Losing the habit
THERE are real television programmes and there are pretend television programmes. The real ones are easy enough to identify because they tell you things you did not previously know. The pretend ones are a programmer's equivalent of the stocking filler, chocolate-coated productions that turn out to contain little of interest.
Two such stocking-fillers pad out the early evening schedules today: World Sport Special (World, 7.05pm) and The Making of Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit (Pearl 7.20pm).
World Sport Special, a compilation of sporting highlights and lowlights accompanied by a breathless voice-over, has its moments, but most of them happened a long time ago. It's saving grace is that gob-smacking activities of the barefoot water skiing behind Concorde variety are given the occasional run-out. If you have ever wondered why grown men race cars that look like they were made from leftovers through the Arizona desert, World Sport Special might be right up your armchair.
If you haven't, you might instead watch The Making Of Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit, a great play on words if ever there was one. This is one of those fascinating behind-the-scenes documentaries that turn out to be anything but fascinating. Gasp as Whoopi Goldberg gives an interview, whoop with laughter as Dame Maggie Smith says ''I am having a great time making this film'' and be amazed as members of the crew tell jokes.
IS The Gauntlet (Pearl, 9.30pm) one of Clint Eastwood's more average movies, or is Hollywood's greatest exponent of the macho mentality having a bit of a giggle at his own expense? Opinions are thoroughly divided between those who see it as the epitome of 70s violence, another excuse to break a few bad guys' heads, and those who believe this is Eastwood's Annie Hall. But with Sondra Locke speaking lines like: ''Big .45 calibre fruit!'' surely it cannot be all serious.
Eastwood is a disreputable and drunken cop who is assigned to escort a foul-mouthed prostitute (Locke) to a courtroom inconveniently positioned on the other side of the country. There are more baddies than goodies and a carnival of shoot-outs, shoot-ups and explosions. Interestingly, and tellingly, this was the first film to give a credit for a first aid team, employed to patch up the stunt men.
OVER on MTV, where the only violence is aural, David Wu is on tour all week in South Korea. MTV Prime Korea (11.00am and 5.00pm) is a roadshow which takes Wu to Muju Ski Resort and the honeymooner's paradise of Cheju Island. In Muju he goes skiing andsnow-boarding and in Cheju he gets in a few holes of golf. On Friday (11.00am and 7.00pm) MTV Prime Korea ends with Wu ''checking out the scene'' at Muju's Pharaoh's Nightclub.
YOU may by now have begun to notice messages of love appearing on your screen before and after the evening's main movie on Pearl. This happened last year and if all goes well will happen again next year. The reason for the goo is Valentine's Day and the aim is to raise money for the Children's Cancer Foundation: fork out at least $100 and TVB will broadcast a message to your nearest and dearest.
Hand-in-hand with the charity promotion is a show on February 5 at Park Court in Pacific Place, to be hosted by the ubiquitous Valerie Chow, Paul George and Gloria Wu, all of Eye On Hong Kong fame, and Jade's Kent Chen, of Eye On Shanghai and Eye On Beijing fame.
Last year the appeal raised $500,000. Pearl also has some pretty decent movies in the pipeline for Valentine's season, including a British version of the film everybody has cried over, Ghost, more of which some other time.