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Follow ‘Scent’ To Top-Notch Acting

Sat., Dec. 28, 1996

With holiday fare nearly behind us (ho, ho, ho), the networks have decided to roll out repeats of top theatrical films, and only one, “Die Hard 2,” has to do with yuletide spirit.

ABC has the most serious and affecting choice. “Scent of a Woman” (1992), Sunday at 8, contains Al Pacino’s Oscar-winning performance.

In this coming-of-age tale he portrays a vile, boozing blind Army colonel who wallows in self-pity.

He has hired a prep-school student (Chris O’Donnell) as his caretaker. Off they go on a weekend in New York City, where the colonel lectures the nonbelieving student about women, life and romance.

The old dog wants to teach his young caretaker a few tricks. Initially, you find it difficult to like the old man.

But he’s an incurable romantic who eventually shows some redeeming characteristics.

It’s Pacino’s acting in an unusual role that gives this movie strength. It’s a character study that taps into your own insecurities about what might happen to you later in life.

CBS has Bruce Willis rescuing Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport from evil terrorists in “Die Hard 2” (1990), Sunday at 9. With the mantra “My wife is on that plane,” Willis jumps escalators, straddles baggage-claim conveyor belts, wrestles automatic weapons away from bad guys, battles snowy weather and runs up and down runways.

It’s a nail-biter of a movie, set during the holiday season. If you have seen it before, you know the routine. The thrill is gone.

Over on NBC Sunday at 9 the newspaper business is depicted in gritty “The Paper,” a 1994 tale about the lack of morals among newspaper folk. Michael Keaton plays an editor who tries to be ethical, but he’s up against his greedy boss (Glenn Close) and the temptation to take a higherpaying job at a paper he despises.

Director Ron Howard is especially good at dealing with newspaper cliches, such as when the presses must be stopped to make a correction. You’ve seen it before, yet Howard makes it thoughtful and exciting.


“Caesars Palace 30th Anniversary Celebration,” ABC tonight at 8: In Caesars’ three decades of life in Las Vegas, a lot has gone on - weddings, vintage performances, boxing events and magic stunts.

If you tune in, you will see some flat one-liners (from Tony Danza, Howie Mandel and Drew Carey), some incredible vintage footage of Tina Turner and a rare clip of a joint appearance by Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball.

Another highlight is a montage of celebrity weddings, including those of Eddie Fisher (to Debbie Reynolds and later to Elizabeth Taylor), Elvis and Priscilla Presley, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and Demi Moore and Bruce Willis.

“1996 NCLR Bravo Awards,” FOX tonight at 9: Cheech Marin and Giselle Fernandez salute positive portrayals of Latinos in film, television and music. Among the performers are Chaka Kahn, Ricky Martin and Los Lobos.

“A Celebration of America’s Music,” ABC tonight at 10: The 10th anniversary of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is celebrated by appearances by Natalie Cole, Billy Dee Williams, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Debbie Allen, Jon Secada, Sinbad, Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin and Stevie Wonder. Bill Cosby hosts.

Quincy Jones receives the lifetime achievement award.

What a lineup.

“Simpsons,” FOX Sunday at 8: The holier-than-thou Simpson neighbor Ned Flanders faces a crisis and crumbles. His home is destroyed in a hurricane, and he suffers a nervous breakdown.

“Ned and Stacey,” FOX Sunday at 8:30: Ned agrees to be a silent partner in Amanda’s muffin business. The only problem is he can’t keep his mouth shut, and Amanda (Nadia Dajani) wants to stuff it with a few muffins.

“X-Files,” FOX Sunday at 9: This 1993 episode continues to be a favorite since it’s one of the few times Mulder and Scully have taken a break from investigating UFOs and the occult. The serial killer they are after is a computer at a high-tech office building. This sinister bundle of bits and bytes has been murdering occupants.

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