Films on TV round-up: dynamic and dicephalic duos

Ed Williamson,
Ali Gray

28th August 2011

I knew this day would come. Despite a long list of films on TV this week, I could only find Stuck On You to write anything about. So I've roped in TheShiznit.co.uk overlord Ali to give us his thoughts on Batman Forever. Imagine, someone who actually knows things about films for a change, rather than just pasting stuff off Wikipedia.

Commencing: Monday 29th August 2011

Stuck On You (2003) Monday, 5*, 9pm

Note: I should apologise for the use of the word 'dicephalic' in the title, which describes something with two heads on one body, which Walt and Bob in Stuck On You are not, strictly speaking. But come on, it fits.

I wonder if Matt Damon knows he's completing a hat-trick of consecutive appearances on the films on TV round-up this week? Probably. Hard to see how he could have missed it. In many ways he'll probably consider it the crowning achievement of his career. After that movie about the horses, anyway.

Most modern film comedies suffer from the same affliction: that is, they're not all that funny. I can't and won't pretend that Stuck On You is a mega LOLfest throughout, but it is funny and genuinely heartwarming overall, and it surprised the hell out of me given how terrible it seemed in premise.

Said premise: Bob (Damon) and Walt (Greg Kinnear) are conjoined twins (OH RIGHT I GET THE TITLE NOW) running a fast-food joint in Massachusetts, but Walt wants to move to Hollywood and make it as an actor, which scares nervous Bob who just wants a quiet life. Once they get there things start to go well for Walt, and they start to wonder whether they should get a surgical separation.

Obviously you can't move for visual gags (Walt has sex while Bob lies on the other side of a curtain; one guy is playing darts and the other turns around quickly, etc etc) but the laughs at their conjoinment are positive ones, not mockery: characters who treat Bob, Walt or anyone else with a disability as inferiors quickly get their comeuppance.

The overall message is a positive one: don't try to be someone you're not - accept who you are and embrace it. Actually, wasn't that the tagline of Jersey Girl? Damon was in that for about two minutes as well, wasn't he? If that's on next week I'll throw it in just to maintain his winning streak.

Batman Forever (1995) Tuesday, ITV2, 9pm

Batman Forever gets a bad rap, I reckon. When you stand it next to slobbering idiot Batman and Robin, it's bound to look like it was complicit in the same despicable cinematic perversions. Stand it next to Batman Returns, however, and aside from a slightly more garish colour scheme and a slightly gayer Batman, it's still pretty similar in tone. You can't honestly tell me Jim Carrey as The Riddler is any more over the top than Danny DeVito's Penguin. Batman Returns has Christopher Walken in it, for Christ's sake - he hasn't underplayed anything since that time he let a disabled kid win at checkers.

Yes, compared to the Chris Nolan movies, Forever does look a little ... frivolous. A villain in green lycra. There are nipples on the batsuit. Robin's in it and he's played by Chris 'must be a meth-head by now' O'Donnell. This is not the hard-hitting, gritty Batman that Christian Bale portrayed, or even the stoic, lantern-jawed hero that Michael Keaton brought to the table. They played Batman straight, whereas Forever forgoes the - frankly ridiculous, when you think about it - unnecessary gravitas of a man pretending to be a flying rodent.

What Joel Schumacher and Val Kilmer did pull off is creating a Batman closer to the original Adam West series than anything off the page had managed. It has needless gadgets galore, sexy sidekicks in the shape of Drew Barrymore (fresh off being a cokehead) and stupid mysteries so dumb, even the screenwriters didn't care how Batman solved them. It's pure West. You could argue that his campy 60s Batman was the most universally popular iteration of the character. You could argue that, but you wouldn't in polite company.

Maybe it's because Batman and Robin took that theory and basically butt-fucked it that Batman Forever looks better in comparison. It's camp, it's spangly and it's over-the-top, but I'd argue that it's easily the most fun Batman movie ever made - because the character wasn't created to be deadly serious. Don't hate me because I'm right, guys.
Also on this week

Diamonds are Forever Monday, ITV1, 3.30pm
Chicken Run Monday, BBC3, 7.10pm
Independence Day Monday, Film4, 9pm (also Friday 6.15pm)
The Devil's Advocate Monday, ITV2, 10pm
Good Will Hunting Monday, BBC3, 11.45pm
Breakfast at Tiffany's Tuesday, Film4, 3.15pm
Enter the Dragon Tuesday, ITV4, 12am (also Friday 10.05pm)
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm
What's Love Got to Do with It Tuesday, Film4, 9pm
The Transporter Tuesday, 5USA, 9pm (also Friday 9pm)
Bad Lieutenant Tuesday, Film4, 11.15pm
American: The Bill Hicks Story Wednesday, BBC4, 12am
Clash of the Titans (1981) Wednesday, Film4, 4.45pm
Batman and Robin Wednesday, ITV2, 10pm
Land of the Dead Wednesday, ITV4, 10.05pm
Predator Wednesday, E4, 11pm
Child's Play Thursday, ITV4, 12am
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) Thursday, Film4, 3.05pm
X-Men: The Last Stand Thursday, Film4, 7pm
Mad Max 2 Thursday, ITV4, 9.05pm
Child's Play 3 Thursday, ITV4, 11.10pm
House of Sand and Fog Thursday, BBC1, 11.35pm
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Friday, ITV2, 9pm
Kiss the Girls Friday, More4, 9pm
Fright Night (1985) Friday, 5*, 9pm
Atonement Friday, ITV3, 10pm
Police Academy Friday, ITV1, 10.05pm
Hot Fuzz Friday, ITV2, 11.15pm
Lethal Weapon 4 Saturday, ITV4, 12.15am
Batman (1966) Saturday, Film4, 3pm
You Only Live Twice Saturday, ITV1, 3.30pm
Twins Saturday, ITV2, 4.55pm
The School of Rock Saturday, Film4, 5.10pm
Ice Age Saturday, 5*, 5.20pm
Dogeball: A True Underdog Story Saturday, Film4, 9pm
Rocky V Saturday, ITV4, 9.05pm
Ghost Town Saturday, BBC1, 10.15pm
The Bourne Ultimatum Saturday, ITV1, 10.45pm
Final Destination 3 Saturday, Film4, 10.50pm
Beverly Hills Cop III Saturday, C4, 10.50pm

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