TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for April 2020

I am still having fun with and learning a lot with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in April (courtesy of my Instagram feed; and sorry to be slow in posting this).

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

The Fly (1958)

The Blob (1958)

The Time Machine (1960)

2020 TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition Recap

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the good folks at Turner Classic Movies (TCM) had to cancel this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival that was scheduled to take place in Hollywood, California on April 16-19, 2020. I was scheduled to attend this event and felt quite sad when it inevitably was called off.

However, TCM turned lemons into lemonade and they decided to turn this year’s festival into a “remote, stay the heck at home celebration” (to quote TCM host Ben Mankiewicz) by programming four days of great films along with a lot of special features that they played on the TCM network and on the TCM social media channels.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz recorded this ad for this year’s festival.

As they do every year, TCM created passes for the festival. Here’s mine.

©️ TCM

Even though it was really a bum deal not to be able to travel this year to California (or anywhere for that matter), the festival weekend ending up being a total blast. I watched 16 films (14 features and two documentaries) over the four days and it was such a happy diversion during such an unsettling time.

Here’s a rundown of the films I watched, courtesy of my Instagram and Twitter feeds.

The Good Earth (1937)

Neptune’s Daughter (1949)

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

North by Northwest (1959)

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

They Live by Night (1949)

Safety Last! (1923)

Night Flight (1933)

Casablanca (1942)

Double Harness (1933)

Red-Headed Woman (1932)

Auntie Mame (1958)

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Floyd Norman An Animated Life (2016)

And one final sentimental tweet.

A huge thanks to all of the TCM team for giving this gift to classic movies fans everywhere. I hope to see you (and thank you) in person in Hollywood in 2021 at next year’s TCM Classic Film Festival.

TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for March 2020

I am still carrying on with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in March (courtesy of my Instagram feed; and sorry to be slow in posting this). Most of the March movies were alien invasion or monster movies (or both)…not necessarily comforting viewing during the COVID-19 pandemic currently happening, but these are still great sci-fi films.

The War of the Worlds (1953)

Them! (1954)

Godzilla (1954)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for February 2020

I am still having a blast with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in February (courtesy of my Instagram feed).

Things to Come (1936)

The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

It Came from Outer Space (1953)

TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for January 2020

Sorry I’m a little slow in posting this, but I’ve been having a blast with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in January (courtesy of my Instagram feed).

A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Metropolis (1927)

Frankenstein (1931)

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

The Invisible Man (1933)

2020 Movie Watching Project: TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi”

Happy 2020! This year’s movie watching project has me over the moon, truly.

I am planning to watch all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at Amazon.com and Shop TCM).

Here’s the list of the 50 films (plus I’m also going to watch Disney’s wild and wacky sci-fi flick The Black Hole from 1979 which is not included in the book but is a total sci-fi guilty pleasure).

* Watched in 2019
** Never seen before

  1. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
  2. Metropolis* (1927)
  3. Frankenstein (1931)
  4. Island of Lost Souls** (1932)
  5. The Invisible Man (1933)
  6. Things to Come** (1936)
  7. The Thing from Another World** (1951)
  8. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  9. It Came from Outer Space (1953)
  10. The War of the Worlds (1953)
  11. Them! (1954)
  12. Godzilla (1954)
  13. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
  14. Forbidden Planet (1956)
  15. Invasion of the Body Snatchers* (1956)
  16. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  17. The Fly (1958)
  18. The Blob (1958)
  19. The Time Machine (1960)
  20. La Jetée** (1962)
  21. These Are the Damned** (1962)
  22. Alphaville** (1965)
  23. Fantastic Voyage (1966)
  24. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  25. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  26. Barbarella** (1968)
  27. THX 1138 (19710
  28. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  29. Silent Running** (1972)
  30. Solaris** (1972)
  31. Sleeper (1973)
  32. The Man Who Fell to Earth** (1976)
  33. Logan’s Run (1976)
  34. Star Wars (1977)
  35. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  36. The Black Hole (1979); not on original list—added for my own guilty viewing pleasure
  37. Alien* (1979)
  38. E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  39. Blade Runner (1982)
  40. The Brother from Another Planet** (1984)
  41. The Terminator (1984)
  42. Back to the Future (1985)
  43. Brazil** (1985)
  44. Robocop (1987)
  45. Jurassic Park (1993)
  46. The Matrix (1999)
  47. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  48. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  49. WALL-E (2008)
  50. District 9 (2009)
  51. Arrival (2016)

I hope you’ll join me in following along or, better yet, watching some or all of these films with me! I will be keeping a log of the films on my Instagram feed (@moviespap), my Letterboxd page (stanfordclark), and will be reporting regularly here on the blog and podcast.

TCM “Essentials” Recap

I had a wonderful and enlightening time this year watching all 52 films listed in the the great book from Turner Classic Movies called The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold. Here are 10 standout films (although I really loved them all) as documented in my personal Instagram feed (and I hope you’ll also follow my Movies Past and Present Instagram feed, too).

10. “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930)

9. “It Happened One Night” (1934)

8. “The Thin Man” (1934)

7. “Now, Voyager” (1942)

6. “Leave Her to Heaven” (1945)

5. “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946)

4. “Seven Samurai” (1954)

3. “Roman Holiday” (1953)

2. “On the Waterfront” (1954)

1. “In the Heat of the Night” (1967)

Of course, films on the list like Casablanca, Singin’ in the Rain, Some Like It Hot, and Sunset Boulevard remain forever favorites; however, these 10 films listed really spoke to me this year.

Thanks again for following along! More movie watching projects are coming soon (like tomorrow)!

The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter is available on Amazon.com and Shop TCM.

2019 TCM Classic Film Festival Recap

This year’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival just wrapped up and it was wonderful.

The festival was held April 11-14, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Headquartered at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the festival screenings and events were held in nearby theaters, including the TCL Chinese Theater and Multiplex, the Egyptian Theater, the ArcLight Cinerama Dome, and the American Legion Post 43 Theatre.

The Films

I had a Classic Pass again this year, which provided access to all festival venues during all days of the festival (with the exception of the opening night gala screening and party) and it worked great. I got in line usually about 60 minutes before each screening and was able to get in every screening that I wanted to attend. I tweeted pics and summaries of the 14 films I saw at this year’s festival (copied below) in case you’re interested.

The Presentations

I also attended two presentations: the “Meet TCM” presentation on day one of the festival with a panel discussion from the TCM management team and a cool 20th Century Fox retrospective presented by Schawn Belton, Executive Vice Present of Media and Library Services at 20th Century Fox. Both were terrific.

The 20th Century Fox presentation was in a new venue for the festival—the American Legion Post 43 Theatre. Recently restored, the building and theater are just beautiful.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Overall, this year’s festival was just fantastic. The films, the presenters, the staff, and the venues for the most part were great. It was also such a pleasure to visit with so many nice people while in line at the festival and to have the opportunity to meet in person fellow TCM fans that I follow on social media.

Just a couple of gripes:

  • The seats in the TCL Chinese Multiplex are supremely uncomfortable. Low to the ground and with seat cushions that are in dire need of replacement, I was squirming in pain and discomfort throughout the screenings there. I know it’s not TCM’s responsibility, but I hope someone will pony up some money and help save us filmgoers who are spending hours in those horrible seats.
  • Even more so than the Mos Eisley spaceport, Hollywood Boulevard continues to be a “wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Having to navigate through the sea of tourists, the endless hawkers, and deafening street performers is something that I never enjoy. The venues at the TCM Classic Film Festival are wonderful and their surroundings are the worst.
  • Someone needs to coach me on where to find a good meal within the general area of the film festival. Everything that I ate this year was expensive and mediocre. I’ll keep trying…

Is It 2020 Yet?

I’m already planning my trip for next year’s festival. Many thanks again to TCM for providing this one-of-a-kind opportunity to see such an eclectic and excellent curation of classic films on the big screen!

(Image ©️ TCM)

Current Plan for the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival*

*Subject to change, of course. (Image ©️ TCM)

I am excited and grateful to be attending the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival again this year. Celebrating its 10th anniversary and with the theme of “Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies,” the wonderful team at TCM has again assembled an outstanding selection of films for this annual event. Now that the full schedule has been released, it’s time to make a plan for what films I hope to see.

As always, I want to see most everything. Since splitting into five people is not an option, I have to choose. It’s the ultimate in first world problems, but, still, it’s often a bit agonizing.

Day One – Thursday, April 11

My current plan is to spend the opening night of this year’s festival at the Egyptian Theatre. I’ll kick the festival off with the musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell and part of the festival’s tribute to 20th Century Fox. Next up is a 35mm nitrate screening of the comedy The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple.

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (Image ©️ 20th Century Fox)

Day Two – Friday, April 12

The difficult choices begin first thing on Friday. The festival is screening another film this year at the ArcLight Cinemas’ Cinerama Dome, Cinerama’s Russian Adventure (1966), which is the last of the Cinerama compilation films. On hand will be film historian and critic Leonard Maltin and editor Hal Dennis, Jr. Seeing a film in the Cinerama Dome is always a treat and this would definitely be a unique experience.

Instead, I’m probably going to start the day back at the Egyptian with screenings of the film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and Walt Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty (1959), which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. (Even though I’ve recently seen Sleeping Beauty on the big screen courtesy of D23, I don’t want to pass up another opportunity to see this gorgeous film.)

Walt Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY (Image ©️ Disney)

The next three films are in the TCL Chinese Multiplex: the classic silent film Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), François Truffaut’s dramedy Day for Night (1973), and the western Winchester ’73 (1950). (Or I might change my plans entirely in order to see Raiders of the Lost Ark in the TCL Chinese Theatre.) The midnight movie (if I can stay awake) is Mexican cult favorite Santo vs. the Evil Brain (1961). Honestly, I’d enjoy seeing any of the 20 movies playing Friday afternoon and evening (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I changed my plans).

SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS (Image ©️ 20th Century Fox)

Day Three – Saturday, April 13

There’s a new venue at the festival this year–the Legion Theater, part of Hollywood Post 43 of the American Legion. The theater was chartered in 1919 by World War I veterans who worked in the movie business and has recently undergone an extensive restoration. The pictures of it look beautiful and I’m excited to check it out.

The first two movies on Saturday are at the Legion Theater and are part of the festival’s 20th Century Fox tribute: the musical The Little Colonel (1935) starring Shirley Temple, and then a session dedicated to the history of 20th Century Fox entitled Fox: An Appreciation with a presentation by Schawn Belston, executive vice president of Media and Library Services at 20th Century Fox.

Then, it’s back to the TCL Chinese Multiplex for the comedy Father Goose (1964) with Cary Grant or the romantic drama Love Affair (1939), and Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) with actors Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Jeff Goldblum, and Joan Tewkesbury in attendance.

NASHVILLE (Image ©️ Paramount)

One of the toughest decisions (again, first world problems) of the festival schedule for me is between living out a life-long dream of seeing the original (well, it’s the “Special Edition”) Star Wars movie in the TCL Chinese Theater, Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), or seeing one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures Escape from New York (1981) with an intro by director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell. Star Wars is probably going to win (it’s one of my favorite movies ever), but it most likely will be a game time decision.

When STAR WARS played at the Chinese Theater in the summer of 1977…

Day Four – Sunday, April 14

With five “TBA” slots on the Sunday schedule, I’m going to play it by ear that day. I also plan to attend a TCM Backlot event at 1:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I’m really hoping to be able to see The Godfather Part II (1974) on the big screen, but again, we’ll just have to see what ultimately gets scheduled and what’s going on.

While the TCM Classic Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary, the TCM network is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Its first day of broadcasting was on April 14, 1994 and the very first film the network played was the seminal classic Gone with the Wind (1939). The film will be shown in the TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday afternoon at the festival, and it will also be shown on the network that same day. I’ve decided to record it on my DVR and watch it on TV when I get home, which somehow seems appropriate.

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in GONE WITH THE WIND (Image ©️ MGM, Warner Bros.)

The 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival will be held April 11-14, 2019 in Hollywood, California. For details, visit tcm.com/festival.


Full Schedule Released for 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival

The great team at Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has released the full schedule today for the upcoming 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival.

The full schedule is here. Read it and weep (because it is awesome).

I’m already agonizing (in a good way) about what films to see. So many choices! For the latest information and updates, visit tcm.com/festival. See you in Hollywood April 11-14!

Images ©️ TCM