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AFI Master Class: Beginning Of The End?


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It always starts with class acts like Spielberg and John Williams. Then it's two years later and we're watching the creators of South Park being interviewed followed by the TCM premiere of BASEketball. Why exactly is this being played THREE TIMES on the night of it's premiere? It's the old cable identity crisis all over again: TVLand is founded to show old TV programs and winds up showing movies and TCM starts "branching out" into "original series" that may well prove to be the death of the classic movie format.

 

I suggest you keep your eye on the "Master Class" series because this is exactly the "progressive" thinking that kills the golden goose.

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If this is the future of TCM then I say bring it on, baby. I'm a movie fan & Spielberg/Williams have collaborated on some great movies. I love TCM's original programing & wish there was MORE OF IT. Why not more Elvis Mitchell interviews, for example? Why not more shorts of Ben driving around Hollywood showing us the sights? My only complaint with the original programming is they do only several in a series & don't make anymore of them. I hope this is only the first in a long line of MASTER CLASSES. I for one am glad TCM gives a love of cinema precedence over a love of nostalgia.

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> When was the first Private Screenings interview?

 

I think Private Screenings began shortly after TCM debuted back in 1994 so TCM has been branching out into "original" productions since the beginning.

 

As for the OP, *Master Class* is a partnership between TCM and the AFI (American Film Institute). Considering some of the cool stuff in the AFI vaults, if this partnership leads to the AFI opening those vaults and making some of that cool stuff (like the original AFI Lifetime Achievement Award dinners) available to TCM, that would be terrific.

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CMonty, the idea of TCM turning more program hours over to Ben Manckiewicz visiting Hollywood diners is a prospect I find less than thrilling. There are enough channels filling up programming hours with disposable "reality/documentary" shows. If you're looking for that type of programming there's plenty on FOOD Network, TLC, A&E, FIT TV, USA, E!, LIFETIME, HGTV, WE, TRAVEL, OXYGEN, and OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

 

I have no desire to see James Lipton interviewing Will Smith and asking him the secrets of his legendary acting career. Turner Classic Movies has traditionally been for CLASSIC MOVIES. Let's keep it that way.

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I have no desire to see James Lipton interviewing Will Smith and asking him the secrets of his legendary acting career.

 

For Lipton, that would be an upgrade. When I saw that he was featuring Billy Joel on his show a number of years ago, I gave up watching it.

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> {quote:title=Bolesroor wrote:}{quote}CMonty, the idea of TCM turning more program hours over to Ben Manckiewicz visiting Hollywood diners is a prospect I find less than thrilling.

We'll have to disagree on this one. I enjoyed those shorts of Ben. Don't know why you didn't like them (too "touristy" for you? you don't like Ben? you live in Hollywood & you've been to them a hundred times?) but for those classic movie fans who've never been to Hollywood such as myself, I thought they were interesting.

 

> There are enough channels filling up programming hours with disposable "reality/documentary" shows. If you're looking for that type of programming there's plenty on FOOD Network, TLC, A&E, FIT TV, USA, E!, LIFETIME, HGTV, WE, TRAVEL, OXYGEN, and OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

>

If those channels showed quality original programming on the subject of classic movies such as PRIVATE SCREENINGS, insightful documentaries on Marlon Brando, Barbara Stanwyck, Val Lewton, etc, etc, etc than I would be happy to watch them but you & I both know they don't. There's a big difference (both in quality & subject matter) between HOARDERS and MOVIES STARS & MOGULS. Wouldn't you agree?

> I have no desire to see James Lipton interviewing Will Smith and asking him the secrets of his legendary acting career. Turner Classic Movies has traditionally been for CLASSIC MOVIES. Let's keep it that way.

I'm not too interested in seeing James Lipton interview Will Smith either (although you can't argue there are a lot worse things one could be watching). But as the years pass, I think it's inevitable that movies & actors in the category of "contemporary" are going to slip into the category of "classic." I guess the other option is to continue airing the same 100 movies over & over for the next few decades & beyond.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}As for the OP, *Master Class* is a partnership between TCM and the AFI (American Film Institute). Considering some of the cool stuff in the AFI vaults, if this partnership leads to the AFI opening those vaults and making some of that cool stuff (like the original AFI Lifetime Achievement Award dinners) available to TCM, that would be terrific.

Yes. I'd LOVE to see those AFI Lifetime Achievement Award dinners for past recipients like Hitchcok & Orson Welles, & Jimmy Stewart & Frand Capra, etc. You can find clips of these dinners on You Tube but wouldn't it be great to see the entire programs? You know what else I would buy ten minutes after it came out on DVD? Old Academy Award shows. I watch it every year & how much better it would be to see William Holden or Humphrey Bogart or Audrey Hepburn or George Stevens accept an Academy Award or walk the red carpet than Hally Berry or Charlize Theron or Tim Burton?

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> {quote:title=MontyC wrote:}{quote}There's a big difference (both in quality & subject matter) between HOARDERS and MOVIES STARS & MOGULS.

Absolutely. Hoarders is both compelling and informative.

 

> {quote:title=MontyC wrote:}{quote}I'm not too interested in seeing James Lipton interview Will Smith either (although you can't argue there are a lot worse things one could be watching).

Actually, I really- honestly and completely- cannot think of anything worse than watching James Lipton interviewing Will Smith...Well, maybe if he brought Jada and those damn kids along (which I wouldn't put past him.) Seriously, I'd rather watch a six hour loop of Keeping up with the Kardashians or re-runs of Mama's Family than James Lipton and Will Smith having a tet-a-tet.

 

(Shudder!)

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> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}I have no desire to see James Lipton interviewing Will Smith and asking him the secrets of his legendary acting career.

>

>

>

> For Lipton, that would be an upgrade. When I saw that he was featuring Billy Joel on his show a number of years ago, I gave up watching it.

Clore, in all fairness to Lipton, I think he was forced to interview some of those people (although I'm someone who didn't have a problem with Billy Joel only because he's one of the most talented rock stars of the last 50 years). Bravo is another channel that got bought out & quickly went down hill. If you look at who was on INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO before they were bought out, it was a much better group of people than some of the mainstream, commercial guests Lipton has had to interview in recent years.

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I have no problem with Billy Joel as a musician. Not that I own any of his albums, but that was because he got enough exposure on the radio that I didn't need a home copy.

 

I just think that the qualifications for appearing on the show should include something more than appearing in music videos.

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If anyone knows of another discussion that really is on AFI's Master Class, point it out and I'll post there.

 

Tonight's program was outstanding. I think TCM needs to plant some of those students in the Festival audiences, because those questions during the Q&A were top notch.

 

Kudos to TCM & AFI.

 

David in Seattle

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> {quote:title=mavfan4life wrote:

> }{quote}If anyone knows of another discussion that really is on AFI's Master Class, point it out and I'll post there.

>

> Tonight's program was outstanding.

>

>

>

 

Yes, it was pretty interesting.

But couldn't it have occurred to Mr. Spielberg to remove his hat for the show?

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>Tonight's program was outstanding. I think TCM needs to plant some of those students in the Festival audiences, because those questions during the Q&A were top notch.

 

The last answer by the composer was the best answer any film student can be given.

 

Very politely he tried to tell the girl (who wanted to know how to get started in the film business) not to expect too much out of life. He didn't use those words, but that's what he meant. He hinted that not every film student graduate is going to become a famous director, editor, screen writer, composer, etc. In fact 99.998% will fail to fulfill their ambitions and dreams during their lifetime.

 

All film students should be told this the first day they go to class, in every different class they have, and they should be reminded of it regularly.

 

However, a person can have an enjoyable life working in film or video in some way, such as at a TV station or network, or working in film at a university or for a company. I knew a guy who did high-tech commercial art for NASA, and as a sideline he painted beautiful landscapes which he sold for a profit. He really wanted to be a professional landscape artist, but he could make a living at it, and he was very well paid at NASA, plus his NASA paintings of things that couldn't be photographed were displayed in many international magazines and books. But he was still able to do landscape art on the side.

 

Anyway, every film-related professor should warn their students all along that they probably will never wind up working in the big-time in Hollywood.

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Good post Dobbs, as usual I agree with you all the way.

 

I didn't bother to watch because I can't think of any director or composer I care less for than Spielberg & Williams.

 

Oh wait- Tim Burton & Danny Elfman.

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> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:}{quote}I didn't bother to watch because I can't think of any director or composer I care less for than Spielberg & Williams.

Yeah, I feel you. To be fair- I would cite Raider of the Lost Ark and Jaws as two of the absolute BEST examples of a score making a film and a film making a score- going together in an absolutely brilliant synchronicity and working to evoke a mood and feel (and in the case of Jaws ) further the story in a very, very clever way.

 

For Williams, I would say his good scores are excellent- some of the best ever. But I think often his MUSIC is *TOO BIG *and *SWEEPING!!!! *for some of his other efforts, and I get how people say he often recycles or has the same kind of sound (the 1979 Dracula comes to mind as an example of his returning to the standard well once too often.) I got no beef with Williams though.

 

Spielberg on the other hand (and I know the AFI thing was a show strictly devoted to the subject of music scoring, but I don't care) is someone who *I NEVER WANT TO HEAR FROM AGAIN ON THE SUBJECT OF MOVIEMAKING.* I am about as free-thinking and non-censorship, free-speech, Libertarian as they come, but as far as I am concerned SPIELBERG NEEDS TO GIVE BACK BOTH OSCARS AND THE THALBERG, SURRENDER HIS DGA CARD AND TAKE (AT THE VERY LEAST) A FIVE YEAR SABBATICAL FROM "FILM"-MAKING.

 

Why the hate? I was willing to forget Hook. I'm willing to overlook the fact that The Color Purple, while a beautiful and funny film, is based on a story that was never meant to be told in a beautiful or funny way. I overlook some of my issues with Schindler's List (it's a film about Jews without a single real Jewish character.) I forgive him for The Lost World. Saving Private Ryan I like. Jaws is easily in my top five faves,

 

But Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull???

 

*NO. STEVEN SPIELBERG, WE WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR THAT. NEVER.*

 

(I can't add anything to that that South Park did not absolutely nail.)

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Nov 16, 2011 10:03 AM

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> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}I have no problem with Billy Joel as a musician. Not that I own any of his albums, but that was because he got enough exposure on the radio that I didn't need a home copy.

>

> I just think that the qualifications for appearing on the show should include something more than appearing in music videos.

I can't argue with that. It is called INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO & Billy Joel is not an actor. There are other guests that I have definitely had a problem with.

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

> > {quote:title=mavfan4life wrote:

> > }{quote}If anyone knows of another discussion that really is on AFI's Master Class, point it out and I'll post there.

> >

> > Tonight's program was outstanding.

> >

> >

> >

> >

> >

> >

> > Yes, it was pretty interesting.

> But couldn't it have occurred to Mr. Spielberg to remove his hat for the show?

He's probably going bald. I thought he looked old. John Williams looked old back in the 70's & looks exactly the same now.

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> {quote:title=JonnyGeetar wrote:

> }{quote}Spielberg on the other hand (and I know the AFI thing was a show strictly devoted to the subject of music scoring, but I don't care) is someone who *I NEVER WANT TO HEAR FROM AGAIN ON THE SUBJECT OF MOVIEMAKING.* I am about as free-thinking and non-censorship, free-speech, Libertarian as they come, but as far as I am concerned SPIELBERG NEEDS TO GIVE BACK BOTH OSCARS AND THE THALBERG, SURRENDER HIS DGA CARD AND TAKE (AT THE VERY LEAST) A FIVE YEAR SABBATICAL FROM "FILM"-MAKING.

>

Don't be shy, jonny. Tell us what you really think of him! :)

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Wow! A lot of hate going on here for Spielberg. I don't get it. If there has been a better producer/director over the last 30 years, please let me know.

 

In case anyone hadn't noticed, very few hit home runs every time out. Not John Ford. Not Preston Sturges. Not Walt Disney.

 

The point I made is that their discussion was riveting. It wasn't the standard Q&A about the history of, or the events surrounding a particular film. It was two Masters of their art discussing technical issues related to film and collaboration.

 

I'm really dismayed that some have expressed such elitist opinions about these two men and their work. Here's a few from Mr. Spielberg's resum?:

 

Duel

Jaws

Close Encounters

Raiders of the Lost Ark

E.T.

Poltergeist

Back to the Future

The Color Purple

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Jurassic Park

Schindler's List

Saving Private Ryan

Band of Brothers

Catch Me If You Can

Minority Report

Munich

War of the Worlds

Flags Of Our Fathers

Letters From Iwo Jima

 

Those are a few of the movies Mr. Spielberg has been involved with. And some dismiss him as irrelevant? How lame.

 

As far as Jewish characters in Schindler's List, I've known a couple of Jews who were anti-Semites, but I find it hard to believe that anyone could imply that about this man.

 

Find and watch *Shoah*. He is simply the most important filmmaker since Hitchcock. You might not like his work, but don't try to minimize him.

 

David in Seattle

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I respect his talent & agree he's made some great movies. And he is arguably the most influential filmmaker (along with George Lucas) in the history of movies. And unfortunately not in a good way. He and George Lucas are basically who invented the mcdern day Blockbuster with JAWS and STAR WARS. And don't get me wrong--those were both great movies. But studios have been trying to repeat the success of those two movies ever since. What JAWS and STAR WARS taught the studios was this: It's possible to BUY a successful movie (and by successful I mean a movie that makes a killing at the box office). Throw enough advertising dollars at it & put it in enough theatres and people will flock to see it like the sheep they are whether it's any good or not. That's why Opening Weekend is so important. If enough people pay to see it opening weekend, then it's irrelevant what the word of mouth on a movie is because it's already made a killing.

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Actually STAR WARS wasn't part of opening weekend madness. It opened in a handful of theaters in May 1977 with very little fanfare. Word of mouth spread and by mid-summer it was all over the place.

 

JAWS had a broader opening, but it also followed the format of old in opening in select major area theaters and then later hitting the neighborhood theaters. According to the IMDb, it opened in 409 theaters. That was less than half the number of theaters that the same year's BREAKOUT premiered in and which initiated the saturation booking model.

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