Vegas on TV

Here’s where to catch Vegas on your TV, Sept. 20-26

All listings are subject to change, and are Pacific time. Also check for listed programs on streaming and on-demand services:

IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

  • Lost in America (Sept. 20 @ 3:15 a.m. on MOMAX): Take a time-travel excursion back to the affectionately-remembered Desert Inn hotel-casino in 1985’s just-as-affectionately-remembered road comedy, Lost in America. Delight anew as Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty blow their cash on a spin of the roulette wheel, then try to persuade casino manager Garry Marshall to give back their money. The pitch: It would be a terrific advertising promotion for the DI. Yeah, right. Brooks’ creative plea: He and the missus are different from “all the other (a particularly colorful Yiddishism) who come here to see Wayne Newton.” And for a marital spat, the film plops the frazzled couple at the concrete arch at Hoover Dam. Vegas is honored to be a part of this classic Brooks entry, which is ranked No. 84 on the American Film Institute list, “100 years, 100 Laughs.”
  • WNBA Playoff Game 3: Washington Mystics at Las Vegas Aces (Sept. 22 @ 4 p.m. on ESPN2): Well it’s root-root-root for the totally awesome home team Aces, live from the Thomas & Mack Center, where we expect them to de-Mystify those Mystics in this semifinal round contest! (Click here for a photo gallery of the Las Vegas Aces final regular-season home game against the Los Angeles Sparks at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Aug. 31, where the Aces came from behind to win 92-86.)
  • The Great White Hype (Sept. 23 @ 5 a.m. on MAX): The MGM Grand gets a major promotional workout, albeit in a flick that reviewers and audiences were more inclined to think of as The Great White Tripe. This limp, 1996 wannabe sports-comedy stars Samuel L. Jackson (as a Don King caricature named Rev. Fred Sultan) and Damon Wayans (playing a boxer named James “The Grim Reaper” Roper). And it’s the MGM that plays host to the doofus boxing matches between characters played by Wayans and Peter Berg. Satirical points about racism miss their targets and hit the comedy canvas with a resounding thud, but some fun is to be had thanks to contributions from Jeff Goldblum as an anti-boxing crusader and Jon Lovitz as a PR toady.
  • WNBA Playoff Game 4 (if necessary): Washington Mystics at Las Vegas Aces (Sept. 24 @ 7 p.m. on ESPN2): Just like we said before, only … L-O-U-D-E-R!
  • WNBA Playoff Game 5 (if necessary): Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics (Sept. 26 @ 7 p.m. on ESPN@): OK, just like we said the last two times, except this time it’s from Washington, but they’re gonna hear us all the way out there because we’re gonna scream E-V-E-N L-O-U-D-E-R … AND WIN!

 

BIG-SCREEN VEGAS THIS WEEK:

  • Showgirls (Sept. 20 @ 11:10 p.m. on STARZ): Was it the most notorious stinker about Las Vegas ever made … or the most devilishly clever cult film about Las Vegas ever made? Or both. Read all about it here: Diary of a mad movie.
  • Indecent Proposal (Sept. 21 @ 9:05 p.m. on EPIX Hits): With more-than-decent star power, 1993’s Indecent Proposal deposits married high school sweeties David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana (Demi Moore) in Vegas, where they promptly gamble away all of their savings. Enter billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford), who (quite understandably) gets the hots for Diana, and offers the couple a million bucks to spend the night with her. Marital angst ensues. No Real Housewives plot could top that. In fact, no Real Housewife could out-sexy Demi Moore. Note the Vegas backdrops including the sports book and Benihana Village at the former Las Vegas Hilton (now Westgate Las Vegas), the California Hotel & Casino and the volcano flames and rushing waterfall courtesy of the Mirage. Sharp-eyed viewers might also note the geographical oopsie when a helicopter takes off from (supposedly) the Hilton, with the sign for Downtown’s Lady Luck hotel-casino (now the Downtown Grand) clearly visible and nowhere near the Hilton. Not the first time filmmakers have rearranged the puzzle pieces of our geography, and likely won’t be the last.  
  • Rush Hour 2 (Sept. 22 @ 2:15 p.m. and Sept. 26 @ 8 p.m. on HBO): Cop cutups Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker somehow wind up in our town (don’t ask how) at the “Red Dragon” hotel-casino to solve a counterfeit money laundering scam in this 2001 martial arts laugher-sequel. Guess who played the Red Dragon? The now-defunct Desert Inn (getting a double dip with Lost in America), which had already closed before filming began, but was all dressed up in a Chinese-palace theme.
  • Casino (Sept. 22 @ 3:05 p.m. and 11:40 p.m. on STARZ): Robert De Niro’s genius bookie Ace Rothstein (based on Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal), Joe Pesci’s brutal mob enforcer Nicky Santoro (based on Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro) and Sharon Stone’s gorgeous, greedy hustler Ginger McKenna (based on dancer/socialite Geri McGee) form the compelling triumvirate in director Martin Scorsese’s intense 1995 classic about the building and destroying of a casino empire, the fictional Tangiers (based on the Stardust). (And don’t forget Oscar B. Goodman, portrayed by — and played by — Oscar B. Goodman!) The Tangiers was re-created at the Riviera and the Landmark properties. What else will you see? Oh, how about … the Peppermill, the Jockey Club, Las Vegas National Golf Club, the La Concha Motel, the Regency Motel,  Piero’s restaurant, Bally’s hotel-casino, Tony Roma’s restaurant, the Glass Pool Inn, Ruth’s Chris Steak House,  McCarran International Airport, Fremont Street and Valley of Fire State Park. And who else will you see? Oh, how about … Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows, Dick Smothers, Frankie Avalon, Alan King, James Woods, Jerry Vale and Don Rickles. It doesn’t get more Vegas-y than this one, folks.       
  • Vegas Vacation (Sept. 23 @ 12:15 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundance): The hapless Griswold family headed by Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo — and featuring those kids who are recast in every movie to play, well, their kids — come to town in this 1997 Vacation series sequel. (Or, being the fourth one, perhaps it’s a “four-quel.”) Scenes were shot at The Mirage (including the Siegfried & Roy show), MGM Grand, the Riviera, the Klondike, the Sands, the Neon Museum, the Fremont Street Experience, the Hoover Dam and Club Paradise. Cameos include: Christie Brinkley, Sid Caesar and Vegas resident/1992 Playboy Playmate of the Year Corinna Harney-Jones, who must endure Chase’s come-on at the blackjack table. Oh — and Wayne Newton and his Casa de Shenandoah estate. Stray tidbit: A highway sign in the flick says Chicago is 1,880 miles from Vegas. Actually, it’s about 1,700. But what’s 180 miles between friends? [RELATED: Vegas Vacation Behind the Camera]
  • Swingers (Sept. 23 @ 3:15 p.m. on FLIXW): Not only did this 1996 comedy-drama about single, unemployed L.A. actors catapult Vince Vaughn to stardom, it also catapulted the cast — also including Heather Graham, Ron Livingston and its writer, Jon Favreau — to Vegas for scenes shot at the Stardust on the Strip, and downtown at the Fremont Hotel. Notable cameo: Favreau’s grandma, portraying a lucky gambler at a five-buck blackjack table.
  • The Boss Baby (Sept. 24 @ 3:40 and 5:35 p.m. on FXM): Vegas in a computer-animated 3D comedy about kids? Sure, why not? We frown on letting actual children in casinos, but this is the movies, and in this one, they wind up in a bachelorette party limo and sip some Long Island Iced Tea. Oh, and there’s an Elvis impersonator — naturally. But hey, the kids are pretty much grown-ups in diapers anyway.
  • Rain Man (Sept. 25 @ 5 p.m. on TCM): With the possible exception of employees of a certain department store chain that was famously dissed (“Kmart sucks!”), 1988’s Rain Manremains a universally popular comedy-drama road flick. Exceptional performances by Tom Cruise as a callow wheeler-dealer, and Dustin Hoffman as his autistic savant brother light up this gem. As the pair hit Vegas and win big at the blackjack table, look for scenes filmed at Caesars Palace, including the Emperor’s Suite in the Forum Tower, which is still known as “Rain Main Suite.” Other Caesars scenes include those filmed at men’s shopping store Cuzzens, and Cleopatra’s Salon. And for the record: We’re very fond of Kmart.
  • Independence Day (Sept. 25 @ 8 p.m. on AMC): “Kick the tires and light the fires, Big Daddy!” — so sayeth Harry Connick Jr.’s hotshot pilot, who winds up as sky-high roadkill in this campy 1996 defend-the-planet blockbuster, which features scenes set in our own Area 51. Here’s some trivial trivia on that: In the briefing room scene, a night vision pan shot of the base is an actual photo taken by a conspiracy theorist at “Freedom Ridge,” an area no longer accessible to the public. Why? … The truth is out there. (Oh wait, that’s from some paranoid alien-conspiracy show, isn’t it?)
  • Fools Rush In (Sept. 26 @ 2 p.m. on E!): Welcome to Rom-Com 101 in this 1997 entry starring Salma Hayek as a Vegas photographer who hooks up with a strait-laced businessman played by the King of Mugging Reactions, Matthew Perry. Enjoy the Southern Nevada Scene-o-Rama in this one, as the cinematic travelogue takes us through the Graceland Wedding Chapel, Lake Mead, McCarran International Airport, the Neon Museum, Valley of Fire State Park, Mountainview Hospital and Caesars Palace. Highlight: The scene at Hoover Dam, where Hayek’s character gives birth, lending new meaning — not to mention pretty vivid symbolism — to the idea of a dam bursting.
  • The Hangover (Sept. 26 @ 8 p.m. on AMC): Cinematically speaking, our city is still hung over from The Hangover, the raucous 2009 comedy about a missing groom and a bachelor party gone off the rails that is a veritable Vegas smorgasbord. Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifanakis and and Heather Graham (as a stripper/escort, of course) topline this Strip joyride that gives us such sights as a tiger in a bathroom, a chicken in a living room, a baby in a closet, a mattress impaled on a Caesars Palace statue and a naked man in the trunk of a Mercedes. … Oh, and Mike Tyson. More, you say? Read BEHIND THE CAMERA: Caesars Palace, Lindsay Lohan’s boo-boo and an embarrassed actor part of ‘The Hangover’ legacy

VEGAS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE:

  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Sept. 20-26 @ 6 a.m. on USA; and Sept. 26 @ 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on SYFY)
  • Flipping Vegas (Sept. 20-26 @ 6 a.m. and midnight and Sept. 26 @ 1, 2, 7, 8 and 11 p.m. on FYI; and Sept. 21 @ 7-9 a.m. on A&E)
  • American Ninja Warrior: Las Vegas National Finals (Sept. 20 @ 8 p.m. on NBC)
  • UFC 197: Jones vs. Saint Preux From Las Vegas (Sept. 21 @ midnight on ESPN2)
  • Top This Party: Las Vegas (Sept. 21 @ 10 a.m. on LRW)
  • My Lottery Dream Home: Reinvention in Las Vegas (Sept. 22 @ 7:30 a.m. on HGTV)
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians: What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas (Sept. 23 @ 7:30 a.m. on E!)
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter: Vegas or Bust (Sept. 24 @ 6:30 p.m. on WGN)
  • Snapped: Vegas Bray (Sept. 26 @ 7 p.m. on OXYGN)

— Steve Bornfeld

 

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