I can’t believe it’s back. It’s been two long years since I’ve seen my friends in Los Angeles to celebrate the world of classic film and the television channel that unites us. A lot has changed. No doubt I’ve changed. But the love of classic movies is eternal. Can you tell I’m excited to be at the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival? This year’s lineup certainly feels like a post-COVID lineup. There feels like fewer panels, no doubt to limit how many are packed in the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom; it feels like there aren’t as many stars. But, no matter what, the schedule I have here is one that remains ever-changing. Kim is making a video of her picks which you can find over at our YouTube channel. But here’s my (highly tentative) TCM Classic Film Festival schedule.
Thursday, April 21
No doubt I’ll be at the Meet TCM event and maybe trivia, though I’m limiting how many big crowd events outside of the movies I’m doing so probably won’t hang out too long. I should rest up since, from here on out, it’ll be go, go, go!
For the first year in my TCMFF history I’ve been invited to the opening night party! I honestly can’t believe it. I don’t plan on seeing the movie, per se — sorry, E.T. — but I will be at the afterparty. If I see Drew Barrymore I might lose my mind! With that, I’m gonna try to get into 1946’s The Harvey Girls, easily my favorite Judy Garland movie. As much as I’d have loved to see Lover Come Back (1961) who knows how long a TCM opening party runs!
Friday, April 22
Friday is where the tough stuff begins. I have a few options here that revolve around the trio of The Jungle Book (1967), Lily Tomlin’s handprint ceremony, and The Group (1966). I could go to Jungle Book, see Floyd Norman’s intro, then head over to Tomlin. Or I could see Tomlin and try to cut out early to see Diane Baker discuss The Group. Either way you’ll find me within one of these areas.
Next, it’s all about choosing between John Garfield and Joan Crawford. On the one hand, as the resident John Garfield superfan, who would I be if I skipped seeing him in Pride of the Marines (1945)? At the same time, I’ve seen it before and Pride is probably one of my least fave John G. movies. Queen Bee (1955) is a Joan Crawford movie I’ve never seen and it’s described as a “lurid melodrama.” Who can pass that up?
I’d love to see who will show up at the TCM celebration of Doris Day or I could go see Bette Davis in 1940’s The Letter, a movie I’ve yet to see but desperately want to.
From there, if I’m still awake, I’m tempted to see Fatal Attraction (1987), a film I love that I’ve never watched on the big screen. But that’s planning to screen at the American Cinematheque a few days after TCMFF so why waste the space? Maybe I should lighten thins up with 1934’s The Gay Divorcee?
Saturday, April 23
Looks like Saturday I can sleep a little (or at least chew my breakfast) as the first slate of titles that morning aren’t really getting me.
My first film of the day looks to be one I saw right before the pandemic shut everything down: 1973’s The Last of Sheila. I saw this murder mystery at the Egyptian literally a month or so before COVID changed everything, so why not bring it full circle? The screening also has guest Richard Benjamin doing an introduction, who is utterly amazing in the movie.
After that I’ll probably do my first (if not only) panel, the Conversation With Floyd Norman. I can’t pass up seeing a Disney animator who knew Walt Disney himself. I’ve been fortunate to meet Floyd before and he is an utter darling.
As much as I’d love to see The Hustler (1961) because Paul Newman I actually think I’m gonna see 1949’s Little Women. Not only is it my favorite iteration of Louisa May Alcott’s story, my favorite child star Margaret O’Brien will be there!
Now, I know you’re all thinking “You’re planning your schedule around Force of Evil (1948), right?” I mean, I was. But it’s actually playing as part of UCLA’s Festival of Preservation just a few weeks later. Plus, I hate to pass up a poolside screening so I’ll probably be spending the evening with Elvis for a first time watch of Blue Hawaii (1961).
From there I’d love to tell you I’m seeing Polyester (1981), but you all know I’ve never made it to a midnight screening and this year looks no different.
Sunday, April 24
The rest of the schedule depends on the TBAs, so I’m vacillating between Robert Siodmak’s 1942 comedic thriller Fly-By-Night (1942) or seeing the conversation with Piper Laurie.
There’s also an equally tough choice between the 1932 Herbert Marshall pre-Code Evenings for Sale (1932) or the Reframed panel which has a stacked list of attendees including author Roxane Gay, Jacqueline Stewart, and my buddy Nancy Wang Yuen.
Another tough choice between Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting (1973) and the Piper Laurie/Douglas Sirk-directed comedy Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952). Right now I’m leaning towards the latter as I’d like to see Laurie and can’t pass up a Sirkian feature.
Regardless of what I choose I know I’m ending my evening with Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own (1992). It’s a movie I’ve hoped would play the festival and several of the Rockford Peaches themselves will be there! If I meet Megan Cavanaugh, Marla Hooch herself, I might pass out!
That’s the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival in a nutshell. Where will you be? What choices should I make? Let me know in the comments.