As we busily prepare for the holidays, the movies this weekend offer a chance to relax and refresh. Take a look at what’s showing on broadcast and standard cable.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Tom Hanks – who is gathering Oscar buzz this year for Scully – is at his most engaging as a brave astronaut facing a daunting challenge in outer space. Ron Howard’s film is inspiring, meaningful and highly entertaining.
Friday, December 16, 7 p.m., WGNA
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
James Stewart won an Oscar nominations and the hearts of generations for his touching portrayal of a man trying to assess the value of his life. Donna Reed costars in a film that, for many movie fans, defines this season.
Friday, December 16, 8 p.m., USA
Born Yesterday (1950)
Judy Holliday – much to the surprise of everyone in Hollywood – won an Oscar for recreating her Broadway role as a woman who proves she is smarter than anyone believes. Her competition? Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.
Saturday, December 17, 4 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Send Me No Flowers (1964)
Doris Day is at her most engaging as a woman trying to cope when her husband believes he is soon to die. And, to make sure she will be okay, looks for her new husband. A hoot.
Saturday, December 17, 6 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
The Song of Bernadette (1943)
Jennifer Jones won an Oscar for her touching performance as a young woman who believes she sees a vision of the Virgin Mary. The film may be too long but Jones is luminous.
Saturday, December 17, 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Star Wars, A New Hope (1977)
No matter how many reboots and sequels we may see, there’s nothing like the original. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher make us believe anything can happen on screen.
Saturday, December 17, 8 p.m., TNT
In the Good Old Summertime (1949)
Judy Garland and Van Johnson are delightful as co-workers who slowly discover how they feel about each other. Fun musical based on The Shop Around the Corner.
Sunday, December 18, 12 noon, Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Swing Time (1936)
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers make beautiful music together as dancers who discover love in this delightful romp that inspires La La Land. They sure could dance.
Sunday, December 18, 2 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
The Sound of Music (1965)
Julie Andrews, at age 30, turns in a career-defining performance in this lovely musical about a most unpredictable governess. No surprise, the movie won five Oscars.
Sunday, December 18, 7 p.m., ABC