Tag Archives: christmas eve

Best Films on TV: Christmas to New Year 2015

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Every 23rd December, for the past three years, we have released our pick of the films being shown on freeview TV over the Christmas schedule. Last year’s choices were made by Paul Field, but returning to this Failed Critics Christmas tradition is site editor Owen Hughes. It practically guarantees less Carry On movies and probably more big budget blockbusters…

A couple of years ago, we were regularly posting lists of films that we would recommend for the week ahead. Oh, how times have changed. It seems these days that with the rise of Netflix and other streaming services, we’re less bothered about waiting for films to be shown on TV and instead watching whatever we want, whenever we want. Which is great! Except that it’s reduced these articles to annual posts.

Nevertheless, I’ve had a look through the TV schedule to see what tat is being pushed on us this year and tried to sift out some of the dross (although Steve will be pleased to know that The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is being shown on Christmas day at 11am) and chosen five decent-to-good movies each day in the run up to 2016.

Christmas Eve –

Finishing work early tomorrow? Want something to just stick on when you walk through the door to get you in a Christmassy mood? Well, stick Channel 4 on at 2.15pm and get straight into the classic It’s A Wonderful Life. Alternatively, if you’re sick of that bloody film already, try out the Robert Zemeckis animated A Christmas Carol over on BBC One at 2.20pm (it’s the version that I talked about on our Winterval Podcast this week). If you prefer your Scrooge’s to be real rather than cartoony, then stay up wrapping last minute presents until half past midnight for the 1951 version on Channel 5 starring Alastair Sim as the miserly grump. For those of us who relate a bit too much to Ebenezer, and can’t be arsed with this Christmas nonsense – bah humbug – then watch Karl Urban as the Mega-City One Judge, jury and executioner in Dredd on Film4 at 11.25pm or switch over to BBC Two five minutes later for one of Hitchcock’s best with Dial M For Murder.

Christmas Day –

We’ve had two of the most well known adaptations of Dickens’ novel, so why not start the afternoon with Channel 4 and give the other two a watch on Christmas day itself? Starting at 1.45pm with The Muppet Christmas Carol, they swiftly follow it up at 3.45pm with Bill Murray doing his thing in Scrooged. Later that evening, BBC Three have a double bill of animated movies that are safe to watch with granny, the kids, your other half or on your todd with Toy Story at 7.30pm and How To Train Your Dragon straight after it at 8.45pm. For something not at all schmalzy, sentimental or saccharine, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until much, much later in the evening as the Coen Brothers change the mood entirely at 00.05am on ITV4 with the hilarious 90’s comedy The Big Lebowski. Or, like, that’s just my opinion that it’s hilarious, man…

JURASSIC PARK, 1993. ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

Boxing Day –

It may be somewhat twee, and I’m aware Wes Anderson isn’t for everyone, but if there’s a better film on TV for you to crawl out of your hangover with after getting up extremely late than Fantastic Mr Fox on Channel 4 at 11.25am, then I couldn’t find it. You can time it right to fit in a quick turkey sarnie and a fresh cuppa between it finishing and Jurassic Park starting over on ITV at 1.20pm, reminding you just how good the original was after Jurassic World swept the box office clean earlier this year. Really though, you should be watching the football. I believe that’s what Boxing Day was invented for. Once Final Score has finished, switch over to the horror channel at 6.40pm for the intense Spielberg thriller, Duel. Film4 can round off a very late evening with two modern British classics in crime thriller Sexy Beast (11.25pm) and Scottish sci-fi – and one of our favourite movies of 2014 – Under The Skin (1.10am).

Sunday 27th –

That’s the Christmas movies well and truly out of the way now and it’s Studio Ghibli to the rescue as we kick off the day with one of their most celebrated works, the charming My Neighbour Totoro. Flick over to Channel 5 at 2.25pm to see one of the greatest movies ever made, John Ford’s most revered western, The Searchers, starring the Duke himself, John Wayne. Starting at 4.05pm on BBC One is a fantasy movie returning to where it all began with Oz: The Great and the Powerful, which is actually quite a nice, funny little family movie. You can choose how you’d like to round off the day with one of the following two. Personally, I’d go for one of my favourite discoveries of the year, Cronenberg’s body-horror Videodrome (the horror channel, 10.50pm) over Channel 4’s showing of The Inbetweeners 2 at 11.10pm, that both Steve and Callum tore to pieces.

Monday 28th –

You maniacs! You haven’t yet set your reminder! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to Hell! Well, at least until Monday morning at 10.15am when you switch on More4 and watch the original Planet of the Apes – AND THEN later that day you’ll be fully prepared for Film4’s 6.55pm screening of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At 8.30pm on BBC Three is Kung Fu Panda 2 (read why that’s a good thing in Callum’s brilliant piece from his DreamWorks retrospective). For something a little more… grown up… Steven Soderbergh’s movie Behind The Candelabra (BBC Two, 9pm) features one of Michael Douglas’s best ever performances. Finally, if the forgettable Terminator Genisys hasn’t already disappeared entirely from your memory, then James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day will wipe the last remnants from your mind on Film4 at 1.15am.

Tuesday 29th –

Channel 4, 2.30pm, Coraline. Film4, 6.10pm, Master & Commander. ITV2, 9pm, The Shawshank Redemption. ITV, 10.25pm, American Pie. My pick of the lot: Channel 5, 10.45pm, Erin Brockovich. That’s your lot. We’re running out of quality films on TV as the year comes to a close and I’m running out of patience trying to make these films sound interesting. However, if you think Tuesday’s films read a lot like a list of movies you’re glad that you’ve seen once but probably have no intention of ever watching again, just wait until you see what’s lined up for Wednesday…

Wednesday 30th –hobbit

We’ve got a run that starts with ITV2 at 5.45pm and Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth (that I actually thought was quite enjoyable) with The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyFilm4 will help change the tone to something surprisingly fun with Denzel and Wahlberg teaming up for crime-comedy Two Guns at 9pm. Tune into the horror channel at 10.45pm for some Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse horror at Planet Terror. Furious 7 may have already been voted for in quite a number of people’s submissions to the Failed Critics Awards, but Channel 4 go back a couple of sequels to Fast Five at 11.05pm. Afterwards, prepare for Joy with Film4’s showing of The Fighter at 1.10am.

Thursday 31st –

And here we are! New Year’s Eve and what better way to see off 2015 than with, er, well, The Adventures of TinTin on BBC One at 10.55am. (That was a rhetorical question. Don’t answer that.) More adventures are afoot with a rare screening of The Rocketeer on Channel 4 at 1.10pm and – a Pixar film guaranteed to make you cry – Up, over on BBC One at 2.50pm. I will be at a New Years party by this time (oooh get me) but if you fancy a night in watching movies to bring in 2016, then BBC4 honour Bob Hoskins, who sadly passed away this year, with Made In Dagenham at 10.55pm. Film4 are going slightly more modern and again doing the whole David O. Russell / Jennifer Lawrence / Bradley Cooper / Robert De Niro thing and are showing Silver Linings Playbook at 11.10pm.

Christmas Films on TV: Carry on Pauling

Last year we brought you a special edition of our Best Film on TV series, picking out the cream of the crop from the movies on TV over the Christmas period. We return to the series for a one-off article written by Paul to once again recommend the films being shown on television over this festive season. Think of it like the Radio Times. But better.

by Paul Field (@pafster)

carry on cleoHonestly, how lazy and predictable is the Radio Times Christmas film guide? They wheel out Barry Norman and Andrew Collins to tell you to watch James Bond & Toy Story, handing them 5 stars and gushing reviews aimed at people who’ve never seen them, in 2014…… it’s as if VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and the myriad of streaming services .never happened. Because clearly if you failed to see these films at the local picture house, terrestrial television is absolutely your first chance to see them – if it was 1975. Guess what Andrew, everyone already has Toy Story on DVD. You may live in a world where you all pile round the village elders hut, where the only telly in the village is located, and enjoy the annual treat of the Queen’s speech and James Bond on a black and white portable. We’re here to offer an alternative selection…

Christmas Eve –

Radio Times says Skyfall at 8pm on ITV (utter drivel, Craig has the charisma of a cereal box, three hours of your life I’ve saved you there). Instead head over to 5* for madcap horror at 9pm with Cabin in the Woods. 11.40pm on Film4 will see you set for brutal Indonesian actioner The Raid and set your recorder for C4’s Finnish offering Rare Exports at 1.55am, where we meet a very different Santa Claus….

Christmas Day –

Radio Times says Puss in Boots. I’d rather eat pus from an old boot. Who’s paying these people to pick whatever ropey kids film is on at 3 o clock as ‘film of the day’. Much more fun to be had by heading for Carry On Screaming on ITV 3 10.50, and staying with them as they deliver a feast of classic British comedy…Carry on Camping 12.50pm, On The Buses 2.35pm, Mutiny on the Buses 4.25pm, Holiday on the Buses 6.15pm, Carry On Cleo 8pm, Steptoe and Son Ride Again 10pm and finally Frankie Howard rocks up last knockings for Up Pompeii at midnight

Boxing Day –

Radio Times says Avengers Assemble is ‘film of the day’ on BBC1 at 8.30pm. What they mean is, ‘most expensive film of the day’. C5 at 5pm have the late great Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in A Shot In The Dark. Movie Mix are kicking it old school at 9pm with Blue Thunder, you can’t do better than 80’s cops in cool helicopter movies. Late offering from Film 4, Shane Meadows nasty Dead Man’s Shoes with the ever watchable Paddy Considine 12.15am.

Saturday 27th –

Radio Times, finally pick something off the wall, The Raven (John Cusack in a ropey costume drama). No thanks, we’re heading off to BBC4 at 7.30pm for some truly wonderful Ealing comedy with Whisky Galore. E4 at 9pm deliver up some Statham action with the 3rd instalment of The Transporter series and its recorder time again for a 1.55am on Film 4 with the excellent and often overlooked… Super.

Sunday 28th –

Radio Times have gone all out, hours of thought and deliberation have gone into choosing ET…..sigh. There’s 80’s fantasy on offer with Movie Mix instead at 1pm for Krull, 5.15 on 5* has laughs aplenty with Danny Devito and Matthew Broderick doing battle in Deck The Halls, and good old Film 4 again come to the rescue with gritty period drama about bootleggers at 11.05pm, Guy Pearce, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Shia LaBeouf all star in Lawless.

Monday 29th –

Radio Times, I’d rather be back at work than watching today’s offering of The Muppets at 6.20pm on BBC1. For those of us off though, we’ve classic comedy on C4 at 2.50 with Brewster’s Millions or C5 are serving up a wartime treat with The Dam Busters at 3pm. Woody Harrelson puts in a shift over on ITV4 at 10pm with Natural Born Killers, and a late offering on Film 4 as Peter Dinklage stars in an odd little comedy about inheriting a disused railway station, The Station Agent 11.20pm.

Tuesday 30th –

Radio Times. One of those Harry Potter Movies, no idea which one, they’re all the same and they’re all shit. Move along please….7.45 in the am if you’re up and about, the original body-swap comedy is on C4, Freaky Friday. Couple of double bills that might float your boat, Young Guns 1 & 2 kicks off at 9pm on 5USA and who doesn’t love holidaying with the Griswalds? 11pm on ITV4 and you can have a National Lampoons Vacation & European Vacation.

New Years Eve –

Radio Times. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Barry Norman picked that, what meds he is on nowadays? We’ll be getting into our bustles and bonnets as James McAvoy rocks up with Anne Hathaway in Becoming Jane, 1.20pm on BBC2. Proper afternoon war film on C5 at 3.10pm as Lee Marvin leads an all-star Dirty Dozen. If you’re not down the pub, the best film of the whole festive break ends our listings, BBC4 at 11pm and the amazingly talented Alec Guinness before he was pissing about in Star Wars delivers multiple performances in one of the finest comedies ever made, Kind Hearts & Coronets.