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Liebster Award

Summer Reeves at Serendipitous Anachronisms has nominated me for a Liebster award.liebster-award

There are a few rules:

  • Answer my nominator’s 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 additional bloggers
  • Ask 11 questions to my nominees
  • Share 11 additional facts

Click “Continue Reading” for my answers, nominations, and questions…

Summer’s questions (my answers in italics):

1. What movie have you seen more times than necessary? There are a lot of ways to answer that. I certainly could choose Evil Under the Sun (see #8) because I’ve seen that movie more than any other. Or, I could choose a movie like Sorority Boys, which I’ve seen only once, but that one viewing was one more than necessary. I could have gone my whole life without seeing that movie, and I wouldn’t have missed anything worthwhile. Then, there are a few movies that I didn’t like the first time, but, for some mysterious reason, watched again. These include Tomboy and Making the Grade.

2. What movie scared you? I’m not really scared by movies, perhaps because I’m always conscious that they’re fake. When I was about five, however, my dad showed me a British farce from the 1950s called The Green Man. In the movie, a character hides a body in a piano. Later, another character attempts to play the piano. When he goes to investigate why it’s not working, the body’s arm flops out. Now, I can watch the movie and appreciate how the scene is played for humor, but, when I was a child, I would have nightmares about that flopping arm. The movie is available on YouTube, the arm-flopping happens at about 31:45. https://youtu.be/A2z0iz3Q1Uo?t=31m39s

3. What book do you wish they would adapt or re-adapt to cinema? I’m sure that I could come up with dozens of movies if I let myself think about it. Off the top of my head, I would like to see a more straightforward adaptation of Vampire Academy. The writer and director clearly had no respect for the original material and tried to create a camp comedy out of something that was neither camp nor comedic. The film failed dismally at the box office. Maybe it could do better in a few years when it doesn’t seem like a shameless effort to capitalize on the success of Twilight. Also, I would be interested to see a remake of one of my favorite movies of the 1930s, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, based on a dry colonial memoir. Our feelings about the project of colonialism have radically changed in the last 80 years, and I would like to see how the story would be altered to reflect that. I would hope, too, that the filmmakers could avoid didacticism, but that might be too much to hope for. Two series I would like to see adapted for visual media would be The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, by J.R. Ward, and the Cut & Run series, by Abigail Roux. For the former, the special effects needed might make it cost-prohibitive. The latter would make an interesting series, either as TV movies with one covering each book or as a regular series based on the characters. I could see it working on the Logo channel.

4. Are there any forthcoming films or TV shows you are excited about? I haven’t been excited by upcoming movies in a while. The films being made now are, in general, not interesting to me. I find that the best stories are being told on television. Of the fall shows, I’m cautiously awaiting The Bastard Executioner, created by Kurt Sutter. I became disenchanted with the direction his last series, Sons of Anarchy, took in its later seasons. I’m hoping the new series will avoid that relentless grimness and sadism. Also on my list to watch is the SyFy channel’s The Expanse, based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey. My uncle is half of the duo that writes under that name, so we must support all things Pruter-related.

5. What are your favorite Shakespeare-ish films (Derivative work)? I assume the question means films that are not direct adaptations of his work but that are inspired by him or his plays. My Own Private Idaho is an excellent riff on Henry IV, Part 1. I also enjoyed Scotland, PA, which sets the story of Macbeth in a 1970s fast food restaurant. Teenage Gang Debs is, by no means, a good movie, but it’s interesting how the story of Macbeth can be fitted to a teen exploitation movie. Finally, there’s Shakespeare in Love, which many people criticize for winning Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan—a criticism that I find to be subtly sexist, the idea being that a picture that appeals primarily to men is better and more important than one that appeals primarily to women.

It might be hard to believe, but this movie was inspired by Macbeth.

6. What’s your favorite movie about show business? A toss-up between Sunset Blvd. and The Last of Sheila. I will concede that the former is a better film—it’s a masterpiece—but I can watch the latter more frequently.

Sunset Blvd. half-sheet

the-last-of-sheila half-sheet

7. What’s your favorite documentary? I tend not to like documentaries, especially the polemic ones that are popular now. I come from an academic background, and I don’t think that the form lends itself to examining issues with the kind of depth and nuance that scholarly books and articles can. However, a text can’t capture entertainment, so I do enjoy documentaries on those subjects. My favorite is Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound (1983), which is based on the book by Alan Betrock. Using photos, clips, recordings, and interviews with the people who made the music (including Ronnie Spector, Darlene Love, Ellie Greenwich, and Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller), the film tells the story of a style of popular music that is too often dismissed by music critics as juvenilia. For people who think Janis Joplin was the first woman in rock, this documentary should be a real eye-opener. And it’s available to be viewed in its entirety on YouTube.

8. What’s your favorite movie score? I initially thought this question would be difficult. I’m not interested in scores outside of the films. However, one movie quickly popped to mind: Evil Under the Sun. The score by John Lanchberry is adapted from the songs of Cole Porter. Lushly orchestrated, the familiar melodies sound sweeping and dramatic, perfect for the film.

9. Why did you start blogging? I started blogging for a friend who had a collaborative blog. He was going to post a review of Twilight and wanted a second review from someone who was a fan of the series. I was sick of reading sexist criticisms about Twilight, particularly from feminists, who should know better, so I agreed. I started my own blog when told it could help with my job search.

10. What do you think is the nicest thing you’ve discovered about blogging? I discovered that I can do it. I thought that I would lose interest quickly. But occasional lapses aside, I’ve maintained a schedule of 5-6 posts a week for six months.

11. What are your other interests? I enjoy research. I love digging up information. This interest has led to a hobby of family history research. In the last few years, I’ve made fascinating discoveries about my own family and the families I research for others. This research gives a view of history as it was lived. I’m also a big reader. My favorite genres are M/M mystery and romance, cozy whodunits, young adult fantasy, and historical romance novels set in 19th century England.

Nominations:

Yes, I can count. I know there are only ten there, but one site declined my nomination. If I discover an 11th, I’ll add it later.

My questions: 

  1. What movie that is “not your kind of movie” do you like? (a movie that the people who know you would be surprised to find that you like)
  2. What movie do you think would have worked better as a TV series?
  3. What actor or actress do you think deserves to be more widely known and appreciated?
  4. What’s your favorite movie song?
  5. What’s your favorite teen movie? 
  6. What movie do you like that you think no one else has heard of? 
  7. What is the first movie you remember seeing?
  8. Who was your first celebrity crush?
  9. What movie genre do you dislike the most?
  10. Which actor or actress who never won an Academy Award would you like most to have won one? For which movie?
  11. How do you choose the specific topics you write about? 

My answers to my questions:

1. What movie that is “not your kind of movie” do you like? (a movie that the people who know you would be surprised to find that you like) People who know my antipathy for hardcore sci-fi would probably be surprised to find out that I like the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

poster4 invasion of the body snatchers

2. What movie do you think would have worked better as a TV series? I can think of a lot of movies that would work great as TV shows, but they’re already pretty great as movies. But there are some movies that just missed the mark or had stories that could be ongoing that would work better on TV than they did as features. To keep this answer manageable, I’m limiting myself to movies made this century.

  • Beginners—It didn’t seem to have a contained story, but the idea of an older man coming out and his relationship with his son would be an interesting ongoing story.
  • Sky High—Superheroes in high school would be fun, but it would suffer the same problem that all high school TV shows face when the characters graduate.
  • Almost Famous—Life on the road with a rising band in the 1970s

3. What actor or actress do you think deserves to be more widely known and appreciated? A lot of names pop to mind. Among older stars, I would mention Franchot Tone and Miriam Hopkins. Currently, there are a number of actors who should have bigger careers, including David Thewlis, Rachel Griffiths, Minnie Driver, Michael Pare, Dermot Mulroney, Angela Bassett, Roger Howarth, James Marsters, Mare Winningham, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bonnie Bedelia, Christine Lahti, Christian Slater, Mary Stuart Masterson, Michael Biehn, Joseph Fiennes, Illeana Douglas, Stockard Channing, John Leguizamo, Aidan Quinn, Jennifer Ehle, Barry Pepper, Arliss Howard, Jonathan Tucker, Emily Watson, and Jason Patric.

tonefranchot01

220px-Miriam_Hopkins

4. What’s your favorite movie song?

5. What’s your favorite teen movie? Picking my favorite film in my favorite genre is not an easy task. My first thought was to go with The Breakfast Club. But, while I love that movie, I’ve seen it so often that I’ve tired of it. So, I’m picking the film that sparked my love of teen films: Pump Up the Volume. This 1990 gem features Christian Slater as a pirate DJ who inspires his high school classmates. I saw it just before I started high school, and it had a profound effect on me. I will do a review of this movie eventually, so I won’t go into detail here. But it showed me that young people have ideas that are worth fighting for.

6. What movie do you like that you think no one else has heard of? I could list a lot of films here, but the most obscure is either Two Alone or Life Begins at 17. Both are teen movies. The former appears on TCM occasionally, and I’ve seen it noted in some articles on pre-code films because it contains a nude scene. The latter is a slight movie with a charming love story. I’ve never come across it on television and have only seen it referenced in the autobiographies of its writer, Richard Baer, and its star, Mark Damon.

life-begins-at-17

7. What is the first movie you remember seeing? I remember seeing The Muppet Movie in the theater, but I only remember bits of the movie itself.

8. Who was your first celebrity crush? Jon-Erik Hexum.

9. What movie genre do you dislike the most? My reflex would be to say science fiction, but there are number of films of that genre that I really like. On further reflection, I would have to say that I dislike westerns the most. So far, I’ve seen only one western that I would like to see more than once: Red River.

10. Which actor or actress who never won an Academy Award would you like most to have won one? For which movie? Deborah Kerr. She was nominated six times but never won. She deserved the award the award three times: for Black Narcissus (1947—award went to Loretta Young for The Farmer’s Daughter), for Tea & Sympathy (1956—award went to Ingrid Bergman for Anastasia), and for The Sundowners (1960—award went to Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8). Also, Peter O’Toole, who, with eight nominations, is the most nominated person never to win, certainly deserved the Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia (1962—award went to Gregory Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird)

Deborah Kerr Tea and Sympathy

Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia

11. How do you choose the specific topics you write about? I have categories that structure my week. Within those categories, I look first for movies that I like that may not be well-known. I also consider what I’m currently interested in. I take into consideration what else is going on in the world that makes a particular movie timely. Finally, I try to pick movies that are different from the ones I’ve recently done.

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4 comments on “Liebster Award

  1. Hi Robin- I loved your answers, thanks for the links to The Green Man and Teenage Gang Debs, both sound right up my alley. You are so right about David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh, I never remember how much I love them til someone mentions them!

    I will keep my eyes peeled for The Expanse!

    Keep up the great work!

    -Summer

  2. Hi there Robin, CineMaven here…and I see you’ve Liebster’d me to which I proudly accept the honor. It’s going to take me just a little while to give this some full thought. It seems like some blogathons are coming up fast and furiously that I must get ready for. Just wanted you to know that many of your under-appreciated actors fit my list too like Bassett, Bedelia, Lahti, Channing ( Stockard NOT Tatum ). I might add Joan Chen, one of the most beautiful women in movies today. And I agree with you about Deborah Kerr. She should have already won, though her winning that life time achievement Oscar made me very happy for her. I stood in my apartment applauding her; yes…giving her a standing ovation.

    Thank you again for the Liebster nomination. 🙂 ( If you’re at all interested…here are my responses from my first Liebster Award…time to put the thinking cap back on: https://cinemavensessaysfromthecouch.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/liebster-award/ )

  3. Hey robin,This is joey form wolffianclassicmoviesdigest. ee you’ve Liebster’d me to which I proudly accept the honor. I will come up questions and such soon. i am very happy for this award. thanks so much

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