Countdown to the New Year: Turner Classic Movies

Thank God for TCM.  Where would I be without them?  Crying in a corner most likely…or at the very least despairing over the lack of classic films on television.  For every classic film fan with a cable subscription one question always comes to mind…”What channel is TCM?”, which is followed quickly by “What is on TCM right now?”.  Recently, budget cuts within the Time Warner Company lead to many cut backs and loss of employment for many people associated with the companies various outlets.  Luckily, TCM remained mostly unscathed (though not entirely) which is in part thanks to the fantastic and unique programming that comes from this outstanding channel.  No wonder the fan base of TCM is so loyal and numerous!   Every year there are a variety of shows, movies, specials, and promotions that come out from TCM that make me very happy.  But since we are in the New Year spirit I will try to narrow down the list to my top ten favorite things from TCM this year!

Top Ten Things from TCM in 2014

10.) The Movies – This is sort of a no brainer.  The movies that TCM shows are both well-known classics, lesser known features, and hidden gems.  There is such a variety of programming that every single day you can be sure to tune in and find at least one movie that you just have to see or DVR.  The lineups seem to be created by people who not only know the films, but who love them as much as the fans.  It really shows you how much the channel respects their fans when they invite several of them to pick and introduce some of their favorite films on the air!  A girl can dream…

9.) #DontTouchTCM – From something scary and sad (the Time Warner budget cuts), came something wonderful.  Created by a fan, the #DontTouchTCM was born from an eloquently written letter imploring the Time Warner Company to leave TCM out of the proposed layoffs and budget cuts.  Seemingly overnight fans from all over were posting reasons why TCM should be spared using the hashtag #DontTouchTCM.  The solidarity that was felt among fans must have not only made the people working at TCM feel good, but it also must have had an impact on Time Warner (or at least I like to think it did)!  It was truly something to behold!

8.) Now Playing – I only recently started getting the TCM guide in the mail and I love it!  Not only do I get to see what is coming up for the month (and plan my viewing/DVRing appropriately), but there are great articles and stories to read as well.  And I really like the crossword too.

7.) The Essentials – This has to be one of my favorite TCM programs.  Every Saturday I look forward to seeing what film is the focus of discussion.  I always love listening to the stories and facts that Robert Osborne and his co-host discuss.  His current co-host, Drew Barrymore, is not only part of a great Hollywood family but also a true movie fan.  She and Robert seem to really enjoy their talks before and after the film, and I would love to see the parts that get left on the cutting room floor.  A new co-host will be announced shortly and I am excited to see who will be joining The Essentials in 2015!

6.) Watch TCM – The app from TCM is my newest addiction.  I love being able to watch what is currently showing live on TCM from my iPad!  And it is great to know that when I start watching a film on TCM that I can’t finish or that I catch in the middle, I can go and look it up on the app and watch it there!  I don’t feel like I have fully explored the app and I can’t wait to use it more in the coming year.

5.) Holiday Movies in December – Yes, some Christmas movies were missing (The Bishop’s Wife) but there were so many wonderful movies shown on TCM this holiday season!  Not only was every Thursday night in December loaded with Christmas goodies, there were other films sprinkled in throughout the month.  Thanks to TCM this December I was able to see REMEMBER THE NIGHT, CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT, the 1938 A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and I’LL BE SEEING YOU all for the first time.  And I was able to see some old favorites such as HOLIDAY AFFAIR and THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER again!  All in all it was a merry month!

4.) Private Screenings: Lauren Bacall – To commemorate the passing of Lauren Bacall, TCM began a night of programming dedicated to her movies with this special.  I had never seen this interview before and was completely transfixed from the start.  Not only was it a fascinating interview with a truly remarkable woman, but it provided so much insight into her films and career. I really loved watching this special and hope to find other episodes of Private Screenings on TCM soon.

3.) TCM Remembers 2014 – Many bloggers have covered this special far better than I can.  Let me just say that TCM always does a fantastic job paying homage to the stars, directors, screenwriters, etc. who pass away.  Whether it is for one person or many, the tribute is always respectful, moving, and beautiful.  This tribute is no different.  There are several standout moments, but for me the two that have stuck with me are Lauren Bacall lifting her head to look into her husband’s eyes and hearing him say “I’ll be waiting for you”, and little Shirley Temple singing us out with bars of “Auld Lang Syne”.

2.) Pre-Code Fridays – I have always enjoyed pre-code movies so you can imagine my delight when TCM decided to devote an entire month of Fridays to pre-code movies!  Every Friday was a twenty-four hour binge of pre-code goodness, or badness as the case may be.  My DVR was rapidly filled up and I finally got to see some films that I had been dying to see!  Having Alec Baldwin and Robert Osborne introduce and discuss some of the films was a great bonus, and I loved hearing their thoughts.  It was a great piece of programming that made me very happy all month-long!

1.) Star of the Month: Cary Grant – The TCM Star of the Month is a fun topic.  Some months I learn about actors that I am not as familiar with as I should be, while other months I get to revel in some of my favorite movies from some of my favorite actors/actresses.  The month of December has celebrated one of the all time great movie stars of all time, none other than Cary Grant.  I love Cary Grant, I have since I saw him in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY and to have an entire month to watch his films in is nothing short of heaven.  And let’s be honest, the promo is pretty darn cool.  Just like Cary.

Thanks to Robert Osborne, Ben Mankiewicz, all the programmers, writers, producers, staff, and any other fabulous members of the TCM family that I forgot to mention!  TCM is the cornerstone of my classic film fandom and I can’t imagine not having it in my life.  I am truly excited to see what is in store for 2015.