Vegas on TV

October 8-14

Aerial Cities — Las Vegas 24 (Oct. 8, 1 a.m., noon, SMITHSONIAN): Pop a Dramamine tab and hop aboard an aerial tour of our town, including our famed casinos, zip lines, Red Rock and 200,000 acres of protected wilderness. Vegas, take a well-deserved bow.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Oct. 8, 2 a.m., TNT): Oh behave! Well, that’s no fun when you’re vacationing in Vegas, is it? But Mike Myers’ orthodontically-challenged spy is all over our town in an absurdist 1997 comic stew that takes us on a local tour of spots including the Stardust, the Riviera, the Imperial Palace (now the Linq) and even good ol’ Burt Bacharach, doing his swingin’ cat thing on a double-decker rollin’ down the Strip.

Fright Night (Oct. 8, 3:07 a.m., SYFY)This 2011 remake of the 1985 comedy-horror flick does use Vegas for its plot: A teen (Anton Yelchin) from a Vegas suburb realizes his neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire and enlists a local magician (David Tennant) to rid the world of the bloodsucker before he sucks Vegas dry. And it was all filmed in … New Mexico.  Yes, there’s the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino — wrongly placed on the Strip in the flick, and actually lensed at a New Mexico Hard Rock. However, if you’re not from Vegas or are not a regular visitor, you won’t know the difference. Hey, it’s Vegas, baby — even if it’s not!

Vegas Rat Rods (Oct. 8, 6-11 a.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m., Oct. 9, 2 a.m., 5 -10 p.m., Oct. 10, midnight-2 a.m., Oct. 13, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., DSC): Think of this as a “Rat” infestation — those “rats” being Steve Darnell and his “band of oddballs and misfits” who are also more charitably described as “the Picassos of automotive fabricators.” What happens during these seemingly endless marathons? Well … Oh, heck — just pick an episode. Any episode.

Cops — Las Vegas Heat (Oct. 8, 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., WGNA): Twin episodes in our fair city give us these noteworthy other-side-of-the-law moments: Two men attempt a theft; a traffic stop reveals “suspicious” vehicle occupants and possessions; another traffic stop shifts from suspicious to illegal when the officers discover open bottles and drug paraphernalia; and a drunken woman getting fondled by a man on the street complains that it is, in fact, the cop coming to her rescue who is harassing her — the very definition of “no good deed goes unpunished.” Nor untelevised.

Rush Hour 2 (Oct. 9, 5:45 p.m., Oct. 14, 10:50 p.m., MOMAX): 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, which had already closed before filming began, but was all dressed up in a Chinese-palace theme.

Leaving Las Vegas (Oct. 10, 2:15 a.m., TMC): Downbeat but poignant — and featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Nicolas Cage — this 1995 drama finds Ben Sanderson (Cage), an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, arriving in town for an intentionally fatal bender. Along his drunken path, he connects with Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a sympathetic prostitute, forming a sad but unique bond. Famously intense in his acting approach, Cage reportedly prepared for his role by filming himself drunk to study his inebriated speech patterns. Whether that constitutes method acting or a weird way to pick up bar hookups is up for debate.

The Cooler (Oct. 10, 10:10 a.m., Oct. 14, 1:25 a.m., HBOSG): Though set at a fictional casino just off Fremont Street (the Shangri La), this touching 2003 tale about a sad-sack loser (William H. Macy) whose mere presence brings bad luck to gamblers, and his romance with a waitress (Maria Bello) was primarily filmed in Reno. (The producer reportedly got a great deal to film and house the cast and crew at Reno’s Golden Phoenix Hotel.) Yet atmospherically, this one is Vegas-centric all the way, plus there are scattered aerial shots of Las Vegas. Oh, and for implosion fans, the demolitions of the Aladdin, Sands, Landmark and Dunes unspool over the closing credits.

NHL HOCKEY: Vegas Golden Knights at Washington Capitals (Oct. 10, 5 p.m., NBCSN): Our Knights get another crack at their Stanley Cup opponents. This time, those Caps are going DOWN.

Con Air (Oct. 10, 11 p.m., Oct. 11, 2:25 p.m., AMC): You’ll wait for the grand finale set piece, but this 1997 actioner is worth it when homebound con Nicolas Cage and his not-so-merry band of airborne miscreants (including John Malkovich, Dave Chappelle and a comically creepy Steve Buscemi) crash their plane on the Vegas Strip, shearing off the famed guitar atop the Hard Rock sign. As con/pilot Swamp Thing (M.C. Gainey) declares during their uncontrolled vertical dive: “Buckle up, ladies, we’re going for a night out in Vegas!”

Lucky You (Oct. 11, 4 a.m., HBOSG): Aspiring lounge warbler (Drew Barrymore) meets poker stud (Eric Bana) with a problematic relationship with his World Series of Poker-winning papa (Robert Duvall) in this 2007 drama, in which Robert Downey Jr., Debra Messing and a slew of poker pros also pop up. Where was it filmed here? Where wasn’t it? A sampling: Dino’s Lounge, the Bellagio fountains, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Jockey Club, Summerlin’s Bear’s Best Golf Club, Tiffany’s Cafe inside the White Cross Drugs and the then-under-construction Cosmopolitan. Oh — and the Silverton Casino Lodge’s 117,000-gallon aquatic tank. That’s where Messing spent 16 hours filming a scene dressed as a mermaid — for a scene that was cut. No wonder she went back to Will & Grace.

 Flipping Vegas (Oct. 11, 1-3 p.m., Oct. 12, 1 a.m., FYI; Oct. 13, 7-9 a.m., A&E): In the FYI episodes, catch Scott Yancey and his Flipped-out crew tackle a pet problem, as one house is loaded with cats (bring on the wheelbarrow of Whiskas!), and another, a former kennel, presents an odor issue (bring on the carton of Febreze!). Then on the A&E entries, the team focuses on a former daycare center and a onetime plastic surgery clinic. (Perhaps they can combine the problems and give the cats a chin tuck?)

 American Ninja Warrior: Las Vegas Finals (Oct. 11, 5-11 p.m., NBCSN): Ridiculously toned athletes face off right here for our entertainment and amusement at the four-course Mt. Midoriyama near the Luxor.

 Rain Man (Oct. 11, 5 p.m., SHO2): With the possible exception of employees of a certain department store chain that was famously dissed (“Kmart sucks!”), 1988’s Rain Man remains 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.

Banged Up Abroad — Vegas Mobster (Oct. 12, 6 a.m. NGC):  A Chicago mobster heads to Vegas, where he’s caught by the FBI, turns rat and testifies, then enters witness protection. Isn’t that always the way?

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (Oct. 13, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., BRAVO): Calling this 2005 Sandra Bullock vehicle “silly” is over-praising it (Rotten Tomatoes bestows an abysmal 15 percent approval rating on it). But Vegas clichés at least get a good workout in this slight sequel, especially when William Shatner (at his winking, self-mocking best) is kidnapped and stashed at the ship at Treasure Island, and Bullock, Regina King and Diedrich Bader wind up at a drag club hollering out Tina Turner tunes. We question whether that would make Proud Mary proud.

Vivica’s Black Magic — Vegas Magic (Oct. 13, 5 and 9 p.m., LRW): Foxy Ms. Fox (as in Vivica) continues her cherished quest to shepherd her Black Magic male revue in this season one finale. Woes persist, however, as the dudes are a mess after a particularly strenuous night of partying, followed by a chaotic dress rehearsal. Oh, and then, Penetration (yes, that’s apparently a dancer’s stage name) injures his knee. Poor stud-baby.

Vegas Vacation (Oct. 14, 3 p.m., 9 p.m., 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?

 — Steve Bornfeld

Dates, times and channels provided by All times are Pacific, check your local listings for your time zone and channel guide.



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