Friday, April 26, 2013

Quiz Kid Donnie Smith

Brandon, we all know you are the Dan Kois of Film Club, so just stop with the "I like long art movies" bit already ;)

Being serious though, I do know you can get down with plenty of lengthy films, so you don't really need to defend yourself in this regard (hell, you've sat through a plethora of long, deliberately paced 60s films that I don't have the remotest of attention spans for - so credit where credit is due).  I just like to pick on you for our TURIN HORSE discussion.  The fair warning I gave about BEYOND THE HILLS wasn't really intended for you, just anyone in this club or outside it who stumbles on the review and thinks they might like to watch it based on how much I loved it.  I'd hate to give them a glowing recommendation and then have them mad at me because they just sat through a two and half hour movie where everything seems to move as piecemeal as grass growing.

With that being said, I have pretty solid faith that you'll love BEYOND THE HILLS.  It's long and deliberate without question, but also driven with its narrative and loaded with tension.  I'm also aware that you might still tell me that it's 40 minutes too long, even if you do love it :)

Thanks for making the quiz, my dude!  Now onto some answers:

1. What are your top five Spielberg films (ranked)?

5. E.T.

A.I. just misses the cut, but deserves to be mentioned because I love that film.  I agree with John, Spielberg’s a great director and a formidable executive producer (for the most part).

2. Have you ever been convinced by a member of Film Club to change your mind about a movie (tell us about it)?

I think it’s happened a few times.  Like John mentioned, whenever one of you registers a particularly passionate defense of a film, I feel compelled, even if its only slight, to rethink what I may not have liked or was disappointed by with it.  THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and Brandon’s responses to it come to mind.  They didn’t exactly change my opinion, but I liked what he wrote.  He advocated well for it.  I also think Ben, Brandon, and John did a great job defending MELANCHOLIA.  Those posts made me rethink my initial disappointment and helped me see a lot of the maturity and beauty in the work itself.  Well done gang!

3. What is your favorite sub-genre and why?

Two subgenres spring first to mind:  haunted house movies and noir westerns.  I’m not sure why I like haunted house movies so much.  I’m not even sure why I like the idea of a haunted house so much.  I guess I just feel drawn to or fascinated by the supernatural and extraordinary that still seem within the realm of possibility.  I also tend to love the feeling of creeping dread that haunted house movies are inclined to produce.  That’s my kind of horror.  And noir westerns just combine two of my favorite genres into one complex and thrilling beast (e.g. PURSUED).

4. Do you enjoy violence in film and if so do you feel bad and if so why?

I do enjoy it, for the most part, and no, I don’t feel bad about it.  I fortunate enough to be able to have a clear distinction between the virtual and the actual when it comes to violence on film.  I ahbor actual violence, but enjoy and sometimes even laugh at virtual violence on screen - perhaps because I know someone put a lot of time into making the violent effect seem real and because it usually looks excessive and packs a visceral punch.  I tend to draw the line of my enjoyment at extreme gore or torture porn, but there are plenty of bloody, violent scenes that I’ve laughed at because of how outrageous they looked.

5. Tell us about a few of your strangest theater going experiences.

Seeing I AM LEGEND in IMAX in New York City was strange.  The first half of that movie is great, and the effect of making NYC look so desolate and deserted is downright staggering (the rest of the movie, not so much). Walking out of the Union Square AMC to see many of those same empty sites from the film teem with life was a bit disorienting.  Very cool though too.

Seeing SPRING BREAKERS with a bunch of vapid cretins was strange - and not in a good way at all.

The strangest has to be seeing THE DARK KNIGHT RISES the day after the Colorado shooting, though.  I just felt paranoid and depressed.

6. Name 5 films that you have been eager to re-watch, perhaps even despite your tepid response some of them.

L’AVVENTURA (didn’t get it the first time, would like to see it again)
DJANGO UNCHAINED (like it even less the more I think about it, but should give it another chance)
THE DECALOGUE (just would love to watch it again - amazing collection of films)
NASHVILLE (never gave it a fair watch)
ANDREI RUBLEV (loved it when I saw it, but can hardly remember it now)

7. Name 5 films that you absolutely love or respect that you have no desire to see ever again (going against John’s Letterbox’d rating system).

I can give you four:


Do you sense a common theme with them? haha.

8. What are five films that you really want to see for the first time?

NAZARIN (Bunuel)
DESIRE (Borzage)

9. Name 5 surprising “classic” popular films that you have not seen.


The list goes on and on sadly.

10. Who are your top five directors of all time (hahahaha)?

I’ll give you a top six of all time and currently:

top six (all time)


top six (currently working)

P.T. Anderson
Coen Bros.
Dardenne Bros.

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