1. Popcorn or candy?
It's no secret that I have an unhealthy affection for all things chocolate and Diet Coke-related, so if those fall under "candy", then it's the one I choose here. Lately, I've been sneaking a dark Lindt bar into screenings; I crack the sheet of cocoa into several small pieces, and then I make the whole things last for hours and hours. It's so much more fun that way. And Diet Coke, well, a must. And while I concede that sometimes popcorn is very appropriate for those big, action-y spectacle movies, I hate it when people bring bags into a film like, say, Elephant or United 93 (!!), and then proceed to make as much noise as possible (crinkling the paper, chewing loudly and obnoxiously, etc) during the most inappropriate scenes. The food you choose should reflect the atmosphere/subject matter of the film you're watching.
2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever.
Gosh, this will be embarrassing. Let me just give you a list of all these DVDs I own, but have not got around to giving a spin on the player: Gone with the Wind, Dark City, The Godfather Part II, Lilya 4-Ever, Ugetsu, Le Samouraï, Devi, The Golden Fortress, Ankur, Madhumati, and dozens more that I cannot recall right now. But the one I am most ashamed about? Lawrence of Arabia. *ducks*
3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar: Who loses theirs and to whom?
Everyone else has covered this so well, I don't really know what else is left to address (shows how rarely the Academy is on track with these sorts of things.) But I think All About Eve winning all those Oscars and somehow Bette Davis not being handed one when she *is* the film... Yeah, I know the vote split between her and Anne Baxter, but still. Sorry Judy Holliday. Hmm, what else? Two Best Supporting Actress wins in the nineties really bother me: Judy Davis losing to Marisa Tomei in '93, and Mira Sorvino trumping Kate Winslet in '96.
4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Which will it be?
Just one? I suppose I would have to choose Kunal Kapoor's sherwani in Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities. But I doubt it would look as good on me. Sorry, no pictures exist...
5. Your favorite film franchise is...
The Scream movies, Before Sunrise/Sunset: I adore these films (yes, even Scream 3 has its strengths here and there), but Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy (I know "franchise" is pushing it, but it still works) is... I don't know, it's like the cinematic wonder I've been searching for all my entire life. I watched the whole thing over two days and was crying throughout every frame. It is the most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen in my life.
6. Invite five movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why'd you invite them? What do you feed them?
Five? Pish. Not enough. Yeah, I'm so cheating, but what are you going to do about it?
1. Mira Nair, because, you know. Apparently, I'm related to her (!) through my stepdad's side of the family (his brother-in-law's cousin is married to her or something like that.) I know. When I was told this information back in December before the wedding, I had to be sedated (I only half-exaggerate here.) Communication between the family members has been spotty over the years, but as soon as I get the chance, you know I'll be there, prostrating at her feet. I should add that I have loved Mira a full ten years before I was told she is in my extended family. So no accusations of nepotistic film criticism, please. I didn't bring this up until now for this very reason...
2. Emma Thompson, 'cause you know she's the life of the party. When I first listened to her commentary with producer Lindsay Doran on the Sense and Sensibility DVD, I was struggling for air while giggling hysterically at her dry musings. You don't know how funny the idea of "period sheep" is until you hear her talk about it at great length.
3. Viola Davis. This character actor rocks my socks, and in a fairer world she would have won the Academy Award for her small appearance in Solaris. And it was a great year for supporting female actors that year, so you can tell how much I like this performance.
4. Shabana Azmi. Just because she can elevate any film just by appearing in it. She had nothing to do in Umrao Jaan recently... and fashioned a character out of thin air. She is possibly the greatest actor ever to grace the Indian screen. And she's intelligent too, with lots to say about film, politics, development and women's rights.
5. Hilary Swank. Yes, you heard me correctly. I think the venemous vitriol directed at her lately is reaching absurd highs. No, she didn't deserve the second Oscar, and her behaviour of late has been pretty off-putting (the drippy Clint-praise, the "Insolence" campaign, spilling the beans on Chad's addiction.) But I like her nonetheless - she's spunky, cute, and above all, personable.
6. David Cronenberg. Have you ever read any of his interviews? So intelligent. Plus, we'd get hours of conversation just out of discussing Naked Lunch.
7. Tilda Swinton. Did you ever read that "State of Cinema" speech she gave? Holy shit. We'd get along just fine.
Runner-ups: Winona Ryer, Frances Conroy, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Cheung, Joan Allen, Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen, Tabu, Christian Bale, Kate Winslet, Sally Potter, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bullock, Shefali Shetty, Maria Bello, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Bradford, Justin Therox, Emily Blunt, Jaye Davidson, Sissy Spacek, and so many more...
7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theater?
I still cannot believe this sort of thing happens, and it never fails to perplex me everytime. Why on earth would you carry out a conversation during a movie you paid to watch? An emergency? Leave the theatre then. Otherwise, a phone should be left on vibrate or turned off. Their punishment is obvious - they are distracting themselves from what could be a great work of art. Let them suffer in their ignorance.
8. Choose a female bodyguard: Ripley from Aliens. Mystique from X-Men. Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. The Bride from Kill Bill. Mace from Strange Days.
Ripley, Connor, The Bride and Mace all kick ass, but they don't seem like a lot of fun to be around. I'd want to chat with my bodyguard and feel comfortable around them; therefore, Mystique it is. We'd have a blast. Too bad the X-Men films never really expanded on her character beyond what we got - they were too busy packing in every character possible.
9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie?
I've screamed/shouted/closed my eyes in a few number of films over the years (not frequently at all, but it occassionally happens.) The ending of The Blair Witch Project left me sleepless for weeks afterward, but since so many people talked about that, I'll go with that one scene in the kitchen in Michael Haneke's Caché. I lost control over my nerves, and my body left the seat for an entire second. Not "scariest" per se, but it was just... so jarring. Horrifying in such a quiet way.
10. Your favorite genre (excluding comedy and drama) is:
Umm... I like horror done well. But I love me some trippy science fiction.
11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power?
* I'm going to tweak this one a bit for fun:
- Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Michael Caine, Will Ferrell, Ridley Scott, Jamie Foxx, Keanu Reeves, Kirsten Dunset, Jake Gyllenhaal, LINDSAY LOHAN, Kristen Chenowith, Jude Law, and Cate Blanchett + Kate Winslet (love you both, but too much output lately) are to take immediate sabbaticals for at least two years re-energizing their creative batteries. Some don't even have to come back (*cough*Orlando*cough*).
- BROOKE SMITH, Viola Davis, Emily Blunt, Tilda Swinton, Kerry Washington, Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Regina King, Maggie Cheung, Joseph Fiennes, Dan Futterman, John Cho, and many other actors who do not get enough work will fill in for those vacancies. Especially more actors of colour and diversity. I'd like to see some of myself and others reflected on screen without having to actively seek it out (and not only in supporting roles either, okay?).
- Woody Allen's scripts will have to proof-read by Nick M. and myself. And absolutely no more casting Scarlett.
- Sally Potter, Alejandro Amenábar, Terrence Malick, Shyam Benegal, Mira, and all my other fave directors will have the spoils of the intended budgets for all those horrible romantic comedies and gore splatter flicks that everyone will forget about anyways in a matter of months. They will do so much more with that money, you know it.
- No more computer-animated flicks for a year, and even then, no more focusing on animals. I've had my fill of talking creatures voiced by loud-mouthed celebs.
- When a film is set in a non-English speaking country, the dialogue will reflect this and be respectful of other languages (meaning that we will have no more of this Memoirs of a Geisha-like nonsense.) People need to stop whining and read the fucking subtitles already. I got used to it, so can you.
- No film is to be over $30 million, period. This rule will be strictly enforced unless the case can be made that a production team is in dire need of some more. Things are getting out of control in Hollywood and elsewhere. It's absolutely disgusting.
- Less sequels of Saw III and The Grudge 2 ilk, more sequels of Before Sunset credibility. Just because a film opens at $20+ million should not automatically greenlight another installment.
12. Bonnie or Clyde?
Sadly, I haven't seen the film, so I will say... both? Neither?
13. Who are you tagging to answer this survey?
Nick M., Kathleen and Jesse. Go forth.