Two good-men movies come to cable

December 04, 1993|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

Two of the biggest movies of 1992 go head to head tonight, making their respective cable premieres. Showtime has "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, and HBO has a few good men of its own: Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman in "Unforgiven."

* "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (6-7 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley when this series first began, returns in a plot line that has Work (Michael Dorn) inexplicably married to one of the other Enterprise crew members.

* "To Grandmother's House We Go" (8-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- I knew, when this Christmas-themed telemovie starring the "Full House" twins was televised last year, it would be successful enough to be back as an annual "event." Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen star. ABC.

* "Hollywood's Leading Ladies" (10-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- David Sheehan is the host for just what TV needs: another celebrity talk-show special. Without enterprising interviewers such as Mr. Sheehan, where would we get any information about, say, Michelle Pfeiffer, Janet Jackson, and Sharon Stone? NBC.

* "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Charlton Heston is the host of this series for the second time. He must not have seen a tape of the first one. Musical guest: Paul Westerberg. NBC.

Cable

* "Unforgiven" (8-10:15 p.m., HBO) -- This movie earned a lot of Oscars, including ones for Mr. Hackman's superb supporting performance, Mr. Eastwood's artful direction and the film itself, which was named best picture. For Mr. Hackman to do this role, and turn right around and turn in another stellar supporting role in "The Firm," explains why he's such a durable star. As for Mr. Eastwood, all you have to do is look at him -- and look at what he's doing on screen, and behind it, in this anti-violence, yet fairly violent, western.

* "A Few Good Men" (8-10:20 p.m., SHO) -- Hey, Mr. Hackman wasn't the only one to go from a hot 1992 movie into "The Firm." Tom Cruise did, too, and in a starring rather than supporting role. The major supporting honors here go to Jack Nicholson, who's so rough and tough and strong his character seems to collapse too quickly at the climax. Yet getting there is most of the fun, thanks in no small part to Kevin Pollak as Mr. Cruise's fellow attorney, Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland as Marines, and James Marshall and newcomer Wolfgang Bodison as the young men charged with murder. Demi Moore is most memorable for insulting Mr. Cruise with a sentence of such unwieldy length that she has to stop and take a breath just to get through it.

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