As usual, I'll be doing my picks in NCAA tournament format brackets. Once again, I will be attending with my 19-year-old daughter, Jasmine. Generally, I tend to pick things I think we will both like. On occasion, I run into spots when there are films that she might like better and let her overrule me or we may decide to go our separate ways. For the most part, I limit it to the film screenings.It takes a lot to get me out of a darkened theater. In addition, this year my wife, Mary, will be attending with us (her second TCMFF after attending once in 2016).
I also include links to anyone else's picks I run into in the coming weeks at the end of this post. There are a couple of blocks that are pretty torturous. One of the biggest issues this year, at least at a glance, will be getting to the new Legion Theater venue. I just don't have any must-sees there, so I had to figure out how to get there at least once over the Festival. Well, without any further ado, I give you this year's picks.
Thursday, Early EveFirst off, this block is like a couple of others, where if you choose certain of the films, there is no way you could catch anything in the next block. This always a tough sell at TCMFF. Fortunately, I'm not a huge fan of either Sergeant York or Ocean's 11. My Media Pass is effectively the same as my wife and daughter's Classic passes, That means When Harry Met Sally is off the table too. It might not have made the cut anyway, though realistically, if I had a chance to see Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal, and Meg Ryan appear with a film this good, I would probably have what she's having and go.
This means Gentlemen Prefer Blonds moves forward in the first round. That leaves Dark Passage up against a scrappy little Pre-Code I've never seen, Night World. At a glance, even with Dark Passage not being either Bogie and Bacall's finest hours, it seems a shoe in over Night World. Then reading up on Night World, it sounds awesome. You have Boris Karloff in a non-monster role with his daughter, Sara, introducing the film. It's Pre-Code, so that's points in its favor. Throw in Hedda Hopper killing someone and a Busby Berkeley dance routine, and Night World takes down Dark Passage.
We have Gentlemen Prefer Blonds vs Night World. Night World has the added advantage of being short, so you might be able to get some real dinner. Then again, food is less of an issue on Thursday, and I just can't bring myself to pass up Gentlemen Prefer Blonds.
Thursday, Late EveMogambo has never been a huge favorite, so that just leaves The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer up against The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg sounds very good, and I've never seen it before. Yeah, I know I probably should have. Still, The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer is Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in what I'd call their best pairing together, and it's in Nitrate. Actually, I've only seen one film in nitrate, Laura, at the 2017 TCMFF. To be honest, the earth didn't move for me over Nitrate. Maybe, it will this time, and I'll become a Nitrate convert. Whatever the case, we're going to The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.
Friday, MorningIn this block, I'm going to throw out The Clock and High Society right away. The Clock is a cute little movie, but doesn't do a whole lot for me. The music in High Society is great, especially Louie Armstrong and the Bing Crosby-Frank Sinatra duet, "Did You Evah," but it suffers from what a lot of the 1950s musical remakes suffer from. You have a remake, that is not nearly as good as the original, because aspects of the original film were gutted to make room for songs. I'm also going to knock out, Cinerama's Russian Adventure. The film would take up two blocks, and I can't see doing that.
That leaves the film noir classic The Postman Always Rings Twice vs the Pre-Code Merrily We Go to Hell, the title alone is almost enough to give it the edge. Still, The Postman Always Rings Twice is Lana Turner. Going to have to go with The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Friday, Mid-DayThis block doesn't do a lot for me. Out of Africa is a decent movie, but it came out the same year as The Color Purple. At the Oscars that year, both Out of Africa and The Color Purple were nominated for for 11 awards. Out of Africa won seven. The Color Purple, zip. Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, because I thought The Color Purple was a much better movie. Love in the Afternoon, I just think Gary Cooper is too old for Audrey Hepburn, so I'm not a fan. That leaves Sleeping Beauty and the Republic Serials Special Presentation. Normally, a Disney feature on the big screen would be too good to pass up, but looking at the schedule as a whole, this might be our only shot at getting to the Legion Theater, so Republic Serials takes it.
Friday, AfternoonThis block all comes down Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and My Favorite Wife. Yes, I love Raiders, but we saw it at TCMFF in 2015. Plus, it is not a film that is particularly hard to find in the theater, even in a place like San Diego. I really love Woody Allen's early films. the later ones, not so much. A Patch of Blue is good, but not good enough for this competition. When it comes down to it, My Favorite Wife is just too good to pass up. Of course, my big concern here is that this leaves me without seeing a silent movie this year. I like to see at least one. You never know, I might jump ship at the last minute and go for Sunrise.
Friday, Early EveI'm thinking I will catch Steel Magnolias in May as a Fathom Event. Escape from Alcatraz is good, but there are a lot of Clint Eastwood movies from that era that I'd rather see. Not a fan of either June Allyson or The Opposite Sex. It just makes me want to watch The Women. Sadly, every time I try to watch something with subtitles at TCMFF, I find myself dozing off every two minutes and jerking myself awake, wondering what I missed, so I'm going to cross off Day for Night, too. If it wasn't for 70 mm, I wouldn't even consider The Sound of Music. Still, Open Secret sounds too good to pass up, though we're fairly ambivalent about Vanity Street. It's looking like the plan will be, skip Vanity Street, get some real food and then on to Open Secret.
Friday, Late EveNot much of a contest here, Road House all the way.
Friday, MidnightFor midnight movies, we usually do one and not the other. Santo vs the Evil Brain sounds like a hoot, perfect midnight movie fodder.
Saturday, MorningFrom Here to Eternity is a great film, but not one I feel like I couldn't miss. I do love Myrna Loy and William Powell (Double Wedding). I'm sure I've seen Double Wedding, but it must not have had much of an impact, as I barely remember it. You don't get a lot of Sci-Fi at TCMFF, so When Worlds Collide moves forward. The Little Colonel was cute, but I seem to remember, All Through the Night being hysterical. Plus, at this point, I'm kind of looking forward to seeing Nazis get the short end of the stick, so All Through the Night goes on for the win.
Saturday, Mid-DayI seem to Sleepless in Seattle as a formulaic chick flick that came out trying to capitalize on the success better formulaic chick flicks, like When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman. A Woman Under the Influence sounds good, especially with Gena Rowlands in attendance, but I really wanted to see Tarzan and His Mate on the big screen. That said, looking at the schedule the first time, Kind Hearts and Coronets wasn't even on my radar. It's one of those films that has been on my classic film bucket list forever, but I really hadn't planned on it. Then going through the schedule with my wife and daughter, it just sounded better than anything else in this block. There you go.
Saturday, AfternoonI'm not a huge Western fan, so the Tom Mix silent double feature is not going to stand up against the competition here. Love Affair is one of these melodramas that just doesn't work for me. A Raisin in the Sun is good, but I can't pick it over, Father Goose. But Working Girl is such a good movie with a great cast, most of whom are still alive. It boogles my mind that they couldn't get one of the principals to appear. It boggles my mind even more that we're picking if over Father Goose, but I just know it's the right call. Also, I just noticed that Working Girl is in the Chinese IMAX. I can't imagine TCM putting it in the biggest theater, unless they had some surprise guests up their sleeve.
Saturday, Early EveSaturday night is the absolute worst, and by absolute worst, I mean the toughest block to pick among. Not the early evening block, but the one that follows this one. The problem is the way The Bad Seed is placed. It straddles this block and the next and makes it virtually impossible to catch anything else before or after it. Normally, The Bad Seed would be one of my top picks for the whole festival, but sadly, I just can't bring myself to sacrifice the next block for it.
That said, we have, Nashville. I saw it recently and was not all that impressed, but it does have Jeff Goldblum appearing. Now, my daughter Jasmine wasn't even sure who Jeff Goldblum was until I explained, "Umm, he's the smart guy in Jurassic Park, and the smart guy in Independence Day,...." You seeing the trend here? Well, she still wanted to see his picture. I pulled up a picture.
"Oh, him," she said. "I love him."
Now, my wife Mary needed no explanation. She loves Jeff Goldblum, has had a crush on him for years. I can't stress the word love enough. Now, as a husband, I feel it is my duty to go and make sure my wife does not rip off all of her clothes and throw herself on him.... And ultimately get arrested. The thing is I don't think we want to watch the movie. At this point, the plan is to allow Jeff Goldblum's very presence have it's way with my wife nether regions, and then sneak out and go have dinner. Don't judge, that's just the way our marriage works.
Saturday, Late EveEven without The Bad Seed, this block is killing me. Honestly, I could care less about Star Wars. Wasn't particularly impressed at 14 when I saw it on its first run, and even less impressed now that George Lucas has made several iterations of changes that make it a worse movie. Samson and Delilah in Nitrate with Victor Mature's daughter Victoria introducing would be awesome. Victoria is a friend and a San Diegan. I feel like I should be there to represent.
Indiscreet is one of those movies that I should have seen by now, but I haven't, and sadly, this is not the time. Waterloo Bridge is a good movie too. The fact is, the choice here is not Samson and Delilah vs Escape From New York, but Escape From New York vs The Bad Seed. Here, I'm going to let celebrity sway me. John Carpenter and Kurt Russell and Escape from New York, it is. I hope Victoria forgives me.
Saturday, MidnightI'm guessing that no one is going to have the energy for a second Midnight movie. Jasmine, I'm sure, will turn in. Mary and I will likely have some drinks.
Sunday, MorningNormally, going through the schedule involves explaining to my daughter, Jasmine, what most of the movies are about. At this point, Jasmine let me know in no uncertain terms that she was well aware of what Hello Dolly was about. Her grandmother used to watch it all the time. That's her choice. The schedule doesn't say who is introducing, Hello Dolly. If there is any poetic justice in the world it, would be Alex Trebec, because that is her final answer.
For Mary and I, the final answer is Holiday. Let's move on.
Sunday, Mid-DayThe Shawshank Redemption is in my top 5 movies of all time and with director, Frank Darabont to introduce it, this is my pick. Jasmine is going along with that. Mary on the other hand really wants to see The Killers with Angie Dickinson, so she will likely take a nap in this block and then go to The Killers.
In theory, there might be the perfect TBA here to make me skip, Shawshank, but that's mostly because it would also give me a chance to see either The Killers or Marty in the next block.
Sunday, AfternoonAs mentioned previously, this block if all goes to plan will Jasmine and I still in Shawshank, while my wife goes to The Killers.
Sunday, EveFor Mary and I, the only choice here is The Godfather: Part II. I have never seen it in the theater. Honestly, the right TBAs here might lure me away. Jasmine on the other hand loves Abbott and Costello, so she's going with Buck Privates, preceded by A Woman of Affairs. I don't know whether the timing will work on this. It's a half hour between the two and with Buck Privates at the Legion Theater I don't know if that is enough time. Still, a good TBA might help here. That one, Jasmine is probably going to play by ear for now.
As usual, I'm providing links to other people's picks. This is what I've found so far. I'll try to update more as I go along.
Other People's Picks
- Aurora, https://aurorasginjoint.com/2019/03/24/my-picks-for-tcmff-2019/
- Stanford Clark, http://moviespastandpresent.com/current-plan-for-the-2019-tcm-classic-film-festival/
- Samantha Ellis, https://musingsofaclassicfilmaddict.com/2019/03/22/my-picks-for-the-2019-tcm-classic-film-festival/
- James Patrick, https://thirtyhertzrumble.com/high-fiving-2019-tcm-film-festival-preview/
- Kellee Pratt, https://kelleepratt.com/2019/03/25/top-picks-for-2019-tcm-film-festival/
- Virginie Provonost, https://thewonderfulworldofcinema.wordpress.com/2019/03/23/a-first-timer-at-the-tcm-classic-film-festival/
- Julia Ricci, https://cinemacrossroads.wordpress.com/2019/03/24/my-picks-for-the-10th-annual-tcm-classic-film-festival/