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?
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.
4) Name a classic movie star with whom you share a birthday or hometown.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!