I am rapidly turning the Liebster Award into a blog genre of my own! But don’t blame me. When I wrote questions for my previous Liebster nomination, one of the recipients was Leah at the blog Cary Grant Won’t Eat You, and she proceeded to nominate me right back — so here we go again! (If you don’t believe me, click on her blog’s name, above, for the link.)
Happily, I have persuaded one of my favorite actresses, Adrienne Barbeau, to model my Liebster Awards. Don’t her friends look impressed by them?
In any case, if you’re bored with my Liebster talk, feel free to ignore this blog entry. Otherwise, here, once again, are the Liebster Award rules. Every Liebster nominee is expected to:
- Answer his or her nominator’s 11 questions.
- Nominate 11 additional bloggers.
- Ask 11 questions of your nominees.
- Share 11 additional facts about yourself.
- Forfeit his or her Liebster Award if he or she is unable to fulfill the Award obligations for any reason for the upcoming year. (Nah, that last one’s a fake. It just sounded good.)
Without further ado, here are Leah’s Liebster questions and my answers.
1-5. What’s your favorite movie when you’re feeling these moods, and do they help you get over the mood, or intensify it?
Blue – Glengarry Glen Ross. It always makes me feel better because it reminds me that there are a lot of people out there, particularly in the job market, who are a lot worse off than I am.
Angry – The War of the Roses, with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. So many movies about anger nevertheless have an undercurrent that shows they want you to like them. Roses was one of the few movies I’ve seen where a couple started out unapologetically nasty and stayed that way right to the very end.
Nostalgic – Any 1930’s or ’40s movie set in New York or L.A. I get a rush watching actors saunter through that classic style, as if their characters knew they were making movie history.
Giddy – The Palm Beach Story. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: That movie is like mainlining joy right into my soul.
Undercaffeinated – W.C. Fields’ The Bank Dick. That movie was written and performed by an unrepentant drunk, and its very rhythm gives you the effect of feeling cheerily soused all the way through.
6. What invention in your lifetime has affected you the most?
The Internet, if that counts as an invention; if not, definitely the personal computer. I have enough social skills to get by in life, but I don’t really interact that well with live people. The Internet allows me to socialize all I want without having to come up with superfluous small talk.
7. Which actor or actress (the performer/character he/she plays) would make the best superhero in your estimation? Why?
It’s a pity that Jane Russell was never asked to play Wonder Woman in her lifetime. Physically, Lynda Carter looked smashing in the role, but she never seemed to have much fun with it. I can just imagine Jane tossing off one-liners under her breath as she saved the world.
8. Which classic movie character would you ask romantic advice?
Buster Keaton — not the real man, but the character he plays. He starts out every feature film behind the eight-ball, and by movie’s end, he has conquered some major hurdle and gotten the girl. I’d just have to ask him where he finds so much reserve. I’d have lost it by the end of the first reel.
9. Which movie character (classic/current) would give you terrible advice about everything?
Just the other night on TCM, I saw In This Our Life for the first time. I couldn’t resist mis-advising Stanley Timberlake (Bette Davis) just so I could watch her f**k everything up. (I’d also yank her chain by asking her if all her hang-ups had to do with the fact that she’s a female named Stanley.)
10. Which literary/movie character would you ask to help you with your least favorite errand?
Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) in Working Girl. I do most of the housecleaning duties in my home, but they really are drudgery. Having Tess help me topless would certainly make the job more tolerable.
11. Which actor/actress are you surprised you like? Why?
Susan Sarandon. I first saw her in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and it didn’t surprise me that she wasn’t all that great in that movie, since it was meant to be campy. But for a while, her acting never seemed to get any better. I think the turning point for me was Dead Man Walking, where I was astounded at what a three-dimensional role she was playing. I’ve been pretty impressed with her ever since.
I’m not going to bother nominating 11 people, because most of my nominees are too busy (at least that’s what I tell myself) to answer my questions anyway. However, I am happy to provide 11 questions. If you deign to answer them, please let me know — I’d love to read your replies!
- Past or present, who is an actor or actress whose popular appeal you have never been able to comprehend?
- What movie would you like to insert yourself into (either as a major character or an extra), and why?
- Colorization debate aside, is there a black-and-white movie whose settings you’ve ever wondered (or fantasized) about in color?
- If your life story was made into a movie, which genre would you prefer it in?
- What fictional movie city would you most like to live in?
- Your all-time favorite movie musical number?
- Which modern-day actor or actress do you think would have been tailor-made for silent movies? (Please leave Johnny Depp out of the discussion; he’s pretty much proven his chops already.)
- If you could, what movie character would you grab by the lapels or collar and give a good talking to?
- The gods have granted you 10 seconds to appear as a ghost and give a piece of advice to a movie star, past or present. Which star, and what do you tell them?
- You have the opportunity to yank moviegoers’ chains. What’s a movie in one genre that you’d remake in another genre (e.g., a drama you’d remake as a comedy)?
- What advice would you give to the current Powers That Be in Hollywood?
Scraping the bottom of the barrel even further, here are 11 more facts about little ol’ me.
- I never tried shrimp until I was 22 years old — and when I did, I didn’t know you were supposed to peel it first. My brother had a great time when he found out why I hadn’t left behind any shells.
- When I was a kid, I didn’t like ice in my soda because it melted too fast and left you with a watery drink. One day when I was 11 years old, I went to a theater to see a movie. I bought a large soda, and I actually went so far as to dip my hand in it, pull out the ice, and drop the ice into what I thought was a tall trash can. Then an usher came up to me and said, “That’s where we put all of the torn movie tickets.” Oops.
- In grade school, I won the school spelling bee twice and was a first runner-up another year. I very much identified with the movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown where they made a big deal out of him winning the spelling bee.
- Long before he died, I somewhat “corresponded” with Roger Ebert via his “Movie Answer Man” column. That is to say, he actually answered, online, a few of the questions I submitted to him. One of them is even printed in his book Questions for the Movie Answer Man. That meant a great deal to me because I hugely admired his movie criticism.
- About six months after my wife and I got married, we were sitting around one day talking about the University of Florida, where we had attended college at approximately the same time without knowing each other (or so we thought). We compared notes and realized that seven years previously, for about three months, we had worked together in a work-study job, after which we promptly forgot about each other. My wife said the turning point for her was when she asked me out with her friends to the on-campus pub one Friday afternoon, and I told her I had a class to attend. She said she knew then that she didn’t want to have anything to do with a guy who would rather go to class than drink beer.
- I have lived in Florida for the last 37 years, with the exception of June 1987 through February 1988. In ’87, when I was 26 years old, I had long nursed a dream of moving to L.A. and become a writer of or about movies. On a whim, in May of that year, I spent five weeks gathering up all the money and belongings I could and then headed out to L.A., where the only person I knew was my best friend from high school. I thought I’d end up spending the rest of my life out there, but I moved back less to Florida less than a year later due to a strange case of homesickness. It turned out to be quite an adventure, though.
- I had mononucleosis when I was 8 years old and spent a week in the hospital. I had no idea how deadly it could have been; I just knew I loved the nurses fawning over me. The only part I hated was when they drew blood from me for the first time in my life.
- As I mentioned in my first Liebster factoid, I’ve written several plays that have been performed locally. I taught myself how to write scripts. First, I read some scripts that were printed in books. Then when I was about 13, I transcribed a TV show one night and “wrote” it back out in script form. It was like Malcolm X learning how to write by copying the dictionary. You’d be surprised how much you can teach yourself by rote.
- Have you had a moment where a piece of entertainment “spoke” to you? I first heard John Lennon’s first solo album Plastic Ono Band when I was 16, and I’d swear it saved my life. When he sang, “They hurt you at home and they hit you at school” on “Working Class Hero,” it made me realize, as Lennon himself said he realized through art, that I wasn’t crazy — that someone else had gone through the same kind of dysfunctional growing-up years as I was going through.
- I am always impressed by people who can express themselves physically — ballet, dance, etc. Maybe that’s why I enjoy physical comedians such as Chaplin and Keaton. I’m always astounded when I see Internet videos of things such as pre-K kids who can do kung-fu moves. My family doesn’t even trust me with a hammer.
- I’m not terribly proud of this, but I listened to the Bob & Doug McKenzie comedy album so much in the 1980’s, I found that I had memorized it. Decades later, when I had a son who got into their humor, I astounded him by putting on a CD of the album and reciting to the CD almost word for word.
That’s it for this Liebster episode. Thanks for reading!