Stars shine on small screen
The stars fill the small screen this weekend with a marvelous collection of movie choices on broadcast and cable television. Check out what’s playing.
Yes, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are too old to be totally believable as high school students. And director Randal Kleiser isn’t always sure where to put the camera. But none of this matters when the cast begins to sing, dance and transport back to a time of hula hoops and drive-in movies. Stockard Channing walks away with the film as the sassy friend with the best songs. Enjoy this delight despite its drawbacks.
Friday, May 8, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 9, 3 p.m.; ABC Family
Sharon Stone has never been as magnetic and convincing as in this Oscar-nominated portrayal of an underworld wife in an overlooked classic from director Martin Scorcese. Had this film – underrated when first released – come out before the similar Goodfellas, this would be remembered as Scorcese’s definitive portrayal of the world of organized crime. No matter the initial reaction, Stone is unforgettable at a performance level she has not again reached.
Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m., Spike
The Birdcage (1996)
Nathan Lane – who is back on Broadway in It’s Only a Play – scores a comic triumph in Mike Nichols’ adaptation of the French comedy, La Cage Aux Folles. Lane brings to life the emotional highs and lows of an unconventional father approaching a child’s marriage. He makes us believe that bloodlines are less essential than a family environment filled with love. The wonderful Dianne Wiest is hysterical in another memorable supporting role.
Saturday, May 9, 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 10, 3 p.m.; ABC Family
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Tom Hanks rides the crest of his stardom in this Nora Ephron remake of the classic comedy, The Shop Around the Corner, that also became the Broadway musical She Loves Me. The film tells a comfortable tale of two people who, on the surface, experience serious dislike while discovering their connection through correspondence. While the references to technology feel dated, and Meg Ryan seems disinterested, Hanks is his reliable, likable self.
Saturday, May 9, 7 p.m., POP
Richard Dreyfuss brings his engaging humanity to a man passionate about sharks in this entertaining tale of an island threatened by those dreaded man-eating beasts. While Roy Scheider grounds the film as a frightened sheriff, and Robert Shaw goes over the top as a marine adventurer, Dreyfuss makes us believe the situations in this Spielberg classic could actually happen.
Saturday, May 9, 6 p.m.; Sunday, May 10, 1:30 p.m., AMC
Goldie Hawn has created a career of playing daffy women who are a lot smarter than they initially appear. In this variation on the well-worn theme, she is cast as an overbearing wealthy woman who, when tossed overboard, discovers her humanity against her will. No matter how familiar the material may be, Hawn makes it all feel fresher than it deserves.
Sunday, May 10, 12:30 p.m., ABC Family
Imitation of Life (1959)
Of the great stars of the 1940s through 1960s, Lana Turner reigned in a series of lavish melodramas decorated with strong characters, lavish sets and beautiful costumes. This time she plays an actress who tries to balance the success of her career with the realities of a complex relationship with her forgiving daughter. Bring the hankies.
Sunday, May 10, 11 a.m., Turner Classic Movies
While Rosalind Russell relies on Broadway’s Lisa Kirk to sing the songs, the actress galvanizes the screen with her intense emotions in this movie adaptation of the hit stage musical. Natalie Wood is most charming as a reluctant performer and, with Russell, creates a touching look at the dynamics between driven women. And, despite the lip-synched vocals, Russell takes us for a wild musical ride.
Sunday, May 10, 5:30 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.