Showtime's Bush isn't burning

To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a TV movie extolling the virtues of a sitting president. There was a made-for-TV quickie about the first George Bush's World War II service. And Hollywood produced "PT 109" while President Kennedy was in office. Both emphasized youthful heroism, but avoided praising the president for actions taken while in office. This is not the case with the made-for-cable drama "DC 9/11: Time of Crisis" (7 p.m. Sunday, Showtime). "Crisis" recalls the decisions made by Bush and his team on Sept. 11, 2001.

What "Crisis" does is reduce the greatest story of our time to the confines of a mediocre TV movie. While both Showtime and producer Lionel Chetwynd deny any attempts at political propaganda, "Crisis" is pure, unabashed hagiography undercut by the inherent cheesiness of made-for-television movie conventions.

  • Clever editing and some expensive-looking battle scenes help redeem "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" (8:30 p.m. Sunday, HBO) from clunky, portentous dialogue and the film's overwhelming sense of its own importance. Antonio Banderas hams it up in the title role as the Mexican revolutionary who invited Hollywood filmmakers to document his rebels in 1914.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Women's tennis finals of the U.S. Open (7 p.m., CBS), live from Queens, N.Y.
  • Miami meets Florida in college football action (7 p.m., ABC).
  • "MIA: Solved" (7 p.m., History) follows the U.S. Army's Central Identification Lab as it searches for evidence and remains of U.S. servicemen missing in action.

Sunday's other highlights

  • Scheduled on "Dateline" (6 p.m., NBC): identity theft on the Internet.
  • JJ begins his college football camp on a repeat "American Dreams" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • Tennessee meets Oakland in NFL action (7:30 p.m., ESPN).


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