The New Parkway Theater in Oakland is always asking interesting questions on its Facebook page. I never answer them, because by the time I see them, a hundred people have already responded and it feels excessive to add to the pile. Then I thought, why not answer some of those questions here?
Favorite Tim Burton movie? I wrote the following, about Corpse Bride (7/10): “It's unusual and idiosyncratic, different than most other movies you've seen other than Tim Burton movies, it reflects painstaking work, it has a look that is unique, it effectively blends a dark side into the lighter aspects. And I liked it ok, but that's faint praise considering everything that works in the film. I generally admire Burton's movies, but I rarely enjoy them ... my favorite period for his films would be the early-90s, when he did the fine, gross Batman Returns, Ed Wood, and the goofy Mars Attacks. It's not that I think Burton is overpraised for things like the idiosyncratic nature of his movies in what sometimes seems a cookie-cutter film world, or his attempt to keep alive the tradition of stop-motion animation. But myself, I tip my cap to him for those things without falling in love with the movies that result.” I haven’t seen those early-90s movies in a long time. I suspect I’d think less of Mars Attacks, and more of Ed Wood, while I mostly stick up for Batman Returns because I have the (mistaken?) notion that it is underrated. So my tentative answer to the question is Ed Wood.
Dumbest/cheesiest monster/horror movie you've ever seen? Doesn't mean it wasn't fun... A lot of the answers to this one fell into the so-bad-it’s-good category, which I understand. Certainly Plan 9 from Outer Space deserves mention. But the one I cherish most is Robot Monster:
Seriously scariest movie you've ever seen? I was pleased to note that someone mentioned Five Million Years to Earth (aka Quatermass and the Pit). I think the most scared a movie ever made me was Don’t Look Now, although the biggest scare came as we walked to our car after the movie. I’d go with either of those two choices.
Favorite movies about ghosts and haunted houses and spooky stuff like that? Not sure I have one. Does The Innocents count? Evil Dead II?
Movies you admire but don't actually like? Whatever it is, it’s probably directed by Terrence Malick.
Favorite "feel good" flick? Top Hat.
Favorite Christian Slater role/movie? Pump Up the Volume.
Favorite Johnny Depp movie/role? Again, it’s been awhile, but probably Ed Wood. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape might be the runner-up.
Favorite Robert De Niro movies/roles? Nice of them to give me a chance for multiple answers. The Godfather Part II, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver. Honorable mention to Midnight Run.
Favorite Meryl Streep role/movie? The Hours or Angels in America. I also liked her in Adaptation.
Favorite Jack Nicholson role/movie? Chinatown or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Or Five Easy Pieces.
Favorite Sean Penn role/movie? It’s probably Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but the movie isn’t that good. Maybe Mystic River.