TheVFM

How long is Ava Duvenay going to be on The Essentials?

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I haven't seen any of THE ESSENTIALS as hosted by her, but I will say Miss DuVernay does get side-eye from me on two things:

1. She saw the need to turn A WRINKLE IN TIME into a feature film which...ughhhh.

and

2. In the trailer for said movie, a TITLE CARD DECLARED:

FROM VISIONARY FILMMAKER AVA DuVERNAY

And I remember seeing this and thinking, "hang on a second, this is her SECOND FEATURE. And now she's a VISIONARY??? Is the vision she seeing of a FUTURE BODY OF WORK from which we can safely make this call WITHOUT LOOKING PRETENTIOUS AS ALL GET-OUT? Or maybe the vision she saw was of the need to make a film of this crap book in the first place when there was NONE?

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YES.  Researchers write the hosts scripts. The host may add a line or two or a bad joke or two (Mank). I'm sure they wrote them for R.O. too. You cant expect even R.O. to know everything about every movie....

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30 minutes ago, Hibi said:

YES.  Researchers write the hosts scripts. The host may add a line or two or a bad joke or two (Mank). I'm sure they wrote them for R.O. too. You cant expect even R.O. to know everything about every movie....

I don't know for sure, but I get the sense that at least Eddie Muller and Alicia Malone both write their own presentations.  Both have referred in their presentations to doing research on a movie, with Alicia mentioning that within just the last few weeks.  And Eddie in particular often includes significant content based on his personal interactions with the actors and directors -- e.g., the folks he's interviewed on stage at his noir screenings.  Both Eddie and Alicia are authors, so writing their own presentations doesn't seem like a stretch.

With Jacqueline Stewart of Silent Sundays also being a subject matter expert, like Eddie and Alicia, I wouldn't be surprised if she also writes her own presentations.  I don't know whether Ben M. and Dave Karger have their presentations written for them -- it wouldn't surprise me if that's the case.

That's not to say that these hosts don't have research assistance.  But with TCM apparently cutting costs and down-grading some of their on-air material (e.g., no announcers on the "what's on next" segments), they may be looking for the hosts to do more of the real work. 

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I'm sure Eddie does. I wasn't including him in that.

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Eddie Mueller does fantastic work on a subject he knows very well and I think he is great,but he has less intros to do....the other mc,s -Ben and mr.Karger -not sure of his name- just do regular stuff,what Ben adds on is fairly predictable.What I liked about Robert Osborne,he never repeated an intro for the same movie,he always added new tidbits about it,Ben and others should compile the Osborne intros in TCM vaults if there is such a thing,it should be reused again so TCM could save on writers

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I see Essentials like a movies hall of fame. And its suffering the same issue that Professional sports halls of fame is having. There are only a few films that should be considered "the absolute best". Therefore to keep it going, you have to constantly lower the bar. And you end up with films that aren't all that essential at all.

They really should re title the whole show. Each host should simply list the films they love and would like others to see.

14 hours ago, TopBilled said:

But if the films are essential to her life and her cinematic experiences, then that's rather selfish.

I think Robert Osborne's goal with Essentials was to bring universally lauded films to new viewers of classic film. It wasn't to just pick films that were essential to his life and experiences. He made it all historically relevant, and something for everyone.

Ava Duvenay is not really doing that. I don't think she understands the format or the purpose of the series.

If you're going to do that, then just have AFI come in and show the movies on their 100 list. I would like to see films that weren't so lauded and yet, are good films. I learn nothing from hearing about the same films over and over.

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A Warm December is essential? Romance drivel. Its original title was Warmed-Over Puke but they changed it for box office appeal. It bombed anyway.

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12 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

I see Essentials like a movies hall of fame. And its suffering the same issue that Professional sports halls of fame is having. There are only a few films that should be considered "the absolute best". Therefore to keep it going, you have to constantly lower the bar. And you end up with films that aren't all that essential at all.

They really should re title the whole show. Each host should simply list the films they love and would like others to see.

If you're going to do that, then just have AFI come in and show the movies on their 100 list. I would like to see films that weren't so lauded and yet, are good films. I learn nothing from hearing about the same films over and over.

But I think part of the main reason for Essentials was to introduce certain films to new viewers of the classics. So even though most of us have all seen NORTH BY NORTHWEST a bazillion times, it is still the kind of Essential that TCM can use, and should use, to reach out and grab a new viewer. Like a "gateway" film, if you will.

In my weekly Essentials thread, in the Essentials forum, I have been reviewing films for over three years. The past few months, Jlewis has been joining me, sort of like Siskel & Ebert, where we do a running commentary/discussion that others can read and join in, if they choose. I do those titles by theme. And I tell my readers, next week we're going to be covering Essential B movies, or Essential heist films. So our readers know we might go a bit off the beaten path, but we are still looking at some of the best films in these particular areas.

I loved the recent review Jlewis and I did on ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (1959). And I thought an earlier one we did on TIGER BAY (1959) was perfect. Our passion for the classics will hopefully cause others to seek them out. But we're not just doing obscure stuff nobody's ever heard of...we're doing films that already have strong reputations with critics and moviegoers that saw them when they were initially released.

You have to provide variety, but the selections still have to be Essential to others. Make sense?

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I can see we aren't going to agree on any of this...

6 hours ago, UMO1982 said:

Does very film she picks have a Black cast? How predictable.

In those days, very rarely were movies made with an all black cast. So when it did happen, it tended to be an all star production. Therefore, a really good film that many would be put on lists of great films. So yes, it would be predictable.

Quote

The new one on Sunday Silents is also foisting off her "essentials" that include dreary silent films with Black casts or that were made by women filmmakers. The 1912 CLEOPATRA is the most boring film I ever saw.

In the early silent era, the movies were considered a niche industry. Women and black people did have more opportunities in those days. If you're showing silents, you would be showing films made by these people. If you don't like silents, that your choice but, many here do.

4 hours ago, UMO1982 said:

Way too many hosts.... Too many hosts spoil the show

Following RO is an inenviable, impossible task. So having  a variety of hosts is the only want to proceed. I like many hosts who all have a different expertise, different take on films. And different choices of films to watch.

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6 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

But I think part of the main reason for Essentials was to introduce certain films to new viewers of the classics. So even though most of us have all seen NORTH BY NORTHWEST a bazillion times, it is still the kind of Essential that TCM can use, and should use, to reach out and grab a new viewer. Like a "gateway" film, if you will.

In my weekly Essentials thread, in the Essentials forum, I have been reviewing films for over three years. The past few months, Jlewis has been joining me, sort of like Siskel & Ebert, where we do a running commentary/discussion that others can read and join in, if they choose. I do those titles by theme. And I tell my readers, next week we're going to be covering Essential B movies, or Essential heist films. So our readers know we might go a bit off the beaten path, but we are still looking at some of the best films in these particular areas.

I loved the recent review Jlewis and I did on ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (1959). And I thought an earlier one we did on TIGER BAY (1959) was perfect. Our passion for the classics will hopefully cause others to seek them out. But we're not just doing obscure stuff nobody's ever heard of...we're doing films that already have strong reputations with critics and moviegoers that saw them when they were initially released.

You have to provide variety, but the selections still have to be Essential to others. Make sense?

Oh, it makes sense. Its just that we all have our own idea of what's essential viewing. I like that each host has their own movies they like. Then you can simply follow he host you like and watch their movies.

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Just now, GGGGerald said:

Oh, it makes sense. Its just that we all have our own idea of what's essential viewing. I like that each host has their own movies they like. Then you can simply follow he host you like and watch their movies.

I don't think that definition/classification always works. A few years ago in the Essentials thread, I reviewed ROMEO AND JULIET (1968), you know the version from the 60s by Zefferelli. I had (and still have) a lot of problems with the way Zefferelli told the story, and I thought Leonard Whiting's acting was atrocious in most of his scenes.

But it's still an Essential film to a lot of people. So I wasn't exactly reviewing a film I liked. 

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I think that we can even go beyond just thinking of "Essentials" in terms of films that standout among the hundreds of thousands of films produced over the last 120 years.

I think it would also be interesting to think of "Essentials" in terms of someone's career.  A much narrower scope perhaps, but this could be used as a means to introduce someone to a particular star that maybe wouldn't get another thought.  Or even if it's a major star, a la Bogart, perhaps a film should be featured as the film that put someone on the map. Or perhaps an oft-overlooked film within someone's career. 

E.g. There could be an "Essentials" night of Ann Sheridan and perhaps They Drive By Night could be featured along with Woman on the Run

Or they could do Essentials within the world of journalism films, or taxidermy. Anything to add some variety and fun.

I haven't watched the new Essentials series, as none of the films selected have interested me.  However, it's not worth complaining about as I have hundreds of other options to watch. If I want to see something specific, I'll find it myself. I do agree with the consensus about politicizing the selections, which to me is off-putting.  Not because I'm not empathetic/sympathetic to the issues depicted, but because I'm sick of being hit over the head with politics all day long, in every aspect of life. I just want to escape into the world shown in whatever film I'm watching. 

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24 minutes ago, UMO1982 said:

A Warm December is essential? Romance drivel. Its original title was Warmed-Over Puke but they changed it for box office appeal. It bombed anyway.

The film was chosen because of Poitier. If it were made by anyone else, I doubt it would have been chosen.

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33 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

A Merchant-Ivory Production

of

A James Ivory Film

Warmed-Over Puke

Then a sepia-tinted close-up of a bowl of puke. 

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36 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

Then a sepia-tinted close-up of a bowl of puke. 

From the novel by EM Forster....

(soft music begins)

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1 minute ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

From the novel by EM Forster....

(soft music begins)

The second close-up of the bowl of puke. In color. The puke bubbles. It's fresh. 

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I've read that Bowl of Puke was the title that Henry James initially wanted for what later 

became The Golden Bowl. 

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11 minutes ago, mr6666 said:

:unsure:

TCM
 
·
8m
 
Tune in tomorrow night on the #TCMEssentials as and introduce THE MEETINGS OF ANNA (‘78) – a mesmerizing film that “demands patience.”

a mesmerizing film that “demands patience.”

My guess is that "demands patience" is code for BORING. 

I don't really know though. Maybe it is "mesmerizing." I've never even heard of this film.

---

I may also have a different definition of mesmerizing. Things I've recently found mesmerizing:

-Valley of the Dolls, all of it

-Watching the Growler engraving machine at one of our facilities

-Watching my bird pick through his bird seed and skillfully removing the seed from all shelled seeds using just his tongue and beak.

-Watching this person in a local parking lot spend 10 minutes parking their car. 

-1997 Summer Slam WWF event

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19 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

a mesmerizing film that “demands patience.”

My guess is that "demands patience" is code for BORING. 

I don't really know though. Maybe it is "mesmerizing." I've never even heard of this film.

If it's anything like Akerman's other films, it's boring as hell. One movie is three hours of a woman doing chores (literally!).

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12 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

If it's anything like Akerman's other films, it's boring as hell. One movie is three hours of a woman doing chores (literally!).

I think I’d rather watch the bowl of puke film that we envisioned in a few threads prior. I don’t even like doing my own chores, let alone watch someone do theirs. 

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