If only... films for the weekend

Looking for a movie to share this holiday weekend?

Check out what’s playing on broadcast and standard cable stations.

The American President (1995)

If only real politics could entertain as much as the reel adventures in this romantic comedy/drama from writer Aaron Sorkin and director Rob Reiner. Michael Douglas is at his starchy best as a widower President who falls in love with a candid lobbyist played by the ever-engaging Annette Bening. While they have plenty of time to explore their relationship, they also toss out thoughtful observations of what it means for government to actually be about people.

Friday, December 25, 11:30 a.m., POP

Forrest Gump (1994)

If only real heroes could be as thoughtful as this reel man who will simply do anything to help anyone. In this Oscar-winning fantasy, Tom Hanks won his second Best Actor award in a row for playing a man with a simple mind, a big heart and a remarkable ability to be in the right place at the right time. No matter the luck that follows his life, he always manages to share his good fortune with others. Because, to him, life really is like a box of chocolates.

Friday, December 25, 6 p.m., Spike

The Family Stone (2005)

If only real holidays could be as entertaining as the reel celebrations that movie families experience. This delightful, and touching, look at the dynamics of a complicated family reminds us that the people we share in name and memory can touch us as much as they frustrate. Diane Keaton creates a memorable look at a woman trying to simplify her life while Sarah Jessica Parker entertains as a woman trying to fit into a clan that thrives in its dysfunction.

Friday, December 25, 7 and 9 p.m., ION

Young Frankenstein (1974)

If only real monsters could be as humorous as the reel varieties that moviemakers imagine. In this hysterical comedy from Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder scores as a doctor who knows he is playing with fire. But the narrative is less essential to the film than Brooks’ ability to connect what may happen on screen to what happens in real world. Through his parody of a popular monster tale, we learn a great deal about what people feared in the 1970s.

Saturday, December 26, 7:45 a.m. Sundance

Swing Time (1936)

If only the real moves in life could be as graceful as the reel ones from dancers in the movies. In 10 movies, from 1933 to 1949, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers graced the screen with am amazing ability to connect as they move in sync and emote in rhythm. This marvelous musical – considered by many to be the best of their films – shows how they can tell a story through dance while making us believe all the moments they do not perform.

Saturday, December 26, 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

The Lion in Winter (1968)

If only real royalty could entertain as much as the reel ones who recreate history. In this movie version of James Goldman’s play, Katherine Hepburn (in her third of four Oscar-winning performances) creates an ultimate matriarch with an exaggerated idea of how a mother can love her children. As Eleanor of Aquitaine – the estranged wife of King Henry II of England – Hepburn makes the comings and goings of a most unusual holiday look rather routine.

Saturday, December 26, 5:30 p.m., Turner Classic Movies

Sharing movies can be as easy as turning on the television or going online.

And, when you watch as a family, take the time to chat about what you’re seeing.

That makes it even more fun.