Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Movie Meme for You and Me but mostly...Me

"Shut up and deal."

The ever-delightful Rachel at Girl With the White Parasol has grown ever-deservedly more popular, reaching the enviable 50-follower mark. She's been tremendously supportive of my own blog and I'm thrilled she's been getting more blogosphere love lately! To celebrate, she's started a  New Year's Movie Meme, which I'm...gonna do, basically.

And here it is!

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

I hate to be what's called on the fancy-pants internets a "sheep", since I'm sure many are going to pick this one, but you really can't beat the first number she wears in Rear Window.

Scan compliments of Doctor Macro

This Edith Head piece is not only my favorite Grace Kelly dress or favorite movie dress ever, but my favorite dress, period. I would wear that thing every which way: to the movies, a fancy restaurant, eating cheetos in bed....

And this is why I can't have nice things.

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

I've expressed my disappointment in the 1967 version and speculated about what a '40s cast would have been like here, but I also wouldn't mind a modern take on Far From the Madding Crowd. Whether made at Merchant-Ivory or Miramax, whatever, if in the right hands it could be great (does Merchant-Ivory still make films? God, I suck at film buffing sometimes). So long as Colin Firth plays Boldwood, I'm down.

I really don't know who could play Bathsheba, though. I'm not seeing Gemma Arterton. I love Catherine Zeta-Jones, but you need someone more naive. Who's a striking brunette Brit in her early twenties who could do it these days?

3. Name your favorite femme fatale.

At first I was vacillating back and forth between Gene and Veronica, but Lauren Bacall's autobiography is basically what started me on the genre. So Baby gets it.

Again, compliments of Doctor Macro. I love this site. Love.

Although technically, does she really count as a "femme fatale?" I mean, she's got the smoky noir vibe down natch, but she's almost always revealed to be the palsy dame with a heart of gold. Still, you can't beat her style. And I will always refuse to believe she's about five years younger than I am in that picture.

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

Even though I haven't seen it the whole way through yet (my life is riddled with half-finished books and movies, the fate that befalls those with attention spans of gnats), but I'll still give the nod to the forebodingly euphoric Heavenly Creatures from 1994.

Just in case Titanic makes you forget Kate Winslet can act, or Lord of the Rings makes you forget Peter Jackson can direct anything but blockbuster epics, see this. Disturbing, erotic, touching, beautiful, and terrifying.

Plus, it introduced me to Mario Lanza's "Donkey Serenade."

That's it, I'm watching the rest of this movie tonight. It's on Instant View, and there's no freaking excuse.

5. Describe the worst performance by a child actor that you’ve ever seen (since Laura gave me the idea).

Durr hee, kindly Rachel refers to my post, yup! The absolute worst? Well, I almost put Kenny from Gamera, but on reflection, that might have more to do with the awful Sandy Frank dubbing than anything else ("Gamera has a good haht!). And also, people don't mean to be obnoxious, it's just that they're all screwed up inside.

So I'll go instead with the twerpy, dimply, monstrous little shrub from the otherwise fascinating 1932 pre-code flick Three on a Match: Buster Phelps as Robert Kirkwood, Jr.

There's nothing that wasn't wretched about him: his constipated little voice screeching away, the urpy expressions, and if you're gonna cast Warren William in your movie, play up his stiff coldness, don't try to make him act like a loving father--not to this imp from hell. I saw this movie after reading FlickChick's apt write-up over at A Person in the Dark. She warned me of Phelps. Wise woman.

But hey, at least an evil Humphrey Bogart gets to menace him a little. Heh heh.

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

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: The Mummy. He's got the lost love, the tortured burying alive scene (which in the Hammer version involved getting his tongue cut out), and then walking around decaying and repulsive to the very vision of the woman he done got tortured for. If those aren't the makings of an epic blues song, what is?

"When you lose your lover you also lose your heart, and my dear, that's when your teardrops will start...."

Also very close in the running were both Andre Delambre and Seth Brundle from the two versions of The Fly now that I've see both, the ever bumbling, well-meaning Frankenstein Monster, and King Kong. 

Poor little guys. Just because they're different!

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

Gah! Westerns. Um. John Ford's 1960 Sergeant Rutledge, I guess. Not because it's a good movie (which it isn't), but Ford combines a lot of interesting elements that you might not expect from a Western: race issues, sexual obsession, a murder mystery, courtroom drama. None of those are particularly well done, what with Woody Strode's titular African-American sergeant used more as a silently suffering symbol than an active presence in the movie, and Billie Burke's tone-deaf comedic performance. But fascinating, nonetheless.

8. Who is your ideal movie-viewing partner?

Someone with my dad's infectious laugh and knowledge of movie trivia, my mom's empathy for characters, my squeamishness (so they don't make fun of me), and someone with a calming aura if scenes get too tense.

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

Toni Morrison books have, but I don't know about any particular movies--maybe if I ever saw the film version of Morrison's Beloved, that'd be it.

(Okay, I might have secretly toyed with the secret idea of becoming an FBI agent after watching Silence of the Lambs when I was younger. But deep down, I knew I'd never be able to do a pull-up, much less shoot a maniac wearing women's skin in a pitch-black basement).

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.

When Groucho is forced to be genuinely kind to Kitty Carlisle in A Night at the Opera. You know the scene in her cabin where she's crying and he gives her the note from Allan Jones and she actually...hugs him? I plug my ears and turn away every time.

Speaking of which....

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

The smarmy Allan Jones does a good job of disappearing into his beard and being funny with the rest of the lads when they arrive in America in A Night at the Opera, so bully for him, I guess

That one scene is almost enough to redeem that close-up of his face singing "Alone" on the dock. Granted, he's not as funny as Harpo with the glass of water. But he doesn't embarrass himself, I guess is what I'm saying.

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

Just watch more movies. I've been crazy busy this year, and too exhausted to fully commit to watching all the flicks I should. And the more exposed I am to fabulous blogs such as Rachel's, I realize how far behind I am on a lot of classics.

I haven't seen National Velvet yet! What's wrong with me?!

P.S. I don't know how to change the font in blogger, so that's why when I copy and pasted Rachel's questions over, sometimes my font jumps to her style and then back to mine. Um, sorry for the disorientedness. Blame Blogger for confusing the weak-minded. Yeah, not my fault AT ALL.

P.P.S. Never mind. I totally figured it out. I'm on top of things.

P.P.P.S. Happy New Year.


  1. Most entertaining answers! I agree that HEAVENLY CREATURES is a disturbing, compelling film (and one that many film buffs haven't seen). Years later, I finally learned that one of the girls became the best-selling mystery writer Anne Perry.

  2. It's a fascinating, morbid story. I find it endlessly surprising how a person can "bounce back" from an event like that, like Anne Perry did. That is, if what she did ever really sunk in and and hit home.

    Thank you for the comment!

  3. That dress might be my favorite Grace Kelly costume, too, although I keep vacillating. I also just really, really want her negligee from that film too. And I loved your description of your ideal movie-viewing partner.

    Glad you decided to do the meme.

  4. Oh man, I totally meant to mention the negligee as close runner-up. All her outfits were just insanely gorgeous in Rear Window. I mean, really.

    Glad you decided to start this meme! Oodles of fun.

  5. Nice answers! You're right about Lauren Bacall - I love her but I don't really think she was a femme fatale. I mean the woman dripped film noir but as you said, she always had the heart of gold. I still adore her. Her autobiography is one of my favorites!

  6. Rianna, thank you for your comment! Isn't her autobiography great? She does such an excellent job of putting you in her shoes, which is amazing, given how aloof and unattainable her image often was, even with the whole heart of gold thing.

  7. hah! I'm not the only one to pick Heavenly Creatures! Woot!

  8. Hee, I just made the same comment on your blog! I finally watched the whole thing, too. Damn, that was a whole lot of weird and excellent and insane and great.