Dudes at the ranch " City Slickers" may be the funniest film comedy so far this year. It also has a lot of heart, and the two make for an entertaining mix. Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby are three New Jersey residents who decide to spend their vacation at a dude ranch where they will actually herd cattle -- they do, and they meet an assortment of characters, Jack Palance among them. Palance plays a trail boss, and he hasn't spoken this much on screen in a long time. Helen Slater is the girl who goes along with the guys. We all have a good time. Rating: PG-13 (language). **** The chance for a Triple Crown is gone, after Hansel's decisive going-away victory in the Preakness Stakes over the disappointing performance of Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold. But both horses are in thoroughbred racing's third "major" today, the Belmont Stakes in New York, along with Preakness placer Corporate Report. ABC's live coverage gets under way at 4:30 p.m. (Channel 13), with the familiar broadcast team of Jim McKay, Charlsie Cantey, Dave Johnson, Jack Whitaker and Al Michaels.
Tonight, it's Kronos or opera. The Kronos Quartet, famed for its championing of new experimental works, plays in the 25th anniversary concert of the Shriver Hall Concert Series at 8 p.m. at Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University. Quartet members are violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud. Tickets ($35, $20 for students) include a champagne reception. Also tonight at 7:30 p.m., Baltimore Opera Company vocal competition finals are held in Friedberg Hall, Peabody Conservatory. The event is free. With Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood" about to open, you might want to take a look at the 1938 Errol Flynn portrayal of the legendary bandit who lived in Sherwood Forest and robbed the rich to give to the poor. The Flynn version is "The Adventures of Robin Hood." It was filmed in color and may have been the best movie Mr. Flynn ever did. Olivia De Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Alan Hale and Claude Rains are also in the cast. This film doesn't waste one frame. There is also the score, which has that rich, full sound of Warner Bros. movies done in the '30 and '40. No rating. ****
Love conquers all
Toby's Dinner Theatre is presenting a very entertaining version of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man," featuring Bill Howe in the title role. Directed with style by Toby Orenstein, the show is set in a small Iowa town in 1912. Into this peaceful setting comes super con man Harold Hill, who plans to bilk the people and run. But love, in the form of Marian the librarian, conquers all. April Harr's strong soprano is the highlight of the show. Young David J. Offenheiser delights as the troubled Winthrop. South Entrance Road, Columbia. Tickets: $29.95. Call 995-1969.