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Prime-Time Flicks

August 22, 1993|Kevin Thomas

A kind of B-movie morality tale, the fact-based 1992 TV film Highway Heartbreaker (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) stars John Schneider as a con man who fleeces three bright professional women (Linda Gray, Heather Locklear and Tracy Nelson).

Fatal Memories (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), another 1992 TV movie, succeeds only fitfully in dramatizing the true-life ordeal of Eileen Franklin (Shelley Long, in a game portrayal). Her repressed childhood memories nail her father for a murder committed in her presence 20 years earlier.

In Taylor Hackford's otherwise superficial 1988 Everybody's All-American (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), Jessica Lange and Dennis Quaid are outstanding as a beauty queen and a football hero--25 years later.

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

In the 1980 The Stunt Man (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) a criminal (Steve Railsback) on the run takes the place of a movie company stunt man accidentally killed in a staged police chase. In some ways the film becomes an obvious allegory, but director Richard Rush keeps it churning with energy and bravura movie tricks. There's a show-stopping grand ham performance by Peter O'Toole.

Jonathan: The Boy Nobody Wanted (NBC Tuesday at 8 p.m.), an effective, consciousness-raising 1992 TV movie, stars Chris Burke as a boy with Down's syndrome who becomes the center of a court battle involving children's rights. JoBeth Williams co-stars as an impassioned social worker who takes the boy into her home.

The 1984 Country (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is worthy but not very compelling. Jessica Lange, who also co-produced, and Sam Shepard star as a farm couple caught up in a bewildering and unrelenting downward slide as they struggle against the ravages of a tornado and an uncaring Farmer's Home Administration.

In the quietly endearing 1982 Tex (KTLA Wednesday at 8 p.m.), Matt Dillon stars as an impoverished, small-town Oklahoma 15-year-old in Tim Hunter's film of S.E. Hinton's novel.

Dillon also stars in the minor but attractive 1988 film Kansas (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.) as a reckless criminal psychopath with enough charm to persuade a stranded Andrew McCarthy to join him in a stopover in a small Kansas town.

The 1965 How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (KTLA Saturday at 8 p.m.), the sixth of American International's "Beach Party" movies, finds the formula a bit stale. Annette Funicello stars, but this time Frankie Avalon has but a cameo.

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