Sunday, June 14, 2009

Film Quiz - answers

A couple of weeks ago I gave you 10 memorable (if mostly, I confess, somewhat obscure) quotations from films that I like, and challenged you to identify them - character, actor, and film. Quite a few of my 'regulars' joined in, each recognising one or two of them, at least.

Now, to put you out of your misery, here is a complete rundown.

"I don't know how to run a newspaper. I just try everything I can think of."

Oh, you will kick yourselves if you didn't spot this one! Charles Foster Kane (played by Orson Welles) in the incomparable Citizen Kane.

"In 1966, I went down to Greenwich Village, New York City, to a rock club called 'Electric Banana'. Don't look for it. It's not there any more."

Marty DiBergi (played by Rob Reiner) in the classic spoof 'rockumentary' This Is Spinal Tap.

"Sometimes, the spaghetti likes to be alone."

Secondo (played by Stanley Tucci), younger brother to Primo (Tony Shalhoub), in Big Night, an under-appreciated classic, perhaps the greatest of all foodie films.

"I'm a Derek. Dereks don't run."

Derek, of course (played by Peter Jackson), in the Lord of the Rings' director's debut feature, the hilarious 'no-budget' horror comedy Bad Taste - surely the best zombie film ever made (basically a home movie, but a stunningly well executed one).

"If I win, I get to take you home. If you win, you go home with me."

The oddly lovable douchebag Tommy Basilio (played by the marvellous Steve Buscemi) in Trees Lounge, possibly the greatest film made about a bar.

"Who would cross the Bridge of Death
Must answer me these questions three
'Ere the other side he see."

The Bridge Keeper (played by Terry Gilliam) in Monty Python and The Holy Grail - the guy who gets hoist by his own petard when he can't differentiate between the African Swallow and the European Swallow.

"Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty."

The charmingly brainless male model Derek Zoolander (played by Ben Stiller) in the very silly eponymous comedy Zoolander.

"Of course he's willing to die. You think we do this kind of work because we're scared to die?"

The tough-as-saddle-leather marshal-for-hire Virgil Cole (played by Ed Harris), said of his equally tough sidekick Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) in Appaloosa - the best Western I've seen in many years.

"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

Wise bus driver and loving dad Lorenzo Annello (played by Robert De Niro) in A Bronx Tale, although it is also quoted in the closing voiceover by his son Calogero - "C" (Lillo Brancato). This is a wonderful, wonderful film, a gangster tale with heart; it's the model for the Simpsons episode where Bart goes to work in Fat Tony's bar.

"That wasn't no miss, Vargas. That was just to turn you 'round, so I don't have to shoot you in the back."

Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles, again), the raddled, bloated, scheming, unscrupulous chief of police of a small town on the Mexican border in the very, very dark thriller Touch Of Evil - often called "the greatest B-movie ever made".

And the 'mystery link', of course, is that these actors were all also the directors of the films in question (and in nearly all cases, a contributing writer too).

Big Night - which, I think, probably beats out Eat, Drink, Man, Woman and Babette's Feast as the best film about food - is about two Italian immigrant chefs, brothers struggling to keep alive their little restaurant in 1950s Brooklyn. Primo is an irascible perfectionist who refuses to compromise and cook the mundane dishes that most customers want; his younger brother Secondo is only a tad less passionate about food, but more pragmatic and flexible in seeking to make a success of the business. They plan a 'big night' as a last-ditch promotion - a special banquet for all the leading figures in the local Italian community, and for a special guest of honour, the singing sensation, Louis Prima. Without giving too much away, I can say that the party does not pass off well, and the two brothers, at their wits' end, have a huge quarrel. This is the aftermath the next morning. Apparently it's in Italian (I can't get any sound on YouTube at the moment!), but it doesn't much matter since the scene is almost entirely wordless. The young kitchen assistant has slept in the kitchen overnight; Secondo comes in and starts making himself a frittata - an Italian omelette - for breakfast; then Primo enters, just as the other two have begun to eat. It's the only scene I can think of where the entire preparation and eating of a dish is shown in real time, in one take - and I can't think of any other scene that so perfectly conveys the pleasure of cooking, the simplicity of it, the love it can inspire. And it sets up one of the great images of reconciliation - just beautiful. Enjoy.


Livia said...

Technically, Bad Taste is an alien movie not a zombie movie (that's Brain Dead) but given the amount of gore it's probably a minor irrelevance.

Froog said...

Well, zombie-like aliens. They come apart easily, don't they?