Saturday, November 24, 2007

That whole guest programmer thing....

Dave Schuler at The Glittereing Eye notices Turner Classic Movie's Guest Programmer Month. I can't frame it up any better than he can, so here's Dave:

All through the month of November each evening TCM has had a guest programmer select four movies that would be shown that evening. Guest programmers ranged from directors, actors and actresses, to the great mystery writer James Ellroy and opera diva Renee Fleming. Some of the selections have been, well, the usual suspects e.g. Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane. Some of the selections have been intriguingly self-revealing. Tracey Ullman’s selections highlight the difference growing up in the UK might mean to one’s selections. Whoopi Goldberg’s picks were remarkably romantic. Jerry Stiller’s picks suggest an extremely sentimental guy.

Well, what if I were guest programmer? The following picks aren’t necessarily my favorite pictures. Some of them are, some aren’t. But these are the pictures I’d choose if I had the opportunity to be TCM guest programmer for an evening.

Dave picked the following four movies:

Dave concludes with something of a challenge: "So, if you were guest programmer what would you pick?" Here's my answer:

Hmm, four movies. That’s tough. There are all kinds of genres to choose from, and it would be hard to not load up on one genre: comedies, for example. But here’s a quick stab.

[ADDED: We decided to not restrict ourselves to TCM's considerable library.]

1) “Singin’ in the Rain” - It’s not as thematic as musicals would become (in fact the musical numbers often have little to do with the movie itself), but somehow this movie just hits all the right notes. In particular, Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont is simply incredible.

2) “Victor/Victoria” - Perhaps the best roles for both Julie Andrews and Robert Preston. The two versions of “The Shady Dame from Seville” are both highly entertaining, for completely different reasons. The supporting parts are very well cast (Leslie Ann Warren stands out. I’ve got a thing for ditsy blondes in movies if played well.) And even the bit players are well done. (The long suffering waiter, who has the best line in the whole movie:

Victoria: The bourguignon was just a little tough.

Waiter: Maybe the way you are eating your jaws are getting tired.

Toddy: Speaking of overworked jaws, why don't you treat yours to a sabbatical and fetch me a wine list?

Victoria: [holding up a glass] This is all they have.

Toddy: This? The last time I saw a specimen like this, they had to shoot the horse!

Waiter: [irritated] How lucky can you get? In one evening a Rockefeller... and a Groucho Marx.

Toddy: Oh, they didn't shoot a real horse... just a costume with two waiters in it.

Waiter: I shall think of a sharp retort while I am getting your roast chicken.

Toddy: It's a wise man who knows when to throw in the towel.

Waiter: And it is a moron who gives advice to a horse's arse.

HA!). Also, some trademark Blake Edwards chaos (the outside shot of the restaurant exploding into chaos is brilliant.) This is my favorite Blake Edwards film.

3) “American Graffiti” – George Lucas’s best movie, without a doubt. There are several interwoven stories, but to me Richard Dreyfus’s character Curt is the central character. Over the course of a night he ends up discovering that the world is a bit more complex than he had thought. The pivotal scene for me is the meeting with Wolfman Jack. The Wolfman insists that he isn’t the Wolfman at all, and dispenses some good advice. That advice really hits home when Curt discovers that the man he had been talking to WAS the Wolfman. The look on Curt’s face looking back through the glass is perfect. (The movie also gives a brief glimpse of the trauma of the coming Vietnam War. At the end of the movie we discover that Toad died in war, and that Curt became a draft dodger.)

4) “Run Lola, Run!"– The best film of the latter half of the 1990s, in my opinion. A German film that features crime, love, alternate realities, and a girl (Franka Potente) with shocking hair. Bonuses: the all-time greatest movie scream; a funny intro sequence (the security guard talking about soccer), and the bum from Monty Python. (Not really, on that last point. But it may as well be.) Be certain to watch this in the original German. Dubbing can ruin a performance.

Just missing the cut this time: “Full Metal Jacket”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Touch of Evil”, “Aliens”, “Die Hard”, “Terminator” & “Terminator II”, and a host of others.

So, which four movies would you pick? Leave a comment here, at Dave's, or blog it yourself.


bill said...

1. Music of Chance
2. Joe Versus the Volcano
3. Shane
4. Blues Brothers

bill said...

How about an Australian list?

1. Bliss
2. Breaker Morant
3. Strictly Ballroom
4. Road Warrior