Friday, December 30, 2011

new year's movie meme

The Girl with the White Parasol has posted a New Year's Movie Meme, which I thought would be fun to do. I write about books and television and lots of other things that come into my head, but my love of pop culture originated with watching old movies with my parents. These days I watch them with my daughter.

Feel free to pass on the meme or post your answers to the ten questions in the comments section.

Happy New Year!

1. What is your all-time favorite Grace Kelly costume?

The woman could wear clothes like few others, but my favorite is the first fabulous gown she wears in Rear Window, when she sweeps into Jimmy Stewart's apartment, and Hitchcock just lets her get closer and closer as she goes in for a kiss and fills the camera screen. The audience can't help but immediately fal in love with her. The dress is as wonderful as its wearer. It's the ultimate '50s glamour look, with cinched waist, full skirt, and accented with red, red lipstick and pearls.

2. What classic film would you nominate for a remake?

This is a tough one. I generally don't like remakes. It's not exactly a classic, but Dune might benefit from a remake. The David Lynch version is just gross and cheesy. With today's special effects it might be a pretty cool sci-fi film.

3. Name your favorite femme fatale.

Its hard to top Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessey in The Maltese Falcon. She isn't the typical voluptuous figure that we might first think of with the term femme fatale, but she uses her mind and her feminine wiles and leaves a trail of sorry males in her wake.

4. Name the best movie with the word "heaven" in its title.

Warren Beatty's Heaven Can Wait, with Steve Martin's Pennies from Heaven a close second.

5. Describe the worst performance by a child actor that you’ve ever seen.

I know people love this movie, but I'm not that fond of Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense (he's great in A.I.) I also can't stand the forced cuteness of Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire. It's less the kids' fault than the roles they play.

6. Who gets your vote for most tragic movie monster?

I think Irena (Simone Simone), from Cat People is the most tragic. She so wants to live a normal life and fall in love, but she can't deny her feline impulses and heritage. Violence stalks her.

7. What is the one Western that you would recommend to anybody?

I don't consider myself a Western fan, but thinking about this question made me realize that there are a lot of great Westerns for non-Western fans to enjoy. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is probably the one I would recommend to anyone, as the charming combination of Paul Newman and Robert Redford is hard to beat. But other non-traditional Westerns that are great movies are Bad Day at Black Rock with Spencer Tracy, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, comic western 4 for Texas with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and the recent animated Rango, featuring Johnny Depp.

8. Who is your ideal movie-viewing partner?

I've had many. My movie buff dad was my first. He let me watch everything — horror films, epics, gangster movies, epics. In my 20s my best bud Mary and I were great movie watching companions. These days I like watching my daughter discover Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and lots of other favorites.

9. Has a film ever made you want to change your life? If so, what was the film?

I don't think a specific film has made me want to change my life, but there are some that have had an almost visceral effect on me (A Clockwork Orange, Vertigo). Movies have always been a huge part of my life — watching, talking, and now writing about them.

10. Think of one performer that you truly love. Now think of one scene/movie/performance of theirs that is too uncomfortable for you to watch.

I love Gene Kelly, and although he had nothing to be ashamed of, Xanadu didn't need to be made.

11. On the flip side, think of one really good scene/performance/movie from a performer that you truly loathe.

It's hard to think of an actor or actress that I loathe — that's such a strong word. I'm not a huge fan of Christian Bale, but there's no denying he's good in the Batman films.

12. And finally, since it will be New Year's soon, do you have any movie or blogging-related resolutions for 2012?

I would like to write more in-depth, detailed pieces on some of my favorite films. I've actually just started to do that. My first one, On Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart, will run on January 2.
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