Saturday, December 14, 2019

Ten silent films I insist you see

Silent films are criminally underrated. I know several people who won’t even give them the time of day. I confess that I was this way many years ago. In high school, I would see TCM’s Silent Sunday Night promos and shiver in horror. In my mind silent movies were creepy and who wanted to watch all of these overacting long-dead people in a film?
Not me.
I’ve told the story before so I won’t tell it again, but one night I found Harold Lloyd’s Speedy on TCM. The print was clear and didn’t for one-second look like was shot in 1928, it looked like it was shot a couple of years ago and made to look like a silent. I was mesmerized and hooked from that moment on. I did everything I could to watch Harold Lloyd films. (I later found out he was born only miles from me and that put me on a whole new level of fandom) I saved up money for months to buy the Harold Lloyd film collection and begged anyone I knew to watch one of his films with me. I knew I could turn them into die-hard fans of this lost art.
The list I have is not a list of ‘intro to silent's’ type of films. This is a list of beautiful, wonderful and my favorite silents that I just can’t stop watching.
1) Speedy (1928)
Harold "Speedy" Swift, a fan of Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, saves from extinction the city's last horse-drawn trolley, operated by his girlfriend's grandfather. There’s a great cameo by Babe Ruth, the old Yankee Stadium and Coney Island. Those glimpses of NYC in the 20’s warm my heart. This was also Lloyd’s final silent film.
2) The Temptress (1926)
An architect tries suppressing his passion for a seductive woman. The woman is played by Greta Garbo and the man is played by Antonio Moreno. This story of love and hate is my favorite Garbo film. There is powerful acting in this one and an appearance by Lionel Barry more.
3) Exit Smiling (1926)
Maid, Beatrice Lillie works for a traveling theatre troupe and wants to be an actress. She gets a few smaller roles but tries to show up the other actors. This is a film that isn’t as well known as many others, but there’s something about it that pulled me in from the start. Beatrice Lillie steals the film. It’s such a bummer that she isn’t as well known today like many others from that time.
Time has not been kind to the female silent comedians of that time.
Speaking of wonderful female comedians…
4) The Patsy (1928)
Marion Davies, Marion Davies, Marion Davies. This woman could do it all, she could be beautiful, kind, funny and serious. She was the entire package. In this film, she plays an awkward girl who falls in love with the man who's interested in her older sister. She does everything she can to make him notice her. Davies is at her best in this film. Many say that Show People is THE film to watch, and I agree that its incredible, but give this one a shot if you can!
5) Beyond the Rocks (1922)
I would be remiss if I didn’t include Valentino or Gloria Swanson on this list and this film hits on both of them. I love a love story and I love a handsome man so this film is perfect in my eyes. Swanson marries an older millionaire then meets and falls in love with Valentino on her honeymoon. This film was lost for many decades and was found in 2003 in a private collection. I watched it when it debuted on TCM in 2006 and was immediately drawn to it. I wanted to watch it as much as I could. I have since bought it on DVD, but there’s nothing like the thrill of watching a restored once lost film during its debut back into the world. According to the internet, Gloria Swanson said she wished this film would one day resurface.
6) The Unknown (1927)
What is there to say about a film with the best acting I have ever seen and will probably ever see in my life? Lon Chaney delivers the greatest acting performance ever captured (in my opinion). He is everything in this film, villain, marter, and protector. Chaney plays Alonzo, a criminal who is on the run and hiding in a circus act. He falls in love with Nanon, played by Joan Crawford and makes a great sacrifice to win her.
7) Safety Last (1923)
This film is the most recognizable of Harold Lloyd’s movies. Everyone knows the scene of him on the clock dangling for his life. The film is about a boy who heads to the city to make enough money so his girl can join him and they can get married. There is a lot to unpack about this movie like Lloyd did these stunts missing his right thumb and index finger. He was also not as far from the ground as it looks. This movie just speaks to the genius that is Harold Lloyd.
8) The Gold Rush (1925)
My son loves Harold Lloyd. He has been to his birth house and celebration dozens of times, he has seen every Lloyd movie we can get our hands on, but to my dismay, his favorite silent movie is The Gold Rush. Chaplin is a prospector who goes to the Klondike in search of gold. He meets up with a big burly man to help him through the tough times and meets Georgia who he falls in love with. The famous scene of Chaplin with dinner rolls is in this heartbreaking and funny film. It’s said that audiences loved the film scene so much that projectionists would stop the film during the showing and replay it. There is so much heart in this film and I rank it as my favorite Chaplin film.
9) Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
This film is a tearjerker. It gets me every time. It tells the story of a man, George O’Brien who is stepping out on his wife, Janet Gaynor. He finds a way to make his wife disappear but changes his mind at the last moment. They spend the day together, but then tragedy strikes. Sunrise was released a month after The Jazz Singer and didn’t do well in the box office due to audiences wanting to see actors who spoke. It was also the first silent film to be released on Blu-Ray.
10) The General (1926)
I had to include a Buster Keaton film on this list and The General was the best one to recommend. Keaton plays a man who wants to go into the military, but can’t because he is valuable as an engineer. When Union spies capture The General (train) with his love on board, he rescues his train and his love. Admittedly Keaton is a bit of a blind spot for me. I have been to the Keaton Film Festival in Iola, KS a few times and loved the films, but I have been such a Lloyd fan that I haven’t seen a lot of Keaton films. This one is worth a watch though. It really showcases his comedian talent.
Honorable mention: He Who Gets Slapped (1924) The Crowd (1928); Lady of the Night (1925) and Show People (1928)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

#DVDChat Tearjerkers

I love to participate in DVD Netflix chats on Twitter. If you're on Twitter, search the hashtag #DVDChat. You'll find some fun questions and answers.
I decided to take a few of those questions and expand on them a bit. A while back, they asked about ‘tearjerker films. ‘I both love and hate a good sad movie. Sometimes you need a good cry, and it feels great to watch an excellent film that will deliver that kind of emotional purge. However, I also hate falling into a great movie that is so sad it puts me down for the rest of the day/week. There are a few really great classic films that have knocked me on my rear. What's so upsetting is that I love them, and they're great movies, but I have them placed on a specific part of my shelf that is deemed 'DON'T TOUCH UNLESS YOU'RE DOWN TO EMOTIONALLY CUT YOURSELF TODAY.'
Last year when A Star Is Born came out; I quickly went to see it. I mean, I drove an hour to a small town theater that held about 30 seats and saw it the Thursday night it came out. I was all in. I knew it would be sad, like gut-wrenchingly sad, but I was still down for it. That night I went with my co-worker and was able to keep myself in check. A week later, I took Brian to see it in Lincoln at the theater close to the University of Nebraska campus. It was filled with college girls who waled. I mean, those girls were both blindsided saying 'What!' and 'Did that seriously just happen?' I lost it and I cried so hard. It was the hardest I had cried in a theater (over sadness, I recently cried through the entire showing of Sleeping Beauty at the TCMFF) for a long time. i remember seeing Titanic (eight times) Romeo+Julie and Armageddon in a theater as a teenager and being destroyed, but this was the first time I truly sobbed in a theater as an adult. I think it was having other people there who were crying just as hard, but it was also Brian. As the film ended, he turned to me (crying) and said, "I have never been so emotionally invested and destroyed by a film in my life." It was kind of wonderful to have him see how movies can feel when you entirely throw yourself into them, but it was sad that it took Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to move him that much. He was shocked that a movie could touch him in such a profound way. This is a man who I watched Penny Serenade and Romeo+Julie and just said, 'that's sad,' but never shed a tear.
Some of the films on my 'DO NOT TOUCH UNLESS THERE IS AN SADNESS EMERGENCY,' include these movies that often deal with a sacrifice someone makes for love. Love of a significant other or love of a child or friend. *Spoilers*
Waterloo Bridge (1940) The way Myra gives up everything, so she doesn't bring Roy's family and their marriage shame is heartbreaking.
The Unknown (1927) Alonzo literally gives his arms for the love of Nanon. When he realizes that she loves another, it breaks me. His face expresses more pain at that moment than any other film I've seen.
Random Harvest (1942) Paula loves Smithy so much she waits for him to find his way back to her. I cry all the way throughout this movie. It's a sad cry, then a happy cry.
Sometimes They Come Back (1991) When Wayne comes back to talk to his brother about going to Heaven-Goodness, its brutal.
Stella Dallas (1937) As a mom, this movie breaks my heart. A mothers sacrifice for her daughter to have a better life. Cuts to the core.
Gunga Din (1939) And finally, Gunga Din's spirit standing proudly at attention as a British Soldier, he's just so happy. Its a killer.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

TCMFF 2019 - Day Two


I woke up a little worse for the wear on the first ‘official’ day of the Turner Classic Film Festival, but nothing could keep me from having a fantastic day. A night of sugary drinks while looking at the brilliant cast of Vanderpump Rules was precisely how I wanted to start my fourth trip to Los Angeles. We were more than ready to kick off the first official day of the Turner Classic Film Festival.
Since the first year, I attended the festival, I've sat on the Red Carpet opening night to watch the celebrities. My friend Angela suggested I join her during my first year, and I loved it. Sitting at the end of the red carpet set up on Hollywood Boulevard is so exciting. Looking around and seeing the celebrities, Grauman's Chinese Theater and The Hollywood Roosevelt is surreal. I have been lucky enough to see Alec Baldwin, Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Ted Turner, and countless other celebrities. The most exciting part is waiting for them to make their way through the press and over to the fans seated at the end. Many of them will stop and chat with a TCM Host or employee.
This year we were front and center on the bleachers for the arrivals to When Harry Met Sally. I have written before about how much I look up to Ted Turner, so getting to see him walk the red carpet was a dream come true. I also had a fun exchange with Mario Cantone. He was presenting the Judy Garland film, The Clock, the next day. I was carrying my Robert Redford bag that Angie gave me, and saying he loved it would be an understatement. I also had a button that read, 'Ask Me About Robert Redford.' He said, 'No, you ask ME about Robert Redford.' He then told us a story about working with him. Luckily I caught it all on video. It was such a fun exchange you only get when you attend the red carpet arrivals. Others we saw on the red carpet were, Kevin Brownlow, Rob Reiner, Kate Flannery, Eddie Muller, Ron Perlman, and Dennis Miller also loved my Robert Redford bag.
We heard a rumor that Jane Fonda was going to be walking the red carpet, so I insisted we stay longer than usual, like until they were packing up the bleachers. She never did walk the carpet, but I don't regret waiting. If she had, I would have been devastated to miss her. I had planned to try to get to the showing of Dark Passage at the Chinese Multiplex.
Dark Passage tells the story of Vincent Parry, Humphrey Bogart, who is convicted of killing his wife. He escapes from prison and has plastic surgery to alter his appearance while on the run. He finds himself held up in the apartment of Irene Jansen, Lauren Bacall, as he recovers. The film is told from his point of view for much of the first half, so you only hear Bogart, and you don't see him. Parry spends his time trying to prove his innocence and falls in love with Bacall. Dark Passage is my favorite Bogart and Bacall film, and I was so excited when they announced that they would be showing it on the big screen, but after waiting for Jane, we decided that we would never make it.
Angie, Brian, and I continued our tradition of getting dinner at Pig' N' Whistle so we could be right by the Egyptian for the showing of The Bachelor and The Bobby-Soxer. Brian loves this film and was excited about catching it on the first night of the festival. Unfortunately, by the time we finished dinner and drinks and went to get in line, we realized that everyone was excited about this nitrate showing. We decided not to wait in line and go back to the TCL Multiplex and watch Mogambo. I know, guys! I don't hate this film and Brian had never seen it, so I thought it was a safe option. We got in and sat down just in time for me to start to feel crappy. I ducked out to go to bed early while Brian stayed for the movie. (He didn't love it, haha.) Mogambo stars Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Grace Kelly. Its a remake of Red Dust which starred Clark Gable in the same role. I am not the biggest fan of Grace Kelly, but Ava Gardner is so beautiful and wonderful in this film you're (I'm) never on Kelly's side. Hunter, Victor Marswell (Gable) ends up in a love triangle with Kelly and Gardner's characters. Call it a flaw, but I like this film. We were so exhausted that I don't regret going to bed early. We still had a full three days of films, and fun to make up for it, and boy did we.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

TCMFF 2019 - The time Jeff Goldblum blew kisses at us


Near the beginning of the year, Turner Classic Movies announced that they would have Jeff Goldblum on a panel for the showing of Nashville. I guess you could say I lost my mind. I have been a Jeff Goldblum faithful for years since I was a kid. I can honestly say that I loved him before it was cool. I bet I watched Independence Day one-hundred times after it came out on VHS. Waiting for that tape to rewind was absolute torture for a 12-year-old girl. I didn't care about anyone else in that movie except Goldblum; he was it for me. In the end, when he gets off the UFO after saving the world and his ex-wife runs up to him and jumps-SWOON. I thought that was the height of romance.
Flash forward twenty-four years to 'Jeff Goldblum Day.' I knew that Saturday, April 13, 2019, would be one of the most incredible days of my life. I was right.
I had spoken to my fellow Jeff Goldblum lover and all-around amazing lady, Diana, about waiting in line together. We both knew we would be the first people in line. I had gone as far as buying a stool to sit on as I waited. I decided to forego any other films that day, including Double Wedding with William Powell and Myrna Loy and the All About Nora (Ephron), pannel at Club TCM. We lucked out because we were able to watch the Nora Ephron panel live while we waited in line. That was awesome.
Jeff Goldblum was there to speak about the film, Nashville. The movie started at 6:00 P.M. I hopped in line around noon. I had to wait out other lines for films that showed in that theater before Nashville, but when I finally got the number one (Diana got number two, Brian three, Erin four and Julie five, we were in great company. I was stoked! We were tickled as we waited on the floor in line to finally see the man that some of us had loved since we were kids, and others of us had themed as their Bachelorette Party. The excitement radiated from the line. We tried to make a plan and worried about not getting close enough to the man himself.
After hours of waiting, we finally made it in, and I sprinted to the front row. I know my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, and I had butterflies the size of horses in my stomach. I'm a firm believer in never meeting your idols, and I worried that he might not be everything I wanted him to be. I was wrong. He was introduced and glided to his seat exactly how I expected. He was smooth, had all the facial expressions and his outfit was insane. Honestly, I wish I could tell you anything they spoke about, but I was too busy literally, LITERALLY pinching myself. I kept thinking, "remember this, remember how you feel right now. You're just some stupid girl from Nebraska who is finally seeing Jeff Goldblum in the flesh. This is everything you dreamed about and never thought would come true. remember this moment for all it is." I tried to take in everything. I watched Goldblum like it was my job. Anything he said was white noise. I heard nothing but saw everything.
After the panel, the film started, but a few of us decided that we would try to run out to the exit to see if we could catch another glimpse of him. A few years ago, in the same theater, I left after the showing and discussion of, The China Syndrome, and saw Michael Douglas getting into the elevator. I had hoped that I would once again luck out and see Jeff Goldblum leaving on the elevator. I never got that chance because instead of leaving through the elevator, he came right by us and went down the escalator. I always thought I wouldn't be the girl who screams and clutches at her chest when they saw someone like Jeff Goldblum, I was wrong. I hit record on my phone when I saw him coming, and the only sound I heard was myself shrieking. It was so embarrassing, but it was an honest reaction. I heard one of the girls yell, "We love you," so I too yelled, "We love you!" He told us that he loved us also. JEFF GOLDBLUM TOLD US THAT HE LOVED US. We heard the words come out of his mouth as he strolled by. He smelled incredible, and his voice was as smooth as butter. He walked to the escalator and descended, blowing us kisses and waving. We, in turn, blew him kisses and waved. JEFF GOLDBLUM BLEW US KISSES, AND WE BLEW HIM KISSES BACK. What world is this? I never thought I would have an opportunity to see Jeff Goldblum in the flesh, let alone speak to him.
The Turner Classic Film Festival has given me so many opportunities I never thought I would have. I never lived in a world where I would someday stand inches from Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, or Tippi Hedren. I pinch myself from time to time and remind myself that I am so lucky to be given this opportunity each year. This year was a literal twenty-plus year dream come true.
After we talked to Jeff, we sat and reminisced about how beautiful the whole thing was. I looked at my video and realized that I never actually hit record. I was so giddy I just pointed a camera at him the entire time that never recorded. As we tried to bring ourselves down, someone snuck up behind us and went over to the elevator. It was NORMAL LLOYD! That American Treasure talked to us; he called us lovely and told us to stay out of trouble. Those few minutes where we talked to Jeff Goldblum and Norman Lloyd were absolutely surreal! Never in my life could I have imagined anything more perfect at that moment.
When we calmed down from everything we had experienced, Erin and I decided to go to the Hollywood Roosevelt and see The Bad Seed. Erin is such a wonderful ray of sunshine. If you have Erin in your life, you are happy. This was the first year I met her, and I absolutely fell in love with her and Diana. Having that time with Erin poolside at The Bad Seed after experiencing something so wonderful was like a dream. We later met Diana to grab some dinner at 25 Degrees in the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. We put our name in and waited to be called. As I turned around to go back to talk to the girls, I ran into Dr. Paul Nassif. I was riding a high and actually dared to ask him for a photo and tell him I was a huge fan. If you know me, you know that I love the Real Housewives Franchise on Bravo. He once starred on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and currently stars on E! 's Botched and Botched By Nature. To have my TCM universe collide with my Bravo universe was almost too much for my little heart to take. The rest of the night was spent chatting with my friends about how incredible our day had been.
It was the most fun I’ve ever had at my four years of TCM Film Festivals.
*This post was written and experienced before I heard any rumors about Mr. Jeff Goldblum that recently surfaced.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Dear Heart - Warner Archive Sale DVD

During the most recent Warner Archive sale I made a big purchase. Among those DVD’s I bought was Dear Heart. The first time I saw this film on TCM I fell in love. It was the first Geraldine Page movie I had ever seen and I was smitten with her.
Released in December 1964, this sweet movie tells the story of Evie Jackson, played by Geraldine Page, who is attending a postmaster’s convention in New York City. Harry Mork, Glenn Ford is also in New York City working as a greeting card salesman who has accepted a new job. He is on the hunt for an apartment for him and his fiancé Phyllis, Angela Lansbury.
Harry and Evie are staying in the same hotel and have an encounter at a restaurant sharing a dinner table. After a brief separation, the two come back together and attend some of the Postal Convention. Harry offers to escort Evie to the Statue of Liberty the next day but breaks their date to go apartment shopping. Harry finds Evie later and asks her to accompany her to dinner and to show her the new apartment he has picked out for him and Phyllis.
Evie thinks that Harry is going to ask her to move in with him, but she realizes that he does intend to live with his fiancé in the apartment he has picked out. The two return to the hotel where Phyllis soon arrives. After he shows Phyllis the apartment he has chosen for them he realizes that she isn’t interested in domestic life, but instead wants to travel and be waited on in hotels.
Evie leaves the convention early and goes to the train station. Harry realizes he loves Evie and has her paged to meet him where they reunite.
This film is so sweet. It was Geraldine Page’s first solo leading lady role. When the film was released a reporter for the New York Times called it “a stale, dull and humorless pretension at what its producers dare to describe as ‘gay, sophisticated comedy,’ and it makes almost scandalous misuse of the recognized talents of Geraldine Page.” Like so many other wonderful classic films, this one was overlooked and panned. I don’t feel that anyone else could have given this film as much heart as Geraldine Page. You want to hug her and tell her that she is wonderful throughout the entire film.
The theme song, ‘Dear Heart’ was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. The film wrapped on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
If you ever get a chance to see this film on TCM, please take the time to watch it. You won’t regret it.
Love and kisses, Bimbo Jones

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Landlord (1970) on TCM

This weekend I was stuck in bed with a migraine and stumbled upon the 1970 Hal Ashby film, The Landlord. The film was on TCM at some point and when I watched something on Demand I let it keep playing and ended up watching this. I’m so glad I stumbled onto this gem.
The politically charged film, based on a novel by Kristen Hunter is extremely choppy, and in my opinion, I rarely found any comedy in this sad and eye-opening film. I did find heart in the evolution of Elgar, Beau Bridges, and strength in Francine, Diana Sands.
Elgar is a rich, clueless, white guy who buys a building in the prominently black neighborhood of Park Slope in New York City. His new house is full of tenants that he needs to kick out so he can turn his home into a bachelor pad.
Soon after getting to the building he's chased down the street by some tenants of the house. Upon returning to the home, Elgar encounters a shotgun-toting woman, Marge (Pearl Bailey) who he ends up befriending and having dinner with her. During dinner, he meets the flirty housewife Francine who is married to Cope (Louis Gossett Jr.), a hot-headed activist.
While Elgar is trying to deal with his tenants, he meets and falls for Lanie (Marki Bey), a mixed-race dancer at a local club. He mistakes her for being white, and she quickly corrects him. He tells his mother, played by Lee Grant that he may be falling in love with a black woman.
As Elgar continues to get to know the tenants, he gets mixed up in a love triangle with Fanny and Lanie.
Elgar's mother Joyce comes by the house one day to check in on her son and bring some fabric for drapes and ends up in the apartment of Marge where they share drinks and ham hawks for hours. Joyce ends up drunk in what can be the only genuinely comedic piece in the movie. But Joyce later comes back to confront Elgar after her time at the house, and it ends with a bitter explosion and her leaving in a rage. The last half hour of the movie is heartbreaking.
Don't read ahead if you don't want spoilers.
During the confrontation with his mother, Francine shows up to reveal that she's pregnant with Elgar's baby. She goes to tell Cope that she's pregnant and it's not his baby. He goes mad with an ax and Elgar tries to intervene and stop him. He loses his mind and has to be taken away. Through a choppy montage, it's revealed that Francine has the baby and she doesn't want to keep it because she loves Cope. She does request that the baby is raised white.
Elgar goes back to the house and packs all of his belongings and tells the tenants that the rent checks are to now go to Cope and Francine. He takes the baby and goes to find Lanie at her apartment.
That's where it ends.
I thought everyone in this film was tremendous. The acting was superb. I was taken aback by some of the cuts and seeing blackface at one point during a costume party.
Lee Grant was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress in her role, and yes, she deserved that nomination. She was terrible, funny, and a real piece of work.
I came into this film with no expectations, but it's a film that will stick with me. I would recommend it to anyone if you have some time and want to see some great acting.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Wonder of Elvis

On August 16, 1977, Elvis Aaron Presley left this world. I had yet to be born, but thirty years after his death, I would discover him and let his smooth as silk voice wash over me. 
The King was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi and later moved to Nashville, TN, where he graduated from High School. Elvis graduated from high school in 1953 and signed with Sun Records in 1954. By 1956 he was a superstar. He passed away 42 years ago today.
He starred in 33 films, sold over one billion records and was nominated for fourteen Grammy nominations, (winning three). On top of it, all the man was just great looking. If you look past the crazy jumpsuit character of his later years and see early Elvis, you’ll see one of the most handsome and talented men ever to grace the stage. 
For years I looked at Elvis as the caricature of someone who older women loved. I thought he was overrated and a bit too much. I had only really known him as a sweaty, over the top singer from the seventies, gross. Plus he doesn’t write his music like Paul Simon so who was he to take over the world as he had? I believe it was out of spite that I pushed so hard against this Elvis agenda. 
That was until August 16, 2007. At the time, I was working in a dentist's office as a secretary. I would sit and enter insurance claims and schedule appointments. There was a TV in the corner of the waiting room that I would keep on TCM all day, every day. If you’re unfamiliar with the network, Turner Classic Movies celebrates August as it’s ‘Summer Under The Stars’ month. Through the entire month, TCM dedicates each day to one film star. That means you get twenty-four hours of films by one actor.  
That day I was annoyed that I’d have to listen to these corny Elvis movies all day, but I am a TCM devotee and stuck it out. Though most of the morning, I listened to Elvis dance his way through Jail and Vegas. (Probably, I don’t remember what films were on that morning, and I am away from home right now so I can’t check my old issues of Now Playing.)
Then Elvis on Tour came on. 
I heard a few songs at first; then I found myself standing up and looking over the tall counter I had to sit behind. 
Then I really listened. 
‘Love me Tender;’ ‘Burning Love’ and the classic ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love,’ all gave me goosebumps. What was happening? I wasn’t at all prepared. I ran and told the dentist that I was going to run and get the mail. Instead, I ran home, literally ran as I only worked one block from my house and tossed in a VHS tape (we still rocked that VCR) and recorded the rest of the concert. 
From then on I was hooked on Elvis. He wasn’t just for the rabid Elvis fans; he was for everyone. 
Elvis is so engrained in my life that I have an Elvis playlist that I listen to when I fly, especially during take-off. Elvis soothes my soul and takes my mind off of my fear of flying. 
I catch Elvis movies from time to time on TCM, and I love their campy insanity. They are everything we need in this world right now. I happen to love, Follow That Dream (1962) because it features one of my favorite Elvis songs,’ I’m Not the Marrying Kind.’ It’s not among Elvis’ best or most commercial films, but I still adore it. 
I lean more towards his less commercial music and have been known to listen to’ Don’t,’ ‘And I Love You So,’ and ‘I’m Not the Marrying Kind. ‘All of these are bangers. It’s hard to go wrong with Elvis, and I look forward to the day when TCM shows one of his amazing films at the Film Festival. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

#FlatRaquelTCMFF

If you’re a TCMFF or Classic Film fan and you were on Twitter you may have seen this Hashtag floating around the during the film festival this past April. 
Months before the Festival Raquel over at Out of the Past announced that she wouldn't be able to attend because she had the opportunity to cover some SXSW. We were all sad and tried to make light of the fact that we would miss seeing her always present face around the Roosevelt and Hollywood Boulevard this year. 
I made the joke about making a #FlatRaquelTCMFF to bring to the Festival this year and kind of laughed it off but took the temperature of the room. You know those big heads you see at basketball games? The photo that has been enlarged and cut out to hold up during sporting events? I thought it would be fun to make one of Raquel and carry it around the Festival to take photos with and give her a TCMFF experience so she felt like she was kind of there and missed. It started as a joke, like "Wouldn't it be fun if we did this," but it turned into, "I am totally doing this!"
I ordered from a company I had heard of that had pretty good reviews and the next thing I knew I had three (buy one, get two free!) human head-sized Raquel's to take along to the Festival. 
Raquel has been a massive support system to me during the past few years during my anxiety and depression issues and she has really supported my writing. Also, this was going to be my year of 'yes,' (do more, get out more and be more) so I was extra bummed she wasn't going to attend. 
What ended up happening with #FlatRaquelTCMFF was what happens with my camera during storms. 
Stick with me here.
I am deathly terrified of storms, and I have been since I was a kid. When we had a tornado WATCH, not even a warning, I would be in the basement closet crying waiting for my world to end while everyone else would be going about their business. When I decided I wanted to become a photographer and now take photos for the paper, I found a certain kind of safety behind my camera. When I am taking pictures, I feel protected from the storm. I can't explain it, but if I am behind my camera, I can get through a storm with no issues. So when I showed up in Hollywood armed with three Raquel's, I was more willing to put myself out there and talk to everyone. It was a great conversation starter, and everyone knows and loves Raquel, so I had people that I didn't really know coming up to talk to me about it. 
Honestly, #FlatRaquelTCMFF led to this being the most social TCMFF I have ever had and also the best. I missed several films but had a wonderful time. I put myself out there and had an absolute blast.
A couple of the #FlatRaquelTCMFF cutouts went on their way with other people, while one stayed with me. I tried to get as many photos as I could, but there were times that I just couldn’t do it like when I was totally ass-backward for Jeff Goldblum but can you blame me? 
This was our schedule:
I took her along with me on Wednesday, April 10, as I went to lunch with Angie at 25 Degrees at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; on a tour at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills where she got a photo with an Academy Award; and finally dinner at Mel's Diner.
On Thursday, April 11, we checked out some signage around the TCL Theaters and checked out the red carpet arrivals for When Harry met Sally
On Friday, April 12, we went to see, Merrily We Go To Hell, Sleeping Beauty, went to lunch at Mel's Diner with Guy, Jax, JP, and Brian, went to see Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Vanity Street, had a photo sesh at the Egyptian with Jill, Wade, and Joel, went to see Goodbye Mr. Chips and finished with a late dinner at In and Out.
On Saturday, April 13, we hit Starbucks hard and took some photos in front of the Hollywood sign before we sat for nearly four hours in line for Nashville to see Jeff Goldblum, then waited for him afterward and saw Norman Lloyd as we waited. Then we went to eat again at 25 Degrees and went to see The Bad Seed, poolside at the Roosevelt with Erin McGee before we had a few drinks into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
On Sunday, April 14, we slept in and missed two blocks of movies (I swore I was never drinking again) before we made the trek up to the American Legion, Hollywood Post 43 to see Yours, Mine and Ours and Cold Turkey, grab some ramen at Jinya and attend the closing night party where we took photos with Alicia Malone, Leonard Maltin and cheers with lots of friends.
I am sending Flat Raquel home to where she belongs today. Thank you for the boost in confidence, the laughs and I hope to see the real gal next year!  

Sunday, June 9, 2019

TCMFF 2019-TCM Backlot visit to the Margaret Herrick Library


The 2019 Turner Classic Film Festival was held in Hollywood, April 11-14. This year, like each year prior, we landed and hit the ground running.
As a member of TCM Backlot, I entered a contest to win a chance to take a private tour of the Margaret Herrick Library. The Library, located in Beverly Hills is an extensive collection of memorabilia including artwork, special collections, photographs, research materials, and so much more. After meeting up with some friends in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel lobby, I met with Angela (Hollywood Revue) for our annual lunch at 25 Degrees.
I invited Angela to be my guest on the tour of the Library, so after lunch, we headed for Beverly Hills. The Margaret Herrick Library is the main repository of materials of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Library contains a digital repository full of historical documents including those related to the Oscars award show. Created in 1928, soon after the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences the large building holds over 30,000 books; 80,000 screenplays, 35,000 posters; 2,400 periodical titles; and ten million photographs. Margaret Herrick worked to have the Oscars broadcast on television and worked to get the first acquisition of an archival collection. She worked as the AMPAS librarian before becoming an executive director until 1971, upon her retirement. The Library moved to the former waterworks building, where it stands now in 1971. There are four main divisions; the general reference, special collections, graphic arts department, and the photo archive.
The tour we went on allowed us to see the most incredible photographs from films showing at the festival and others including North by Northwest, The Sound of Music, Gravity and Casablanca.
We were also shown how they restore materials that have been damaged or arrive in bad shape. My favorite part was seeing the original sketches from Gone With The Wind, including Scarlett’s famous green dress and sketches from Sleeping Beauty. That was so incredible to see such gorgeous artwork from a film I hold so near and dear to my heart.
The staff of the Library also pulled a large collection of memorabilia from the film’s being shown at the Festival. We were able to look at Scarlett’s broach from Gone With The Wind; a first edition Gone with the Wind book signed by the entire cast of the film; notes from Dark Passage; a call sheet from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and so many more incredible treasures.
We weren't allowed to take photos during the tour and had to keep our phones put away so I don’t have any photos of what we were able to see, but I was allowed to hold an Oscar. Each of us took turns holding the heavy statue before the tour ended.
After the tour, Julia, Angie and I went back to Hollywood and I got ready for dinner with friends.
The photo attached to this post was taken by a member of Turner Classic Movies for use on their website.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Classic Movie Tag

Tag! 
I’m back, and I’m a few weeks behind-don’t tell anyone that this is the story of my life. I have been so excited to participate in Raquel’s #ClassicMovieTag since she announced it on her blog, Out Of The Past last month. I had planned to do a video, but I  have not been able to get myself together and get it done. 
Now, on to the show! 
Here are the ‘rules.’
Raquel had ten movie prompts and encouraged people to participate any way they would like whether it be by blog, YouTube, Twitter Thread, Facebook, Podcast, etc., just use the tag #ClassicMovieTag and give the girl credit! I mean she should enjoy the answers, right?
Now for real on with the show! 
1)    What’s one classic movie that you recommend to people over and over and over again?
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I am going to break the rules right out of the gate and give two movies. I really wish I would have done this on video so you could have seen me swoon and passionately plea with you too, (my hands are clasped together in begging position) PLEASE WATCH BOTH OF THESE FILM’S I’M ABOUT TO MENTION.
The first movie is a favorite in my home so I can say with no hesitation that when I introduced it to my son, he was about eight years old and he loved it. So it’s guaranteed great from ages eight to thirty-eight. It’s the 1979 ‘classic’ The Electric Horseman starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. The film is about Redford as ‘Sonny’ Steele a former rodeo champ who is a sell-out who shills for breakfast cereal. He makes public appearances wearing this amazing light-up cowboy ensemble and travels all over the country with his entourage that includes Willie Nelson. During a Las Vegas promotional appearance, he is scheduled to ride a $12 million thoroughbred racehorse who Sonny discovers has been drugged and is hurt. Sonny takes Rising Star (the horse) and rides him out of the casino and out into the Nevada desert as Hallie (Fonda) a TV reporter tries to track him so she can break the story. Sonny plans to take Rising Star to a place where he can run free and be with other horses. As Sonny and Rising Star begin their journey, Hallie finds them and asks if she can tag along.  It’s pretty much a cheesy cowboy version of It Happened One Night. If you know me, you know how much I love Barefoot in the Park and The Way We Were, so this may be an odd choice to recommend, but I feel like this film never gets the love it deserves, so this is one of my significant recommendations. 
My next recommendation is The Big House from 1930. I love Chester Morris and Robert Montgomery so much, and I really feel like they are so underrated and under-appreciated. This film really showcases their talents and their uh, other assets. Wallace Beery also stars in this prison drama, but Lon Chaney was initially set to star in his role, and that would have put it over the top for me. Chaney is, in my opinion, probably the greatest of all time so that trifecta for me would have been absolutely incredible. Montgomery stars as a drunk driver sent to prison for manslaughter. He is placed in a cell with Beery and Morris. There are so many layers to this story and this film that I feel that you genuinely need to see it to appreciate it. 
Guys, we are indeed off to the races on this one-600 hundred words on one question. Are you still with me?
2)    What was the last classic film you saw and what were your thoughts about it?
The last classic film I watched was Old Acquaintance, 1943. I happen to love this film and watch it every time it’s on TCM.  It’s described as a film about ‘Frenemies’ Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, and that’s okay with me. I still happen to love it. Miriam Hopkins is excellent at being the worst, the only fault I have with it is that Bette Davis is supposed to be playing a 40-year-old woman, but she has this vast gray streak in her hair, glasses because her decrepit old eyes can’t see and she is just an old maid, GROSS! What the hell is that about? She is 40, not 90. Also, she didn’t end up with Preston, and that is unfortunate, but I understand it. I still enjoy it every time I watch it all the same. 

3)    Name a classic movie genre you love and one you dislike.
I love comedies. That is pretty much all I can say about that. I will stop everything I’m doing for a comedy, done and done. 
I am not a fan of Sci-Fi. I’m not a fan of western’s, but if there is a particular star in it, I can get on board, Science Fiction is a bit more complicated. A Comedy Sci-Fi like Ghostbusters, sign me right the hell up or is that fantasy? I don’t know, but there is just a specific type of Sci-Fi that I can only take a peek at and say, no thanks and walk away from with no hesitation. 
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4)    Name a classic movie star with whom you share a birthday or hometown. 
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I’m going to break the rules again because I want to be a storyteller today. So for the hometown part, I am going to go with Harold Lloyd. Sure, we don’t share a hometown, hometown, but he lived in a town eight miles from me, and I think that is the coolest thing EVER! He is one of the main reasons I fell in love with classic movies, and I didn’t know about his Nebraska ties at the time! How insane is that? So the Three Stooges are the Classic loves of my life, obvi. Then when I was about 18, I fell for Lloyd. I needed to find out everything about him. I was fresh out of school and broke AF. I had to go to the library to use their internet to search all about him. That is how I found out he lived in the small village of Humboldt, NE, for a brief time. That is eight miles from my little village of Dawson, NE, where I grew up. Not a soul ever mentioned his name ever! There is a rumor they are naming a road after him in my neck of the woods, and I couldn’t be more excited about that! His official residence of Burchard is about 45 miles from me, and I visit his birth home every year, a few times a year. 
I share my birthday on September 4, 1983, with Dick York, who was born on September 4, 1928, and Mitzi Gaynor who was born on September 4, 1931, and that’s not too damn shabs. 

Cohen and I would hold a fundraiser every year at the Harold Lloyd birth home to raise money for the house to keep up with mowing and upkeep on the house. He was one of the first classic film friends I made.
Cohen and I would hold a fundraiser every year at the Harold Lloyd birth home to raise money for the house to keep up with mowing and upkeep on the house. He was one of the first classic film friends I made.
5)    Give a shoutout to a friend or family member who shares your love of classic movies. 
There are so many friends who I have met and fallen in love with through my love of classic movies. Cohen Phillips and Angie were my first film friends, now I share a room with Angie every year at the TCM Classic Film Festival, and it's my favorite thing of the entire year. Cohen was a local and I guess when I say local I mean that he is under a couple hours away from me. He is the first person I met online who discussed classic films with me. I don’t remember how we came across each other but, he introduced me to Angie and the rest is history. He has since started a family and doesn’t have as much time to devote to films as he would like, but I’m sure he will get back into it someday. And of course, my son Alex loves to watch classic films with me and its so great to share that with him. He has been raised with silents and all things classic. He knows Chaney, Lloyd, Valentino, Garbo, Lombard, Franchot Tone to Powell, Redford, Fonda, Newman and the rest we all love and adore.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my best friend Lauren who I wouldn’t have met if we both didn’t love Classic Films.
6)    Name a classic movie star who makes your heart skip a beat or whom you admire greatly.
I have three for this because I am breaking the rules all over the place on this. Robert Redford and Chester Morris make my heart skip a beat. Look at those faces, I don’t think I need to explain. 
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I admire Lon Chaney so much. He was the first classic film actor or probably the first actor I watched that I finished the film and sat and was haunted by the entire performance. It was so passionate and great that I remember the movie, I remember it was a Sunday night, I remember the street light shining in the window that night, the house we lived in and where the bed was arranged in the room. I remember everything about that night. It was He Who Gets Slapped, and I was so moved by his performance. I wasn’t that moved or haunted by a performance like that again until I watched The Unknown and again it was Chaney who stirred something up inside me. He is everything.

7)    Describe one memorable experience watching a classic movie. 
When I watched The Way, We Were at my very first TCM Classic Film Festival in 2016. I can honestly say that to date, 2016 was the hardest year of my life, and this was one of the brightest, if not the most brilliant light in the darkest year. 
The Way We Were is one of my favorite films of all time and seeing it on the big screen at my first TCMFF, in Hollywood, with a belly full of In-N-Out, next to Angie, one of my closest friends and someone who I had talked to online about classic films for years and was finally able to hang out with in person, was almost too much to handle. I cried and cried and cried. My heart burst so much happiness all over everyone in the entire theater. Even when Katie and Hubbell didn’t end up together, I couldn’t wipe the dumb tear-stained grin off my stupid face. 

8)    Describe the craziest thing you’ve done because of your passion for classic movies.
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I save all year for the TCM Film Festival. Today I will eat two Jello cups for lunch because I budget, hardcore budget our meals all year to save money for the festival. Our meal budget is where we shave the most money from. I currently have two tattoo ideas based on classic films/TCM/ode to my film friends. We have driven hours on the back roads of Kansas to get to the Buster Keaton Festival and stayed in the shadiest of all shady hotels. Our home’s central décor theme is classic film. My dog is named after Robert Redford and his character from The Way We Were, and I just asked my mom to call her dog Chester after Chester Morris. I know there is more and if Brian was here, I’m sure he would be happy to remind me of all the crazy things we have done in the name of classic film. 

9)    What’s something classic movie-related that you love to collect.
Everything classic movie-related. I collect films, books, posters, action figures, movie stills, photos, buttons, pillows, shirts, just anything I can get my hands on. 

10)    What’s your favorite way to share your passion for classic movies?
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Unfortunately, my favorite way is to just be super in your face or bring it up during every single conversation. If you walk in my cubicle at work, I have my TCM pennant, my Kate Gabrielle art, my TCM friend buttons, My Robert Redford Autographed photo, TCM Passes and Mel Brooks photo from the 2018 TCM Film Festival. If you walk into my home, I have autographed Classic Star photos, TCM Film Festival Posters, Robert Redford Autographs, Kate Gabrielle art and pillow, films, photos, movie posters, books and more. There is just no escaping the knowledge that I am a classic film fan, so if you are in my space, you are in the know. I write for the local paper, and when I had a column I wrote a lot about attending the TCM Film Festival and films I would recommend that were on TCM that week or month, so people in the area know that I’m a fan and usually talk to me about Ted Turner, TCM or classic films and I love that so much. I think that’s what I’m becoming known for and I’m really proud of that. Now that I don’t have my column, I’m doing more features about the TCMFF, and I am officially becoming the local TCM girl. When the older people in town want to talk TCM, they come into the office, and it’s the greatest thing ever! If I could get them online, we could finally get a Backlot group going. 

That is it. This was a blast, and I loved every hour of it, haha! I was super long-winded in my answers, and everyone probably doesn’t need to be as detailed as I was, but I really encourage everyone else who hasn’t done this to give it a shot. I may come back with Brian and Alex’s answers if I can get them to sit for a second between work and Baseball games and practice. Be sure to check out Raquel’s page for her video and search the tag on Twitter for everyone else answers. Thanks for reading!

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