Here are my picks for the eight best things about late night TV right now. The stuff to watch with a bag of Doritos in one hand and the remote in the other.
1. Letterman's desk chat. This is the ten or fifteen minutes that starts after the first commercial break. It's Dave being his most Dave-est, when he just talks to the audience and to the camera and banters with Paul, usually telling a story about something that happened to him (such as that recent scandal) or going on a riff about something that irritates him. It's also the part of 'The Late Show' where we see some of the best comedy bits: on-the-street shenanigans, interaction with the audience, Stupid Pet Tricks, Lyle the Intern, visits with Rupert, Jay Thomas and his Lone Ranger story. This is the best part of the show.
Incredible though it may seem, Clint Eastwood will be 80 (!) on May 31.
To celebrate, Turner Classic Movies will pay tribute to the iconic actor/director with a 24-hour marathon of his movies.
Beginning at 6AM with 1956's 'The First Traveling Salesleady,' the cable network will run many fan favorites, including 'Dirty Harry,' 'Magnum Force' and 'Hang 'Em High.' In addition, the network will air 'The Eastwood Factor,' a documentary narrated by his 'Invictus' star, Morgan Freeman.
I'm not like that, though. On Friday, amid the post-Thanksgiving haze and without much interest in the college football games or reruns of CBS soaps or syndicated fare, I was channel surfing. Every time I saw something I liked, I stopped for a while. It was mostly movies. I watch Cary Grant and Sophia Loren in Houseboat, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, there was a whole bunch of Goodfellas, because Bravo showed it back to back. So I watched the ending first, then stuck around to watch the beginning. What an incredible movie -- still!
The movie network has announced that they're doing a classic film festival in April 2010.
I visited the pumpkin patch last weekend and totally massacred a 30 lb. pumpkin and feasted on its flesh, so I am officially in the Halloween spirit. Luckily, there's a crapload of TV to help sustain my ghoulish mood. TV Tango has compiled a pretty comprehensive list of Halloween-themed programming starting today and going through the rest of the month.
Some of the highlights include a Moonlight marathon starting today on SyFy, as part of their "31 Days of Halloween" programming. On Sunday, The Simpsons is airing their 20th "Treehouse of Horror" episode, while Monday has a some good kids' fare, with Halloween-themed America's Funniest Home Videos on ABC Family, and Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie on Disney.
Also in the news today: Paris Hilton books 'Supernatural,' while James Earl Jones is in the 'House.'
See more of today's top TV headlines after the jump.
They're celebrating the 40th anniversary of the moon landing on Monday, July 20 with classic, revered movies you'd expect, like The Right Stuff and From The Earth To The Moon, but they also have the sense of humor to also show They Came From Beyond Space, a ridiculous (but entertaining), low-budget 60s sci-fi movie about aliens who come to take over Earth but can't control one scientist because he has a metal plate in his head.
Here's the full schedule for the all-day TCM marathon.
8PM: On The Waterfront
10PM: A Streetcar Named Desire
12:15AM: Birdman of Alcatraz
This will be a good chance for people who only know Malden from The Streets of San Francisco or American Express ads to see what he was like as an actor on the big screen. I think they should be showing more though. TCM must own more movies that feature Malden.
Overall, it seems like the Writer's Strike really hurt the business. Shows that might have survived, didn't. New shows have been stuck in development longer than usual. But despite all that, there were moments that were thrilling, shows that are terrific ... and those that weren't.
I'll get my chance to enroll at such a school this February, when Turner Classic Movies presents its annual "31 Days of Oscar" film schedule (there aren't 31 days in February - maybe it leaks into March?). This year the festival will be devoted to a "classroom" of 350 different films, hosted by Robert Osborne. Each day Osborne will introduce each movie theme and tell us a little bit about the theme and the movies.
The "courses" include Mass Media, Nuclear Physics, Farm Planning and Management, Military Law, Reproductive Biology, and other courses that will be represented by classic Oscar-winning movies, from My Fair Lady and The China Syndrome to Hannah and Her Sisters and The Caine Mutiny. Other movies will include Network, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, Poltergeist, and The Great Escape.
They should hold classes in Space Exploration and Technology and show Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Whatever he envisions for a professional life away from acting, if that's to be the case, Alec Baldwin has signed on to co-host Turner Classic Movies' The Essentials, a weekly analysis of a classic movie with co-host Robert Osborne. The show, which airs every Saturday at 8 p.m., most recently featured actress Rose McGowan, and before her Carrie Fisher and Molly Haskell shared the duties with Osborne.
It's one of my favorite TCM programs, giving the hosts a chance to set up a great movie, offer commentary and stimulate conversation. Considering the fact that Alec is very opinionated and pretty funny, he should add a lot to The Essentials.
The cable channel going to present five movies about politics, and if you want to see how the world of running for public office has changed in the 20th century, these films are a fantastic reflection of the times.
On Wednesday, September 3, starting at 8 PM ET, the night begins with The Last Hurrah, and includes The Candidate (10:15 PM), The Best Man (12:15 AM), Nashville (2 AM) and The Dark Horse (1932).
Like I said, these pictures are all really interesting choices. The Candidate, released in 1972, for instance, is not so different from today's campaign pitting Senator Barack Obama versus Senator John McCain.
It's a young candidate espousing change, up against an experienced, wizened establishment candidate. Robert Redford plays Bill McKay, the up and comer, while Don Porter is the popular, long-time incumbent senator. Check out these photos, because Porter even looks like McCain!
Of course, every week is a great week to watch Turner Classic Movies. If you're not a regular viewer of TCM, you're really missing out.
But looking over their schedule for tomorrow, I noticed several movies are playing that you really must see, especially if you haven't seen them before. In fact, two of the movies are ones I haven't seen before myself, though I've always wanted to. Many of these movies aren't shown on TV that often, and when they are it's only on TCM, another reason to watch the channel regularly.
Allison told you yesterday that both Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper were leaving their film review show, At The Movies. Ebert has been off the show since 2006 because of health problems and Roeper couldn't come to terms on a new contract. They both explained that Buena Vista wants to take the show in a new direction and that they wouldn't be a part of it. Here is that new direction.
The new hosts of At The Movies are Ben Mankiewicz, a host on TCM, and Ben Lyons, from E!. Not sure how these two got to be the new hosts, other than the fact that they're both named Ben and I'm sure we'll see some cute reference to that, maybe even in the ads or the intro. I like the fact that Mankiewicz is from TCM; makes it sound like he knows what he's talking about (he's also the son of Frank Mankiewicz and the grandson of the guy who wrote Citizen Kane). But Lyons looks about 14 years-old and comes from a network with celeb gossip and reality shows, so that has me a little worried.
Then again, he's the son of film critic Jeffrey Lyons (the host of his own movie review show, Reel Talk), so maybe it's in his blood. But the article above says he called I Am Legend one of the greatest films ever made? Yikes.
Turner Classic Movies seems to be providing a similar service for kids today, albeit by presenting great classics from Hollywood's golden era. TCM started a new series called Essentials Jr. Grey's Anatomy star Chris O'Donnell (Scent of a Woman) co-hosts with Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine). Together, they provide introductions and discuss the films, movies that are picked to be just right for kids. According to TCM, "The chosen films are ones that any cinema-literate child should know about and be able to enjoy with family and friends including grown-ups."
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