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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Thursday June 20, 2013 12:10AM EDT
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- August 18, 1997
- Vol. 48
- No. 7
Picks and Pans Main: Tube
This admirable remake of Reginald Rose's 1954 Emmy-winning drama about a jury hopelessly deadlocked over a murder case updates the original in at least one respect: These are no longer 12 angry white men. Four of the jurors are black (indeed, the angriest, rivetingly portrayed by Forrest Gump's Mykelti Williamson, has been turned into a Black Muslim). But, race and gender aside (adding a female juror would have ruined the title), the play still holds up as an actor's field of dreams. Besides Williamson, director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) has assembled a peerless panel including Jack Lemmon, disarmingly low-key as the initial lone holdout for acquittal; George C. Scott as his dyspeptic main adversary; Hume Cronyn as a wizened yet wise old codger; and Tony Danza as a loudmouthed palooka antsy for a verdict so he can take himself out to a ball game. Good as this cast is, though, it can't match the ensemble in Sidney Lumet's Oscar-nominated 1957 film version with Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb in the Lemmon and Scott roles.
HBO (Sun., Aug. 17, 10 p.m. ET)
Anyone who has ever commuted on the New York City subways can vouch for the authenticity of the 10 tales from underground (culled from 1,000 anecdotes sent in by the public) that have been dramatized in this gritty, whimsical and sometimes surreal collection. The best vignette, by John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation), is about a legless, wheelchair-bound panhandler (Dennis Leary) whose misfortunes multiply after he accidentally runs over the shiny new red shoes of an outraged rider (Christine Lahti). Among other memorable encounters: Gregory Hines, as a bored commuter waiting for his train who suddenly realizes that a distraught woman (Anne Heche) is about to leap onto the tracks, and Rosie Perez and Michael McGlone (The Brothers McMullen), who carry on a nearly wordless, yearlong affair as straphangers who rub up against each other every morning. Hold tight.
NBC (Wed., Aug. 20, 8 p.m. ET)
The best thing about this TV movie thriller (which first aired last September) is the title song, a 1983 Eurythmics hit that keeps throbbing whenever the heroine (Beverly Hills, 90210's Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), a small-town woman, tries to recall the trauma that has triggered her amnesia. She's helped by a local cop (A Martinez) and stalked by a psycho who sets the town drunk on fire—and is out to immolate her as well. Sweet dreams are made of this?
USA (Wed., Aug. 20, 9 p.m. ET)
Delta Burke (Designing Women) is a hoot—although unintentionally— as Melanie Darrow, a brassy criminal defense lawyer (and no relation to Clarence), who, in this TV movie mystery, has only one courtroom scene. The rest of the time she's showing off her extralegal prowess: kicking a goon in the groin, outracing a time bomb and speaking fluent Chinese. Maybe if she rode in a Rolls-Royce, they could retitle this Burke's Law.
Terry Kelleher is on vacation.
FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTENT
"I HOPE A LOT OF ME ISN'T IN Roberta; she's a little tough to take," says Diane Keaton of Roberta Blum-stein, the coldly neurotic Broadway reservations agent she plays in the Disney Channel's 90-minute drama Northern Lights (Sat., Aug. 23, 7 p.m. ET). Even so, beyond her comical klutziness, Roberta—who is appalled to learn that her late brother has left her custody of his 9-year-old son (Joseph Cross)—has tendencies Keaton instantly recognized. "I'm outspoken, stubborn and willful like her," she concedes. Moved by the John Hoffman script after it was submitted to her production company in 1995, Keaton, 51 and a doting single mother to her adopted daughter Dexter, shopped it to various movie studios. "I wouldn't quit," she says. "The material meant too much to me."
Switching to TV, where she had previously starred as Amelia Earhart in a 1994 TNT movie, Keaton soon scored with Disney, which not only agreed to let the Oscar-winning actress star in Lights but even let her help cast the other roles as a first-time executive producer. "Diane always had a third eye that's watching everything," says Keaton's costar Maury Chaykin, who plays her brother's college roommate. Keaton is now looking to produce another new script, Not Waving, about a mother and her manic-depressive daughter. "It's about characters who are enriched by each other and all those things that people go Zzzzzz when they hear," she says, laughing. "But those are the things I'm attracted to."
- Elizabeth Leonard.
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