the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Four Movies a Day

In “A Star is Born,” the first film showed at the TCM Classic Film Festival, James Mason “discovers” Judy Garland and arranges for her to get a screen test. He tells her that her life is about to be changed by success and that she should never lose her soul to the chaos of Hollywood.

I could use a little bit of that advice on my second day of this film festival.

As my first sponsored blogging gig (I received full passes for two — entries to all of the films and parties — and a new Buick Lacrosse to drive all week, from the festival’s sponsor, Buick), I understand that I am supposed to be blogging about my experiences here, but the festival is so all-consuming from 7AM to 2AM, that it is almost impossible to find any time to write anything very good. Do film critics write on their laptops in the middle of the movie? So far, this film festival has been a blast, but if you have been to BlogHer, you’ll understand what I mean when I say it is also exhausting!

Here is a quick recap so far, as shown through iphone photos —

Thursday night was the red carpet opening, a screening of “A Star is Born.” The day leading up to the event was chaotic. We were supposed to drive our fancy new Buick to the event, but the care got lost somewhere near Phoenix, and we didn’t receive it until two hours before the screening. We still haven’t had time to fully appreciate everything this car has to offer. Sophia and I had other concerns as well — what to wear! I bought a new shirt, but then discovered that it required cuff links. Who owns cuff links?

I wore cuff links once, at my wedding. I did what I always do nowadays when I need advice — I went on Twitter and asked for help. A female blogger, a Martha Stewart type, suggested I create my own cuff links from two buttons and thread.

“It’s very easy,” she said.

Yeah, right. I opted to change my shirt.

I ended up wearing this. This same female blogger, seeing this photo, criticized me for looking “too conservative for the red carpet.”

I had an even bigger problem. Sophia wanted to dress the role of old Hollywood glamour, wearing her mother’s vintage jacket from 1950’s Russia. Although it had an authentic feel, something a star might have worn to the original opening of “A Star is Born,” the jacket was made of… uh, well, FUR.

I visualized Sophia and I stepping out of silver Buick, onto the red carpet, and immediately getting covered in blood from some zealot from PETA. I’m not sure Buick, my lovely sponsors, would appreciate this, so I begged Sophia not to wear it. Did I wimp out? Probably. Selling out to the man CHANGES YOU!

Off to the red carpet in our Buick!

Hollywood was all abuzz with the film festival. The headquarters was at the Hollywood Roosevelt, and most of the screenings were at the Chinese and Egyptian Theaters.

I impressed Sophia by proving once and for all that my feet are bigger than those of Kirk Douglas.

Here’s a little secret about the red carpet. It’s not really red. It is more “cranberry.”

Next time I dress like Alec Baldwin. I WAS too conservative.

On Friday, Sophia and I attended four movies. One of the was “The Producers.” I hadn’t planned to attend it because I had seen it so many times before. But when I learned that Sophia had never seen it before, I was curious to see her reaction. Hey, Mel Brooks — I chose you over a screening of “Casablanca!” Mel Brooks was there for a discussion, having just received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier that day.

By the way, Sophia loved “The Producers.”

Sophia didn’t enjoy “The Sweet Smell of Success” with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, calling it “too dark.”

In the middle of the day, I met with a video crew, who filmed me driving all around Hollywood, talking about old movies and Buicks. Don’t laugh when I post this video! I was blabbing all over the place. Hopefully, they will edit most of it out.

I felt like one of those American Idol contestants making those music videos. It all happened so fast, that I hardly remember what I said or did. At one point, I was walking along Hollywood Boulevard like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, en route to the screening of the film (even though the screening was not really happening at the time, or even on that day). Hollywood!

Off to another day of movies. So far, it’s been a great experience, but I am a little dizzy. One of the oddest things is having people ask me about my blog, and having to come up with answers for “What do I write about?” Now I understand why you all put up those annoying “blog badges” on your blogs. There is something about wearing a badge around your neck that makes you more legitimate in the eyes of others.

“Your blog sounds fascinating,” some actress-type said to me, thinking that I was someone of importance, seeing that I had the exclusive all-access pass.


I think I fell asleep last night while Fred and Ginger were dancing cheek to cheek in a screening of Top Hat, but I’m not sure.


  1. APeetsMom

    PLEASE tell me you didn’t REALLY fall asleep during TOP HAT?!?!

  2. Danny

    Someone in line at the Egyptian saw me being interviewed in front of the Buick there and later asked to shake my hand. Did he think I was Robert Osborne? It’s a fantastic festival and the movie lovers are so appreciative, but I think we may all need to be hospitalized by tomorrow night. I’m sure I’ll see you and Sophia later…are you going to “Saturday Night Fever” tonight? How are we going to last until 1 am again?

  3. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    I’m so glad you and Danny and Sophia are having this experience. How cool!

    Sophia does look glam in her fur, though I guess fur in April in Southern California is hard to do, PETA activists or not.

    • Neil

      Vgrrrl — it was pretty cold that night so fur would have been good!

  4. Seth Front

    Go out and get some cuff links! That french cuff shirt is very hip. I have about ten pair off cuff links – not only are they trendy but they are timeless.

  5. Connie Burke

    Glad to hear your are having fun – and the fact that you are exhausted is a good sign!
    As one of your GM connections, I’m sure you’ll get to know your Buick LaCrosse a little better once the film fest is over – we purposely added the extra time for you so you can fall in love just like Judy Garland and James Mason. Ok, I’m bluffing. I’ve never seen the movie but I figure that’s pretty much a common theme.
    Thanks for your blog post, Neil.
    And cufflinks are most decidely badass. I should have weighed in on twitter to try and sway your decision.
    Keep enjoying!

  6. Juli Ryan

    Your blog is fascinating. I haven’t seen any of these movies (except Casablanca). You and Sophia look great. And the LaCrosse and the red carpet look great, too. Eager for your next post, and to see you blabbing in your video.

  7. kelly

    There’s a lovely irony with you and the Buick making it to the red carpet together.

  8. melanirae

    if it were me, i don’t know if i would have been able to resist the urge to run Alec Baldwin over with that giant car.

  9. teahouseblossom

    This is so awesome! Sophia looks very old-style Hollywood glam!

  10. Mik

    Weird, I own several pairs of cuff links but no shirts that take them. My Mum seems to send me cuff link and tie pin sets for Christmas a lot!

  11. Miguelina

    Did I not tell you to ditch the tie? Why yes, I believe I did.

    (Awesome experience! So happy for you and Sophia!)

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