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Prime-Time Flicks

January 02, 1994|Kevin Thomas

In George Lucas' ingeniously structured 1973 American Graffiti (KTLA Sunday at 6 p.m.), we get the romance of rock 'n' roll and the sweet, painful humor of nostalgia on the last night of summer, 1962. The cast evokes a reverie all its own: Four ex-high school buddies--Richard Dreyfuss as the brain, Paul Le Mat as the brawn, Ron Howard as the straight arrow and Charles Martin Smith as the wise guy--unknowingly witness the end of an era. Co-starring Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford, Candy Clark and a mob of others.

Except for Dreyfuss and Suzanne Somers (the girl in the classic white T-Bird), the old crowd assembled again in More American Graffiti (KTLA Sunday at 8 p.m.) for actions that center on the New Year's Eves between 1964 and 1967. The 1979 movie succeeds in showing a media-saturated generation, but what is disturbing is the trivialization of the '60s period, which has so much meaning to so many.

Clint Eastwood's 1986 Heartbreak Ridge (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) has Eastwood playing to the comic hilt a crusty Marine sergeant leading some raw recruits in the invasion of Grenada; some wry commentary on modern war and warriors.

The 1983 Mr. Mom (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m.) finds a fired Michael Keaton becoming a house-husband when his wife (Teri Garr) lands a job. It's nothing special but was a big hit, thanks mainly to its stars.

The 1991 Drop Dead Fred (KTTV Monday at 8 p.m.) has a great story idea--a distraught young woman (Phoebe Cates) recovering the "imaginary friend" of her childhood who runs amok and creates endless chaos. Unfortunately, it lacks that certain wild dreaminess required to make fantasy or whimsy ignite on screen.

With the 1988 Hero and the Terror (KTLA Saturday at 8 p.m.), Chuck Norris makes a determined effort to balance his martial-arts displays with serious acting, only to be tripped up by an underdeveloped script. He plays a crack L.A. cop whose lover (Brynn Thayer) is a psychiatrist who has treated him for recurring nightmares in the wake of a near-fatal encounter with a huge Neanderthal-like serial killer, who now has escaped from prison.

The Dead (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) is an 1987 exquisite grace note to the career of the late John Huston. His final film is an impeccable adaptation of the James Joyce classic in which the elderly Morkan sisters' annual Feast of Epiphany party in their Dublin townhouse is an occasion for wit and liveliness--and a bittersweet, collective reflection of life's losses.

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