by Jim Ridley
Country Life has a feeling folks are going to eat up Adam Gold's Scene cover story this week on the ABC TV show Nashville, premiering next Wednesday. Almost midway between Robert Altman's 1975 Nashville and the new series, however, came Peter Bogdanovich's The Thing Called Love — a largely forgotten 1993 comedy-drama that, like the new Nashville, is set against the backdrop of country hopefuls scratching out a living at the Bluebird Cafe.
These days, it's mostly remembered as one of the late River Phoenix's last starring roles, as well as an early breakout role for future A-lister Sandra Bullock. But it's better than its reputation — as you'll find when ThisTV airs it tonight at 7 p.m. on Comcast Ch. 249. This oddball channel has become a favorite: its programming mixes long-lost drive-in movies with ancient TV shows and remarkable cinephile wish-list items. (A sampling: Heaven's Gate, Larry Cohen's The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, Ivan Passer's Cutter's Way, Dusan Makavejev's The Coca Cola Kid, Bill Forsyth's Gregory's Girl.)
Tune in, if only to compare its spacious rendering of the Bluebird with Nashville's meticulous recreation.