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Big Stars, Small Movies

[IMG:L]Deadly Sins — Sunday at 10/9c on SoapNet, Sponsored by SoapNet’s SNM

In 1995, Alyssa Milano was exactly three years removed from Who’s the Boss? and three years away from Charmed.

While not exactly her trough (that might’ve been 1996’s Poison Ivy II), the year marked the precise midway point between her two star-making TV series.

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It was also the year she starred alongside veteran actor David Keith (An Officer and a Gentleman, et al.) in a movie you may not remember called Deadly Sins, which SoapNet airs Sunday as part of its ongoing “Sunday Night Movie” campaign.

The network’s slate of mostly mystery and/or thriller films offers viewers a chance to catch today’s big-name actors often before–or in the case of Milano, between–their ascension to stardom.

In Deadly Sins, Milano stars as Cristina, an undercover cop called in to investigate mysterious goings-on at an all-girls school. Naturally, she’s forced to go undercover in order to crack the case!

Like Milano, countless other stars have, at one time, appeared in movies that weren’t as well known as their current work. Below are some such films airing this weekend.

[IMG:R]Down in the Valley — Friday at 11/10c on SHO2
It was just a few years ago (2005) that Edward Norton, he of big movies like Fight Club and Kingdom of Heaven, was in full-on chance-taking mode, never more apparent than this character study in which plays an urban cowboy flirting with disaster. Of course, he is currently taking on slightly less subtle characters, like Bruce Banner in this summer’s special-effects spectacular The Incredible Hulk.

[IMG:L]Big Fat Liar — Saturday at 9:15/8:15c on Disney
Before Paul Giamatti was the best thing in great movies, he was the best thing in awful movies. Big Fat Liar is a prime example (and, fine, it wasn’t as much “little” as it was horrific). The Oscar nominee starred as a Hollywood bigwig alongside the kid-tastic duo of Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz, who try to make Giamatti’s life a living hell–but only succeed at annoying us! However, if you’re looking for a pre-Sideways Giamatti flick, look no further.

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[IMG:R]From Dusk Till Dawn — Sunday at 8/7c on Flix
Man, George Clooney’s agents must’ve been on their knees pleading with him not to take the lead role in Robert Rodriguez’s (Sin City) ultraviolent vampire movie–in their defense, Clooney was a year away from absolutely exploding in Batman and Robin. As we now know, Clooney’s career didn’t suffer one iota as a result of From Dusk Till Dawn–his career, in fact, is suffer-proof–but the man deserves some respect just for taking the risk. It seems that even back then he was adhering to a small-movie/big-movie game plan. 

[IMG:L]Ask the Dust — Sunday at 8/7c on TMC
To both Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek’s credit, they have done their fair share of smaller movies when they could’ve played it safe. In Ask the Dust, released in 2006 to almost no fanfare despite the two big names (who also get naked!), Farrell plays a writer who romances Hayek’s waitress in Depression-era Los Angeles. Robert Towne, himself a huge name in the screenwriting world (Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown), wrote and directed the movie.

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