Friday, March 31, 2017

My Top Picks for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

Me at the 2016 Francis Ford Coppola hand and footprint ceremony

I can't believe it. I'm going to the TCM Classic Film Festival for the fifth time. In a row! After going to the 2013 TCMFF, it was inevitable that another festival would be in my future. But who knew I'd be going so many times? Not me.

And for the fifth time I'll be attending TCMFF as a member of the media. That means I'll be providing you with lots of coverage here and on my social media (follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and e-mail me if you're interested in my uncensored Snapchat coverage).

Without further ado, here are my top picks for this year's festival.


Red Carpet for In the Heat of the Night (1967) - I'll be missing quite a lot on Thursday in order to block off some time for the red carpet premiere. This is my favorite part of the festival. I'll either be in the bleachers or on the red carpet interviewing celebrities. More details to come. I'm most excited about the red carpet this year because Sidney Poitier will be there. Seeing him in person is a dream come true.

Requiem For a Heavyweight (1962) or The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) - The older I get the less ambitious I am about my TCMFF schedule. Both of these look like great screenings but Requiem is playing at the Chinese Multiplex and that means I can get to my hotel room a lot sooner. The Man Who Knew Too Much is all the way over at the Egyptian. That might be the deciding factor in this case because otherwise it'll be difficult to pick between the two.


Hand and Footprint Ceremony: Carl and Rob Reiner - I've been to the last 4 imprint ceremonies, 3 of which I covered on my blog (Jerry Lewis, Christopher Plummer and Francis Ford Coppola). These are a blast and I don't want to miss that one. If for any reason I can't get into this event, I have Cry, the Beloved Country (1951), starring Canada Lee and Sidney Poitier, on my list as a back-up.

Panique (1946) - I love French cinema and I'm starting to explore older classics. Directed by Julien Duvivie, the film is based on the novel by Georges Simenon and his son Pierre Simenon will be on hand for a pre-screening interview.

I'm not sure what to watch after Panique because I'll need to get in line early for...

Red-Headed Woman (1932) - This is by far my favorite Pre-Code. There's no way I can miss this one. If that means I have to skip a programming block, so be it.

High Anxiety (1977) - I'm looking forward to this Hitchcock spoof. Mel Brooks will be in attendance. This might sell out much like Blazing Saddles did a couple of years ago. So I have Cat People (1942) as my back-up. I love Cat People so it will be a difficult decision to watch a new-to-me comedy versus my all-time favorite horror classic.

Zardoz (1974) - I've never had the stamina for midnight screening but I might make a go of it this year. TCMFF usually hosts two midnight screenings during the festival. Both tend to be crazy and wacky cult classics made all the better with a live audience. Zardoz, starring Sean Connery in the most bizarre outfit ever to grace the screen, looks like it could be a lot of fun to watch with a crowd.


The China Syndrome (1979) - I can't pass up an opportunity to see Michael Douglas in person.

The Art of Subtitling - This Club TCM event sounds really interesting. Bruce Goldstein of Rialto Pictures will be on hand to the discuss the history subtitling foreign classics.

America America (1963) - This is a sleeper on the list and a lot of others who have shared their top TCMFF picks are skipping this one. But I'm definitely going. This is a wonderful film by one of my favorite directors Elia Kazan. Film critic Alicia Malone will be interviewing one of the film's stars Stathis Giallelis at the event. The movie deals with oppression, immigration and family. I reviewed this film back in 2011 and am eager to see it again.

Best in Show (2000) - I know, I know. This is a contemporary movie. But it's so hilarious and I'll need something light after watching America America. Some of the cast will be in attendance and I have my fingers crossed that Parker Posey, whom I idolized as a teenager and still do, will be a surprise guest. Even if she isn't there this will still be a great film to see on the big screen.

The Graduate (1967) - This is one of those big classics that is missing from my film history knowledge. I've seen parts of it including the ending but haven't seen it all the way through. It'll be shown at Grauman's Chinese which is my favorite of all of the TCMFF venues. Screenwriter Buck Henry will be interviewed before the screening.


Cock of the Air (1932) - I'll be waking up bright and early to get in line for this one. Recently restored with a controversial bit added back in, and with contemporary actors filling in with the missing soundtrack, this Pre-Code looks a fun curio.

I'm taking it easy on Sunday, will have an early lunch then will be headed early to Club TCM for...

Conversation and Book Signing with Dick Cavett - Cavett has interviewed everybody and has a lot of stories to tell. He's pretty interesting too. Did you know he used to be a gymnast? And that he wrote monologues for Jack Paar and Johnny Carson? I've read two of Cavett's books, Talk Show and Brief Encounters. Both are collections of essays from his New York Times column. I've listened to both books on audio and would be eager to have either one in print and signed by the man himself.

Hell is for Heroes (1962) - This war movie features four of my favorite people: Steve McQueen, Bob Newhart, James Coburn and Bobby Darin. Newhart will be at TCMFF to attend this screening and I'm excited to see him again. (Fun fact: I accidentally ran into Newhart's Book Expo America book signing several years back. When I turned around Robert Duvall was at the next booth signing his book. It's one of my favorite memories of celebrity sightings.)

Lady in the Dark (1944) - I'll be ending the festival with a screening of this Technicolor musical starring Ginger Rogers. I know nothing about this film and will keep myself "in the dark" so this can be a truly new experience for me.

My picks are subject to change. I've already changed by mind about 5 times before I made this list and I will probably change my mind again. What's great about the festival is that there are plenty of back-up choices. The worst thing about the festival is that you'll miss out on the majority of events.

See you in Hollywood!

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