AMC to Viewers: 'I'm Not Gonna Be Ignored'

By Cox, Ted | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

AMC to Viewers: 'I'm Not Gonna Be Ignored'


Cox, Ted, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Ted Cox Daily Herald TV/Radio Columnist

'Classic' channel starts new series with salute to - get this - 'Fatal Attraction'

AMC salutes "Movies That Shook the World" with a new series debuting at 9 p.m. today, beginning with a look at the timeless classic - wait just a minute -"Fatal Attraction?"

It's a deliberate in-your-face choice to kick off a new program, and believe it or not the documentary makes a strong case for that trashy horror flick as a legitimate movie milestone. Yet it also reflects diminished expectations and a lowered stature at the station formerly known as American Movie Classics. Treating garbage like "Fatal Attraction" as a "classic" is just about AMC's speed these days.

AMC was the first and the best of the old-movie cable channels, until Turner Classic Movies came along with its enormous library of Hollywood films, and other networks started pecking away at its movie rights. In recent years, AMC has gotten more and more contemporary in its offerings, and less and less discerning in what constitutes a "classic," while increasingly programming around original documentary overviews and even reality shows.

It's no accident that tonight's premiere of "Movies That Shook the World" is sandwiched between George Clooney's remake of the sci-fi film "Solaris," which is all of three years old, and the 1997 horror sequel "Scream 2." And that's in addition to the obvious oversight that AMC evidently couldn't get the rights to even something as readily available as "Fatal Attraction," to run it in its entirety alongside the documentary.

Still, all that said, "Movies That Shook the World" does challenge a viewer to actually think - a rare thing on TV these days - and its list of films to follow in the nine-week series suggests that, as a show, it will only get better. In addition to incendiary cultural landmarks like "Do the Right Thing" and "The Exorcist," it will also deal with readily acknowledged classics like "The Graduate," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and D.W. Griffith's silent "Birth of a Nation," as well as provocative films like "The Last Temptation of Christ" and the prescient nuclear-power cautionary tale "The China Syndrome."

So as ridiculous as it is to start a series called "Movies That Shook the World" with something as lame as "Fatal Attraction," one has to admit that if the program can seem interesting working with source material this awful, it's got to have something going for it.

The one thing tonight's premiere lacks is someone to come in and simply say, "This movie is total crapola. …

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