Film & TV Weekly Round-Up (20/6/14)

Okay, so it’s not been the most film & TV watching packed week. Much like the past couple of weeks I’ve been quite busy. Plus, it does feel slightly wrong to stay in and watch TV when the weather is so nice. Mostly, the past couple of days, I’ve been stripping wallpaper. So I’ve been listening to a lot of Radio 4 comedy and not much else. But…

On Saturday night I watched ‘Necessary Roughness’. It’s an early nineties film about a misfit group of college football players, y’know the type of film, right? It stars Scott Bakula in the lead, and a young doe-eyed Jason Bateman, along with quite a few other ‘where do I know them from?’ actors. And it was one of the most cliché-ridden films I’ve ever seen. But, I’m okay with cliché and formula, as long as the film ends up actually being entertaining. This wasn’t. The clichés were thick and fast, I could have played a drinking game with myself based on my effective predictions, but I would have ended up very drunk. You would think that when you know what’s coming, a film can get quite boring, but that wasn’t, in fact, its downfall. Its real problem was that it didn’t go full-on formula. The guys who tried out for the team should have been awful, so awful as to make their ascent to success look that much more amazing. When they got into the fight in the bar they should have been arrested, then they could have been released triumphantly on the day of the big game. But none of that happened. There were no highs and no lows. Which I found incredibly stupid. I mean, if you’re gonna go to the film cliché fair at least throw in some swings and roundabouts. It had a pleasing nineties quality to it, but you can honestly get along without ever seeing it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and halfway through the film I was checking twitter to see the reactions to the England Vs. Italy World Cup game.

You wouldn’t believe it but I haven’t actually watched ‘Hannibal’ this week. I’m a big believer in giving something the appropriate time and concentration, and I just haven’t had that moment yet.

This week Dave have been showing a new Alan Davies series called ‘As Yet Untitled’, and I’ve loved it. It basically involves Alan and four comedians/comedy performers sitting around a table (with an audience) telling stories. Which may sound boring, but it’s really fun. They all have interesting stories, and are great storytellers. It seems like maybe the first series has been packed into this week. But it sounds like they’ll be another one. I really recommend you watching it while it’s still available on demand. Although, knowing Dave, it’ll probably be on repeat for a long time.

This week (or maybe it was last week? :-/) I discovered John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’. I’ve seen John on old episodes of ‘Mock the Week’ and used to watch him on ‘The Daily Show’. Which, really, I should start watching again. The problem is that ‘The Daily Show’ broadcasts four times a week and it can become a bit of a problem catching up. I could just watch the ‘Global Edition’ but then you miss out on some good jokes. To be fair though, looking back, I think it actually made me quite angry. Taking the piss out of the Republicans has the unfortunate side effect that you have to think about the Republicans, and I’d rather not. I watched an episode of John’s new show after hearing that his rant on net neutrality resulting in the crashing of the FCC website. At first I was a little bit sceptical. But then I watched a bunch of earlier episodes on demand and realised… This is something very different from ‘The Daily Show’, ‘Have I Got News For You’ and ‘Mock The Week’. The show doesn’t seek to simply satirise and joke, it really wants to inform to. Journalists have been writing about how John’s genuine passion and effective ‘call to arms’ is making a real impact (although this was based a lot on surprise, apparently they had some stupid idea that because US viewers didn’t like Piers Morgan, they in turn hated all British presenters :-/) . And they’re right. Like ‘The Last Leg’, ‘Last Week Tonight’ seems to understand that you don’t just have to fear politics and joke about them to make yourself feel better, you can honestly try to make a difference to. I really recommend you watch it. It’s on Sky Atlantic on Tuesday nights.

In other news? Celebrities cooked weird looking food on ‘Celebrity Masterchef’. ‘Orange is the New Black’ won some awards, which is nice. And Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian Film Critic) gave ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ a needlessly harsh review. I haven’t seen the film yet, and yes I’m hoping for greatness, but I felt Peter really went overboard. I’ve been getting annoyed with him lately, anyway. I don’t really read film reviews, but he’s been writing some daft reviews, and his Angelina Jolie crush is boring me. I was going to mention something to him on twitter, then I thought better of it and just unfollowed him. If there’s something I can’t stand it’s film critics who think being cruel is the way to gain recognition. If a film is bad, it’s bad. But then there’s bullying, and I won’t stand for that. I’m going to see ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ this week, I foresee a lot of crying.

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