Sunday, May 22, 2016

2016 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge



It's time for my fourth annual summer reading challenge! This is a great way to tackle your growing pile of unread film books. All the details about this challenge can be found on my 2016 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge page.

Here are some of the basics.

Sign up for the challenge here.
Read a classic film book
Write a review and post it on your Blog, Instagram or Goodreads profile
Submit your review link here.
Repeat until you have read and reviewed 6 books!
Review 6 and be automatically entered to win a prize.

Challenge runs from June 1st until September 15th, 2016. You have until July 15th to sign up.



One grand prize winner will receive the following:
One runner-up will receive
Open internationally.

All the details can be found here. Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Who I Met, Who I Saw and My Thoughts on the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival

Me on the red carpet

My fourth TCMFF was by far my best. I really pushed myself to do things outside of my comfort zone like filming with TCM and doing red carpet interviews. I also gave myself a lot more wiggle room in my schedule which allowed for more sleeping and eating. Our hotel was close by which made things a lot easier. It was a good balance and for once I didn't get sick at the festival. I had great social interactions, saw lots of interesting people and went to some amazing screenings. 2016 TCMFF gets a big thumbs up from me.

My thoughts:

I had luck on my side because I got into everything I wanted to and only ended up skipping two events on Sunday. Overall this was fantastic considering how much I had to miss last year. If I go again next year I'll make sure not to skip movies just to get in line for something else. It's really not worth it. I regret not going to the midnight screenings of Roar and Gog which seemed to benefit from a social experience unlike other festival screenings. I watched Roar on my own and it just wasn't the same.

The special guests were a delightful mix of stars and personalities including several former child actors. This festival fest very intimate because of the additional access I got. The highlights for me were interviewing Gina Lollobrigida and Darry Hickman and several others, taking a selfie with Carl Reiner, flirting with Norman Lloyd, meeting Lillian Michelson and chatting with director Bruce Brown.

The social aspect was mixed. I had a blast hanging out with my social media friends and meeting a few folks for the first time. Passholders were more aggressive this time around. There was lots of bad theater behavior. The TCM volunteers were great and kept everything in order. I had fun chatting with a couple of them.

I do wonder about the social culture of the festival overall. Bloggers and social media folks already have a built-in network of people to socialize with. What about everyone else? Do they stick to their festival partner or go at it alone? Is the festival a lonely experience for some? When you're in line with a couple hundred other passholders, chances are you'll strike up a conversation with someone else orr you wait in line with your friends. Is being in the VIP/spotlight line different because you don't line up for as long and there are fewer people there with you? 

I love the theme of moving pictures and the sub-themes too (sports movies, discoveries, religious movies, etc.). Discovery seemed to be a big hit at the festival and many people prioritized seeing 35mm film over DCP. The pre-code Double Harness got sold out twice which didn't surprise some but did surprise me. This is a film that's been available in full and for free on TCM's website for years (they took it down some time ago). I guess you can never underestimate the draw of pre-codes and William Powell! I was disappointed that TCM programmed the Harold and Lillian documentary in a difficult time slot. They should have put it on Sunday or an early morning screening.

I made a point of spending more time at the closing night party and I'm so glad I did. I had such a fun time and got to see a lot of people. Our post-party In-N-Out burger jaunt was a blast.

New-to-me films I saw at the festival included Los Tallos Amargos (1956), Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), Pleasure Cruise (1933), several Vitaphone shorts and Band of Outsiders (1964).

Films I've seen before included Tea and Sympathy (1956), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Beau Brummels (1928), Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015), Endless Summer (1966) and Network (1976).

Ben Mankiewicz had a big role to play at the festival and I thought he did a fantastic job. I wish Osborne's not being there would have been addressed in some way because his absence was definitely the elephant in the room.

Kudos to TCM for hosting 7 book signings and partnering with Larry Edmunds Bookshop. The lobby interviews were missed. I hope they bring them back next year. I didn't find anything I wanted in the TCM boutique but was more than happy just to buy a bunch of books instead.

Remember when I talked about my top 5 picks for TCMFF? Here is my follow-up video:



Now on to who I saw at TCMFF:

Jessica and Me. The festival just wouldn't be the same without her.

Me and Danny
Me and Jill
Millie, Kate and me

Daniel and me

Jackie and me

Sabina and me
Me and Casey (we kinda match)

Casey, Kate, Millie, Lindsay, KC, Laura and me

Warner Archive's Matt Patterson on the red carpet. AKA best TCMFF photo ever. Photo credit: Jessica. 

Kate, Sabina, Angela, Raquel, Danny Jessica, Kristen,
Lindsay, Nikki, Millie, Pete, Carlos, Jill, Casey, KC, Kim and Matt

Special Guests:
Alec Baldwin
Peter Bogdanovich
Bruce Brown
Francis Ford Coppola
Danny DeVito
Illeana Douglas
Faye Dunaway
Darryl Hickman
Anna Karina
Chris Lemmon
Norman Lloyd
Gina Lollobrigida
Leonard Maltin
Lillian Michelson
Eddie Muller
Margaret O'Brien
Sr. Rose Pacatte
Daniel Raim
Jennifer Raim
Carl Reiner
and more

TCM Staff: Ben Mankiewicz, Charlie Tabesh, Jennifer Dorian, Genevieve McGillicuddy, Scott McGee, Sean Cameron, David Byrne, Chuck Moore, Coleman Breland, Marya Gates, Noralil Fores and many more. These people are rock stars.

Friends and Bloggers
Anne Marie of Classic Movie Hub
Aurora of Aurora's Gin Joint
Beth of Spellbound by Movies
Carrie of Classic Film Fan
Casey of Noir Girl
Chris of Blog of the Darned
Daniel of Movie Mania Madness
Danny of Pre-Code.com
Diane of Classic Movie Blog
Eric of Classic Era Movies
Jackie aka @Jaxbra
Jay of The James Bond Social Media Project
Jeff
Jessica of Comet Over Hollywood
Jill of The Retro Set
Jocelyn of Classic Film Observations and Obsessions
Joel of TCM Party
Karen of Shadows and Satin
Kate Gabrielle of Silents and Talkies
Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled
and her husband Gary!
KC of Classic Movie Blog
Kim of I See a Dark Theater
Kristen of Journey in Classic Film
Kristina of Speakeasy
Lara of Backlots
Laura of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
Lindsay of Lindsay's Movie Musings
Lou of New York Post
Marya of TCM
Matt of Warner Archive
Millie of Classic Forever
Nikki of A Midwest Blog
Nora of Nitrate Diva
Noralil of TCM
Pam aka @fallonthornley
Paula of TCM Party
Robby of Dear Old Hollywood
Sabina AKA @SabinaStent 
Stephen of Classic Movie Man
Will of Cinematically Insane
and more.

Drop me a line if I missed adding you to my lists. Hope you enjoyed my recaps. Stay tuned for more detailed posts about individual events!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Holy Cross Cemetery Tour


Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City

We recently visited Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California where many classic film stars of the Catholic faith are buried. We didn't have a lot of time to go searching for gravestones but did find a few. Interesting thing about this cemetery is that there are very few upright gravestones. Most of them were flat and very non-descript. Rosalind Russell's was the most prominent. There is also a chapel with a mausoleum and crypts. I have a phobia of entering spaces like that so I wasn't able to see much before I had to leave. We did get to pay our respects to quite a few stars. Here are the gravestones we visited:


Bonita Granville Wrather along with my phone case with her image!

Bing Crosby

ZaSu Pitts


Edmond O'Brien

Holy Cross Cemetery

Pat O'Brien


Ann Miller and her daughter Mary


Loretta Young and her mother Gladys

Ray Bolger

Holy Cross Cemetery Chapel

Mario Lanza

Rosalind Russell's tomb was the biggest in the cemetery


Rosalind Russel Brisson

John Ford

Thank you to Doug and Laura for taking us to this cemetery!


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