While local movie theaters showcase new movies as well as a few remembered by Oscar – and many Oscar winners become available on DVD and On Demand – broadcast and cable television schedules this weekend are filled to the brim with good movies. Take a look at what’s available.
Funny Girl (1968)
No matter how many times you may have seen this musical biography of Fanny Brice, the magic of Barbra Streisand’s movie debut demands another viewing. The Oscar winner commands the screen as she recreates the memorable moments from the Broadway original to imprint her unique personality on our movie memory. No surprise that, since the stage show opened on Broadway in 1964, it has never been revived. No one can replace Streisand.
Friday, March 6, 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Few expected very much from this little movie when it opened – at “neighborhood” theaters that usually showed “second run” films – with the shocking advisory that no one would be admitted after the movie began. People flocked to a film so outrageous in its approach – for its time – and so memorable in its result that it redefined the movie artistry of its great director, Alfred Hitchcock. And it’s the first time in movies we see a flushing toilet.
Saturday, March 7, 4:15 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Friday Night Lights (2004)
For anyone who longs for football, this film version of H. G. Bissinger’s entertaining book celebrates the passion for high school football that defines one town in West Texas and its team. At a time when Odessa, Texas, feels the pressure of an unpredictable economy, and the stress of racial tension, the focus on football offers a way for people to unite. But, for some, that passion becomes an obsession, and a burden for Billy Bob Thornton as the team’s coach.
Sunday, March 8, 11:15 a.m., IFC
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
While Burt Lancaster won his Oscar for playing an evangelist in Elmer Gantry in 1960, his best screen work comes in this devastating satire of New York City life a few years earlier. As a gossip columnist who digs for dirt anywhere he can, Lancaster is brutal, conniving and cynical in his pursuit of personal trash. And he leaves a sincere and trusting Tony Curtis – in one of his best performances – ill prepared for what the big leagues are all about.
Sunday, March 8, 4:30 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Movie legend Clint Eastwood – now celebrating the success of American Sniper – won his second Best Director Oscar for this touching tale of the relationship between a young boxer and her coach. While the film initially follows a predictable narrative – as a determined woman discovers her potential thanks to her focused coach – its u-turn halfway through creates a realistic tension that stays with us. Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman won well-deserved acting Oscars, too.
Sunday, March 8, 4:15 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
This wonderful adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel always reminds us of the meaning a parent can bring to a child. In a small town in the South, a girl named Scout has the world at her hands. But her reality quickly changes when Tom, a black man she treasures, is accused of raping a young white woman. Scout’s view of the world forever changes as she sees how people act when how they hate can rule how they choose to treat others.
Sunday, March 8, 2 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Of the 18 actors and actresses who have won both an Oscar for film and a Tony for Broadway, Audrey Hepburn was the first to win both awards the same year. She won her Oscar – presented in the spring of 1954 – for playing a royal princess who seeks adventure in Roman Holiday after which she won a Tony for Ondine. And, in the process, she began a love affair with movie audiences that continues today, even after her untimely death in 1993.
Saturday, March 7, 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
The Horse Whisperer (1998)
The lovely Kristin Scott Thomas brings the romantic illusions of Nicholas Sparks’ novel to life in this under-rated film adaptation by Robert Redford. This marvelous actress, so reliable in each performance she delivers, makes us believe in the emotional journey of a hardened woman who softens as she embraces the casual lifestyle of the American West. Dianne Wiest delivers another strong supporting performance in a film that gets better with time.
Saturday, March 7, 12 p.m., Flix