Tag Archives: Parenthood

Best films on TV – week commencing 15th April 2013

This week’s choices are from our editor, James Diamond.

24hourpartypeopleMonday 15th April – The Bourne Supremacy (ITV2, 10.30pm)

Try to forget the sheer boredom of last year’s The Bourne Narcolepsy by diving into one of the better sequels of recent times. Paul Greengrass’s first go at the helm of a Bourne film, and it’s a cracker of an action movie, with Matt Damon returning as the super soldier pushed to the edge when sinister forces won’t let him enjoy his retirement. Brilliant support from Brian Cox and Joan Allen ensure that  the film feels more heavyweight than the majority of its peers.

Tuesday 16th April – Stalag 17 (More4, 11.10am)

As is now pretty standard in these pieces, I’m going to suggest a film that I’ve got tucked away on my unnamed DVR box and still haven’t got around to watching. This week’s choice in that category is about as low-risk a recommendation as they come though, what with it being a Billy Wilder film that’s firmly entrenched in the IMDB Top 250. William Holden stars as a wheeler-dealer POW during WWII who suddenly finds himself in grave danger when his men suspect him of being an informer for the Germans. Also on today is Blue Valentine (Film4, 11.20pm), and all you need to know about that is that it stars Ryan Gosling.

Wednesday 17th April – Tropic Thunder (BBC3, 10pm)

One of the better examples of the type of high concept comedy that Hollywood seems to churn out by the shedload these days, usually starring some combination of Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, and Steve Carrell. What elevates Tropic Thunder is its happiness to poke fun at the very industry that made it, from Robert Downey Jr’s character’s extreme method acting, to Tom Cruise cameo as a vile Hollywood producer.

Thursday 18th April – 24 Hour Party People (Film4, 11.30pm)

The first of the Steve Coogan/Michael Winterbottom ‘ego’ collaborations (with their latest The Look of Love out this month), and probably their best. It charts the rise of ‘Madchester’, Factory Records, and the brilliant Tony Wilson (surely an inspiration for Alan Partridge). My local indie nightclub seem to have this playing on mute in a constant loop most Saturday nights, so I’ll be taking this rare opportunity to actually listen to the brilliant soundtrack. Word of warning though, DO NOT watch Knowing (Film4, 9pm) directly beforehand. I didn’t know it was possible for a Nic Cage film to be this bad.

Friday 19th April – The Shawshank Redemption (ITV2, 9pm)

Look, I know it’s obvious. I know it’s a clichéd choice, and I know that you’ve probably already seen it before. That doesn’t stop The Shawshank Redemption being the best film on TV today. Its number one rating on IMDB may be overstating its brilliance slightly, but away from the hype it is still a wonderfully written and directed film (adapted  from Stephen King’s novella by Frank Darabont, the man who brought The Walking Dead to our screens), driven by two utterly magnificent central performances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Saturday 20th April – Parenthood (ITV, 10.45pm)

Now and again a film comes along with an ensemble cast that is so perfect, with everyone at the top of their game, that you just want to sit back and watch them work. Parenthood is one of those films, with brilliant performances from Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis, Dianne West, Tom Hulse, Keanu Reeves, and a young Joaquin Phoenix. A film with great humour, and a lot of heart.

Sunday 21st April – Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (ITV2, 12.10pm)

I know this is cheating a little, but I’m not going to turn down the chance to recommend a double-bill of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. My site, my rules. Toy Story is the film that made Pixar famous, and possibly even saved Disney. Even now the animation looks great, but it’s the smart script (including input from none other than Joss Whedon) and top-notch voice performances from the likes of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen that make this one of the finest family films ever made. Toy Story 2 doesn’t quite live up to the first film, but if you’re watching the first you’d need to have had your mind melded not to hang around for the sequel. Those in search of the perfect family film day can probably fit in a quick toilet break before Jurassic Park (ITV, 3.55pm) starts. Heaven.

‘Are Father and Uncle Max going to push the car all the way to Switzerland?’ Genuine question.

She’s clearly upset. Just don’t ask me to tell you why.

Ah, the eighties. Simpler times. Before political correctness ‘went mad’ and we could just tape films off the telly with no regard for their regulatory deemed suitability. Before our parents were told that letting us play video games would make us grow up and kill people. (Indeed, any ounce of patience or tolerance I may possess today is entirely down to a childhood spent attempting to complete the 17 levels of Alex Kidd in Miracle World WITHOUT A SAVE OPTION!)

Rather than be corrupted by evil cinematic images I wasn’t considered old enough to see, for the most part I was blissfully unaware of their existence and enjoyed the films regardless. Not unlike the first time I saw The Usual Suspects, where I lost the thread of what was going on quite early into the film (my teenage head crammed too full of Boyzone trivia to be much use to anyone), but continued watching nonetheless because I liked Pete Postlethwaite’s accent. The big twist at the end was still a wonder to behold, even though I was just seeing it on a very base level. ‘He’s not who he said he was!’ was revelation enough, with the implications of said discovery reserved for, and enjoyed on, subsequent viewings.

I asked Twitter, and they reminded me about a whole host of films I enjoyed as a kid, while the finer details soared unknowingly over my head.

The (some might say integral) presence of Nazis throughout The Sound of Music escaped me. I knew there was much tutting over some flags, and that the family had to run away from the ‘police’ at the end. But that was as far as I got. I was also sad that Rolfe blew his whistle (because, for whatever reason, that meant he’d dumped Liesl) and kind of intrigued that they planned to walk to a whole other country at the end. But I was confident Maria would make everything fun with all her singing.

 I remember watching the hooker fairy tale Pretty Woman at a slumber party back in primary school, where we must’ve had such a scant understanding of the storyline it became nothing more than a series of shots of a lady going shopping, interspersed with a massive bubble bath and the occasional horse. It was a few years later before I realised the colourful strip of plastic Julia Roberts pulled from her boot were condoms, and a couple more before I understood the particular appeal of that piano solo.

Presumably long before the availability of ESPN on UK tv, my dad decided to show us the Snipes/Harrelson mashup White Men Can’t Jump one weekend, because my little brother was really into basketball. This proved something of an error on his part, as he proceeded to fast forward through three quarters of the film at the first sniff of a sex scene, while instructing us not to tell our mum we’d watched it.

In 1950’s high school romp Grease, I knew Rizzo wasn’t pregnant when she jumped off the ferris wheel screaming ‘I’m not pregnant!’. But I was oblivious to the entire unprotected sex conversation that preceded it. (Not to mention the references to nose jobs, hookers, gang bangs and chicks creaming throughout.) Looking back, Kenickie says he’s had his ’25-cent insurance policy’ since the seventh grade. Since he is roughly 45 by the time they graduate, is it any wonder the condom perished?

Despite Dickie’s kindly face and patient explanation on the Jurassic Park tour, I didn’t get the science behind it one little bit. Moreover, I was perpetually confused by the fact that, despite the writers obviously possessing the know how to breed dinosaurs, they chose to make a film about it instead of, you know, building an actual theme park. Which I would’ve forced my parents to sell their house in order to take us to. (Naïve maybe, but I was smart enough to realise the mean lawyer guy was joking about having a coupon day.)

The list is pretty extensive. The talking sperm at the beginning of Looks Who’s Talking, the endless vibrator references in Parenthood, the unorthodox approach to ceramics making in Ghost. I didn’t realise that ginger orphan Annie’s parents were dead, but I also couldn’t comprehend why she refused an offer to go live with someone who could buy out an entire cinema on a whim. I had no clue what Suffragette Mrs Banks was up to in Mary Poppins, and concluded that she was just a bit weird. And although I used to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail weekly, battered copy of the screenplay in hand, it never failed to piss me off when the police car turned up at the end. Presumably because I wanted it to be real. I still do.

Which films did you adore as a kid, if not entirely understand?

(With thanks to: @mooglemeg, @rella_robinson, @araarabella, @SuperduperJoJo)