Sunday, April 21, 2019

At the Movies -- Part 3

Last week I went to the TCM Classic Film Festival and had a freaking awesome time. A wallow for movie lovers, like me. It was about the camaraderie of meeting fellow buffs in line, of watching classics I love with others who love them, too, and on the BIG screen.

SUNDAY.  One of the first movies announced by TCM for the festival was Holiday (1938). It's not an especially popular film, yet it's perhaps my favorite movie of all time, and so I took its early inclusion as a sign from God and Robert Osborne that I was meant to go to the festival this year.

Kate plays Linda Seton. She's rich, sheltered, and confused. The alienated black sheep of a prominent New York family. She wants to do good in the world, but is confused about how. She just knows that she's not content with the way her family and their friends worship the almighty buck.

Her kid sister, Julia, brings home a most fascinating chap. Johnny Case (Cary Grant). Julia and Johnny met and fell madly, instantly in love on the slopes in Lake Placid. Now that they're back from vacation, Julia and Johnny have to deal with the reality of their lives. Julia is a Park Avenue heiress who (unlike Linda) loves her life of privilege. Johnny is a self-made success, who believes that money is the means to an end.

Now that he has some money socked away, Johnny wants to take time off -- like a year or three -- to spend it. He wants a "holiday," to travel and meet people, learn the meaning of life.

Julia is appalled, but Linda thinks this is fantastic! Loving her sister as she does, Linda wants the wedding to take place. She believes Johnny is just what the Seton family needs. Julia wants Johnny, because he's clever and good looking, but she wants to change him into a Seton.

Oh, yeah. And Linda is falling in love with him. This causes her much pain, because he belongs to her dear Julia.

Despite its star power, this is a "little" movie. Dialog driven, it takes place mostly in the Seton home. I loved seeing it with people who appreciated it like I did. I watched one of the final scenes through tears, and I wasn't the only one sniffling. That's the wonderful thing about the TCMFF -- we lose ourselves in these films.

Magnificent Obsession (1954) in the same theater. I just love Douglas Sirk movies. There's a school of criticism that maintains Sirk was making sharp-eyed observations about the bourgeois values of the post-war middle class. Yeah, yeah, whatever. For me, they are freaking fabulous soap operas, filled with unbelievably attractive people who suffer unbelievably dramatic hardships and prevail to live unbelievably happily ever after. These movies make me happy, same as Elvis movies do. And I wasn't missing an opportunity to see one on the big screen.

The barebones of the plot: a wealthy playboy learns the value of doing good and turns his life around. In glorious technicolor! My favorite scene has brain surgeon Rock Hudson scrubbing for an emergency operation ... shirtless. What? Don't all brain surgeons spritz their bare chests before grabbing the bone saw? I wasn't the only one in the theater laughing out loud, but our laughter was affectionate, not derisive. We were all there because we love these movies.

It was introduced by Barbara Rush, who was the movie's ingenue back in 1954. I was tickled to see her. She was in TV's Peyton Place and she starred in the first professional theatrical production I ever saw -- Same Time, Next Year at the Blackstone Theater here in Chicago -- back when I was still in high school. She's frail, but quite glamorous.

The Complicated Legacy of Gone with the WindThe only TCMFF panel I attended, but it was so provocative and intriguing. A quartet of film historians and authors discussed two inarguable points: GWTW is un-PC to the point of being offensive, and yet it's a great and highly watchable movie. As women, how do we process Scarlett, Mammy and Melanie? As people of color, how do we handle the romanticized depiction of slavery and Reconstruction? It lasted an hour and it could have gone on an hour more.

Gone with the Wind (1939). Back to the BIG screen for the biggest movie of all time. The first movie ever shown on TCM. It was so very fitting that this was the last movie I saw at my first TCMFF.

Sunday Stealing

1. What Did You Have For Lunch? Saturday, I had breakfast for lunch. Two eggs, over easy, bacon, hashbrowns and wheat toast.

2.  Do You Dance In The Car?
No car.

3.  Favourite Animal?
These two. (Though I consider them more roommates than animals.)

4.  Do You Watch The Olympics?

5.  What Time Do You Usually Go To Bed?
Sometimes 8:00. Sometimes 1:00 AM. Or anytime in between. Depends on how I'm feeling.

6.  Are You Wearing Makeup Right Now?
Remnants of yesterday's makeup.

7.  Do You Prefer To Swim In A Pool Or The Ocean?
Now why aren't lakes even included in my choices?

8.  What Was The Last Thing You Ate?
A bowl of cold cereal.

9.  Bottled Water Or Tap Water?
I don't care.

10. What Makes You Happy?
Seeing the W fly high!

11. Did You Like Swinging As A Child? Do You Still Get Excited When You See A Swing Set? Yes and yes.
12. Do You Work Better With Or Without Music?
With music. Too much quiet freaks me out.

13. Do You Make Your Bed In The Morning?

14. Do You Like Your Music Loud?

15.Do You Fear Thunder / Lightning?

April Prompt -- Day 21

"How do you show people you care?" 

I believe it's little things, done consistently. For example, every time I spend the night out of town, I send postcards to my cousin, my aunt, my niece* and a handful of my friends. My oldest friend had a medical procedure scheduled for this week, so I sent her a little get well gift: a little Lego of her favorite hockey player ($7.50). I've sent Easter greetings to Henry with a Walgreen's gift card inside to help with his prescriptions.

It's just my way of letting people know they're on my mind.

*My nephew doesn't check his mailbox.

For more about the April Challenge, click here.
Image courtesy of Youngkeit at