“They could not be more different,” Abrams says of Arthur Penn’s 1967 crime spree drama Bonnie and Clyde, which also starred Faye Dunaway, and Hal Ashby’s Oscar-winning dramedy Shampoo. Bonnie and Clyde “portrayed violence in a way that had not typically been seen in American cinema and really ushered in a new age of bold graphic storytelling in a way that you really hadn’t seen before,” Abrams says in the video.
Having made a name for himself in Hollywood with television and popular series like Felicity, Alias and Lost, you can see the grounds for Abrams’ eventual success making action tentpole movies, given his love for classic Hollywood pics.
Shampoo becomes a time capsule movie for Abrams, as he grew up in Los Angeles during the 1970s. “It just feels like Los Angeles in that era, that late 1960s, early 1970s vibe,” he insists.
Other film faves from Abrams this month as he supports TCM includes the 1938 romantic comedy You Can’t Take It With You, which he pairs with another Frank Capra treasure also starring James Stewart and Lionel Barrymore, It’s a Wonderful Life. “It’s a movie that is as sweet and charming and romantic and relevant today, as ever,” he says of the madcap romcom.
Also on Abrams’ TCM hot list is Rob Reiner’s 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, with a creative brain trust that includes Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest. Funny, yes, but also realistic, he says of the rock band send-up. “It’s so accurate. If you spent any time with bands, you know, this is what’s real,” Abrams says.
Rounding out his TCM picks is the Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. “It’s got this inevitability, this power. If you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it lately, definitely check this one out,” Abrams, with his critics hat on, says of the sci-fi drama starring Richard Dreyfuss.
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