This coming weekend, March 26-29, it’s down the rabbit hole once again to revel in Hollywood’s past glories (and international cinema’s too) at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival. This is the sixth incarnation of the festival, and I have been honored-- and downright lucky-- to have been able to attend each of those, thanks to the sponsorship of Ed Gonzalez, editor-in-chief at Slant magazine, whose daily blog The House Next Door publishes my account of the festival every year. (I’ll be writing an extensive piece on my experience at the festival for The House Next Door, to be posted next week. Look for the link here.)And every year part of the excitement and preparation for the festival is, of course, the announcement of the schedule. TCM usually dribbles out five or six big-ticket items far in advance of announcing the slot-by-slot programming, and those are usually the ones that don’t do much to get my heart racing. In accordance with the 2015 festival theme, “History at the Movies,” one of the first pictures announced was… Apollo 13, a perfectly fine movie but not the sort of choice I gravitate to with enthusiasm in this particular situation.
But it’s always the little nooks and crannies of the schedule which later get filled with rarities, oddities and fascinating panels and presentations that make the TCM Classic Film Festival really worth attending, and this year there are plenty of goodies for cinephiles to seek out and enjoy while others get in line for less-rarely-seen attractions like Dr. Zhivago or The French Connection. (The important questions for me in deciding what to see are always: Have I ever seen it? Have I ever seen it projected? Have I ever heard of it? If the answers to any or all of these are “no,” there’s a good chance I’ll want to stand in line for it at TCM.)
Of course, I'm looking forward to reuniting with high-quality moviegoing pals like Richard Harland Smith, Ariel Schudson, Millie De Chirico, Bob Westal, Michael Schlesinger, Doug Cummings, Robert Tower and lots of others. Plus this year my best friend Bruce will be in town to roam the hallowed halls of Hollywood with me, which will be a dream come true for both of us.
In the meantime (not to skew Bruce's perspective or anything like that), here’s a quick peek at what I’m imagining my upcoming TCM Classic Film Festival weekend might look like, with the full and open acknowledgement that anything from the butterfly effect to a sold-out screening could monkey-wrench these best-laid plans at a moment’s notice.
And that's just the first day! (Rim shot! Drops mic!)