“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Jaws, Universal Studios, 1975
You’ll never go in the water again …
As I was scouting the classic movie schedules for this week, the dates seemed like they had to be wrong. Is it just me, or is this January flying by? In years past, I swear the winter months crawled by like, well… so many sloths crossing the street. (And if you’d like a visual, there are actually YouTube videos of sloths crossing streets. They—the sloths, I mean–move like I would the day after taking a Zumba class.)
But I digress.
Between TMC and AMC, there are so many excellent movies on deck this week, it was a challenge to narrow my list down to just four, but I did. Here’s this week’s watch list.
Sunday, January 19
6:00 p.m. Adam’s Rib (1949) Comedy, Drama, Romance. TCM. Sparks fly on the home front when husband-and-wife lawyers represent opposite sides in a women’s rights case. [TCM] Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday.
Why? Aside from the fact that Tracy and Hepburn are synonymous with smart romantic comedy, this thoroughly entertaining film features a battle-of-the-sexes storyline that’s both fun and thoughtful. Hepburn’s heartfelt courtroom arguments for women’s equality may seem quaint today, but they’re a telling product of their time. How far have we come since then? And how far have we yet to go?
Thursday, January 23
2:30 a.m. Giant (1956) Drama/Family Saga. TCM. When a wealthy Texas rancher marries a beautiful socialite from the north, it’s just the beginning of his family’s struggles to keep up with rapidly changing times. Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean.
Why? Hudson and Taylor turn in fine performances as Bick and Leslie Benedict in this epic film. Add pre- and post-WWII Texas as the setting and James Dean’s masterful final act as Hudson’s bitter antagonist, ranch hand turned oil-tycoon Jett Rink, and it’s no mystery why this movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards.
Saturday, January 25
8:00 p.m. Jaws (1975) Action/Adventure/Thriller. TCM. When a small beach town is terrorized by a man-eating great white shark, its water-phobic police chief joins with a young oceanographer and a cantankerous fisherman to hunt down the beast. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfus, Robert Shaw.
Why? This near flawless Spielberg thriller was the first summer blockbuster and the highest grossing movie ever made when it was released. For me, this movie’s excellence is in the conflict and humor that plays out so perfectly between Scheider, Dreyfus, and Shaw as their characters—Brody, Hooper, and Quint—must work together to defeat “The Beast.”
10:15 p.m. Alien (1979) Sci-Fi/Horror/Thriller. TCM. The crew of a commercial space vessel answers a distress call from a dead planet that hosts a vicious alien life form. Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt.
Why? Originally pitched to studio executives as “Jaws in space,” Alien is an edge-of-your seat sci-fi horror suspense film that spawned three sequels. It’s been said that Sigourney Weaver’s Lt. Ellen Ripley is the best—read strong, smart, imperfect, heroic–female character in science fiction film history. I agree.
Trivia Corner: Taglines have appeared in ads and on movie posters for almost as long as there have been feature films.
A great tag not only nails the heart of the story, it intrigues its target audience.
Here are some tags from this week’s picks. Which ones would have tempted you to buy a ticket?
“Who wears the pants?”
“The legendary epic that’s as big as Texas.”
“Don’t go in the water.”
“In space no one can hear you scream.”
Have a great week!
Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.
By Scott Catron (Sunset on Hollywood uploaded by zaui) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Adam’s Rib trailer created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Giant Movie Poster – Bill Gold [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons