THE MOVIE LOVER QUESTIONNAIRE
Where did you grow up, and what was it like?
I grew up in many places. I’d lived in 5 different cities in 3 different states by the time I was 18. The most memorable town I lived in was probably Weirton, WV. I lived there from age 6-12 and it has ended up being the setting for several movies including The Deer Hunter (1978) and Super 8 (2011).
Was anyone else in your family into movies? If so, what effect did they have on your movie-going tastes?
My cousin Terry had a big influence on my early tastes. He introduced me to James Bond, Marx Brothers, King Kong, W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy, Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, and lots of classic Hollywood.
What's the first movie you remember seeing, and what impression did it make on you?
Bambi (1942). The forest fire scene really scared me. But it gave me my love of nature and my dislike of hunting.
What's the first movie that made you think, "Hey, some people made this. It didn't just exist. There's a human personality behind it"?
Oliver! (1968) The huge dance numbers by Onna White made me realize that someone thought that up and rehearsed it and made me appreciate how mass choreography can work to convey the different range of human emotions.
What's the first movie you ever walked out of?
Ishtar (1987). But only because I was on a date and my date wasn’t enjoying it. (Neither was I). I knew if we didn’t leave, the date was ruined. Plus the auditorium was freezing and the staff wouldn’t turn the air conditioning down.
What's the funniest film you've ever seen?
Too many to name: Airplane! (1980), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Also Murder By Death (1976), Animal House (1978), The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966), The Lady Eve (1941).
What's the saddest film you've ever seen?
The saddest film I’ve seen lately is Prisoners. It made me despair for our society and made me wonder why so many people these days think it is OK to work through their grief by hurting other people.
What's the scariest film you've ever seen?
The Changeling (1980), The Legend of Hell House (1973), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) gave me nightmares when I was a kid.
What's the most romantic film you've ever seen?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Casablanca (1943), Notting Hill (1999), Silver Streak (1976), Out of Africa (1985), The Way We Were (1973).
What's the first television show you ever saw that made you think television could be more than entertainment?
What book do you think about or revisit the most?
The Great Gatsby.
What album or recording artist have you listened to the most, and why?
The Beatles because they are brilliant and seem to have packed all range of human emotion and music into their career.
Is there a movie that you think is great, or powerful, or perfect, but that you never especially want to see again, and why?
Several. Requiem for a Dream (2000), Persona (1966), Passion of the Christ (2004).
What movie have you seen more times than any other?
What was your first R-rated movie, and did you like it?
The Gauntlet (1977). I remember the violence being way over the top to the point of absurd. But Sondra Locke’s naked breasts introduced me to a brave new world that I liked. I felt more of an adult after that.
What's the most visually beautiful film you've ever seen?
Days of Heaven (1978), Heaven’s Gate (1980), Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Who are your favorite leading men, past and present?
Past: John Wayne, Orson Welles, George Sanders, Walter Huston, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, Jack Nicholson, James Dean, Robert Redford, James Stewart, Sean Connery
Present: Viggo Mortensen, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Patrick Wilson, Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Bruce Dern, John Hurt, Jeff Bridges, Bill Murray, Ethan Hawke, Daniel Craig
Who are your favorite leading ladies, past and present?
Past: Bette Davis, Joan Fontaine, Donna Reed, Vivien Leigh, Teresa Wright, Lillian Gish
Present: Isabelle Huppert, Kate Winslet, Emily Mortimer, Eva Green, Miranda Otto, Kristen Bell, Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart (There! I said it!)
Who's your favorite modern filmmaker?
Terrence Malick. David Lynch, if he’d ever work again. Also Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater.
Who's your least favorite modern filmmaker?
Michael Bay or Zack Snyder. I can’t decide.
What film do you love that most people seem to hate?
Heaven’s Gate. It is not a perfect film but most of it is beautiful and brilliant.
What film do you hate that most people love?
I don’t hate superhero movies but I don’t understand the attraction either. It seems to be the same story over and over. CGI violence bores me to tears.
Tell me about a movie going experience you will never forget—not just because of the movie, but because of the circumstances in which you saw it.
Two come to mind:
1981: I got to see the reconstruction of Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) in a sold out screening at Ford Auditorium in Detroit. Carmine Coppola conducted the orchestra. It showed me how powerful and sweeping and entertaining a silent film can be.
2008: I saw Sergei Bondarchuk’s masterful 6 ½ hour version of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1968) in one marathon Sunday showing at the Detroit Film Theatre. It started at 12:30 pm and ended around 10 pm. The ticket included a Russian themed dinner in their cafeteria at intermission. It truly is one of the great epics of cinema.
What aspect of modern theatrical movie going do you like least?
The non-stop commercials before the movie. When did sitting quietly in the dark become such a bad thing?
What aspect of movie-going during your childhood do you miss the most?
Movies with overtures, intermissions, and exit music. Animated shorts before the feature. The General Cinema theme song.
Have you ever damaged a friendship, or thought twice about a relationship, because you disagreed about whether a movie was good or bad?
No. To quote Alfred Hitchcock, “It’s just a movie……..”
What movies have you dreamed about?
Heaven’s Gate. Every couple months I dream I am on location during the filming. I also sometimes dream of being at the prom in Carrie which is a real bummer because I never went to the prom.
What concession stand item can you not live without?
Popcorn and Sno-Caps