Films on TV round-up: gamma poisoning and Nazi footballers

Ed Williamson

22nd January 2012

I wrote this on my phone while on the tube today. Lest it be forgotten, the guy who got on at Green Park and sat next to me, reading the Financial Times so expansively as to have his right hand more or less directly in front of my face throughout his entire journey, is a dick.

Commencing: Monday 23rd January 2012

The Incredible Hulk (2008) Saturday, ITV1, 3.05pm

I have been told by more than one person that I look a bit like Edward Norton. Few have remarked on my resemblance to The Hulk, though. Note to self: buy purple trousers.

Probably my favourite of the new Marvel Avengers movies, The Incredible Hulk wisely ignored Ang Lee's 2003 reboot Hulk, which was widely considered terrible, and started again with the origin story.

With Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, you're on the right track from the off. Where the general rule (subverted elsewhere only by Iron Man) is that the superhero should be a more interesting character than the alter-ego, here all you've got to play with is a massive green CGI monster, so the pre-monster guy's got to be more three-dimensional than usual. Norton imbues Banner with the humanity you need in order to take the character seriously, and ensures that, when the green eyes start glowing and the muscles start rippling into The Hulk's, you actually give a shit whether he's in pain or not.

A shame that his usual habit of falling out with the director and studio meant he wouldn't go on to take part in this year's Avengers movie. I wonder why this happens so often. Maybe he's one of those guys who insists on pressing the button when you're waiting to cross the road together, even though you've just done it yourself and managed against all odds to do a good enough job of it that the 'WAIT' light is already lit. I hate that.
Escape to Victory (1981) Saturday, ITV4, 6.40pm

Perhaps Escape to Victory's greatest triumph is in providing me with the opportunity to answer correctly the question of what the final score was in the climatic match between the Allies and the Nazis in the final round of last year's Den of Geek quiz, helping to steer Team Shiznit into a very respectable second place and a deserved Blu-ray haul for all. I was roundly high-fived for my efforts, and I'm pretty sure Luke made sexual overtures towards me.

That apart, it's pretty daft, obviously - we're taking about a film starring Sylvester Stallone and Pele - but I spent a few happy Sunday afternoons watching it on TV as a kid, indulging my childhood enthusiasms for football and Nazism.

Stallone is an American POW whose escape plan is foiled by a planned football match between an Allied team of captive ex-pros - captained by Michael Caine and including Pele, Ossie Ardiles, Bobby Moore and John Wark - and the Nazi-controlled German national team. Now, Sly can't soccer a ball for shit like the Britishers can, but he proves a decent goalkeeper and so his own escape plan becomes the team's.

Let's not kid ourselves: the horrors of internment under the Nazis are notably absent in this story, but it does sneak in some neat points about the British upper-class desire to escape simply for the challenge versus the common solider's want to be left alone till the war's over, and the ending is actually pretty stirring. Plus you get to see Sylvester Stallone in goal and Max von Sydow doing keepy-ups. That's basically the Nike advert for Euro 2012 written right there.
Also on this week

Analyze This Monday, ITV2, 11.10pm
Slumdog Millionaire Monday, Film4, 9pm
Predator Monday, Film4, 11.20pm (also Saturday, 9pm)
Logan's Run Tuesday, Film4, 6.45pm
The Shawshank Redemption Tuesday, ITV2, 9pm
X-Men Wednesday, Film4, 6.50pm (also Saturday, 7pm)
The Simpsons Movie Wednesday, E4, 8pm
Enemy of the State Wednesday, BBC3, 10pm
Run Fat Boy Run Wednesday, C4, 10.35pm
Scum Wednesday, ITV4, 11pm
When Harry Met Sally Thursday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm
Lethal Weapon Thursday, ITV4, 10pm
Empire of the Sun Thursday, ITV3, 11.05pm
You, Me and Dupree Friday, ITV2, 10pm
Beverly Hills Cop Friday, E4, 10pm
Bloody Sunday Friday, ITV3, 11.05pm
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Saturday, C4, 12.25am
Beverly Hills Cop II Saturday, E4, 9pm
Alien Saturday, Film4, 11.05pm
The Rock Saturday, BBC1, 9.50pm

Follow us on Twitter @The_Shiznit for more fun features, film reviews and occasional commentary on what the best type of crisps are.
We are using Patreon to cover our hosting fees. So please consider chucking a few digital pennies our way by clicking on this link. Thanks!

Share This