Alison: I knew I should have taken the bus.
Gib: What? And wind up sitting next to some sleazebag?
Alison: [Gives the “look”.]
Gib: Some sleazebag you don’t know?
From The Sure Thing, 1985, Embassy Pictures
Bizzy, bizzy, bizzy.
Well, it’s official. I can no longer live in denial.
Week before last, I had to shovel snow away to clear a muddy brown dead grass spot so my dog could do her business. And then a bunch of relatives showed up at our door expecting to eat turkey. Two days later, I caught hubby lurking outside with a ladder, hanging twinkle lights. Then, the final straw. I finally broke down and put up our Christmas tree.
So, now it’s clear I’ve got to get busy with my Christmas shopping procrastination activities, which involve cleaning out my refrigerator, editing, drinking wine, reading, brushing the cat, internet surfing, painting my toenails, tweeting, and organizing my sock drawer.
As you can see, I’ll be under a lot of time pressure, so try not to call me unless it’s important. (For example, if you need a buy link to my latest romantic mystery, It Had to Be You, or if you need a mailing address to send me a gift card for a spa day.)
So, are you the enthusiastic, organized holiday type? Or are you a holiday procrastinator like me? Do tell!
Romance in December… “Is he funny? Does he make you laugh?”*
If you’re a holiday procrastinator or if you just happen to love romance, take it from me. There’s no better holiday procrastination activity than soaking up some TCM classics while rearranging your living room furniture. Why not warm up your December with these romantic gems?
Monday, December 8
8:00 pm An Affair to Remember (1957) Romance TCM. A whirlwind shipboard romance inspires a couple to break their practical, real-world marriage engagements and promise to meet again six months later. Will their love prove strong enough to survive? Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr.
Why? It’s the lovely, elegant, underplayed chemistry between Grant and Kerr that has propelled this film to number 5 on AFI’s list of the top 100 greatest love stories in American cinema.
(And besides, don’t you want to see the movie that inspired Nora Ephron to write Sleepless in Seattle?)
Wednesday, December 10
10:00 pm The Sure Thing (1985) Comedy/Romance TCM. A drastically mismatched pair of college freshman find the “real thing” when they’re stuck traveling together on a cross-country road trip to visit their respective paramours for Christmas. John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Nicolette Sheridan.
Why? This under-rated romantic comedy has been described as an ‘80s version of It Happened One Night. Is it predictable? You bet, but in the best possible way. Straight from the heart.
Cusack and Zuniga are perfectly cast in this smart, funny, warm, charming odd-couple teen romance that surpasses its bawdy sub-genre and then some. This was director Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy masterpiece until he slammed it out of the park with When Harry Met Sally. Five stars and a half.
Thursday December 11
Also showing Sunday, Dec. 14 at 2:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 24 at 4:00 p.m.
8:00 pm The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Romance/ Comedy/ Drama. TCM. Sparks fly between a no-nonsense salesman in a Budapest gift shop and a sharp-tongued new salesgirl while, unbeknownst to them both, the two are falling in anonymous love by mail. Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan.
Why? This is a story about the faces we put on for the world and the treasures that lie beneath. This understated gem goes from amusing to heartwarming to jaw-droppingly romantic as Stewart is the first to discover his secret love’s true identity. (Later remade as You’ve Got Mail.)
Friday, December 19
5:45 pm The Apartment (1960) Comedy/ Drama/ Romance. A mild-mannered insurance clerk rises through the corporate ranks by letting his bosses use his Upper West Side Manhattan apartment for extra-marital trysts. All fine and good until he falls for his boss’s quirky mistress, the elevator girl. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine.
Why? As may be deduced from the genre description —Comedy/ Drama/ Romance—this film aims high and it hits on all cylinders. It’s funny, cynical, bittersweet, honest, sentimental, and clever. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, it won five, including Best Picture and Best Director (Billy Wilder).
Monday, December 29
10:15 pm Houseboat (1958) Romance/Comedy. TCM A restless young Italian socialite runs away from her insulated life only to sign on as housekeeper for an American widower with three rebellious children. Cary Grant, Sophia Loren.
Why? This is my second Cary Grant pick this month, but it’s not Grant who shines the most in this forerunner to ‘60s blended family comedies like Yours, Mine and Ours and With Six You Get Eggroll. It’s a gorgeous 23-year-old Sophie Loren in the unlikely role of housekeeper who runs away with this show.
Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.
*Subtitle quote from The Sure Thing, 1985, Embassy Pictures
Comedy & Romance Snow Peeps – Delynn Royer
Kerr – By Trailer screenshot (An Affair to Remember trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A low resolution version of the movie poster for the 1985 film The Sure Thing has been used for the purpose of providing critical commentary on the film and to suggest genre and style.
By Trailer screenshot (The Shop Around the Corner trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Apartment / By Billy Wilder / United Artists / Mirish Corporation (DVD with the film and the trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Sophia Loren – 1959 – By Paul A. Hesse Studios (eBay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons