Turner Classic Movies Online: Underrated Oasis of Film Knowledge
Where would the serious film lover be without Turner Classic Movies? Over the years, as the standards for entertainment have dropped, and our televisions reflect nothing but a lack of imagination, Turner Classic Movies has remained by standing firm in their commitment to bring the average cable viewer great classic film (uncut) 24/7. The legacy of Turner Classic is even more impressive when you consider how many of their sister stations, starting out with similar resolve to show great entertainment (classic or otherwise), have eventually lapsed into hollow mediocrity. (these include: AMC, TNT, TBS, FMC, FX, IFC, Sundance). Yet TCM has remained and is a shining testament to the benefit of keeping one’s high standards.
Fans of TCM (and good film journalism in general) will be glad to know that the level of excellence TCM upholds in their broadcasting also extends to their presence on the world wide web. Unlike other websites for television networks that exist only to sell more of its inferior product (big bang theory coffee mug….thanks TBS), the wonderful people at http://www.tcm.com/ have made their website a resource for movie fans to grow and flourish in their love of classic film and film in general.
Here is a sampling of some of their delicacies:
Movie Morlocks Blog: An offshoot film blog run by some of the people working at TCM. The articles are always fresh and informative covering a wide range of topics from the silent era thru today. Trust me, you’ll do a lot better here that at aintitcool.
Classic Film Union: A great, grand, varied, and passionate community made for the classic film lover. This is a very interesting thing that TCM allows their fans to do. After signing up and becoming an online member (free), you are by default an official member of the Classic Film Union becoming sort of a hub with a stake in the TCM website, wherein you can connect with other users by creating your own specific webpage, submitting blog posts, creating and joining special groups with other film lovers, and viewing exclusive photos of classic Hollywood stars.
Turner Classic Movies Message Boards: A perk of being in the classic film union at TCM is automatic entry into their message boards. I suppose you could say that this is a message board like any other, except with a very specific difference: maturity. On average the talk and discussion is more enlightening and intelligent than offered by your usual film message board. You’d do a lot better here than at the awful cesspool awaiting you over at the imdb.com message boards. Over there you’ll find almost nothing but contempt and scorn, while here you’ll find a great group of people just wanting to discuss and ask questions about great movies.
Turner Classic Movies Video/Audio Podcasts: This is probably one of the best resources you’ll find at TCM. You can search but I bet you wont find another place where can you hear wonderful in depth interviews with the likes of Stanley Donen, Mickey Rooney, Norman Jewison, Jane Powell, Sidney Lumet, and the great Charleton Heston. After you’ve listened to enough juvinelle, unlearned, vulgar discussion offered by most modern movie podcast, being able to sit and hear someone like Sidney Lumet discuss the craft of directing is akin to having cold water in the Sahara desert. Along with their classic series of interviews, you’ll also find a monthly podcast video series where TCM employees and special guest discuss the upcoming slate of movies for the week along with other more broad topics concerning classic cinema. Give a listen, you’d be doing your ears a favor.
Turner Classic Movies Article Series: This is a very wonderful resource and probably one of the most underrated on the entire web in terms of great film journalism. TCM just happens to run a wonderful series of articles on a variety of topics and figures in old Hollywood and new. Usually coinciding with a film or film series being shown that month on TCM, these articles are the companion pieces that accompany them, delving deep into their themes, the actors in the film, the directors, writers, and producers of the film, and the particular genre that the film embodies and explores. These articles are surprising well researched and through, not the usual puff pieces trying to get you to watch something. They are usually written by one of the more knowledgeable people behind the scenes at TCM along with ocassional pieces by the figures that introduce the films to us on a daily and nightly basis; Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz. If that weren’t enough, there is also a monthly articles series written my none other than film scholar/director Martin Scorsese. This is a relatively new yet very well recieved facet to the TCM website. These “Scorsese Screens”, as they are called, are pieces that the director writes expounding on and recommending select films being shown on TCM that month. With the addition of Scorsese, the article page at TCM has become no less than a must stop destination for any serious film fan in their daily online travels.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t even go into the wonderful film book reviews on the site, not to mention the valuable film news they offer, as well as their extensive film and photo databases. All great resources. Yet there is still more…..much more. TCM is a wonderful channel with a excellent website to boot. Do yourself a favor and refuse to do without either.