Web site TV for Dec.05 – Dec.11 , 2010
TV film fare -- week of Nov. 21
Monday, Dec. 6, 8-11 p.m. EST (AMC) "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993). Limited by court order to seeing his three children only once a week, a resourceful father (Robin Williams) disguises himself as a matronly British housekeeper, gets hired by his estranged wife (Sally Field), then tries to dissuade her from romance with a wealthy former beau (Pierce Brosnan). Directed by Chris Columbus, the sweet but one-joke comedy is carried by Williams, who manages to make the zany situation both hilarious and heartfelt. Frequent though mild sexual innuendo. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Monday, Dec. 6, 9-11 p.m. EST (TCM) "Marty" (1955). Low-key tale of a 34-year-old butcher (Ernest Borgnine) who falls for a shy science teacher (Betsy Blair) despite the disapproval of his mother (Esther Minciotti) and his Bronx buddies. Written by Paddy Chayevsky and directed by Delbert Mann, the story of two lonely people who've come to think of themselves as losers only to discover they're not is told with sincerity and warmth, gaining much credibility from the realistic treatment of its urban ethnic setting. Excellent fare for teens. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. .
Tuesday, Dec. 7, 8-10 p.m. EST (AMC) "Nanny McPhee" (2006). Enjoyable tale of magical nanny (Emma Thompson) who comes to the aid of seven out-of-control children and their befuddled widower father (Colin Firth), a mortician, and the servant (Kelly Macdonald) who loves him from afar. Director Kirk Jones' fantasy, with a screenplay by Thompson based on the "Nurse Matilda" books, has derivative overtones of "Mary Poppins" and other children's fare. But the sweet story is touching and well acted by a solid British cast, including Angela Lansbury, Derek Jacobi and Imelda Staunton. The almost fairy-tale ambience is successfully sustained, with solid moral messages about the primacy of family and the inherent goodness of people. Some innuendo, mild bad language, rude humor, innocuous shots of cadavers and macabre childish pranks perhaps preclude viewing by the very youngest children. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was G -- general patronage. All ages admitted.
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 9-11:30 p.m. EST (Lifetime) "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" (2008). Overcrowded but mostly enjoyable romance sequel updating the lives of four friends (Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Blake Lively and Alexis Bledel) as they pursue disparate adventures during the summer after their first year in college. While director Sanaa Hamri's lightweight adaptation of Ann Brashares' novels promotes youthful self-confidence, it also takes a somewhat permissive view of teen sexuality. Implied nonmarital sexual activity, condom use, suicide theme, a couple of profanities, and one crude and a few crass words; possibly acceptable for older adolescents. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
Friday, Dec. 10, 6:15-8 p.m. EST (TCM) "Lilies of the Field" (1963). When an itinerant jack-of-all-trades (Sidney Poitier) stops to help a group of German nuns newly arrived in New Mexico, his cheerful generosity is disdained by the stern, demanding Mother Superior (Lilia Skala) until he builds them a chapel with the aid of the local Mexican-American community. Directed by Ralph Nelson, the movie's simple little story of the triumph of faith coupled with good will has enormous charm in the winning performances of the two principals, some good-natured comedy and an infectious theme song that will leave viewers humming "Amen." The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 5:30-8 p.m. EST (TCM) "The Keys of the Kingdom" (1945). Underrated adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel about a Scottish priest (Gregory Peck) sent to China at the end of the 19th century where he rebuilds a ruined mission, endures misunderstanding, war and disease but perseveres through humility and cheerful service to win many converts and friends until retirement in Scotland fishing for supper rather than souls. Directed by John Stahl, the narrative is interestingly contrived and Peck's characterization is entirely likeable and sincere though, like so many vintage Hollywood pictures about religion, lacking much spiritual depth. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 8-11 p.m. EST (ABC) "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (2005). Captivating live-action fantasy adventure based on C.S. Lewis' beloved children's classic set in World War II-era England about four siblings (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell). The four, having been evacuated from London to the home of an eccentric professor (Jim Broadbent), stumble through a magical wardrobe into the enchanted realm of Narnia, where they help the wise and noble lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) defeat the evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton), who holds the land under an icy spell of eternal winter. Seeded with Christian symbolism and subtext, director Andrew Adamson's faithful adaptation balances spectacle with storytelling while exploring themes of good and evil to capture the childlike wonder that underscores Lewis' tale. Some battlefield violence, intense scenes of child peril and menace, and several frightening sequences. The Catholic News Service classification of the theatrical version was A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating was G -- general patronage. All ages admitted.
TV program notes -- week of Dec. 5
Monday, Dec. 6, 8-10 p.m. EST (Fox) "American Country Awards." Celebrated vocalist Trace Adkins will host this country music awards ceremony, broadcast live from Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena. Along with Adkins, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and Josh Turner are scheduled to perform. Participants will include Laura Bell Bundy, Rodney Carrington, Jewel, Lady Antebellum, Bret Michaels, Ty Murray, Jeff Dunham, Michael Waltrip and Elliott Sadler.
Tuesday, Dec. 7, 8-9 p.m. EST (ABC) "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In this digitally remastered 1965 special, Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees everywhere during the Christmas season. Lucy suggests he become director of the school Christmas pageant and Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, Charlie Brown needs Linus' help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is. The program also includes a seven-minute animated short: "Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa."
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 10-10:30 a.m. EST (EWTN) "Homage to the Immaculate (Live)." On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Benedict XVI will preside over the traditional homage to Mary Immaculate in Rome's Piazza di Spagna. The program will be rebroadcast 2:30-3 p.m. EST.
Wednesday, Dec. 8, noon-1:30 p.m. EST (EWTN) "Solemn Mass of the Immaculate Conception (Live)." From Washington's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, solemn Mass for the shrine's patronal feast day. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will serve as celebrant and homilist. The liturgy will be rerun 9-10:30 p.m. EST.
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 9-10 p.m. EST (PBS) "L.A. Holiday Celebration." This special presents highlights of the six-hour Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration that took place in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Christmas Eve 2009 (TV-G -- general audience).
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 10-11 p.m. EST (PBS) "Christmas at Belmont (2009)." Grammy Award winner and Belmont University alumna Trisha Yearwood hosts a holiday program of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites. More than 400 student voices join Yearwood, the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children's Choir to present this annual production, taped at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tenn. (TV-G -- general audience).
Saturday, Dec. 11, 8-8:30 p.m. EST (CBS) "Frosty the Snowman." The animated holiday favorite, first broadcast in 1969 and narrated by Jimmy Durante, also includes the voices of Jackie Vernon as Frosty and Billy De Wolfe as Professor Hinkle.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 8:30-9 p.m. EST (CBS) "Frosty Returns." More adventures with the dancing snowman. Jonathan Winters narrates and John Goodman voices Frosty..