TCM Film Festival Dreams 2023

You always have to make some hard choices at a festival, because you can’t see everything. Amanda has a different agenda than me on Friday Morning, but otherwise, we will see most of these together. House of Wax may fall by the wayside if Allison can come down to the hotel on Friday night for late dinner. You will get plenty of updates here when the Festival begins.

End of the Year Summary

It’s the end of the year and time to narcissistically look back on what my Movie Year entailed. After two years of Covid impact, things started to get back to normal, but the streaming monster that was awakened may very well be set to stomp all over the Cinema World.

Data Dump

I saw fiftythree new features in theaters this year but I actually went to a lot more film screenings than that number would indicate. Fully forty percent of all Theatrical experiences I had this year would be called “Classic Film Releases” 

There were an additional thirty one films that I saw in theaters, these ranged from 1940s War pictures to three of the Harry Potter films. This will also include our annual theatrical screenings of Lawrence of Arabia and Jaws (Including a 3D screening of the shark film)

It is the practice of this site to focus on films seen in a theater, so the seventeen new films that I saw which went straight to streaming are excluded from this inventory. I will say however, that “Prey” the Predator sequel, would have made my top ten list for the year if it had a theatrical release. “The Banshees of Inisherin”, “Glass Onion” and “Tar” all disappeared from theaters so quickly that they never had a chance to make it on this site. “The Fabelmans” might have suffered the same fate if I had not diligently sought a venue where I could see it before it vanished into our televisions. 

The Lambcast

On the Podcast Front, I personally hosted 48 of the 52 Lambcasts this year. I’d like to thank MovieRob, Todd Liebenow and Howard Casner for volunteering to cover for me when I was traveling in the past 12 months. It always lets my head rest easier when I know I have competent, responsible LAMBs who can back me up. In addition to the Movie of the Month, Decade Lookback Shows, Compilation shows, we covered 24 new theatrical releases. That averages out to two new films a month, most of which were crowded into the Summer film season. 

Here are links to three of my favorite Lambcasts from 2022:


Almost a dozen of the classics I took in were at the TCM Film Festival in April. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel for the first time in the eight festivals we have attended. Of course that is because I am no longer commuting from home everyday for the festival, having moved to Texas in 2020. The most amazing thing about the trip was that my friend Michael, who I met for the first time at the TCMFF in 2014, picked us up at LAX and drove us to Hollywood for the first night we were there. Michael is a

longtime friend from the blogging community, and you can read his work at “It Rains…You Get Wet“.

Listening to Steven Spielberg at the opening night screening of “E.T.”, was also pretty good.

Strother Martin

Over the Summer, I did a weekly dive into the Strother Martin Film Project. I tried to cover films that had not been on the project before, and the weekly post I put up became “Strother Martin Wednesdays”. 

You can visit the site by clicking on the link to “Pocket Money”

I still hope to put together a scrapbook/journal of my 007 thoughts and experiences. If I ever get it done I will self publish, and put a link here, but I doubt it will be ready this next year

Biggest Disappointments of the Year

Don’t Worry Darling” may have been the film I hated the most this year. It was pointless and the premise, a take on “The Stepford Wives” was less clever than that 50 year old film.

Coming in a close second on my list of shame, Alex Garland’s Men

This is a pseudo intellectual proto feminist, revisionist horror film that wastes the great Jessie Buckley and has poor Rory Kinnear as the face of every man in the story. Up until Babylon, it had the most visually disgusting sequence of the year. Gross but not frightening. 

Racing past “Men” for the most vile imagery on the screen this year, just under the wire, is Damien Chazelle’s look at Hollywood history in the tears the film industry was transitioning from silent to sound films. “Babylon” does have some things to recommend it, including a great performance by Margo Robbie. Unfortunately, the style that makes some scenes so appealing, also renders many sequences revolting. If you are willing to be defecated on, vomited on and peed on, there may be something here for you. For me it only held disappointment.

How you take five great actresses, but guns in their hands, and make the most boring action movie of the year is beyond me. Simon Kinberg manages to do it with “The 355“and test my patience, even though I am wired for this kind of film . 

One other Thing

I did this to my bedroom. I am not a big DiCaprio fan but I am a big fan of Rick Dalton.

TCM Film Festival Day Two

I had a complicated time trying to get the tablet I brought with me to the festival, to interface with the blog site and allow me to both write and post pictures. The brief E.T. Post took longer than it should have, so I finally decided to just push the coverage until after I was home. 

Day Two of the Festival started with my favorite Disney film and a conversation with a key animator who is the subject of his own documentary. Floyd Norman is an amazingly spry 86 year old, who broke color barriers and became a favorite of the old man “Walt Disney” himself. 

The Venue for the event was the El Capitan Theater, across the street from the Chinese Theater, and right next door to where Jimmy Kimmel films his nightly show. The theater was only used this one time at the festival this year, and if you have not been here before you are missing a real piece of Hollywood Showmanship. In addition to being restored to a beautiful condition, this nearly 100 year old movie palace features an organist playing a pipe organ on stage, primarily Disney film tunes.

Mr. Norman was interviewed by film critic and scholar Leonard Maltin who himself is the recipient of this year’s Robert Osborne Award at the Festival. 

You can hear a brief excerpt of their conversation on this Sound Cloud Link.

After the discussion, the theater gets set for the movie by darkening and then this happens:

The film itself was just as great as when I first saw it in 1967. Most of the songs are by the Sherman Brothers and they are hysterical. Having had Buzzards dancing around over roadkill in front of our place in Texas, I have a new appreciation for the animated moptops who show up in the climax of the film. In the old days, before home video, we revisited the movie by playing the LP  soundtrack over and ove, so all of the songs are in my head from more than fifty years ago. 

This year, Amanda and I decided to add more of the Club TCM talks to our itinerary and that lead us back to the Roosevelt for a fun presentation by animation historian Mark McCray.  Looney Tunes in Hollywood featured clips of celebrities from the Golden Age who appeared in cartoons of the time. The combination of clips was entertaining and the talk was very informative and fun. 

We then got in line to see “Pride of the Marines” a John Garfield film about a real war hero who loses his sight in battle and almost loses his faith in the world as well. This was a project that Garfield championed and he reportedly said this was his favorite role of his career. It would be perfectly understandable if that were true because Garfield is excellent and although the movie has some rough edges, it is a stirring combat film as well as a tribute to those who returned from the war with some pretty heavy burdens. 

The presentation before the film was given by Jim Beaver, a favorite character actor from today, and also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp. We were in the second row for this screening and we were very happy to see “Bobby” give his talk about Garfield, the subject of a Book that Beaver authored. 

We headed back to Club TCM for our next event, which was a conversation about Actress Doris Day. We had skipped the screening of “The Pajama Game” but we got a chance to hear stories from several of Doris Day’s friends, some of whom contributed to a photobook that was available for signing after the event. 

Eddie Muller hosted the four women as they shared memories and told their personal stories about becoming friends with Miss Day. All of them were charming and I was happy to recognize actress Jackie Joseph, from the original “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Gremlins”. She had worked on Day’s last film and Television projects. 

Amanda has a Moment with Jackie Joseph

There were several other programs we might have seen, but as luck would have it, my other daughter was able to come down to Hollywood for the evening and she brought Cheesecake from Canter’s Deli. We spent the rest of the evening having room service dinner and visiting with Allison.