Where to find Vegas on your TV, Jan. 10-16
IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Vanderpump Rules: Vegas With a Vengeance (Jan. 10 @ 11 a.m. on BRAVO) and Vanderpump Rules: Vegas! Baby? (Jan. 14 @ 8 a.m. on BRAVO): Get yourself a Vegas double dip of this reality free-for-all that ventures away from the usual action at the SUR restaurant in West Hollywood. In the Jan. 10 encore from the debut season in 2013, the eatery employees land here to celebrate Stassi’s birthday, where an uninvited Jax shows up, leading to — what else? — a fiery showdown. It’s (un)reality TV after all. And Jax does have a bit of a bad-boy temper.
In the Jan. 14 reprise from 2018’s sixth season … we’ll let TV Guide’s descriptive powers take it from here: “Lisa takes Sandoval and Schwartz on a business trip to Las Vegas to design their new bar, but when the guys focus more on partying than professionalism, Lisa questions the whole partnership. Meanwhile, Brittany tells Katie and Ariana she needs to take a pregnancy test, and everyone is shocked by Jax’s reaction to the results.”
Shocked, they tell us! SHOCKED!
Street Outlaws: Fear and Gloating in Las Vegas (Jan. 13 @ 11 a.m. on DISCOVERY): In this flashback from 2015, the street racers (aka, the outlaws) head here to take on the fastest, fiercest competitors our town has to offer. Because everyone wants a piece of us. Fortunately, there’s not a Jax in sight.
Honeymoon in Vegas (Jan. 14 @ 3:05 a.m. and 8:35 p.m. on MOVIEPLEX): Nicky Cage is back (yes, if you add in Leaving Las Vegas and Con Air, he’s got a thing for us, since he lives here, at least some of the time). In this 1992 laugher, gambler/con man James Caan wins $65K from broke PI Cage, so fiancée Sarah Jessica Parker goes off with Caan to pay off the debt. Comic hilarity ensues when Parker falls for Caan and Cage must win his gal back.
Random Honeymoon quote doubling as sage gambling advice:
“Do you know what a straight flush is? It’s like … unbeatable!”
“Like unbeatable is not unbeatable.”
Pause/Rewind Moment: The Flying Elvi, ’natch. Or is it Elvises? Argue amongst yourselves.
BIG-SCREEN VEGAS THIS WEEK:
Resident Evil: Extinction (Jan. 10 @ 2:50 a.m., Jan. 13 @ 11:45 p.m. and Jan. 14 @ 2:45 a.m. on STARZ): OMG! Post-apocalyptic ruins of Las Vegas! We suffer a rather dire fate in this 2007 installment of the horror franchise, in which Milla Jovovich and company cross the Mojave Desert while fleeing a zombie apocalypse. What survives? The Luxor stands. So does New York-New York, though the Statue of Liberty takes a substantial hit, as does the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, while the Tropicana is still standing, shakily. Others? Excalibur? Wynn Las Vegas? Bally’s? Bye, bye and bye. Perhaps when these undead invaders finish creating mayhem, they can do double duty at Planet Hollywood’s Zombie Burlesque.
Rain Man (Jan. 10 @ 8:30 a.m. on THIS): 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.
Lost in America (Jan. 10 @ 12:05 p.m. on HBO): 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.”
Very Bad Things (Jan. 10 @ 5:30 p.m. on STARZ): Though we’d never claim the title of this pitch-black comedy as a marketing slogan, it’s an apt description of what develops in this vicious 1998 thriller that is more or less The Hangover in hell. A cast including Jon Favreau, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern and Jeanne Tripplehorn topline this tale — about a third of which was filmed here — in which a group of party-hearty pals invade Vegas for a bachelor party. However, when a prostitute is killed, bodies begin piling up and buddies turn on each other as a coverup escalates. But hey — we do get to enjoy scenes including the merriment on Fremont Street and the vistas of Red Rock Canyon.
Rush Hour 2 (Jan. 11 @ 8:40 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. and Jan. 14 @ 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on HBO channels): 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.
Godzilla (Jan. 11 @ 4 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on IFC): What did we ever do to tick off Hollywood? They destroy us in the 2014 reinvention of Godzilla. Hey Hollywood, go pick on someone else — Washington, D.C. perhaps. They haven’t had a good movie wipeout since Independence Day. Actually, scratch that — D.C. is doing a pretty stellar job of blowing itself up these days.
Bugsy (Jan. 12 @ 12:10 a.m. on EPIX): First, the minuses: You won’t see much of honest-to-goodness Las Vegas in director Barry Levinson’s 1991 gangster epic that purports to chronicle Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s rise in our town and his “creation” of the Flamingo hotel-casino. For one thing, it was mostly shot in California, where a full-scale, time-warp replica of the Flamingo was built near Palm Desert and La Quinta. And for another, the mob dynamo gets more credit than history allows by the film never mentioning William Wilkerson, who actually conceived of and built the resort, and owned nearly half of it (Siegel only got involved as it neared completion). We know — details, details. But Bugsy remains a triumphant piece of film-making, thanks largely to the towering lead performances of Warren Beatty as Siegel and Annette Benning as gal pal Virginia Hill. And Siegel’s embrace of Las Vegas (and checkered life) has helped fuel the mystique of Vegas to this day. An old expression applies here: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” And film it, too.
Another Stakeout (Jan. 12 @ 5 a.m. and Jan. 16 @ 4:35 a.m. on HBO): Vegas makes a few appearances — highlighted by some shots of the Plaza Hotel — in this underwhelming 1993 sequel to the original 1987 Stakeout. This time out, squabbling cops Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez are back on the gig, tracking Cathy Moriarty, the missing witness in the case of a (guess what?) Vegas mobster. Not that it (Heaven forbid!) trades in clichés or anything.
Casino (Jan. 12 @ 6:50 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. on STARZ channels): 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.
Hot Shots! (Jan. 12 @ 10:20 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. on STARZ): As a fond remembrance, keep an eye out for fleeting glimpses of the late, much-loved Dunes Hotel (may it rest in peace) in this 1991 Top Gun spoof. A pre-“tiger blood”-ed Charlie Sheen stars, along with Carl Elwes, Valeria Golino, Lloyd Bridges and Sheen’s future Two and a Half Men cohort, Jon Cryer.
The Great White Hype (Jan. 12 @ 10:50 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.
Midnight Run (Jan. 12 @ 10:55 a.m. and Jan. 16 @ 11:05 a.m. on MAX channels): Co-stars Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin and Las Vegas split the laughs in this 1988 odd couple-buddy action comedy that bubbles from the unlikely but very real chemistry between bounty hunter De Niro and mob-embezzling accountant Grodin. Revel in several scenes featuring totems of Classic Vegas, including the Blue Angel Motel (and Betty Willis’ iconic signage) and the Aladdin Hotel; catch the camera finding the signs for the Stardust and the Dunes; and wander the cavernous environs of McCarran International Airport, where the departure terminals and ticketing lobby host some of the action. Oh, and anytime you see the famously grizzled face of Dennis Farina, you know you’re in Vegas — the late actor filmed all his scenes here, as he was headquartered in Vegas while shooting the TV series Crime Story at the time.
Independence Day (Jan. 12 @ 2 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. on BBC AMERICA): “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?) By the way, D.C gets leveled in this flick, not Vegas.
The Hangover (Jan. 12 @ 2:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. on PARAMOUNT): 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 Heather Graham (as a stripper/escort, of course) headline 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. (And no … no one dies.) More, you say? Read https://www.lasvegasnewswire.com/behind-the-camera-caesars-palace-lindsay-lohans-boo-boo-and-an-embarrassed-actor-part-of-the-hangover-legacy/
Lethal Weapon 4: (Jan. 12 @ 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. on STARZ): “OKAY! OKAY! OKAY! OKAY! OKAY!” … Joe Pesci’s comic catchphrase, anyone? With his acclaimed subdued performance in this year’s The Irishman, this may be a good time to remember the actor’s frantic comic chops in the fourth edition of the Mel Gibson/Danny Glover cop-shop franchise from 1998. As for Vegas? Well, you can revisit your traffic nightmares in that nutty car-truck highway chase scene that was shot on our own Interstate 215, from Pecos Road to Windmill Lane. That stretch was closed for two weeks to film Gibson beating the snot out of baddies in vehicular traffic while an exasperated Glover tried to keep pace. Give the filmmakers credit, though: In exchange for inconveniencing us, they hired 50 local extras to drive on the roadway during the scene, and donated $5,000 to Child Haven, the local shelter for abused children — and gave them a tour of the set.
Harry and Tonto (Jan. 12 @ 5 p.m. on TCM): Should we be proud that Art Carney won an Academy Award for a movie in which his character urinates on the Plaza Hotel wall and gets tossed in the Vegas pokey? Small price to pay for movie gold, and this sentimental 1974 road movie about an elderly man, his beloved cat (Tonto), his relationship with his kids (including one played by Larry “JR” Hagman) and a Vegas, um, lady of the night (Barbara Rhoades) is worth it. Enjoy the glimpses of Downtown’s Golden Gate and Las Vegas Club along the way.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Jan. 13 @ 5:45 a.m. and Jan. 14 @ 12:30 a.m. on IFC): In this 2013 Strip-magicians-at-war comedy, marquee prestidigitators played by Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi (and partially based on Siegfried & Roy) take on an aggressive, hipster challenger practicing a danger-brand of street magic, played by Jim Carrey (partly based on Criss Angel). MGM magic maven David Copperfield served as a film advisor and shared a few confidential secrets with the filmmakers —for which they had to sign secrecy contracts. Look for scenes shot at Bally’s Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Fremont Street, Binion’s Gambling Hall and exterior shots up and down both the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (Jan. 14 @ midnight on FREEFORM): YABBA-DABBA VEGAS BABY! What more do you need to know? Just that, and Ann-Margret (you can call her Ann Marg-Rock, thank you very much) sings the theme song, in a playful tribute to her Viva Las Vegas co-star Elvis Presley. Plus a new Fred Flintstone, Vegas-specific catchphrase: “Yabba-Dabba-Dough!”
Breakdown (Jan. 16 @ 5 p.m. on MYSTERY): In this seriously intense 1997 thriller, Kurt Russell searches for his wife who was abducted in our spooky Western desert environs by even spookier trucker baddie J.T. Walsh and his villainous cronies. Look for scenes filmed across the Nevada desert landscape, including at Nelson’s Landing. And cheer on Russell in a strong performance as a man whose desperation memorably ratchets up with every scene.
VEGAS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE:
Friends: The One in Vegas (Part 1: Jan. 10 @ 1 a.m.; Part 2: Jan. 10 @ 1:35 a.m. on NICK)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Jan. 10-16 @ 6 a.m. on USA; Jan. 13 @ 7 a.m. on OXYGN; and Jan. 16 @ 7:30-11:30 a.m. on SYFY)
Flipping Vegas (Jan. 11 @ 7-10 a.m. on A&E; Jan. 13 @ 1 p.m.-1 a.m. on FYI)
Top This Party: Las Vegas (Jan. 11 @ 10 a.m. on LRW)
Roseanne: Vegas Interruptus (Jan. 11 @ 3:30 p.m. on TVLAND)
Boxing: Pacquiao vs. Thurman from Las Vegas (Jan. 12 @ 2:30 p.m. on FS1)
Pawn Stars (Jan. 15 @ 7-9 a.m. on HISTW)
Mecum Auto Auctions — Muscle Cars & More: Las Vegas (Jan. 15 @ 10 p.m. on NBCSN)
American Ninja Warrior: Las Vegas National Finals (Jan. 16 @ 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on NBCSN)
— Steve Bornfeld
(All listings are subject to change, and are Pacific time. Also check for listed programs on streaming and on-demand services.)