Films on TV round-up: pseudo-Beatles and ghostly sequels

Ed Williamson

26th February 2012

It's Oscar night, folks. Neither of this week's featured films was nominated for an Oscar. Then again, neither of them was a silent film with a dog in it or featured George Clooney, so what chance did they stand?

Commencing: Monday 27th February 2012

That Thing You Do! (1996) Wednesday, Film4, 4.20pm

Much as I am firmly of the opinion that Tom Hanks is the greatest living human, even I can't form a stout defence of Larry Crowne, his second directorial effort. It was flat-out terrible. Only this afternoon I was standing on a train platform and a scene from it, in which a girl throws his mobile phone cover into a bin, occurred to me, making me wince internally. (I do sometimes have thoughts that have no basis in scenes from Tom Hanks films, but I'm hoping to eradicate them entirely by 2014.)

His first stab at it, though? Not bad at all. He started writing That Thing You Do! as a respite from all the hoo-hah of suddenly becoming the world's most famous simpleton with his 1995 Oscar win, and no doubt didn't have much trouble getting the project off the ground. It's the story of a one-hit wonder band in the 1960s who score a big hit single but then struggle to repeat their success. Hanks even wrote some of the songs. What instrument does he play, I always wonder? Probably the awesomehorn.

I recently watched the extended version, with an extra 39 minutes of cut footage spliced in. That was a big weekend. My only complaint is the punctuation in the title. Once you've written That Thing You Do! you've suddenly got an exclamation mark right in the middle of your sentence, and the next thing you know, you're so confused you've got no clue what to put at the end of it;:{}>-%^,
Ghostbusters II (1989) Friday, 5*, 9pm (also Saturday, 6.50pm)

I couldn't even tell you if I saw Ghostbusters II at the cinema. Probably. I do know that I had Bobby Brown's theme song to it, 'On Our Own', on 7" vinyl. It remains, of course, among the best songs ever committed to record, and ranks among Brown's greatest achievements, alongside wife-beating and crack addiction.

It's not as good as the original, but then a state of total spiritual nirvana wouldn't be as good as the original. I always liked it, though: Venkman's still one of Bill Murray's best and most likeable characters, Ray Stanz still has that familiar Aykroyd machine-gun-monotone delivery, and Winston's actually in it a bit. Throw in the bloke off Ally McBeal going mental, Vigo the Carpathian making a baby levitate and a walking Statue of Liberty, and you've got a perfectly respectable sequel to a modern classic.

The baby in it's called Oscar. Yes, round these parts, that's considered an acceptable call-back to the introduction, in which I mentioned the Oscars. If you narrow your eyes and tilt your head ever so slightly to one side, this'll look like a decent enough final paragraph too.
Also on this week

Ocean's Twelve Monday, ITV2, 9pm
Dirty Harry Monday, ITV4, 9pm
The Devil Wears Prada Monday, Film4, 9pm
Storyville: Fire in Babylon Monday, ITV4, 10pm
Magnum Force Monday, ITV4, 11.10pm (also Tuesday, 10pm)
Election Monday, Film4, 11.10pm (also Saturday, C4, 12.45am)
Dreamgirls Wednesday, Film4, 6.25pm
The Golden Child Wednesday, E4, 8pm
Be Kind Rewind Wednesday, 5*, 8pm
The Enforcer Wednesday, ITV4, 10pm (also Saturday, 10pm)
You, Me and Dupree Wednesday, ITV2, 10.45pm
The Transporter Thursday, C5, 9pm
A Prophet Thursday, Film4, 10.55pm
Shakespeare in Love Thursday, ITV3, 11.55pm
I, Robot Friday, E4, 9pm
Lethal Weapon Friday, ITV1, 10.35pm
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Friday, More4, 11.05pm
The Haunting Friday, BBC1, 11.30pm
Goldfinger Saturday, ITV4, 3pm
Independence Day Saturday, E4, 9.10pm
City of God Saturday, Dave, 10pm
Wanted Saturday, ITV1, 10.35pm

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