Chadwick Boseman stars in a Thurgood Marshall biopic. And “Magic Mike” is on CMT.
What’s on TV
MARSHALL (2017) 8 p.m. on Showtime. “The only way to get through a bigot’s door,” Chadwick Boseman says in this Thurgood Marshall biopic, “is to break it down.” That captures the punchiness of this film, in which Boseman stars as the civil rights lawyer who became the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court. With confidence and unexpected humor, it focuses on a 1941 case in which Marshall defended Joseph Spell, a black chauffeur and butler (played by Sterling K. Brown) accused of sexual assault by his rich, white boss (Kate Hudson). The case predates Brown v. Board of Education, in which Marshall made history, by more than a decade; the headstrong Marshall of this film is in his 30s. The movie, directed by Reginald Hudlin, revisits this era of Marshall’s life with “economy, a bit of gauzy nostalgia and likable performances,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The New York Times. But, she said, there are moments when you wish that Hudlin “would ease up on the comedy.”
MAGIC MIKE (2012) 9 p.m. on CMT. For a quiet, conventional Valentine’s Day evening skip this listing. But for a Feb. 14 full of onscreen thrusts, sweat and Channing Tatum’s, umm, face take advantage of this strategically timed showing of Steven Soderbergh’s stripper tale. Tatum plays Mike, who dips his toe into the world of erotic dancing and then falls the rest of the way in. (The character has parallels to Tatum himself, who once worked as a stripper.) Matthew McConaughey plays a strip club entrepreneur. In her review for The Times, Manohla Dargis called the film a “funny, enjoyable romp about male strippers and the American dream.”
THE WEDDING SINGER (1998) 10 p.m. on Paramount Network. In the world of ’90s Adam Sandler comedies, a relationship blooming between a musician (Sandler) and a waitress (Drew Barrymore) ranks high on the sentimental scale. That makes this tale of a mulleted wedding singer losing one love and finding another a solid, nostalgic Valentine’s Day pick.
BECKS (2018) Rent on Amazon, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. If the idea of Adam Sandler singing “somebody kill me” in “The Wedding Singer” is too ’90s for you, consider this more earnest tale of a musician’s lost and found love. The romantic drama stars Lena Hall as Becks, a Brooklyn guitar player and songwriter. After her relationship with a girlfriend (Hayley Kiyoko) goes south, Becks goes back home to Missouri to live with her ex-nun mother, Ann (Christine Lahti). While there, she teaches guitar lessons and eventually finds romance — all while struggling with her mother’s nonacceptance of her sexual orientation. In his review for The Times, Ben Kenigsberg wrote that the film “exemplifies how small judgments in pace, performance and soundtrack can transcend modest trappings.”