Thursday, October 4, 2018

TCMFF 2018-The second most fun screening I've been to.

Day two, Friday, April 27
The thing about the TCM Film Festival is every year I go with a set schedule and every year it goes right out the window as soon as I step foot in Hollywood. On this particular day my schedule plan was to see Intruder in the Dust (1949); The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944); Harold Lloyd in 3D; The Odd Couple (1968); attend the Roaring Twenties party poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, then attend the screening; The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962).
It was a packed schedule, but I wanted to cram in as much as I could into the festival. The moment we woke up things changed. I was starving and tired. I was still battling my cold and didn’t feel ‘up to snuff.’ So we decided to walk down to Mel’s Diner for breakfast and go over our schedule. Listen I know that some people don’t like Mel’s I do. I happen to really love Mel’s. I love their latte’s, I love their avocado toast with poached eggs, and I love their mac and cheese. I just love a greasy diner meal, and I can’t get avocado toast anywhere near where I live, and I happen to adore theirs the most. There I said it.
We decided that we would just go with the flow and see what happened. The only movie on the list for the day that was a must for me was The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek. My sister actually introduced me to this film years ago, and I knew I really enjoyed it, but I hadn’t seen it in so long that I knew I wanted to see it again on the big screen. Brian hadn’t seen it, and I knew he would love it.
Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)
Trudy Kockenlocker played by (Betty Hutton) is a sweet small-town girl who wakes up one morning after a farewell party for the soldiers married. Not remembering anything front the night before she doesn’t know who she is married to or what his name is, "it had a z in it. Like Ratzkywatzky… or was it Zitzkywitzky?" She learns she is pregnant and asks the local boy, Norval Jones (Eddie Bracken) who also happens to be in love with her to marry her and help ‘fix’ the situation. Before they can get married Norval is arrested and finds himself on the run from the law.
I won't reveal how this film ends because I really want to encourage you to see it if possible. Watching it in a packed theater was one of the most fun screenings I had been to, actually, it was the best one I had been to since Roar in 2016. Everyone cheered and laughed throughout the film and erupted in applause at the end. Miracle ended up being my favorite screening of the entire 2018 festival.
How to Marry a Millionaire
The next film we chose to see was How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) starring Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe. Schatze Page (Bacall), Loco Dempsey (Grable) and Pola DeBevoise (Monroe) play three women who plan to use an apartment in New York City to attract wealthy men to marry them. Schatze meets Tom Brookman after he carries some groceries to their apartment for Loco and brushes him off as some poor ‘gas pump jockey.’ Loco meets Eden Salem who she thinks is a wealthy landowner, but it turns out he is a forest ranger and not rich. She falls in love with him anyway not caring about his financial situation. Pola, who is can’t see and won't wear her glasses in the company of men, "Men aren't attentive to girls who wear glasses," falls for an Arab oil tycoon. She is going to meet him in Atlantic City but boards the wrong plane and ends up meeting and falling in love with the man who owns the apartment the women are renting, who is also on the run from the IRS. Schatze dates J.D. Hanley (William Powell) a wealthy oil tycoon from Texas for a while until he decides to return to Texas. During this time Schatze starts seeing Tom and falls in love with him. Hanley returns to town, and he and Schatze decide to get married, but she calls it off because she is in love with Tom. The film ends with the three couples discussing their financial woes and Schatze asking Tom about his finances, to which he replies he is worth about $200 million. After pulling out a $1,000 bill to pay the check the women faint dead away and Tom proposes a toast to their wives.
I have always loved this film. I think that Monroe is not credited enough for her comedic talent, especially in this movie. She delivers lines that make me laugh out loud. The colors were beautiful, and the iconic shots of New York City were incredible. I probably should have attended a screening of a film that I haven’t seen 30 times, but I couldn’t pass up seeing this one with an audience and on the big screen. I don’t regret my decision.
Honestly this year I was just off. I was coming off the flu and just couldn’t handle the grind as I have in years past. I needed a break and food. So we walked down the street to Micelli’s. The previous year we had visited the small Italian restaurant and loved it so much we managed to squeeze in a few visits during our short trip. This time, however, we were extremely disappointed. The food was awful. I don’t know what the issue was, but both of our meals were so bad we couldn’t finish them.
I Take This Woman
We made it back to theatre four in time for I Take This Woman (1931). Illeana Douglas was set to introduce the film and unfortunately she started to intro the (1940) version starring Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr. It was a few minutes before someone finally yelled out and let her know that we were actually seeing a different version. Poor, Illeana. A rich, New York girl (Carole Lombard) falls for and marries a cowboy (Gary Cooper). Her father disinherits her, so she has to try to make it as a poor wife in a small farmhouse with no money. She decides to go home and divorce her husband, but then changes her mind and tries to win her husband back.
I tend to love everything that Carole Lombard is in, but this one was a rare miss for me. I was glad I took a chance on it and don’t regret my decision, but It just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t find Lombard or Cooper’s character’s all that likable. They were alright, but I not really as endearing as other characters they have played before. The film itself just felt like it went on a little too long and it only clocked in at an hour and twelve minutes.
Again I was just not feeling well, and Brian was tired, so we opted to skip the rest of the night's films and see if anything was going on at Club TCM. We walked over to the Hollywood Roosevelt and chatted with a few of our pals before we went back to Jimya Ramen and sat out with our food and people watched over Hollywood Boulevard for a while.
I know a lot of people don’t like Hollywood, and I usually don’t necessarily love it, but sometimes after being here where I live where its so quiet sitting and seeing the people and hearing the commotion is nice. I kind of like having that time to sit and watch it all and take it all in. I need that stimulation and getting it once a year on the streets of Hollywood is nice. It was good to take an hour or so and sit above it all and let the cool breeze hit us in the face and watch it all with the skyline of LA in the background.
We turned in early that night because the next day there wasn’t one film I wanted to miss.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

TCMFF 2018 Red Carpet Arrivals and Opening Night

Attending the red carpet arrivals during the TCM Film Festival has been something I have done every year. Each year has been different, but great. 
The first year I attended with Angie of The Hollywood Revue and JP of Comet over Hollywood. I don’t recall if we waited in line all that long, but we had great seats that year and in three years of attending TCM red carpet events I can say that first year was the best I have attended. Sidenote: Sean Cameron should emcee everything TCM does. 
The second-year Brian attended with Angie and me, and we stood in line for nearly an hour and a half, and we had front row seats. This year we stood in line for a little under an hour. It was warm in the sun, but not as bad as the year before. I had yet to eat at my favorite place, Jinya Ramen, so I ran to get some food to tide me over as we stood in line. I sat on the dirty Hollywood Boulevard curb and inhaled my first ramen meal of the festival. It was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be.
The first two years the bleachers where we sat were at the end of the red carpet facing east, so we had a view of the entire length of the red carpet as the talent walked toward us and did their interviews with the media. This year was much different as they had us placed directly in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater facing north, where we only saw the stars as they curved to make their entrance into the theater from the right side. Arriving from the left side were the TCM Spotlight pass holders who walked the red carpet.
It was kind of fun to have a different vantage point. This year we were treated to some fun stuff as red carpet spectators.
Mel Brooks, a personal favorite of mine walked the red carpet because his film The Producers was the opening night film. Brooks wasn’t able to attend any other events during the festival because he had a show in Vegas.
Paul Sorvino walked the red carpet and stopped near us to sing opera; Dennis Miller, of Saturday Night Live and countless other things, came into the crowd to shake all of our hands. He also told us how TCM is his escape from the real world and told us how much he missed Robert Osborne. It was a touching moment.
Others who walked the carpet were, Cora Sue Collins, The Unexpected Father (1932), Smilin’ Through (1932) Anna Karenina (1935) and Treasure Island (1934); Dana Delany, China Beach and Desperate Housewives; Kate Flannery, The Office; Sara Karloff, daughter of Boris Karloff; Ruta Lee, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Witness for the Proseution (1957) and Funny Face (1957);  Leonard Maltin; Ben Mankiewicz; Wyatt McCrea, the oldest grandchild of Joel McCrea; Eva Marie Saint, North by Northwest (1959), A Hatful Rain (1957) and On the Waterfront (1954); Eddie Muller; Melvin Van Peebles, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song (1971); Mario Van Peebles, Redemption Road (2010); Cicely Tyson, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and Sounder (1972); Norman Lloyd, Saboteur (1942) and Spellbound (1945) and the star of the night, Martin Scorsese.
Scorsese was due to receive the first annual Robert Osborne Award. It was to be presented by Leonardo DiCaprio, who sadly didn’t walk the red carpet.  
In March 2018, Turner Classic Movies announced the establishment of the Robert Osborne Award, to be presented at the Festival “to an individual whose work has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic films alive and thriving for generations to come.”
The award was presented by actor Leonardo DiCaprio who is a frequent collaborator with Scorsese. During his introduction, DiCaprio discussed Scorsese’s Film Foundation, founded in 1990, which has emphasizes the importance of film preservation.  “The impact of Marty’s passion and his dedication to cinema is absolutely immeasurable,” DiCaprio said.
During Scorsese’s speech, he talked about the importance of educating younger generations on the value of knowing the history of a film. During his speech, Scorsese referred many times to cinema’s place as the art form of the past 100 years. He praised the late Robert Osborne saying some historians make you feel like movies are over your head and others who look back with a mix of irony and nostalgia. However, as Scorsese emphasized, Osborne “understood the value of cinema, and that movies are always under threat.”
Some of Scorsese’s most notable work includes: Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, Goodfellas and The Departed.
The theme of this years festival was “Powerful Words: The Page Onscreen.”
Newspapers seemed to be a reoccurring theme for the festival this year with several films highlighting the power of the press through the written word. Movies included in that category were His Girl Friday (1940); Blessed Event (1932); The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944); Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939); and Woman of the Year (1942). Each film dealt with newspapers or the storyline directly affected by someone working in the newspaper field.
After the red carpet, Brian, Angie and I walked down to Pig ‘N’ Whistle for dinner. The first block of movies had started, and we had time to kill before the next block of films began. After dinner, Brian and I went to get in line for Stage Door a personal favorite of mine. I was thrilled to be seeing one of my favorites on nitrate at the famed Egyptian Theater.
The film was beautiful and every bit as amazing as I had hoped. It was the perfect way to kick off the first night of the film festival.

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