TCMFF 2018: By the Numbers

Hollywood and Highland mall at night with neon lights

This year, TCMFF fell during the last week of classes, which was nice because I didn’t have to feel bad about skipping anything, unlike some years past! Of course, all my final papers are coming due next week, and I should definitely be working on those right now. So, you know what that means: Here’s a TCMFF recap post!

I tried this format last year and liked how it turned out—and it required relatively little from my cinema-addled brain as a first attempt at parsing meaning and patterns from the last four days.


Overall, the festival reflects an expected skew towards pre-1970 “classic” films, mainly concentrated in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. This year’s festival did include some “new classics” from the 1980s and 1990s, as well as a couple of new documentaries about the classic film era that accounted for the entries from our present decade.

1920s: 2

1930s: 16

1940s: 17

1950s: 17

1960s: 14

1970s: 10

1980s: 4

1990s: 1

2000s: 0

2010s: 2

However, my distribution of decades in the films I saw is, completely unintentionally, the most pleasing thing EVER:

1930s: 5

1940s: 4

1950s: 3

1960s: 2

1970s: 1

Check that sequence!!! Definitely would have messed it up somehow if I had actually tried to do it.

The earliest film I saw was Girls About Town (1931), and the single 1970s entry was The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974).


I’m pretty sure somebody who cares slightly more than me has already gone through and catalogued the distribution of formats across the festival as a whole. And as much as it would pain my film archiving professor to hear, I chose most of my screenings based on either the titles themselves or the guests. So, I ended up just about evenly split between film and digital:

35mm: 7 (including one on nitrate—Leave Her to Heaven)

Digital: 8


My other big factor in choosing screenings was theaters. I felt much more energized throughout this festival, and I think a big part of that was limiting the number of times I ran back and forth down and across and around Hollywood Blvd. This also made me think a little more out-of-the-box in my choices, instead of always going with the obvious (for me) theoretical selection, based on the films alone.

My House 6 count bumped up dramatically on Friday, when I saw three films back-to-back-to-back in the same theater, with the same seatmates, and almost the same seat every time.

Multiplex #1: 2

Multiplex #4: 3

Multiplex #6: 5

Egyptian: 4

TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX: 1

More Numbers

Total films watched: 15

New-to-me films: 14 (!!)

Shortest film: 80 minutes (tie—Girls About Town and Blessed Event)

Longest film: 133 minutes (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Lowest queue number: 1 (Throne of Blood)—my first #1 in all my years of attending the festival!

Notable mentions:  5 for Leave Her to Heaven and 3 for Girls About Town

Highest queue number: 461 (Bullitt)—I think this may have been my highest number ever? This festival was a year of extremes indeed.

Gimlets consumed: 3 (The Library Bar, Pig and Whistle, and TCM Closing Party—though that last one might have more accurately been termed “just a cup of gin”)

Meals eaten with a real fork: 2

Amount of moisturizer I’ve applied after seeing Nancy Kwan looking unbelievably fabulous at 80 years old: All of it

Times I thought “Wait, how did they DO that?” during Throne of Blood: At least 4

The number that sequentially precedes the number on your queue card, according to some people returning to the line: ?????????

Times I was successfully able to print a #TCMFF photo: 0

Bruce Goldstein’s estimate of the length of Blessed Event in Manitoba and Saskatchewan after showing us how much they’d censored: 15 minutes

Times someone was audibly snoring during a film: 4

Gel pens I had to buy at Muji because I really, really needed them: 4 (0.38mm in black, turquoise, pink, and orange)

Times I drifted off during the 9am A Midsummer Night’s Dream screening only to awaken to something terrifying on screen: Infinite

Safe and happy travels, everyone! See you again next year.

2 thoughts on “TCMFF 2018: By the Numbers”

  1. Really enjoyed this, Emily — all the more as we shared many of the same viewing experiences this year! A fun read, thank you!

    Best wishes,

    1. Yes, it was always a good sign for me when you were there! Hope to see you around again soon—hopefully before the next TCMFF :)

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