Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

The Monolith Gets a Liebster Award!

Liebster Award 2015

My friend Lindsey over at The Motion Pictures was kind enough to bestow upon this site a Liebster Award, which according to the description I found on-line, is an award that is by bloggers, for bloggers, passed from person to person to encourage connection and support within our writing community, and to aid in the discovery of new and upcoming bloggers.

Very nice, Lindsey, and I thank you for the nomination! The rules and requirements the recipients are asked to follow vary from presenter to presenter, but most include the following:

  • Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 11 blogs.
  • List 11 questions to be answered by the blogs you nominate.

Lindsey has allowed her nominees the option of keeping it simple, by just answering the 11 questions she’s provided. Being the busy, sleep-deprived individual that I am, I will accept this option, but take it a step further and share 11 facts about myself as well…and I’ll give it a different slant by making each fact film-related.

Drive-In Speakers

Okay, here we go, first with Lindsey’s questions:

1) Who is your favorite underrated director?

If I’m correct in considering him underrated, I’ll go with Henry Hathaway, whom I discovered when I saw my very first noir film, The Dark Corner. I admire him mostly for his noir catalog (The House on 92nd Street, Kiss of Death, Call Northside 777), but he’s also directed his share of cool Westerns (Rawhide is a favorite), WWII espionage movies (13 Rue Madeleine), and bank heist films (Seven Thieves).

2) What are your favorite films from that underrated director?

See above…and you can add Niagara to that list as well.

3) If you were given the task of curating a classic film festival, what would the theme be?

My obvious choice would be a film noir festival, but since there are already so many good ones out there to choose from, I’d try something different: a classic baseball film festival, featuring everything from Elmer the Great to Damn Yankees.

4) Name your favorite film starting with the letter “L.”

That would be the 1944 noir classic Laura.

5) What is your preferred way to watch classic movies?

If possible, on the big screen at an old-time revival house, but since those are few and far between here in Arizona, I’ll go with how I watch them now, every weekend: on the couch in my living room, with a bowl of popcorn and a tall, cold glass of lemonade at my side.

6) If you were an actor/actress in the classic era, what character type would you most often play?

Once again bringing noir into play, I think it would be great fun to be a tough guy, whether it be on the side of good or bad. Preferably good, so I could beat a bad guy senseless with my bare hands.

7) Related to question 6: Which studio would you sign a contract with?

RKO…or whichever studio had Ann Sheridan under contract.

8) Slapstick, screwball, black, satire, or stand-up: Which is your favorite type of comedy?

For classic films, I’d say screwball, but for modern movies I’d lean towards satire.

9) What is your most fond memory of discovering a classic film for the first time?

Renting a horror compilation film called Terror in the Aisles and seeing a clip of a man at a carnival who is confronted by a little boy dressed as a cowboy, who ‘shoots’ the man with his toy gun; the man takes his cigarette, pops the kid’s balloon, and walks away. I loved that scene, and watching the film’s credits I figured out the clip was from Strangers on a Train, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, whom I knew only from watching Psycho and The Birds on TV. This discovery sparked many visits to my local video store, to rent as many Hitchcock films as I could find, and he soon became my favorite director of all time, an honor he still holds to this day.

10) What is the greatest number of films you’ve ever watched in a day?

I couldn’t begin to tell you how many I’ve seen at home in one day, but theatrically-speaking I have a solid answer: four, when I drove to Tucson in October of 2009 on a quest to see as many films as I could in a single day. I succeeded in seeing Zombieland, the rock documentary It Might Get Loud, the vampire classic Nosferatu, and the awful The Invention of Lying. It would’ve been five, if the midnight showing of Paranormal Activity hadn’t been sold out.

11) Name your favorite film released in 1947.

I had to look at a list, and saw that the year in question was filled with an astounding number of film noir movies, which would’ve made for a tough decision to pick just one…that is, if my favorite noir of all time hadn’t suddenly jumped out at me from the ‘O’ section: Out of the Past, starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer.

Out of the Past - Mitchum and Greer

And now, 11 film-related facts about me:

• I own my favorite movie, Jaws, on four different types of media: VHS tape, DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download. Sadly, I never purchased a Beta version when I had the chance.

• And speaking of which: I still own a Beta video player, and it’s still functional.

• The first movie I can remember seeing at a theater was the Disney film Blackbeard’s Ghost, at the Cinema Paramount in Fremont, Ohio in 1968.

• My first DVD purchase, way back in 1999, was the 1982 version of The Thing. This was also the first DVD I ever watched, and the first DVD audio commentary I’d ever listened to.

• My friend Joe and I went to see a movie at the Edwards San Marcos 6 in San Marcos, California, on the final night the theater was open, on May 11, 2000. The movie was Final Destination.

• The first R-rated movie I ever saw in theaters was The Enforcer, starring Clint Eastwood as ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan.

• I’ve never seen Saturday Night Fever.

• For several years in the 1990s I worked as a script supervisor, in film and television, in San Diego, California. Check me out on IMDb!

• At one point a few years ago, I’d seen a movie at all 24 Harkins theaters in Arizona.

• My favorite movie when I was a kid was Swiss Family Robinson.

• While working at a hospital north of San Diego many years ago, a co-worker invited me to dinner at his house, where he wanted me to meet a friend of his who was a director, and who was working on a film about bullfighting. I never took him up on his offer, assuming the friend was just some guy living in a small backcountry town trying to get into filmmaking. Years later, I found out the friend was Budd Boetticher, director of the noir film The Killer is Loose and several Westerns starring Randolph Scott. Derf!

Monkey AwardThanks again, Lindsey, for the nomination!

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23 comments on “The Monolith Gets a Liebster Award!

  1. butterboy44
    12/30/15

    Coolness. Covetous. Rigged.

  2. Lindsey
    12/31/15

    Good choices with Out of the Past and Laura. I love that scene from Strangers on a Train — one of the first Hitchcock films I saw, and it remains a favorite.

    Also, I had no idea you had your own IMDb page! Fancy schmancy!

    • Todd Benefiel
      1/1/16

      Fancy, indeed! I just wish there were more entries on that page than there are! And yes, lots of good scenes in Strangers on a Train…one of Hitchcock’s underrated films, in my most humble opinion. Thanks again, Lindsey!

  3. Loved it! Your answer to number 7 was classic! I too have yet to see Saturday Night Fever…My first R rated flick I believe was Sudden Impact, ironic don’t you think ? I was still underage but gave it my best tough guy look at the door and it worked. All the best my friend.

    • Todd Benefiel
      1/1/16

      Thanks Mike, and all the best to you as well…and thanks for being patient with my disappearing act. Pretty cool that Sudden Impact was your first ‘R’…that might make for a good post topic!

      And what’s so surprising about my pick for #7? Isn’t everyone madly in love with Ann Sheridan?

  4. Kelly Betron
    1/1/16

    What a cool honor! This was a great read, Todd. I think my brother is rather spectacular!

    • Todd Benefiel
      1/1/16

      Well, thank you, I think. A few moments ago, over in the Most Disappointing Films of 2014 page, you had the unmitigated gall to call me dumb. Which, I believe, is not so spectacular. Or did your spell-checker change ‘damned’ to ‘dumb’?

      Wait, that doesn’t sound so great, either…

    • Amen!

      • Todd Benefiel
        1/1/16

        Wait, ‘amen’ for me being spectacular, or damned? Oh, you just answered that…

      • I meant on the “spectacular” part! Then you jumped in ahead of me. And yes, Kelly seems a big confused but she got the last part right. LOL.

  5. Stu
    1/1/16

    A fascinating bunch of answers, Todd. Little did I know during all our online discussions that you’ve worked as a script supervisor and you actually know what you’re talking about! Anyway, your interest in film noir, classic movies and much more always comes through, as does your attitude towards the whole movie-going experience, and it seems to be confirmed here. Good to read!

    • Todd Benefiel
      1/1/16

      Hey, hold on, don’t you DARE accuse me of knowing what I’m talking about! I mean: yes indeed Stu, thank you…hopefully I’ll continue to sound halfway intelligent when I get back to posting and commenting again!

      • Stu
        1/1/16

        Can I edit that IMDb profile and insert the words “He once recommended Eegah to me”?

      • Todd Benefiel
        1/1/16

        If you could actually pull a stunt like that off, I would endorse it all the way. AND I’d send you an autographed photo of me in full-on script supervisor mode, hard at work on the set of Pensacola.

  6. Spectacular of course!! And I’ll bet Stu would get a real kick out of your Silhouette tales – lol !!

    • Todd Benefiel
      1/1/16

      If he plays his cards right, I’ll send him a copy of the movie…with audio commentary included, free of charge.

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Review Totals

Movies Reviewed: 161

From the Monolith: 89

Movies by Decade

1920s – 0
1930s – 4
1940s – 12
1950s – 23
1960s – 30
1970s – 22
1980s – 25
1990s – 5
2000s – 10
2010s – 30

Movies by Genre

Action/Adventure – 28
Comedy – 33
Crime – 9
Documentary – 1
Drama – 17
Horror – 29
Martial Arts – 0
Musical – 1
Mystery/Thriller – 14
Romance – 3
Sci-Fi/Fantasy – 19
Western – 6

Movies by Rating

10 star – 9
9 star – 19
8 star – 24
7 star – 22
6 star – 14
5 star – 15
4 star – 17
3 star – 12
2 star – 15
1 star – 11
0 star – 3

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