Months before the TCM Film Festival’s opening day, Patty and I decided on taking the train from Chicago to Los Angeles. Not having traveled by train for any long distances, we had no idea what to expect so, why not?
Visions of the train trips in “North by Northwest” and “White Christmas” flashed through our minds as we made our way to Chicago’s Union Station. As we descended the staircase easily recognized from the 1987 “The Untouchables” film, we were ready for our adventure. Never mind the stress of the last few months, losing a job for one and getting a job for another, we were heading for the TCM Classic Film Festival and damn happy to be doing so.
Our first surprise came as we were about to board the train. We ran into a couple from Michigan going to the fest and they were ‘Ten-Timers’! We had dinner together and compared notes. The trip was 43 hours of relaxing, sleeping, sightseeing, eating, playing cards and overall enjoying the pace of a train trip over the hustle of air travel. The trip culminated in pulling up to another landmark, Los Angeles’ Union Station. What could be more appropriate.
Little did we know that our few postings from the train would be seen by so many. Over the next few days, we were stopped many times and asked if we were the couple that took the train from Chicago! Ha, celebrities.
We all know that experiencing the festival is highly personalized, so I hope that Patty and my descriptions of a few highlights are relatable.
Having gotten in on Tuesday, Patty had purchased tickets for Kimberly Truhler’s talk on fashion in the movies at the Woman’s Club of Hollywood. What a wonderful surprise to see so many of our fellow TCM’rs. It was a fantastic presentation, tour of the grounds, and first meeting of our tribe. Great start.
Wednesday began with our usual breakfast at Mel’s Drive-In, then stroll up and down Hollywood Boulevard to see what has, and hasn’t, changed. Back to the Roosevelt to get our bags, visit, and get ready for the “Going to the TCM Film Fest” poolside party! Kelly and Mark Wickersham out did themselves. Fantastic meeting old and new friends. Can’t wait to start the movies!
I’m not sure if we’re like other couples but we generally agree on what movies and venues to go to with a plan B if those don’t work out. 2019 being such an important milestone, we sprung for the Spotlight Pass so we could go to the opening night party. We’d been to one before so we expected about the same. But this year’s was so much better than the one we went to a few years prior. Funny thing was, for a large part of the night, we split up. We both roamed and talked to several people we knew and just had a great time.
The rest of the festival was a blur, with romance and love taking center stage. We both felt that “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” held up rather well. The struggles to connect with other people are universal concepts that both films do a first rate job of exploring. Having originally seen both films when we were in that stage of our lives didn’t hurt either.
Continuing on the romance theme, “Double Wedding”, “Love Affair”, “Merrily We Go to Hell”, and “My Favorite Wife” all rounded out our romance set. Some we’d seen but most we hadn’t, and enjoyed them all.
Over the last few fests we’ve loved the inclusion of all the 70’s movies, so it was no surprise we gravitated to “Nashville” and “The Godfather: Part II.” Having the cast of “Nashville” present was unique given the other cancellations that proceeded it. The extra scenes and background sounds to “The Godfather: Part II” made a screening of a film we’ve seen many times, that much more impressive.
This was the first year we didn’t make any pool side screenings or go to any talks, which we both felt bad about. However, the extra events and parties made up for that short coming. And all the new people we met this year really added to the sense that this was THE place to be on those four days in April.