Monday, April 27, 2015

TCMFF 2015 – Day 4

Sunday at the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) started much like the rest, Social Media Producer's meeting first thing in the morning. TCMFF had been trending all day both Friday and Saturday, and it turned out we would trend all day Sunday as well. Woohoo! Shannon, Noralil's boss, had got her one of those Oscar statues in celebration, and they wanted us to do videos of our acceptance speech. I ended up doing one later that day, but I just watched it, and I really look like a doofus, more so than normal, so I don't think I'll be posting it.

First up Sunday morning was Nightmare Alley at the TCL Chinese, but as we were waiting managed to wrangle one of the other Social Media Producers, Marya (@oldfilmsflicker) for a video. Her answer to who would win in a gunfight, Clint Eastwood's man with no name from the Sergio Leone films or the Waco Kid from Blazing Saddles was just awesome:

In line for Nightmare Alley, we got someone to take a picture of my 15-year-old daughter Jasmine and me:

Jazzy and me
Inside the theater, we ended up sitting with Casey (@NoirGirl) and Joel (@joelrwilliams1:

Casey, Joel, and me

"Don't look down on people who haven't seen a film you
think they should have. Just be happy for them that they
get to see it for the first time." Eddie Muller, from intro to
Nightmare AlleyPhotographer: Edward M. Pio Roda.
™ & © 2015 Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner
Company. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
The intro from Eddie Muller was great. This was the film that Tyrone Power wanted to make. It was a chance for him to break away from his handsome leading man image and play a character with real depth. Power plays Stan Carlisle a carnival barker who gets involved in a mind-reading confidence scheme and sees the opportunity to take it to the big time. The story is so well known among the spiritualism subculture that his character name is now used to mean con somebody with a fake mysticism act, much in the same way people use Gaslight to mean systematically drive insane, "Hey man, don't Stan Carlisle me." He also called it one of the most depressing movies he's ever seen. I don't know if would go that far. Then, when I try to think of a movie that is more depressing, nothing is coming to me. I'm not going to spoil anything for people who haven't seen it, but if it had ended about 2 minutes earlier, then it would have been almost unbearable. As it was, it was it was still pretty darn depressing. 

Of course, Jasmine loved it, and it was her favorite film of the weekend. I loved it too, but if I had to pick my top film for the weekend, I would give the nod to Too Late for Tears. Her TCMFF15YO came off more snarky than it probably should have been. All I know is that when I ordered the Nightmare Alley on DVD last week, she snatched it away so fast, I think she took my fingerprints with her. 

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of Nightmare Alley:

Was a NIGHTMARE of a good time! HA HA ha...can't all be winners folks

After the screening we got an interview with Joel. I seem to remember he was in a hurry, so I cut it a little bit short: 

We also met Kelvin from Santa Fe, who comes to us by way Yorkshire, England. At this point, I was starting to feel kind of punchy and that might have motivated the odd question I asked him at the end of the video.

Jasmine also recorded a #HeartMovies video. She talks about the movie that started her off with classic film (the first movie I got her to watch all the way through on TCM, trust me, I tried a bunch of times before hitting the right one), City Lights. She also talks about The Fifth Element, which is three years older than she is and to her is just as much a classic film as City Lights:

I also took the time to record a second #HeartMovies  video. This time I talked about watching old movies as a kid and something that happened when we were live tweeting the film Lifeboat on #TCMParty:

Next up was Desk Set. Now, this film is a huge favorite of mine. It's one of the maybe half a dozen classic films that I go to when I'm bored and just want of have something on. I've probably watched it 20 or 30 times, and keep coming back to it 3 or 4 times a year. We ended up sitting with Ariel (@Sinaphile) and Marya (who had never seen it before):

Jasmine, Me, Ariel, and Marya

I think Ariel was kind of excited to see it too
To say that this was high on my list is a bit of an understatement. It is such a fun movie, and I think if I had to sit down, and come up with my top Tracy/Hepburn movies, I think Desk Set would probably win, although both Adam's Rib and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner would be in the running. The intro was by Tara MacNamara. To be honest, at this point in the festival, everything was kind of a blur. All I know is that the movie was fun. Jasmine said, it was way cute. I'm thinking I might even need to go out and find an mp3 of that, woop woop a doo sound the computer makes to use as a ringtone on my phone.

Marya said it was okay, which I still find a bit strange, but everybody to their own taste. All I know was the rest of us loved it.

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of Desk Set:

It saddens me that people need to be told names of Santa's reindeer 20 times in same movie

Between Desk Set and the next movie The Philadelphia Story, we went back to the hotel, so I could change for the evening. Okay, I'm a clothes horse. Shoot me. The intro to The Philadelphia Story was an interview of Madeleine Stowe by Illeana Douglas. I had to point out to Jasmine, you know that's the woman, from 12 Monkeys. "Oh, yeah, it is. Cool." I honestly don't remember a lot about what Stowe said, but the gist was just how much she loved the movie and others of its ilk, which in a way is better. I mean, it's one thing to say something profound or pull out some little tidbit that most people don't know, but it's another to show honest affection for the work that is direct and straight from the heart. I think I got that more from Madeleine Stowe than anyone else this year.

The film was great as expected. If I had to pick one film and say this is the ultimate Screwball Comedy, this would be it. I love basically everything about this movie. Good story, witty dialog, and great performances by virtually everyone in the cast, from the main stars all the way down to John Halliday and Mary Nash. The subplots are interesting and stick together as well as the main plots in most other movies. To say that Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Jame Stewart, and Ruth Hussey all give the performance of a lifetime would be an overstatement, but only because they all had such great careers. They did all bring their A game, and it's just great to see them bounce off each other. Roland Young as the lecherous Uncle Willy, that just might be the performance of a lifetime. The same could be said for Virginia Wiedler as well. Coming on the heels of Desk Set, I almost thought I was going to break my face from laughing. Jasmine said she thought it was okay, but I think it was just that at that point, she was just done for the weekend. Even if you count Return of the Dream Machine as one movie, instead of the 9 that they showed, that's still 12 movies in three and a half days, and we still had one to go. I think that colored her view of The Philadelphia Story.

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of The Philadelphia Story:

 I know fashion was different and all but circus vest & sleeping cap?

Theresa, winner of TCMFF 2015; thanks everybody for 
playing along, better luck, next year
As we were coming out The Philadelphia Story. I ran into Theresa, my drinking buddy from Thursday and Friday nights. She was standing in at the front of the Marriage Italian Style of the Spotlight/VIP line with the Number 1 queue number. Now, Marriage Italian Style with a Ben Mankiewicz interviewing of Sofia Loren was probably the hottest screening of the 2015 TCMFF. Though my opinion is technically nonbinding, I declared Theresa (@CineMava) winner of the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival. 

While waiting in line for Marriage Italian Style, we ran into Rob and Val from Calgary which made our first and only husband and wife as well as our first and only international video:

I've probably mentioned this before. I'm not real big on celebrity. Yes, there are a few celebrities I would like to meet, but there aren't very many I would go out of my way for. That said, getting to see Sofia Loren in person, that's something I felt like I had to take advantage of. She's a great actress and has to be the hottest 80-year-old on the planet. If anyone disputes that, I want proof.

TCM's own Genevieve  McGillicuddy and Sofia Loren. 
™ & © 2015 Turner Classic Movies. A Time Warner
Company. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission. 

Yes, that is an 80-year-old woman's butt.
Don't judge me.
I guess my only regret is that even though I brought the good camera, the digital SLR, I got relatively poor results, which sadly is true of most of the pictures I took of the speakers at the screenings throughout TCMFF. I know that there is probably some setting that would have given me better results in low light, but whatever it is, it's not full auto with no flash. Of all the pictures that we took, the two I like the best are those on the left that Jasmine took with my phone as Sofia Loren was walking off the stage at the end of the interview.

What I mostly remember from the interview itself was her talking about winning the Oscar for Two Women. She thought it was an honor just to be nominated, but she really didn't expect to win, because no one had ever won an Oscar for a foreign-language film. Thus, she stayed in Rome. She also joked that if she won the award, she would faint, and if she fainted in Rome, no one would see it. The night of the awards she tried to stay awake for it, but eventually decided to go to bed. As soon as she decided to go to bed, the phone rang. It was Cary Grant telling her she won.

The other thing that stands out from the interview is that when it came time to talk specifically about Marriage Italian Style, she used the term dramedy and said her son told her to write it down. I was just watching a youtube video of the interview and looking at it, I think she wrote the word, dramedy, on the palm of her hand. Just the thought of this incredible woman, writing a cheat note on her hand is kind of funny and cool. 

The main reason I bring it up is that it's the perfect segue into the film itself. Now, when I think of a dramedy, a dramatic comedy, I think of maybe, The Apartment,  a comedy that centers on a dramatic subject or As Good as It Gets, a drama that has funny bits.  Marriage Italian Style took a completely different approach. The first about two thirds of the movie is a drama. Then at a certain point, it turns into a farce. Oddly, it works, mostly because it does both things very well. 

Jasmine's #TCMFF15YO twitter review of Marriage Italian Style:

Note to self, fake death to get a husband

After the screening, Jasmine would have been fine just calling it a night, but I told her she needed to come down an say goodbye to people. You never know if people are going to be scattered to the four winds in the morning. She came down for about a half hour and then went back to the room.

For me, the closing party is a big highlight of TCMFF, just being able to hang out with people, have a drink, and talk. I know that I missed Miguel (@HIFFSD). He was in another part of the lobby recording a podcast, which I would have loved to jump in on. I'm not even going to attempt to remember who all I talked to or met that night. I know I'll miss people. For the most part I'm going to let the pictures do the talking.

TCM Social Media Producers, me, Ariel, Kendra (@kendrajbean)
Jeff (@jlundenberger), and Kim (@Kimbo3200)

Ed, me, Anne from the Film Noir Foundation (@AnneHockens),
Ariel, and Jeff; the guy behind behind Anne and Ariel is Peter
(@PeterAPeel), and the photo bomber way back is Trevor (@tpjost).

Me, Ariel, and Kim
I love the closing night party, but they really do need to keep the Club TCM open later. Umm, TCM? Do you have a second for a little chat? Closing at midnight? Really? I mean midnight, we still have a lot of serious drinking to do. In particular, most nights if you go to the late screening, by the time you get back to the hotel, it's already closed. I know it's probably a hotel contract thing, but this is a social event. And you've dedicated space to gather socially, yet it closes before most people can make it back there. In particular, Sunday night, when people have arranged travel plans so they don't have to get up early.... Not that I have a huge problem moving to the lobby, but I think for a lot of people, when you close, the implication is that it's over. One of the best things about TCMFF is the social aspect, and closing Club TCM early dampens that. Just sayin'.

I ended up hanging out most of the night with Ariel and her friend, Anne. Ariel was kind of down and not just the normal TCMFF post partum. She's looking for work. Her training's in film restoration, but at this point, she'll consider other areas, so if anyone in the L.A. area knows of anything.... She's smart and and funny, and I'm sure she'd pick up whatever quickly.  

Despite this, Ariel was fun to hang out with and had great stories, from seeing her grandmother (Irene Tedrow) in The Cincinnati Kid at this year's TCMFF to stuff that happened at Comic-Con. She mentioned in passing that she has her bras made by Jeanette Goldstein, the woman who played Vasquez in Aliens. Unfortunately, I didn't press her on the details, which is odd, because it has just about everything I'm looking for in a story, bras, boobs, and the woman who played Vasquez in Aliens. 

I remember seeing something from Will (@willmckinley), saying that we got kicked out of the lobby really late. I honestly don't remember anyone telling us we had to go, but I had been drinking Old Rasputin, this really strong Russian Imperial Stout most of the night, so I probably didn't notice. I know that Ariel, Anne, and I ended up getting food super late at 25 Degrees in the Roosevelt lobby and talked for quite a while sitting there. I know it was some time around four when they got a cab, and I called it a night. All in all, it was a great time.

Me and Ariel


  1. Yes, my name is Peter (@PeterAPeel) and that is me in the picture! Excellent, thanks!