Films on TV round-up: buddy cops and budding comics

Ed Williamson

29th January 2012

Bloody hell, this is the biggest films on TV bonanza I've experienced in a while. Normally I'm scrabbling around for two to write about, or just end up pretending I've seen one; this time I've got loads to choose from. Hopefully ITV2 will soon go back to their usual policy of just showing True Lies three times a week and make my life easier.

Commencing: Monday 30th January 2012

Funny People (2009) Tuesday, ITV2, 9pm

Yeah, yeah, I know: if there's such a bumper crop this week, why pick this? Well, it's a fair point. Funny People is far from perfect, but I always thought it was at least an interesting attempt to tell a serious story about comedians.

Adam Sandler is George Simmons, who is basically Adam Sandler, in that he's a successful comedian who moved into family films and got rich off them. When he finds out he's got a year to live he moves back into stand-up to try and reconnect with his audience (and probably, like, with himself, man). Seth Rogen is a fledgling stand-up who Simmons lets into his life, ostensibly to write jokes for him, but mainly just because he's lonely.

This is one of those occasions when you think, Oh yeah, Sandler can actually act a bit, can't he? and you forget about the constant barrage of tepid shit he's poured on you twice a year for as long as you can remember, and start to appreciate him a bit more. It doesn't last, but you can cling to it while it does. Rogen's also quite capable of 'doing drama', as he showed even better than he does here in last year's 50/50.

For a superior take on the same comedians-get-sad theme, I recommend Punchline with Tom Hanks, Sally Field and John Goodman. Except it's never on TV and I've never seen a DVD release of it, so good luck with that. For now, give Funny People a go. It's not like you're doing anything else on Tuesday.

For scientific proof of Funny People's quality, consult the Adam Sandler Matrix.
Deadly Pursuit (1988) Wednesday, BBC1, 12am

I actually did a little celebratory punch of the air when I saw Deadly Pursuit was on this week. I've got it on DVD so it's not like I can't watch it whenever I like, except at work, where that's frowned upon apparently, but it gives me pleasure to be able to talk a bit about films that maybe not everyone's seen for once. You've all seen it, haven't you? Yep, misjudged my audience as ever.

This is one of my favourite genre movies: a cop buddy film that's basically one long chase scene. A jewel thief escapes from the city to the mountains, and FBI agent Sidney Poitier has to enlist mountain man Tom Berenger to catch him. There's plenty of "You might be some big-shot up there in the city, but you don't know shit about these mountains", etc etc, and the whole thing rattles along relentlessly to a gripping shoot-out conclusion.

At the time this was the first film Sidney Poitier had made for ten years. But it'd take it out of you, wouldn't it, being Sidney Poitier, when there weren't any other black actors around for so long, so you had to play all of them. When they made films with mainly black casts back then, like Menace II Society or whatever, I suppose they just had to CGI his head onto everyone, right? You'd need a rest every now and then after a few years of doing that.

(*opens Sidney Poitier's Wikipedia page*) Ah, right. No, that makes more sense actually.
Also on this week

The Shawshank Redemption Monday, ITV2, 9pm
The Wrestler Monday, Film4, 9pm (also Saturday, 9pm)
Rosemary's Baby Monday, Film4, 11.10pm
The Piano Tuesday, Film4, 9pm
The Thin Red Line Tuesday, Film4, 11.15pm
You, Me and Dupree Tuesday, ITV2, 11.50pm
The Hurt Locker Wednesday, Film4, 9pm
Tropic Thunder Wednesday, BBC3, 10pm (also Saturday, 9pm)
Knocked Up Wednesday, ITV2, 10.45pm (also Saturday, 9.45pm)
House of Flying Daggers Wednesday, Film4, 11.35pm
Man on the Moon Thursday, BBC1, 12.10am
The Departed Thursday, Film4, 9pm
Gladiator Thursday, ITV2, 10pm
Lost in Translation Thursday, Film4, 11.55pm
The Last of the Mohicans Friday, C5, 9pm
Sleepless in Seattle Friday, 5*, 9pm (also Saturday, 6.55pm)
The Untouchables Friday, Film4, 9pm
Sleepers Friday, ITV3, 11.05pm
On Her Majesty's Secret Service Saturday, ITV4, 3.40pm
Brighton Rock (2010) Saturday, BBC2, 9pm
Trading Places Saturday, E4, 9pm
Tango & Cash Saturday, ITV4, 9.30pm
Taxi Driver Saturday, 5USA, 10pm
What's Love Got to Do with It Saturday, More4, 10.05pm
A History of Violence Saturday, Film4, 11.20pm
The Three Burials of Meliquades Estrada Saturday, BBC2, 11.55pm

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