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That Groan-Inducing Topic: Modern Films on TCM

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I know. People whine about this all the time. But they wouldn't whine if it wasn't an issue - TCM has been increasingly showing films not just from the 1980s, but from the 1990s. Before, it was only occasional, but now it's *ALL THE TIME*. They seem to be showing 1990s films every week - it's starting to phase out the classic films. They show modern films so much now, it's downright startling. In fact, the number of modern films shown seems to increase every month or so. Is this their plan? Are they trying to be another Trite Commercialism Machine? Are we losing our good ol' Turner Classic Movies? :(

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I feel the same way, and I've been put in my place for it, but I still see TCM beginning to lean toward more modern film-fare. However, I do understand what members are saying. TCM is not there for only lovers of the 'old' classic films, but film lovers in general. It's as they say, one man's manure is another man's fertilizer. I just have to wear higher boots to filter through what I consider the increasing pile of doo-doo. Excuse me for being crude. lol

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I'm not crazy about the new stuff either but apparently TCM has to attract a different crowd so entices them with the newer releases.


Hopefully, when they arrive, they might set a spell and maybe watch some of the other fare TCM shows (Classic films) and become intrigued.


Personally speaking, when TCM shows stuff that doesn't interest me, I do something else and rejoin them when "my type" of films are being shown.

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It's been happening more and more often lately. I don't like it, but what are you gonna do?

If the money (meaning ratings) is in newer movies, that's what they're going to show.

I've been watching less and less TCM over the last few months. It's disappointing, but they're going to do what they want to anyway.

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Is all this because all of last night's films were fairly recent? Because the theme was mockumentaries, which is a fairly new genre in films.


I don't notice it. There seems to be a good mix of films from all decades. I'd like more proof from any of you that there is a preponderance of 1990's & 2000's films. I think you'll have a hard time convincing me.


And this is not a personal attack, just a personal observation.

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Yeah, I understand where they're coming from. Like any business, TCM has to attract younger and newer fans. Thus, newer 'so-called' classics need to be shown. So be it. I just hope they don't ever forget movie lovers like me from the old school.


I've been a member of this site for a long time, but my first real encounter here was a post about this very subject. People went out of their way and checked their Now Playing Guides and did counts on past showings of the variety of movies, someone even broke it down and came up with numbers. All well and good, but I'm just going by what I see personally for me as a 'strict' old black and white classic film lover. I'll even take it a step further and include films from the 50s and early 60s. I lost my job due to downsizing five years ago and TCM was on my TV for more hours I'd care to admit to a day, seven days a week, for months at a time. I even went as far as to schedule my days around movies, and also my work hours in a new job. Now days go by without me tuning in. If someone would like to explain that, I'm all eyes.

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I agree that there hasn't been a preponderance of modern movies from the 1990s and 2000s taking over the schedule. In fact, during the annual *31 Days of Oscar*, markfp2 posted the number of films shown by decade and the number of films from the 1990s and 2000s were overshadowed by films from the 1950s and the 1960s and more films from the 1940s than the 2000s.


And it's not just February but a trend that has been going on since late last summer.


Here's something I wrote months ago that may bear repeating in this thread:


TCM doesn't have commercials, and, as has been shown in previous posts, they are not showing a predominance of post-1970s films at the expense of classic studio era films and they are not abandoning their original mission which is to showcase films from all decades.


TCM includes the classics, the b-films, the serials, the cult films and the z-grade films, etc.


To TCM, all films are important, no matter who the star, the director or the lack thereof.


They program for all of us.


The classic lovers, the cult lovers, the sci-fi lovers, the serial lovers, the 1970s lovers, etc, because they understand that all films, no matter what genre, no matter what type, are important to us because film has the ability to entertain us as well as show us about who we were as a society, as a culture, as a nation as well as how far we've come and how far we still have to go.


Film has the power to transcend generations and TCM more than any other network understands, appreciates and applauds that power.


One thing that anyone who has watched the channel for many years has to understand is that there was a time when much of what TCM showed was new to many of its viewers because they were debuting films that hadn't seen been featured in an uncut, commercial free environment since they were last seen in a movie theater.


TCM brought those films to us and they still do. But like any long-term relationship, the newness is off the vine. If a relationship is to survive long-term, change has to occur. It cannot stay the same or that relationship will die.


Adding to the dilemma, after years of video-tape masters being the standard-bearer of airing films, technology changed not only TCM but all of us as we embraced the digital age. It is going to take the studios a while to catch up with that just due to the cost and the size of their film libraries.


Added to that, Ted Turner merged his media empire with Time-Warner just as the digital revolution was breaking. Which, in a way, made it possible for us to enjoy more films from other studio libraries because they no longer had the former Turner Film Library to rely on.


TCM has changed over the years by offering more Original Productions, documentaries on Hollywood directors, stars, etc.


It's graphic look has evolved from the 1930s to the 1950s.


It now has a yearly series, Race and Hollywood that looks at how minorities have been portrayed over the decades by the studios.


But in all this change, it has remained consistent in bringing us the best in film entertainment no matter what the genre or the grade of film. If I want to see cult films or z-grade bad sci-fi films, TCM offers them up each month. If I want the best in studio era glossiness and star machine actors, TCM has that, too. If I want gritty film noirs, great musicals, wonderful westerns and grade-b film of various genres. Guess What? TCM has that, too!


And always has.


24/7 , TCM programs something to catch the imagination of not all of us, at least some of us. And that is what makes TCM successful.


It is the Big Tent of Film. It's not programmed for any one group or any hard time-line. It is programmed for all of us who love film.


We are in tough economic times right now and even Time-Warner has suffered major losses. TCM is tightening its belt and its budget but doing all it can to bring us great programming though for now it may include more repeats than some of us of like. I don't think I'm the only one who would rather have the repeats than not have the TCM I love.


As for the programming of rare films late at night or overnight, there are archived threads from the early days of this message board that talk about this and complain about it. In addition, there are Usenet groups such as alt.silent.movies where this has been a topic of discussion dating back to the mid and late 1990s. so it is not a new phenom to TCM programming.


The problem lies more with us and our memories of how we remember it being versus how it really was.


And that is a phenom that is not just regulated to TCM programming but to the way we live our lives.

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I have no problem with TCM playing movies from the 1990's and 2000's. Usually they are pretty good such as playing the final Lord Of The Rings movie. I don't have a problem as long as they play much more classic films than newer films. I am a big fan of movies from the 1940's to the 1960's but I do think that there are still good films made now days but maybe not as many good movies are made like in the past.

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Look - there are plenty of channels that showcase quality cinema from all decades - IFC, Sundance Channel, Film Fest HD, ect. TCM was created with the purpose of showing uncut, un-colorized, commercial-free classic films in their original aspect ratios. The first film shown on TCM - Gone With the Wind - is a perfect example of what type of cinema was originally in mind for TCM.


When someone mentions "classic film", do What About Bob? and Mr. Baseball come to mind? It feels like AMC all over again. :(


Message was edited by: Metropolisforever_0

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*TCM was created with the purpose of showing uncut, un-colorized, commercial-free classic films in their original aspect ratios. The first film shown on TCM - Gone With the Wind - is a perfect example of what type of cinema was originally in mind for TCM.*



TCM was actually created to showcase films from all decades. You can hear a snippet of that announcement by Ted Turner in the 15th Anniversary Retrospective promo that is running this month.


In addition on their original website, their Mission Statement proudly proclaimed that they would showcase films from the 1920s to the 1990s.


After they celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2004, they modified the Mission Statement to include the 2000s.


They have always shown films from all decades, even in those early, early years.


It's a thread topic as old as these message boards and the bottom line is, while the argument never finds resolution, TCM keeps on showcasing the films that are part of our cinematic heritage whether they were produced in 1939 or 1999.

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Lynn makes excellent points to your argument.


Now I may be going into unchartered territory here, but since you have such strong feelings about what type of movies TCM should be showing, and somehow you feel that the channel has started to drift away from just showing the "classics" from long ago, then might I suggest you to watch dvd's or tapes of the older films.


This is not meant to be a slight toward you, but in my case, and I am guessing in many other TCM viewers' cases, they too watch a number of older classic films on dvd or vhs or whatever technology is available to them. And we do that because TCM doesn't always show the movies we want them to show. And that is okay.


As Lynn has stated, TCM is sort of like the Big Tent for movie fans. They showcase lots of different films from many different genres, and unfortunately for discerning viewers like yourself, apparently TCM shows too many newer films.


I for one think back to their original mission statement which Lynn correctly points to. Movies from the beginning of the movies to movies produced in the 1990's (now updated to the 2000's).


And that is the way it should be. Lynn is also correct when she points out the economic situation. I am no expert in these matters, but it would seem to me that in order for TCM to continue to operate and to show many of the older films, they need a younger audience to help out with their ratings. And if that means showing some more recent fare on TCM and showing these newer films during peak broadcast times, then so be it. Because whether you like it or not, TCM's viewers ARE getting older. They need younger fans to help out and watch. This may be a simplistic reason here, but I think it is plausible.


And what better way to introduce older classic films to newer, younger audiences than to show newer movies that might entice these younger fans to stick around and become "hooked" on these older films. That is what happened to me. I saw a film being shown on TCM one night and that led me to find out what TCM was all about. Oh, and by the way the film I saw was 1975's The Wind and the Lion (which was on Saturday afternoon).


TCM is different from AMC. For one thing TCM does not edit its films to fit a time slot or in the case of newer titles, does not edit for content. That is unheard of on most other non-premium channels. Of course you are NEVER going to find the type of films TCM shows in abundance on any other channel. You are not going to find rare black and white films made in the twenties and thirties on ANY other channel. Not Sundance or IFC or any channel but TCM.


So if you don't like what is being shown on TCM, write to them. Make some suggestions. Apparently they do pay close attention to what people write on these boards. You never know what answers you may find.



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you're not being rude, i've noticed it too. there have been many classics or older movies that they play once every couple years, but alot of newer ones that are on at least once a month. one thing i noticed, they are now playing silverado and AMC played the living hell out of that one, good film, but after watching it more than 3 times it starts getting on your nerves and i pray they dont play it more than the one time this year. i know tcm has access to alot of the older stuff but for some reaon they seem to be catering more towards the newer stuff which pales in comparison in almost every aspect.

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I never understood why many people on these boards complain about this. I see older movies on TCM all the time, hardly do I ever see anything more recent so I don't understand why you feel the need to complain. To be honest, I prefer more films from the modern era but I do like a lot of older films as well


I think that more films from the 70s, 80s and 90s have become more classics then the films from the 30s and 40s. Heck, even avearage comides like Ferris Bueller's Day Off have made more of an impact on film history. They have become more popular and more loved around the world. How can a movie be a classic when hardly anybody has herd of it? Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of older films that are classics as well. Casablanca, On The Waterfront, Vertigo, Bringing Up Baby and Citizen Kane are all classics, simply because they are great films and because they are loved all around the world but none of the films by William Wellman have become classics, maybe The Public Enemy and a few others but not most of them. His films are not classics because they just didn't make the impact on film history like Casblanca or On The Waterfront did. William Wellman's films were ok for sure but they haven't become classics. William Wellman's films are no different then films like I Love you, Man. They may be popular at the moment but then they are forgotten over a year later.


I am sorry but it's the truth and that's the reason why it's called Turner Classic Movies.

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I guess folks such as me, the so-called Baby Boomers, have to get use to the next generation of movie buffs taking hold of the 'classic movie' torch and running ahead with it. TCM will do what they need to do to continue their quest in bringing 'classic' films into the future. Business is business and it's all about the numbers.


The thing about change is, as the station makes its way into the future, I imagine this message board will follow suit. As the new kids on the block come along ( those who are being enticed by TCM with the 'new classics'), we old-timers, like the images on the celluloid we're so fond of watching, will fade away. The changing of the guard is upon us. But such is life; it's always making room for the new.


Oh, and nice to meet you. :-)

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*there have been many classics or older movies that they play once every couple years, but alot of newer ones that are on at least once a month*




One thing to remember is that TCM has to rent/lease all the films they show. When they first debuted 15 years ago, they had the Turner Film Library at their disposal. This film library consisted of all RKO films, all pre-1949 WBrothers films and pre-1986 MGM films.


When Ted Turner merged his media empire with Time-Warner in the late 1990s, that film library became the property of Time-Warner and is now under the care of Warner Home Video.


They have access to their original library but now must go through Warner Brothers to rent/lease them. Even though they are under the same corporate umbrella, they are different divisions and they are not necessarily afforded special treatment. TCM often has to compete with other cable networks for the rights to films they once owned.


They have long-term rental deals for certain titles with Paramount. Bear in mind that Paramount does not own its entire library. Years ago they sold their post-1930 -1948 film library to Universal, retaining only the rights to their silent library and their post 1949 library.


TCM has worked wonders with Sony in the last few years to gain access to the Columbia Film Library which is owned by Sony.


They have managed to work a deal with Disney for many of the titles in that studio's live-action catalog. A few years ago, that would have been unheard of .


Two years ago, Fox started to see the light when they wanted to promote their *Ford at Fox* box set. Since then they have been more amenable to opening their vaults to TCM. They have their own movie channel, the Fox Movie Channel, that shows films from their classic era so not all the films in the Fox vaults are available to TCM.


Word came this past winter that Universal is finally seeing the light and is willing to start renting/leasing more films to TCM. Universal owns not only what is left of its original library (they loved throwing out old film elements to make room for other things) but part of the Paramount talkie library as well (see above).


But in all this good news, we have to keep in mind that TCM competes with AMC and other cable networks for classic films and often these deals don't allow for other networks to be able to air this films. For example, if AMC has the rights to *Silverado* tied up or the Encore Western channel has the rights to *Two Rode Together*, then TCM has to wait for those rights to expire before they can air the film (providing they have the deal in place to do that.)


I've seen bits and pieces of *Silverado* on AMC lately but I stayed up late last night to watch as much of it as I could (before falling asleep) because on TCM it was uncut, in its correct aspect ratio and commercial free. None of which was offered when it was on AMC.


So, long story short, TCM's programming is sometimes dictated by outside forces and in these economic times, their budget for renting/leasing films is not as flush as it was in previous years.


But if more encore performances is what it takes to keep TCM on the air, I may be in the minority on this one, but that's okay in my book.


Message was edited by: lzcutter

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*The thing about change is, as the station makes its way into the future, I imagine this message board will follow suit. As the new kids on the block come along ( those who are being enticed by TCM with the 'new classics'), we old-timers, like the images on the celluloid we're so fond of watching, will fade away. The changing of the guard is upon us. But such is life; it's always making room for the new.*




I'd hate to think that there will come a time when the folks who helped build this community feel they are no longer welcome here.


Just because new people are coming here does not mean that this community cannot accommodate everyone.


I hope that this community will be big enough to accommodate all of us. Many of us may not be "young" in terms of age but we have a lifetime of film memories and history that we love to share with new posters or any age.


It will be a sad day, indeed, when that is not recognized and appreciated.

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I used to think about some of the films shown on Turner "Classic" Movies... And some of the contemporary films that have been shown, and I resolved just to accept the fact that a "Classic" film is not strictly a film made from 1930 to 1939. Or even 1915 to 1925. Or during the years of WWII.


I forget which year, but recently, during 30 days of Oscar, they showed "Return of the King" and I thought that to be the most appropriate usage of "Classic" movie, because to me, the material is Classic film material, but the film never could have been made in years previous.


If you roll back to 1939 and consider "Gone with the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" and both of those films in their day, were also technological marvels.


Consequently, if you watch Gone With The Wind and absorb the rich colour palette, you can also watch Return of the King and enjoy that same Technicolour Palette, Old School Tech beefed up with New-School Digital Colour Timing... With totally contrived and believable digital characters which are mostly based on the behaviour of an actor (Andy Serkis).


If we roll through the wasteland between 1970 and 1980, where films took on a different look altogether, a guy named George Lucas put out two very classic films, "American Graffiti" and "Star Wars" - Both of which were against the grain of the times.


In these TV times, TV is not even the same as it was, with more freedom now then ever, and specialised programming (Like "our" TCM), There is less censorship from "Prime Time" and so this also affects our modern Film... If you consider films like "Seven Pounds" - The film "Babel" from a couple of years ago... I think these are great films, maybe eventually to be future classics.


So, it does not really bother me when a film from the 1990's or even the 2000's is shown, and even if I do not like the films from those eras that are selected, I try to see why it was chosen as a classic, I mean, I try to transcend my own tastes- I guess that is why I enjoy films from the 30s as much as modern films, for example, Ang Lee's "Hulk" compared to the recent "The Incredible Hulk" with Ed Norton... Ang Lee's film is a cinematic vision, a comic book totally envisioned on screen, while the latter Ed Norton film, is less of a piece of art, but enjoyable like a Republic Serial is enjoyable.


I hope that makes sense to some people, it might not make sense to everybody.

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"Modern" is probably just as difficult a term to define as "classic" is. In general, I like to see the older movies, but I have to admit I felt a thrill when TCM played The Conversation and The Parallax View recently, both from the mini-golden age of the early 1970's. This whole conversation reminds me of what music fans feel like listening to "oldie" acts like Journey and Foreigner on the radio, when what they really want to hear is Roy Orbison or, even earlier, Little Richard. One of these posts mentioned how these terms constantly get redefined, and I have to agree. Also, there are many examples of films which failed in their day, but are now well-regarded, so nothing is writtren in stone as far as what a "classic" is. And films that have long enjoyed "classic" status can find themselves being deconstructed like crazy, like what happened to Bringing Up Baby a few years ago. As a young adult, I read Pauline Kael (who has herself been somewhat deconstructed) faithfully, and even now I like to dip back into her collected reviews. I often find myself wanting to watch one of the films in question, so when a major outlet for films like TCM plays one, I'm pleased rather than annoyed. When you look at the old/new ratio on Fox Movie Channel, you realize how good we really have it at TCM.

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The Conversation was also another 70's classic, from the same school as all those American Zoetropers- And "Enemy of the State" was a nice nod to "The Conversation" - Even used a picture of "Edward Lyle"

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> {quote:title=DougieB wrote:}{quote}

> I agree. But is watching twelve Torchy Blaine movies really better that seeing one rare showing of something like "Nashville" in its full glory? I say there's always room for quality.



That's right. Although I love Andy Hardy flicks, there is so much I can take-


The idea of Classic films have to include up the the present day, or else you have to exclude all of them, even those films from the 20s-50s you want to see.


I myself, enjoy it in the morning when I see a few 30's and 40's films, but later in the day they might show some films from the 60's.


Anyway, it is wrong to say: "We can see those films from the 70s on, through other outlets"


Well, no, we can't - Not with the same quality and respect to content and aspect ratio that TCM lovingly bestows on all of the films shown. Also, some of these 70's and 80's up films are actually owned by TCM/Turner and can NOT be seen elsewhere.


I want also to see more, but not limited to "just" films from 1915 to 1931 - There are a lot of 20th Century Fox films TCM does not have access to, and there are many Paramount films, NOT in the TCM Library.


We do not get to see these films, because hey simply are not owned by Turner, and TCM must rent them, if at all they can be rented.


I'll ask you this, when, if at all, have you ever seen "It's a Wonderful Life" on TCM?


I've been viewing since 2003, and I have not seen it once, and I have never seen it on a schedule once. Now it could be that I missed it, but not likely.


So, it is very important to be well rounded as a station. That "other" station that used to show "classic' film, the one that went out in the late 90's, well, you never saw any film newer than maybe 1969- Once, they showed "The Poseidon Adventure" - That was maybe 3 weeks before their big format change. But overall, I thought that was boring. I think TCM's policy of showing new films along with the old is far superior and less boring than always showing 20s through 50s films ONLY. That's no good, see?


There are films I used to watch on that channel, which they used to show all the time: Deanna Durbin films which are not shown on TCM, a lot of others-


And so, if TCM can get the rights to show some of those films, that might please those folks who want more of the older films, and TCM is probably doing what they can to be allowed to show those films.

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I looked over this months schedule because I always have to be right (just kidding folks.)


The breakdown of this month is as follows












Which means only 37 films on this months schedule were made later than 1970. That's a little over 1 a day. And 3 of the 4 made in the 2000's are documentaries on Brando, Frances Marion & Charlie Chaplin so that means really only 33 "modern" films are on the schedule this month.


April 8 is having double showings of the Engel/Orkin films along with docs on both of them, which is something I'm really looking forward to. It's just that the dates which include the modern films are shown in 4 or 5 film blocks and makes it seem like TCM is showing more modern films than they actually are, like last Saturday with the mockumentaries or at the end of the month when they are showing 4 or 5 of Denzel Washington's films.


So, in conclusion, everybody needs to calm down, once again. In fact, I think there are more silents showing this month than they've shown in quite a while.


Message was edited by: helenbaby because I obviously can't add, even though I have a degree in ACCOUNTING for goodness sake

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Thanks for the breakdown. It sounds pretty good to me. People in general love to see films they grew up on, I think. When you have an audience spanning generations, you're going to have to provide a variety of content to please them. I think TCM does a good OVERALL job of doing that. I grew up being very familiar with the movies and the music of my parents' generation, and I would like to see that be true of every generation. Good job helping that happen, TCM.

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