' ' Cinema Romantico: 10 Not-at-TIFF Movies to Watch

Thursday, September 08, 2022

10 Not-at-TIFF Movies to Watch

The 47th annual Toronto International Film Festival kicks off today, meaning that even though it is still 14 days until fall, and even though it is still 104 days until winter, and even though the 2023 Oscars take place all of eight days before the first day of next spring, it is the beginning of awards season. Don’t like it? Hey, neither do I, what can I tell ya, pal? Write your local Oscar blogger. Anyway, with every movie that really wants to be somebody over the course of the next four, five, six, seven months slated to screen, lists abound, of the buzziest and most highly anticipated and most critically acclaimed films to go see. If you’re in Toronto, that is. That’s why Cinema Romantico has once again curated an alternative stay-at-home film fest, a movie to watch each day of TIFF if you are not at TIFF, or if you were planning on going to TIFF and couldn’t get tickets, or if you were planning on flying to Toronto and Air Canada said nuh-uh. After all, in the future all film festivals will take place on our phones. 

10 Not-at-TIFF Movies to Watch

Night Shift. Henry Winkler’s stockbroker turned morgue attendant is nothing if not the original Quiet Quitter, until things get noisy again, perfect for an opening night 40th anniversary retrospective screening. 

The Alamo. It has come to Cinema Romantico’s attention that some readers were frustrated with our previous two Not-at-TIFF film festivals, curated during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic and honoring the prevailing global mood of anger, anxiety, and depression. They want Not-at-TIFF to be a happier affair! They’re just movies, man! So, after opening with the fun-loving “Night Shift,” we will screen John Wayne’s “The Alamo” (1960), a heartwarming and historically accurate portrayal of the way the pivotal event in the Texas Revolution really was

Groundswell. Don’t let that photoshop fool you! Lacey Chabert really did walk in the sands of the Waikiki because this Hallmark Channel romance really was filmed in Hawaii! Yay! Nothing says happy affair like a Hallmark Channel synopsis! “On the heels of a personal and professional setback, Chef Emma travels to Hawaii where she meets Ben, a handsome, reclusive surf instructor whose lessons help her to regain her footing.”

The Rosebud Beach Hotel. The most recent season of Karina Longworth’s indispensable film podcast You Must Remember This focused on what she deemed the Erotic 80s, including Mickey Rourke’s “Wild Orchid,” one of those movies I never saw but knew about because it screened late at night on Cinemax, the forbidden time zone on a channel we did not have. Somehow, though, what sticks in my mind from the forbidden time zone of that era is not “Wild Orchid” but “The Rosebud Beach Hotel,” which I only just learned at this very moment starred Fran Drescher and Christopher Lee. This will be screened on a vintage 1980s RCA wood paneled television set. Get your seats early!

Outbreak. Wolfgang Petersen, master of the (often more than) middling thriller, died in August at the age of 81. “Outbreak” was not his best movie, not even close, but it is the one I watched in my Roman COVID hotel last December. And if that sounds insane, like why would I watch a movie about a Pandemic when I’m trapped in a 10x13 room because of a real Pandemic, the professional middling pizzazz of it all soothed me like no other. When I rediscovered Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo played a bickering divorced couple hashing out their relationship while trying to save the world...ooooh, it felt so good. 

Night Falls on Manhattan. These are the good days for those of us who have always ridden for Andy Garcia as a charismatic A-list leading man. So, let’s screen a 25-year old Andy Garcia movie as an excuse to invite him to appear at Not-at-TIFF. (All Not-at-TIFF appearances will take place on a red carpet from Carpet Warehouse Outlet rolled out in the alley behind my house.)

Tape. Uma Thurman was enlisted along with her “Pulp Fiction” co-stars John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson to present at the most recent Oscars. This excited me if only because Uma has been made to wander in the movie-making wilderness for the last 20 years because of the sexist dipshits in charge of everything after Travolta has been afforded, like, 17 career comebacks and I wondered if maybe, just maybe, this appearance would make one of the producer morons in the audience decide to stop being a moron and cast her in a real role. Alas, as it turned out she was presenting, ahem, the award for Best Actor, meaning she presented to Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock. Nobody will ever remember she was even there. JFC almighty. So, let’s screen Richard Linklater’s digital slice of sweaty three-hander intimacy to show all these fools what Uma can do. 


Kate McKinnon as Ann Romney. And on the 8th day of Not-at-TIFF, as always, we rest, eschewing a movie for something shorter and stupider instead. Kate McKinnon, guiding light of latter day Saturday Night Live, finally stepped away after 11 seasons. And while her Olya Povlatsky might honestly be my favorite SNL character ever, when McKinnon left the show, for some reason I found myself thinking most about her Ann Romney. (“Everybody’s a BeyoncĂ© fan, Seth.”) 

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. In addition to shelving “Batgirl,” the corporate buzzkills at Warner Bros. have also put their finished remake of “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh” starring the G.O.A.T., Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky on ice. Luckily, Cinema Romantico’s elite squad of film print retrieval artists extricated a cut of the film from the Warner Bros. vault in a daring nighttime raid and we will screen it on Day 9 at an undisclosed location. 

Krush Groove. You know, fellow Gen Xers, when you see the kidz walking around in those Nirvana t-shirts from Target or Old Navy and how much it freaks you out? Well, I was in an Old Navy this summer and noticed they are now selling Run-D.M.C t-shirts too. And while you might think this would freak me out like the Kurt Cobain-inspired wearables, I found myself smiling instead, thinking that perhaps the true kings of rock have become cool again in circles where I am not closing to running, that kidz are listening to the Run-D.M.C. Spotify channel and discovering EPMD too, and Eric B. and Rakim and Kool Moe Dee. So, let’s close Not-at-TIFF 2022 with the Run-D.M.C. starring “Krush Groove” (1985). Cuz sucker Marvel Big Cheese don’t make no movies like these. 

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