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Prime-Time Flicks

August 27, 1995|Kevin Thomas

Director Penelope Spheeris' satirical edge helped turn Wayne's World (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), basically an extended "Saturday Night Live" skit, into a 1992 hit. As a couple of high school dudes who broadcast a public-access cable show from an Aurora, Ill., basement recreation room, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are hilarious.

In Skylark (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) the 1993 sequel to the hugely popular 1991 TV movie "Sarah, Plain and Tall," Glenn Close and Christopher Walken reprise their roles as Sarah and Jacob Witting, whom we encounter years later struggling with a devastating drought on the plains of Kansas. Writer Patricia MacLachlan once again catches the stillness and tremulous lives of ordinary people coping with the havoc of nature.

Stylish but gloomy, the 1992 Alien 3 (KTTV Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is not only seemingly the last stop for the entire "Alien" series, it looks like civilization's last stop as well. In a way, that's what this ambitious super-thriller is all about. It's not just the ultimate duel between Sigourney Weaver's beleaguered Ripley and those kill-crazy terrestrials, but about the end of everything in technological and spiritual meltdown.

What's fascinating about the 1988 Everybody's All-American (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.) is how much empathy director Taylor Hackford creates for Babs, the magnolia queen, and Gavin, her football hero consort. Their lives reached some sort of epiphany with his triumph at the 1956 Sugar Bowl. These are among the most full-blown and seductive accomplishments of Jessica Lange or Dennis Quaid, but in the end the script lets them down.

Salt of the Earth (KCET Saturday at 10:45 p.m.) is the most famous American leftist film of the '50s. Shot in Mexico by a group of blacklist victims, including director Herbert Biberman and writer Michael Wilson, it's a labor union drama rather mild by recent standards. It's in the mythic fashion of the '20s Soviet films, '30s radical theater and John Ford's "The Grapes of Wrath." With Juan Chacon, Rosoura Revueltas and Will Geer (atypically cast as a brutal sheriff).

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