Posts Tagged ‘Unknown’

A Movie Gimmick Quiz

February 23, 2011

We went to see the movie “Unknown” last night. That’s the new thriller-mystery starring Irish actor Liam Neeson as the scientist who survives a near fatal accident and coma on a professional trip to Berlin, only to find that some other man has assumed his identity and that even his wife doesn’t seem to know him.

I wouldn’t spoil the rest of this story for anything. If you like fast-moving plots with a lot of intriguing thought planted deep inside both the major story line and the actions of the major characters, you don’t want to miss this one. “Unknown” is the best of its kind to come along in quite a while and Liam Neeson is simply perfect in this role as the beleaguered academic who suddenly finds himself as the “stranger in a strange land.”

Everything resolves in the end – and I don’t think you will figure out the whole set of answers in your own mind before the dust all clears. If that does happen, then we need to immediately  put you in charge of the search for Osama bin Laden.

The movie did not completely escape film story cliché. It inspired me to prepare the following brief quiz on what certain things mean when you see them in a movie. Not all of these are from the movie “Unknown,” but I’m betting you will not need an answer list to score a perfect 100% on this test. What follows are ten general movie facts. Read them over and then select the best one of four multiple choice answers as to what they each mean when you see them in a film:

(1) One of the characters has a cough.

(a) He needs a cough drop; (b) It will go away; (c) He needs to see a doctor; (d) He’s going to die.

(2) A woman walking home on a deserted street late at night hears the footsteps of someone following her.

(a) She is about to get the news that she is a lottery winner; (b) Her mother is checking up on her again; (c) It’s just a stranger and has nothing to do with her; (d) She is going to die.

(3) A young couple moves into an apartment building that has graffiti scribbled all over the interior hallways.

(a) The building’s interior designer is on vacation; (b) The couple’s new neighbors are preparing a “welcome wagon” greeting; (c) One of their neighbors turns out to be Andy Warhol and another is Jackson Pollack; (4) As for the young couple, he or she, or both, will be attacked and left for dead before movie’s end.

(4) A young man moves to the city and then can’t decide between marriage to his sober childhood sweetheart back home or the exciting city girl he then meets who likes to drink and party a lot.

(a) He marries the girl from back home and lives happily ever after; (b) He marries several drinking city girls in a row and lives happily ever after for a while each time; (c) He marries the sober girl from back home, stays married, and finally dies of boredom; (d) He finds happiness by staying single.

(5) Pages suddenly blow violently loose from a calendar on the wall near an open window,

(a) Time passes; (b) tornado winds have stricken the city; (c) This is an existential movie and the blowing pages have no meaning beyond this moment in time; (d) Some combination of the first three choices.

(6) An attractive woman walks into the office of a down-on-his-luck chain-smoking detective to ask for his help.

(a) She needs help locating a black bird figurine; (b) She is an e-cigarette nicotine vapor inhalation system sales person; (c) 95% of what she tells the detective will be a lie; (d) Proving why he is a down-and-outer, the detective will find and choose to believe the 5% she tells him that is true.

(7) In a classic thriller-horror movie, the heroic couple survives a night of terror by pushing the monster out a window or down the stairs to his apparent death and then prepares to walk out of the place on their own way to safety and relief.

(a) The monster lives long enough to grab somebody by the leg and fight one last time before he’s finally slain for keeps; (b) The heroic couple gets away, but, when the camera flashes back to where we last saw the monster drop, there’s no one there as “The End” line plays across the screen with a question mark;; (c) If the movie is old enough, there’s a good chance the monster was played by Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, or Vincent Price; (d) People easily rise from the dead in these kinds of movies.

(8) When Mars attacks …

(a) Remember this fact: Except for that Michael Rennie film from way back, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,”  the aliens never come in peace. They always come to kill people and plunder Planet Earth; (b) It probably will take a real invasion by Earth aliens to rally all Earthlings to the same side of their mutual cause with all others; (c) Martians are vulnerable to destruction by protracted exposure to Country & Western music; (d) Martians may be conditioned into states of greater affinity for humans through protracted exposure to the music of Lady Gaga.

(9) If you see a Roman chariot racer wearing a wrist watch in Ben Hur ….

(a) You are watching a time traveler from the 21st century NASCAR circuit; (b) The watch will have a sun dial face with no second-hand; (c) It is likely that you have converted an ancient urban legend about the watch-wearing charioteer into your personal hallucinatory delusion;  (d) the film’s continuity editor was out to lunch on the days that this scene was both shot and edited for inclusion in the go-t0-market print.

(10) The overriding message of a film like “Avatar” is …

(a) leave simple cultures alone and their unadulterated presences in the world will make Planet earth a safer, more loving, and more civilized place;  (b) oil exploration corporations, from the Gulf of Mexico to the planet featured in “Avatar,” are the great spoilers of our interplanetary environment and the same greedy groups that produce enough salaries to make movies and their widespread attendance both popular and affordable; (c) if we all could own and operate working avatar bodies in the brick and mortar world, many of us would be in Florida or Arizona for spring training right now; (d) for as long as the subject remains open and credibly reachable at any age, keep dreaming of what you want to do when you grow up,

And while you’re at it, have a nice Wednesday.