Films in 2019: August

As is the norm for the month of August, I watched a bunch of movies thanks to TCM’s annual Summer Under the Stars program. I watched at least one new-to-me movie for each featured star, though I simply re-watched a movie for the days dedicated to James Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, and Fred Astaire since I had already seen all of their movies that were on the schedule. I did get a bit of a late start on watching due to some traveling at the beginning of the month, so I still have a few stars left to catch up with before their movies are taken off the Watch TCM app. Aside from the movies playing on TCM, I also caught up with a couple of new releases and watched a few on the Criterion Channel before they left the service. So let’s take a look at all that I watched over the past 31 days.

New-to-Me: 40

Re-Watched: 4

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 10
  • 1940s – 7
  • 1950s – 6
  • 1960s – 2
  • 1970s – 2
  • 1980s – 3
  • 1990s – 6
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 3

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Shine (1996)
  2. The Long Night (1947)
  3. The Fugitive (1947)
  4. Susan and God (1940)
  5. Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
  6. A Dry White Season (1989)
  7. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
  8. The Little Princess (1939)
  9. The Shining Hour (1938)
  10. I Met Him in Paris (1937)
  11. The Duke Is Tops (1938)
  12. Ride, Vaquero! (1953)
  13. Knights of the Round Table (1953)
  14. Ship Ahoy (1942)
  15. Texas Carnival (1951)
  16. The Ritz (1976)
  17. All Through the Night (1950)
  18. Nancy Goes to Rio (1950)
  19. Impact (1949)
  20. The Limey (1999)
  21. The Dead (1987)
  22. The Farewell (2019)
  23. Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
  24. The Loved One (1965)
  25. Joy of Living (1938)
  26. Eve’s Bayou (1997)
  27. The Sea Hawk (1940)
  28. The Dawn Patrol (1938)
  29. The Great Buster (2018)
  30. Invitation (1952)
  31. Callaway Went Thataway (1951)
  32. All About My Mother (1999)
  33. Talk to Her (2002)
  34. Dreams (1990)
  35. Union Pacific (1939)
  36. Red-Headed Woman (1932)
  37. Steel Magnolias (1989)
  38. Hook (1991)
  39. The Little Giant (1933)
  40. Come and Get It (1936)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019), directed by Quentin Tarantino

While the running time for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood isn’t unusual to see for a Quentin Tarantino film, it does move slower than his other movies. But that pace helped me enjoy the movie more, as it spends its time with its three main characters, alternating between what’s essentially a day in the life for each of them. I did really like the dynamic between actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), along with their separate storylines with Rick filming a guest appearance on a TV western, and Cliff finding himself at Spahn Ranch. But what I loved the most was seeing Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) living her life, especially when she winds up seeing herself in a movie she’s featured in. I will say that having listened to the podcast “You Must Remember This” mini-series called “Charles Manson’s Hollywood” a few times over the years and having that background knowledge surrounding the events of the film enhanced my overall experience with it, as well as just getting to essentially hang out in a bygone Hollywood era for a couple of hours or so.

The Farewell (2019)

The Farewell (2019), directed by Lulu Wang

The Farewell was one of the movies I was most looking forward to seeing this summer after it received rave reviews out of the Sundance Film Festival, and I’m very glad it didn’t disappoint with all the hype. After her breakout year in hilarious, scene-stealing roles in Ocean’s Eight and Crazy Rich Asians, it was great seeing Awkwafina give a more subdued performance as a young woman grappling with her grandmother’s terminal diagnosis and wanting to tell her the truth despite her family’s wishes not to. I really liked the scenes she shares with her grandmother, whether over the phone or in person, as they are especially touching, and just being absorbed in Chinese culture and traditions, as seeing Asian representation like this is sorely missing from mainstream movies.

Scenes from a Marriage (1973)

Scenes from a Marriage (1973), directed by Ingmar Bergman

I was happy to see TCM dedicate one of its Summer Under the Stars days to Liv Ullmann, as she’s an actress who I always enjoy seeing in a movie. Unfortunately, I only got around to seeing Scenes from a Marriage, but it was a great pick and is now among my favorites of the films she made with director Ingmar Bergman. It’s an engrossing movie throughout its nearly three-hour running time as it navigates the intimacies of one couple’s relationship through a seemingly blissful marriage to divorce, and the ways in which they find themselves drawn to each other again and again. After seeing this theatrical version, I definitely look forward to seeing the extended, television version and getting an even more fleshed-out look at these characters.

All About My Mother (1999)

All About My Mother (1999), directed by Pedro Almodóvar

The Criterion Channel had a collection of Pedro Almodóvar’s films that expired at the end of August, and as I’ve been meaning to check out more of his work, I managed to watch a couple of his most acclaimed movies before they left the service. All About My Mother features some great melodrama that’s grounded by fantastic performances, anchored by Cecilia Roth as the main character Manuela who tries to cope with her son’s sudden death as she returns to Barcelona to search for the father he never knew, who in turn never knew of his son’s existence. I love how multi-faceted the female characters often are in the Almodóvar films I’ve seen so far, I hope to get around to seeing more from him soon.

Steel Magnolias (1989)

Steel Magnolias (1989), directed by Herbert Ross

This movie was on my initial TCMFF schedule, mostly because Shirley MacLaine was due to make an appearance. But because she had to cancel, I opted to go to a different screening (which ended up being one of my favorites of the whole festival anyway so it worked out). After watching Steel Magnolias for MacLaine’s Summer Under the Stars tribute on TCM, I am glad I didn’t end up seeing it at TCMFF, only because I was able to shed many a tear in the privacy of my home. I didn’t expect this movie to hit me as much as it did, especially since I was already aware of the plot point that triggers the waterworks, but I really enjoyed seeing how it all played out. It boasts a stellar cast of actresses, and they all have a wonderful dynamic amongst themselves, though I was most drawn to the mother-daughter relationship between Sally Field and Julia Roberts.

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