Some Hollywood favorites to savor
Take a trip back to some Hollywood favorites this weekend with the movie choices on broadcast and cable television. Check out these listings.
Legally Blonde (2001)
As we get ready to take a look at the new comedy Hot Pursuit from Reese Witherspoon – fresh from her Oscar nomination for Wild – it’s fun to return to the superficial world of Elle Woods in this hit comedy about an unlikely student at Harvard Law School. Everything that can be annoying about Witherspoon when she tries to go dramatic works in her humorous portrayal of a young woman captivated by appearance. And her little dog delivers one of the most appealing performances by a canine in recent memory.
Friday, May 1, 6 p.m., Bravo
Citizen Kane (1941)
Anyone who has ever taken a movie class has, likely, spent hours dissecting this film from Orson Welles. So much of what we anticipate in movies today came from this masterpiece. While it tells a rather simple tale of an ambitious newspaper tycoon trying to build an empire, the real story is how Welles uses the camera to explore a character’s soul. The moviemaker refuses to follow the rules of the day as he imagines what a film can accomplish. And that makes the movie as fun to watch as it is interesting to study.
Friday, May 1, 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
Apollo 13 (1995)
No matter how many times you have seen Ron Howard’s tribute to American ingenuity, this tale of heroism in the skies never gets old. What keeps it so fresh? Could it be that Tom Hanks has never been more likable than in his portrayal of astronaut Jim Lovell? Or that Kathleen Quinlan expands the role of his supportive wife to become a character of substance? Or that Ed Harris makes us believe that, as a country, we are at our best when pushed against a wall? Together they bring a moment in history to life under Howard’s watchful eye.
Friday, May 1, 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 2, 3:15 p.m.; VH-1
Some movies age better than others. While this reimagined epic caught the public fancy 15 years ago, made a lot of money, and was named Best Picture of the Year, it doesn’t necessarily benefit from the years. Today, it’s a bit obvious to see how director Ridley Scott uses the computer to create characters and settings, and a bit tiresome to endure the endless whining from Joaquin Phoenix. But Russell Crowe is so engaging as Maximus that we’re willing to overlook what was less obvious when we first visited this take on what happened in ancient Rome.
Saturday, May 2, 9 a.m., Spike
The River Wild (1994)
Meryl Streep can do anything. And, during her 48 years on film, she has moved between comedy, musical and drama with ease. So it was a surprise when she decided to make this action thriller. As a woman trying to hold her family together, prove to herself that she can still conquer the rapids and contend with Kevin Bacon’s evil doings, Streep reminds us that she can meet any challenge on screen. We believe every moment in this exaggerated story even when the plot takes some unusual turns. And it’s all because of Streep.
Saturday, May 2, 3 p.m.; Sunday, May 3, 12:30 p.m.; Reelz
It’s easy to forget that John Travolta – before he started to mispronounce names on the Oscars - cut his professional teeth on Broadway in the musicals Grease and Over Here. Years after bringing his singing and dancing to the film of Grease he returned to the movie musical with an unusual portrayal of an overbearing mother in this movie adaptation of the Broadway hit. While the amazing Harvey Fierstein brought the character to life on stage, Travolta seems a bit too caught up in the gimmick. But the musical numbers are magic.
Saturday, May 2, 7 p.m., VH-1
The Tender Trap (1955)
The lovely Debbie Reynolds – honored this year with the lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild – is at her perky best in this movie version of the Broadway comedy by Max Shulman.With Frank Sinatra as a theater agent, and Celeste Holm at her sassy best as Sylvia, Reynolds shines as a young woman who wants to learn what romance is about. Like most comedies from the 1950s, this one offers lots of innuendo and a catchy title song.
Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
The legendary Marilyn Monroe brings her musical comedy magic to this screen version of the Broadway hit that starred Carol Channing. As a “little girl from Little Rock” who believes that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” Monroe captivates in a performance filled with humor, spontaneity and warmth. Who wouldn’t want to swim the Atlantic for his lady? With Jane Russell her sassy best, this movie is great fun all these years later. And Monroe shines.
Sunday, May 3, 4 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
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.