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The Overplayed and the Underplayed

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Disagree. There are plenty of places to go. I should almost start a new thread on this subtopic. When I moved from Arizona to Wisconsin, I was without cable for six weeks, because I had moved into a new place where some of the construction/wiring was not finished yet (you might say I moved in too early). I was forced to find other sources of classic films, and I was able to find them. TCM is not the only game in town.

What other sources, without commercials?

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What other sources?

I don't want to get into it yet, because I can see it causing an argument with the apologists trying to downplay those other sources. I don't have the desire to waste a lot of energy going back and forth on this today. But there are at least a half-dozen other places I was able to watch classic films beyond TCM. The point is that if you have to do without TCM for awhile (and there are posts from others on this board that admit they no longer have TCM for various reasons) you can do without TCM quite nicely. Then you realize you have saved some money on films you had already seen or long ago recorded.

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What other sources, without commercials?

 

That's the rub, isn't it?  The other sources would be Netflix or You Tube, both of which have their advantages and their drawbacks.With Netflix or YouTube you have far more classic movies available on any given day, but in the long run TCM will give you both a lot more variety and about the same amount of serendipity.  I watch movies from all three of those outlets, but if I had to choose but one of them, it'd be TCM without even a moment's thought.

 

As for cable channels with commercials, that's a non-starter for me, and I suspect for a lot of other people.  There's more than enough of those sorts of intrusions in every other form of entertainment, and we don't need it in movies.

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That's the rub, isn't it?  The other sources would be Netflix or You Tube, both of which have their advantages and their drawbacks.With Netflix or YouTube you have far more classic movies available on any given day, but in the long run TCM will give you both a lot more variety and about the same amount of serendipity.  I watch movies from all three of those outlets, but if I had to choose but one of them, it'd be TCM without even a moment's thought.

 

As for cable channels with commercials, that's a non-starter for me, and I suspect for a lot of other people.  There's more than enough of those sorts of intrusions in every other form of entertainment, and we don't need it in movies.

You're not mentioning all the other options. And you're not really getting into some of the many advantages that Netflix or ClassicFlix has over cable.

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I want to draw a line between those other options ----------- and ------------ Turner's revenue issues. The pressure is on TCM and TBS and the other Turner services to show growth when they are facing increased competition.

 

Is this the beginning of the end? There should be some concern that if program weaknesses are not improved and films offered do not match the value of a cable bill, then some viewership is in jeopardy at a time when viewership needs to go up not down.

 

 

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You're not mentioning all the other options. And you're not really getting into some of the many advantages that Netflix or ClassicFlix has over cable.

I didn't mention the other non-commercial options for the simple reason that I wasn't aware of them.  ClassicFlix looks pretty good, but its base price of $7.99 a month allows you only two rentals, compared to the unlimited number I get from Netflix for $8.47. 

 

That said, it does seem worth looking into as a replacement for Netflix, and I'm glad you mentioned it.  I'll have to take a closer look at their offerings of more recent movies before deciding, since that's where TCM falls short.

 

Any other non-commercial alternatives you'd recommend?

 

Of course the other thing is that unless I wanted to ditch cable altogether, which I'm not likely to for many reasons, TCM doesn't add more than a dollar or two to my monthly cable bill. 

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I didn't mention the other non-commercial options for the simple reason that I wasn't aware of them.  ClassicFlix looks pretty good, but its base price of $7.99 a month allows you only two rentals, compared to the unlimited number I get from Netflix for $8.47. 

 

That said, it does seem worth looking into as a replacement for Netflix, and I'm glad you mentioned it.  I'll have to take a closer look at their offerings of more recent movies before deciding, since that's where TCM falls short.

 

Any other non-commercial alternatives you'd recommend?

 

Of course the other thing is that unless I wanted to ditch cable altogether, which I'm not likely to for many reasons, TCM doesn't add more than a dollar or two to my monthly cable bill. 

ClassicFlix is a growing company. I talked to the owner by phone one afternoon and  they are planning to do streaming at some point but it hasn't happened yet. Netflix's streaming is probably one of the best deals around because of price and because it eliminates the wait time on discs arriving by mail. The only problem I have had with Netflix streaming is that they will occasionally drop some classic films and if you do not check your queue regularly, you may find that you only have a few days to watch some films before they are gone. Of course, they could come back later.

 

My public library system is another good source. Not only does my branch have a vast selection of DVDs I can check out for free, but I can request hundreds of classic DVDs from other libraries in the county. I can also go outside the county and get titles within Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa though if they are coming from outlying areas my wait time increases, especially if I am not first in line. I sat down one day and made a nice list of films I can obtain from the library system that never air on TCM and that are not on Netflix streaming. Translation: many, many of those great Paramount and Universal classics from the 1930s-1950s. I was happy to finally get the chance to see THE NAKED JUNGLE, which of course TCM did not air when Eleanor Parker was Star of the Month. 

 

I am not even mentioning all the Turner Library films I have recorded off TCM in the last few years. I knew that once I completed stockpiling all those, and then turned to Netflix streaming, ClassicFlix discs and the library to supplement my other needs, I would rely on TCM less and less.

 

There is also a pawn shop that my half-brother goes to that my father and I stopped at one day. It had about five aisles of used DVDs, many of them classics, that I could purchase if they seemed in good condition. This was another way to beef up my collection and avoid TCM's overplayed hall of fame.

 

By the way, I only subscribe to cable part of the year now. I find that every four months Encore has a different slate of classic westerns and that also goes for RetroPlex. And FXM Retro usually updates its schedule around that time, too. So when they go into incessant repeats and I have everything recorded I want to watch, I drop cable. Then I come back four months later when there is different product I am interested in. I time this so it coincides with rarities on TCM that I can scoop up, too.

 

But some months of TCM are very repetitive year in and year out. If you have had TCM in October just even one year, you can record all the horror films they show and never need October again. Same for December. There is a limited number of holiday classics that TCM airs, so once you have them recorded, you never need TCM in December again. The 31 Days of Oscar repeats a lot of the Elia Kazan films, so once you have those recorded, you do not need February again on TCM. May repeats a lot of the same mother-themed films in the beginning of the month, and then later in the month it's a war film bonanza for Memorial Day, so once you have those, you don't need May again. June is always built around movies about brides and fathers, so once you have those, you don't need June anymore.

 

So I usually do have cable in March and April, then again in July and August (the SUTS tributes have repeats but there are usually more rare offerings at this time). And then maybe again in November if the Star of the Month is someone who is not a usual suspect. This three-times a year use of cable then allows me to get the films I want from Encore, RetroPlex and FXM Retro.

 

In the off months I catch up on what I've recorded-- I watch the library items-- and do more streaming. 

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Good suggestions, TB.  I've got so many thousands of movies I've recorded from TCM, the old Fox Movie Channel, and IFC before it went commercial that between those DVDs, Netflix and YouTube I'm pretty much set for a long time.  But all those other alternatives you mention are good to know about, and thanks for such a responsive answer.

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Good suggestions, TB.  I've got so many thousands of movies I've recorded from TCM, the old Fox Movie Channel, and IFC before it went commercial that between those DVDs, Netflix and YouTube I'm pretty much set for a long time.  But all those other alternatives you mention are good to know about, and thanks for such a responsive answer.

You're welcome. 

 

The reason I don't advocate Youtube is because some of those films are not there legally-- also, the legal ones (public domain titles) have such lousy prints that it is not worth the time on most of those. 

 

I didn't mention streaming on Amazon Prime because I have never used it and do not know much about it. But I think they have classics, too.

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That's the rub, isn't it?  The other sources would be Netflix or You Tube, both of which have their advantages and their drawbacks.With Netflix or YouTube you have far more classic movies available on any given day, but in the long run TCM will give you both a lot more variety and about the same amount of serendipity.  I watch movies from all three of those outlets, but if I had to choose but one of them, it'd be TCM without even a moment's thought.

 

As for cable channels with commercials, that's a non-starter for me, and I suspect for a lot of other people.  There's more than enough of those sorts of intrusions in every other form of entertainment, and we don't need it in movies.

..and once you get used to watching the films straight through on TCM, commercial interruptions are like a fingernail across a blackboard.

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..and once you get used to watching the films straight through on TCM, commercial interruptions are like a fingernail across a blackboard.

 

On the other thread related to TCM having commericials I have said I would be OK with ONE commercial interruption during the film.   In this case there is nothing one can compare to because I know of no station that does this.    Instead they have MANY commercial interruptions.

 

I wouldn't view having ONE commerical interruption, done during a clear scene break in the movie (e.g. like a play and its 'acts'),  being like a fingernail across a blackboard.   If done in the right place it wouldn't disrupt the flow of the film.

 

Yea,  NO commericals at all is still what we all want.    But I wouldn't drop TCM if they did the above. 

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Tonight THE HAUNTING is airing and quite frankly, I think this film airs too much on TCM. On one hand it's a good film...on the other hand it's not the only good film with a similar theme.

 

And so we are clear, this thread is not meant to be overly negative. Or even very negative at all. It's meant as a constructive yet exasperated attempt to suggest that we give some overplayed titles a rest so we can enjoy other films that are unfairly neglected.

 

Most of the overplayed films are ones that get selected repeatedly because they have all-star casts with household names; they won multiple Oscars; they are in the public domain; they are in the Turner Library; they are the programmers' favorites; they tie-in with a book or home video release being pushed by TCM's marketing department; they are in the endless loop of repeated Essentials; they are chosen often by guest programmers; and they are films that maybe one person in Podunk, Idaho has not seen yet so we need to give that individual a chance to catch up to the rest of us.

 

The Overplayed Hall of Fame

 

1. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

2. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

3. MILDRED PIERCE

4. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY

5. SUSPICION

6. SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL

7.  STELLA DALLAS

8. ICE STATION ZEBRA

9. THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

10. THE HAUNTING

 
Did I miss any...?

 

Hey, I live in Podunk Idaho, Not actual name of town but in the middle of nowhere in Id it might as well be named Podunk I'm just razzin ya. I really do live in the middle of nowhere in iD though. I agree with you. That's one reason I never recorded these (and other) movies as I know they'll be shown at least three times a year, some even back to back weeks.

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Hey, I live in Podunk Idaho, Not actual name of town but in the middle of nowhere in Id it might as well be named Podunk I'm just razzin ya. I really do live in the middle of nowhere in iD though. I agree with you. That's one reason I never recorded these (and other) movies as I know they'll be shown at least three times a year, some even back to back weeks.

My parents had a home in northern Idaho for a few years when I was a teen-- so I am actually very pro-Idaho. :)

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My parents had a home in northern Idaho for a few years when I was a teen-- so I am actually very pro-Idaho. :)

I eat a lot of potatoes, so I guess I am too.

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I eat a lot of potatoes, so I guess I am too.

You know-- when we were in Idaho, we could not buy Idaho potatoes in any of the grocery stores. The entire crop is all sent out of state. In the produce section at the store, we could only find potatoes grown in nearby Washington. The only way we could get Idaho potatoes in Idaho was to grow them in our own garden. True story. Our family still laughs about that.

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My parents had a home in northern Idaho for a few years when I was a teen-- so I am actually very pro-Idaho. :)

 

It wouldn't have happened to have been on or near Priest Lake, would it TB?

 

Only asking because our friends Rudy and Deana in SoCal have a cabin up there that's been in their family for many years, and they still summer there every year.

 

(...btw, Rudy grew up in the Toluca Lake area of L.A., and he has stories of as a kid being a golf caddy for celebs like Clark Gable and Bob Hope and many others)

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It wouldn't have happened to have been on or near Priest Lake, would it TB?

 

Only asking because our friends Rudy and Deana in SoCal have a cabin up there that's been in their family for many years, and they still summer there every year.

 

(...btw, Rudy grew up in the Toluca Lake area of L.A., and he has stories of as a kid being a golf caddy for celebs like Clark Gable and Bob Hope and many others)

We were in Bonners Ferry which is 20 minutes from Canada and 15 minutes from Montana-- the northern-most part of the panhandle. For the fourth of July we would spend time on Lake Pend Oreille thirty miles south in Sandpoint. A lot of Californians would have places in Idaho. I remember there was a retired television director who oversaw productions at the local community theatre. I learned a lot about acting from him, and it's probably when I really got the bug to go to L.A. someday. 

 

After two years, my dad decided he wanted to try Colorado-- but when I graduated high school, one summer that my parents were divorcing-- I went back to Idaho for an extended visit, because I realized it was where my family was the happiest. I wanted to try to remember some of the good times. So Idaho is a special place for me.

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You know-- when we were in Idaho, we could not buy Idaho potatoes in any of the grocery stores. The entire crop is all sent out of state. In the produce section at the store, we could only find potatoes grown in nearby Washington. The only way we could get Idaho potatoes in Idaho was to grow them in our own garden. True story. Our family still laughs about that.

We've been in Idaho since '98 and don't have a problem getting ID potatoes. We live between Boise and Twin Falls in the southern part of the state and that's where the majority of the potato crop is grown (although I have a heck of a time tryin' to grow 'em).

 

Being up in the panhandle most of the produce comes from WA as most of the cropland up there is smaller patches of farmland in hilly country. Down here on the Snake River Plain, there are thousands of full square mile sections loaded with taters and sugar beets, lot's of alfalfa and corn too.

 

Farmers markets are good places. For the past few years my wife's friend from work brings in paper bags full of potatoes. The farmers let the workers walk the fields after harvest and pick up as much as they want, most of them are the "wrong" size or shape for the processors specifications. Lots of tater processing plants around the southern third of the state along with eastern Oregon. It seems like half the potatoes are left in the field after harvest and tilled under. Same thing down in NC in the sweet tater fields, thousands left over. Boy I sure would like a baked sweet tater right now!

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We've been in Idaho since '98 and don't have a problem getting ID potatoes. Farmers markets are good places. For the past few years my wife's friend from work brings in paper bags full of potatoes. The farmers let the workers walk the fields after harvest and pick up as much as they want, most of them are the "wrong" size or shape for the processors specifications. It seems like half the potatoes are left in the field after harvest and tilled under. Same thing down in NC in the sweet tater fields, thousands left over. Boy I sure would like a baked sweet tater now!

Well that's good to know! Maybe things have changed.

 

My story took place in the mid-80s. And the grocery store was Safeway (not sure if they have those anymore). And truthfully, you could not find Idaho potatoes at Safeway in Bonners Ferry (or anywhere else around Bonners). It was all Washington state potatoes. This was a big deal at the time because our midwestern family and friends teased us when we went out west about going to the land of the potatoes-- but they were not Idaho potatoes. As I said, we had to grow our own to get Idaho potatoes! 

 

Another thing I remember is that we could not find our favorite brands of baked beans and salad dressing in Idaho-- so when my grandparents flew out to visit us, they brought some of those products to us. 

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I thought about this thread when I read the latest Oscar schedule.

 

On February 9th we get both LAURA and THE YOUNG LIONS. Then a few hours after that on the 10th we get SUSPICION. 

 

I don't know about you, but I SUSPect there is nothing left to do now but throw LAURA to the LIONS and call it a day.

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I think this topic is entirely subjective The movies - even good or great ones - that we're sick of or have seen once too often seem overplayed, but let's face it, there are probably dozens of movies broadcast just as often as the ones on this particular list. Isn't it a shame though when a film you're quite fond of loses appeal from overviewing? Someimes however, time between viewings can freshen them up again. It would be odd though, if bad or obscure (and unpopular) movies started being played regularly and often just because we all complained about the too frequent showings of acknowledged classics. Then again - I saw Sex and the Single Girl for the first time recently and I thought it was a terrible movie! I never noticed that it was shown often, but I wouldn't want to watch it twice.

At any rate, I say when a film is being shown that you've lost interest in, turn off TCM for a couple of hours and watch an old favorite or little seen movie from your own collection (and hope a newbie is enjoying that "overplayed" TCM film for the first time) or - God forbid! - watch a newer movie on HBO or Netflix.

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I thought about this thread when I read the latest Oscar schedule.

 

On February 9th we get both LAURA and THE YOUNG LIONS. Then a few hours after that on the 10th we get SUSPICION. 

 

I don't know about you, but I SUSPect there is nothing left to do now but throw LAURA to the LIONS and call it a day.

 

But Laura is a film that was not aired on TCM for many years- a Fox film as I'm sure you know. It's also a good film, a watchable film and an excellent "gateway" film that can win people over to "the black and white side."

 

so, in other words, it is everything that Sex and the Single Girl is not.

 

I'm perfectly fine with these new acquisitions- The Constant Nymph also comes to mind- popping up as many as a dozen times a year on the schedule. That may be part of the deal in acquiring them.

 

Conversely, there are plenty of good movies that I am sick to death of- that become a little less special every time they are trotted out for their ninth 8 pm time slot airing of the year- ie To Be or Not to Be, on this past Saturday at eight. Again.

 

(Please just let The Essentials in all its forms die. It's time.)

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But Laura is a film that was not aired on TCM for many years- a Fox film as I'm sure you know. It's also a good film, a watchable film and an excellent "gateway" film that can win people over to "the black and white side."

 

so, in other words, it is everything that Sex and the Single Girl is not.

 

I'm perfectly fine with these new acquisitions- The Constant Nymph also comes to mind- popping up as many as a dozen times a year on the schedule. That may be part of the deal in acquiring them.

 

Conversely, there are plenty of good movies that I am sick to death of- that become a little less special every time they are trotted out for their ninth 8 pm time slot airing of the year- ie To Be or Not to Be, on this past Saturday at eight. Again.

 

(Please just let The Essentials in all its forms die. It's time.)

I agree about TO BE OR NOT TO BE...but I do not share your sentiments about LAURA. Any great film can be played into the ground, which makes people start to resent it, especially if the continual celebration of it ad nauseum comes at the expense of other classics.

 

Also, it gives the impression that Hollywood only made one good film in 1946 and the hundreds of other titles produced that year by various studios might as well be lost. Anyone who is for film preservation and keeping the memory of classic Hollywood alive is going to push for TCM to use some of LAURA's airtime for other films from the same period. The goal is to paint a broader picture of how Hollywood cinema was at that time. That whole year cannot be defined by that one film. It's unrealistic, and it's a disservice to all the other people working in the industry that year.

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I agree about TO BE OR NOT TO BE...but I do not share your sentiments about LAURA. Any great film can be played into the ground, which makes people start to resent it, especially if the continual celebration of it ad nauseum comes at the expense of other classics.

 

Also, it gives the impression that Hollywood only made one good film in 1946 and the hundreds of other titles produced that year by various studios might as well be lost. Anyone who is for film preservation and keeping the memory of classic Hollywood alive is going to push for TCM to use some of LAURA's airtime for other films from the same period. The goal is to paint a broader picture of how Hollywood cinema was at that time. That whole year cannot be defined by that one film. It's unrealistic, and it's a disservice to all the other people working in the industry that year.

You must mean 1944.

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You must mean 1944.

Right--thanks, that was a typo. The argument is still the same. Whatever year it was-- if TCM keeps showing one or two 'big' and 'prestigious' films from that year, it gives the impression that we can write off the rest of Hollywood product from that same year. It is really saying that our minds are tiny and cannot hold much information, so through repetitious rebroadcasting let's just say Year X equals Film X. Then we move on to the next year and saturate our memory banks with one film from that year, and on and on. When the reality is that nearly 150 films were turned out each year, and now because of a selective process by a cable channel telling us what is Essential, most of the other titles are becoming increasingly forgotten, lost in time.

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