December 14, 2013
A few days ago I took the train up to New York to see The Two Mrs. Carrolls on the big screen, as part of The Film Forum's Barbara Stanwyck festival. She's my favorite actress so I was beyond delighted to see how many of her lesser-known movies were being shown, and I had a pretty hard time deciding which ones to go see on my meager budget and busy schedule. I settled on The Two Mrs. Carrolls and Banjo on my Knee (which I'm seeing next week.)
The Two Mrs. Carrolls is an atmospheric, super creepy mystery that always gives me shivers whenever I watch it. Sadly I had the misfortune of sitting in an audience with moviegoers who couldn't appreciate the chilly charm of this classic thriller. Everyone kept laughing at things that were decidedly not funny. It happens so often whenever I venture into the world of classic film screenings and it breaks my heart every time. I can't tell if people intentionally go see old movies just to make fun of them, or if they're fans of modern action films and somehow mistakenly wandered into the wrong theater. You can't possibly be a classic movie fan and laugh at a mystery unless it's horribly bad (which this isn't.)
I've seen The Two Mrs. Carrolls countless times so this experience didn't color my opinion of the movie in the slightest, but unfortunately my brother was seeing it for the first time and said that he had a hard time concentrating on the film because he was so mad at our fellow moviegoers :( I'm going to lend him my dvd so he can have a proper watch at home on a dark stormy night. In the end I wonder if that's really the best way to view classic films, despite my constant desire to see them the way they were intended. It's difficult to enjoy a movie if you're surrounded by people who aren't. Or maybe I need to just limit myself to seeing comedies (but then I suppose I'll be upset if nobody laughs! ha!)
I'm going to the TCM Film Festival next year (yay!) and I'm hoping for a much better experience there since everyone attending will be a bona fide classic film fan. Maybe it'll make up for all the lousy theater experiences I've had over the last few years..
October 10, 2013
I'm on a mission to finally catch-up on all the modern classics I've never seen, and this month I've been focusing on modern classics of the horror variety because, you know, Halloween.
First I watched Alien (1979) which I really loved! One of my favorite attractions in Disney World is the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios, which features set replicas and animatronic figures recreating classic films like Casablanca, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz and.. Alien. I've always loved the Alien part of the ride (it's so creepy!!) but I couldn't really appreciate how incredibly accurate it was until I finally saw the movie.
Alien was the only movie featured in the ride that I hadn't seen before so I thought it definitely deserved a spot on my to-watch list. I ended up really enjoying it, especially since it reminded me of one of my favorite tv shows, The X-Files. It even starred Veronica Cartwright, who plays a key role in the mythology of the sci-fi series! The movie is about a horrific, violent alien that attacks a ship crew in outer space. I was definitely on the edge of my seat towards the end and might have jumped right out of it a few times, too.
Tonight I watched Carrie (1976) for the first time. This was a difficult movie to watch since me and my brother were both bullied in school. I think for anyone that's been on the receiving end of taunts, whispers and pranks, the genre of high school outcast films can be a tough pill to swallow. They seem to usually come in two varieties -- ones like She's All That (I can't believe how often I've mentioned this movie here recently) where the outcast winds up with the jock-with-a-heart-of-gold and everything is hunky dory happily ever after; and ones like Carrie where the outcast just can't take it anymore and things go horribly haywire. For most of us* on the outskirts of popularity, though, high school ends with a huge sigh of relief, not bloodshed or wedding bells.
That being said, Carrie was a very good movie. Although I think the bullying aspect made it more tragedy than horror, at least to me. I thought the whole film was just incredibly sad. Unless you've been living under a rock your whole life (if you have, skip this next part) you know that someone dumps a bucket of blood on Carrie's head at her prom. It's kind of like the Janet Leigh shower scene in Psycho -- you just KNOW that it's coming. And it makes it all the more sad to see her enjoying herself right beforehand, finally feeling accepted and liked. The pre-bloodbath prom scenes were shot like a dream sequence (if you're familiar with I Dream of Jeannie at all, they reminded me a lot of the scenes where Jeannie is watching her own wedding) and you just wish so badly that it didn't have to end... that she could hug Freddie Prinze Jr. and go to art school and be oh so happy. But somehow I think that ending is even more far-fetched than a girl with malfunctioning telekinetic powers.
This was only the second movie I've seen based on a Steven King story (the other being Secret Window, which I watched countless times during a little Johnny Depp phase in 2004) and I think, this being the month for all things spooky, I need to watch The Shining next. Do I need to have company for that one? I'm under the impression it's pretty darn scary...
*I'm lucky to be included in the "most of us" I reference. For the most part, I came out unscathed. But for a lot of kids bullying results in lifelong scars, depression, self-harm and, unfortunately, suicide. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and you can find out ways to help here.
September 05, 2013
Millie has FINALLY come around on Tyrone Power. *And there was much rejoicing!*
With regards to her post that I changed my mind and actually like Tyrone Power? Well -- as she stated above-- that goes against the laws of the universe so therefore it is physically impossible.
We're unearthing all kinds of Millie dirt tonight on Silents and Talkies! After some diligent research, we've just discovered these startling quotes from the internet's most fervent James Stewart opponent! Who knows what other secrets lie lurking beneath the mind-smushing brilliance of Classic Forever!?
ps. Reports of my dislike for Dirk Bogarde are greatly exaggerated (cough, and falsified, cough)
You heard it here first, folks. She might claim to be a Bobby Darin fan but now her secret is known to the world -- Millie actually thinks Bobby Darin is frightening. I'm sure the fangirlness was just a cover for her secret Bobby Darin hating world domination plot.
ps. The post on her blog about me having a change of heart about Laurence Harvey is all lies. LIES I TELL YOU!!!
September 04, 2013
Somehow I've made it over a quarter century without seeing a lot of must-see movies. And for a movie fan that's pretty pitiful. I've seen the really big classics (Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz) of course, but there are a lot of films that have eluded me -- particularly the ones that seem to be required viewing if you want to be considered a member of my generation.
Star Wars. Never seen it!! I know! How is this even possible? I can spout off a list of my favorite Guy Kibbee movies like it's nothing but I can't even name one member of the brat pack. (Okay, Molly Ringwald. I can name one. But still.) Even though post 1970's movies aren't usually my cup of tea, I feel compelled to play catch-up, as if I've missed out on a cinematic rite of passage.
Last night I started with Pretty in Pink. I [head buried in my arms from embarrassment] had watched She's All That, a high school rom-com from the 90's that I saw in theaters when it was shiny and new. I was engulfed in a tsunami of nostalgia, sue me! Anyway, Netflix knew my shame and suggested Pretty in Pink afterwards.
I actually really liked it! I loved the soundtrack and Annie Potts' character, Iona, was completely fabulous. I want to be her. The plot reminded me a lot of those cheesy 90's films like She's All That (popular guy falls for unpopular girl, misunderstandings happen, and then there's a happy ending) but it had a much more offbeat vibe. I don't really know enough about 80's cinema to detect if it was a hallmark of the decade or the film itself, but the characters seemed a lot less shallow than they did in the 90's. They were a little more creative and seemed like unique individuals, not really stereotypes (at least the main characters didn't, there were definitely some vapid minor players that have become a hallmark of every movie that takes place in a high school setting.)
Overall, do I feel like my life before Pretty in Pink was a deep dark pit of despair and now everything is whole again? Not really. I liked the movie, but I'll still take Sullivan's Travels over it any day of the week. Honestly I'm not expecting to find my motion picture soulmate in my mounting pile of unwatched modern classics. I might be pleasantly surprised, but I'm pretty sure Sunday in New York is secure in it's #1 favorite slot. I do hope, however, that I'll become better schooled in the art of the cultural reference and have a broader knowledge of my all-time favorite hobby.
May 10, 2013
This place has been more silent than talkie lately, am I right?
2013 has been really rough so far, and more and more I find myself wanting to come back here, to my world of classic movies and old friends. I miss Silents and Talkies. I miss movies, for that matter. I keep yearning to watch them, feeling pangs in my chest and a pit in my stomach that won't go away until I finally sit myself down in front of some black and white moving images. But I never seem to find the time and those pains just stay there, a constant aching reminder that I'm starving for the comfort food of classic film.
In February, my beloved cat Hypatia passed away. I've been having a really hard time moving on. It's especially tough because she was my everything. As I've mentioned before, I don't really date and all of my friends are online. I feel so completely, utterly alone without her. Every time I think I'm getting a little better, something happens that puts me right back where I started. Yesterday I had to pick up one of my other cats at the vet. It was my first time back there since I said goodbye to Hypatia and it took all that I had to keep my composure. Part of me just kept thinking "maybe when they hand me the pet carrier, Hypatia will be inside and this will have all been a horrible nightmare." But that didn't happen. Other things have gone wrong this year too (another big one being the slow and steady decline of my etsy shop) but Hypatia's passing has been the primary reason for my heavy heart.
I think one of the reasons I miss --and need -- movies right now is that they can reflect the emotions you're feeling and act like a friend giving you a warm embrace, whispering in your ear, "I know how you feel." Not many movies deal with my particular brand of grief, but watching a film where an actor conveys the agony of losing a loved one or the feeling that their world is falling apart, it helps you heal in a way that nothing else can. It says that whatever you're feeling is human and you're not alone.
Of course then there is that other reason that movies help -- escape from reality. When I turn on Follow the Fleet, I'm no longer a sad wreck sitting alone in my empty bedroom, but an audience member at a shipyard show. Follow the Fleet is one of my go-to movies when I'm feeling blue. Despite failing to watch as many movies as I'd like to right now, I have at least watched this one quite a few times in the last two months. If Fred Astaire singing "Let's Face the Music and Dance" can't make you feel better, I'm not sure what can!
Every time I try to come back here I seem to lose my focus and let things go for a few weeks.. a few months.. a year. But I really want to stick around this time. I miss having an outlet for my thoughts and talking about the movies I love with lovely people. If you're an old friend who still has an active classic movie blog -- or if you just found my blog and have a classic movie blog -- please let me know in the comments so I can visit your site. xo