The Hollywood screenwriter, producer, and director also suggests “Shampoo,” “This is Spinal Tap,” and “You Can’t Take It With You” for January 2024.
In his own TCM Picks video, which debuted on Tuesday, J.J. Abrams recommends watching Bonnie and Clyde and Shampoo, both starring Warren Beatty, as part of the January 2024 Turner Classic Movies roster.
Regarding Arthur Penn’s 1967 crime spree epic Bonnie and Clyde, which also starred Faye Dunaway, and Hal Ashby’s Oscar-winning dramedy Shampoo, Abrams remarks, “They could not be more different.” According to Abrams in the film, Bonnie and Clyde “ushered in a new age of bold graphic storytelling in a way that you really hadn’t seen before” and “portrayed violence in a way that had not typically been seen in American cinema.”
Given his passion for vintage Hollywood films, Abrams gained recognition in Hollywood through television and hit shows like Felicity, Alias, and Lost. These shows laid the foundation for Abrams’ later success in producing action tentpole films.
Abrams views Shampoo as a kind of time capsule because it depicts his childhood in Los Angeles in the 1970s. He maintains, “It just feels like that vibe—Los Angeles in the late 1960s and early 1970s.”
As he supports TCM this month, Abrams’ other favorite movies include the 1938 romantic comedy You Can’t Take It With You and It’s a Wonderful Life, another gem from Frank Capra that also stars James Stewart and Lionel Barrymore. Regarding the ridiculous romantic comedy, he comments, “It’s a movie that is as sweet and charming and romantic and relevant today, as ever.”
Rob Reiner’s 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, which starred Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest, is also on Abrams’ TCM wish list. Regarding the mockery of a rock band, he claims it’s both accurate and funny. It’s incredibly true. You know, this is what’s real if you’ve ever spent any time with bands,” Abrams claims.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind by Steven Spielberg and A Night at the Opera by the Marx Brothers complete his TCM selections. It has this strength and inevitability. “Definitely check this one out if you haven’t seen it or haven’t seen it lately,” critic Abrams remarks of the sci-fi thriller starring Richard Dreyfuss.