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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

June 12, 1988|Kevin Thomas

Sunday at 9 p.m. brings a choice of repeats. CBS is offering the 1986 TV movie That Secret Sunday, which involves a police cover-up of two women and an overzealous reporter who may be faking a story. James Farentino stars as a veteran reporter whose investigative team includes the ambitious Parker Stevenson.

Meanwhile, NBC on Sunday is bringing back the six-hour Evergreen (to be completed at 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday), a slow, sweetly slumberous 1985 adaptation of the Belva Plain novel spanning three generations over 50 years and starring Lesley Ann Warren. Starcrossed (ABC), a minor 1985 effort, stars Belinda Bauer as an extraterrestrial who falls in love with auto mechanic James Spader.

... All the Marbles (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.), the late Robert Aldrich's final movie, is unfortunately a disappointment, a rambunctious but misfired 1981 comedy about a women's wrestling team, managed by Peter Falk, that is neither credible or illuminating (or even very funny).

Directed by John Schlesinger, the 1979 Yanks (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.) is a handsome, largely convincing World War II romance involving two parallel love affairs--between Richard Gere, a mess sergeant from Arizona, and the gentle Englishwoman Lisa Eichhorn, and between his company commander William Devane and the aristocratic Vanessa Redgrave.

The less said the better about Crackers (Channel 7 Monday at 9 p.m.), in which Louis Malle and a fine cast headed by Donald Sutherland and Sean Penn struggle to bring some humor to an awkward and unfunny 1984 adaptation of Mario Monicelli's 1958 caper classic, "Big Deal on Madonna Street."

The McCullochs (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), called "The Wild McCullochs" when it was released in 1975, is Max Baer's strong, modestly budgeted, old-fashioned drama of parent-child relationships told with much lusty humor and not a little pain and tragedy. The late Forrest Tucker plays the head of a proud, robust Texas clan, a truck driver who struck it rich. The film is a little rough around the edges but has much feeling and insight.

Fool for Love (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) and The World According to Garp (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) are two adaptations, the first from the stage, the second from a novel, that never come alive on the screen, despite commendable efforts in both cases. In the first, director Robert Altman tries valiantly to make us care about Sam Shepard's loser and his lady (Kim Basinger), stuck like a pair of rattlers in a seedy roadside motel, and makes us try to forget that we're watching a photographed play in obviously artificial settings. In Garp, writer Steve Tesich and director George Roy Hill try to hew to the heart of the sprawling, surreal John Irving novel, cherishing the fragility of life and illuminating the complicated life of novelist T.S. Garp (a sweetly randy Robin Williams), but the only person who seems more than a literary conceit is John Lithgow's dignified, poignant and funny transsexual who once played tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 1984 TV movie Heartsounds (ABC Thursday at 8:30 p.m.) is one of the very best of the heartwarming affliction dramas, based on Martha Weinman Lear's book about the four-year ordeal that she and her husband, Hal, endured following his massive heart attack. Mary Tyler Moore and James Garner star.

The 1984 Burning Bed (Channel 2 Thursday at 9:30 p.m.) is another TV movie milestone, in fact one of the highest rated. It was also a personal triumph for Farrah Fawcett, who in this fact-based story played a battered wife who finally struck back after years of abuse from her husband (played by Paul Le Mat).

Robert Aldrich's 1975 Hustle (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.), a lament for America's lost innocence in the form of a police procedural mystery, excitingly teams Burt Reynolds and Catherine Deneuve as an L.A. cop and the call girl he loves. Too bad writer Steve Shagan let his social commentary result in some lamentably pretentious dialogue.

Another 1975 winner, Cooley High (Channel 5 Friday at 8:30 p.m.), shows what the black American film can be when creative talents are given an opportunity free of the strong sex-and-violence requirements of exploitation pictures. A bittersweetly nostalgic coming-of-age drama inspired by its writer Eric Monte's own experiences, it stars Glynn Turman as a witty, bespectacled Chicago high school youth quietly determined not to end up as a factory worker. Michael Schultz directed.

Jaws 3 (CBS Friday at 9 p.m.), which was "Jaws 3-D" when it opened in theaters in 1983, is a modest action thriller for kids, no more than that (and probably less, shorn of 3-D). Dennis Quaid starred, before he hit it big.

Rolling Thunder (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a thoroughly revolting 1977 exploitation picture starring William Devane as a POW Army major who returns home to a wife who announces she wants a divorce and a couple of thugs who stick his hand in a garbage disposal. The result, predictably, is a blood bath of revenge that represents some kind of ultimate in cynical exploitation: the whole numbing predicament of the returning POW is perceptively, credibly depicted--but only to set up the carnage that follows.

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