What’s on your family’s movie menu this weekend?
In our family, we love to savor what we call guilty pleasures, films that overcome what they lack in quality with enough indulgence to wildly entertain. While these films are rarely honored with Oscars — and, when they are, you wonder for years — they are great shows to watch on a weekend when one more football game may be too much. Take a look at what’s showing this weekend.
Any chance to see the great Julie Andrews on screen is a treat. And The Princess Diaries offers Dame Julie a great opportunity to display all the warmth, humor and captivating charm that have made her a star for more than 50 years. Here she plays the Queen of a no-name country in the middle of nowhere who finds herself in San Francisco in search of an heir. Luck follows her to connect with, of all people, her granddaughter in the persona of a young Anne Hathaway long before she cut off her hair and won an Oscar for Les Misarables. This sleeper film was such a hit that it spawned the inevitable sequel and attracted a new generation of fans for the remarkable Andrews. Her chat with the “trolley people” on the streets of San Francisco is worth the entire film. Check out The Princess Diaries on ABC Family at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, October 12.
Of the iconic Julie Andrews roles, perhaps her portrayal of Maria in The Sound of Music is the one we best remember. A little-known fact is that the role was initially offered to Doris Day who, wisely, turned it down. A few years later, in 1968, Day scored a big hit as the mother of a brood of children herself in With Six You Get Eggroll costarring Brian Keith. This was a year of big-name comedies about large families, most notably Yours, Mine and Ours starring Lucille Ball. The Day version of the story — of two families merging together — may be less filled with slapstick than Lucy’s rendition and remains all the more endearing. Day is at her best in a role filled with grace, grit and a tinge of glamour, as a mother trying to her best to keep the brood in line. Check out With Six You Get Eggroll on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) at 6:15 p.m., Friday, October 11.
James Cameron’s epic Titanic may have won a shipload of Oscars but, years later, remains the least likely Best Picture winner in Oscar history. How this overblown spectacular defeated the brilliantly precise L.A. Confidential for the top award remains an Academy mystery. Still, there’s much to savor in this timeless epic, primarily the authentic performances of Kate Winslett and Leonardo DiCaprio as doomed lovers aboard a ship destined for the bottom of the sea. While the dialogue can be difficult to stomach, and the special effects rendered artificial in the current age of computer animation, the heartstrings are sure to be pulled as the couple fights all the odds to be together only to be separated by the inevitable clash of iceberg and ocean liner. Look for Titanic on A&E at 1 p.m., Saturday.
Trouble on the seas defines the perils of The Perfect Storm, the screen adaptation of a best-selling book about a fishing boat heading into troubled waters. George Clooney is at his most stoic as the captain of the doomed ship in a film defined by its realistic special effects and its less than original dialogue. While the film spends too much time on land, detailing the relationships of the characters, we remain drawn to the impact of the storm sequences that create peril for the well-intentioned characters. And through it all Clooney remains the reliable George we look for at the movies. Tune in to The Perfect Storm at 10 a.m., Saturday, on AMC, American Movie Classics.
Robert Redford’s incredible career as an actor and director is defined by landmark roles in memorable films. His favorite director, Sydney Pollack, guided him through some of his best remembered roles, including the heroes in The Way We Were and Three Days of the Condor. If Havana failed to please his critics, and seemed irrelevant at its release, it now occupies a special place in the Redford library as a film where the actor dares to recreate the memories of Humphrey Bogart in a story taken from the pages of Casablanca. No matter the artificiality of the surroundings, and the intensity of the dialogue, Redford refuses to be anything less than truthful on screen. And he makes for a most interesting anti-hero in a film that deserves a better place. Havana airs on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on FLIX.
Serving nutritious movies can be as easy as turning on the television. And, as you watch together, you can share what you observe, question and consider. Watching movies together can prompt meaningful family conversations. Enjoy!