For the Love of Movies, Take Ebert’s Fun Quiz

Over at RogerEbert.com, a cadre of film critics continue the legacy of the late, great movie guru.

The work of Ebert’s wife, Chaz, and dozens of contributors, the site is packed with fascinating features.

One of my favorites is the Movie Love Questionnaire. It’s a detailed survey completed by each of the site’s regular contributors, revealing a glimpse into the tastes of the critics on a more personal level.

The answers to the questionnaire are always fun to read. I’ve often wondered if they’d be even more fun to respond to.

So here goes. It’s my turn to fill out the Movie Love Questionnaire. See my answers below.

If you’d like to take a crack at the questionnaire, I’ve included the list of questions to cut and paste at the bottom of this post. Respond in the comments section here or on the Facebook link, or email your responses to lavendervroman@gmail.com.

If this little experiment goes well, I might post some of the more interesting and insightful responses on the blog. Go ahead and bare your moviegoing soul. 

Movie Love Questionnaire:

Where did you grow up, and what was it like?

I was raised in the Glendale area of Southern California and, after a brief stint in Fortworth, Texas, moved to Lancaster, California. My childhood was amazing, thanks to my fun, creative, intellectual parents and four siblings. They loved to read and discuss ideas and and encouraged imagination.

Was anyone else in your family into movies? If so, what effect did they have on your moviegoing tastes?

My family didn’t watch a lot of movies when I was young. We didn’t even have a television for a significant portion of my childhood. My parents were fans of classic film. I remember as a freshman in high school, spending the summer watching old movies on TCM with my mother. And my grandmother used to screen classics on video for me and my siblings, especially musicals, like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “My Fair Lady” and the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movies.

What’s the first movie you remember seeing, and what impression did it make on you?

One of my earliest movie memories is seeing the 1982 “Annie” in the theater. I must have been about six. The funny thing is, I’ve never particularly liked that movie.

What’s the first movie that made you think, “Hey, some people made this. It didn’t just exist. There’s a human personality behind it.”

I saw “Star Wars” on television when I was about 14. I was a late bloomer when it came to discovering that universe but I fell really hard for it. I was curious about George Lucas and the making of the trilogy. I took out a subscription to Lucasfilm magazine so I could learn all the behind-the-scenes details. I don’t think the magazine had many subscribers at that point, but for me, it was the beginning of a lifelong interest in movies and how they are made.

What’s the first movie you ever walked out of?

As my mother tells it, my siblings and I walked out of “Sleeping Beauty” after deciding that Maleficent was too scary for us. Since then, I’ve only walked out of one movie — a Cameron Diaz comedy, “The Sweetest Thing.” I found it so distasteful and insultingly dumb that I left the theater about 20 minutes in. When I returned to the newspaper office, my editor made it clear that it wasn’t OK as a professional critic to walk out on a movie. There were many films I would have loved to walk out of over the years, but I never did it again.

What’s the funniest film you’ve ever seen?

“Bringing Up Baby.”

What’s the saddest film you’ve ever seen?

“The Bicycle Thief.” I can’t think of the ending without wanting to cry.

Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” is lovely but it’s also surprisingly melancholy. My sister and I went to a screening of the movie around the time my father died and it struck a chord. I adore that film, but I still have trouble watching it.

What’s the scariest film you’ve ever seen?

I’ve always been haunted by “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” a creepy Australian movie I saw when I was a kid.

What’s the most romantic film you’ve ever seen?

“Casablanca” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

What’s the first television show you ever saw that made you think television could be more than entertainment?

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It started off so silly and ended up so deep. And “Lost.” That series was so original, intricate and character driven.

What book do you think about or revisit the most?

I periodically reread Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” and I always get something different from it, depending on where I’m at in life. I also keep coming back to Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights.”

What album or recording artist have you listened to the most, and why?

It’s always changing. Right now, I’m hooked on Florence and the Machine because she’s so theatrical and gothic and twisted.

Is there a movie that you think is great, or powerful, or perfect, but that you never especially want to see again, and why?

It’s probably a war movie, like “The Hurt Locker.” I can’t ride that emotional roller coaster twice.

What movie have you seen more times than any other?

It’s gotta be “Star Wars” or the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

What was your first R-rated movie, and did you like it?

I don’t remember how old I was, but my sister and our childhood best friend decided to sneak into our first R movie. My mom dropped us off, we bought tickets for some Pauly Shore flick and we crept into the only R-rated film showing, which was this terrible thriller called “Blink,” starring Aidan Quinn and Madeleine Stowe. I wish my first R-rated movie had been something cooler.

What’s the most visually beautiful film you’ve ever seen?

That’s an impossible question. There are so many visually beautiful films and the word “beautiful” is so subjective. Maybe Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Nothing has ever taken my breathe away quite like the ballroom scene.

Who are your favorite leading men, past and present?

From the past, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire and Jimmy Stewart. From the present, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Who are your favorite leading ladies, past and present?

From the past, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. From the present, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Carey Mulligan, Emma Stone, Marion Cotillard and Noomi Rapace. And Meryl Streep, of course.

Who’s your favorite modern filmmaker?

Christopher Nolan is such an exciting director. I also love Sophia Coppola.

Who’s your least favorite modern filmmaker?

Michael Bay.

What film do you love that most people seem to hate?

A lot of people hate “Lost in Translation,” but it’s one of my favorites.

What film do you hate that most people love?

“Titanic.” And I didn’t hate “Frozen,” by any means, but I think it’s highly overrated.

Tell me about a moviegoing experience you will never forget — not just because of the movie, but because of the circumstances in which you saw it.

All the midnight screenings I’ve been to for the latest installments of my favorite franchises, like Star Wars and Harry Potter, have been amazing. There’s so much anticipation and camaraderie. Every movie I go to with my husband, Nick, is a great time. On our first date, we saw a nature film at the California Science Center. It’s not too much of a stretch to say our marriage has been built on a mutual love of movies.

What aspect of modern theatrical moviegoing do you like least?

The rude behavior of fellow moviegoers.

What aspect of moviegoing during your childhood do you miss the most?

Getting dropped off at the theater on a warm summer day and just staying there for hours.

Have you ever damaged a friendship, or thought twice about a relationship, because you disagreed about whether a movie was good or bad?

It wasn’t until a few years after we were married that I realized my husband doesn’t like Alfred Hitchcock movies. To me, Hitchcock is the absolute master. I told Nick he was lucky because if I had known that, it might have been a deal breaker.

What movies have you dreamed about?

I would expect this to happen more often than it does. I’ve dreamed I’m writing a really fabulous movie script and when I wake up, it makes no sense at all.

What concession stand item can you not live without?

When I worked as a critic for the newspaper, I wouldn’t let myself indulge too often because I knew it would get out of control. I’m a huge fan of popcorn, though, and Sour Patch Kids, and Coke flavored Icees.

********************************************************************************

Movie Love Questionnaire:

Where did you grow up, and what was it like?

Was anyone else in your family into movies? If so, what effect did they have on your moviegoing tastes?

What’s the first movie you remember seeing, and what impression did it make on you?

What’s the first movie that made you think, “Hey, some people made this. It didn’t just exist. There’s a human personality behind it.”

What’s the first movie you ever walked out of?

What’s the funniest film you’ve ever seen?

What’s the saddest film you’ve ever seen?

What’s the scariest film you’ve ever seen?

What’s the most romantic film you’ve ever seen?

What’s the first television show you ever saw that made you think television could be more than entertainment?

What book do you think about or revisit the most?

What album or recording artist have you listened to the most, and why?

Is there a movie that you think is great, or powerful, or perfect, but that you never especially want to see again, and why?

What movie have you seen more times than any other?

What was your first R-rated movie, and did you like it?

What’s the most visually beautiful film you’ve ever seen?

Who are your favorite leading men, past and present?

Who are your favorite leading ladies, past and present?

Who’s your favorite modern filmmaker?

Who’s your least favorite modern filmmaker?

What film do you love that most people seem to hate?

What film do you hate that most people love?

Tell me about a moviegoing experience you will never forget — not just because of the movie, but because of the circumstances in which you saw it.

What aspect of modern theatrical moviegoing do you like least?

What aspect of moviegoing during your childhood do you miss the most?

Have you ever damaged a friendship, or thought twice about a relationship, because you disagreed about whether a movie was good or bad?

What movies have you dreamed about?

What concession stand item can you not live without?

Photo: RogerEbert.com

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One thought on “For the Love of Movies, Take Ebert’s Fun Quiz

  1. Pingback: Will You Be Next to Take On the Movie Love Questionnaire? | Lavender Vroman

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