Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old Movies for Young People

Every month I show an old movie to a bunch of twenty-somethings (like me!). Sometimes it goes over well and other times not so well. So I thought I'd put together a list of the movies that have been well received by my generation in case you're ever in this situation. Granted, they may still make fun of them and not fully understand their brilliance, but some movies are so good that even the hippest young adults can forgive their corniness.

On to the list ...

  • Some Like it Hot - probably our most successful Old Movie Night to date. It's just full of good stuff that will never go out of style: the Mafia, men dressing up as women, hot blond chicks. Plus there are also plenty of dirty innuendos that any young crowd is sure to love.

  • Psycho - This movie is so famous that anyone who hasn't seen it will at least know about the shower scene. And while some of it is a little corny and strange, it's still scary enough to creep everyone out.

  • Casablanca - A classic that even then youngsters have heard of, and is still good enough to hold everyone's attention. Plus it contains a number of quotes that are commonplace even today.

  • The Sting - Paul Newman never fails. Too bad I killed him.

  • Sunset Blvd. - This movie is insane and who doesn't love insanity? Once Norma buries that monkey, there's no turning back.

  • The Philadelphia Story - Everything about this one is great. It's funny and it helps that most people know Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart. It's just a good time.

  • The Birds - It's a little corny, but still pretty scary and definitely a favorite amongst my friends.

  • Singin' in the Rain - I was hesitant about showing a musical for Old Movie Night. People my age just don't understand them. But luckily, Singin' in the Rain is famous and fabulous enough that the crowd dismissed the painful unreality of it and just enjoyed. Plus that Gene Kelly is a dreamboat and everyone knows it.

  • Miracle on 34th St. - Really just a classic!

  • Goldfinger - Pretty much everyone loves James Bond and gold painted ladies laying in a bed.

As I write this I'm preparing for the next Old Movie Night this weekend featuring The Mummy and House of Wax for Halloween. The double feature is usually a safe bet. They have to like at least one of those, right?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Annie: Censored!

Last night TCM showed the classic, Annie, I'm not sure why. But it brought back fond memories of my Annie obsession as a child. In my younger years (and maybe in my older ones too) I was quite a big fan of this film. This may have been partly due to the fact that it's a musical, partly because it's awesome, and partly because Carol Burnett is in it.

In any case, since I was poor as a child, the only copy of Annie I had was taped off the TV, and back in the olden days TV networks saw nothing wrong with editing the heck out of a movie to make it fit conveniently in their two hour time slots. As a result, there were literally at least 4 songs missing. Maybe more.

I realized this was the case when I saw the movie in its entirety when I was in high school and it was eye opening. So many new songs, I didn't know what to do. Being older, I thought they were all kind of lame and I wasn't too impressed, but I'm sure that had I'd seen them when I was 5, they would have been amazing.

So I had to learn to deal with this shocking news that made me feel incomplete and cheated. Then came more shocking news.

My mother confessed to me that she'd done some editing of her own to our taped-off-the-TV version of Annie.

This should have been obvious to me. There was always this one scene in the movie that, when I looked back, came to a painfully abrupt ending. What happens is, after Miss Ferrel uses her feminine wiles to convince Warbucks to adopt Annie, he is so whipped that he goes to the orphanage himself to sign the papers. When he arrives, slutty Miss Hannigan sees an opportunity for ... money, sexiness, attention from an adult? ... and she promptly begins to seduce Warbucks. This is when it happens. Hannigan gets Warbucks cornered in her office, catches a glimpse of a diamond pin on his shirt and exclaims, "My God, is that thing real?!" End scene.

Little did I know, there was much more seduction and even a really lame song that continued after that. Needless to say this was the most shocking of all the edits, given the fact that the scene ended mid-sentence.

I'm not bitter though. I think my mother was right—the scene was basically pointless. Why do we need to know that Miss Hannigan wants to seduce Warbucks? We already know she's a skanky weirdo.

This issue came up not too long ago in my mother's presence and she explained her reasoning. First, obviously, it was moderately obscene moment. But most importantly, at that time in my life I was a pretty big Carol Burnett fan and my mother didn't want me to mimic her skanky ways.

I think it was the right choice. But I often (or barely ever, really) wonder what I'd be like today if that scene had stayed in.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Judy on Life

This morning, my mother alerted me to something very exciting: LIFE magazine on Google books. That's right, there's literally 35 years of LIFE magazine sitting there for the reading, many with some fabulous movie articles. The most important ones are, of course, the two Judy Garland issues, one from 1944 and one from 1954. The July 1969 issue also offers a "A Farewell to Judy." They also covered stories about Judy's "comeback," Judy falling over on stage in 1951, and check out this makeup ad that teaches you how to "have that lovely kind of Judy Garland complexion," complete with marginal notes by Judy herself!

Or if you're not obsessed with Judy Garland for some reason, there are plenty of other very cool LIFE issues:

And if none of these interest you, you can search for whatever you want in the box on the left of the page or just look through them by year and spend literally hours and hours reading!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Famous (Old) People in Chicago!

Big News! If you're in the Chicagoland area, you have the chance to see quite a few washed-up celebrities in the coming weeks. Here's a rundown:

First, both Julie Andrews AND Andy Williams will be appearing at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove within a week. I suggest you check them out. They're both plugging their new books and with the ticket, you'll receive a signed copy. Julie will be there on October 13th, and Andy on October 19th. Check out the Anderson's Book shop website for more info. I got to see Julie Andrews there a couple years ago and it was completely fantastic. I highly recommend it!

And lots of fabulous events coming up at the Hollywood Blvd. theater in Downers Grove and the new Hollywood Palms in Naperville including appearances by Tippi Hedren, Debbie Reynolds, and Tony Curtis! I've been to a few of these celebrity appearances at these theaters and they've always been a great time. I saw Tony Curtis and he was fun and pretty hilarious. You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mildred Pierce Remake

Apparently they're going to remake Mildred Pierce as a made for TV movie starring Kate Winslet.

I'm not sure how I feel about this, given the fact that Mildred Pierce is basically my favorite Joan Crawford movie of all time. I like Kate Winslet, but she doesn't really come off as completely insane as Joan Crawford and I think some insanity is needed for this film.

Nevertheless, I'll give it a try. Hopefully they keep it as shady and weird as the original!