Classic Movies · Stuff You Should Know

Happy New Year!

b&ahappy

Well, we’re nearing the end of 2008 and I guess for all intents and purposes this will be my final post of the year. Looking back at the archives, I’m amazed that this was the busiest month with 98 posts…compared to only three posts in April. (In my defense, April was crunch time at the former Castle Yesteryear, with Operations Clutter and Relocation in full swing.)

I’m hoping that 2009 will tell a different story—not because I don’t enjoy writing the blog, I very much do…but sooner or later I’m going to have to find something in the line of permanent work, and it will have to be soon. But since that sort of thinking on this New Year’s Eve is guaranteed to take the bubbles out of everyone’s champagne, I thought I’d introduce a few “Best of 2008” lists.

These are not my lists, by the way. I don’t listen to a lot of new music or watch new TV shows…and the only movie I saw this year in the theater was the colossal stinkeroo Get Smart (2008). I did manage to watch a lot of old movies and DVDs this year…but since I’m clearly too lazy to write down my own list, I thought I’d let a few notables do the heavy lifting.

Laughing Gravy over In the Balcony has been choosing the Amazing Colossal In the Balcony DVD of the Year Awards since 2001, and this year the coveted trophy goes to Fox’s Mornau, Borzage, and Fox box set. (He would pick the one set that’s out of my price range.) But he’s also chosen some dandy runners-up and honorable mentions that I was pleased to add to my collection this year; among them American Slapstick Volume 2Budd Boetticher Box Set and the Touch of Evil: 50th Anniversary Edition. Gravy and I watch a lot of the same old movies (though we’re not always in simpatico with their merits—can you believe this mook doesn’t like Charlie Chan films?) and even when I disagree, I enjoy getting his take…check out his list here.

murnauborzage
The Amazing Colossal In the Balcony DVD of the Year Award winner for 2008.

Gravy also pointed me towards two other important sources of classic-movies-on-DVD criticism: Dave Kehr, the renowned NYT film critic who has a nice article here on how DVD is practically the only medium keeping classic films alive (you’ll rarely find any more late, late shows on local TV—thanks to informercials—and with the notable exception of TCM—and even it’s a bit suspect—very few cable channels to program them). He also has a listing of some of the top classic film DVD releases for ’08, including Easy Living (1937) and Man of the West (1958).

The other source is DVD Savant’s Glenn Erickson, whose “best” list overlaps many of Dave and Gravy’s choices but still manages to include the Criterion DVD of The Furies (1950) and Fox’s Western Classics Collection.

So until we hook up again in 2009, I want to sincerely thank all the people—regulars and drive-bys—who encouraged my behavior this year. I wish each and everyone of you the happiest of New Years!

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