Films that Quiz Bowl Players Need To See

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quizbowllee
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Films that Quiz Bowl Players Need To See

Post by quizbowllee »

I'm trying to compile a list of films that I feel that members of my team need to see. What films would some of you recommend? The idea is for the film to be:
a) Asked about a lot (Dr. Strangelove, The Godfather, etc).
b) Educational is some other way (Alexander, Gandhi, etc.)
c) A pretty accurate adaptation of a literary work (To Kill a Mockingbird, etc)


Obviously, I'd rather have a team member who has READ Vanity Fair, as opposed to having just seen the movie. However, I'll take what I can get. Also, I realize that films like Alexander aren't necessarily accurate, but you can definately learn about battles, etc.

Here is a short list of films I would like my team to see:

Patton
Gone With the Wind
The Godfather
Amadeus
Lawrence of Arabia
Dr. Strangelove
The 10 Commandments
The Passion
Troy
To Kill a Mockingbird


What else would you recommend?
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Post by First Chairman »

A former colleague of mine (Marty Dunlap) had an exhaustive list of 200-300 movies that every person should see. If I still have a webshot (or search Wayback) of that website, I'd link it here.
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Post by Stained Diviner »

Here is the list Dr. Chuck mentioned.

It would be interesting to come up with a list of about 25 or so. Some very popular films, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, could be on the list. I also think some of the Disney classics and Pixar movies should be on there.

On second thought, there's no way to keep it near 50.
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Post by steven-lamp »

I saw you had mentioned Alexander as one to see, but Alexander contains several mythological inconsistencies that might confuse your team.


EDIT: Eh, yeah so I definitely confused Alexander and Troy... How about not seeing Alexander because it's just not a very good movie. Besides, the emphasis isn't really on any of the battles but more so on the script writer's interpretation of Alexander's personality.
Last edited by steven-lamp on Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by alkrav112 »

I would recommend NOT having your team see Troy, only because of the vast number of factual inaccuracies. If possible, have one of your team members read the Iliad/Odyssey.

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Post by David Riley »

I would add Casablanca to your list.

I would also cast a vote for the Robert Downey Jr. / Meg Ryan film Restoration, which is a pretty accurate portrayal of that period in English histroy.

I would beware of literary adaptations; for example, the 1940 Pride and Prejudice is an excellent film in its own right but is not totally faithful to the book.

Other films of note: Nicholas and Alexandra, film versions of popular operas (e.g. the Zeffirelli [sic] version of La Traviata).

Hope this helps

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Post by NotjustoldWASPs »

You have to put Spartacus on that list...I would never have heard of him if it weren't for the movie.

And if you have Patton, you also, IMHO, need Tora!Tora!Tora! (if only for the great title)
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Post by dschafer »

I've seen Apocalypse Now referenced quite a bit in quiz bowl, and a reasonable knowledge of recent movies might pick up a trash question or two each tournament.
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Post by wwellington »

Don't waste the four hours of your life it'll take you to see Gone With the Wind.

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Post by solonqb »

If you want a decent parable of how our country has been fscking with the Middle East for the last fifty years, watch Syriana.
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Post by STPickrell »

FWIW, Adam, Marian and I count pre-1950 films as part of the "Visual Fine Arts" 1.5 questions per match we cough up for VHSL. Is this normal or are we sticking out like sore thumbs?
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Post by BuzzerZen »

In all honesty, my most highly recommended viewing for quiz bowl is the ouerve of Monty Python,especially the TV show. I have drawn on vague mentions in Flying Circus for countless random, out-of-nowhere buzzes. The sheer volume of cultural references in Python, in my opinion, is perfect for creating the mental connections that make you a good quiz bowl player. Plus, you'll be watching what is possibly the greatest and most important comedy ever to grace television*. Also, as far as actual film goes, Battleship Potemkin and Citizen Kane are both good ideas. They don't come up as much as they should, but they are certainly among the most significant films ever made (according to the Internet). Plus, they're both really good.

(*Note: if you think the Good Eras of SNL deserve this title, fine. I have no experience in that regard.)
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Post by Tegan »

I know I will get deservedly whipped for this, but as a young (and older) lad, watching James Bond films helped me to make numerous geographical associations: (Sugarloaf..Rio..Brazil (Moonraker); Baku ... Azerbaijan .... Caspian Sea (TWINE); Sardinia = Italy; Corsica = France (OHMSS)..... Adriatic, Ionian, Agean, in that order from west to east around Greece (FYEO).

I would not give my seal of approval to sitting down and watching any one or all of these films, but it did get me interested in looking up where these places were, and how they all relate geographically. Especially for a high school or older player, its jsut not worht the time.

If you've got several days to hole up, Ken Burn's "The Civil War" makes different aspects of the war personal enough that it may be easier for some people to remember dryer facts (dates, battles, generals, casualty counts, etc).

Along the line of seeing videos of good operas, several excellent musicals have been filmed, with the caveat that you know when songs have been added or removed, or the plot altered in the film version.

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Post by mlaird »

I watched British movie versions of Shakespeare plays that I thought were not only brilliant (Imagine Roger Daltrey as the two Dromios from The Comedy of Errors), but also follow the folio with no deviations. And I watched some movies about some artists. I got them out of the library, but I'm the kind of big nerd who doesn't mind hanging out with librarians.

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Post by dtaylor4 »

When I learned Shakespeare, what I did was sit down with a copy of the text in front of me and watch several versions of the movie (much like a teacher at my school taught a Shakespeare class). I highly recommend the Kenneth Branagh versions of Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. For textual accuracy, get the box set of the BBC versions of Shakespeare plays. They are somewhat minimalist and not really that interesting, but the acting is decent and they go through the text in order.

EDIT: Mr. Laird, IIRC, described the BBC CoE with Roger Daltry, and I have to agree with his assessment.

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Post by quizbowllee »

I appreciate all of the input so far.

I know that Troy is a huge departure from the mythological stories regarding the Trojan War. However, I think it does supplement that knowledge. I really liked the movie. It also made the whole story make a little more sense to me...

It being the week before Christmas break, I let my team watch Dr. Strangelove yesterday. I could definately see the difference in my older and younger players. Many of the younger students didn't really get the dry humor involved and didn't really like the movie. My better players were laughing hysterically and loved it. You know, we have to keep those communists from contaminating our precious bodily fluids...

I don't mind using some practice time to watch really significant movies that will help them answer questions. However, I've found that this only works with the more engaging films. I tried showing Lawrence of Arabia once, but they just wouldn't pay attention. They said that it was ungodly boring... Sometimes my team is a bunch of uncultured Philistines...



On another note, I also really liked the film Alexander. Perhaps I deserve to be flogged for that. I don't know anyone else who liked that movie at all, but I did.

I showed Monty Python and the Holy Grail once when my team was on an overnight trip. They loved it... And one can actually learn a little from it.

Incidentally, I've also been AMAZED at how many tossups my team gets that they attribute to The Family Guy. I started watching the show last year and was impressed by the high brow humor. However, I don't think it would go over well for me to show episodes at school..
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Post by First Chairman »

Well, the one thing we have to be sure is we don't write academic questions based on what we saw in movies. I know THAT's a real pet peeve.
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Post by dtaylor4 »

quizbowllee wrote:Incidentally, I've also been AMAZED at how many tossups my team gets that they attribute to The Family Guy. I started watching the show last year and was impressed by the high brow humor. However, I don't think it would go over well for me to show episodes at school..
I don't know, I remember when I had my qb coach for english, he always showed the South Park episode of Great Expectations after he finished teaching it. For all of the novels he teaches, he likes to have his students watch movie adaptations, and it seems to help the students a lot.

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Post by DVader »

On a similar vein to Family Guy, I'd also strongly recommend The Simpsons which in its 17 years has probably satirized most major works at least once (or if you're Star Wars, many many times). Not to mention that Simpsons questions find their way into packets every once in awhile.

I didn't really care for Alexander, although it did help me remember Bucephalus (sp?) and Phillip of Macedon.

For a fun romp through time, watch Mel Brook's History of the World Part I. It covers cavemen, the (Fifteen CRACK! I mean) Ten Commandments, Romans, the Last Supper, the Spanish Inquisition, the French monarchy, and other topics in great humorous detail.
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Post by NotjustoldWASPs »

quizbowllee wrote:Incidentally, I've also been AMAZED at how many tossups my team gets that they attribute to The Family Guy.
Yes, it comes up too much, even though it is a great show.

IIRC, our B team lost to by twenty points to a team at the Fall UMD tournament this year solely because there was an entire category on the show. Their opponents picked up ninety points on them that round, and it ultimately led to their defeat. The occasional question is alright, but having a whole category on it is just asking for one person to just dominate a round of a game in an area they are hardly ever going to need again (which is what happened).
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Post by NatusRoma »

Notjustolddeadwhiteguys wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:Incidentally, I've also been AMAZED at how many tossups my team gets that they attribute to The Family Guy.
Yes, it comes up too much, even though it is a great show.
One hopes that Family Guy doesn't just help people get questions about Family Guy. Off of the top of my head, I can think of Family Guy references to Einstein's development of the theory of relativity while working at a patent office, Georgia O'Keeffe's artwork, the "Habanera" from Carmen, and jazz great John Coltrane, many of which are quite funny. The Simpsons is another valuable reference. That said, one shouldn't watch The Simpsons or Family Guy merely to get better at quiz bowl. One should do so because one enjoys them.

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Post by AndyShootsAndyScores »

It's not the show plot that helps me, it's mainly hearing the names, like Peter wanting it to be Somerset Maugham and not Mom on the phone. Or Meg reading Syvlia Plath's The Bell Jar, which helped me connect the book to being a suicidal thing. I first learned Benjamin Disraeli from it and also learned alot of cities in Rhode Island.

Hearing the comment that Georgia O' Keefe's flowers look like vaginas did help and I finally remembered the name of "Habanera" instead of just "that aria thing in Carmen".

Futurama is also a helper with quiz bowl. Not as much as Family Guy, but still a valuable source.
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Post by quizbowllee »

Reading Andy's last post reminded me of how many questions I got back in my middle school/high school days because of the cinematic masterpiece that is Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
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Post by AndyShootsAndyScores »

Bill and Ted didn't help me remember anything, but it sure was a great piece of cinema. It probably would've helped more in my middle school days though.
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Post by dtaylor4 »

Notjustolddeadwhiteguys wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:Incidentally, I've also been AMAZED at how many tossups my team gets that they attribute to The Family Guy.
Yes, it comes up too much, even though it is a great show.

IIRC, our B team lost to by twenty points to a team at the Fall UMD tournament this year solely because there was an entire category on the show. Their opponents picked up ninety points on them that round, and it ultimately led to their defeat. The occasional question is alright, but having a whole category on it is just asking for one person to just dominate a round of a game in an area they are hardly ever going to need again (which is what happened).
There are some tournaments in Illinois that have special categories. The tournament formerly known as the Rambler Classic always had 2 TU/B per round for two special categories that were announced way ahead of time. They have included Harry Potter (I hated them for it), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, anime, baseball, and Family Guy.

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Post by trphilli »

DVader wrote: Not to mention that Simpsons questions find their way into packets every once in awhile.
Or a power buzzer race in every fifth NAQT packet. :grin:

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Post by solonqb »

Yeah, I definitely remember Kang coming up on some third NAQT bonus part a while back.
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