The Week in DVR: Start Watching The West Wing From the Beginning! Plus, Matthew Goode Is Great in Brideshead Revisited and Liv Tyler Sure Loves Italy

brideshead The Week in DVR: Start Watching The West Wing From the Beginning! Plus, Matthew Goode Is Great in Brideshead Revisited and Liv Tyler Sure Loves ItalyMonday: The West Wing

Isn’t it great when this show starts over from the beginning on Bravo? Don’t get us wrong, those later, Obama-forecasting episodes were fun, and who doesn’t love Alan Alda? But there’s absolutely nothing like those first few magical seasons of The West Wing when the show was under Aaron Sorkin’s rule. Today brings us the pilot episode, introducing us to the fast-talking, fast-walking characters—each one unbelievably witty and flawed and totally lovable. (Except you, ill-fated and annoying Mandy character. Enjoy your single season!) The major plot points involve dimpled Josh (Bradley Whitford) getting in trouble with religious nutbags while Sam (Rob Lowe) mistakenly sleeps with a high-class call girl played by House’s Lisa Edelstein! God, this show is awesome. [Bravo, 8 and 9 a.m.]

Tuesday: Wonder Boys

It’s always felt like this 2000 film, adapted from Michael Chabon’s novel, has been sorely underappreciated, when in fact it might feature our very favorite Michael Douglas performance. In Wonder Boys he plays constantly stoned professor Grady Tripp, who’s seven years late turning in his novel, having an affair with married Francis McDormand, and a flirtation with a so-cute-it-will-make-you-break Katie Holmes. Robert Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire are both excellent (as Grady’s editor and student) and the whole film gets more and more bananas as it goes. And yet, sweet! L.A. Confidential’s Curtis Hanson directs. [AMC, 11:30]

 

Wednesday: Brideshead Revisited

Do you happen to love period dramas set in England where class is a big deal and the men are irresistibly rakish and dreamy in a totally repressed way? If so, do we have a movie for you! Based on the 1945 Evelyn Waugh novel (and daring to retread on the holy ground of the very popular 1981 miniseries), the film follows young Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) who goes to Oxford and befriends the flaming homosexual and alcoholic Sebastian, and ends up falling in love with Sebastian’s entire family. The cinematography is worth taking a look at, and Mr. Goode will make you forget all about that Watchmen movie. [Starz, 7:40 a.m.]

Thursday: Stealing Beauty

If there was ever a movie that’ll make you wish with all your might to immediately get to a Tuscan villa, this might be it. Directed by the great Bernardo Bertolucci in 1996, Stealing Beauty stars Liv Tyler as a coltish and virginal American who goes to the lush and lovely Italian countryside to stay with family friends of her mother, who recently committed suicide. We quickly learn that she’s looking for clues as to who might be her father, and also for the local boy she kissed four years earlier. Jeremy Irons, Rachel Weisz and Joseph Fiennes all co-star; the movie can brag about its great use of Hole in the soundtrack; and we can promise it will have you fantasizing about taking a roll in some olive fields. [FMC, 12:30 a.m.]

 

Friday: Wimbledon: Men’s Semifinals

Here’s a question: Is it possible that we’re having more rain than England? It’s hard to see into the future and guess who might be in today’s match, but we’re guessing his name will rhyme with Poger Pederer. It’s a bummer that Rafael Nadal is out, but fun to think who might be up to challenge the mighty Swiss. Andy Roddick? The Scottish guy? We’re rooting for him (Andy Murray) if only because then the Queen will come to the finals—she hasn’t been since 1977. Every day we miss Björn Borg. [NBC, 12 p.m.]