Friday, September 25, 2009

My (REEL) Life

Watching classic movies, particularly ones from the so-called 'Golden Age of Hollywood,' has been a huge part of my life since I was five, sneaking down the hall into the LR to watch the late show and late-late show after the p's were in bed. Propped up on couch pillows, my nose inches from the screen so I could keep the sound down low so not to be discovered and forced back to bed, I fought to stay awake until I became so absorbed in the plot, the actors, and the action, that sleep finally eluded me. By the time I could read the TV Guide grid in the paper, I plotted out every movie that sounded like a 'must-see.'

In 1992 when we moved to AR I found TCM, and it's been my default channel ever since. It's the first one I check the programming on every day and the one I usually end up watching. In 1984 I bought Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, and circled in red every movie I've seen, making brief notes if something impressed me or I found myself disagreeing with his rating. Eventually my movie library has grown to encompass several shelves. I also mark movies I've not seen that I want to watch out for. It's a rare day anymore when there's a movie on I haven't seen.

I've watched every 'Screwball Comedy' ever listed (yes, there's an official list). More than once. And I've seen every one of the top 100 movies rated by AFI (American Film Institute), typically several times. I definitely could give the host of TCM Robert Osborne a run for his money. Most of his factoids I already know, and several additional facts I could chime in on about what's playing in that night's line-up. I'm the go-to person for remembering names of old stars, titles of movies, and the years they were made. I have been accused of cheating at 'Scene It' by having played it so many times. (For the record, I have played it all of three times). I don't have 'top 10' movies, I have top 10 genres of movies.

As much as I love TCM, my big quibble with the 'Essentials' viewing and guest programmers is everyone wants to pick the classics that meant something to them -- perfectly understandable sentiment -- but the same movies are seen so frequently that one movie can be viewed a dozen times.

I'm in the echelon of needing to get up early in the morning (which I don't -- yes, I know, we really do need TIVO) to watch movies I've seldom or have never seen before. Because days I can 'mark the book,' are occasions.

So, yes, I adore old movies and I can say I have learned from them. And I adore TCM for running them 'continuously, un-cut and commercial free, as they were meant to be.' As they (justly) like to promote.

Although I have too many movies to narrow them down to a top 10 list, I also have favorite directors, costumers, and make-up artists. As for directors, whenever you see these names, you'll know you're about to see a great film. So, in no particular order, keep an eye out for these American directors: Billy Wilder, John Ford, King Vidor, Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, George Cukor, Victor Fleming, Woody Allen, William Wellman, David Lean, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Charlie Chaplin among others.......I will save foreign directors for another post.

happy viewing.......and send me a comment, I will always talk movies!


S.E. Sward said...

I'm overdue for a TCM marathon. But thanks to Turner Network Television which originally ran the oldies when I was a kid, I got a fine introduction to film noir and the golden age of movies in this country. I love the old movies mostly because the dialogue was the prominent feature - you really have to pay attention and there's genuine wit in the banter between characters in the older films. Something today's films mostly lack. Too many car chases and spectacular explosions, I guess.

PaperbackWriter said...

I'm a freak for films too, though my tastes range wildly from horror, the more classic the better(Give me the original House on Haunted Hill any day!), to the Danny Carey/Bing Crosby flicks up to the classic 80's Chick Flicks like Fried Green Tomatoes and Mystic Pizza.

Though as for a list of fave directors and such, fuggetaboutit, I'd rather do it for authors as I'm a 130lb bookworm too.