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Found 3 results

  1. cfc

    My Top 10

    Hello, my name is Jillian – and I’m a message board / blogging newbie. (But a long-time TCM viewer!) This is my first post (here and on my blog, The Classic Film Connection). I hope to use both spaces to connect with fellow classic movie fans. As a means of introduction, I thought I’d share my personal list of the top ten best films I’ve seen so far in my lifetime. If one picture is worth a thousand words, then maybe ten pictures (plus some words) will tell you everything you need to know about me. Not all of these movies are from a classic era, but most are. And I hadn’t realized before making this list – but I clearly have a favorite decade! Each film’s title is connected to its IMDb page. Here we go (from #10 – the #1 best!)… #10: The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) More of an experience than entertainment, this film is almost beyond comparison – even to other Biblical epics. Its artistry is second to none (pause it at any point, and it looks like a painting!), and the level of depth and detail in the story are unmatched. Every time I watch it, I notice something new. Like most ambitiously passionate creative works, there are flaws here and there. Every moment may not land with the desired meaning and impact, but the intention is always clear – and it is beautiful. #9: The Straight Story (1999) I never thought a movie about a guy riding a lawnmower would be so enthralling! Based on a true story, this film’s hero is totally unique: a quiet, elderly gentleman – who is sharp and smart, and who defies limitations by undertaking the greatest feat of ingenuity I’ve ever seen! Richard Farnsworth carries the show, assisted by some equally good supporting performers and absolutely gorgeous cinematography. The people around him are ALMOST too quirky to be real, but that line is never completely crossed. And it all plays out like a story an old man would tell – a little slow, but full of colorful details and plain-spoken wisdom. #8: Lilies of the Field (1963) This is a simple story told in a straightforward way – but it’s so beautiful, it sparkles. I wouldn’t call it a “perfect” movie – yet that really doesn’t matter in light of its heart, which just shines through the screen. And it’s too good to be considered merely a sentimental favorite…There’s a passionate energy that sets it apart – plus something else I can’t quite name. Something holy, I think. #7: Fences (2016) The first time I saw this movie, the impact of its meaning didn’t hit me until well after I left the theater. But when it hit, it blew me away. This is a truly dramatic film. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, its style feels a bit talky and theatrical until you get used to it – and there’s a relentlessness and a hardness in all that talking that makes it tough to sit through. But just stick with it, because the last act is POWERFUL – and the ending wouldn’t mean nearly as much without all the pain endured to get there. #6: Whistle Down the Wind (1961) This is a seemingly simple film – but it’s filled with Biblical allusion, and it leaves deeper meaning up to interpretation. Personally, I think it’s a story about the power of child-like faith – and how easily it can turn complicated. Also notable for its large cast of remarkably natural non-actor children (Hayley Mills being one of the few with professional experience at the time), this movie provides the most understanding, well-rounded look at the whole of childhood – and all the positives and negatives of that stage of life – that I’ve ever seen on screen. #5: A Soldier’s Story (1985) A twisty yet tight whodunit that makes larger, nuanced points while solving its mystery. The cast and the music are ON FIRE – particularly Patti LaBelle (!!!) and Larry Riley’s in-character musical performances. When they sing together, it’s almost too much star-power for one screen! #4: Up the Down Staircase (1967) This should be required viewing for all aspiring teachers. (And it could be used as encouragement/therapy for all current/formers ones, too – staff and administrators included!) This film IS life in public education – especially in a low-funded system. And it’s timelessly relevant regardless of grade-level or environment: I taught primary grades in rural systems, not inner-city high-school – but I faced a version of nearly every issue presented here. Filling the school with non-professional teens to act as the students (and casting several in key roles) was a particularly genius move that adds even more realism. This movie somehow strikes a magical balance – it’s perfectly honest, yet still thoroughly cinematic. (The only reason it’s not even higher on my list is because it’s SO true-to-life, it’s a little difficult for me to watch.) #3: The Hustler (1961) In many ways, this one is the ultimate: its direction and cinematography are the most interesting, its characters are the most complex. And it’s got Jackie Gleason in a strictly dramatic role, demonstrating with very limited screen time why he deserves to be called The Great One – shooting his own pool and operating on a whole other level than the rest of the already fantastic cast. Its style is unbeatable – and its depth of detail and commentary on life are just as striking. No matter how many times I watch it, I’m convinced there’s still more there I’ve yet to fully see. #2: The Apartment (1960) There’s nothing quite like watching this story unfold for the first time, spoiler-free. If you’ve never seen this movie, all I will say is this: don’t read about it or look into it before watching (it’s one of those films where it’s best to know as little as possible going in), and don’t pay attention to any labeling of it as a “romantic comedy” – because it’s so much more than that. It defies categorization. Actually, the only label that really fits is “perfect”. This is a perfect movie. #1: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) This is the most intricate movie I’ve ever seen. Its world is so complete and compelling that I’m dropped into it from the moment the opening titles start, and I’m not pulled out until the end credits roll. No detail is wasted. The characters feel like real people you can care about. The cast is so invested, it’s incredible – no matter where or on whom you place your focus, you’ll notice things that add to the experience. The story fits together like a puzzle, and every moment is a piece that means something. Certain events are shocking, yet nothing happens that isn’t foreshadowed in some way. From the smallest details of its perfectly-crafted world, to big ideas about society and the human condition – this movie says so much in such subtle ways. *Bonus*: Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) This one can’t be compared fairly to the others, since it’s a live teleplay. But I love it so much, I had to include it. Out of all these masterful films, this particular story and cast are my all-time favorite. And the sets and direction make everything look surprisingly real – an especially impressive feat for an early television production. It all works to pull you into its world so effectively that even the common pitfalls of classic live TV (slightly grainy kinescope picture, a few flubbed lines, and camerawork that occasionally beheads) aren’t really distracting. A beautiful story, a stellar cast, a complete “movie world” on a TV set – and it was all done LIVE. That’s pretty awesome. *** So, what do you think? Please say Hi!, share your thoughts on my list, and tell me about YOUR favorite movies. And if you’d like to visit me over at The Classic Film Connection, I’d love to connect with you there, too. As a blogging newbie, I appreciate all the support (subscribing, sharing, etc.) I can get!
  2. Hello, my name is Jillian – and I’m a message board / blogging newbie. (But a long-time TCM viewer!) This is my first post (here and on my blog, The Classic Film Connection). I hope to use both spaces to connect with fellow classic movie fans. As a means of introduction, I thought I’d share my personal list of the top ten best films I’ve seen so far in my lifetime. If one picture is worth a thousand words, then maybe ten pictures (plus some words) will tell you everything you need to know about me. Not all of these movies are from a classic era, but most are. And I hadn’t realized before making this list – but I clearly have a favorite decade! Each film’s title is connected to its IMDb page. Here we go (from #10 – the #1 best!)… #10: The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) More of an experience than entertainment, this film is almost beyond comparison – even to other Biblical epics. Its artistry is second to none (pause it at any point, and it looks like a painting!), and the level of depth and detail in the story are unmatched. Every time I watch it, I notice something new. Like most ambitiously passionate creative works, there are flaws here and there. Every moment may not land with the desired meaning and impact, but the intention is always clear – and it is beautiful. #9: The Straight Story (1999) I never thought a movie about a guy riding a lawnmower would be so enthralling! Based on a true story, this film’s hero is totally unique: a quiet, elderly gentleman – who is sharp and smart, and who defies limitations by undertaking the greatest feat of ingenuity I’ve ever seen! Richard Farnsworth carries the show, assisted by some equally good supporting performers and absolutely gorgeous cinematography. The people around him are ALMOST too quirky to be real, but that line is never completely crossed. And it all plays out like a story an old man would tell – a little slow, but full of colorful details and plain-spoken wisdom. #8: Lilies of the Field (1963) This is a simple story told in a straightforward way – but it’s so beautiful, it sparkles. I wouldn’t call it a “perfect” movie – yet that really doesn’t matter in light of its heart, which just shines through the screen. And it’s too good to be considered merely a sentimental favorite…There’s a passionate energy that sets it apart – plus something else I can’t quite name. Something holy, I think. #7: Fences (2016) The first time I saw this movie, the impact of its meaning didn’t hit me until well after I left the theater. But when it hit, it blew me away. This is a truly dramatic film. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, its style feels a bit talky and theatrical until you get used to it – and there’s a relentlessness and a hardness in all that talking that makes it tough to sit through. But just stick with it, because the last act is POWERFUL – and the ending wouldn’t mean nearly as much without all the pain endured to get there. #6: Whistle Down the Wind (1961) This is a seemingly simple film – but it’s filled with Biblical allusion, and it leaves deeper meaning up to interpretation. Personally, I think it’s a story about the power of child-like faith – and how easily it can turn complicated. Also notable for its large cast of remarkably natural non-actor children (Hayley Mills being one of the few with professional experience at the time), this movie provides the most understanding, well-rounded look at the whole of childhood – and all the positives and negatives of that stage of life – that I’ve ever seen on screen. #5: A Soldier’s Story (1985) A twisty yet tight whodunit that makes larger, nuanced points while solving its mystery. The cast and the music are ON FIRE – particularly Patti LaBelle (!!!) and Larry Riley’s in-character musical performances. When they sing together, it’s almost too much star-power for one screen! #4: Up the Down Staircase (1967) This should be required viewing for all aspiring teachers. (And it could be used as encouragement/therapy for all current/formers ones, too – staff and administrators included!) This film IS life in public education – especially in a low-funded system. And it’s timelessly relevant regardless of grade-level or environment: I taught primary grades in rural systems, not inner-city high-school – but I faced a version of nearly every issue presented here. Filling the school with non-professional teens to act as the students (and casting several in key roles) was a particularly genius move that adds even more realism. This movie somehow strikes a magical balance – it’s perfectly honest, yet still thoroughly cinematic. (The only reason it’s not even higher on my list is because it’s SO true-to-life, it’s a little difficult for me to watch.) #3: The Hustler (1961) In many ways, this one is the ultimate: its direction and cinematography are the most interesting, its characters are the most complex. And it’s got Jackie Gleason in a strictly dramatic role, demonstrating with very limited screen time why he deserves to be called The Great One – shooting his own pool and operating on a whole other level than the rest of the already fantastic cast. Its style is unbeatable – and its depth of detail and commentary on life are just as striking. No matter how many times I watch it, I’m convinced there’s still more there I’ve yet to fully see. #2: The Apartment (1960) There’s nothing quite like watching this story unfold for the first time, spoiler-free. If you’ve never seen this movie, all I will say is this: don’t read about it or look into it before watching (it’s one of those films where it’s best to know as little as possible going in), and don’t pay attention to any labeling of it as a “romantic comedy” – because it’s so much more than that. It defies categorization. Actually, the only label that really fits is “perfect”. This is a perfect movie. #1: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) This is the most intricate movie I’ve ever seen. Its world is so complete and compelling that I’m dropped into it from the moment the opening titles start, and I’m not pulled out until the end credits roll. No detail is wasted. The characters feel like real people you can care about. The cast is so invested, it’s incredible – no matter where or on whom you place your focus, you’ll notice things that add to the experience. The story fits together like a puzzle, and every moment is a piece that means something. Certain events are shocking, yet nothing happens that isn’t foreshadowed in some way. From the smallest details of its perfectly-crafted world, to big ideas about society and the human condition – this movie says so much in such subtle ways. *Bonus*: Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956) This one can’t be compared fairly to the others, since it’s a live teleplay. But I love it so much, I had to include it. Out of all these masterful films, this particular story and cast are my all-time favorite. And the sets and direction make everything look surprisingly real – an especially impressive feat for an early television production. It all works to pull you into its world so effectively that even the common pitfalls of classic live TV (slightly grainy kinescope picture, a few flubbed lines, and camerawork that occasionally beheads) aren’t really distracting. A beautiful story, a stellar cast, a complete “movie world” on a TV set – and it was all done LIVE. That’s pretty awesome. *** So, what do you think? Please say Hi!, share your thoughts on my list, and tell me about YOUR favorite movies. And if you’d like to visit me over at The Classic Film Connection, I’d love to connect with you there, too. As a blogging newbie, I appreciate all the support (subscribing, sharing, etc.) I can get!
  3. Hi there! I'm a huge fan of silent comedies, especially all the superstars, Chaplin, Keaton, Arbuckle, but I love the obscure ones too. But I find that I often miss the chance to record them on my DVR from TCM because I haven't yet worked out a way to search by this genre. I feel very lucky when I chance on one or two in the listings, but I miss about as many as I catch. I would be very interested in recording and enjoying all silent comedies on TCM, features and shorts as well, if I could only work out a good method of searching. Does anyone else on the board have any advice that goes beyond going through the TCM schedule hour by hour every day? I also posted this on the "Silent" genre board, so I hope I'm not breaking any rules by posting here as well. Thanks very much in advance! Jeff in Atlanta
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