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October 14, 2002

TV Alert

Friedrich --

As you with your Tivo and I with my VCR know, the idiot box is idiotic only if you let it make the decisions for you. Take the time to search programming out for yourself, and you've got yourself an amazing cultural resource. A few highlights from this upcoming week.

*The E! True Hollywood Story: Steven Seagal (Monday 11 am, Tuesday 8 pm, Wednesday 9 am). The action star’s checkered life should provide tasty grist for this celeb-series mill.
*What Lies Beneath (HBO: 12 15 pm Monday; 4 pm Thursday). Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in a thriller for grownups that's so hushed and precise it's like a ride in a high-end Mercedes. My friends hated it; I sat back and enjoyed the expensive purr.
*A&E Biography of James Dean (Monday at 8 pm, repeated at midnight). A two-hour look at the life of the method-acting icon.
*Joy Ride (Cinemax, Monday 8 pm; 3:30 a.m. Tuesday; 3 pm Wednesday; 10 pm Wednesday). Starts as a thriller and morphs into a horror movie. Attractive young cast, but the real star here is the director, John Dahl, who gives the film a beautiful pulp-paperback look and keeps its tone unpretentious and fast. One of the few new movies to have an old-style, B-picture feel.
*Cookie’s Fortune (IFC, Monday 6 pm). Small, easygoing, sweet-natured Southern mystery-comedy from Robert Altman, with Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Charles Dutton and many others. Quiet, musical, finally very touching.
*Dinner at Eight (TCM, Monday at 8 pm). All-star MGM comedy-drama with Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, and Marie Dressler, directed by George Cukor. A confident display of how-it-was-done in early Hollywood.
*Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (HBO, 3:30 pm Tuesday; 2:30 pm Saturday). The role that made Jim Carrey a star. Daring, far-out, still fresh – Ace Ventura for me is as first-rate a comic creation as Groucho, Woody, and Curly.
*FBI Files (Discover, Tuesday at 10 pm; repeated at 1 a.m. Wedesday) The wife and I have a taste for true-crime documentary series. This back-to-basics show, our current fave, is like a reality-TV version of “Dragnet.”
*VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards (Tuesday 9 pm; repeated Wednesday at 6 pm, and noon Thursday). Shows like this one offer glimpses of fashions in dress, attitude, and general pizazz that are likely to start showing up at work or school in a few months. See the future (as well as, of course, some great legs and cleavage).
*A&E Biography of Steven Spielberg (Thursday at 9 pm, a 2-hour episode; repeated at 1 am).
*A documentary about the conceptual artist Bruce Nauman (Ovation, Friday at 6 pm).
*A one-hour Men Who Made the Movies episode about the great "women’s director" George Cukor (TCM, Friday at 7 pm).
*Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (IFC 10 pm Saturday). As far as I’m concerned, David Lynch hasn’t made a good movie since “Blue Velvet.” But even the duds generally have a juicy sex scene or two. This prequel (if I remember right) to “Twin Peaks” grinds along charmlessly and seems to last forever, but features a memorable teens-misbehaving-in-a-bar scene.



posted by Michael at October 14, 2002


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