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Movie Answer Man (03/24/2002)

Q. I wonder if the Slow Clap and the Gradually Gathering Guffaw are related? Or if they have ever both appeared in the same movie? (Christopher Philippo, Troy NY)

A. Same movie? Only in the audience. Like during "Heist," when after Danny DeVito's great line I went "Haw! (pause) Haw! (pause) Haw!" And then, as the brilliance of the line sank in, I led the whole audience in a Slow Clap.

Q. I just saw "Showtime" and noticed in the credits a person named DeNiro (besides Robert). I was wondering if she was a relative or his wife. (K. Oshima, Los Angeles CA)

A. That's his daughter, Drena, playing Rene Russo's sidekick. She's been in 15 movies.

Q. In your review of "Resident Evil," you mention the corridor where lasers pass back and forth as single lines, and are then followed by a grid of lasers. You asked why the earlier phases of the laser were necessary when the final one would kill anything. I suppose, as you theorized, that the corridor could have a sense of humor, but I think it's more simple than that. If it got them with the single laser passing by it could stop, leaving larger pieces of body. (John Tucker, Abbeville SC)

A. You think the computer running the killer laser corridor, having drowned and gassed everyone in the building, is worried about clean-up?

Q. Feminist claptrap bores me, but what's up with your line about "ugly brides" in your "The Time Machine" review. Let's accept your review's amusing premise that Morlocks are so ugly because they're the result of 800,000 years of evolution gone wrong. Wouldn't ugly Morlocks just as likely be the result of millennia of ugly husbands as of ugly brides? (Irene Schneider, New York NY)

A. No, because evolutionary theory assumes men do most of the choosing and the strongest men get the bride they want. This has changed in recent years, however. Women look beneath surface beauty, and thanks to feminist claptrap they now do more of the choosing. Their tendency to avoid hunks and look for smart men who are good providers means that right now the human race looks about as good as it is ever going to look.

Q. You ask in your review why the Time Machine stays in one place rather than at a particular set of coordinates in space with the Earth flying away from under it. It makes sense. The Time Machine is a physical device that creates a field in which funny things happen with time. Like most matter we see, it has been captured by Planet Earth and is carried with it. It is not immovable, it just does not move relative to the earth. (Mark R. Leeper, Old Bridge, N.J.)

A. Okay, okay. So then what happens when it reappears in a space already occupied by another physical object?

Q. What is the difference between Language and Strong Language? (Alex Davidoff, Mohegan Lake NY)

A. You are referring to the descriptions the MPAA includes in its explanations of movie ratings. Phuong Yokitis from the MPAA replies: "I want to note first that there is no list used by the Rating Board that would quantify when a movie receives a description of 'language' or 'strong language.' I can only say that if the language is at the upper end of the rating boundary, especially if the language is very plentiful, the Board would use 'strong.' As an example, in a PG-13 film, if the film contains a single use of one of the harsher sexually derived words, though only as an expletive, then the film might be given the description of 'brief strong language.' "

Q. While accompanying my 10-year-old daughter to "On The Line," I was chagrined to see the Chicago-based characters attend a Cubs game. Yet another inevitable trip to Wrigley Field to supply window-dressing to a romantic comedy. I have nothing against the Cubbies (they're good enough for Ferris Bueller), but will a filmmaker ever come along with the courage to set a movie in Chicago and make the lead characters White Sox fans? (Jim Keogh, film critic, Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette).

A. Well, they don't actually attend a game, but the characters in the new movie "Stolen Summer" are White Sox fans.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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