Wow. Three years.
It used to happen every spring, but today it’s dizzying to even attempt to remember that something like this used to be … normal. Gathering in crowds. Hugging. Crying. Watching movies together inside. Drinks at Musso’s. Browsing Larry Edmunds. From 2010 – 2019, THe TCM Classic Flim Festival was the premier event that countless classic movie fans worldwide looked forward to. Of course, 2020 hit the pause button on it, and so many other beloved events, and soon came the ominous, hanging dark cloud of whether or not #tcmff could weather the covid storm.
And it’s here.
Now, not all of us have emerged from the covid pandemic unscathed and this is something I think is important to remember, first and foremost, as we embark on the imminent 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Some are (rightfully so) still nervous about crowds. Some attendees may have battled the virus themselves or, worse, lost someone close to them who did. And some (myself, for instance) with anxiety issues have unfortunately become even more anxious and reticent about social situations. So, going into this week, let’s all remember that we’re all in different places, socially, thanks to covid trauma, and be respectful of everyone’s individual comfort levels.
But one thing every blasted classic movie film fan can agree on is the fact that the return of #tcmff is not only a triumph for the TCM network, but a resounding sign of a return to pre-pandemic “normalcy” (quotes intentional) in which we once again have the chance to enjoy the company of old friends, share our favorite movie moments together, visit historic places, make new memories and, let’s be honest: nerd the f*** out!
My Mr. Martin and I tried to make the best of the 2021 virtual festival by staycationing at The Hollywood Roosevelt, seeing some friends and even watching some of the network’s programming on our laptops, poolside. (Because we are that batty.) And although we had fun, it was certainly bittersweet.
Sharing top festival picks is tradition, whether or not you’re a blogger, vlogger, facebooker, twitterer, instagrammar, youtuber, tumblerer (<–actually, what do we call folks on Tumblr?) or a good old fashioned homo sapien whose primary means of communication is the telephone. (Brownie points if it’s a landline.)
And so, the blog post no one asked for or needs but one that I would be remiss not to post: my top ten TCM Classic Film Festival picks for 2022: April 21 – 24th.
I’ve definitely gone for the nostalgic and sentimental this time around and, yes, I’m already experiencing #tcmff FOMO from all the screenings I won’t make. Congratulations, #tcmff programmers. You’ve done it again.
THURSDAY, APRIL 20th
Although ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL is probably my favorite film of all time, and the Q&A panel is an 80s child’s absolute dream , Spotlight passes are out of our budget and I’ll be watching the festivities from afar. (Queue the world’s smallest violin, right?) Opening night at TCM is fantastic with something to offer for everyone. And for me that means ………
THE HARVEY GIRLS (1965)
What can I say, I’m a sucker for Judy and MGM. And after three years away from #tcmff, I want my opening night to be big, fun, and filled with Hollywood magic. Although, admittedly, this is actually one of my least favorite of Judy Garland’s musicals, I know watching “On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe” on the big screen, on opening night, will be a delight. Can’t miss.
LOVER COME BACK (1961)
With HARVEY GIRLS ending at approx 8:30 p.m., I should hopefully make it into this Doris Day Rock Hudson confection. Anticipating a full house for Doris, staying within Multiplex #1 feels like I should have a shot. Yes, this film airs on TCM often, and I actually would prefer to watch TOPKAPI in Multiplex #4, but this will be my only chance to see Doris this fest.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21
THE GUNFIGHTER (1950)
I know, I know, I know. The former Kitty Packard Pictorial blogger passing up an opportunity to see Jean Harlow shine as Kitty Packard in DINNER AT EIGHT. (I even live off Packard Street in L.A.) But this new-to-me film is coming highly recommended from a number of friends and they have successfully swayed me. Plus, introductions by the wonderful Alan K. Rode are always worth it. (1950 Greg Peck? You best deliver, bro.)
COMING HOME (1978)
I have never seen COMING HOME which is an embarrassing fact and it ends now. I’m very eager to see Bruce Dern in person as not many folks are left who actually appeared in films with Montgomery Clift, so this is also something I feel morally obligated to attend. This film is screening at the Hollywood Legion Theater and there has been much chatter on the interwebs about it being too out of the way. It’s really not, but the incline certainly adds to the travel time so definitely make sure you give yourself plenty of time. (Or find someone to Lyft with!)
ALL OF ME (1984)
Sticking with more modern classics, I’ll be heading back down the hill directly after COMING HOME to see Lily Tomlin in person for ALL OF ME. (Also a new-to-me film!) ALL OF ME ends at approx 5:00 p.m., so hopefully Martin and I will be able to grab a bite from…no, wait, what am I saying? Because the line for the next film is going to be …
THE LETTER (1940)
Screening in Multiplex #1 at 6:45, the big competition for THE LETTER will certainly be the precode COCKTAIL HOUR. But William Wyler’s films were designed to be seen on the big screen in richly textured layers plus … Bette. It should also be interesting to hear Bette Davis’ former assistant talk about her time with the legend.
THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934)
At the first TCM Film Festival in 2010, TOP HAT was one of the opening screenings. Robert Osborne surprised all of us as he introduced it since that screening was in one of the smaller theaters and there was a lot of competition, but he said: “If I had my choice of a movie to watch on the big screen tonight? It would be Fred and Ginger.” And so the tradition continues. I will never pass up the opportunity to those two on screen, and of course, there is the added bonus here with a (VERY) young Bette Grable stealing the show with “Let’s K-Nock K-nees.”
SATURDAY APRIL 22
This year, I’m actually skipping the morning slot of films because I will be one of the docents for The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation’s (LAHTF) exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of The Pantages Theatre! Yes, this means missing the pre-code TOO BUSY TO WORK but hopefully that will be a Sunday TBA.
The tours start at 9:00 a.m. and it’s a very rare chance to explore one of Hollywood’s most historic theaters. Hope to see you there, if your schedule allows: LAHTF tours never disappoint.
I’m off duty around 1:00 p.m., so I am making a bee-line for …
Well, probably lunch.
THE LAST OF SHEILA was my big pick for the day, but that screening will most likely be wrapping up by then. So it’s either ducking into the last hour of ANNIE (tempting!) or heading home to spend time with our little Fizz ball and recuperate. (Docenting is deceptively difficult.)
BABY FACE (1933)
Is this even a discussion? BABY FACE might be one of only two pre-codes I get to see at this year’s #tcmff so might as well make it one of the most definitive pre-codes, screened in 35mm, at the wonderful Hollywood Legion Theatre, with the always entertaining Bruce Goldstein at the helm. This is going to be one heulluva show.
COUNSELLOR AT LAW
So … this is a strategic choice. Of course I dearly want to see Warren Beatty in discussion for HEAVEN CAN WAIT but the actor is notoriously fickle and his bio still does not appear on the #TCMFF schedule. So … I’m starting to think maybe not. Probably safer to stay nearby the Hollywood Legion and indulge in another fantastic pre-code.
BLUE HAWAII (1961)
This might be a no-go since the film will be starting up once COUNSELLOR AT LAW ends, but my goal is to hustle it down to the Roosevelt for my one and only Poolside screening. Hey, #tcmff just isn’t #tcmff without at least one poolside screening and BLUE HAWAII fits the bill. (Plus I hear that someone is bringing lei’s to the screening, so…)
Let’s see if I still have the stamina for this! POLYESTER is my second favorite John Waters film and both Mink Stole and Mario Cantone will be there for what will surely be an unforgettable conversation. Midnight screenings are the best, but … we’ll see. #ImGettinOld
SUNDAY, APRIL 24
Sunday I’m not attending the morning block as I’ll be on Fizz duty.
Instead, my day starts at …
PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (1986).
Damn right I’m watching this at The Chinese Theatre! I adore this film, always have, and will not give up the chance to see it on the big screen. And, fight me on this if you wish: it’s Nick Cage’s best performance. “You like Fabian, right? Yeah, he’s pretty cool.” Plus: Leon Ames in his final screen performance is absolutely priceless with Maureen O’Sullivan.
EVENINGS FOR SALE (1932)
So, this might not happen depending on how long it takes to get from the Chinese to Multiplex #4, but hopefully, it does! A new-to-me pre-code starring Herbert Marshall is just irresistible.
HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL
It’s a chance to see Piper Laurie in person so that’s basically the whole reason for attending this screening. (Ok, and it’s never a bad thing to see Rock Hudson on the big screen.) I’ve never seen this film and am not necessarily expecting, shall we say, art, but I am expecting fun, frivolity, and lots of eye candy.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)
I know some folks don’t like watching films at #tcmff that they remember watching at their local movie theater back in the day. I am not one of those people. Watching A LEAGUE OF THEIR own as a 10-year-old in 1992 still remains one of the most memorable moviegoing experiences of my life and I can’t wait to experience it again, on the big screen, thirty years later.
This will be the first time I will not be closing out the festival with a silent movie: 7th HEAVEN. Also hard to deal with is the fact that my Mr. Martin will be over at COFFY watching Pam Grier. Let’s hope seeing my Rockford Peaches on the big screen is worth it…!