Saturday TV: The Ick Factor on ‘The Tale’

the-tale-laura-dern-slice-600x200Laura Dern is becoming the face of HBO the way James Gandolfini once was. She stars in “Big Little Lies,” returning for its second season, played two seasons on the underrated comedy “Enlightened” and now stars in this disturbing original movie.

She stars as a documentary professor who is forced to confront a dark time in her life when her mother finds an old essay indicating she was being abused by a couple of adults when she was a child. There are various ways to attack such subject matter (HBO’s recent “Paterno” was a good example on being about that, but not showing it). But in “The Tale” (HBO, 10 p.m.), filmmaker Jennifer Fox is more bent on pulling back the layers of her own story.

As Dern plays her for most of the film, she’s proud she had this experience, but it’s a super-icky one, especially as the predator played too well by Jason Ritter, tries to talk an especially small 13 year old (Isabelle Nelisse) into bed. It’s timely and everything, but coming after the appalling rape scandal with a gymnastic coach, it may also be too soon. Most of all it plays like an off-putting Lifetime movie, but with a better cast (Ellen Burstyn, Common, John Heard, Frances Conroy and Elisabeth Debicki).

Earlier, “Patti Cake$” (HBO, 8 p.m.), last year’s Sundance movie from Geremy Jasper, has a suburban Jersey girl (Danielle MacDonald) dreaming of becoming a rap star.

On the third episode of “Patrick Melrose” (Showtime, 9 p.m.), the setting is a fancy party in the English countryside.

Both “Taken” (NBC, 8 p.m.) and “Ransom” (CBS, 8 p.m.) sound like two sides of the same coin, but they’re also the only new scripted show on broadcast TV tonight. On the former, a weapons dealer is sought; on the latter, a hostage is executed in the middle of high-stakes negotiations.

The “American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.) finale and the finale of “Live at the Apollo” (Fox, 11 p.m.) both get a same-week replay.

The daughter of a best-selling novelist is abducted in the manner of one of her books on the made-for-TV “Killer Ending” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.). Emmanuelle Vaguer, Chelsea Hobbs and Kayla Wallace star.

On “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” (OWN, 9 p.m.), Tim has trouble with his ex-girlfriend.

Doug Wilson decorates a prison cell bedroom on “Trading Spaces” (TLC, 8 p.m.). A second episode at 9:30 has the carpenters competing against each other.

The crew from “Ghost Adventures” (Travel, 9 p.m.) return to Virginia City.

Infidelity is discussed on “Black Love” (OWN, 10 p.m.).

“Toy Story 2” (Freeform, 7:20 p.m) is followed by “Toy Story 3” (Freeform, 9:25 p.m.).

There’s no ceasefire in sight for the Turner Classic Movies Memorial day Marathon with “Twelve O’Clock High” (6:15 am.), “Flying Leathernecks” (8:30 a.m.), “Back to Bataan” (10:15 a.m.), “The Wings of Eagles” (noon), “Operation Pacific” (2 p.m.), “They Were Expendable” (4 p.m.), “December 7th” (6:30 p.m.), “From Here to Eternity” (8 p.m.), “Across the Pacific” (10:15 p.m.), “The Clay Pigeon  (midnight), “Cornered” (1:15 a.m.), “Thousands Cheer” (3:15 a.m.) and “Stage Door Canteen” (5:30 a.m.).

Game 6 of the NBA Playoffs’ Eastern Conference finals has Boston at Cleveland (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.).

Baseball includes Atlanta at Boston (MLB, 1 p.m.), Kansas City at Texas (Fox Sports 1, 4 p.m.), Angels at Yankees (Fox, 7 p.m.) and San Diego at Dodgers (MLB, 10 p.m.).

Third round play occurs in the Senior PGA Championship (Golf, NBC, 1 p..m.) and the Fort Worth Invitational (CBS, 3 p.m.).

In the men’s  lacrosse NCAA tournament semifinals, it’s Yale vs. Albany (ESPN2, noon) and Maryland vs. Duke (ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.).

The NCAA softball super regionals continue with Arkansas at Oklahoma (ESPN, 1 p.m.), Tennessee at Georgia (ESPN, 3 p.m.), Texas A&M at Florida (ESPN, 5 p.m.), LSU at Florida State (ESPN2, 5 p.m.), Alabama at Washington (ESPN2, 7 p.m.), Kentucky at Oregon (ESPN, 9 p.m.) and South Carolina at Arizona State (ESPN2, 9 p.m.).

College baseball includes Campbell vs. High Point (ESPNU, 11 a.m.) in the Big South tournament title game,

Sturgill Simpson and Asleep at the Wheel play a 2015 edition of “Austin City Limits” (PBS, 11 p.m., check local listings).

The first of a long summer of reruns on “Saturday Night Live” (NBC, 11:30 p.m.) begins with the recent one with John Mulaney and Jack White.


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