From Skip and Setter’s Creator: I Liebster You, I Liebster You … Now Liebster Me Alone

Blog Sketch of Me 092213Wildly good news, everyone — this humble blog has been nominated for a Liebster Award by the estimable Bill Meeker, aka Frisco Kid at the Movies (love the blog, Bill!). Many thanks!

This is my first such nomination, and I can’t help but be both pleased and slightly intimidated by the idea. The rules of the game are as follows:

  • Bloggers who have been nominated must link back to the person who nominated them.
  • Nominees must answer the 11 questions given to them by the one who nominated them.
  • Nominees must also nominate 11 of their favorite bloggers (who have less than 200 followers) and assign them 11 questions to answer.
  • You CANNOT nominate someone who has nominated you!
  • You are not, in any way, obligated to participate.

OK, let’s see. No. 1 — done. No. 2 … here are the questions that were provided, as well as my answers:

1. Why did you decide to start your blog?

I thought it would be a nice way to showcase my writing in a context that fit my style. What a boring answer, huh?

2. How do you get inspiration for your blog posts?

Mostly by thinking about movies and issues surrounding them. I also force myself to be inspired by writing even when I don’t feel like doing so. I have to write to stay alive!

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the most important object that you would wish you had brought with you, but didn’t? No borrowing of Tom Hanks’ solution allowed.

A DVD of The Seven Samurai. And a DVD player that’s immune to breaking down from having too much sand in it.

4. Do you ever get the feeling that there’s something going on that we don’t know about?

What? Where? Am I being followed? Who Am I This Time?

5. What is the Matrix?

It’s the Circle of Life. No, it isn’t. It’s My Party, and I’ll Cry If I Want to. No, wait —

6. What… is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Do you mean an African or European swallow? AAAAAHHHHHH!

7. You’ve gotta ask yourself a question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

Well, to tell you the truth, I sometimes lose track myself in all this excitement.

8. Is it safe?

It’s perfectly safe. Oh, and the dentist told me I only have two cavities.

9. What’s your damage?

I’m wracking my brain trying to get this reference. I feel so … unworthy.

10. Who ya gonna call?

I miss Harold Ramis. 😦

11. You talkin’ to me?

I’m the only one here. Literally. I mean, I’m a blogger. Maybe I’m not here. Maybe I’m a figment of my own imagination. What a concept.

OK, No. 2 — done. That was easy. Now here are my Liebster nominations of 11 of my favorite bloggers (with less than 200 followers), followed by the questions I would like to posit to them should they be interested in answering:

digital didascalia

silence cunning exile … maple syrup

Shelly’s Retirement Adventure

Movie Fail

Reel and Rock

jjames reviews

Selective Viewing

The Counterfeit Writer

My Classic Movies

Ellen And Jim Have A Blog, Two

Lulu Loves Films

THE QUESTIONS:

1) What was the experience that led you to start blogging about movies and/or culture?

2) What’s your earliest movie memory, and how did it shape your tastes?

3) Bernard Herrmann or Georges Delerue?

4) How much worse was Troy than The Seven Samurai … and could the former have been improved by being magically transformed into hot, steaming soup?

5) What’s your favorite French film that has been remade into a terrible Hollywood movie?

6) Groucho, Chico, Harpo or Zeppo (Gummo has been disqualified for these purposes)?

7) Which movie(s) would you take with you to the moon … if we had the capacity to live there and DVD players didn’t fly away because of low gravity?

8) Are you Aragorn, Gandalf, Frodo or Sauron?

9) Who’s less funny: Jerry Lewis or … Jerry Lewis?

10) Could Mozart beat up Beethoven with one hand tied behind his back?

11) If you could direct a sequel to any movie, which would it be?

OK, Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are done, done and done. Thanks in advance to all who participate, and here’s to the Liebster Award!

Setter’s ‘Spectives: Overused Plots, Unite!

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I can’t pretend to know what goes on during the movie-development process in Hollywood.

I do, however, know that the results often have a manufactured quality, as if churned out from a machine fed specific information about character, theme and plot needs.

Some of these plots are recognizable from film to film. I’ve listed a number of them below as being, in my humble opinion, among the most overused. This isn’t a comprehensive list, nor is it objective … though I’d like to think it is. Anyway, here are my cinematic gripes for the day:

Single/Divorced Dad With a Heart (and Soul) Finally Finds True Love: They never tell you why he’s single, though, do they? Maybe he eats other people’s nostrils. Or likes Jerry Lewis films.

Zombies Run Amok After Some Medical Experiment Goes Awry: The least interesting monster in any monster movie often gets the star treatment–probably because you don’t have to write lines for it.

Man/Woman on the Run Hides Out in a Dance Studio; Comedy Ensues: And, unfortunately, singing. More often than not, the singing’s worse.

Sensitive, Movie-Buff Hit Man Retires to Home Town, Then Discovers He Never Really Left: What a long, strange trip this usually is, especially when references to Lash LaRue start popping up.

Ordinary Guy Finds Out He’s “The One” to Save the World; Stupidity Ensues: Also boring, slow-motion fistfights and pseudo-martial arts mayhem. Yuck.

Seminal Ancient Battle Gets “Reimagined” for the Screen with Posturing and CGI Blood: At this juncture, the squibs of yore seem more realistic. Add macho yelling and stir.

Multiple Stories About Folks Around the World Intertwine Tediously: Please, please stay with fewer characters. Once you spin a web surrounding too many people, the movie loses focus.

Dance Team Saves the Town Via Dreadful Flash-Mob Theatrics and Cheap Sentimentality: Possibly the least credible plot device of any film in this bunch. And I’m including the zombie one.

Skip’s Quips: Paris, Je T’Aime … Uh, Most of the Time

Blog Sketch 082813One of my fondest cinematic memories is seeing a line outside a Paris movie theater for a Marx Brothers flick.

The Marx Brothers. A line. For a film that was, at the time, at least 60 years old.

See why I love France so much?

OK, perhaps the infatuation with Jerry Lewis–one of the silver screen’s least funny performers–doesn’t make sense, though I have to admit liking his Gallic equivalent, Louis de Funès, quite a bit. (Watch The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob and see if you agree.) Yet the truth is, there’s a film culture there that pervades the national fabric. Why? More than a century of cinematic prowess is one reason, but I think another is the notion that people just like movies there. Good movies. Old movies. And often new movies.

Many years ago, as I attempted to coordinate a showing of the original 1968 version of The Producers in my college dorm, a friend of mine pooh-poohed the idea, decrying the film’s “old humor.” True, not everyone shares those sentiments, but I wondered then–as I do now–why some feel nothing that’s been around more than 10 minutes has any value cinematically. Doesn’t quality last longer than novelty … at least, in most cases?

I’m not deluding myself: There’s no way every person in France likes the Marx Brothers or, for that matter, any old movie because of its age. Bad taste is everywhere–the admiration of les films de M. Lewis offers evidence of that–yet I think there’s a sensibility in France that suggests its inhabitants often understand what it takes to make a good movie … and why it should be valued regardless of the years behind it. Again, I’m not sure why this is, and I’m not saying one country’s better than another.

But when I summon up remembrance of movies past, I think of the line outside that French theater to see a Marx Brothers comedy. And I can’t help but find a love in my heart for Paree.