Cool down with some classic movies on TV

After enjoying beautiful weather outside, a movie can be a chance to cool down. Check out these films showing this weekend on broadcast and cable television stations.

Poltergeist (1982)

Forget the unnecessary sequel. If you want an old fashioned thriller, return to the original from the creative mind of Steven Spielberg. While everything looks predictable for a family in suburbia, little do they know what dangers lurk in the shadows. JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Helson show reel screen fright when spirits from another dimension invade their routine lives. The chills never let up on this wild roller coaster ride.

Friday, July 17, 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 18, 12:45 p.m., IFC

Amistad (1997)

Of the historical moments Steven Spielberg recreates on screen, this effort was dismissed by many when first released. But it’s worth taking a second look. Spielberg captures the sense of urgency that defines a critical moment in American history when men destined to become slaves take over a ship off the coast of Cuba in 1839. While a young Matthew McConaughey is yet to become the actor we know today, Djimon Hounsou is magnetic as a man fighting for his freedom while Anthony Hopkins registers as a former President pushing for what is right.

Friday, July 17, 12:45 p.m.

Steel Magnolias (1989)

Okay, so it feels like this classic weeper from the late 1980s is broadcast every other day. No problem. It’s always welcome on any movie menu thanks to a moving script by Robert Harling (from his play) and precise performances from an all-star cast led by Sally Field. One interesting note about the film is that director Herbert Ross totally shot on location in Louisiana – without “interiors” later done in Hollywood – and, for the most part, in sequence. This makes the film feels like a real visit to a special place filled with interesting people.

Friday, July 17, 4 p.m., Lifetime

Giant (1956)

Of the legendary movies of the 1950s, this one stands on its own as a magical example of big-screen moviemaking. Director George Stevens – working from the novel by Edna Ferber – takes his cameras to the plains of West Texas to film an epic story of a family trying to adjust to change while holding onto fortune, values and traditions. Of course, the film is best remembered for James Dean’s final performance. He is riveting as a man destined to do much more than his demons will permit.

Saturday, July 18, 11:45 a.m., Turner Classic Movies

The Candidate (1972)

Now that we are beginning the 2016 presidential race, it’s fun to look back at when we thought politics was a simpler game. This Oscar-winning satire from the Nixon era reminds us that elections are never predictable. Robert Redford shines as a passionate lawyer who hesitates to join the political carnival but, once inside, quickly finds he can be a strong competitor. No matter how many years have passed since the film opened, its messages still ring true even if the clothes look funny.

Saturday, July 18, 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Who knew that Marlon Brando could sing? While he’s occasionally off pitch in this movie version of the Broadway hit the actor brings spirit to his interpretation of Sky Masterson, a gambler with a mission in New York City. With Frank Sinatra on hand to provide vocal support, and Jean Simmons (also a non singer) in the wings as the romantic interest, Brando reminds us he is an actor first and a performer second. Vivian Blaine repeats her stage portrayal as a dancer with a big heart, and a tendency to catch colds.

Sunday, July 19, 1:15 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.

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