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Archive for Saturday, January 13, 2001

A&E fails with another ‘Gatsby’

January 13, 2001

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OK, class, repeat after me, "'The Great Gatsby' (7 p.m., Sunday, A&E) should never be made into a movie again." Never. Never. Never. Published 75 years ago last April, the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has inspired a string of disappointing productions dating back to 1926. The most recent, up until now, was the empty and heavily hyped 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

Mira Sorvino's turn as Daisy is best forgotten. Everything about her performance is wrong. In fact, almost everything about this movie is wrong. Sorvino, who won an Oscar for her turn in "Mighty Aphrodite," plays Daisy as if she had just emerged from a coma.

As Nick Carraway, actor Paul Rudd is saddled with double duty: In addition to reciting some of the film's more unbelievable dialogue, he gets to narrate the film with lines lifted straight from the novel. Strangely Rudd chooses to read some of the most poetic in modern American fiction, as if they were written by Mickey Spillane.

Toby Stephens is given the most daunting task of all, bringing to life the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, the mysterious party-giver and self-made man. Let's just say that he plays Gatsby as Rob Lowe might have had he taken the role during his Brat Pack days.

Do yourself a favor. Skip the movie. Read the book.

Christina Vidal is the spunky, talented and effervescent title star of "Taina" (6 p.m., Sunday, Nickelodeon), a live-action musical comedy series set in a "Fame"-like performing-arts high school in Manhattan.

Ten years after the war with Saddam, key players discuss Desert Storm on "Inside the Kill Box: Fighting the Gulf War" (8 p.m., Sunday, Discovery).

Interviews include former President Bush, former defense Secretary Dick Cheney, and retired generals, Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf.

"Nature" launches a six-part miniseries, "Triumph of Life" (7 p.m., Sunday, PBS), on the savage and mysterious process of evolution, genetics and bio-diversity. The series will continue every Sunday night until Feb. 18.

Saturday's highlights

Set your VCRs for a seven-hour marathon of "Freaks and Geeks" (3 p.m., Fox Family).

The Caped Crusader (Val Kilmer) confronts the Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two Face (Tommy Lee Jones) in the 1995 sequel, "Batman Forever" (7 p.m., NBC).

A 23rd century cab driver (Bruce Willis) unravels a cosmic conspiracy in the 1997 sci-fi fantasy, "The Fifth Element" (7 p.m., ABC). An original eyeful from director Luc Bresson.

Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat star in the 1999 remake of "Anna and the King" (7 p.m., HBO).

Sunday's highlights

Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): radical environmentalists; England's serial killer Dr. Shipman; the Vatican's musical director, Gilbert Levine.

The Dixie Chicks perform their hits in the repeat broadcast of "On the Fly" (6 p.m., NBC).

A Wall Street exec (Tim Allen) trades in the fast lane for the Amazon in the 1997 comedy, "Jungle 2 Jungle" on "The Wonderful World of Disney" (6 p.m., ABC).

Sean Penn earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a less-than-perfect guitarist in director Woody Allen's 1999 ode to the jazz life, "Sweet and Lowdown" (7 p.m., Cinemax).

Pierce Brosnan stars in the 1997 James Bond blow-em-up, "Tomorrow Never Dies" (7:30 p.m., CBS). Co-starring Michelle Yeoh.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones trade smirks in the plotless, empty 1997 special effects comedy, "Men in Black" (8 p.m., NBC).

Morley Safer hosts "White House Entertaining" (8 p.m., Food Network), a look at presidential parties pas.

The sad decline of an icon on "The Last Days of Judy Garland: The True Hollywood Story" (8 p.m., E!).

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