Which classic movie don’t you like/can’t enjoy and why?
I can appreciate the filmmaking of Goodfellas, and the character arcs and the detail of the camera work and plot. But I can’t enjoy this film because every character is so slimy and horrible. Why would I want to spend two hours with these people? There is nothing redeemable with this film. I had the same problem going into Raging Bull and I shut that film off.
Which ten classic movies haven’t you seen yet?
1. Raging Bull (see above)
2. Bonnie and Clyde (I avoid Warren Batey films for some reason. I haven’t seen Reds either)
3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof/Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?/A Streetcar Named Desire (although I have heard wonderful things about these films, long intense dramas about bad relationships just doesn’t draw me)
4. Cinema Paradisio/The Bicycle Thieves (I have no excuse for not seeing these classic Italian films. I hang my head in shame.)
5. Andrei Rublev (and every Tarkovsky film I watch makes it more difficult to get to)
6. On the Waterfront (Doesn’t look interesting)
7. Brief Encounter (I’ve had it on my shelf for months now. No excuse.)
8. Any of Romero’s “Dead” films (My wife and I have tried to get around to Night of the Living Dead. Just haven’t gotten around to it).
9. Army of Shadows
10. Cleo from 5 to 7
Have you ever sneaked into another movie at the cinema?
When I was a teen, I used to ask my mom for money for a movie, and then tell her to drop us off at the multiplex and we’d call her to pick us up late that night. She never mentioned anything wrong with it, so I figured it was okay. I haven’t done it since I was 15 or so.
However, it did cause one problem. In the summer of 1981, I was curious about the new blockbuster hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark. So I decided to sneak in and just get a glimpse. I saw some guy in weird headgear and they were opening a box. There were spirits moving around and then a scream… and then their FACES WERE MELTING OFF! I saw the climax of the film (sorry, did I not mention this was a spoiler?) and it so freaked me out that I didn’t want to see the film for months after. I did get my chance to see it on the big screen in the rerelease the next year.
Which actor/actress do you think is overrated?
Al Pacino after 1980. In the 70s, Pacino was brilliant, a genius. He could play a wide range and was a fantastic performer. Now, he has a lot of energy, but no finesse—so dull, so bad. Otherwise great movies are ruined by him, like Heat.
From which big director have you never seen any movie (and why)?
I have been working hard to catch up with the big directors I have missed. I recently saw a couple films by Johnny To and a trilogy of films by Ming-liang Tsai. But the one great director I am most distressed to have not seen a single film is Yasurjiro Ozu. I have had Late Autumn on my shelf for almost a year but never has the time been “right”. Sigh. I’ll get there.
Which movie do you love, but is generally hated?
I love The Emperor’s New Groove, which is often considered lesser Disney. But there is one film in my top 100 which is hated by almost everyone who sees it. Not just considered bad, but actually despised. That’s Terry Gilliam’s Tideland. I see it as celebrating the resilience of a creative child, but most people just see it as two hours of child abuse.
Have you ever been “one of those annoying people” at the cinema?
I rarely make it to the theatre, and I watch perhaps five movies a week on my laptop in my living room. My one habit that I have a hard time breaking is talking back to the movie. I don’t talk loud, sometimes I gasp or say “no” quietly… but I’ll do that sometimes in the theatre. I try to sit away from other people so as not to disturb them.
Did you ever watch a movie, which you knew in advance would be bad, just because of a specific actor/actress was in it? Which one and why?
I can’t think of any, but I would be willing to watch Hugh Grant in The Lair of the White Worm. If my daughter would be willing to laugh at it with me.
Did you ever not watch a specific movie because it had subtitles?
Um. No. Are subtitles supposed to be bad?
Are there any movies in your collection that you have had for more than five years and never watched?
I only started my DVD collection a few years ago. I’m a late bloomer. Take that as your confession, if you like.
Which are the worst movies in your collection and why do you still own them?
Probably the worst is Kill the Poor. I bought it because I thought the title and description was interesting and I didn’t think I’d see it any other way. Now it’s on Netflix instant. I wonder if I can give it away?
Do you have any confessions about your movie watching setup at home?
I already confessed it above. All my movie watching takes place on a laptop except for the few films I see in the theatre and the fewer films I see on a projector with my family at home. But The New World still stunned me with its beauty, although I deeply, deeply regret not seeing it on the big screen. Lawrence of Arabia, as well.
Any other confessions you want to make?
I don’t like sitting still for two hours straight, so I’ll often take breaks in watching a film. Sometimes I take a break because I’ve fallen asleep in the middle of a film—not due to me not liking a film, just because I was more tired than I realized. Occasionally I watch half a film, fall asleep, and then pick up where I left off a couple days later. Not an optimum viewing experience.