Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Night TV - Strange Days

Tonight's got some choices for movies, motion pictures, as the programming. NBC has a theme with it. Coincidently it's all about the past. I'm not covering this in order of relevence, as if there ultimately was any to be found on television tonight. All times are in Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT).

ABC is running the Dennis Quaid movie, The Rookie, which I have no interest in. That flick goes from eight to eleven pm and quite naturally, is "edited" for "time", "content", and to cut and slice the widescreen down to the standard television feature dimension. Not that a biopic about a relative oldster making a Major League debut isn't a nice idea but it isn't my cop of tea. It takes place in the late nineties.

CBS has on from eight to ten pm a film that I love. Behind Enemy Lines is (to me) a great movie and it stars Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman (who happens to be one of my favorite actors, quite possibly my favorite actor). I won't watch it on television; I saw it in the theatre and loved it and it's great in the transition to DVD. There's no way I can suffer a viewing of this movie as it is cut to pieces to have commercials, commercial interuption jammed in, and especially will not sit for anything that isn't a widescreen presentation of the flick. It's edited for content, to fit the time alotted, and to fit the screen! Why bother?! It's set in the mid-nineties and (loosely based on reality) about a Navy fighter pilot crashed in Bosnia and hunted by Slavic baddies. It is topical; no one with a good moral center maintains that ethnic cleansing is a good thing.

NBC has Miami Vice: Undercover from eight to eleven pm. Within three hours is nothing that had to edited for time, content or anything. In commemoration of the brand new movie that's remaking/adapting the classic television show that began in 1984 and was iconic of that decade (in its own way). The program contains a long preview/commercial promoting, explaining, and spoiling the new flick with Michael Mann heading the flick and has Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx replacing Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas in the roles of "Sonny" Crockett and "Rico" Tubbs, respectively. That is less than the first half-hour of the total program. When I say that they are spoiling the new movie I seriously declare that they are giving away large chunks about the direction of the film. That part is about ruining the future experience of future movie-goers but the remainder of the program until 11 pm is an excellent idea: because there is a new thing coming out with the old name, NBC is presenting (re-presenting?) the pilot for the original television series, with all violence and intended story and production preserved and in place. All around that presentation is stuff about the original series. This whole thing seems to be equal parts tribute to the classic and cheap advertisement for a new product. That's on in my background. I confess that I am not paying total attention. After the 1984 pilot is completed the network will run an "exclusive" excerpt from the movie.

On a note about stuff with lesser viewing audiences, the network formely known as PAX has The Great Santini from eight-thirty to eleven pm. I'm not going to see it now and it will be run again on Sunday night at the same time in the same places. I know what it is about.
PG, Strong Language/Violence, English, 1979
Fine acting distinguishes this story of conflict between a gung-ho Marine pilot (Robert Duvall) and his sensitive son (Michael O'Keefe). Lillian: Blythe Danner. Mary Anne: Lisa Jane Persky. Also called "The Ace." Directed by Lewis John Carlino.
Purportedly it takes place shortly before the Vietname War. I won't see it tonight or tomorrow. Is this all about coincidental thematics? I doubt it. The NBC and CBS movies weren't set in present day when they were created but they certainly were about contemporary topics. The new Miami Vice is not set in 1984 and the original was set in its very own present day. It's just a series of coincidences.

On the plus side I think it's a good thing when one of the major networks (finally) runs a movie that is made in the 20th century and definitely something a vintage from before 1990. The Independent Television Network does it because it was cheap and they got a good deal on the old Warner Bros movie library. NBC is doing it now because of a relationship with something quite and bright new but they should continue doing it for better reasons.

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