Monday, September 27, 2010

Spotlight on... Pop Culture Documentaries #3

Another day, another Documentary Film Channel post! The channel is currently showing a retrospective of D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus films, and I recently enjoyed two of the selections in the series.

The first film was the 1981 documentary, Delorean, the story of John DeLorean's iconic DMC 12 supercar. DeLorean was a visionary GM executive who left the company to design, create, and sell his own line of cars. The documentary tells that story entirely through footage of board meetings, interviews, public appearances, and news clips dating from 1978-1981. The Delorean's interior and exterior design was innovative for its time. Its futuristic appearance might now seem more like a pop culture novelty, but the stylish two-door coupe has maintained its allure thirty years later. Even if you have little interest in this particular vehicle or its creator, Delorean is an engaging glimpse at the creation of a line of modern cars from scratch. Major criticisms and frequent production setbacks at the North Irish Delorean plant that eventually contributed to its failure should come as no surprise. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film was unintended: the viewer knows that, ultimately, the car was a failure, though it has become an instantly recognizable symbol of the decade. [Watch this on Thursday, September 30 at 2:00 AM EST]

Opening In Moscow is a brilliant kodachrome tour of the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow. The purpose of the exhibition was to introduce the best American designs, including cars and appliances, to the Soviets. On July 25, 1959, the fair, designed by George Nelson and boasting the aesthetic talents of Charles Eames, Buckminster Fuller, and Edward Steichen, opened to an eager crowd. Opening In Moscow is like being present at the exhibition. The kodachrome cinematography pops right off the screen, and the cool jazz background complements the equally cool fiberglass pavilions housing the sets of midcentury kitchens, salons, and supermarkets. Modern conveniences of American life are paired with the latest in art, fashion, and architecture. It's all fast and flashy, eye-popping and chaotic, cool and gaudy: typical trademarks of American pop culture.

One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is Pennebaker's juxtaposition of the comparatively new American culture with the rich, traditional culture of Russia. Reactions to the exhibition were as interesting as the exhibition itself. The pavilions were packed with excited faces, so much like our own, expressing an interest and openness that belied the American stereotype of Soviet bleakness and repression. Sometimes fascination and amusement gave way to a friendly skepticism. Many were happy to see the spectacle but couldn't be convinced that what they were seeing represented typical American lives. Russian intellectuals were unimpressed by the showy displays of gadgetry. To them, sleekness was no replacement for real culture, and they rightly questioned: how does this demonstrate the true essence of America? Where and what is your culture? Modern art and sculpture installations were met with the same bemusement and the question: is it 'real' art or merely decorative art? Regardless of the debate, American freedom of creativity was a novel concept that justified even those installations that were found to be the most tasteless.

It's disappointing to consider the excitement and openness with which the Russian public greeted the American exhibition because, when Pennebaker returned home with his documentary, Americans had no similar interest in the film and the Russian receptivity was unrequited. [This is a condensed version of Opening In Moscow on YouTube]

I highly recommend viewing both of these films should they happen to be reaired on the Documentary Film Channel. Earlier pop culture documentary posts touched on my passion for pop culture and film preservation, and I highlighted another documentary called Keepers Of The Frame. Kitty Packard's blog has an insightful article on the admirable work of the The Film Foundation and the necessity of film preservation. This article is necessary reading for all film enthusiasts and people who believe in this cause (especially since I managed to overlook linking to the Film Foundation in my original film preservation post)!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This Week on... TCM (September 26 - October 2)

It doesn't look like a great week for TCM, but there are a few movies that might be of interest. As always, you want to double-check your schedule for airings.

Sunday, September 26
BUtterfield 8 (1960) 8:00 AM
Critic's Choice (1963) 10:00 AM
The Ambassador's Daughter (1956) 12:00 PM
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954) 4:00 PM
Viva Zapata! (1952) 8:00 PM - Marlon Brando! This is my number one pick for the week.

Tuesday, September 28
The Roman Spring Of Mrs. Stone (1961) 8:00 PM
Anna Karenina (1948) 10:00 PM - This is the Vivien Leigh version
Ship Of Fools (1965) 2:15 AM - I'm excited to see this one!

Wednesday, September 29
Adventure (1945) 12:00 PM

Thursday, September 30
Dream Wife (1953) 10:00 AM
King Solomon's Mines (1950) 12:00 PM
From Here To Eternity (1953) 2:00 PM - A very good movie
Wuthering Heights (1939) 8:00 PM
The Heiress (1949) 10:00 PM - This is the millionth time that this has been on TCM this year, but it is quite good.
The Sting (1973) 2:00 AM - Again?!

Friday, October 1 (themes: Walter Matthau and Hammer Horror)
The Odd Couple (1968) 10:00 AM - One of my favorites!
Horror Of Dracula (1958) 8:00 PM
The Brides Of Dracula (1960) 9:30 PM
Dracula, Prince Of Darkness (1966) 11:00 PM
Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1969) 12:45 AM
Psychomania (1973) 2:30 AM - This one sounds really dumb and trashy, so it should be good.
Daughters Of Satan (1972) 4:00 AM

Saturday, October 2
Rosalie (1937) 6:00 AM - Never saw this, but I remember the 'Rosalie' number being featured in That's Entertainment!
Thousands Cheer (1943) 8:15 AM
Bonnie And Clyde (1967) 8:00 PM
They Live By Night (1949) 1:30 AM

* On a non-cinematic sidenote, I hope Arrested Development fans watched Running Wilde last week (as mentioned in my last post). I thought it was really promising. There were some funny moments, including surprise cameos by British comedian Peter Serafinowicz and David Cross. Will Arnett was in (almost) top-form as the star, proving that, though he is best in ensemble casting (a la Arrested Development), his comedic abilities are more than enough to carry a twenty minute show. Keri Russell was fine as his polar opposite ex-girlfriend, but the real chemistry was between Arnett and Serafinowicz. I hope Serafinowicz will be a permanent cast member. Make sure you catch Running Wilde before it's gone forever! Since I enjoyed it, I give it maybe... three more episodes before Fox axes it. Also, the season premiere of 30 Rock was especially excellent, and The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, also starring Cross and Arnett, will begin this week on the Independent Film Channel (starting on Friday, October 1 at 10:00 PM -- leave your tv on and watch Freaks And Geeks after!).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This Week on... TCM (September 19-25)

It's a packed week on TCM, and I have to say, I think it looks like it's going to be a really good one!

Sunday, September 19
Show Boat (1951) 8:15 AM
With Six You Get Eggroll (1968) 2:00 PM - Doris Day and Brian Keith with a young Barbara Hershey
Rome Adventure (1962) 3:45 PM - Another movie about falling in love in Italy, which is practically a genre in itself. This one stars the delightful Suzanne Pleshette.
Mogambo (1953) 6:00 PM - A remake of Red Dust starring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Grace Kelly
Wait Until Dark (1967) 8:00 PM - Okay, but I really can't wait to finally see this!
Dial M For Murder (1954) 10:00 PM - I love this Hitchcock classic!

Monday, September 20
Topper (1937) 1:30 PM - Cary Grant!
Sherlock Holmes In Terror By Night (1946) 4:30 PM
Secret Beyond The Door (1948) 6:00 PM - Oooooh, a creepy Fritz Lang movie!
The Prowler (1951) 8:00 PM

Tuesday, September 21
Look Back In Anger (1958) 9:30 AM - It takes place in front of the kitchen sink. This must be the Richard Burton version that is actually from 1959, according to IMDb.
The Fugitive Kind (1960) 1:15 PM - I can't wait to see this!! It's Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani (also with Joanne Woodward)! Another one written by Tennessee Williams.
Irma La Douce (1963) 5:30 PM - Billy Wilder film with Jack Lemmon
Waterloo Bridge (1940) 12:00 AM - I highly recommend this movie. It is a beautifully tragic film about two star-crossed lovers who meet during an air raid. It stars Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh.
A Yank At Oxford (1938) 2:00 AM - And if you liked Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh in one movie, here's another.

Wednesday, September 22
Friends And Lovers (1931) 1:00 PM - A pre-code film starring Laurence Olivier, Lili Damita, and Erich von Stroheim.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 1:45 AM - This is brilliant!
What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) 3:15 AM - A must for any egg salad enthusiast! Incidentally, if you thought the Lovin' Spoonful scenes detracted from the movie, you might be interested to note that Woody Allen completely agreed and was none too happy about about being forced to include them. From then on, Woody Allen insisted on full control of all aspects of his films.
Hold On! (1966) 4:45 AM - Herman's Hermits were better than the Lovin' Spoonful, at least!

Thursday, September 23
You're Only Young Once (1938) 2:15 PM - In which time laughs at Andy Hardy.

Friday, September 24
Conflict (1945) 11:00 AM - A bleak sounding Humphrey Bogart movie!
The Sting (1973) 9:45 PM - Again!
The Devil Within Her (1975) 3:15 AM - No, it's not The Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby. But it's similar, which makes one wonder: what was it about the 1970s and these movies about spawning demonic children? Was it merely one too many bad acid trips or just some strange societal craze? Either way, this movie looks like some good trash.

Saturday, September 25
The Penguin Pool Murder (1932) 6:00 AM - From TCM: 'A feisty school teacher sets out to solve a murder in an aquarium.' Wow!
The Mouse That Roared (1959) 9:00 AM - Classic Peter Sellers farce
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) 8:00 PM - This was JUST on.. Argh, and I know that I won't be able to resist watching Marlon Brando in his sweaty t-shirt again!
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958) 10:15 PM - It's a Very Tennessee Williams night.. At least you can marvel at all the weird names and all the dysfunctional, creepy family problems.
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) 12:15 AM - Now, this is my favorite Tennessee Williams work. And, this is one of my favorite Katharine Hepburn films and one of my favorite Monty Clift movies, as well! It's truly disturbing.
Sweet Bird Of Youth (1962) 2:15 AM - I mostly liked this for Paul Newman. He looks very good in this movie. The movie itself.. meh (in my opinion).

Also, Keepers Of The Frame, the film restoration documentary I talked about in this post, will air Sunday, September 19 (that's today!) at 4:00 PM. Don't miss your chance to watch this! And, this week on TV will include both the season premieres of 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory as well as the series premiere of Running Wilde (check this post for more info on that).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cinematic Automats

If I could travel back in time and work anywhere, I would choose a bustling Horn & Hardart's in Manhattan. I'm completely enthralled by the entire concept of automats, and I can't believe that they no longer exist (this isn't entirely true -- there are modern equivalents, but it's not the same). I'm always interested in scrutinizing movie scenes set in automats, cafeterias, nightclubs, five and dimes, department stores, and the like -- those mundane settings that were completely unremarkable when the movies were first released but now could be seen as curiosities because of their obsolescence or extinction. (Or, scenes from areas that are gone or endangered.. like original footage of Coney Island, for instance) Sure, I suppose that would be like staring at a scene taking place in a McDonald's lobby and trying to get a good look at the dollar menu, but I can't help my fascination of everyday views of the past. Recently, I rediscovered a movie that had an automat scene, which was made even more thrilling by the rare footage of BEHIND the automat's windows. This movie is the Doris Day/Cary Grant romantic comedy, That Touch Of Mink. In the film, Doris' roommate, played by Audrey Meadows, works in the automat and is reprimanded for supplying her pal with free meals.

This rediscovery lead me on a field trip to the IMDb to see if I could scrounge up more movies that bring the past to life. Specifically, I was looking for more movies that have automat scenes. The list the Db spat out is as follows:

Sadie McKee (1934)*
Thirty Day Princess (1934)*
Easy Living (1937)*
Footlight Fever (1941) - The REAL tagline: They've got that FOOTLIGHT FEVER and it's CATCHING!*
Married Bachelor (1941)*
Sweet And Low-down (1944)*
Ladies' Man (1947)*
A Run For Your Money (1949)* - This one is British
Just This Once (1952)*
Affair With A Stranger (1953)*
The Catered Affair (1956)*
* A Hatful Of Rain (1957) - I've seen this, and I can't recall any scene in an automat
* That Touch Of Mink (1962) - YES, this definitely has a scene, and it's highly recommended!
* Midnight Cowboy (1969) - I just rewatched this recently, and I recall a Western diner setting but nothing else.
Summer In The City (German)
* Radio Days (1987) - I saw this many years ago and loved it. Since it's a nostalgic trip to the past, it's possible that there is an automat scene.
Dark City (1998)
Solitary Journey (1998 animated short)

My new quest is to see all the movies that I've asterisked*. Can anyone confirm whether or not these movies actually have automat scenes? Is this list lacking movies with automat, cafeteria, and/or five and dime settings (or scenes that might be of similar interest to a nostalgia enthusiast)?

(Incidentally, I just discovered IMDb's lousy interface update. Apparently, the notion of 'ease of use' ain't what it used to be.. I'm talking to you, too, Flickr.. and EVERY other decent site that keeps exchanging simplicity for flashy bloat. Thanks for constantly taking the joy out of the best of the internet!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Releases! (TV and Sedaris edition)

As an avid Arrested Development fanatic, I'm always delighted to discover prospects of the former cast being utilized in ways that could possibly result in series that aren't instantly cancelled. Running Wilde is Mitch Hurwitz's latest try at a comedy for Fox, who have not been kind to Arrested Development alums in the past. The show features the combined talents of Will Arnett and David Cross, best remembered as Gob and Tobias, respectively. Here's more information about the new show. I've read mixed reviews for the first episode, but that shouldn't dissuade fans from watching! Tune into Fox on Tuesday, September 21 (9:30 PM EST -- check your local listings). Even more promising is the UK-based comedy, The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, which also stars Cross and Arnett. I've watched a few clips on YouTube, and the Independent Film Channel will be showing the series starting on Friday, October 1 (10:00 PM). IFC has also been airing the new Kids In The Hall series, which has been so-so; the fourth IT Crowd; and Freaks And Geeks, which has been every bit as wonderful as I remembered!

As a side note, both The Big Bang Theory (CBS) and 30 Rock (NBC) will have their season premieres on Thursday, September 23, though, apparently, not at the same time.

On to the book news! Fans of the quirky Sedaris clan will be doubly pleased to hear that there will be two new Sedaris books in the next two months.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, the latest edition to humorist David Sedaris' repertoire, will be available in stores on September 28, 2010. It will be a short collection of animal fables. When I saw him live in 2008, he debuted an oddball story about birds, which ended up being the only story that I didn't enjoy that evening. Since it was my least favorite, I was disappointed when he said that he was working on a collection of other animal stories. And, well, here it is. It can be pre-ordered now, and he will be doing another tour. Seeing him live is an incomparable experience.

Two years ago, I sent Amy Sedaris a note in which I begged her for a sequel to her delightfully demented, I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence, which is one of my favorite books (Fans of my other blog, Curly Wurly, should have a copy of this book). She has finally followed my suggestion! Amy's second book, Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People, will be released on November 2, 2010. Here's a sneak peak inside. I am so excited about this book. Amy will also be embarking on a short tour. She will be appearing at the Free Library of Philadelphia on November 5. The show is sold out.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

This Week on... TCM (September 12-18)

Last week was an all-time low for my TCM viewing. I meant to watch a few films but only managed one, Get Carter. Unfortunately, I didn't love the movie that much. Hopefully, there will be a better selection of movies this week!:

Sunday, September 12
Royal Wedding (1951) 8:00 AM - Starring Fred Astaire, June Allyson, and the ever dapper Peter Lawford! This is the movie that has Fred's amazing dance on the ceiling.
Lassie Come Home (1943) 2:30 PM
Sex And The Single Girl (1964) 8:00 PM - I watched a few minutes of this movie the last time TCM aired it, and I happened to catch a part that took place in an automat! This lead me to IMDb on a quest to find more movies that automat or cafeteria scenes. A list will follow here soon!

Monday, September 13 (theme: Claudette Colbert and In Memory of Patricia Neal)
It Happened One Night (1934) 6:15 AM - Classic Frank Capra comedy. I wrote about the movie a bit here.
Midnight (1939) 9:30 AM
The Palm Beach Story (1942) 1:15 PM
Private Screenings: Patricia Neal (2004) 8:00 PM - Interview with the wonderful Robert Osborne
The Fountainhead (1949) 9:00 PM

Tuesday, September 14
Pollyanna (1960) 2:00 PM
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) 4:15 PM
No Time For Sargeants (1958) 6:00 PM
Gone With The Wind (1939) 8:00 PM
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) 2:15 AM - Worth watching for Marlon Brando!

Wednesday, September 15
Gallant Sons (1940) 3:00 PM
Everything's Ducky (1961) 4:30 PM - A talking duck, Buddy Hackett, and Mickey Rooney?!!
Lord Love A Duck (1966) 6:00 PM

Thursday, September 16
The Reformer And The Redhead (1950) 2:00 PM
Summertime (1955) 3:30 PM - A lovely movie!
South Pacific (1958) 5:15 PM - Rogers and Hammerstein classic with some of the best songs of their partnership
Hamlet (1948) 9:45 PM

Friday, September 17 (apparently it's a colorful TGIF)
Man Hunt (1941) 6:00 AM
The White Cliffs Of Dover (1944) 7:45 AM
The Girl In Black Stockings (1957) 12:15 PM
The Moon Is Blue (1953) 8:00 PM - Preminger film with William Holden and David Niven
The Man With The Golden Arm (1955) 10:00 PM

Saturday, September 18
The Big Clock (1948) 8:30 AM
Fail-Safe (1964) 6:00 PM
Gigi (1958) 8:00 PM - Charming musical starring Leslie Caron (thank heaven for her!) and Louis Jourdan
Love In The Afternoon (1957) 10:15 PM - Starring Audrey Hepburn and an aging Gary Cooper

A quick reminder also to tune in to the Documentary Film channel on:
Thursday, September 16 at 11:00 AM - Rewind America (especially worth watching in light of the recent news that the Liberace museum will be closing!)
Sunday, September 19 at 4:00 PM - Keepers Of The Frame

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Spotlight on... Pop Culture Documentaries Revisited!

The Documentary Film channel strikes again! I saw another fascinating pop culture documentary late last night that warrants yet another blog post. Keepers Of The Frame (Mark McLaughlin, 1999) is a heartbreaking plea for the conservation, restoration, and preservation of fading cinematic memories.

Much of the documentary describes the fragility of film media. Leonard Maltin fondly recalled watching a black and white movie that brilliantly lit up the screen; he discovered that the bright light that black and white enthusiasts adore is achieved through a certain amount of silver content in the film itself. As the film deteriorates, that light darkens with each viewing.

Pictures made using nitrate film were once extremely common, but now only one-third of all nitrate films survive. These include not only movie films but also newsreels, historical films, cartoons, advertising, and slice-of-life candid films capturing real and irreplaceable images of the way we once lived. Silent movies, displaying a breadth of talent the like of which we will never see again, are all on nitrate. Ninety percent of all silent movies that were made are gone. Nitrate films are extremely volatile; they are flammable, explosive, and extremely unstable. The conservationists interviewed pointed out that nitrate films basically have the 'seeds of its own destruction' built right in, and, to make matters worse, the chemicals used to prevent further deterioration to the nitrate film is toxic and has contributed to the deaths of conservationists who have worked closely with them. To make matters worse, rotting nitrate acts like a catalyst. One rotten spool of film can spread to, and destroy, nearby films that are in mint condition. Often these films are lost due to negligence on the part of the people who have them in their possession. Films need to be stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. MGM has their archives stored in the Kansas City salt mines.

The next variety of film, safety film, appeared to be a solution to the fickle acetate of yore; however, conservationists have discovered that even this improved media has its own set of problems. Many safety films suffer from something that conservationists have coined 'vinegar syndrome,' an acidic deterioration that warps the film and destroys the picture. Then, there are the early talkies that had accompanying sounds recorded to a separate 33 1/3 rpm record. There are many cases of either the film or the record existing without its companion piece.

Color fading is yet another major problem affecting films. The sparkling, glorious technicolors that pop off the screen fade to a greenish hue and, eventually, the image disappears from the film entirely.

The documentary also touches on preserving films shot in formats that are not in use any longer. It highlighted an archivist who modified his living room to facilitate one of the last Cinerama theater systems, which requires three separate projectors.

Keepers Of The Frame shows a lot of rare clips of movies that have been rescued. It also shows clips of movies that are beyond recovery: great splotches obscure the faces of the actors and color fading makes it impossible to watch. Then there are the talkies that have become separated from their records. The documentary played a sound byte with a screen that was blank except for these words: 'The film for this Vitaphone no longer exists.'

The documentary discusses why film preservation is so important (in a far more passionate and effective way than my last post that touched on the subject). Quite simply, there is no more thorough document of who we are, or who we once were, than the motion picture. For all its faults, film captures our stories more indelibly than any other medium. They are artifacts that reflect on a time that is no more and that help us to understand the past and ourselves. 'The films now being made will be seen as the men and women of the future.' This is certainly how I feel about the films of the last century. I thrill to see the fashions and fads, the designs and architecture, and, most especially, both the reality and Hollywood's interpretation of everyday life. For this reason, it is equally important to preserve personal home movies, which were often shot on Super 8. Home movies are completely unique in the way that they preserve personal and social history.

Film preservation is nothing short of a labor of love. There is neither money nor glamour in the job. The equipment is quite expensive, and the process is extremely tedious and time consuming. Thanks to the combined efforts of the George Eastman House, the UCLA Film and Television Archive [2], the Museum of Modern Art [2], and other private archives, a great amount of films have been saved for future generations. The Library of Congress has the largest collection of nitrate films, and, perhaps of even greater value, a collection of paper prints that cannot fall victim to acid deterioration. These paper prints are actual copies of original movie negatives printed on paper rolls. Some of these paper prints have proved to be invaluable to restoring lost or damaged films.

The most devastating revelation that this documentary unearths is that there is no permanent solution. What's lost is often lost for good, and the triumph of recovered films is bittersweet. Every bit of film will need to be retransferred to the latest medium. Digital media is not archival as its lifespan is often as short as ten years. It cannot replace the source material, and analog is seen as superior.

If you would like to see the documentary, I've found this link, but my computer doesn't do video very well, so I don't know whether it actually links to a watchable copy of the video. According to its page on the Documentary Film site, it will be aired again on Sunday, September 19 at 4:00 PM. I highly recommend viewing this well-made documentary.

(Notes: All factoids were gleaned almost entirely from the documentary. Any inaccuracies are either my own or, possibly, from the documentary itself. I accepted everything I saw as fact. Also, on a side note, my interest in preservation isn't just in film; I'm passionate about all varieties of pop culture, art, and historic preservation.)

AND.... Rewind America (also by Mark McLaughlin and mentioned in my last post) will be on the Documentary channel again! Thursday, September 16 at 11:00 AM! Set your devices and MAKE SURE YOU WATCH IT! It's worth it to see the behind-the-scenes story of the Liberace Museum and Forrest J Ackerman's horror and science fiction collections!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This Week on... TCM (September 5-11)

Well, TCM seems to have a fairly disappointing schedule this month. Some of the movies I'm more interested in are airing at odd hours. Here are a few that I'd be interested in watching. (Every once in a while, TCM does change their schedule, and I've compiled this a month in advance.. so, you want to check your local listings rather than rely on me!)

Sunday, September 5
Bye Bye Birdie (1963) 12:00 PM
The Long, Long Trailer (1954) 4:15 PM

Monday, September 6
Playtime (1967) 11:45 PM - Jacques Tati

Tuesday, September 7
The Ladykillers (1955) 1:00 PM
Model Shop (1969) 6:15 PM
Sidewalks Of London (1938) 12:00 AM

Wednesday, September 8
Thunder Road (1958) 6:00 PM
Touch Of Evil (1958) 12:00 AM

Thursday, September 9
Babes In Arms (1939) 6:00 AM
Girl Crazy (1943) 11:45 AM
Till The Clouds Roll By (1946) 1:30 PM
Words And Music (1948) 4:00 PM
Get Carter (1971) 1:15 AM

Friday, September 10
The Curse Of The Cat People (1944) 6:00 AM
The Body Snatcher (1945) 7:15 AM
Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 10:30 AM - Paul Newman!
The Haunting (1963) 6:00 PM
A Song To Remember (1945) 12:00 AM
Five Minutes To Live (1961) 2:00 AM - Starring Johnny Cash!

Saturday, September 11
High Sierra (1941) 10:00 PM

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beverly Hills, 90210

Beverly Hills, 90210 was one of my favorite shows in the 1990s, in no small part because of the James Dean of West Beverly, Dylan McKay. Because of Dylan's troubled relationships with his criminal father and his absent mother, his on and off relationship with Brenda Walsh, and his budding alcoholism, he was the most volatile character on the show (even more than Brenda and Kelly's mother, Jackie). But the brooding and angstiness were all part of the Dylan allure.

I was planning on making a list of my favorite 90210 moments in honor of the '9/02/10' holiday, but it's too hot to even think about it!

So, here's a quick run-down:
1. 'Isn't It Romantic?' is a favorite episode because it first acknowledged Dylan and Brenda's relationship, which was, for me, a weekly draw to the show.
2. 'Fame is Where You Find It' was a fun episode. While Brandon was cast in a popular teen drama, Brenda took over his job at the Peach Pit. At first she was really klutzy and terrible at juggling orders, but then she created a stereotypical diner persona, 'Laverne', which drew a huge crowd to Nat's. Brenda actually had a personality, so I felt that she was the most interesting female character on 90210 (well, when she wasn't bitching about Dylan).
3. The two scariest, yet most memorable episodes were 'The Slumber Party' and 'It's Only A Test'.
4. 'U4EA' and 'My Desperate Valentine' were the two most absurd episodes in the Emily Valentine plot arc. Ultimately, these are probably my two favorite episodes. Lesson learned: Never let Emily Valentine get you your drink.
5. The gang of West Bev (and the rest of America) go Color Me Badd crazy!

More 90210 links and pictures at my Tumblr.