Some interesting films on US television, December 26-January 1
Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW)
26 December 1998
Saturday, December 26
10:30 am (Sundance)--Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)--Bizarre crime thriller about horrific revenge exacted by mob boss (played with extreme creepiness by Christopher Walken in a motorized wheelchair) upon local hoods. With Andy Garcia and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Gary Fleder. (MJ)
*12:00 pm (Bravo)--The Dead (1987)--John Huston's deeply felt adaptation of James Joyce's short story, one of the best in the English language. This was Huston's last film; it ended his great career on a high note. With Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann. (MJ)
*1:30 pm (USA)--Dead Again (1991)--Visually exciting film (with debts to Hitchcock and Welles) set in Los Angeles is a murder mystery in which reincarnation is the key. Kenneth Branagh directed and plays two roles, as does Emma Thompson. (MJ)
5:00 pm (HBO Plus)--William Shakespeare's "Romeo + Juliet" (1996)--Inventive and exciting modern-dress version of the play. Starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. (MJ)
5:00 pm (TCM)--Lady for a Day (1933)--Frank Capra directed this story about an apple vendor transformed into a society lady by a kindhearted hoodlum. With May Robson and Warren Williams. (DW)
9:00 pm (Sundance)--Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)--See 10:30 am.
10:00 pm (TCM)--They Were Expendable (1945)--An extremely well-done film: the story of an American PT boat squadron, directed by John Ford. John Wayne and Robert Montgomery are the squadron's officers, but equally memorable is Donna Reed, as a nurse in love with Wayne's character. (DW)
10:30 pm (HBO Plus)--Against All Odds (1984)--Decent remake of the 1947 film noir Out of the Past. Good performances by Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward, and James Woods. Directed by Taylor Hackford. (MJ)
*12:30 am (TCM)--Fort Apache (1948)--One of John Ford's classic cavalry trilogy. Henry Fonda is an unbending officer who can't get along with his own men, or the neighboring Apaches. With John Wayne and Shirley Temple. (DW)
12:35 am (HBO Signature)--John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--Francis Coppola took a John Grisham potboiler and made it into an engrossing but pedestrian film. Nonetheless, it is rich in characters, with particularly good work by Danny DeVito and Mickey Rourke (in a surprising stand-out performance as an ultra-sleazy lawyer) Also starring Matt Damon, John Voight and Claire Danes. (MJ)
2:00 am (History)--The Left-Handed Gun (1958)--Based on a television play by Gore Vidal, Arthur Penn directed this off-beat version of the Billy the Kid legend. (DW)
2:05 am (HBO Family)--Ishtar (1987)--One of the most famous failures in recent Hollywood history, Elaine May directed this $40 million picture, which stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. Interesting as an historical curiosity. (DW)
*2:45 am (TCM)--The Quiet Man (1952)--John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara star in this John Ford film about an Irish-American boxer who goes back to his native country. (DW)
*3:35 am (Encore)--Taxi Driver (1976)--Paul Schrader wrote and Martin Scorsese directed this bleak, obsessive classic that looks at the underside of New York City. Starring Robert De Niro, Jody Foster, and Harvey Keitel. Great score by Bernard Hermann. (MJ)
Sunday, December 27
7:15 am (AMC)--Nothing Sacred (1937)--Fredric March is a cynical reporter who sets out to make headlines with the story of a Vermont girl (Carole Lombard) supposedly dying from radium poisoning. Ben Hecht wrote the script and William Wellman directed. (DW)
*7:30 am (TMC)--The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)--Woody Allen combines Keaton's Sherlock Jr. and Fellini's The White Sheik to come up with a satisfying tale about a drab housewife (Mia Farrow) romanced by a character (Jeff Daniels) who literally steps out of the movie screen. (MJ)
*10:00 am (TCM)--Lady in the Lake (1946)--Robert Montgomery directed himself as Raymond Chandler's private detective Philip Marlowe. The camera, as a novelty, takes the first-person (Montgomery's) point of view. (DW)
12:00 pm (Encore)--Gypsy (1962)--Unfortunate film adaptation of the great Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim musical. Rosalind Russell does not have the necessary fire in her belly for the role of Mama Rose. Worth seeing for the music, but look for the recent, far better, made-for-TV version with Bette Midler. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Also starring Natalie Wood and Karl Malden. (MJ)
*12:00 pm (USA)--The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)--Real-life brothers Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges play musician brothers in this emotionally gripping story of sibling rivalry, With Michelle Pfeiffer. Directed by Steve Kloves. (MJ)
*12:00 pm (TCM)--The Merry Widow (1934)--Ernst Lubitsch directed this version of the Franz Lehar operetta. Described by one critic as "the last musical of a certain spirit and style to be made on this planet." (DW)
12:30 pm (HBO Plus)--Contact (1997)--An intelligent, refreshingly non-xenophobic film on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Jodie Foster plays the single-minded astrophysicist in this adaptation from the novel by the late Carl Sagan. Unfortunately, toward the end the film becomes mushy-minded and tries to make its peace with religion. (MJ)
*1:45 pm (AMC)--Imitation of Life (1959)--Douglas Sirk directed this work, "A big, crazy film about life and death. And a film about America." Lana Turner is a career-driven actress; Juanita Moore is her black maid. Moore has a daughter (Susan Kohner) who wants to pass for white. The characters' thoughts, wishes and dreams "grow directly out of their social reality or are manipulated by it" (R.W. Fassbinder). (DW)
2:00 pm (TCM)--Ninotchka (1939)--Greta Garbo is an unlikely Soviet official in Paris, who gets seduced by Melvyn Douglas and the pleasures of capitalism, in Ernst Lubitsch's comedy. (DW)
2:00 pm (Cinemax)--Saturday Night Fever (1977)--A hardware store salesman in Brooklyn becomes a champion disco dancer at night. This is the film that launched John Travolta's film career, and he is a marvel as a dancer. Music by the Bee Gees. Directed by John Badham. (MJ)
3:50 pm (TBS)--Rain Man (1988)--Barry Levinson's anti-Reaganite work, with Dustin Hoffman as an autistic man and Tom Cruise, a 1980s Babbitt, as his yuppie hustler brother. (DW)
4:00 pm (TCM)--The Shop Around the Corner (1940)--James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan are co-workers who, unbeknownst to themselves, have entered into a romance through letters. Marvelous Ernst Lubitsch film, occasionally precious, but deeply felt. (DW)
4:15 pm (Encore)--Ishtar (1987)--See Saturday, at 2:05 am.
4:45 pm (HBO Plus)--The Firm (1993)--Another film that takes a shot at the legal profession. In this paranoid potboiler, a young, ambitious lawyer finds out that his high-toned firm is totally owned by organized crime. An unremarkable film is saved by a remarkable performance by Gene Hackman (always dependable), playing a cynical partner. From the bestseller by John Grisham. (MJ)
5:00 pm (Bravo)--Henry V (1989)--Kenneth Branagh's exuberant production of the great Shakespeare historical play about Britain's warrior-king. "He which hath no stomach to this fight,/Let him depart..." (DW)
6:00 pm (TCM)--Santa Fe Trail (1940)--A very peculiar film. Hollywood's marketing strategy, at this time, included adapting itself to pro-Southern sensibilities. Purportedly a film about the pursuit of John Brown after the Harper's Ferry raid. Errol Flynn plays Jeb Stuart and Ronald Reagan is George Custer, West Point classmates and rivals for the affection of Olivia de Haviland. Raymond Massey plays a maniacal, but finally sympathetic, Brown. Michael Curtiz presided over the goings-on. (DW)
10:00 pm (Cinemax)--Face/Off (1997)--Hong Kong action director John Woo lets out all the stops in this exciting, humorous, and (of course) preposterous film about a government agent (John Travolta) and his terrorist nemesis (Nicolas Cage) exchanging faces. (MJ)
10:00 pm (TCM)--The Miracle Worker (1962)--Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft co-starred in this version of William Gibson's play about the early life of Helen Keller. Arthur Penn directed with his normal sensitivity to acting performances. (DW)
2:15 am (TCM)--Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)--Robert Wise directed this competent biography of New York-born boxing champion Rocky Graziano. Paul Newman plays Graziano; with Pier Angeli, Everett Sloane and, in his film debut, Steve McQueen. (DW)
2:30 am (HBO Plus)--Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)--Another of Sidney Lumet's tales of police corruption. They are usually incisive, with a good feel for urban realities, but this one, with Andy Garcia as a cop turned crusading DA, is a bit paint-by-numbers. (MJ)
*2:30 am (Sundance)--Bound (1996)--A fine first film by brothers Andy and Larry Machowski. Cinematically, it's a bit of a show-off, but it all works, re-mining familiar film noir elements. A mob money-launderer's mistress and her ex-con lesbian lover conspire to run off with the mobster's loot. Played broadly, and often with humor, by Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, and Joe Pantoliano. (MJ)
2:50 am (TMC)--The Tall Guy (1989)--Moderately funny film about an American actor (Jeff Goldblum) trying to make it in British theater. Highlights are the daffy musical version of The Elephant Man and Rowan Atkinson's insired mugging. Also with Emma Thompson. Directed by Mel Smith. (MJ)
*4:20 am (TMC)--The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)--See 7:30 am.
4:25 am (HBO Plus)--Contact (1997)--See 12:30 pm.
Monday, December 28
8:00 am (Sundance)--Arizona Dream (1993)--Yugoslav director Emir Kusturica (Underground) directed this self-consciously offbeat film about a drifter (Johnny Depp), his car salesman uncle (Jerry Lewis), and an oddball mother and daughter (Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor). (DW)
9:00 am (HBO Signature)--Against All Odds (1984)--See Saturday, at 10:30 pm.
11:00 am (HBO Signature)--The Name of the Rose (1986)--A murder mystery set in a medieval monastery (the McGuffin is a lost book by Aristotle). Though lacking much of the rich detail of Umberto Eco's fine novel, the film stands well on its own. Sean Connery is perfect as the monk-detective, John of Baskerville. With Christian Slater, F. Murray Abraham, and William Hickey. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. (MJ)
*12:00 pm (FXM)--Man Hunt (1941)--Suspenseful film directed by Fritz Lang about a hunter who gets Hitler in his sights but doesn't pull the trigger; from that point on, he himself is hunted by the Nazis. With Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, and George Sanders. (MJ)
1:15 pm (HBO Plus)--The Fifth Element (1997)--Vacuous, silly science fiction film in which the future of the universe hinges on a Brooklyn cabdriver (played in proletarian style by Bruce Willis) finding something called "the fifth element." Worth seeing only for its imaginative settings and special effects. Typical scenery-chewing villainy by Gary Oldman. Directed by Luc Besson. (MJ)
2:00 pm (TCM)--Singin' in the Rain (1952)--Is there anyone who hasn't seen this film by now? Anyway, it's a remarkable musical, with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, about the days of silent film. Stanley Donen and Kelly directed. (DW)
2:05 pm (TMC)--Kansas City (1996)--Uneven period piece by Robert Altman. Worth seeing for the fine jazz music playing throughout, and for the excellent performances by Miranda Richardson and Harry Belafonte (as a mellow but bitter black mobster who utters trenchant comments about racism in America). But the plot is ridiculous, and Jennifer Jason Leigh provides the annoying grimaces and mannerisms we have come to expect from her. (MJ)
2:30 pm (Sundance)--Arizona Dream (1993)--See 8:00 am.
7:00 pm (HBO Signature)--Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)--The pioneer auto-maker (played by Jeff Bridges) and his company are destroyed by the giants of the auto industry. Director Francis Coppola obviously meant this as a parable about the independent artist versus the film industry, with Tucker standing in for Coppola. The whole thing seems oversimplified. Good performance by Martin Landau. (MJ)
*8:00 (Encore)--Sorcerer (1977)--Three trucks driven by desperate men run all kinds of hazards to bring volatile shipments of explosives to an oil field fire in Latin America. William Friedkin directed this underrated, highly suspenseful remake of the French classic The Wages of Fear. Starring Roy Scheider. (MJ)
*8:00 pm (TCM)--The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)--John Garfield and Lana Turner play the illicit and doomed lovers in the film based on James M. Cain's novel. They kill her husband, the owner of a roadside diner, and suffer the consequences of nearly getting away with it. Tay Garnett directed. (DW)
*8:05 pm (TBS)--The Quiet Man (1952)--See Saturday, at 2:45 am.
9:45 pm (AMC)--The Naked Jungle (1954)--Above-average jungle adventure directed by Byron Haskin, with Charlton Heston and Eleanor Parker. (DW)
10:05 pm (Encore)--Blue Velvet (1986)--This is the quirky film that launched director David Lynchs career. It was then a short jump to his influential, idiosyncratic TV series "Twin Peaks." And then he flickered out like a shooting star. With Dennis Hopper. (MJ)
*12:25 am (Starz)--Heavenly Creatures (1994)--Odd, compelling film, based on fact ansd set in 1950s New Zealand. Two inseparable teen-age girls kill the mother of one to prevent their being parted. Directed by Peter Jackson. With Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet. (MJ)
12:50 am (Cinemax)--The Devil's Advocate (1997)--Satan (portrayed in an over-the-top performance by Al Pacino) runs a white-shoe law firm in New York City. Keanu Reeves, as an ambitious young lawyer, makes a Faustian bargain and suffers for it. A very funny horror film that trades on the public's distrust of the legal profession. (MJ)
Tuesday, December 29
*5:15 am (AMC)--Sherlock Jr. (1924)--A work of genius, made by Buster Keaton. A projectionist walks into a movie screen and becomes part of the action. Not to be missed. (DW)
9:00am (HBO Plus)--John Grisham's the Rainmaker (1997)--See Saturday, at 12:35 am.
9:30 am (TCM)--The Fountainhead (1949)--King Vidor directed Ayn Rands adaptation of her own reactionary novel in hyperbolic style, reaching extremes that are often unintentionally hilarious. Gary Cooper plays the heroic, unbending, individualist architect, Patricia Neal the heiress who carries on a love-hate relationship with him. (MJ)
2:00 pm (TCM)--Dark Victory (1939)--Bette Davis is a socialite who learns she has a terminal illness. George Brent is her brain surgeon husband. Directed by Edmund Goulding. (DW)
*3:00 pm (USA)--Dazed and Confused (1993)--Richard Linklater's evocative, unsentimental portrait of the last day of school at a suburban Texas high school in 1976. A variety of narrative strands, too many to mention. With Jason London, Mila Jovovich, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, among others. (DW)
*3:45 pm (Cinemax)--Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)--James Ivory directed this touching film that follows a reserved Kansas City couple through several decades, revealing much of what really goes on under the surface of their long, seemingly placid relationship. Starring real-life husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in quiet, sensitive performances. Adapted--with inevitable changes and abridgements--from the brilliant but unfilmable pair of novels by Evan S. Connell, Jr. (MJ)
4:00 pm (TCM)--The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)--Stylishly done version of romance between Queen of England (Bette Davis) and Earl of Essex (Errol Flynn). Directed by Michael Curtiz, from a play by Maxwell Anderson. (DW)
12:10 am (HBO Plus)--William Shakespeare's "Romeo + Juliet" (1996)--See Saturday, at 5:00 pm.
*12:30 am (TCM)--The Fortune Cookie (1966)--Billy Wilder's ultra-cynical story about a television cameraman (Jack Lemmon) injured during a football game and the attempts by his shyster lawyer (Walter Matthau) to sue for millions. (DW)
Wednesday, December 30
*6:00 am (AMC)--Angel Face (1952)--An extravagant Otto Preminger melodrama, about a murderous girl who does in her father and stepmother. With Jean Simmons, Robert Mitchum, Herbert Marshall. Described as "a lyrical nightmare" by one critic. (DW)
6:00 am (TCM)--Anna Christie (1930)--Greta Garbo is charming, in her first speaking part, as the woman with a past who returns to her father and the sea, and falls in love. Based on the Eugene O'Neill play. Directed turgidly by Clarence Brown; with Charles Bickford. (DW)
*7:00 am (Cinemax)--North by Northwest (1959)--One of Alfred Hitchcock's wondrous late 1950s' color pieces, with Cary Grant as an ad executive turned into a wanted and hunted man. (DW)
8:30 am (Sundance)--Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)--See Saturday, at 10:30 am.
*10:30 am (TCM)--Rancho Notorious (1952)--A Western like no other, except possibly Johnny Guitar. Arthur Kennedy gets work at a ranch, really a bandit hideout, run by Marlene Dietrich, to find his girl-friend's killer. With Mel Ferrer. (DW)
11:00 am (HBO Plus)--Against All Odds (1984)--See Saturday, at 10:30 pm.
2:30 pm (HBO Plus)--Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)--See Sunday, at 2:30 pm.
*3:00 pm (Cinemax)--The Year of Living Dangerously (1983)--Love story set against the background of the military bloodbath against the Communist Party in Indonesia in 1966. The political scenes are very powerful. Linda Hunt is marvelous as the diminutive photographer Billy Kwan, for which she deservedly won an Academy Award. Starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. Directed by Peter Weir. (MJ)
4:00 pm (TCM)--Ninotchka (1939)--See Sunday, at 2:00 pm.
*4:05 pm (FXM)--The Gang's All Here (1943)--Delightful Busby Berkeley film, with the usual lush and intricate musical sequences, but this time in rich Technicolor. Watch for the not-so-subliminal chorus line of bananas in Carmen Miranda's "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" number. (MJ)
8:00 pm (TCM)--Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)--Michael Curtiz directed this story of gangsters and slum kids. James Cagney is the gangster who pretends to be a coward on his way to the electric chair to scuttle his reputation with the kids. (DW)
*10:00 pm (TCM)--White Heat (1949)--Not-to-be-missed crime drama about criminal with a serious mother complex. James Cagney is unforgettable in Raoul Walsh's film. (DW)
*12:00 am (FXM)--How Green Was My Valley (1941)--John Ford's powerful film about Welsh coal miners. With Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp, and Roddy McDowall. (MJ)
12:40 am (HBO Plus)--The Fifth Element (1997)--See Monday, at 1:15 pm.
*2:15 am (Encore)--Taxi Driver (1976)--See Saturday, at 3:35 am.
*3:10 am (HBO Signature)--The Ice Storm (1997)--Excellent film by Ang Lee of aimlessness and disillusionment in the 1970s. As the middle class disintegrates in suburbia, we see the disintegration of the White House playing out in the background as the Watergate crisis runs its course. The fine cast includes Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Jamey Sheridan, and Christina Ricci. (MJ)
Thursday, December 31
*6:05 am (FXM)--The Gang's All Here (1943)--See Wednesday, at 4:05 pm.
7:30 am (TCM)--The Party (1968)--Peter Sellers is an Indian actor attending a fashionable Hollywood party in this uneven film by Blake Edwards. With Claudine Longet. (DW)
*9:15 am (TCM)--Lolita (1962)--Relatively daring film version of the Vladimir Nabokov novel about a middle-aged English academic who develops a passion for a young girl. Stanley Kubrick directed James Mason, Sue Lyon, Shelley Winters and Peter Sellers. (DW)
11:00 am (Starz)--Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)--Mike Myers plays a double role in this consistently amusing sendup of James Bond movies and the manners and styles of the 1970s. (MJ)
3:00 pm (HBO Signature)--The Name of the Rose (1986)--See Monday, at 11:00 am.
*4:00 pm (TCM)--Dr. Strangelove (1963)--Classic satire on nuclear annihilation. Though heavyhanded in parts, it stll retains its incisive humor and impact. Peter Sellers is incredible playing several parts, including the President of the United States. Memorable line: "You can't fight in here--it's the War Room!" Directed by Stanley Kubrick. (MJ)
*4:00 pm (Bravo)--The Dead (1987)--See Saturday, at 12:00 pm.
4:45 pm (HBO Plus)--The Firm (1993)--See Sunday, at 4:45 pm.
7:20 pm (TMC)--Blazing Saddles (1974)--Mel Brooks' western parody, with Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder and Madeline Kahn. (DW)
8:00 pm (Starz)--Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)--See 11:00 am.
8:00 pm (AMC)--River of No Return (1954)--Otto Preminger directed this interesting, relatively somber story. Robert Mitchum rescues a man (Rory Calhoun) and a woman (Marilyn Monroe) from drowning. Calhoun promptly steals his horse and takes off. Vengeful Mitchum, with his young son, and Monroe pursue him by raft. (DW)
8:00 pm (Cinemax)--Saturday Night Fever (1977)--See Sunday, at 2:00 pm.
8:00 pm (TCM)--The Pink Panther (1964)--The first of the series, with Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau chasing the famous jewel thief, The Phantom. With David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, Capucine, Robert Wagner. Directed by Blake Edwards. (DW)
*9:00 pm (Sundance)--Bound (1996)--See Sunday, at 2:30 am.
9:30 pm (HBO Plus)--Contact (1997)--See Sunday, at 12:30 pm.
2:00 am (Comedy)--The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)--A cult film that is actually quite good, in a campy way. The performance by Tim Curry is particularly outrageous. (MJ)
*4:00 am (Bravo)--The Dead (1987)--See Saturday, at 12:00 pm.
Friday, January 1
5:40 am (Encore)--Charade (1963)--Delightful Hitchcockian light thriller directed by Stanley Donen. Starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and Walter Matthau. (MJ)
6:25 am (Starz)--Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)--See Thursday, at 11:00 am.
*9:45 am (HBO Signature)--Barbarians at the Gate (1993)--James Garner is outstanding in this saga of the 1980s, about the corporate piracy that led to the takeover of RJR Nabisco. Larry Gelbart wrote the witty screenplay for the made-for-cable film. (MJ)
10:15 am (AMC)--Five Graves to Cairo (1943)--Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett wrote the screenplay for this North African wartime intrigue drama; Wilder also directed. Franchot Tone stars. (DW)
12:00 pm (HBO)--Contact (1997)--See Sunday, at 12:30 pm.
*12:30 pm (HBO Signature)--Rosemary's Baby (1968)--John Cassavetes is excellent as ambitious actor who involves himself in diabolical activities to advance his career. Mia Farrow is his unsuspecting wife. Roman Polanski wrote the screenplay, based on the Ira Levin potboiler, and directed. (DW)
12:30 pm (TMC)--Arizona Dream (1993)--See Monday, at 8:00 am.
2:30 pm (TCM)--Freaks (1932) --Tod Browning's astonishing film, really a revenge drama, about a traveling sideshow and its performers. Once described as the most compassionate film ever made. With Olga Baclanova and Wallace Ford. (DW)
4:00 pm (TCM)--Thunder Road (1958) --Robert Mitchum masterminded and starred in this film about moonshiners in the South. He is at war with both Federal agents and organized crime. With Gene Barry, Keely Smith and Mitchum's son, Jim. Mitchum also wrote the title song, which came a hit record. (DW)
4:15 pm (Encore)--Charade (1963)--See 5:40 am.
6:00 pm (TCM)--Blowup (1966) --Vanesse Redgrave and David Hemmings in Michelangelo Antonioni's film about art, artists, and truth. A photographer spots a killing in one of his shots, but the picture disappears. (DW)
8:00 pm (Comedy)--National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)--Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo star in this often hilarious low comedy about a quintessentially middle-class family's cross-country trip to the Wally Land theme park. The sequences with Imogene Coca are especially funny. Directed by Harold Ramis. (MJ)
8:00 pm (TCM)--Murder, My Sweet (1944) --Worthy, hardboiled adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely, with Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe. Directed by future HUAC informer Edward Dmytryk. (DW)
10:00 pm (Comedy)--The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)--See Thursday, at 2:00 am.
10:00 pm (TCM)--Lady in the Lake (1946)--See Sunday, at 10:00 am.
*11:50 pm (Encore)--The Grifters (1990)--One of the best adaptations of Jim Thompsons gritty, bleak novels, this one about mother-and-son con artists, played by Angelica Huston and John Cusack. With Pat Hingle. Directed by Stephen Frears. (MJ)
*12:00 am (TCM)--The Big Sleep (1945) --Howard Hawks' version of Raymond Chandler novel, with a script again by Faulkner. Detective Philip Marlowe (Bogart) becomes involved with wealthy girl (Bacall) and her spoiled, irresponsible sister. Don't bother to figure out who did the murders, the director reportedly wasn't certain. (DW)
2:15 am (HBO Plus)--Serial Mom (1994)--Middle-aged suburban mom (played with relish by Kathleen Turner) kills to preserve traditional American values, like rewinding before you return your tape to the video store and not wearing white shoes after Labor Day. This hilarious satire was directed by John Waters. (MJ)