Since I attended my first TCM Classic Film Festival in 2014 for TheCelebrityCafe.com, I’ve decided to try to go every other year. This means I’ll be back in Los Angeles for the 2018 TCMFF. I also attended 2016, and the personal circumstances could not be more different. That year, the festival happened about a month after I lost my job. But, I had everything all booked, the pass bought and money saved up, plus my friends and family convinced me to go. It turned out to be the cathartic experience I needed.
Two years later, I now have another job, writing at PopCulture.com in Nashville. Now, I’m not covering this with a media badge. I’m going for the fun of it – to see some great movies, catch up with friends and to just have fun. This year, I’m also heading to LA earlier than ever before. I previously came in on the Wednesday, but this year I’m heading in on Tuesday to hopefully do some stuff I haven’t done before.
Anyway, the schedule for TCMFF is up, and I guess this is what it’s like for parents to pick your favorite child. There are so many great things going on at the same time and there’s even one time block that’s already getting me anxious.
Here’s what I’m planning to see. I’m trying to focus on as many movies I’ve never seen before as possible. To me, that’s the biggest factor on how to pick what to see.
Also, each time I’ve been to this, I usually try to go to at least one of the Club TCM events at the Roosevelt Hotel. Hopefully, I’ll have time to squeeze one in.
Thursday, April 26
Meet TCM & “So You Think You Know The Movies” – Last time I went to these early events and they were a blast. Really enjoyed taking a peek into how TCM works and changes every year. There is also the Welcome Party before the first screenings.
Finishing School – I’m really excited to kick off the festival with a pre-code, and one on 35mm to boot. Joel McCrae’s grandson Wyatt will be there. The film sounds like a can’t-miss, starring Frances Dee, Bruce Cabot and pre-fame Ginger Rogers.
Fail-Safe – This was my “must-see” before the festival schedule came out even though I’ve seen it before. Walter Bernstein, the Blacklisted writer who wrote this nuclear thriller, will be in attendance. I think Stage Door at the Egyptian will be too hard to get in to.
Friday, April 27
Intruder in the Dust – This first block is really easy for me. Sure, the Pink Panther cartoons program sounds cool, but I love seeing oddball films like Intruder in the Dust, and it sounds like one I just have to see. It is based on a William Faulkner story about a black man (Juano Hernandez) accused of murder.
Witness for the Prosecution – This is where things start to get tough. Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career is the only film in this block I have not seen, but the chance to see a Billy Wilder film – especially one I love – in 35mm is too great a draw. Plus, there is more than enough time to get from Intruder to the Egyptian.
The Set-Up – Incredibly, this block is filled with movies I haven’t seen before. If I see Witness, there’s no way I get to the IMAX theater for Sounder with Cecily Tyson. I’m leaning towards staying at the Egyptian for The Set-Up, a Robert Ryan noir I’ve never seen before. But I’ve also never seen A Hatful of Rain. At least I saw Eva Marie Saint in person in 2016 for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. And I hope Blessed Event turns out to be a Sunday TBA.
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song – I’ve always wanted to see this movie, mostly because of the title. I’ll be sticking at the Egyptian again. There’s a long break between The Set-Up and Sweetback, so maybe I can actually grab a full meal!
Romeo and Juliet – The murder block. I can’t believe TCM scheduled Leave Her to Heaven on nitrate, The Exorcist in IMAX with William Friedkin, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Point Blank AND Romeo and Juliet (1968) at the same time. Of all those movies, I’ve never seen Romeo and Juliet and the chance to see Michael York in person is just too tempting. Stars Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting will also be there.
The World’s Greatest Sinner – I’m hoping that since my body is a little bit more used to staying up late and that I’m only going to experience a two-hour difference instead of three, the midnight movies will be easier for me. I’m really excited to see The World’s Greatest Sinner. It just sounds so weird and right up my alley.
Saturday, April 28
The Ox-Bow Incident – Another murder block. I love His Girl Friday, Kiss Me Deadly and A Letter to Three Wives, but I have all three on Blu-ray. I also have The Ox-Bow Incident on Blu-ray, but seeing that in nitrate will be amazing. Scott Eyman is introducing.
Bullitt – It looks like I won’t be going into the IMAX theater until Saturday! I have to see Bullitt on the big screen with Jacqueline Bisset there. I can’t wait for that car chase scene. I’d love to see Jean-Pierre Melville’s When You Read This Letter, especially since you can’t get it on home video in the U.S., but I have to see Bullitt.
Maurice – This is another absolute killer. I would love to see Sunset Boulevard with Nancy Olson there. However, I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count, so the movie I have never seen before wins out. Plus, director James Ivory will be there, just weeks after winning the Oscar for writing Call Me By Your Name.
Heaven Can Wait – This is another tough block because of so many great movies in this slot. I will sing the praises of Show People forever. But I really want to see Heaven Can Wait, which I’ve somehow never seen. Buck Henry and Dyan Cannon will be there.
Scarface – Another movie I have a copy of, but I can’t miss a chance to see John Carpenter.
Night of the Living Dead – With Edgar Wright there? How could I miss this!
Sunday, April 29
Once Upon A Time in the West – Oh, I have got to see this movie on the big screen and in IMAX. No way I’m missing that.
Places in the Heart – Depending on what the first TBA is, I’ll check out Places in the Heart. I own this movie, but I’m not sure I can get over to the Egyptian in time for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three after OUATITW. Plus Sally Field will be there! I previously saw her in person at SXSW when Hello My Name Is Doris premiered.
Mostly Lost: Identifying Unknown Films at the Library of Congress – I was leaning towards seeing Bull Durham at this slot, but this Club TCM event sounds intriguing. I’m always interested in film preservation and what lost movies are like, so this should be interesting.
A Star Is Born – This last slot – another killer. I really do not want to miss the Animal House reunion at the IMAX theater, but… A Star Is Born. In nitrate! With William A. Wellman’s son there!
So that’s my plan… and I’m not sticking to it. Since this is my third TCMFF, I’d like to think I’m a little experienced at this point. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that the best plans often get changed. It’s never a good idea to treat a plan as if its set in stone. No matter what you see, it’s going to be a blast.