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Interview with Ben Mankiewicz on the Roku Blog


Dr. Somnambula
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I guess the title says it all, except at the end, where Roku says to add Watch TCM to your Roku and start watching 31 Days of Oscar. Not only is that statement a bit misleading, I have read elsewhere, some people can't get Watch TCM to load and play movies. Nice that people at Roku enjoy TCM.

Here is the interview:

https://blog.roku.com/ben-mankiewicz-interview

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Thanks for the link.   Really enjoyed the interview.

I agree with him completely on the connection to the past.  We are very family oriented so on Saturday nights, sometimes Sundays, we do the TCM wine club and watch a movie.   We talk about the time period with our 3 teenagers, talk about issues going on at the time that might have influenced the movie, sometimes the racism portrayed in the flick that you don't see now in movies and why that was, ect.   Makes for a nice pleasant night together.   

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2 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Looks good. Thanks for posting. Question, is there a plain-text version available? :wacko:

Yes, there is Sarge, but I've seen it and the only difference between this one and the plain-text version of this interview is when Ben replied to the question, "Pick one of each: Favorite actor and actress, and Director of all time" and his response of "I love character actors – who doesn’t – so I instantly think of Lee J. Cobb, Harry Dean Stanton, Jonathan Banks, Richard Farnsworth, Charles Bickford…guys like that", and with the plain-text version having him saying, "I love character AACK-tors, etc, etc, etc" instead.

(...and so, much like this little joke of mine here, you'd be wasting your time seeking out that plain-text version that you're asking for)

 

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And btw here folks...

Despite my ongoing kidding about Ben's somewhat nasally voice, I liked his answers in that interview, and yes, overall, also appreciate his continued presence as a TCM movie host.

(...just so there is no misunderstanding here, ya see)

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2 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Honest Injun. I'd certainly be interested in reading a (free) transcript of any interview with the Ben Man. But that link took me to something called...oh, I donno. Something video-ish. :(

It sometimes seems as if I'm one of the few persons left who prefers to read something for myself rather than have it read to me via a video. I've been to several websites in the past couple of years that have replaced most if not all printed material with videos. :(

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Read 'to' you? Do you refer to that filthy grotesque trend ...'audiobooks'? If so, it's sure not what I'd ever be asking for. I'd rather be socked on the jaw than delve into that lunacy. I'm a fan of spoken word pieces but listening to someone read pages from a book is shocking in its short-sightedness and negligence. I'll never submit to it.

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I was referring to my preference for printed words rather than videos, but yes, I also agree with your dislike of audiobooks. I know many people listen to them during long commutes, and those with vision problems obviously benefit from them, but they're not for me.

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16 minutes ago, Michael Rennie said:

I am puzzled. The link had nothing to do with a video. It came from the Roku Blog. It is text only.

Sorry, I was responding to Sarge's complaint. I confess to not clicking on the link (I very rarely do, just like I usually don't watch the videos people embed). All apologies for my part in thread derailment. 

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35 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Sorry, I was responding to Sarge's complaint. I confess to not clicking on the link (I very rarely do, just like I usually don't watch the videos people embed). All apologies for my part in thread derailment. 

WELL! Now that I KNOW......

;)

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Here is the text:

Interview with Ben Mankiewicz, host of Turner Classic Movies
Bill Wilson - February 1, 2019
As TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar kicks off, we had the chance to interview film critic and host of Turner Classic Movies, Ben Mankiewicz. He dished a bit on how he became a film fanatic, his favorite (and least favorite) things about award season, and what 31 Days of Oscar is all about.

TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar runs from 2/1 until 3/3. So if you haven’t already, add Watch TCM and start streaming some award winning films!

How and when did you become a film fanatic, and how did you turn it into a career?

I grew up in Washington, DC, where my dad, Frank Mankiewicz, was a significant figure in Democratic politics. He was Latin American Director of the Peace Corps under JFK, then press secretary to RFK, and later ran George McGovern’s campaign with Gary Hart. He left political activism to become President of National Public Radio. All this is to say I grew up far more interested in politics than movies. I knew my family’s movie history – my grandfather, Herman Mankiewicz, wrote the screenplay to Citizen Kane, and his brother Joe’s long list of credits includes writing and directing A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve, earning him four Oscars in two years – but I thought (and still think) my dad was the smartest and most successful Mankiewicz of them all. Two events stand out to me on the path to expanding my relationship with movies. First, my mother insisted I watch North by Northwest with her on television. My memory tells me she said I’d love it “even though it’s in black and white.” And I remember watching it with her. And I remember thinking “OK, this black and white movie  is pretty exciting.” Except North by Northwest is a color film – and we watched it on our color TV. So much for trusting memory. In college at Tufts, I took a film course – Tufts didn’t have a film program. I took it pass/fail and completely anticipated coasting. But then I didn’t want to coast. I was fully invested in the class in a way I’d seldom experienced. I wrote a final paper on the Warner Brothers picture The Santa Fe Trail, which egregiously toys with the history of John Brown’s messianic mission to end slavery before the Civil War. Anyway, I got an A+ (the only A+ of my life), which, of course, was completely wasted in a pass/fail course. It’s been 30 years and I’m still ticked off.

What’s your favorite part about being the host of TCM?

The best part of being the host of TCM is getting to experience first hand how much the channel means to people. We’re woven into the fabric of our fans’ lives in a way no other channel is. I watch games on ESPN, but I feel no emotional connection to the network. I’m a Better Call Saul junkie, but no one has ever said, “boy, I sure love AMC.” The words “I’m a Showtime fan” have never been uttered by a human being, though Billions, Homeland, and Ray Donovan are part of my Sunday night routine. But TCM carries an emotional weight – it matters to people, connecting them to their parents, their grandparents, their childhood, to memories – right or wrong – of a simpler time. And being a face of the channel, I’m on the lovely end of daily expressions of gratitude from people to whom TCM plays a rich role in their lives.

What is TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar all about?

31 Days of Oscar is one of our two signature programming events each year (Summer Under the Stars is the other). From February 1st through March 3rd, every movie we present is either on Oscar nominee or winner. Our programming department picks a theme every year – this year’s is particularly clever. In prime time, we’re presenting double features of Oscar winning or nominated movies connected in some meaningful way – by actor or director, genre or Oscar category, or by a single plot point. We’ve paired up movies featuring on screen divorces, movies with butlers, movies set on the grittiest streets of New York, movies featuring effective therapy sessions. Clearly, the programming team had a blast this year.

What is your favorite part about award season and what are your biggest storylines to watch going to this year’s Academy Awards?

Awards season finally gives Hollywood a chance to shine the spotlight on Hollywood. Yeah. Anyway, I both enjoy and abhor awards season. Everyone is talking – mostly thoughtfully – about movies, so there’s the joy. The downside is the campaigning, the marketing of a movie to get a nomination and an award. And because we’re humans, we’re obsessed with winning, somehow turning those who don’t win an Oscar or a Globe or a SAG into losers, which drives me crazy. And that doesn’t even take into account the movies and performances that aren’t nominated. I hate that Eighth Grade was shut out by the Academy – that Emily Blunt wasn’t nominated for A Quiet Place, that If Beale Street Could Talk doesn’t have a Best Picture nomination. So I’m torn on awards season. But I always watch.

You can only watch one movie on repeat for the rest of your life. What movie are you picking and why?

What a terrible question. I’m tempted to pick Transformers 3, the loudest movie ever made (perhaps it was Transformers 2), because whatever single movie I pick I’ll eventually grow to hate after watching it over and over. So I’ll just choose a movie I already hate.

Pick one of each: Favorite Actor, Actress, and Director of all time.

I love character actors – who doesn’t – so I instantly think of Lee J. Cobb, Harry Dean Stanton, Jonathan Banks, Richard Farnsworth, Charles Bickford…guys like that. But if you want a leading man, I’ll take Bogart. There’s a sadness, a desperation in his best performances that elevates him in my eyes. For a female actor, no one is better than Geraldine Paige in The Trip to Bountiful. But I’m drawn to Diana Sands. She turned in great performances, then died far too young, before Hollywood finally started – albeit slowly – allowing black actors to tackle nuanced roles. For a director, how do you choose? I’ll take Don Siegel, because he made some great films, and he’s seldom included in a list of the best directors. Though it’s tough not to take Billy Wilder…but look, I didn’t.

Add Watch TCM to your Roku device and start watching the 31 Days of Oscar today!

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