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How Do You Choose Your Movies?


EugeniaH
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When the offerings on TCM don't interest you and you want to watch your own movie, how do you decide which one? Do you mostly choose your films by favorite actor/actress first, favorite genre, favorite "theme" (for example, "boy meets girl", someone performs a heroic feat), or...?

 

(If you aren't a DVD collector, pretend you're in a room filled with DVDs of every classic movie ever made. :) )

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That is a very good question, Eugenia! What I usually do is what I call a 'link'. I'll pick a star from the last film that I watched on TCM and grab a dvd with that star in it. Now that "The Searchers" is over, there is nothing else on TCM that I want to see tonight. My first 'link' this evening will be Natalie Wood. I will probably watch "Kings Go Forth". After viewing that film, Frank Sinatra will be my second 'link'. If I'm still awake, I will then probably watch "From Here to Eternity". Now tomorrow TCM is showing nothing that I want to see, so I will pick up where I left off. My next 'link' would be Montgomery Clift, so I will watch "The Heiress". Then I'll really spice things up and watch the remake, "Washington Square" with Jennifer Jason Leigh!

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I often do not make a conscious decision. I look down the list of what is available until a title starts rolling its i's or waving its a's to get my attention. This is at times a long process as the list is now double-columns on fourteen pages.

 

If there is no movie which wants to be watched I will put in one of the DVDs we have made which have four or five associated movies on it. We have these for Sherlock Holmes, Philo Vance, The Falcon, The Saint and many other series.

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I look at the TCM monthly schedule, usually two weeks at a time. I read the blurbs, and look up films that interest me on the IMDb. Plot, actors, directors, non-availability on DVD, all influence my decisions. I then cut and copy the films I want to see from the monthly schedule, print them out, and program the DVRs each afternoon.

 

addendum:

 

I must be brain-dead, not to have noticed the question was about when there was nothing on TCM I want to watch. Well, I have two DVRs, and between them, they have more than 100 films recorded, mostly from TCM that I DO want to watch!

 

Edited by: ValentineXavier on Jun 23, 2013 2:43 AM

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I often don't watch the whole movie. I have several on tap which are easy to roll to the appropriate scene and watch the actors acting. It's such fun to see how they do it. I love watching Olivier lick the butter off his thumb in his hotel suite ... he's so easy with the help and cool but gentle with poor little Joan Fontaine, who can't believe what's happening to her when he asks her to marry him.

 

Then I push over to Ronnie Colman and his look when he can't remember where he heard that hymn before, and Susan Peters' face when she notes that she isn't who he's thinking of ...

 

Then there's my favorite Walter Pidgeon, who flirts mercilessly with Ginger Rogers in the Waldorf when she thinks he's a burglar after her jewels ... oh, I love him in comedy.

 

Then I have a half-hour of Chuck Jones. Now, this is my favorite of all short movies. It's Chuck himself, with drawings and his marvelous persona which comes out in Daffy Duck and Bugs and Michigan J. Frog and all the rest of the great ones who populated his life. He tells us what his upbringing was like and how his father frightened him to death and beat him, and how somehow he managed to get past that and make us all happy for so long with the coyote and the roadrunner (who, he says, Mark Twain says we must respect, because he has to go twenty miles for his breakfast, and thirty miles for his lunch, and maybe fifty miles for his dinner; and at least he's not sitting at home looking out the window and being a burden to his parents).

 

This is when I don't have a lineup of movies ready, such as The Man Who Would Be King, which is in the DVD player now, from Netflix.

 

And if all else fails, I have Amitabh Bachchan. My darling Amitabh. Handsome, 6' 3", full of deviltry and art. A genius. I have a stack of his movies, among them Sharaabi, about a man who spent most of his life half-drunk (a nice cinematic feat it is, too), and who buys a priceless necklace for the lady he loves, which is later stolen, and when the policeman asks what valuable neck it's for, indicates the lady in question and says, "Inspector Sahib: My valuable neck"; Silsila, a serious study of infidelity, starring his own wife, as his wife, and a gorgeous girl named Rekha, as his mistress; Cheni Kum, about a 64-year-old Indian chef, still handsome, still magnetic, who owns a London restaurant and falls in love with a 34-year-old patron, a gorgeous actress named Tabu; and about ten others of different genres and eras. One of my favorites is Satte Pe Satta, the Hindi version of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. (I showed it to the mother of a friend of mine a few weeks ago and tweeted Amitabh that I'd done it; he tweeted back and said that was wonderful, and how lovely to see me back on Twitter again. My heart hasn't stopped racing since.)

 

That's all I have available at the moment, but I expect I'll get more in the next day or two. Right now I'm not watching because Les Miserables is on, and I've seen it about 22 times.

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>That is a very good question, Eugenia! What I usually do is what I call a 'link'. I'll pick a star from the last film that I watched on TCM and grab a dvd with that star in it. Now that "The Searchers" is over, there is nothing else on TCM that I want to see tonight. My first 'link' this evening will be Natalie Wood. I will probably watch "Kings Go Forth". After viewing that film, Frank Sinatra will be my second 'link'. If I'm still awake, I will then probably watch "From Here to Eternity". Now tomorrow TCM is showing nothing that I want to see, so I will pick up where I left off. My next 'link' would be Montgomery Clift, so I will watch "The Heiress". Then I'll really spice things up and watch the remake, "Washington Square" with Jennifer Jason Leigh!

 

Well GG, I suppose that's ONE way to eventually get to a movie with Kyra Sedgwick's husband in it, eh?! ;)

 

And now, here would be MY "method" in this regard...

 

I would rummage through all those DVDs that Eugenia mentioned in her set-up here, and pick the ones I've heard from a few reliable sources(such as many of the folks around here) are a "must-see"(and btw, REGARDLESS of genre or who's starring in them) but for whatever reason have never had the opportunity before TO see.

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All this applies only to the type of movies liable to show up on TCM.

 

First, have I seen it before? Unless it's a particularly great movie I haven't seen for awhile, that eliminates it for anything but maybe a backup recording.

 

 

Then I look at the plot summary and the genre, eliminating all juveniles, "swashbucklers", "historical" or "costume" dramas, and 90% of westerns, "adventure" movies, and musicals. If it's not in one of those categories and I haven't seen it before, I'll always give it a shot, especially if the movie is staged in a contemporary urban setting, and even more if it's got any of my favorite character actors in it.

 

 

And if it's a movie I haven't seen before featuring a favorite actor or actress, unless it's in one of those no-no genres I'll circle it for attention. And with Barbara Stanwyck, I'll even sit through her westerns once, just in case there's another movie like The Violent Men lurking out there to surprise me.

 

 

When I first stuck the old TCM needle into my arm, all this meant I was watching or recording up to 120 movies a month, the high point being when Bogart was SOTM just 3 months after I signed on. Talk about a kid in a candy store. But even now, I still average between 30 and 50 movies a month, and the quality hasn't diminished in the least.

 

And the bottom line is always: When a movie is in doubt, give it the benefit of that doubt. You can always erase it or throw it out later.

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How do I choose my movies?

 

 

It depends on what I'm in the mood for.

 

 

Have I not seen it for a long time?

 

 

Is it on the top of my list of favorites?

 

 

Am I in a dour mood and want to be cheered up?

 

 

Or bask in my "dourness"?

 

 

But if there's nothing on TCM I wish to see, my cable service provides 300+ channels of crap to switch to, and I'm bound to find SOMETHING!

 

 

Or, maybe I'll switch off the TV, and put on the old STEREO!

 

 

So, HMMMMmmm...now, WHAT do I want to LISTEN to.....?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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>Then I look at the plot summary and the genre, eliminating all juveniles, "swashbucklers", "historical" or "costume" dramas, and 90% of westerns, "adventure" movies, and musicals. If it's not in one of those categories and I haven't seen it before, I'll always give it a shot...

 

>And the bottom line is always: When a movie is in doubt, give it the benefit of that doubt. You can always erase it or throw it out later.

 

I don't know Andy, but those two statements seem mighty contradictory to ME?!

 

LOL

 

(...yeah, yeah, I know..."To each their own", right?!) ;)

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*Then I look at the plot summary and the genre, eliminating all juveniles, "swashbucklers", "historical" or "costume" dramas, and 90% of westerns, "adventure" movies, and musicals.*

 

So I take it you wouldn't choose watching Mickey Rooney as a singing and dancing pirate in the Old West. ;)

 

On a more serious note, the one kind of movie I wouldn't choose is a musical. I appreciate the immense talent of the likes of Astaire and Rogers, etc. etc. etc., but I don't have the patience to sit through an entire 'musical' film. I'm not that fond of Westerns, either, but I'm more willing to watch them...

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I have to say I'm really not all that big into Musicals myself, Eugenia, but the funny thing is almost every single time "Singin' in the Rain" comes on TCM, and no matter if I happen across it at any point of its showing, I am suddenly captivated by the thing and very often end up watching the rest of it.

 

It's just perfection, that's all. And by the end of it I get this almost overwhelming feeling of pride in the human spirit that there were people in the world that could reach such heights in comedy, dance and the musical arts and mix it all together to make that concoction.

 

(...and gettin' to watch Cyd Charisse throwing those long luscious legs around yet again is always an added bonus TOO, ya know!) ;)

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*It's just perfection, that's all. And by the end of it I get this almost overwhelming feeling of pride in the human spirit that there were people in the world that could reach such heights in comedy, dance and the musical arts and mix it all together to make that concoction.*

 

What a beautiful sentiment! You may make me a convert yet...

 

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> {quote:title=Dargo2 wrote:}{quote}I have to say I'm really not all that big into Musicals myself, Eugenia, but the funny thing is almost every single time "Singin' in the Rain" comes on TCM, and no matter if I happen across it at any point of its showing, I am suddenly captivated by the thing and very often end up watching the rest of it.

>

> It's just perfection, that's all. And by the end of it I get this almost overwhelming feeling of pride in the human spirit that there were people in the world that could reach such heights in comedy, dance and the musical arts and mix it all together to make that concoction.

>

>

> (...and gettin' to watch Cyd Charisse throwing those long luscious legs around yet again is always an added bonus TOO, ya know!) ;)

>

I have to admit that there are about 10 musicals I absolutely love, including Singing In The Rain, but mainly those 3 classic Berkeleys from 1933. I pray to Buddha in the Joss House that those films will always be with us, and I could probably watch Cagney and Keeler performing "Shanghai Lil" in an endless loop for 24 hours and still never get sick of it. To me that song is *the* cinematic highlight of the 1930's.

 

And the Garland version of A Star Is Born at one point was my favorite Hollywood movie. But God, 90% of the rest of that genre makes me want to borrow one of John Wayne's six-shooters and go to work.

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I know I will now look like I'm going out of my way to just agree with you, Dargo (that thing we discussed yesterday).

 

The reality is, though, that with only a half a handful of exceptions, I don't care that much for musicals either. But the most glorious exception to that for me is Singin' in the Rain.

 

But that hardly makes us unique because I have a strong feeling that that Gene Kelly gem is quite possibly the most beloved film of all time that is classified as a musical. And the reason I use that "classified as a musical" comment is because I think a lot of the reason for the film's tremendous popularity is not just because it is a musical.

 

 

This film is a brilliant satire on the early talkies, as well, tremendously attractive for us film buffs, of course. But I also regard Singin' as one of the great comedies of all time, and that is what makes it different from a lot of other musicals. Jean Hagen's performance alone as dim witted squeaky voiced silent film star Lina Lamont was truly an Oscar worthy contribution. She's vain, she's dumb, she'd drive you crazy if you knew her. But seeing her on screen you can't help but love Hagen.

 

 

Yes, the choreography and the musical arrangements (I love that Broadway Melody satire, with Cyd Charisse displaying the sexiest legs and attitude I've ever seen in a musical) are all brilliant, and the performances of Kelly (his most engaging acting?), O'Connor and Reynolds, well, what more could you ask?

 

 

But to a large extent it's the extraordinarily clever humour that brings me back to that film time after time. I rather suspect it's the same for other non-musical buffs too.

 

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQQVniCcWw3kACpHNM-ep4

 

 

Jean Hagen: one of the great comedy performances of all time found in a musical

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