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.

Countdown to the New Year: TCM Party

This year I discovered the fabulous TCM Party on Facebook and Twitter.  As mentioned in a previous blog post, TCM party is basically a live viewing party of various classic films showing on TCM at any given time.  Some parties are official and scheduled while others are more spontaneous and informal.  As we all know it doesn’t take a lot of classic film fans to make a party!  I have had so much fun getting to know other party goers on Twitter and I really get excited when there is a TCM party for a movie that I love or haven’t seen yet.  A huge thank you goes to Paula, Joel, and Trevor who all do an amazing job hosting these events!  In honor of my New Year lists here are the top five best TCM parties that I “attended” this year!

Top Five Best TCM Parties of 2014

5.) The Island of Lost Women – This one happened by accident.  One morning TCM was showing some definite B movies and this one was AMAZING.  One of those movies that you just can’t believe and you keep wanting to turn to someone and say “Are you seeing this?”  It just so happened that two other TCM partiers were on Twitter and watching along, and between the three of us we had a very enjoyable time!

4.) To Have and Have Not – This was my first party and I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous.  Here I was jumping in with a bunch of people who had been viewing together for a long time.  What would I say?  Would I be welcomed?  Would I have anything funny, intelligent, or valuable to say?  But I didn’t need to be worried because I was about to find myself among friends and other classic movie lovers.  I had a blast and was hooked!

3.) The Thin Man – I love this movie.  It is one of my all time favorites!  If I could be Myrna Loy I would be happy, and I strive to have a marriage like Nick and Nora (murders and martinis optional).  There really is nothing better than sharing a favorite movie with people who love it just as much as you do.

2.) Remember the Night – This was a movie I saw for the first time with fellow members of the TCM party.  That night many of us were seeing this film for the first time and the shared experience of discovering a under appreciated classic was wonderful.  We spent much of the night marveling over how good the movie was, quoting dialogue, and wondering how on earth we had missed this hidden gem?

1.) Out of the Past – My top party was for another film that I had never seen before.  The difference from the party at #2 was that this time the majority of those watching along had already seen it with a small handful of us being “virgin” viewers.  Not only did I LOVE this movie, but the attitude of the partygoers was something truly special.  Those of us seeing this movie for the first time were in awe, asking questions of the veterans and gushing over favorite parts.  Those who had seen the film before were both protective, making sure to avoid spoilers for those of us viewing for the first time, and enthusiastic in their enjoyment of the film.  It was a wonderful night with terrific people, all watching an amazing classic film.

I can’t wait to see what parties are in store for 2015!  If you haven’t already joined in the party, make sure you do so soon!  I’ll be there for sure!

Countdown to the New Year: Baby Naps

As we get closer and closer to the New Year I see more and more top lists of movies, TV shows, books, etc.  So, I thought that I would join in on the fun!  But this is going to be a little bit different.  This won’t just be a list of my top classic films of the year (though I am planning one), but rather a group of lists of various top movies of different themes.  This is the first post of a series that I am planning to do up to New Year’s Eve, celebrating the best classic films of the year in a variety of situations and categories.

Why does Baby always wake up when the movie starts to get interesting?

Top Five Classic Films to Watch While Your Baby Naps

As a new Mom, I appreciate the golden moments known as NAP TIME.  All parents know the value and beauty of a sleeping baby, as well as how fleeting that glorious time can be.  So here is a list of my top five classic films to watch during nap time.  The films on this list are either short enough to watch during a nap, give you a lot of “bang for your buck”, and or are easy to stop and start due to a restless baby.

5.) Holiday Affair – This might seem an odd choice, being that this is a Christmas movie.  But this movie is entertaining and enjoyable, and Robert Mitchum is always worthwhile.  Also, the story is fairly straight forward so this movie can be put down and picked up again without losing the thread of the narrative.

4.) Blonde Venus – If you have ninety minutes to spare check out this film!  Marlene Dietrich is at her seductive best, Cary Grant is charming and devilishly bad for you (and YOUNG!), and Herbert Marshall is honorable and very British (which I love).  The story is compelling and definitely gives you plenty of drama, love, and twists to make your afternoon enjoyable.  Plus, once you see what Marlene goes through for her baby your day won’t seem so bad!  🙂

3.) Heat Lightning – At sixty-three minutes this film definitely moves fast!  Not too over the top with the melodrama, it is a fantastic alternative to any soap opera you might be considering.  Ann Dvorak and Aline MacMahone need to be more well known than they are, and this film shows why!  Find this film and watch it (with your sister if you have one)!

2.) Brother Orchid – This one is just fun.  It’s funny, witty, and smart.  Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart seem like they are having a ball and it makes the whole story more appealing.  The ending is uplifting and might even give you a little something in your eye.  Definitely a great movie to watch and unwind to!

1.) Three on a Match – Oh my goodness, where to begin.  Sixty-three minutes of pretty much everything you can think of.  Joan Blondell, Bette Davis, and Ann Dvorak doing fantastic things.  Ann Dvorak blows the roof off and it is really her movie.  This movie packs a definite punch and is most certainly worth your time.  Put the baby to bed, stretch out on the couch with a snack and a beverage, and watch this movie!