With X-Factor, Strictly and BBC Sports Personality of the Year all done and dusted, it’s time to shine the limelight on movies once again. That’s right, it’s the return of Roobla’s festive film guide! As with last year, we’ll just be looking at channels 1-5 (as we don’t want to be here until next Christmas) and, also like last year, Harry Potter fans look away now…
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23
Easy to forget that it’s not just Christmas round the corner, but the Winter Olympics too. So to remind us of this fact, the BBC have decided to christen the day with factual comedy Cool Runnings. If snow isn’t your bag, there’s always Despicable Me, Crocodile Dundee and Gladiator to get you going.
Top of the Tree: Crocodile Dundee (1986) C4, 6.10pm – Paul Hogan scored one of the most impressive debuts in history with this comedy gem.
Top Turkey: Scrooge (1970) C5, 2.40pm – Still doesn’t work as a musical.
As traditional as pigs in blankets it may be, but there’s been almost too much lyrical waxed when it comes to 1951’s Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (on this website included). So this time top billing has been given to its distant cousin The Muppet Christmas Carol, easily the second best version. Gone With The Wind, Oklahoma! and the star-studded Guys and Dolls are on hand to offer more than adequate support.
Top of the Tree: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) C4, 6.30pm – Michael Caine mixing it with the cuddly cast is still a joy to behold.
Top Turkey: Home (2015) BBC1, 4.10pm – Rihanna. Need I say more?
Who needs the Queen’s Speech? Not Channel 4 that’s for certain. There’s a back-to-back triple bill of epic proportions in the afternoon, with Disney’s classic Dumbo sandwiched in between Scrooged and Home Alone. To coin a current advertising slogan: Best. Christmas. Ever.
Top of the Tree: Dumbo (1941) C4, 4.30pm – Away from the Disney Channel, this is a rare treat.
Top Turkey: The Holiday (2006) ITV, 11.15pm – Can’t one December pass without this God-awful romcom?
Even the most obsessive horseracing enthusiast would do well to stop their eyes wandering from the customary St. Stephen’s Day jamboree this year. Chariots of Fire, The Eagle Has Landed, Shaun the Sheep Movie… it’s a good thing Back to the Future isn’t on until the evening, or else all bets would definitely be off, and we haven’t even mentioned the premiere of Jurassic World.
Top of the Tree: Jurassic World (2015) ITV, 6.40pm – Arguable this, but if you only watch one premiere over the next ten days…
Top Turkey: Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009) C4, 12.10pm – The title says it all.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27
Many of us wonder if there are other life forms out there, whilst some of us wonder if Oasis will ever reform one day. For those that fall into the latter category, there’s the premiere of the band’s rockumentary, Supersonic, in all its manic Mancunian glory. If you prefer your songs a little more sedate, there’s the Proclaimers-inspired musical Sunshine On Leith in the afternoon.
Top of the Tree: Oasis: Supersonic (2016) BBC2, 10.00pm – A colourful and timely reminder of why they were so big back in the 90s.
Top Turkey: Short Circuit II (1988) C4, 6.40am – If you weren’t keen on the original, this could ruin the whole holiday.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28
When I sat down to write this, I thought it would be as easy as plonking a fairy on top of a tree – how wrong I was. Trying to pick a standout was anything but when you’ve got Babe, Black Beauty, The Vikings and Holiday Inn – to name but several – to sort through. On the plus side, the turkey was a breeze.
Top of the Tree: Black Beauty (1995) ITV, 11.05am – Possibly the greatest version of the much-loved story, which is going some.
Top Turkey: Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1955) BBC2, 12.15pm – Proof that the Golden Age of cinema wasn’t always that golden.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29
Once upon a time, Geena Davis and Dudley Moore both had impressive film CVs; that is, until Cutthroat Island and Arthur 2: On The Rocks came along. Despite being responsible for the latter today, Channel 5 do follow it with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Labyrinth, Look Who’s Talking and Footloose.
Top of the Tree: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) C5, 11.10am – Michael Caine and Steve Martin prove a match made in heaven.
Top Turkey: Cutthroat Island (1995) C4, 1.20pm – Just shades it.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30
Ever wondered what Christopher Lambert was up to before Highlander? Me neither. But just in case you have, he’s starring in Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan at 12.55 this afternoon. Now that’s cleared that up, what else? There’s a few modern classics on offer, in the form of Pride & Prejudice, Speed and Alice In Wonderland, with one of an older vintage, The African Queen, in the morning.
Top of the Tree: Speed (1994) C4, 11.20pm – The movie with a built-in adrenaline kick.
Top Turkey: Crocodile Dundee II (1988) C4, 5.55pm – Almost undoes a lot of the original’s good work.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
For those of us who don’t believe the year’s finale is all about Jools Holland, it’s a bit of a shame because there’s not much else on during the run up to the midnight revelry. It’s very much a family affair beforehand, save for the brilliant Groundhog Day and the brilliantly awful original version of Casino Royale.
Top of the Tree: Groundhog Day (1993) C5, 2.55pm – It’s no exaggeration to say that this is possibly the best comedy of the 90s.
Top Turkey: Casino Royale (1967) ITV, 9.50am – With a cast this good it’s a monumental achievement that it was this bad.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
2018 is barely underway and we’re already being served up a cult classic! If you’re not hungover in the slightest then try to wake up to Flash Gordon first thing. Food, glorious food is on the menu later with Oliver!, whilst at night we’re going to be treated to the premiere of the most recent Bond outing, Spectre.
Top of the Tree: Oliver! (1968) C5, 11.25pm – At least there’s one Dickens tale that definitely does work as a musical.
Top Turkey: Thunderbirds (2004) C4, 8.15am – An utterly pointless insult to the classic TV series.