September 16, 2014

Meet some interesting people this weekend

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

How about the chance to get to know some interesting people?

Check out a group of women who, together, decide to take on their ex-husbands. Or a father-and-son duo who remind us how much fun movies can be, an over-the-top leader in the world of high finance, or a struggling actor who will take just about any job he can find. These interesting characters highlight the nourishing movies that are available this weekend on television.

While there is little about divorce that can make people laugh, The First Wives Club manages to find humor in just about any potential conflict. This fun comedy from 1996 casts Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton as three college friends who, years later, reunite to pursue revenge on their ex-husbands. But that project ultimately proves to be less satisfying than the chance, together, to do some good for the world. While the film is uneven, and relies too much on voiceover commentary (by Keaton) to connect its plot points, the women have so much fun that we simply can’t resist. Look for the wonderful Eileen Heckart, in her final film appearance, as Keaton’s mother. The late Norwalk resident is, as always, a total delight. Look for The First Wives Club on Saturday, July 27, at 10:30 a.m. on Oxygn.

Even though you may have seen the Indiana Jones films countless times, there’s so much to the series that repeated viewings are a lot of fun. The third installment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, focuses on the complex relationship between the title character and his father. The classic tensions that can exist between father and son come to life as the dueling archaeologists search for buried treasure, pursue adventure and try to escape the bad guys. While the charms of the series are familiar by episode three, the spontaneous interaction between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery keeps the film fresh. And Steven Spielberg always has a surprise or two just waiting around the next bend. Check out Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on Saturday at 1 p.m. on USA.

Of the movie images of the 1980s, few illustrate the financial motives of the decade as clearly as Michael Douglas’ portrayal of a high-flying financier in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Check out just about any documentary of the period and you will likely see the famous sequence where Douglas explains, as a man named Gordon Gekko, that “greed is good.” That certainly is the flavor for this over-the-top adventure of a young man learning the ropes, living the life and facing the music when lured into a world well beyond what he can handle. With Charlie Sheen as the would-be wild man, and real-life father Martin Sheen as his down-to-earth papa, Stone lets us know that, while the rewards may be plentiful, there’s always someone expecting to get paid. Wall Street airs on Saturday at 3 p.m. on Sundance.

The 1980s were, as well, a prolific time for Dustin Hoffman who, early in the decade, scored one of his biggest triumphs as an actor who pretends to be a woman in Tootsie. While other films, such as Victor/Victoria the same year (1982) celebrate the farcical side of cross dressing, Tootsie applies a more human touch, as Hoffman focuses on how the sexes may think differently, not just how they may dress differently. His portrayal of an out-of-work performer whose last chance for employment is to pretend to be a middle-aged actress — to land a gig on a soap opera — tells us as much about the difficulties of show business as it does the tensions between men and women. Hoffman, along with Jessica Lange and Teri Garr, make us believe this situation could actually occur, as they invest the film with as much heart as they do humor. This well-crafted comedy, which survives the test of time with ease, can be seen Saturday evening, at 8 p.m., on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

 

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.