If you’re lucky enough to have cable, that means you probably spend an inordinate amount of time watching the same movies over and over — “Coyote Ugly” or “Fool’s Gold” or “True Lies,” maybe. I do this often, with “Sweet Home Alabama” being my favorite of those frequently played on cable TV. However, as much as I love that mediocre Reese rom-com, it gets old after too many repeated viewings. The same-old same-old of cable gets boring and bland, and that’s when I turn on TCM.
These are a few classic movies you should be watching instead of tuning into “Step Brothers” for the 50th time:
1. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Those of you who plaster Marilyn Monroe quotes all over your Facebook pages probably haven’t actually SEEN a Marilyn movie, and so this is a good place to start. It’s Marilyn at her glittering, golden finest as Lorelei Lee, a ditzy showgirl with a penchant for diamonds. Marilyn is absolute magic in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She lights up the screen, as cliche as that sounds. Her co-star Jane Russell is great too as witty brunette Dorothy, who accompanies Lorelei on a cruise to Europe. There’s intrigue, romance, crime and lots of catchy, classic songs, including Marilyn’s famous “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
2. It Happened One Night
It Happened One Night is in my top 10 most favorite movies of ever, so I’m a bit biased. It’s one of the definitive romantic comedies. Claudette Colbert is an heiress on the run to reunite with her lover and Clark Gable is a reporter who’s helping her out in exchange for her story. Of course they fall in love, but not without rapid-fire bickering along the way. Clark Gable wore the first undershirt ever seen onscreen in this movie, which was pretty shocking for the ‘30s.
3. The Thin Man
I think Nick and Nora Charles are one of the most iconic movie couples of all time. They drink, they sling witticisms, they solve crimes and — they drink. Cocktails might as well be a secondary character in the Thin Man movies, of which there are six! But start with this one and I dare you not to fall in love with William Powell and Myrna Loy.
4. An American in Paris
I trust you have seen Singin’ in the Rain, so I’m directing you instead to An American in Paris. There’s Gene Kelly singing and dancing. There’s the Gershwin score. There’s the adorable Leslie Caron and then there’s the enchanting, gorgeous direction by Vincente Minnelli. Oh, and there’s ballet! And Paris! Movies can’t get any prettier than this.
First you’ve got Rock Hudson, legendary Hollywood leading man. Then you have Elizabeth Taylor, the most beautiful woman in the world. Add James Dean and a massive Texas ranch. Mix them up together and you get “Giant,” an epic if there ever was one. It tells the story of Bick Benedict (Hudson) and his wife Leslie (Taylor) and their life on the ranch. James Dean plays Jett Rink, who works on the ranch and falls for Leslie before discovering oil on his small plot of land and making a great deal of money. This was Dean’s last film and he is intense to watch. The scenery is beautiful, the cinematography is beautiful and the cast is beautiful. Carve out some time for this one, because it’ ain’t short. But it’s worth it!
6. Funny Face
I’ll say the same thing about Audrey Hepburn as I did about Monroe; most of the girls who plaster her face about their lives haven’t seen her in a movie, which is crazy! Funny Face casts Audrey as a shopgirl turned model and Fred Astaire as a photographer based on legendary photog Richard Avedon. He entices the brainy girl into joining him in Paris for a fashion shoot though she’d rather read philosophy than model. Funny Face also features Gershwin songs and Kay Thompson, who plays the magazine editor, was the author of classic children’s book Eloise.