Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2013 TCM Film Festival Picks

After the TCM Film Festival calendar came out late last week, I quickly went through the schedule and came up with a list of films that I thought I wanted to see.  This list was based on many factors, including:
  • I wanted to see the film on the big screen (like BEN-HUR)
  • The film was quite intriguing to me (like I AM SUZANNE!)
  • It's on my 'List of Shame' and I probably should watch it (like THE GENERAL)
  • It had a guest speaker that I wanted to see (like MILDRED PIERCE)

All was right with the world.

And then my friend and fellow film nut, Will McKinley published an epic post on all of the films and events happening at the festival and which films he was going to see and why.

This afternoon while flying to Florida for business, I had the chance to read through his entire tome.  (It's a terrific article, I encourage everyone to read it including those who aren't attending the festival.)  His reasoning for choosing some of the films made a whole lot of sense to me.  So much so, that I decided to make a few changes to my own quickly mocked-up list.

And the rearranging I think is for the best.  I'm going to see more films that I've never seen before in lieu of seeing some longer favorites on the big screen.  I'm OK with that...for now...we'll see what the future brings.

So, in response to Will's post, here's a (much) shorter version of the films I want to see and why I want to see them.  I'm using Will's 'block' approach as the films are fairly evenly laid out in blocks.  (Note, films that I'm currently planning on seeing are bolded and in GREEN)

Block 1: Thursday early evening

My Classic Pass doesn't get me into FUNNY GIRL opening night at Grauman's Chinese, so I initially chose NINOTCHKA because it's a film I've seen many times, and thought it might be interesting to see on the big screen, however after reading Will's comments on THE KILLING, I've changed my mind and will go see that instead.  Besides, Sterling Hayden is one of my favorite noir actors.

Block 2:  Thursday late evening

I chose to see SAFE IN HELL...a pre-code that has favorable reviews.

Block 3:  Friday morning

I've wanted to see BEN-HUR...mainly because it's on the big screen at Grauman's.  I could almost recite the TCM letterbox promo word-for-word.  In that promo, they cite the BEN-HUR chariot race as an example of what gets lost when you pan-and-scan a film.  (Scorsese says "you're basically re-editing the film.")

But by choosing to see a long film, I'm wiping out seeing anything in the following block.  I've heard so much good about THE NARROW MARGIN that I'm going to see that preceded by THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER in this block.  I'll get my fingers tattooed and check out Mitch.

Block 4:  Friday mid-day

Since I'm now skipping BEN-HUR, I'll see THE NARROW MARGIN.  A film that more than one attendee has highly recommended.

Block 5:  Friday afternoon

Here's where it gets ugly.  I wanted to see BONNIE AND CLYDE on the big screen.  It's a film I like more every time I see it.  But I also am very intrigued with I AM SUZANNE! a film that includes (of all things) marionettes.  However to see both, the timing may be too tight.  So, I may need to see something short instead of BONNIE AND CLYDE (Will's pick is RUGGLES OF RED GAP) or just choose to have an open block of time and see I AM SUZANNE!

Still murky in this slot....

(A side note here, when searching for films on IMDB...I love when the film doesn't auto-show in the search and when there's no picture for the film.  It means the film is fairly obscure, and is a bit of an unknown entity...could be great, could be a bomb.  It's like a new discovery.)

Block 6:  Friday early evening

Since I AM SUZANNE! overruns the beginnings of THE GREAT ESCAPE and THE RAZOR'S EDGE this only leaves three films that I didn't think much of.  After reading Will's description of IT as being "one of the signature events of the festival", I'll definitely have to duck into that before...

Block 7:  Friday late evening

ON THE WATERFRONT...for me, this is a must see on the big screen.  It will be my first time seeing it in a theater if I get into this screening.  This film keeps creeping up on my 'best film ever made' list...it would be amazing to see it at the festival.

Block 8:  Friday midnight show

I will do everything possible to see PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.  I've seen it before...but it seems like it will be a hoot seeing 'the worst movie ever made' with a group of other film fans.  Really looking forward to this screening...thank you, TCM for putting this as a midnight show.

Block 9:  Saturday morning

I've heard many folks talk about how the Bugs Bunny collection will be a packed event.  Honestly, I'm just not a huge fan, so I'm going to instead attend the screening of CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, one of my favorite 'adventure' films.  The fishing schooners should look wonderful on the big screen, and I'll shed a tear as the wreaths are tossed into the water.

Block 10:  Saturday mid-day

I had originally planned on not seeing anything in this block and instead chill and wait on line for the screening of GIANT...but after reading Will's descriptions of said film, I'm realizing that it may be a time-sink (at 201 minutes.)  That and the fact that I've seen GIANT before and there will be live, recreated dialogue and special effects that will occur at THE DONOVAN AFFAIR sounds like something really special to attend.

Block 11:  Saturday afternoon

Since I'm now skipping GIANT, I'll probably end up seeing THE BIG PARADE (based on Will's review.)  THE TRAIN is a great film, too.  I've seen it once before on TCM, Burt 'The Hurt' Lancaster is always great.

Block 12:  Saturday early evening

THE SEVENTH SEAL...no questions asked.  Bergman?  Subtitles?  I am there.  Bonus is that Von Sydow will be in attendance (whose name, by the way, I've been mispronouncing for at least a decade :/)

Block 13:  Saturday late evening

MILDRED PIERCE...because slapping.  Oh, and Ann Blyth will be there!  I just watched this last week and I'll be glad to see again in two weeks on the big screen.

Block 14:  Saturday midnight show

I'm saying now that I want to see ISLAND OF LOST SOULS...but at this point in the film festival my hotel bed is probably going to look very good to me.

Block 15:  Sunday morning

I'm choosing the comfort and familiarity of the Multiplex and YANKEE DOODLE DANDY...however I was a bit surprised to find Will giving kudos to CINERAMA HOLIDAY.  (Read his description...his point has merit: it's a rare opportunity to see a Cinerama film in one of the few Cinerama theaters left.)  But that venue is a bit out of the way.  (Had this been THIS IS CINERAMA or star-studded HOW THE WEST WAS WON, then I'd surely make the trek.)

Block 16:  Sunday mid-day

Although IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD will probably be the major pull due to the the folks showing up for it (Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters,) I'll probably attend the screening of THE BIRDS with Tippi Hedren.

Block 17:  Sunday afternoon (the end is in sight!)

Block 18:  Sunday early evening (final group of films)

THE GENERAL, with live accompaniment from Alloy Orchestra.  I'm looking forward to the live music during this Keaton classic.

So...that's my list as of today.  I realize that I'll need to be flexible and this list is probably way over the top (but it's a goal to shoot for.)  Then just a few hours ago Will was tweeting this afternoon about an AFI event in the day preceding the TCM Film Festival where there would many stars attending and presenting films.  He was wondering if some of these stars would 'stay over' and attend some of the TCM events.

My schedule may be changing in the very near future!


  1. Oh, how I wish I were attending! I'll be there with you in spirit, Joel. Have a wonderful time!

    1. Hopefully you'll get to go another year. This is my first time...and hopefully *not* my last. :)

  2. I vote for Bonnie & Clyde! I'd LOVE to see that on the big screen :)

    1. That was a very a tough decision for me (to walk away from this screening...sigh)

    2. Oh, and thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  3. Great list Joel. And thanks for the nice mentions. Looking forward to seeing you there!

    1. Thanks, man. Meeting fellow TCMP folks is gonna a stone gas, honey!