely one of the funniest damn movies ever. I’ll also confess that I saw Scooby-Doo after about 24 hours with no sleep, and after about four or five hours in various coffee-shops in Amsterdam (RIP). So…

33) Movie that made you question your own belief system (religious or otherwise)
The Devils?
My evil twin brother Darth Mischievous had a monkey on his back and thought that by splitting town he could kick—HA!—and wound up couch-surfing in Chicago in the first weeks of October, freezing himself to death—anyhoot, it was a real low point in his life—and that’s when he watched Ken Russell’s The Devils on a crappy pan&scan VHS twice in a row, drinking a ton of whiskey to deal with the other pains, and he called me into the room and I got my mind blown—
This obscene movie was speaking such gut-wrenching truths! Government and organized religion will use whatever means to crush anyone in their path. Yeah, sure, I felt I knew that stuff before—but seeing it so brutally, ruthlessly, unashamedly displayed and portrayed on film WAS a revelation!
Not to mention that the film is essentially perfect—script, acting, direction, camera all working together perfectly—I could tell this even from a pan&scan tape, but it was still a joy to have it confirmed by a gift from Toestubber of the Spanish letterboxed DVD.

The Devils is still a great film.

Even earlier in life, I was taken to see Monty Python & the Holy Grail during its initial release in 1975—in the lobby was a model replica of the Trojan Bunny!—I was ten years old, already a fan of the TV show, and of course I thought the movie was funny from the very first frames.
But during the scene with Arthur and the Black Knight (“None shall passssss…”), something snapped—the spouts of gore were the funniest thing ever! I shrieked with laughter (like a leeetle gurl), but my mind was blown. BLOOD IS FUNNY. I was an absolute gorehound after that.

Since I was grumbling a little about Dennis C.’s questions before, I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is, and ask some questions myself…

QUESTIONS FOR READERS OF IVANLANDIA (and anyone just passing by)—

What movie would you time-travel back to attend the première?

Favorite non-Harryhausen film with stop-motion animation?

Favorite title sequence that isn’t Maurice Binder or Saul Bass (this can include TV shows)

Fave knife fight in a film—btw, you can include sci-fi cutting implements—

Second favorite Jerry Goldsmith score.

William Castle’s Vincent Price, or Roger Corman’s Vincent Price, or 1970s-“Phibes” era UK-based Vincent Price?

Albert Whitlock, or DouglasTrumbull?

When did David Fincher “lose it” for you?

The Apostle or The Conversation?

1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as an Old Testament parable—discuss:

Favorite Satan (or Lucifer, the Devil, Prince of Hell, etc.) from the movies?

[If people leave answers in the “comments,” eventually so will I…]

Religion 101 Summer Extra Credit Syllabus—
Other religious movies that should have been discussed but none of the questions herein really related to them (oh well…):
The Ruling Class
Citizen Ruth
Angel Heart
The Devil & Daniel Webster
Prince of Darkness
The Prophecy
The Devil’s Rain
The Great Yokai War
There Will Be Blood
Lord of the Flies (1963)
Q: The Winged Serpent
Altered States


  1. ONE
    What movie would you time-travel back to attend the première?

    A. I guess, The Devils, just to see the uncut version.

    Favorite non-Harryhausen film with stop-motion animation?

    A. Isn't it a given with King Kong (1933)?

    Favorite title sequence that isn’t Maurice Binder or Saul Bass (this can include TV shows)

    Uh... hard one. Mhhh, I'll say Enter the Void just because it's my stock answer.

    Fave knife fight in a film—btw, you can include sci-fi cutting implements—

    A. The knife fight that never happens at the observatorium in 'Rebel Without a Cause'

    Second favorite Jerry Goldsmith score.

    A. Imposibiru.

    William Castle’s Vincent Price, or Roger Corman’s Vincent Price, or 1970s-“Phibes” era UK-based Vincent Price?

    A. Ugh, this is a hard one, I love every movie that Price's ever been to, and you don't mention any of the ones I don't like, so I'll just go with a three way tie.

    Albert Whitlock, or Douglas Trumbull?

    A. Albert Whitlock

    When did David Fincher “lose it” for you?

    A. He never has, sorry.

    Favorite Satan (or Lucifer, the Devil, Prince of Hell, etc.) from the movies?

    A. The one in Haxan.

  2. Kudos for mentioning how awesome THE TRAIN is (and I do have it in my library and will tee it up once more because of this). I, too, would line up for 6 hours for Sam Peckinpah’s The Hunger Games and Bruce Lee’s Ip Man. As to your quiz:
    » Hmm... Casablanca.

    » Jason and the Argonauts -- I mean, sword fighting skeletons for Christ's sake!

    » Bullitt's opening titles by Pablo Ferro (witness here)

    » probably the climatic one in William Friedkin's The Hunted (2003)

    » that's a hard one, it's between Alien and Total Recall (Chinatown remains in first place). Pick 'em.

    » UK-based Vincent Price

    » DouglasTrumbull?

    » I'm probably in the minority on this, but Fight Club

    » The Conversation

    » watching Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness from Ridley Scott's Legend film is something to behold.

  3. Hey Gents (Jaime & Leopard, that is):
    LOVE your answers!
    I hope you don't mind, but in an effort to generate more responses, I'm going to take these 10 questions and use them to make a post focusing solely on them (I think they might get lost in a megapost like this).
    In that future post, I'd like to cut-&-paste your replies into the main text as well, along with my own (more-than-likely overly-verbose) answers.
    Hope that's okay with youse guys/thanks,

  4. I've fine with that, Ivan. Thanks.

  5. JG & L13:
    I’ve really enjoyed your writing and participation in these sort of things, and I’d like to cordially invite you (and your readers!) to participate in my (very genre-specific) blogathon quiz—my first!
    Please follow the link, thanks!

  6. i have a relative who just recently claimed he has the gene of his grandfather which was a natural born free mason. and this guy needs glasses to see but its ironic cause he see's visions and intense visuals on any psychedelics that would otherwise cause me and other to see mild hallucinations if any at all. i brought him to what he later refered to as a hot-spot with high energy found in certain places all over the globe. something had happened and me being some form of a prodigy with channeling energy, which he claims im an untrained shamman. but i have trained myself to handle and harness many forms of energy and energy awareness. i always called it "the flow". but anyways that first picture at the top of this page shows the only picture i was able to find of a being with close to 14 arms, for this guy claimed to have seen me having 14 different color arms that were long and ghost-like drawing energy from the earth. saying it looked like the arms were tapping into the ground around me. and at the time it was intense celestial energy felt to me, as a meditation sitting Indian-style. what was intresting was the energy i drew from the earth sling shotted him into the a what you can call a Free-Mason vision of some sort. where he was shot into the universe where he observed some bright orange nebula. i knew it would obsess my ego to hear him say that the next day i seek to know what mythology explains a being with 14 additional arms or soul arms i guess.