'Rush' adds gore to the holidays

Looking for a Christmas movie with plenty of explosions? Dean Cain stars in "Christmas Rush" (7 p.m. Sunday, TBS) as Morgan, a recently dismissed Chicago policeman whose efforts to thwart a Christmas Eve shopping mall heist result in the kidnapping of his wife (Erika Eleniak). "Rush" wastes no time getting to the ultraviolence. There is a bloody shootout and a bombing at a biker's club within the first 15 minutes. Joy to the world!

Eric Roberts seems pretty uncomfortable as Scalzetti, the criminal mastermind behind the big score. This being a Christmas movie, Scalzetti is even given a noble motive for his crime " his son needs expensive cancer surgery. But there's no excuse for blurring the line between Christmas entertainment and pointless screen mayhem.

  • If Rob Lowe's performance in the 2002 holiday tear-jerker "The Christmas Shoes" (8 p.m. Sunday, CBS) is a sign of things to come, maybe he should rethink his decision to leave "The West Wing." Lowe stars as Robert Layton, a workaholic lawyer whose career ambitions and desire to buy a status-boosting house make him lose sight of his family. This is a maudlin new low for Lowe. If he doesn't watch out, the ghost of Christmas future may force him to visit the career of Judd Nelson! See listing for "Santa Jr." below.
  • The wonderfully absurd workplace comedy "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" (8:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox) returns for a second season. For those who missed it last spring, "Universe" reflects the constantly shifting memories, dreams and reflections of Andy, a lowly technical writer for a faceless corporation.

We not only see what happens, but what Andy would like to have seen happen, what might have happened and what Andy is glad never happened. He also carries on extensive conversations with the ghost of the company's founder, whose brutal 19th-century attitudes give Andy some food for thought.

  • Decadent entertainment, violent spectacles, far-flung imperial entanglements: How are we so different from the ancient Romans? Now we have "Chariot Race 2002" (7 p.m. Sunday, TLC). Four brave, or perhaps brainless, competitors will face off in the first chariot race competition in nearly 2,000 years. This two-hour film will follow teams as they train on genuine chariots. I don't dare give this program a thumbs-down.

Today's highlights

  • Tara Lipinski, Brian Boitano and Nicole Bobek skate for the home team on "Ice Wars: U.S.A. vs. the World" (7 p.m., CBS). Kurt Browning, Maria Butyrskaya, Ilia Kulik and Surya Bonaly represent the international squad.
  • NBC offers another chance to watch Julia Roberts in the 2000 legal drama "Erin Brockovich" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • Adam Sandler stars in the 1999 comedy "Big Daddy" (7 p.m., Fox).
  • USC takes on Notre Dame in college football action (7 p.m., ABC).
  • A lonely lawyer (Lauren Holly) fights to defend Chris Kringle Jr. (Nick Stabile) from false charges in the 2002 comedy "Santa Jr." (8 p.m., Hallmark). Judd Nelson also stars.

Sunday's highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): Title IX controversies; inmates' rights to medical care; David Hockney.
  • The 1940 animated feature "Pinocchio" makes its network television debut on "The Wonderful World of Disney" (6 p.m., ABC). I still get nightmares about that island where boys are turned into donkeys.
  • Meg warms up to Luke on "American Dreams" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • Natalie Cole performs on "Great Performances: Ask a Woman Who Knows" (8:30 p.m., PBS).
  • Paul Shaffer is host of "The N.Y. Friar's Club Roast of Chevy Chase" (9 p.m., Comedy Central).


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