Have a favorite star? Movies on broadcast and cable television stations this weekend make it easy to enjoy the actors and actresses you like to watch.
Take a look.
Little Murders (1971)
Elliott Gould was a big movie star – fresh from the success of M*A*S*H – when he starred in this movie adaptation of Jules Feiffer’s hysterical study of a dysfunctional family surviving Manhattan mayhem. When audiences didn’t flock to theaters, they missed a precise satire of how living in a crowded city can impact well-intentioned people. Gould, as with most of his movie roles, brings a natural cynicism to Feiffer’s chilling script.
Friday, August 21, 5 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
Back to the Future (1985)
Michael J. Fox was a big television star when he became a movie celebrity with this delightful visit to days gone by. With marvelous support from the set designers, Fox makes us believe in the fun of time travel as he returns to the days when his parents were in high school. As with all of his work, Fox is human, accessible and naturally witty. And he makes us believe that such a far-fetched adventure could actually happen.
Friday, August 21, 8 p.m., AMC
Absolute Power (1997)
Clint Eastwood was an Oscar-winning director when he created this over-the-top thriller about a notorious burglar who claims he wants to go straight. Or does he? With an exaggerated Judy Davis as a White House staffer, a menacing Gene Hackman as a bad man, and an earnest Laura Linney as a skeptical daughter, Eastwood has great fun playing with his image in an entertaining film that never takes itself too seriously.
Saturday, August 22, 12:45 p.m., Sundance
Judgment at Nuremburg (1961)
Judy Garland was in the midst of yet another comeback when she won an Oscar nomination for her supporting turn as a troubled German in this epic look at the aftermath of World War II. Even though Garland lost the award to Rita Moreno (for West Side Story) she reminds us how powerful a dramatic actress she can be in a film remembered today for its all-star cast and relevant message.
Saturday, August 22, 4:45 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Billy Wilder was an Oscar-winning director of The Lost Weekend – a couple of years before hitting his comic stride with Some Like it Hot and The Apartment – when he made this delicious who-done-it from a story by Agatha Christie. With the great Charles Laughton as an overworked barrister, and Marlene Dietrich as a fascinating witness, Wilder has great fun letting us think the movie is about one thing when it’s really about another.
Saturday, August 22, 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
The Tender Trap (1955)
Frank Sinatra was an Oscar-winning actor (for From Here to Eternity) and a reborn recording star when he made this comedy and scored a jukebox hit with its title tune. As a bachelor determined to avoid marriage, Sinatra plays to type in a role that emphasizes how suave and witty he can be on screen. Debbie Reynolds and Celeste Holm are on hand, too, to bring the master showman to earth in a film that reminds us how excessively fun the 1950s could be.
Sunday, August 23, 12:15 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.