Saturday, April 02, 2011

Film Quiz - Answers

My regulars complained that last week's challenge to identify famous (or infamous) films from their distinctive advertising taglines was... well, "unreasonably difficult", "cruel and unusual", "downright impossible" seems to have been the general consensus. You disappoint me, gentlemen.

Anyway, as promised, here are the answers.

1)  "If he's crazy, what does that make you?"
I can see there being other plausible contenders here (Sidney Lumet's Network sprang to my mind at first), but in fact it's.... One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Dir. Milos Forman, 1975).

2)  "They're young, they're in love, and they kill people."
JES hazarded that it might have been Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers; and it would have fitted Terence Malick's wonderful Badlands as well; but it was iconic '60s hoodlum flick Bonnie and Clyde (Dir. Arthur Penn, 1967). I had thought this was one of the ones that everyone would get - possibly one of the dozen or so most memorable taglines ever.

3)  "The strangest story ever conceived by man."
Now, there are any number of films that one might say this of - Claude Faraldo's surreal Themroc, for instance, or Nagisa Oshima's bizarre romance Max, Mon Amour, or Jennifer Lynch's excruciatingly awful Boxing Helena, or even perhaps the stupendous oddity of Spike Jonze's and Charlie Kaufman's Being John Malkovich - but in fact (and when you realise, this so fits - both the film and the period) it was the original King Kong (Dir. Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933).

4)  "One man's struggle to take it easy."
JES suggested the Coens' The Big Lebowski, which would have been nice, but - and I thought this would be a gimme for any child of the '80s! - it was Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Dir. John Hughes, 1986).

5)  "Nothing on Earth could come between them."
Except.... an iceberg!! And the over-the-top villainy of Billy Zane and David Warner!!  Yes, this might have been said of any of the silver screen's 'great lovers', but in fact it was Jack and Rose in Titanic (Dir. James Cameron, 1997). Curiously enough, despite the film's huge impact on the popular culture of our times, I confess I don't remember this tagline at all.

6)  "Some called him a hero. Others called him a heel."
Again, I suppose this might have been used of many - any - of the cinema's lovable anti-heroes. Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, this was one of the original taglines for Citizen Kane (Dir. Orson Welles, 1941).

7)  "It knows what scares you."
Now, here was one I thought a lot of people would get: one of the best taglines ever, and one that has perhaps achieved more lasting resonance than the movie itself (then again, maybe I'm just ODD in so often remembering taglines?!). If you didn't recognise it and had to guess, I suppose you might have been floundering around in the horror or sci-fi genres for a good long while. It was Poltergeist (Dir. Tobe Hooper, 1982).

8)  "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..."
But THIS, surely, was a mark for everyone... maybe the most famous tagline ever; and probably achieving heightened impact because it recalled the original movie which had been such a cultural landmark, even though this sequel was - predictably - a bit of an embarrassment. Yes.... Jaws 2 (Dir. Jeannot Szwarc, 1978). Directed by WHO??  Yep, even my film buffery was defeated by that; IMDB informs me that Mr Szwarc has had a long and distinguished career in American television, but doesn't boast much of a cinema resumé. [I'm sure I recall - though IMDB will not confirm - that Lewis Teague's splendid 1980 spoof of the killer animal genre Alligator (scripted by John Sayles!) used the tagline: "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sewers..."]

9)  "Only one man can make the difference."
Yes, yes, I know - this could fit just about any action hero: Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series, maybe, or the John Connor character in the Terminator films, or.... or Jean-Claude Van Damme, or Jason Statham, or Jet Li, or even Jacky Chan.  And perhaps this - or a slight variation on it - has been used in many subsequent movies; but the cliché began with Mel Gibson in Max Max 2 (The Road Warrior) (Dir. George Miller, 1981).

10)  "Mighty miracle show of 1,000 delights!"
Well, it has to be something period, doesn't it, something from the Hollywood 'golden days', when advertising could never be too cheesy? Believe it or not, it was.... The Wizard of Oz (Dir. Victor Fleming, 1939).

11)  "The most dangerous combination since nitro and glycerine."
Any buddy movie action film would fit the bill. 48 Hours? Lethal Weapon? Bad Boys? Rush Hour? No, it was.... The Blues Brothers (Dir. John Landis, 1980).

12)  "Never give a saga an even break!"
A pun like that could only come from the mind of Mel Brooks, couldn't it?  But which film? Young Frankenstein? History of the World: Part I? No, it was Blazing Saddles (Dir. Mel Brooks, 1974).

13)  "I don't smile for pictures."
Another landmark of our relatively recent past - Pulp Fiction (Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 1994). I think the principal tagline for this was "You won't know the facts until you've seen the fiction", but the ad campaign featured a series of posters highlighting leading characters in the story, each captioned by a distinctive line of their dialogue; and this, I think, was much the most memorable - Harvey Keitel's dourly professional mob 'cleaner', Winston Wolfe, refusing to lighten up for a group photograph.

14)  "A new breed of hero."
Oh, I suppose this might have been any old action hero, particularly one of the more quirky, comedic kind. But surely, everyone remembers this??  Well, everyone who was around in the 1980s. No, I've never actually seen the film. But it was such a spectacular, notorious flop that it - and its distinctive tagline - burrowed deep into the collective consciousness. Well, it burrowed into mine, anyway - Howard The Duck (Dir. Willard Huyck, 1986). I hadn't realised the lovely Lea Thompson was in it; I'd watch it for that alone. And I'd like to think that it played some small part in bringing us Duckman a decade later...

15)  "The story of a man who was too proud to run."
I didn't remember this one, I admit; but it makes perfect sense - High Noon (Dir. Fred Zinneman, 1952).

16)  "The next war will not be fought - it will be played."
More wilful misdirection on my part. John Badham's 1983 WarGames was an all-too-tempting possibility; as, perhaps, was 1984's The Last Starfighter. Any other suggestions? In fact, it was the original Rollerball (Dir. Norman Jewison, 1975).

17)  "He loved the American Dream - with a vengeance."
Another mark for everyone, I had thought - one of the three or four most memorable taglines of all time: the movie poster summation of Al Pacino's Tony Montana in Scarface (Dir. Brian De Palma, 1983).

18)  "Bombed out in space with a spaced-out bomb!"
Now, this one I hadn't expected many people to get; but it's a great, great favourite of mine (the origin, indeed, of my blog alias): sci-fi black comedy Dark Star (Dir. John Carpenter, 1974).

19)  "He chopped down the family tree."
Another one where, I admit, the tagline hadn't fixed itself in my memory, but... if you know and love the film - as you should - then it ought to be pretty easy to recognise: Kind Hearts and Coronets (Dir. Robert Hamer, 1949).

20)  "If you don't remember the '60s, don't worry - neither can they."
I never really caught much of an essential period flavour in this (apart from the bit where they're listening to Hendrix, drunk and stoned, on the drive back to London). In fact, I'm not much of a fan of this film. But its celebration of pursuing a life of drunken excess on a zero-budget has made it an enduring cult favourite amongst students in the UK... and it came out while I was a student, so I make a little space in my heart for it: Withnail & I (Dir. Bruce Robinson, 1987).

Did anyone get 10 out of 20?  No??

Oh, well.  I hope you enjoyed it anyway.  Perhaps I'll make the next one a little easier....


Tony said...

Got Bonnie and Clyde, guessed Jaws 2, otherwise nul points. But I enjoyed it, thank you very much.

My favourite tagline is "Cast of a thousand elephants!" for one or more of the Tarzans, but this could be apocryphal or maybe I just dreamed it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please do this again in the future. I want a shot at redemption. If I had to do over again, I would have actually took some time with it and probably been able to put up an impressive 2 or 3 pts. Seriously, JAWS 2 was easy, yet tricky when your breezing through them and Bonnie and Clyde, probably the most well known of the taglines in the list and unusual enough that it should have been pulled from memory.

Other ones like Scarface, when you realize what movie its from you do the old 'thats right' and it comes back to mind, but without a clue on first reading, it just doesn't hit. Quotes we associate with movies, taglines, apparently not so much. They aren't really a part of the film itself, just an association.

I would have bet the farm that the guess made for the Big Lebowski was correct.

The actual tagline "They figured he was a lazy time wasting slacker. They were right."

Lol, personally I think that tagline works better for Ferris and the other one works better for Lebowski.

Gary said...

Hey, I got 2, 4, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 17.

I thought 9 was Die Hard, and was absolutely convinced 16 had to be War Games.

Tough quiz!

Froog said...

Good going, Gary! Most friends who've given it a look only seem to have managed four or five. To be honest, I only knew about ten of them myself, and had to research the others on IMDB.

Quite agree about the interchangeability of the Lebowski and Ferris Bueller taglines, HF; they do indeed almost seem to fit better the other way around.

Tony, I think you must have just dreamed that! I don't recall any of the Tarzan films having much more than just the one elephant - although Hollywood publicists are, of course, prone to hyperbole. I could see it perhaps being used of a sword-and-sandal epic (was there never a film about Hannibal?) - but I can find no support for this. There is however a 2008 Indian Film called A Thousand Elephants - perhaps you were thinking of that?

Tony said...

No, never heard of the film you mention. I may have been thinking of Elephant Boy(1937), which made Sabu famous, or it was from a spoof that stuck in my memory, or was just another instance of my terminal confusion.