My 2021 Top Ten

As we begin the new year, I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge ten classic film-related “things” that have brought me joy this year. These items were not all necessarily released or created in 2021, but have happened to inform and delight me throughout the year. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Hollywood Kitchen. Many times, I’ve said that Karie Bible’s Hollywood Kitchen is one of the best things to come out of the pandemic. I love trying out the classic film star-inspired recipes that Bible recreates and am delighted to have been a part of quite a few of these. Throwing a pie at Curly Howard’s grandson was one of the highlights of my year! Check out my appearances on Hollywood Kitchen here:
  2. No Place Like Home Podcast. I loved reading The Ruby Slippers of Oz by Rhys Thomas during 2020’s quarantine and was excited to see the continued saga of the known pairs of ruby slippers. The interviews scored for this podcast were BEYOND impressive.
  3. Cinespia. Literally one of the best days of my life happened this year. I was able to tour the McCrea Ranch with dear TCM friends, visit Forest Lawn-Glendale, and top off the day by seeing an outdoor screening of Some Like it Hot (1959) at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. If you can’t get to Cinespia’s screenings, consider trying to see an outdoor or drive-in screening near you at some point–or just support your local movie theater if you are comfortable.
  4. The Ava Gardner Museum. This is by far one of my favorite hometown museums. Gardner’s legacy is in WONDERFUL hands here. They truly have an impressive collection and dedicated museum staff.
  5. The Navigator (1924). Yes, this is the Buster Keaton film. I’m including it in the mix since it was my big return to the movies back in March of 2021. I was lucky to be able to see this film screened in Park Ridge, Illinois, at the historic Art Deco Pickwick Theatre with live organ accompaniment by Chicago’s premiere organist, Jay Warren.
  6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920). This was a special viewing experience. I was able to see this film for the first time screened at the tiny but beautiful Art Deco Fowler Theatre, in Fowler, Indiana. John Barrymore shone on the screen while Warren again provided accompaniment.
  7. The James Dean Gallery. The owners here (and their pooch, Cleopatra!) are the nicest people and they have a stunning collection of Dean-related items–not to mention a terrific gift shop! It was my pleasure to make a return trip to this gem at the end of 2021.
  8. The McCrea Ranch. What a stunning piece of Hollywood History! Once the home of Joel McCrea and Frances Dee, it is now well cared for in the hands of McCrea’s grandson, Wyatt McCrea.
  9. The Dearly Departed Podcast. Scott Michaels and Mike Dorsey’s sense of humor and deep-dives into a variety of old Hollywood subjects are absolutely my cup of tea.
  10. Hollywood Graveyard. Arthur Dark takes me on well-researched cemetery tours all over the map, right from the comfort of my own couch. His YouTube channel is full of gems!

I hope you find some–or all!–of these picks enjoyable. I know I did.

Cheers to a new year,


About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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