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CBS offers ‘AFI’s 100 Movie Quotes’

Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

Fans of popcorn television are in luck: “AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes: America’s Favorite Quips, Catchphrases and Comebacks” (8 p.m., CBS) offers three hours of clips as it celebrates Hollywood’s most memorable lines of dialogue. “Fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

The extravaganza boils down famous and forgettable films to their most notable sound bites. It’s a showcase made for television, and perhaps made by television.

After all, TV and its spawn – repeats, videotapes and DVDs – have allowed viewers to watch movies over and over again, committing them to memory. But even pre-television figures such as Buddy Holly were taken with memorable movie lines.

Holly liked John Wayne’s catchphrase from “The Searchers” so much that he wrote the song “That’ll Be the Day.”

It seems that catchphrases have gotten dumber as movies have become more formulaic. Few thought the homicidal impatience of “Go ahead – make my day” could be topped. But then “I’ll be back” arrived, and that’s hard to top in the monosyllabic taciturnity department.

Or maybe I just “can’t handle the truth.”

“Private Warriors,” the last episode of this season’s “Frontline” (9 p.m., KSPS), looks at the thousands of private bodyguards, drivers, cooks and security details now working in Iraq.

The American military presence is completely dependent on private companies to pump fuel and provide meals and entertainment and, in some cases, security. Members of the Army Corps of Engineers are escorted by armed private guards.

Military brass interviewed here contend that the heavy presence of private forces complicates their mission and causes resentment among the Iraqis. Private forces are not held accountable when they kill Iraqi civilians, and many private contractors operate with greater secrecy than their military counterparts.

While many of the officers are quick to offer facts, figures, budgets and projections, an interview with the head of a Halliburton subsidiary running an army “town” of 28,000 soldiers reveals a corporate culture of passive-aggressive belligerence and a prickly contempt for open inquiry.

“Warriors” offers a window into the chaos and violence in Iraq that doesn’t show up on the nightly or cable news reports. Correspondent Martin Smith’s camera crew shows the inherent dangers of driving from the airport to Baghdad’s Green Zone.

A security guard who escorted him into town is killed before it is time for Smith to leave. Smith arrives at the airport with a sense of relief and gratitude not normally exhibited by reporters in the field.

Of course, why should network or cable news concern itself with a war? They’ve clearly established their priorities.

Tonight on “Dateline” (8 p.m., NBC), Katie Couric interviews “runaway bride” Jennifer Wilbanks and her fiance, John Mason.

Tommy’s boozing, duplicity and womanizing take their toll as “Rescue Me” (10 p.m., FX) enters its second season. Star Denis Leary brings such palpable reality to his confused, addicted character, you keep hoping for his troubles to bottom out so the drama’s pace can pick up.

Other highlights

Parallel wives on “Trading Spouses” (8 p.m., Fox).

Casual wear speaks volumes on “Gilmore Girls” (8 p.m., WB).

There have been worse shows than “I Want to Be a Hilton” (9 p.m., NBC), but few as derivative and unoriginal.

A nun’s ailment may reveal her hidden past on “House” (9 p.m., Fox)

A teen challenges her school’s “abstinence only” sex education curriculum in the documentary “The Education of Shelby Knox” on “P.O.V.” (10 p.m., KSPS).

Martin Short guest-stars as a psychic – a “Medium,” if you will – on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (10 p.m., NBC).

Cult choice

Janel Maloney stars in the title role of the 2005 drama “Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution” (9 p.m., Lifetime), originally seen last month on CBS.

Series notes

Michael’s hoop dreams on “My Wife and Kids” (8 p.m., ABC) … Robert’s big head on “All of Us” (8 p.m., UPN).

Management woes on “Half & Half” (8:30 p.m., UPN).

Tricky guest stars on “Girlfriends” (9 p.m., UPN) … Celestial symbols on “One Tree Hill” (9 p.m., WB) … Death provokes deep thoughts on “The Bad Girl’s Guide” (9:30 p.m., UPN).

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