Films in 2020: September

Well just like August, September ended up being a huge movie-watching month. While I did watch more new-to-me movies this past month, it didn’t quite top the previous month’s total. The first part of the month was spent catching up on about two dozen more movies from TCM’s Summer Under the Stars programming, plus a few films from their End of Summer Concert Tour series over Labor Day weekend. I didn’t include this in my selection of film favorites, but the concert movie The T.A.M.I Show is one of the best things I’ve seen during this whole pandemic, such a joy to watch! Anyway, I also caught up with the films in the Western Noir collection on the Criterion Channel before they left the service, plus delved into the Dorothy Dandridge movies TCM aired in September for their Star of the Month tribute to her. Other TCM programming I enjoyed this past month were the spotlight on medical heroes and the 14-week focus on female filmmakers titled Women Make Film, which I really encourage checking out. One more major film highlight to point out was the New York Film Festival adjusting to these challenging times and offering virtual screenings this year! As some of you may know, I’ve attended the festival twice now (just on a couple of weekends, not for the whole run), so it’s nice to still experience it in some capacity this year. I only bought four virtual tickets though, and my NYFF experience is already halfway over, but I’m looking forward to seeing the other two movies I rented from the festival, as I enjoyed the two I already watched. With all that said, let’s take a look at what I discovered over the past 30 days, and which of those stayed with me the most.

New-to-Me: 82

Re-Watched: 11

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 0
  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 9
  • 1940s – 19
  • 1950s – 20
  • 1960s – 8
  • 1970s – 9
  • 1980s – 7
  • 1990s – 1
  • 2000s – 3
  • 2010s – 2
  • 2020s – 3

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Olivia (1951)
  2. Cass Timberlane (1947)
  3. San Antonio (1945)
  4. The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959)
  5. Westward Passage (1932)
  6. The Beggar’s Opera (1953)
  7. The Key (1934)
  8. Reckless (1935)
  9. The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)
  10. Let the Good Times Roll (1973)
  11. Elvis: That’s the Way It Is (1970)
  12. Young Man with Ideas (1952)
  13. This Land Is Mine (1943)
  14. An Enemy of the People (1978)
  15. Kaleidoscope (1966)
  16. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
  17. Shine a Light (2008)
  18. This Is Elvis (1981)
  19. A King in New York (1957)
  20. A Dangerous Profession (1949)
  21. Night Editor (1946)
  22. Je tu il elle (1974)
  23. La Ciénaga (2001)
  24. The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929)
  25. We Were Dancing (1942)
  26. Her Cardboard Lover (1942)
  27. El camino (1963)
  28. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)
  29. Anne of Green Gables (1934)
  30. Bombardier (1943)
  31. Yellow Jack (1938)
  32. Between Two Worlds (1944)
  33. Joan of Paris (1942)
  34. The Secret Fury (1950)
  35. Boom Town (1940)
  36. The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964)
  37. Columbus (2017)
  38. Wanda (1970)
  39. Blood on the Moon (1948)
  40. Man with the Gun (1955)
  41. Station West (1948)
  42. The Toast of New York (1937)
  43. Fashions of 1934 (1934)
  44. Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)
  45. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)
  46. The Watermelon Woman (1996)
  47. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949)
  48. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
  49. People Will Talk (1951)
  50. Battle Circus (1953)
  51. The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944)
  52. A Man to Remember (1938)
  53. The Doctor and the Girl (1949)
  54. The Rain People (1969)
  55. Harry and Tonto (1974)
  56. Lost in America (1985)
  57. Red Beard (1965)
  58. Mifune: The Last Samurai (2015)
  59. The Violent Men (1955)
  60. Lust for Gold (1949)
  61. Tamango (1958)
  62. Tarzan’s Peril (1951)
  63. The Harlem Globetrotters (1951)
  64. A Cry in the Dark (1988)
  65. The Cave of the Yellow Dog (2005)
  66. On the Rocks (2020)
  67. The Young Doctors (1961)
  68. The Hospital (1971)
  69. Loving Couples (1964)
  70. Entre Nous (1983)
  71. Nomadland (2020)
  72. Man of the West (1958)
  73. Devil’s Doorway (1950)
  74. Rancho Notorious (1952)
  75. The Walking Hills (1949)
  76. I Shot Jesse James (1949)
  77. Island in the Sun (1957)
  78. The Decks Ran Red (1958)
  79. Ill Met by Moonlight (1957)
  80. Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)
  81. Stand and Deliver (1988)
  82. Star 80 (1983)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

The Watermelon Woman (1996)

The Watermelon Woman (1996), directed by Cheryl Dunye

This movie got on my radar somewhat recently, and I’m glad I watched it thanks to TCM’s Women Make Film series. The Watermelon Woman exceeded my expectations with its quasi-documentary style as filmmaker and star Cheryl Dunye explores the buried film history of marginalized people, and the experience of being a young black, lesbian woman in the ’90s. Right now more of her filmography is streaming on The Criterion Channel, and after seeing her most famous movie, I’m looking forward to checking out more of her lesser-known work.

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), directed by Francis Ford Coppola

So in September, I ended up watching a few Coppola movies, two I hadn’t seen before from Francis plus the latest from his daughter Sofia (more on that in a bit). I actually watched Peggy Sue Got Married on TCM after re-watching Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides through the Women Make Film series the night before, so it was especially interesting to see Kathleen Turner under the direction of the two Coppola’s on back-to-back nights. Turner is really fantastic in her sole Oscar-nominated performance, blending her natural charisma with the title character’s vulnerability as she revisits her high school past. I also have to add how mind-blowing the supporting cast is, from rising stars like Nicolas Cage and Jim Carrey, to older Hollywood legends like Maureen O’Sullivan, it made the viewing even more enjoyable. I’d be curious to see this with Back to the Future sometime, which seemed to overshadow this film coming out just the year before and covering a similar premise.

On the Rocks (2020)

On the Rocks (2020), directed by Sofia Coppola

On the Rocks was my first virtual screening from the New York Film Festival, and it was a great way to kick off my at-home experience, despite it making me wish I could visit New York City again as the father-daughter duo played by Bill Murray and Rashida Jones spend a lot of time driving around the city. It’s definitely among Sofia Coppola’s lighter movies, though it’s a fascinating look at the familial dynamic (especially considering the director’s own famous family ties).

Entre Nous (1983)

Entre Nous (1983), directed by Diane Kurys

This was another movie I watched thanks to TCM’s Women Make Film series, and found myself really engrossed with it and the intimate friendship between the two women played by Isabelle Huppert and Miou-Miou. While Diane Kurys’s Entre Nous was Oscar-nominated for what’s now known as the Best International Feature Film, it lost to Ingmar Bergman’s masterful Fanny and Alexander, so it feels like it’s been overlooked for some time, and I certainly didn’t know a lot about it until I saw it scheduled on TCM in September. If you have the Criterion Channel, it looks like it will be streaming on there through the end of the month, so I highly recommend checking it out before it leaves the streaming service!

Nomadland (2020)

Nomadland (2020), directed by Chloé Zhao

Nomadland was one of my more anticipated movies of the year, especially after reading about how well it was received at other film festivals this fall. I’m happy I got to see this virtually as a part of NYFF, which selected the film as its centerpiece for this year’s festival. Frances McDormand gives a much more subdued, quiet performance than we’re used to seeing from her, but she is terrific all the same. The film is an empathetic, humbling look at life on the road in the American West during the Great Recession, filled with wonderful non-actors who help ground this story even more. This was the first movie I saw directed by Chloé Zhao, though I’ve been meaning to check out her previous, acclaimed film The Rider, and after seeing this, I’m excited to see more from her.

One thought on “Films in 2020: September

  1. NINETY-THREE films watched this month? That’s three a day…and it topped last month’s total? I don’t remember you watching more than that in August! I just checked my total for September…16! How embarrassing!

    Anyway, even with 82 new-to-you films watched, there still weren’t many on that list I’ve seen. I’ve always liked ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’, and ‘Night Editor’ was a fun ‘small’ noir. Other than that, it was ‘A Connecticut Yankee’, ‘Lost in America’, and ‘Star 80’. I guess I need to broaden my horizons a bit!

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