Big movies for weekend watching

Big movies are all over the small screen this weekend as the movies celebrate summer in a big way. Check out what’s playing on broadcast and cable television stations.

Field of Dreams (1989)

Yes, its narrative is more than a bit exaggerated. And, yes, the corn field in Iowa is ideal for the corn in the story. But what wonderful (and nutritious) corn this is. Kevin Costner is at his most endearing as a young man who simply wants to be a good father. But it takes a journey through his past to help him discover he could have been a good son, too, had he given his father a chance to connect. With James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster in thoughtful supporting performances and that lovely music score from James Horner. This one gets me every time.

Friday, June 26, 2 p.m., AMC

The Graduate (1967)

Yes, this was a big movie when first released, despite the small scope of its story. For director Mike Nichols, the film fulfills the promise he displayed a year before with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? For Simon and Garfunkel, the film showcases a collection of what will become some of their most popular hits. For Anne Bancroft, the role of Mrs. Robinson offers a chance to display a dark side to her sunny personality. And, for Dustin Hoffman, playing his first lead on film, The Graduate ignites a great career. Plus it’s a great film.

Friday, June 26, 10:45 a.m., Sundance

Possessed (1947)

Yes, Joan Crawford was a big star when this film was released, having just won an Academy Award for Mildred Pierce a couple of years earlier. She radiates dramatic authority as a woman who becomes so obsessed with her ex-lover that she loses all sense of reason. What could be an overly ambitious look at a woman’s emotions becomes, instead, touching from its initial sequence of Crawford wandering, aimlessly, through the streets of Los Angeles. The actress lets us know everything we need to know about this woman before she speaks a word. As theatrical as Crawford can be on screen she can also be quite natural and touching.

Friday, June 26, 2:45 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

Air Force One (1997)

Yes, Harrison Ford was a big star when this movie came out, and a role doesn’t get much bigger than a President of the United States under siege while traveling on his big airplane. While director Wolfgang Petersen lets the narrative drag on too long, and the violence become a bit too intense, he makes us believe that such an event could actually occur. And if the ending is a bit far fetched, who cares? We want Indiana Jones to save the day no matter what role he may be playing at the time.

Saturday, June 27, 11 a.m., TNT

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

The screen was filled with big stars when Stanley Kramer made this big screen adaptation of Abby Mann’s television drama about the tribunal for war crimes after World War II. Burt Lancaster may be the biggest name in the cast – along with Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark and Marlene Dietrich – but the acting honors go to Maximillian Schell (won an Oscar) and, in supporting roles, Judy Garland and Montgomery Clift (who were nominated). They remind us that small moments add up to a big film.

Saturday, June 27, 2 p.m. Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

The Birds (1963)

Yes, Alfred Hitchcock was big news when this movie was released, fresh from the success of Psycho a few years before. And the story – of smart birds who choose who to bother – is perfect for the master of suspense. Although Tippi Hedren’s heroine is a bit too selfish for words, and Rod Taylor is more than a touch wooden, Suzanne Pleshette grounds the film with a natural performance as a schoolteacher who thought living on the California coast would be a relaxing life. Wrong. And the birds still frighten.

Sunday, June 28, 4 p.m. Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

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.