Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Let’s Play Twenty-One “Favorite That’s Not” Quiz Questions! (and then three bonus opinion questions at the end)—

Great fun instigated by Lerner International Enterprises. LIE's questions and my answers follow:

1.) Favorite Warren Oates perf that’s not in a Peckinpah or Monte Hellman movie?

An incredible character actor who often outshined the leads, you would think Oates was born gritty and mean, like he appeared to be in so many standout roles. But he could be so endearing and charming too. His spot on turn as the rightfully protective father in BADLANDS is so well played, it's really a respectful answer. And as the drill sergeant in STRIPES he often steals Bill Murray's show. But just the mention of Oates makes me want to re-watch rednecksploitation classic DIXIE DYNAMITE. That's my final answer. Now, the Warren Oates movie that's on my 'to watch soon' list is BARQUERO, a Hollywood spaghetti western with Oates as a dastardly outlaw and Lee Van Cleef as the ferry man who stands in the way of Oates and his gang's escape to Mexico...

2.) Favorite Spaghetti Western not directed by Sergio Leone?

DJANGO! It's DJANGO! DJANGO is the best!!! Director Sergio Corbucci delivered a nasty, mean, gritty, wild, transgressive and fantastical rendition of the western hero and mythology. Note, production designer Carlo Simi did the dollars films too, but here you have a town drenched in mud and a hero who drags a coffin around. Great theme song too (thanks Luis Bacalov and Rocky Roberts). See it in Italian if you can.

3.) Favorite John Ford film that’s not a Western or set in Ireland?

I dunno. Are any worth watching? Is MOGAMBO any good? (Judging by the poster it's got an ape in it so you would think at least a little bit). I kinda dig some of Ford's westerns, but often find his films stilted and stylistically bloated. ...   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uv_WGEHr4I

*Lemme cheat here. The guy who said THE GRAPES OF WRATH is right. That's a great movie.

4.) Fave Zapata Western not Duck You Sucker!?

Damiano Damiani's A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL (QUIEN SABE) is one of the very best. It is a rollicking, anarchic, wild ride, with all the political trappings you expect from a ZW. And what a cast! Gian Maria Volonte, Lou Castel, Klaus Kinski (!), and Martine Beswick. I also highly recommend THE MERCENARY and COMPANEROS, both essentially the same story, and both directed by Sergio Corbucci.

5.) Favorite Clint Eastwood-directed film that’s not Unforgiven or Play Misty for Me?

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES. I always want to watch that one. Chief Dan George rules. Now, if only Aimee Eccles was in it. Considering her performance in LITTLE BIG MAN, she could've been Little Moonlight, not to knock Geraldine Keams, who was really good in the role, and is Navajo. Actually, I just wanted to show a clip of Eccles:

6.) Favorite Don Siegel film that’s not Charley Varrick, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Dirty Harry?

It's been so long since I've seen it, but I remember really liking HELL IS FOR HEROES. Speaking of CHARLEY... CLICK HERE! And has anyone read the Charley Varrick source novel?

7.) Fave Ken Russell film that’s not The Devils, Tommy or Altered States? 

I haven't seen enough of the others, but am going with THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, and also adding how much I love that silly bit at the end of CRIMES OF PASSION.

8.) Fave WWII gore/intensity/nastiness, that’s not Saving Private Ryan or Come and See?

I don't have a 'favorite' in this genre, but for sheer disturbing nastiness, I'd say MEN BEHIND THE SUN hands down. I did like the realistic battle scenes in THIN RED LINE. Hey, uh, you asked for it...

9.) Fave “Savage Cinema” that’s not the original Straw Dogs or The Last House on the Left?

Okay, the definition of 'Savage Cinema' comes from this link in LIE's review of WAKE IN FRIGHT.  I don't know if this qualifies, but I'm going with the incredibly bizarre BAD BOY BUBBY!

But I guess a perfect example of 'Savage Cinema' is the uber-offensive FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE:

And has anyone else seen SONNY BOY?

I would say the Italian crime film ALMOST HUMAN, featuring Tomas Milian's tour de force perf as the most savage criminal ever, might count too:

Certainly CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE WILD BUNCH and ROMPER STOMPER qualify, but we've all seen those, at least the first two, which are canonized.

10.) Fave conspiracy film that’s not Oliver Stone’s JFK or Alan J. Pakula’s The Parallax View?

WINTER KILLS is probably the most obvious choice. It's so weird, and kind of fragmented as I recall, that's why I think it probably gets runner-up to the more classically concise, yet conventional PARALLAX. But I like MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE better. I mean you got a great fight scene with Henry Silva (thanks Bruce Tegner):

However, if MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH can count as a conspiracy flick, that would be my favorite!

11.) Fave Left-Wing director that is not Michael Moore, Costa-Gavras or Oliver Stone (not that I consider Stone genuinely left-wing; I think he’s more of a sleeper-agent selling discount rebellion to moviegoers)?

Alex Cox. Gotta also agree that Pontecorvo is tops in this game considering BATTLE OF ALGIERS and BURN. But higher on my list is Sergio Corbucci for his zapata westerns and overall pessimistic, anti-establishment themes. Not sure if Corbucci considered himself left wing, and I don't think he was sympathetic to 'the younger generation' of his time, but he was definitely subversive via mainstream channels (e.g. commercial movies). He made this crazy western THE SPECIALIST that had a gang of pot smoking hippies.

12.) Favorite screenwriter not William Goldman, Billy Wilder, Robert Towne, Ernest Lehman, Charlie Kaufman or Quentin Tarantino?

Gotta give high praise to Jack Moran for FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL (go to link and read what Meyer had to do to get Moran to finish the script). The dialogue and opening alone are brilliant!

Though I guess he's not prolific enough to count, and I can't say I really have a favorite screenwriter. I need to learn more about the writers. This guy is a legend I believe, and deserves reverence for 

13.) Favorite alien not designed (or based on a design) by HR Giger, or that is the extraterrestrial from John Carpenter’s The Thing?


Also a big fan of...

And gotta give mad props to this creepy creature:

14.) Favorite Biker Movie that is not Easy Rider, The Wild One or The Wild Angels?

The first couple biker flicks that come to mind are grade z wonders: Al Adamson's SATAN'S SADISTS and H.G. Lewis' SHE DEVILS ON WHEELS.

The more low budget and independent an exploitation film is, the more room there is for transgression and subversion, not to mention violence and mayhem, and these two films have em in spades. But I'm gonna take this opportunity to focus on a, well, an unusual biker movie that I finally saw after searching for years: KILLERS ON WHEELS (it played NYC grindhouses in the early 80's as KARATE KILLERS ON WHEELS). In classic Hong Kong fashion this film goes extra over the top in its super mean and violent tale of rich double daters terrorized on a secluded resort island by a gang of delinquent bikers (the most cinematic kind of bikers). KOW gets pretty brutal, not unlike the aforementioned ALMOST HUMAN, and with its class war theme, also serves as another example of 'savage cinema.' Ridiculous and a bit campy, but also harrowing and disturbing. The whole movie is on youtube in Mandarin with French subtitles. Here's the opening for a taste:

15.) Favorite robot not from Forbidden Planet or the Star Wars movies?

Yul Brenner in WESTWORLD is a good one (great concept and casting), but let's go with Amy Yip in ROBOTRIX!

There's hubba hubba and super chop sockey action all rolled up into one movie.

16.) Fave “one-shot wonder” (solo directing credit) that’s not The Night of the Hunter?

Herk Harvey for CARNIVAL OF SOULS. He made industrials, but this was his only feature. Just saw it again recently at the Jersey Loews. It's great on multiple levels: as a horror film, an independent production, and an experimental work. And it's super creepy, well shot and atmospheric.

17.) Fave car chase not in a Philip D'Antoni film (and not everybody choose 1971’s Vanishing Point, please!)

Probably the one at the end of this movie. For good car chases also check out 70's Italian crime films (for example, the opening to Enzo Castellari's HIGH CRIME), and the original GONE IN 60 SECONDS.

18.) Fave religious film not based on a characters or a story in The Bible?

I guess that rules out HOLY MOUNTAIN. Does NIGHT OF THE HUNTER count here? How about THE SHAOLIN TEMPLE, or better yet, THE BUDDHIST FIST?

19.) Fave Disaster Movie that’s not The Poseidon Adventure?


20.) Favorite Spielberg film to hate that’s not Hook?

I only saw the trailer to LINCOLN and hated it. I liked DUEL and INDIANA JONES (quite a bit actually), and enjoyed parts of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, but for the most part I abhor his films. He's the blame for a lot of terrible in cinema. A good example is SUPER 8, which was so clearly a Spielbergian wannabe. It started off pretty good, but soon degenerated into insufferable cornball, in the exact same way his films usually do. For the record, I think JAWS is pretty boring.

21.) Favorite Giant Monster that’s not Godzilla or the 1933 King Kong? 

Oh, see above where I mentioned MONSTER ZERO.

English-language movie that blows your mind, that no one knows about, that’s hard to see, that you want to get on a rooftop and shout about:

There's a quote, not sure who said it, that goes something like, "With its victory over the mainstream, the avant-garde has ceased to exist." Check this out, just a few years ago this band in Thailand, apparently made up of ex-pats and a local spunky yet sultry singer covered the super obscure 60's garage fuzz monster "Nothing Can Bring Me Down":

The point is, with the rapidly accelerating hyper media and globalization, there is little left uncovered these days. I have often proclaimed THE TODD KILLINGS (based on a true story that inspired other wacky movies DEAD BEAT and THE LOST) as an obscure, yet groundbreaking gem. Now you can get that through Warner Archives. I definitely want to herald the cool greatness of Tom Schiller's NOTHING LASTS FOREVER. It's an amazing amalgam of old school Hollywood-style cinema and pop art madness, with a little sci-fi and a healthy dose of surrealism thrown in for good measure. This film really deserves to be seen, especially since the studio never really released it! Now, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube!!!

And I have shouted from my proverbial rooftop about the above mentioned MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH for years. It's on youtube in parts. Dig this beat-up looking trailer with sensationlistic voice-over:

I want to hear about other worthwhile films that are even harder to see these days.

Foreign-language movie that blows your mind, that no one knows about, that’s hard to see, that you want to get on a rooftop and shout about:

I saw the opening sequence of the third installment in the Japanese 70's transcendent based on a WIP manga exploitation series SASORI (SCORPION) on cable TV in Taiwan, and it blew me away, read more about that here. A few years later got to see the second installment in that franchise on the big screen: FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION: JAILHOUSE 41. It's the ultimate hysteric, fantastic, violent, outre genre cult film, what with it bad girls, violence, kabuki looking surreal set pieces, can't recommend it enough to fans of mean and wild cinema.

PIXOTE, about Brazilian street kids, featuring real urchins, and the star was later killed by policemen in real life, might be one of the most heart wrenching films I've ever seen.

Similarly bleak and devastating portrait of childhood in a strife-ridden country is the Georgian film THE OTHER BANK.

An mesmerizing  surreal journey that got the director jailed for political subtext is the Iranian film THE WHITE MEADOWS, a tale of a man who travels form Island to Island collecting people's tears.

NOT FOR OR AGAINST (Ni pour, ni contre)  is a great, slick, tight French crime thriller / neo-noir heist flick about a pretty young camera woman who gets caught up with a gang of small time thieves. Don't ask her what time it is when these guys are around....

Everyone should take a look at super ahead of its time Japanese silent film A PAGE OF MADNESS for its wholly original narrative technique.

Exploitation squared: There are a couple mean spirited Hong Kong genre films that I'd love to see get a proper video release so I can enjoy them in better than bootleg quality. Saw both on the big screen of Chinatown movie theatre's in the early 90's and was blown away. Frankie Chan's BURNING AMBITION is a Hong Kong crime / action flick replete with amazing kung fu fights, plot wise it's basically a modern day reworking of Kinji Fukasaku's THE YAGYU CONSPIRACY. Wait till you see what happens with broken glass, or that pregnant woman. BLOOD RITUAL is the nastiest, sleaziest amalgam of Hong Kong ultra-violent, fast paced action, cult horror and sexploitation ever. In my alternative universe, it gets a deluxe blu-ray release.

LINDA, LINDA, LINDA is easy to see, but I'd shout about it from the same school rooftop where that husky voiced girl in the movie sits.

Do checkout these Japanese films MOON AND CHERRY, and YURIKO'S AROMA both starring brilliant character actress Noriko Eguchi, and both hilarious tales of corruption via perverted indulgence.

I'm sure I can list a lot more...

Fave “personal apocalypse” ending to a film, with the protagonist shattered, staring ahead dead-eyed:

The ending (that devastating last shot especially) of Truffaut's THE 400 BLOWS is the first one that comes to mind. Such a marvelously painful coming of age movie, this final moment feels so bleak, so real, and fantastic at the same time. Three classic 'road movies' all include breakthrough, cathartic, personal apocalypse endings: TWO LANE BLACKTOP (one of the best, smartest, most economically innovative endings to a film ever), VANISHING POINT, and of course the super stupid, but flabbergasting DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY. And a big vote for one of my all time favorite films, THE HARDER THEY COME, when Ivan Martin faces off against the army and recalls (via flashback) seeing DJANGO at the Rialto. "Who's the big man, who can draw? One bad man!"

APPENDIX colon RIGHT BACK AT YA! More 'Favorite that's Not' questions from ZZC...

1) Favorite revenge movie that's not POINT BLANK, GET CARTER, or ROLLING THUNDER:

2) Favorite martial arts movie that doesn't star Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Lee, Sammo Hung, Gordon Liu, Donnie Yen, or Tonny Jaa (Chuck Norris and Steven Segal films don't count):

3) Favorite post-apocalyptic movie that's not part of the MAD MAX franchise:

Special question for those of us that dislike John Wayne but love westerns:

4) Favorite John Wayne movie, even though I hate him, that's not The Searchers:

5) Favorite wacky musical that's not HEAD:

6) Favorite soundtrack composer that's not Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, Lalo Schifrin or Henry Mancini (and no need to say John Williams either):

7) Favorite special effects make-up artist that's not Rick Baker, Lon Chaney SR., Tom Savini, Dick Smith, Jack Pierce, or Carlo Rambaldi (I think this one is really hard):

8) Favorite Sam Fuller film that's not SHOCK CORRIDOR, PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET, or THE NAKED KISS:


  1. Cool! More to come. As you see, it's not complete as of yet...

  2. SqDave: You've given me plenty here to hunt down (or force you to show me). Some of these flicks I'm kinda scared of seeing...
    Linda Linda Linda rules!
    And your answers to Bonus #3 are eye-openers/brain-kickers: how the fuck could I have forgotten the end of The 400 Blows?
    Great stuff--gonna work on your quiz soon...
    Ivanski of LIE

  3. Your quiz has been ANSWERED!!!

  4. Replies
    1. Can't wait for your answers!
      Finally watched Almost Human: yeeeeeeow, what a bummer!
      And I love the trailer for Sonny Boy!