Monday, August 18, 2003
Rosanna Arquette makes an impressive debut as a documentary director with "Searching for Debra Winger" (7 p.m., Showtime). The title refers to the decision by the popular actress to leave Hollywood and settle down in relative obscurity in upstate New York. Why would a major star do that? And what does her decision say about the pressures on other actresses to balance their roles as wives, mothers, lovers and career-driven performers?
Arquette draws funny and insightful interviews from an impressive variety of female talent, including Teri Garr, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Fonda, Meg Ryan, Robin Wright Penn, Melanie Griffin, Salma Hayek, Frances McDormand, Catherine O'Hara, Holly Hunter, Charlotte Rampling, Vanessa Redgrave and Gwyneth Paltrow. There's at least a dozen Oscars among this group. But to a woman, they all complain about a Hollywood system that perpetuates a casting-couch mentality and that tends to jettison actresses just when they reach their full potential.
Many of the conversations have a refreshing undercurrent of candor and even anger. Martha Plimpton and Ally Sheedy are particularly biting about the piggy producers they have known. In contrast, Winger appears to have found serenity. "Search" does tend to ramble on, but it's more than worth it to watch interesting actresses doing something other than plugging their latest film.
- The 10-hour, five-night special "I Love the '70s" (8 p.m., VH1) celebrates the silly trends, commercials, cartoons, shows, songs and stars of the polyester decade. Like "I Love the '80s" before it, "'70s" features a peanut gallery of snarky commentators, including Mo Rocca, Michael Ian Black, Hal Sparks, Jillian Barberie and others, to goof on each pop-cultural artifact. The show unfolds in chronological order, with each hour dedicated to a single year, beginning with 1970 -- the era of "Monday Night Football," the Beatles' breakup, Weebles ("They wobble, but they don't fall down") and a torrent of trivia. Don't go looking for much information or reflection here; this is a mindless nostalgia trip.
Tonight's other highlights
- St. Louis hosts Tampa Bay on "Monday Night Football" (7 p.m., ABC).
- Marriage counseling on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).
- Rob makes his play on "For Love or Money 2" (8 p.m., NBC).
- A DJ's fireworks kill 16 in a nightclub blaze on "CSI: Miami" (9 p.m., CBS).
- Three gals vie for one guy on "Meet My Folks" (9:10 p.m., NBC).
Eugene Levy and Eels are on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Colin Farrell, BB King and Jeff Beck on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).