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Essentials Questions


sewhite2000
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Do they always have to show a commercial for The Essentials 30 seconds before the program airs? And do they have to give away every point the two hosts are going to make while the opening music is playing 30 seconds before they make the same points?

 

I've also noticed that the "clips" shown in the preview that airs before the airing of The Essentials are often not direct cuts from the hosts' actual conversation: the vocal inflections are often different and the blurbs are not always verbatim what is heard during the actual Essentials commentary.

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Do they always have to show a commercial for The Essentials 30 seconds before the program airs? And do they have to give away every point the two hosts are going to make while the opening music is playing 30 seconds before they make the same points?

In my humble opinion, the Essentials is TCM's weakest programming. I don't know one person on these boards who is entirely happy with it. 

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A big part of the problem for many people around here (myself included) is Drew Barrymore as a co-host. This particular issue has hijacked some other threads about problems with 'The Essentials', but it is a fact that Barrymore is not well-suited to discussing and analyzing many films in-depth, and this issue needs to be addressed up front. 

 

The way to begin any potential overhaul of this block of programming is to get a new co-host. I'd be happy if TCM saw fit to bring back Alec Baldwin. Say what you will about what some perceive to be his smugness, but he does have a very strong base of knowledge in film. As an example, I'd cite the debate Baldwin had with Robert Osborne about the validity of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1962) as an essential. While Baldwin's opinions of the film were not opinions I agreed with, he presented his argument in a logical, well thought-out fashion. On the other hand, Drew Barrymore's defence of THE WILD BUNCH (1969) a couple of years ago was weak at best.

 

This brings up another important issue that needs to be corrected if TCM plans on continuing 'The Essentials' for the foreseeable future. This season saw the inclusion of I LOVE YOU ALICE B. TOKLAS (1968), which in my opinion could not in any sense of the word be considered 'essential'. I can think offhand of at least five Peter Sellers movies which would get the 'essential' label before that film. Is it just me or doesn't it seem strange that DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) has never been aired as an essential, yet MY FAIR LADY (1964) has been featured on the program twice. The powers that be in TCM's programming department should not be afraid to reject a host's request for a film which -- to a general movie-going audience -- does not fit the bill of 'Essential'. And if they are so insistent on getting an actor to co-host the films, find someone more capable than Drew Barrymore of having an intelligent conversation on-camera.

 

Thankfully the bar has been set fairly low, so finding a better host than Barrymore should be an easy task. As I see it, refining the film selection process and better defining what it means to be an essential will be the more difficult part of solving the problem with 'The Essentials'.

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Do they always have to show a commercial for The Essentials 30 seconds before the program airs? And do they have to give away every point the two hosts are going to make while the opening music is playing 30 seconds before they make the same points?

Yeah, they don't even give you time to turn it off so you don't have to listen to Drew.

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I'd be happy if TCM saw fit to bring back Alec Baldwin. Say what you will about what some perceive to be his smugness, but he does have a very strong base of knowledge in film.

 

 

 

I agree with Alec Baldwin as a co-host for the Essentials.  He was a great foil for Robert Osborne and seemed to study his movies and his movie histories and did indeed have measured and definitive debates about movies and items he differed.  Isn't the whole point of the Essentials to define what it took...essential movies to me are those movies that represent a shift in technique, a new talented or responsive script to situations or talents that entertain us on some level.  I mean really, some of the movies Svengoolie on Me-TV are in a category as an essential for their look, depiction or ability to affect emotions and overall fright concept.

 

I would like Alec Baldwin back frankly, he isn't absorbed in who he is when he discusses movies.  I thought he did an excellent job on interviewing Bob Osborne. 

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This brings up another important issue that needs to be corrected if TCM plans on continuing 'The Essentials' for the foreseeable future. This season saw the inclusion of I LOVE YOU ALICE B. TOKLAS (1968), which in my opinion could not in any sense of the word be considered 'essential'.

Yes! I too, was pretty irritated about the inclusion of that movie. Good grief, what on earth were they thinking?

 

The Essentials needs a serious overhaul, or maybe it should just fade away into the sunset, lol.

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Yes! I too, was pretty irritated about the inclusion of that movie. Good grief, what on earth were they thinking?

 

The Essentials needs a serious overhaul, or maybe it should just fade away into the sunset, lol.

This season saw the inclusion of I LOVE YOU ALICE B. TOKLAS (1968), which in my opinion could not in any sense of the word be considered 'essential'.

 

Really? I guess if one of the programmers was toking, then they would consider that movie essential. Poor TCM.

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 Is it just me or doesn't it seem strange that DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) has never been aired as an essential, yet MY FAIR LADY (1964) has been featured on the program twice.

 

 

O to the M to the G, love everything in your post. The above line is the only part I take any issue with whatsoever, because it seems to me that My Fair Lady has been featured more like 7 or 8 times in the history of the program.

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I think a very big part of the problem with The Essentials is that they feel like each film included has to be (at least) good- I have always felt you can learn as much (if not more) from watching a fallen souffle (or one that never rises) than a masterpiece.

 

There are lots of fascinating failures out there, and I'm not talking about films of the Ed Wood variety, I mean classic films (many obscure) that meant well or tried in earnest, but just...something happened. But nonetheless, they are essential viewing for classic fans and newbies alike, often because there is something about them that was ahead of their time.

 

*Also to be included would be some films that one could call "good but not great" but valuable viewing as a sociological/historical capsule of its time.

 

Some examples- The Letter (1929), Gabriel Over the White House (1933); Night Flight (1933), Dracula's Daughter (1935), Sylvia Scarlet (1935), The Accused (1949), Ruby Gentry (1952), and any number of pre codes, horror movies and 1950's JD flicks.

 

ps- and anything Ileanna picked.

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I think a very big part of the problem with The Essentials is that they feel like each film included has to be (at least) good- I have always felt you can learn as much (if not more) from watching a fallen souffle (or one that never rises) than a masterpiece.

 

There are lots of fascinating failures out there, and I'm not talking about films of the Ed Wood variety, I mean classic films (many obscure) that meant well or tried in earnest, but just...something happened. But nonetheless, they are essential viewing for classic fans and newbies alike, often because there is something about them that was ahead of their time.

 

*Also to be included would be some films that one could call "good but not great" but valuable viewing as a sociological/historical capsule of its time.

 

Some examples- The Letter (1929), Gabriel Over the White House (1933); Night Flight (1933), Dracula's Daughter (1935), Sylvia Scarlet (1935), The Accused (1949), Ruby Gentry (1952), and any number of pre codes, horror movies and 1950's JD flicks.

 

ps- and anything Ileanna picked.

Good point - but then, I'd want to hear the hosts, whom I don't listen to anyway - admit that the films aren't the best thing since sliced bread and have them gush over them as if they were the Second Coming.

 

Absolutely, include clunkers, and share that they are being included as 'essentials' since we could all stand a little film education. Schools do it in film classes, why not Drew and RO, whom I don't watch anyway.

 

Good idea, Lorna.

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Good point - but then, I'd want to hear the hosts, whom I don't listen to anyway - admit that the films aren't the best thing since sliced bread and have them gush over them as if they were the Second Coming.

 

Absolutely, include clunkers, and share that they are being included as 'essentials' since we could all stand a little film education. Schools do it in film classes, why not Drew and RO, whom I don't watch anyway.

 

Good idea, Lorna.

Yes-- I think Lorna is on to something. A movie could be essential in terms of studying costume design, or cinematography, even if the rest of the film falls flat or is mostly forgettable. 

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Good point - but then, I'd want to hear the hosts, whom I don't listen to anyway - admit that the films aren't the best thing since sliced bread and have them gush over them as if they were the Second Coming.

 

Absolutely, include clunkers, and share that they are being included as 'essentials' since we could all stand a little film education. Schools do it in film classes, why not Drew and RO, whom I don't watch anyway.

 

Good idea, Lorna.

Right. Films can be essential for those with particular interests, though not necessarily for general viewership.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've somehow caught the last two weeks' worth of The Essentials, last week was Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and tonight was My Fair Lady.  I hadn't seen the former, but have seen the latter multiple times.  Next week is apparently The Thin Man, which I've also seen multiple times, but it never gets old, so I will probably watch it if I happen to not be busy at 5pm when it comes on. 

 

I know that The Essentials is derided on this board and I can understand why.  While my intent isn't to start the Drew Barrymore bashing session again, I have to agree that she isn't the best choice for hosting.  I have to think the "Barrymore" name played a large role in Barrymore's selection for co-host.  There have to be other people with "names" that could also serve as good hosts.  I missed TCM when Ileana Douglas was co-host, I wouldn't mind if she came back.  Anjelica Huston I think would also be a good choice.  I know Alec Baldwin is somewhat controversial, but when I've seen him with Osborne, I've liked their rapport.  Listening to Barrymore defend My Fair Lady as an Essential, her justification didn't seem very organized or convincing.  I felt like she was just throwing random metaphors and statements out that sounded like she knew what she was talking about. 

 

The point in my resurrecting this thread was I was curious how The Essentials are chosen.  Does Drew Barrymore have free reign in choosing a set amount of films to discuss and then is tasked with defending her selections against Robert Osborne? Do Osborne and Barrymore collaborate on which films to choose? Or are the selections 50/50? Does Osborne choose half and Barrymore chooses the other half?

 

I was curious because I've seen a couple segments of The Essentials now where Osborne has disagreed with a specific film being declared "essential." I think this is an interesting point of view to display as it shows how subjective the term "essential" is and I think it can open up a dialogue between people who want to defend (or deny) a film's right to be declared "Essential." I do like Lorna's suggestion that films be chosen as Essentials based on other criteria like cinematography, film score, etc. I think there can be a wider array of films selected.  Although I think there need to be some parameters that are followed.  If every film is declared "essential" are any films "essential" ?

 

These are the "Essentials" that are slated for 2015 so far...

 

1/3/15 Bus Stop

1/10/15 Metropolis

1/17/15 Foreign Correspondent

1/24/15 Coal Miner's Daughter

1/31/15 Twentieth Century

3/7/15 Roman Holiday

3/14/15 A Tale of Two Cities

3/21/15 Now Voyager

3/28/15 The Prisoner of Zenda

 

I've seen a few of these before, but ended up missing Foreign Correspondent even after having it recorded for months on the DVR.  We just switched boxes, so I lost everything I hadn't watched.  I am looking forward to this one.

 

I look forward to seeing "essentials" that aren't always the usual suspects.  Although, it baffles me why Double Indemnity hasn't been featured and something like Bus Stop is featured again. In my opinion,  Double Indemnity is pretty much the film noir to end all film noirs featuring Barbara Stanwyck as the femme fatale to end all femme fatales.

 

 

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I think it would help future visitors to the website (especially those interested in the Essentials programming), if this thread was moved to the TCM Programs / Essentials sub-forum. Just a thought...

 

Yes, you can't let too many other people crowd out all of the great threads you create, now can you? :)

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I think it would help future visitors to the website (especially those interested in the Essentials programming), if this thread was moved to the TCM Programs / Essentials sub-forum. Just a thought...

I just revived an old thread that was already posted a month or so ago.

 

Are you going to go through all the old threads and have them re-categorized?

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Yes, I may do that. If you want to help, you are most welcome to and we can share the labor. Let me know.

 

And thank you for reviving the thread and bringing it to my attention.

 

 

Isn't that the equivalent of going to someone's house and dictating to them how they should be hosting the party?

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Isn't that the equivalent of going to someone's house and dictating to them how they should be hosting the party?

No, it's not. The idea is to organize threads so future readers can find them more easily, grouped with other related posts. If anyone wants to help clarify meaning and organize threads, what's wrong with that?

 

In sincerity, I don't like you injecting the word 'dictating' into the conversation. I find that misplaced. 

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