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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

The Sweet Stress of the TCMFF

It’s coming. Just over two months away now. The 5th annual TCMFF will be happening April 10 through the 13, for which guest writer Amanda Glenn is very excited. However, with anticipation comes great stress over the inevitable choices she will have to make over personal favorites and first time viewings.

I feel a wave of sweet but stressful decisions coming on. I plan on attending the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival in spring (the TCMFF April, 10-13) and the recently announced additions to this year’s lineup leaves me sure I will be having to decide between long time favorites and one or two from my “got to see it” list. I mean I have very fond memories of seeing BLAZING SADDLES at the Drive-In with sleeping children in the back seat while I laughed myself silly. And then there’s the original GODZILLA. TCM is offering me the (second) chance of a lifetime to view the beginning of a film series that has entertained generations. Undoubtedly, I will end up in the situation of having to choose between these two early contenders and films not yet scheduled for the Classic Film Festival. Or even between the two directly! I don’t know what it is, but it happens every year.

Will the powers that be make me chose between MARY POPPINS and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS? The mere thought is enough to start the argument in my head: A Spoonful of Sugar or Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas? Julie Andrews at her most delightful or Judy Garland at her most charming? Chim, Chim Cheree and Dick Van Dyke or The Boy Next Door and that yummy young man - whose name I forget but whose soulful eyes, careful grooming, and lush voice I long to indulge in again (Editor’s Note: he’s Tom Drake). Will I have to give up Marjorie Main in the kitchen for Mr. Banks dancing about the living room? Horror of horrors, shall I have to choose between HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, which I have loved since the first time I saw it on TV (back in the day with rabbit ear antennas and the inevitability of snow) or A HARD DAYS NIGHT which I shamefully admit I have never seen at all since it came out in the midst of my having babies and being poor decade and has not been all that available in the intervening years?

Please, please, please, TCM schedulers I hope you’ll be kind to me. Because, I want to see THE GOODBYE GIRL, I want to see THE LODGER, and MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, and STORMY WEATHER. I am about to suffer a stress-induced panic or maybe throw a fit any two year old would be proud of. What it comes down to is that I WANT TO SEE THEM ALL! These are some very important options that must be considered well in advance of the actual point of decision, because in a Film Festival as jam-packed as the one hosted by Turner Classic Movies there’s just no room for last minute decisions. I wonder how much it would cost to get cloned?

It‘s not that I haven’t bought or rented most of these films. But no matter how big your home screen may be, in my opinion nothing beats the theater experience. Perhaps it is the intimacy shared with several hundred strangers as you all sigh, tear up, laugh, chortle, giggle, and sigh again. There is the shared chill and anticipation of a threat, the comfortable welcoming of mutual old friends, the perfume of popcorn, and the reluctant letting go of the fantasy when the lights come back up after the credits. I may complain and feel discomfort, but like choosing the first piece from a box of See’s candies it is a sweet stress. It is certainly an adventure looked forward too by many. After all, the days leading up to the TCMFF and the periodically scheduling announcements offers devotees a delightful anguish, luring the film lover to make that annual sojourn, that pilgrim’s trek to the big screens of Hollywood and all that the TCMFF has to offer.

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