April 18, 2014

TV movies: Family is one of the themes this weekend

What’s on your family’s movie menu this weekend?

How about a loving eccentric who opens her nephew’s to the wonders of the world? An ambitious woman who opens her eyes to the simplicity of love? A family that learns new lessons about tolerance and forgiveness? Or an unlikely hero who helps save a friend? These nourishing films are available this weekend on television.

When I was a child, I always hoped to meet my own Auntie Mame. This madcap lady — first brought to life on the page by Patrick Dennis and later on stage and screen by Rosalind Russell — symbolizes our hunger to stretch our minds and nourish our curiosities. And have a wonderful time in the process! Who else would take a young boy to destinations around the world, introduce him to all kinds of people, and teach him never to fear what differs from the familiar? Russell transfers her legendary stage performance to film in a delightful portrayal that rings every laugh out of every line and brings real heart to every relationship. Bypass the later musical adaptation brought to the screen by Lucille Ball; the original is so fun that it sings without songs. Meet Auntie Mame on Saturday evening, June 29, at 8 p.m. on Turner Classic Movies.

The lovely Sandra Bullock learns a few lessons about love, friendship and family in the warm comedy The Proposal. At her ebullient best, Bullock portrays an ambitious career woman who faces deportation from the United States because of visa issues. What better way to address the challenge than to ask her assistant to walk down the aisle so she can become officially American? And what more entertaining complication than to visit his family for an introductory weekend? With the amazing Betty White walking away with every scene in which she appears, The Proposal may be predictable, but it certainly entertains. And Bullock shines in a role tailor-made to her unique appeal. Look for this comedy on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on FX.

The dynamics of family relationships are center stage at a holiday reunion in The Family Stone. When a son brings home his girlfriend — to meet the eccentric members of his clan — complications ensue when some of the siblings are less than wild about the attitude she conveys. With lovely performances from Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker, and a script that refuses to become cloying, the film offers sentiment without sugar, humor with a strong does of humanity. And it reminds us that, with a foundation of love and trust, any family can endure most any change. Look for The Family Stone at 9 p.m., Saturday, on E.

In the 1970s, the battles in Cambodia made international headlines. When a journalist of the New York Times, Sydney Schanberg, found himself in the middle of the war-torn country, he experienced the story of a lifetime when he defended a victim of the atrocities. The Killing Fields tells the moving tale of how these men from different worlds search for common ground in the spirit of friendship. And when one of the friends is lost, the other does everything he can to try to save his brother. This authentic, occasionally brutal tale reminds us that, no matter the challenge we face, we have the resilience to overcome any obstacle. The Killing Fields airs at 3:45 p.m., Saturday, on the Sundance Channel.

Serving nutritious movies can be as easy as turning on the television. And be sure, as you watch together, to share what you observe, question and consider. Watching movies together can prompt valuable family discussions.