Films in 2019: April

April was an amazing month of movies, to say the least. While I didn’t watch quite as many movies as I usually try to do within a month’s time, my experiences at the theater were nothing short of incredible, and that’s mostly due to the TCM Classic Film Festival! I had such a great time going to my first TCMFF, I can’t imagine ever missing it again… so now I’m just counting down until it’s that time again next year. I’m still working on a recap post of all that I saw while I was in Hollywood, so expect to see that later in May. In the meantime, a look back at what I watched in the last 30 days…

New-to-Me: 14

Re-Watched: 8

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 2
  • 1940s – 2
  • 1950s – 4
  • 1960s – 2
  • 1970s – 0
  • 1980s – 0
  • 1990s – 0
  • 2000s – 0
  • 2010s – 3

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. One Hour with You (1932)
  2. The Grass Is Greener (1960)
  3. Everything Is Copy (2015)
  4. Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)
  5. When Worlds Collide (1951)
  6. Father Goose (1964)
  7. A Woman of Affairs (1928)
  8. The Dolly Sisters (1945)
  9. The Good Humor Man (1950)
  10. Nightfall (1956)
  11. So Dark the Night (1946)
  12. Booksmart (2019)
  13. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  14. M (1951)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)

Merrily We Go to Hell (1932), directed by Dorothy Arzner

At TCMFF, I ended up watching more old favorites than seeking out movies I hadn’t seen before, but most of the ones that were new-to-me I ended up enjoying quite a lot. Merrily We Go to Hell was just my second film at the festival, kicking off the first full day of screenings. This pre-code was especially fun to discover with an audience, as many of us didn’t quite know where this story would turn next. Fredric March is an actor I always enjoy seeing pop up in a film, and he’s great in this role of a drunken newspaperman, perfectly balancing the fine line between his natural charm and the character’s much more unlikeable traits. And Sylvia Sidney is fabulous opposite her co-star, and great in her own scenes too. It’s also amusing seeing Cary Grant in a small role before he hit it big.

When Worlds Collide (1951)

When Worlds Collide (1951), directed by Rudolph Maté

This is another movie I discovered at TCMFF, and honestly, if I hadn’t seen it at the festival I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much watching it at home instead. As can be expected from the time and genre, it’s a pretty silly movie, but it was such a treat to watch with a film-loving audience (it helped that star Barbara Rush was there too!). When Worlds Collide does feature some of the coolest special effects I’ve seen from the era, as can be expected from the creative mind of George Pal, who worked on The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine after this film. Overall, I’d say it’s one of the better mid-century sci-fi movies, and I can’t imagine anyone not having fun watching it.

Father Goose (1964)

Father Goose (1964), directed by Ralph Nelson

The TCMFF schedule had a good handful of Cary Grant films, but Father Goose was the only one I managed to fit in, and luckily it was one I hadn’t seen before (unlike the others, which were all old favorites, aside from the aforementioned Merrily We Go to Hell). I’m not quite as familiar with his later work in the 1960s as I am with what he made in the previous decades of his career, and it turns out this is now the oldest I’ve actually seen him in any of his movies, as this ended up being his penultimate film. Though he was just a couple of short years away from retiring, Grant shows he was still at the top of his game here, still exuding plenty of his special charisma to match Leslie Caron’s energy, who is delightful as usual. Both stars are wonderful in their scenes together, and they also have a great dynamic with the child actors filling out the rest of the cast.

Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart (2019), directed by Olivia Wilde

Booksmart was a movie that was on my radar to check out this year, and I had the good fortune of going to a free advanced screening for the film last week. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard watching a movie in the theater as I did when I saw this. It’s a great directorial debut from Olivia Wilde, who brings some really great performances out of her young cast, led by Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein. Both actresses work so well off of each other, making it seem as though they’ve been friends for years just as their characters have been. Billie Lourd also gives an especially entertaining supporting performance; she definitely has some great screen presence like her beloved mother and grandmother.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame (2019), directed by Joe Russo, Anthony Russo

Seeing Avengers: Endgame on opening night was the best way to close out an especially awesome month at the movie theater. I’ve followed the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe since it kicked off back in 2008 with Iron Man, so seeing all the stories that spanned more than 20 movies over more than 10 years come together here was simply remarkable. With so many characters to juggle at this point in the series, the movie (along with its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War) could have easily been a convoluted mess, but for lots of fans like me who’ve been there since the beginning, this conclusion was nothing short of satisfying. I loved practically every minute of its three-hour-plus runtime, fully engrossed with all the big action and smaller character moments. I can’t wait to see it again in a few days (in IMAX this time)!

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