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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

February 24, 1991|KEVIN THOMAS

In Bull Durham (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), the sweet and sexy 1988 comedy set around a rat-poor minor league baseball team, writer-director Ron Shelton is absolutely the diamond's best friend. He has packed his offbeat love story with a handful of resonant characters, all of whom in one way or another worship Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon). The veteran catcher (Kevin Costner) on the team has the task of smartening up the blazing young pitcher (Tim Robbins).

Although the good-hearted 1987 Barry aevinson hit Good Morning, Vietnam (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is shallow, a piece of programmed irreverence, photogenic torpor and prefab compassion, Robin Williams is brilliant as an explosive Armed Forces disc jockey.

In terms of simple, flat-out, roof-rattling fright, the 1982 Steven Spielberg Poltergeist (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.) gives full value, but it's an instance of a very slight credibility-defying story weighed down by lavish special effects. Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams are the attractive, likable couple who move into a nice tract house with their kids only to encounter awesome supernatural horrors.

Long Road Home (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, stars Mark Harmon in a drama about migrant farm workers during the Depression; based on a book by Ronald E. Taylor (see Cover Story, Page 3).

In his fifth outing as Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood in The Dead Pool (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) isrock-solid, his preternatural wariness and wry whispering irony are still in full force, but this 1988 film while diverting is among the weakest in the series. Liam Neeson co-stars as a nasty goremeister who may have either inspired or himself committed a string of grisly killings.

In the 1986 Poltergeist II: The Other Side (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) the Freeling family (JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke and Oliver Robbins) are suffering from something far worse than supernatural terrors: the Inevitable Sequel. They're put through pretty much the same scary paces but without the toughness or urgency of the original.

With the 1973 High Plains Drifter (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), Clint Eastwood once again becomes The Stranger, that steely, monosyllabic sharpshooter of the Sergio Leone westerns. He also directs. The Stranger's mission is to face down three gunmen on their way to wipe out a frontier town. The result is a stylized, allegorical western of much chilling paranoia and considerable sardonic humor. It's also very violent, in the manner of a samurai movie.

In Nightbreaker (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.), the strong 1989 TV movie based on Howard Rosenberg's novel "Atomic Soldiers," Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez play the same character (in the '50s and '80s respectively), a doctor who observes the government using members of the military as guinea pigs in the atomic tests in Nevada in the 1950s.

Little Nikita (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.), a refreshingly original (yet largely overlooked) 1988 thriller, stars Sidney Poitier as an FBI agent determined to make the most of an unexpected chance to nail the man who killed his partner 20 years ago.

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