"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?"
Don't worry Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman), you weren't misreading those signs. Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson is definitely trying to seduce you in, The Graduate, Mike Nichols' 1967 gem of a comic-drama-romance.
And she'll do it again Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (Central) on the Sundance TV classic movie cable channel.
The Graduate, which earned Nichols a best director Oscar and drew nominations for best picture, actor (Hoffman), actress (Bancroft) and supporting actress (Katharine Ross), just to name a few. is just one of several films I'm highlighting this week in my pleasant journey through the classic movie TV channels to make your weekly hunt for the best of the best quick, easy and enjoyable.
Before we get too far into this week's search, though, let me remind you that the times listed here are all Central Daylight Time. Please check your local listings carefully.
Early risers and/or those handy with their TV recording device will also want to catch Dodsworth Sunday at 5 a.m. on TCM. Directed by William Wyler, Dodsworth co-stars Walter Huston (John Huston's father and Anjelica Huston's grandfather) and Ruth Chatterton as a couple going through a mid-to-late-marriage crisis.
Would you like to see Tom Cruise in what I consider the fading superstar's finest acting performance? That's easy. Just be sure to catch Cruise taking on the persona of paralyzed Vietnam War vet Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. on the Sundance TV channel. If you miss it Tuesday, no worries, it repeats Wednesday at 11:30 p.m., also on Sundance TV.
Directed by Oliver Stone, this gritty coming home war-drama of 1989 really gives Cruise a chance to stretch as an actor. In fact, Cruise earned his first Oscar nomination for this gritty performance as Kovic, who became an anti-war activist.
If you haven't seen the offbeat, grisly drama Sling Blade (1996) written by, directed by and starring Billy Bob Thornton as, shall we say, unstable simple man Karl Childers, do not miss it Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. on Sundance TV.
Let's just say that once you see Thornton as the formerly institutionalized "gentle man" who loves "French fried taters," you are not likely to soon forget him.
Cinematic baseballs fans have a chance at a pretty impressive tripleheader this week. Dennis Quaid gets under the skin of "old guy" Major League Baseball rookie Jimmy Morris in The Rookie (2002) on AMC Tuesday at 10 p.m.
But that's just the warm-up. Kevin Costner is outstanding in his corn fields and hears voices that encourage him to build a baseball diamond in Field of Dreams (1989) Thursday at 7 p.m. on AMC. Also, Robert Redford plays the title character in Barry Levinson's 1984 classic The Natural Sunday at noon on Sundance TV.
I also like Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan in the fantasy prison-drama The Green Mile (1999) airing at noon Wednesday on AMC and Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous starring Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson (2000) Saturday at 11:45 a.m. on Sundance TV.
And what a pleasant surprise it was to discover that one of my favorite ensemble romantic comic-dramas of all time, Love Actually, lights up the small screen Friday at noon on Sundance TV.
Don't let the Christmas theme discourage you. In fact, go with it. This is an enchanting, edgy tale of eight couples dealing with the entanglements of romance in very loosely related tales. And what a cast. Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and the great Bill Nighy are just the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, if I had to pick just one classic film to revisit this week, it would actually be Love Actually.