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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

September 09, 1990|Kevin Thomas

Little Shop of Horrors (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), Frank Oz's 1986 musical remake of the 1960 Roger Corman quickie, is grandly loony, full-bodied and explosively funny. In this giddy mix of hilarity and carnage, Rick Moranis works in a failing flower shop--but one that has in the basement a carnivorous plant about to lurch out of control--and adores his squeaky-voiced co-worker (Ellen Greene), who is also pursued by a sadistic dentist and Elvis wannabe (played by Steve Martin with hilarious abandon).

The Family (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a taut 1970 Charles Bronson action picture in which he plays a professional assassin who becomes entangled with a sultry blonde (the late Jill Ireland) as unpredictable as he is.

Smart, funny, touching and sensual, Dirty Dancing (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) is the phenomenally popular 1987 musical/love story set in the Catskills in the early '60s and starring Patrick Swayze as a sexy vacation resort dancer and Jennifer Grey as the bright student beguiled by him on the dance floor--and off.

There's a lethal quality of impersonality to The River (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), a 1984 film dealing with the struggles of a contemporary farm family caught in a squeeze between unfriendly nature and unforgiving banks. It's inspirational misery at its fullest and most manipulative for all its considerable craftsmanship. Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek are a heroic Tennessee couple facing up to every disaster of nature--and screenwriting.

The Best of Times (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) cannily plays it both ways, giving us a lip-smacking tale of All-American wish fulfillment and a witty satire on its dangers. Robin Williams stars as a man who gets to undo the 65-yard touchdown pass he dropped in high school a decade earlier.

Running (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a modest but not unworthy 1979 release in which Michael Douglas becomes obsessed with running at the expense of his marriage to an understanding but fed-up Susan Anspach.

Roxanne (CBS Friday at 9 p.m.), directed by Fred Schepisi, is a warm, nimble and utterly contemporary romance. Steve Martin stars as the modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, fire chief of an old-fashioned American ski village and prince of a fellow whose success with women is defeated by the size of his nose (and an apparent allergy to anesthetics that rules out plastic surgery). Daryl Hannah is the smart and sublimely beautiful Roxanne, and Rick Rossovich is the good-looking but not-so-swift jock Martin coaches in his pursuit of Hannah.

Although there's something tentative and episodic about Claudia Weill's 1980 film It's My Turn (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.), it does have wit, poignance and a real feel for character and relationships. Jill Clayburgh stars as a math professor seemingly secure in her relationship with aggressive property developer Charles Grodin--until she meets her brand-new mother-in-law's son, Michael Douglas.

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