AMC surveys rock musicals

Friday, August 30, 2002

What did children watch before MTV? David Bowie narrates "Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The 1970s" (7 p.m., AMC), a clip-rich survey of rock movies from the decade that spawned glam rock, progressive rock, God rock, punk rock, funk, reggae, heavy metal, disco and dozens of other genres.

Most of these movies were truly terrible and have not improved with age. Brief snippets of "rock operas" like "Tommy" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" provide painful reminders of rock's bombastic past. And there is never a good excuse to revisit Barbara Streisand's rock remake of "A Star is Born." "Hollywood" also makes much of producer Robert Stigwood, the force behind one of the decade's biggest hits, "Saturday Night Fever," and its most dreadful bomb, the ludicrous movie adaptation of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" starring the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, George Burns and Steve Martin.

For all of the embarrassing excess on display here, you have to marvel at the variety of films and musical audiences. This was after all, a musical decade that began with "Woodstock" and ended with "Xanadu."

In addition to "Hollywood Rocks," AMC will present dozens of musical classics as part of its three-day 10th Annual Film Preservation Festival. The best of these are documentaries, including "The Last Waltz" (9 p.m.). Martin Scorsese's look at the Band's 1976 farewell concert features performances by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton and arguably the only joint screen appearance by Neil Young and Neil Diamond. Stay up all night to watch D.A. Pennebaker's "Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars" (11:10 p.m.), capturing a 1973 David Bowie concert in its entirety, and "Gimme Shelter" (12:50 a.m.), a powerful documentary about the violent Altamont, Calif., concert that ended the Rolling Stone's 1969 tour.

� Do the Dixie Chicks rank up there with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette? Can Trisha Yearwood hold a candle to Kitty Wells or Dolly Parton? Billy Campbell is host of "40 Greatest Women of Country Music" (8 p.m., CMT), a three-hour musical countdown containing performance clips and interviews with Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Melissa Etheridge, George Jones, Reba McEntire, June Carter Cash, Don Henley, Chris Isaak, Toby Keith, Rosanne Cash, Lynn Anderson, Randy Travis and many other celebrities from country music and other entertainment genres.

Tonight's other highlights

� Note: Highlights and listings may vary due to local sports coverage.

� Scheduled on "48 Hours" (7 p.m., CBS): children refute charges that their father murdered their mother.

� Scheduled on "Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC): an interview with students, teachers and staff of a high school located a block from ground zero.

� Ambitious newlyweds (Portia de Rossi and Dean Cain) befriend perky seniors with a peculiar agenda in the 2002 thriller "The Glow" (7 p.m., Fox).

� Members of a wedding party look back at their youth in the 1999 drama "The Wood" (7 p.m., UPN).

� Cast members reminiscence on the repeat special "Mary Tyler Moore Reunion" (8 p.m., CBS).

� Nancy Snyderman is host of "What Every Woman Wants to Know" (8 p.m., ABC), a survey of anti-aging strategies.

� Scheduled on "Now with Bill Moyers" (8 p.m., PBS): the Johannesburg Earth Summit.

l Famous fans recall their favorite episodes on the repeat special "Honeymooners 50th Anniversary Celebration" (9 p.m., CBS).

Cult choice

A disaffected high school graduate (Thora Birch) befriends a lonely middle-aged record collector (Steve Buscemi) in the 2001 drama "Ghost World" (8 p.m., Sundance).