Tonight I’ll be doing my TV critic’s duty watching MTV’s two new shows, Bromance and The City (horror-shows or guilty pleasures? we’ll decide tomorrow, OK?). But before they air, I’d advise you to check out tonight’s TCM special Ron Howard: 50 Years In Film (8 pm/EST). (This ends up being a coincidental follow-up to yesterday’s post on The Andy Griffith Show, in which Howard played Opie.)
Tonight’s documentary focuses, in extensive interviews, on Howard as an adult. Howard is nothing if not modest, and he’s built a tidy, modest career as a director. I really like the first feature he directed, a fast little B-picture from 1977 called Grand Theft Auto, which TCM will air after the documentary. Sure, this documentary is timed to promote Howard’s latest film, Frost/Nixon, but it doesn’t smell of plugola. Under the guidance of director Richard Schickel, Ron Howard: 50 Years In Film is as quietly thoughtful as its subject. Sure, Howard has directed some clunkers (How The Grinch Stole Christmas; Willow), but he’s provided a lot of undeniable mass-audience pleasure.
So I ask you: What’s your favorite Ron Howard-directed film? Splash? Cocoon? Apollo 13? A Beautiful Mind? Or some other work by the red-haired man, whom I’ll always admire for the way he narrated Arrested Development?