'Rudy' offers frantic look at mayor's life story

If you want your hero to wear a halo, don't cast James Woods in the lead. The always intense actor dominates "Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story" (7 p.m. Sunday, USA). He makes the most of the tempestuous mayor's drive, prickly personality and marital failings.

The handsome film splices re-creations of the events of Sept. 11 with a progressive series of flashbacks to key events in Giuliani's personal and political life.

"Rudy" is a good-looking film. Shot with the harsh clarity of digital video, the re-created events of Sept. 11 take on a dreamlike quality that contrasts dramatically with the golden tones of the filmed flashbacks. Having begun with Sept. 11, "Rudy" can't avoid an anticlimactic conclusion. For all of its faults, "Rudy" is ultimately a star vehicle for James Woods, who embodies his character's passion, impatience, focus and ambition.

  • Some sitcoms are hip. Some strive to push the envelope. But "The Pitts" (8:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox) dares to be dumb. It strives for sheer stupidity. And I mean in all the best ways.

Tonight's highlights

  • World Championship Figure Skating (7 p.m., ABC) continues with the finals in the women's and ice dancing competitions.
  • A mob boss's daughter loses her head on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • Jennifer Garner is host of "Saturday Night Live" (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Beck.

Sunday's other highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): Iran's Shiites; Serbian arms deals with Saddam; the proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles.
  • Bruce Willis stars in the 2000 comedy "The Kid" (6 p.m., ABC).
  • Crooner Bobby Darin (Duncan Sheik) gets testy on "American Dreams" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • A British filmmaker's (Eric Idle) documentary about Springfield makes Nelson a star on "The Simpsons" (7 p.m., Fox).
  • The World Champion Anaheim Angels face the Texas Rangers in major league baseball (7 p.m., ESPN), broadcast in high definition.
  • The 1980 epic miniseries "The Thorn Birds" (7 p.m., Hallmark) celebrates its 20th anniversary. The drama airs through Wednesday, with new material provided by producer David L. Wolper.
  • Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson star in the 2000 martial-arts Western spoof "Shanghai Noon" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • A tough cop tries to reconnect with his daughter in "Black Sash" (8 p.m., WB), a new martial-arts series.


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