With summer in high gear, family time at the movies – from the comfort of home – can be a great way to relax together. Check out these films showing this weekend on broadcast and cable television stations.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
What family and friends can mean to each other comes from the heart of this film adaptation of Paul Harling’s stage play. With Harling adapting his script for the screen – based on his sister’s life – veteran Herbert Ross directs a luminous cast of magical actresses who bring their appealing characters to life. As the mother of the year, Sally Field displays her maternal strength, well supported by Julia Roberts’ vulnerability and Dolly Parton’s humor. And Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis – as small town icons – almost steal the film with their delightful supporting performances.
Friday, July 10, 6:30 p.m., ABC Family
How family and friends come in handy when disaster strikes adds heart to this popular thriller about bad weather in Oklahoma and Texas. With Helen Hunt as a storm chaser with a history of weather-driven trauma, and Bill Paxton as her reluctant ex-husband, the film displays what living with the threat of tornadoes can mean to daily routines. What’s fun about the film – in addition to the visual images that pop up during the storms – is watching Philip Seymour Hoffman chew scenery as a cynic who loves bad weather and Lois Smith warming the screen as a hearty woman with a stocked refrigerator.
Friday, July 10, 6 p.m., CMT
An American President (1995)
How family, friends (and opponents) react to a new romance is at the heart of Rob Reinder’s romantic comedy about a widowed President of the United States who decides he’s entitled to a personal life. While Michael Douglas emerges as a convincing CEO, this is Annette Bening’s film in a radiant performance that highlights the range she brings to the screen. With a delightfully sinister Richard Dreyfuss as the political opposition and an intensiely charismatic Michael J. Fox as the ultimate handler, the story comes from the imagination of Aaron Sorkin who later brought the White House to life on television in The West Wing.
Friday, July 10, 6:30 p.m., POP
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
The tragedies of September 11 reminded us how cruel a world can be. The villain behind it all remained elusive for years as intelligence experts used every approach to figure out how to find Osama Bin Laden. Filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar (for The Hurt Locker), examines the ingenuity, persistence and fearlessness that heroic intelligence demands. She makes a film that is so big in what it wants to be, so deep in what it wants to say, and so compelling in its visual narrative, that we are captivated from its opening moments. The filmmaker’s daring use of her camera keeps us on the edge of our seats throughout the 157 minutes even though we know how the story will end.
Friday, July 10, 8 p.m., FXM
Quiz Show (1994)
When television was a novelty in the 1950s, game shows became a national obsession. As these programs became popular, the thirst for ratings led to large prizes and intense drama to get the nation to root for people to win big. But audiences only saw what the networks wanted them to see and, as Quiz Show reveals, scandal soon defined these programs. We go on the set of Twenty One when Charles Van Doren becomes a popular national hero after successfully answering a series of difficult questions. To many, he is a brilliant collector of facts; to others, a mysterious product of the entertainment machine. Quiz Show explores if ambition and vanity encourage people to be manipulated by the media.
Saturday, July 11, 2:05 p.m., Flix
How the West Was Won (1963)
The history of the United States is a fascinating story of brave people daring to conquer new lands. How the West Was Won is second best to traveling in time to experience what early Americans faced as they settled our nation. The film takes us to the challenges of riding the rapids of the rivers, crossing the country by covered wagon, fighting in the Civil War and, ultimately, defending the new land. Throughout struggles that define “the American Spirit,” we feel struggle, sadness and joy as people make new lands their own. How the West Was Won celebrates the detailed approach that film can take to recreating milestone moments in our nation’s history. And it’s fabulous entertainment.
Saturday, July 11, 2 p.m. Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
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.