Summer is a great time to re-watch favorite movies. Take a look at what’s showing this weekend on broadcast and cable television stations.
The Help (2011)
No matter how many times you find yourself watching this film, its sincerity never diminishes and its humanity livens the moment. Viola Davis is incandescent as a woman who knows she makes a real difference to the people in her life, even if they don’t always appreciate her value. And while Octavia Spencer wins our hearts (and won an Oscar) for her creation of a lady with sass, Jessica Chastain delivers the film’s most subtle supporting performance. She perfectly captures the nuance of a woman trapped in the trimmings.
Friday, July 31, 7 p.m., TNT
Pretty Woman (1990)
Today, there’s something ironic about a movie about a hooker showing on the ABC Family Channel. Just as, when this film was made 25 years ago, that it would come from the folks at Disney (under the Touchstone banner). Years later, we adore the magic of Julia Roberts who turns a familiar caricature (the hooker with a heart of gold) into a delightful woman of substance. She finds the perfect foil in Richard Gere who continues to be undervalued for the authenticity and fun he can bring to a romantic comedy.
Friday, July 31, 8:30 p.m., ABC Family
It’s Complicated (2009)
As we get ready for another new movie with Meryl Streep – Ricki and the Flash opening soon – we revisit this romantic comedy about a divorced woman who tries to reconcile her feelings for her ex-husband. No matter who Streep plays, and what situations she recreates, she brings truth to each moment. Some 38 years after her screen debut as Jane Fonda’s friend in Julia, she always manages to show something new. Who knows what she will bring to the upcoming tale of a rocker trying to reconnect with her daughter?
Saturday, August 1, 1:30 p.m., TBS
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Meryl delivers a striking portrayal of a woman in power in this remake of the John Frankenheimer classic of 1962. Under the direction of Jonathan Demme – who also directs Ricki and the Flash – Streep makes this mother with a mission an approachable monster. Denzel Washington brings new layers to the role originally created by Frank Sinatra while Live Schreiber surpasses what Laurence Harvey brought to the original as a man perplexed by his destiny. But the original movie still stands as the way to tell this story.
Saturday, August 1, 5 p.m., Sundance
With every role he plays, Brad Pitt reveals more range as an actor and more conviction as a humanitarian. While this look at baseball may not appear to be a film with a cause, Pitt makes us believe in the challenge of a middle-aged who must confront the realities of time. He brings to life the wish anyone may have to remembered as someone who made a difference, especially to children want to believe that dad’s okay. This Bennett Miller film works on many levels.
Saturday, August 1, 8 p.m., FX
The Horse Whisperer (1998)
Robert Redford is perfectly cast as a man with a most unusual way of curing animals and their owners of the conflicts they refuse to confront. As an actor, he brings truth to every nuance of the character; as a director, he extends that truth to each performance. Dianne Wiest engages as a woman who tries to protect Redford from himself while Kristin Scott Thomas reveals the humanity of a mother who knows who she can be but can’t let herself take the steps.
Saturday, August 2, 10 a.m., Flix
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.