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Prime-Time Flicks

July 24, 1994|Kevin Thomas

A bit too moony for kiddies and a bit too stunted for teens, the 1991 Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (NBC Sunday at 7 p.m.) is bland, rambunctious family fare that turns weepy-inspirational in its telling of a true story. The film centers on a young orphan (Gabrielle Anwar) growing up in Depression-era Georgia who ditches her uncaring aunt to become a rider on a diving horse in a traveling stunt show, owned by an embittered grouch (Cliff Robertson, who does the only real acting in the film).

The 1987 hit Lethal Weapon (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a big, shallow, buddy-buddy cop movie redeemed by Mel Gibson in the title role as a suicidal L.A. officer. Careening through the film, Gibson generates an authentic sense of unpredictability and danger. Danny Glover plays his apoplectic partner.

So-so and ultraviolent, the 1993 TV movie Sworn to Vengeance (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) stars Robert Conrad as a Carson City, Nev., police sergeant obsessed with tracking down the killers of three teen-agers.

The 1986 Stand By Me (KCOP Thursday at 8 p.m.) is Rob Reiner's compassionate, perfectly performed look at the real heart of youth, a treasure told in the form of a memoir, as a writer (Richard Dreyfuss) remembers back to his pivotal summer of 1959. Adapted from a Stephen King story and starring River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell.

John Hughes' Ferris Bueller's Day Off (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.) offers a tantalizing fantasy for adults as well as children: What if you could fool your parents and teachers (or your boss) into thinking you were sick, earning a 24-hour free ride from the boredom and responsibilities of real life? Unfortunately, Matthew Broderick, in the title role, is so smug and invincible that he doesn't give us any chance to root for him.

Jack Reed: Badge of Honor (NBC Friday at 9 p.m.), a 1993 TV movie, finds the ever-reliable Brian Dennehy again cast as a real-life Chicago cop, who he first played in the popular 1992 "Deadly Matrimony" miniseries. This time Reed's working on a murder case when he discovers a larger plot by a brilliant sociopath out to hijack arms.

KCET's Saturday night double feature offers two films that helped establish the international stature of the Australian cinema: Gillian Armstrong's deft and dazzling 1979 My Brilliant Career (at 9 p.m.), which launched Judy Davis, who is splendid as an astringent, independent young woman who became an important novelist; and Breaker Morant (at 10:40 p.m.), Brian Beresford's compelling courtroom drama about the tragic misadventure of military justice set against the Boer War. Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson and Bryan Brown star.

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