Wednesday, July 07, 2004

"Walk left side, safe; walk right side, safe; walk middle, SQUISH! Just like grape."

There's a scene that Quentin Tarantino shot for Pulp Fiction that didn't make it into the final cut of the film. It's actually an extension of the first part of the sequence where Vincent Vega (John Travolta) escorts his boss's wife, Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman), to dinner. In the film, Vincent sits in her living room while she finishes getting ready, and then the film cuts to their arrival at the restaurant; but in the script, Mia first puts a video camera in Vincent's face and tapes him as he gives answers to her questions. The scene plays out like this:

Now I'm gonna ask you a bunch of
quick questions I've come up with
that more of less tell me what kind
of person I'm having dinner with.
My theory is that when it comes to
important subjects, there's only
two ways a person can answer. For
instance, there's two kinds of
people in this world, Elvis people
and Beatles people. Now Beatles
people can like Elvis. And Elvis
people can like the Beatles. But
nobody likes them both equally.
Somewhere you have to make a
choice. And that choice tells me
who you are.

I can dig it.

I knew you could. First question,
Brady Bunch or the Partridge

The Partridge Family all the way,
no comparison.

On "Rich Man, Poor Man," who did
you like, Peter Strauss or Nick

Nick Nolte, of course.

Are you a "Bewitched" man, or a
"Jeannie" man?

"Bewitched," all the way, though I
always dug how Jeannie always
called Larry Hagman "master."

If you were "Archie," who would you
fuck first, Betty or Veronica?

Betty. I never understood Veronica

Have you ever fantasized about
being beaten up by a girl?



Emma Peel on "The Avengers." That
tough girl who usta hang out with
Encyclopedia Brown. And Arlene

Who's Arlene Motika?

Girl from sixth grade, you don't
know her.

lowers the camcorder from in front of her face and we get our
first full-on look at her. When we do, we get a pretty good
idea why Marsellus feels the way he does. She breaks out in a
blinding smile.

Cut. Print. Let's go eat.

The other day, Terry Teachout came out with his own variant of Mia's quiz, with a whopping one hundred items, that has proven quite popular (much more so than my own attempt at blog-list creation, sadly enough). I can't answer them all, but here I'll answer the ones I can, using the tried-and-true "bolding" technique. (In this case, my choices are in bold. The ones unmarked are the ones I can't answer because I don't know one or both alternatives well enough to choose. I also add a bit of commentary, but not much.)

1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? (God, what a lead-off hitter this one is!)
2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises?
3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington?
4. Cats or dogs? (The former: worshipped by Egyptians. The latter: eaten by Vietnamese.)
5. Matisse or Picasso?
6. Yeats or Eliot?
7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?
8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike?
9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca?
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning?
11. The Who or the Stones?
12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath?
13. Trollope or Dickens?
14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald?
15. Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy?
16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair?
17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham?
18. Hot dogs or hamburgers? (It's a sausage thing!)
19. Letterman or Leno?
20. Wilco or Cat Power?
21. Verdi or Wagner?
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe? (God, how I miss elegance!)
23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash?
24. Kingsley or Martin Amis?
25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando?
26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp?
27. Vermeer or Rembrandt?
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin?
29. Red wine or white?
30. Noël Coward or Oscar Wilde?
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity? (But neither over Say Anything...)
32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev?
33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev?
34. Constable or Turner?
35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo?
36. Comedy or tragedy? (But really, which ones?)
37. Fall or spring? (October is the greatest of months.)
38. Manet or Monet?
39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons?
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin? (But neither over Lerner and Loewe.)
41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James?
42. Sunset or sunrise?
43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter?
44. Mac or PC?
45. New York or Los Angeles? (Buffalo! Buffalo! Buffalo!)
46. Partisan Review or Horizon?
47. Stax or Motown?
48. Van Gogh or Gauguin?
49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello?
50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine? (Just because this is actually what I do. I love magazines.)

51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier?
52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers? (Both amazing albums)
53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde?
54. Ghost World or Election?
55. Minimalism or conceptual art?
56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny?
57. Modernism or postmodernism?
58. Batman or Spider-Man?
59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams?
60. Johnson or Boswell?
61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf?
62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show?
63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table?
64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity?
65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni?
66. Blue or green? (Unfair outside of a context. I can list a dozen places for each color where I'd prefer it over the other.)

67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It?
68. Ballet or opera?
69. Film or live theater?
70. Acoustic or electric?
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo?
72. Sargent or Whistler?
73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera?
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma?
75. Sushi, yes or no?
76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn?
77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee?
78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove?
79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham?
80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe?
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones?
82. Watercolor or pastel?
83. Bus or subway?
84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg?
85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser?
87. Schubert or Mozart?
88. The Fifties or the Twenties?
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick?
90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce?
91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins?
92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman?
93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill?
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann?
95. Italian or French cooking?
96. Bach on piano or harpsichord? (Geez, and I was trying to build up some street cred amongst the classical music bloggers. This ought to kill that outright!)

97. Anchovies, yes or no? (I'm assuming as a pizza topping. I've used them as ingredients in other stuff.)

98. Short novels or long ones? (Can't answer. I tend to prefer good novels, short or long.)

99. Swing or bebop?
100. "The Last Judgment" or "The Last Supper"?

Some of these -- Number One, especially -- just killed me. In that particular case, I had to resort to asking myself if there's any Astaire film that I value as highly as Singin' In The Rain, and I had to conclude that there was not. But it was still damned hard. My final TTCI score is 59 percent, which means....well....I guess 59 percent of the time I'd agree with Terry Teachout? Or is it 41 percent? Who knows....

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