Check out the memorable work of magical movie stars this weekend on broadcast and cable television. Look for your favorites among these listings.
The Princess Diaries (2001)
Hopefully the great Julie Andrews – who turns 80 on October 1 – will again grace the screen with her warmth, charisma and remarkable ability to make any situation feel real. As the Queen of a distant land in this entertaining comedy, Andrews lets her precise diction and perfect posture make us believe that fairy tales can come true. Her comic moments – especially when she greets pedestrians in downtown San Francisco – are lovely.
Friday, May 15, 6:30 p.m., ABC Family
The Hangover (2009)
As Bradley Cooper prepares to take his acclaimed stage production of The Elephant Man to London’s West End – after a triumphant run on Broadway – it’s fun to look at the movie that made him a star. No one knew what to expect before this outrageous comedy opened. While the premise is deliciously wild – an exaggerated story of the ultimate bachelor party in Las Vegas – the heart behind the humor is what draws us in. And Cooper is magic.
Friday, May 15, 9 p.m., TBS
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Kathleen Turner brings a unique power to her screen performances. She first attracted attention in the adventure comedy Romancing the Stone and hit the big time with her sultry work in Body Heat before replacing Debra Winger in this comedy from director Francis Ford Coppola. While she may be miscast in the role – lacking the natural turbulence that Winger may have offered – she makes the most of each comic and touching moment as a woman who gets the chance to relive her past. She won her only Oscar nomination as a reward.
Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m., Sundance
Helen Hunt – now starring on screen in Ride, which she also wrote and directed – was at the peak of her Mad About You television fame when she made this wild tale about people who chase bad weather. A huge hit when released, the film capitalizes on Hunt’s personality while creating a collection of sight gags to lighten the content. After all, what is entertaining about tornadoes? The flying cow the moviemakers toss around? Philip Seymour Hoffman shows up in the type of quirky supporting role he played before becoming a star.
Saturday, May 16, 12:30 p.m., Spike
Midnight Run (1988)
The great Charles Grodin gets what may be his best movie role in this delightful “road picture” opposite Robert DeNiro. Who would have imagined that Grodin’s masterful comic style – so smart, so dry – would be the ideal balance to DeNiro’s intensity? As an underworld accountant and a bounty hunter thrown together, Grodin and DeNiro reach beyond the situations they play to reveal the characters they create. And they demonstrate how opposites can learn to appreciate and work with their differences.
Saturday, May 16, 12:15 p.m., Sundance
Legally Blonde (2001)
While Reese Witherspoon follows up her Oscar nomination for Wild with the broad comedy Hot Pursuit, we can savor a return visit to her delightful comic turn as law student Elle Woods in this delicious take on Ivy League education and fashion design. Witherspoon is a joy in a role that brings out her precise comic timing and authentic commitment to character. The actress brings a contagious spontaneity to a performance that never feels forced.
Saturday, May 16, 8 p.m., Bravo
While Tom Cruise can be a challenging star – especially when he insists on playing roles he is too old for – he can surprise with effective performances. In this thriller from director Michael Mann – about a determined killer-for-hire – Cruise is magically menacing as a man without any sympathy for the realities that people face. All here cares about is getting the job done. With Jamie Foxx in an Oscar-nominated turn as a most human taxi driver.
Sunday, May 17, 1 p.m., TNT
Air Force One (1997)
As Harrison Ford recently demonstrated, he can handle a real emergency in the air. For this reel adventure – as an earnest President of the United States with flying experience – Ford demonstrates the bravado that has made him a star for almost 40 years. While this entertaining film may exaggerate how the President’s airplane actually works, as well as what any man could do in such a situation, it makes us believe that real heroes show up at surprising moments.
Sunday, May 17, 3:15 p.m., TNT
Sharing movies can be as easy as turning on the television or going online. And, when you watch as a family, take the time to chat about what you’re seeing. That makes it even more fun.