Thursday, April 5, 2012

Doug Asks Patrick Questions About Movies

Patrick knows a lot about movies. Doug has seen The Efficiency Expert dozens of times. In an effort to expand Doug's cinematic horizons, he'll be asking Patrick questions about movies in a column we're calling "Doug Asks Patrick Questions About Movies."

As a film director, Tom Hanks is 50/50. That Thing You Do! is nearly perfect, while Larry Crowne is a disaster. Do you think he should still make movies, or have his latter-day sins overshadowed future projects?

I won't write him off after one bad movie, even if it does make up half of his work behind the camera. There's enough that's so good and small and well-observed about That Thing You Do! that suggests that Tom Hanks has a real voice as a filmmaker (Turner), even if Larry Crowne negates that entirely by going in the opposite direction (Hooch). I still blame Nia Vardolos for many of that movie's problems (though the buck did ultimately stop with Hanks, him being director and all), because she got a LOT of attention for writing one of the worst scripts of the last 10 years and learned all the wrong lessons from the experience. I won't say I'm anxiously anticipating a new movie directed by Tom Hanks -- if there even will be a new movie directed by Tom Hanks -- but if he makes one, I'll see it. At this point, it will probably more out of curiosity than anything else; I want to see if it will it be more That Thing You Do! or more Larry Crowne. Like a tiebreaker.

What's the most you've ever paid for a movie? What was the movie, what was the platform (e.g., LaserDisc, Blu-ray, etc.) and was it worth it?

Easy. The Postman on DVD. It cost me my self respect. WORTH IT.

What is your favorite David Lynch movie, and why?

One of the things I like best about David Lynch is that, like a few other directors we've talked about before on F This Movie!, 10 different people could give 10 different answers and they would all be valid. Unless one of those answers is Inland Empire. But I'd be willing to accept any other David Lynch movie as someone's favorite. Personally, I could probably give three different answers on three different days: I love Blue Velvet, because it's the movie that most firmly established David Lynch as "David Lynch" and is probably the most David Lynch of all David Lynch movies. David Lynch David Lynch David Lynch. I think Mulholland Dr. is his best movie, and gets better with every viewing. Most days, though, I would call Lost Highway my favorite, and not just because it's his most underrated (and you know how I love to champion the wrongfully ignored). Sure, it's pretty much just a rough draft of Mulholland Dr., but it's much darker (literally; it's hard to see things at times) and scarier and a different kind of expression of the film noir conventions that Lynch is riffing on in so many of his movies (mostly The Straight Story). It's also a movie that has stayed with me in a profound way since the first time I saw it 15 years ago -- an impressive feat since so many movies these days don't stay with me for the length of the drive home.

If you want to hear more about Lost Highway, JB and I did a whole podcast on it last year in which I'm probably overly effusive with my praise and JB is overly murderous with his Robert Blake impression.

Sean Penn -- talented actor, pretentious blowhard or both?

Both. Lately more the latter than the former. His best performances are the ones where he makes us forget he's ACTING, because he's one of those ACTORS who ACTS much more than almost any other ACTING ACTOR. That was one of the things that surprised me about him in Milk, because all of the trailers made it look like his performance was going to be a voice and a bunch of mannerisms -- you know, ACTING. Instead, he was sincere and sweet and funny for the first time since Sweet and Lowdown and probably Fast Times before that (unless you count Mystic River, in which his performance is HILARIOUS but not intentionally so). I know he's a talented guy and is capable of giving a really interesting performance, but his offscreen persona is such a drag (because JUDE LAW IS ONE OF OUR MOST TALENTED ACTORS!!) that he ends up bringing a lot of that baggage with him to his roles. It's either that or the kinds of roles he take can be frustrating, since it's always something heavy and WORTHY OF SEAN PENN. I don't mind a guy who's choosy or who just wants to do the kinds of movies he wants to do (Daniel Day Lewis), but I feel like if he would branch out a little from time to time he might take an actual risk. When I first heard that he was going to play Larry Fine in the Farrelly Brothers' Three Stooges movie, I was fascinated by that choice and would have seen that version of the movie the day it opened (the one that actually ended up being shot with Sean Hayes in the role, I'm less inclined to see. This is because I spent all of my self respect on The Postman.). Instead, his career is filled with a lot of calculated ACTOR risks like his latest, This Must Be the Place:

What was the first movie you remember seeing in the theater as a kid? Mine was The Right Stuff (apparently, my parents couldn't afford a sitter), and I slept through most of it. Correction: I woke up during the scene in which the candidate astronauts are put through a barrage of physical tests, including personal, er ... bodily fluid "extractions." According to my mom, I loudly asked everyone around me, "What's sperm?" to which the whole theater cracked up. Hilarious, sure, but to this day, NO ONE'S TOLD ME THE ANSWER. Patrick, help a brother out -- WHAT IS SPERM?

I have a vague memory of being taken to the drive-in to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind but spending most of the night desperately trying to watch the Dino DeLaurentis King Kong on a neighboring screen. I'm not sure how accurate any of this is, but it does go a long way towards explaining why this:
Has always excited me a lot more than this:
That could also just be the result of me having eyes.

After that, the first movie I have a lucid memory of seeing is either E.T. (I sobbed, which I still haven't forgotten) or a re-release of The Empire Strikes Back, which my father brought me to just so that I wouldn't monopolize our one TV watching one of the Spider-Man TV movies starring Nicholas Hammond. TRUE STORY.

As to your second question, LOOK INSIDE YOUR HEART and you will find the answer. You will also figure out why we all call you Spermheart.

If you've got a question you want Doug to ask Patrick, email it fthismoviepodcast(at)


  1. Yay, we get to feed Doug the questions he will ask Patrick. I feel like the crooked TV producer played by David Paymer on "Quiz Show." But who between the two of you is John Turturro and who is Ralph Phiennes? :-)

    Even though I know it doesn't hold a candle to the 1933 original there will always be a place in my heart for the 1976 version of "King Kong" because it was the first version of the story I saw. And back then Jessica Lange was quite the babe so her playing the damsel/"girlfriend" to Rick Baker's Kong suit (seen briefly in the just-mentioned John Landis flick "Kentucky Fried Movie") really stood out to a seven-year old.

    Saw it ("King Kong" '76) in a theater on a double-bill with some John Wayne western flick (don't remember which one). It's such a silly/cheesy movie, you guys should do a podcast on it so that you can also talk about/compare it to the timeless '33 classic and Peter Jackson's '05 well-intended but ultimately failed attempt to recreate the original's magic with modern-day tools (CGI and practical sets).

    My first theater movie as a kid was Disney's "The Rescuers," I remember it clearly because it was the only movie I went to see with both of my parents while they were still married (I was 4). They divorced the following year and then I only went to the movies with one of them. :'( Remember the kid in "Kramer vs. Kramer"? Except for the hair/skin color and NYC locales (think brown and banana republic, respectively) that's me at 5, except it was a boyfriend I walked into doing you-know-what with mommy (instead of a carefully-lit-to-hide-the-naughty-bits co-worker girlfriend of dad's in the hallway outside my bedroom). :-O Thank God it wasn't Christmas or anything, I might have gone on a killer rampage 15 years later. ;-)

    Sean Penn and Tom Hanks are movie-by-movie now, which is a shame because at one point their work was mandatory viewing. Lately though ("Tree of Life," "Extremely Loud...," etc.) these guys' projects leave a lot to be desired. There's still plenty of Lynch left for me to watch and he isn't doing anything ("Inland Empire" was his last) so there. And I guess my self-respect is still intact because, no matter how low the price gets ($7.99 is the lowest I've come across) or how many times I hold it in my hands with a burning desire to relive the boredom and stupefying inanity of it all circa 1997, I can't bring myself to buy a Blu-ray copy of "The Postman." Thank God TNT shows this semi-frequently on weekend overnight time slots to kill 3.5/4 hours in one swoop. But again, yay for dignity?

  2. The first movie I remember seeing -- willingly -- was a re-release of LADY AND THE TRAMP. It was great, but I haven't seen it since. I almost don't want to, because my memory of the experience is so great. WHY RUIN A GOOD THING?

    I feel really bad for 5-year-old JM Vargas. It does help explain, however, why you are the craziest.

    1. ^^^ And also why I enjoy "The Ten Commandments" so much. I know, it doesn't make sense at all! :-P

  3. According to my parents, my first movie was SNOW WHITE, but the jury is out on that because I have no recollection of it. The first movie I remember seeing was RETURN OF THE JEDI. In fact, I have clear memories of 1) asking my dad to read the opening crawl because I was only 4 at the time; 2) continually asking my (apparently long-suffering) dad, "Can Han see yet?" and 3) having to go to the bathroom during the scene where Luke meets Vader on the Endor base, because apparently 4-year-olds have bladders the size of lentils.

  4. The most I've paid for a single movie was Sherlock Holmes: Dark of the Moon, which we saw in a D-Box theater. Now, D-Box is neat, and I liked the movie well enough, but it was in excess of $50 for two of us. I'm not sure if it was worth it. I have paid a boatload for multiple movie DVD sets though.

    The first movie I ever saw Star Wars, when it was just Star Wars. No "Episode 4", no "On Stranger Tides", just Star Wars.