Great wall of China! Another weekend? Sure why not!
Like an eagerly anticipating nominee for a big award, we find ourselves once again faced with a huge amount of opportunity before us like a long list of top retro films. A single decision will determine a great expanse of our lives (usually 90-120 minutes) and could just quite possibly take us to far and distant lands with some of the most colourful characters ever to hit the screen. We’ll sit patently with a belly full of butterflies before the big title is revealed and the fate of our evenings will be defined.
Have a happy retro weekend!
SATURDAY 16TH JANUARY
Flash Gordon (1980) Channel 4 10:00am-12:10pm (2 hours 10 minutes)
American football quarterback Flash Gordon and journalist Dale Arden find themselves aboard a rocket ship designed by scientist Dr Zarkov, who intends to travel across space to locate the source of recent natural disasters. The three arrive on the planet Mongo, where they soon learn that the attacks are the responsibility of evil emperor Ming the Merciless, who is planning to destroy the Earth. Sci-fi comic-strip adventure, with Sam J Jones, Max von Sydow, Brian Blessed, Melody Anderson, Topol, Timothy Dalton, Ornella Muti, Peter Wyngarde and Mariangela Melato.
The Three Musketeers (1993) Film4 1:00pm-3:05pm (2 hours 5 minutes)
The king of France’s elite personal guard is disbanded, but three of them refuse to lay down their swords. Aided by an impetuous young man keen to join their ranks, the trio set out to foil an evil cardinal’s plot to seize the throne for himself by capturing the cleric’s wily female spy. Swashbuckling comedy adventure, with Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Oliver Platt, Chris O’Donnell, Tim Curry and Rebecca De Mornay.
Bean (1997) ITV2 4:00pm-5:45pm (1 hour 45 minutes)
The hapless fool is employed as a security guard for a British art gallery and is sent to Los Angeles to bring back a famous painting. Unfortunately, he finds himself mistaken for a renowned art professor and invited to make an important presentation. Mel Smith’s British comedy, starring Rowan Atkinson, Burt Reynolds, Peter MacNicol, John Mills, Peter Capaldi and June Brown.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) ITV2 5:45pm-8:15pm (2 hours 30 minutes)
Scientist Dr Ian Malcolm reluctantly joins a research team on the island where his employer first designed genetically engineered dinosaurs. Meanwhile, a big-game hunter takes the chance to bag the biggest prize of all – a Tyrannosaurus rex. Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur adventure sequel, starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite and Richard Attenborough.
Assassins (1995) ITV4 9:00pm-11:40pm (2 hours 40 minutes)
Hitman Robert Rath is planning to quit his lethal profession, especially when he is stalked by a ruthless younger assassin who has no qualms about killing innocent bystanders. But as Rath takes on his last assignment, he decides to protect his intended target after his rival comes gunning for her. Thriller, starring Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Julianne Moore.
Drive (2011) BBC3 9:30pm-11:05pm (1 hour 35 minutes) – Not retro but can’t be ignored!
A stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver tries to protect the wife and child of an imprisoned criminal. When the convict is released, the driver tries to convince him to give up his life of crime for his family’s sake, but when they work together on a robbery, they end up drawn into a conflict with the Mafia. Crime drama, with Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston.
Kevin and Perry Go Large (2000) Comedy Central 10:15pm-12:00am (1 hour 45 minutes)
The teenage duo are thrilled when their parents agree to let them go to Ibiza, and promptly embark on an increasingly desperate quest to find stardom as club DJs and lose their virginity on the sun-kissed shores – but seem certain to fail. Comedy, starring Harry Enfield, Kathy Burke, Rhys Ifans, James Fleet and Paul Whitehouse.
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) ITV London 10:35pm-12:50am (2 hours 15 minutes)
Mismatched LAPD detectives Riggs and Murtaugh stumble across a ship transporting Chinese immigrants into the US. As they try to get to the bottom of the organisation behind the smuggling, they find themselves up against a master criminal who is an expert in martial arts and heads a Chinese triad responsible for people-trafficking and forgery. Action adventure sequel, starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Rene Russo, Joe Pesci, Jet Li and Chris Rock.
The Running Man (1987) Channel 4 11:40pm-1:30am (1 hour 50 minutes)
A helicopter pilot is framed for the murder of starving civilians – and ends up being forced to take part in a brutal TV game show in which a succession of gadget-wielding killers hunt him on the streets of Los Angeles. Sci-fi action adventure, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yaphet Kotto, Maria Conchita Alonso and Richard Dawson.
SUNDAY 17TH JANUARY
Clueless (1995) Film4 1:00pm-2:50pm (1 hour 50 minutes)
A rich high-school student uses all her charm and financial clout to boost an awkward new pupil’s image, but soon finds she has created a monster – while her own popularity suffers in the process. Comedy inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd.
Blue Streak (1999) Channel 5 1:55pm-3:40pm (1 hour 45 minutes)
A convicted jewel thief is released from prison, and sets about recovering his hidden loot – only to discover a police station has since been built where he left it. Undeterred, he poses as a maverick cop and worms his way into the detective division – little realising his problems have only just begun. Comedy, starring Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson and Peter Greene.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004) Film4 2:50pm-4:40pm (1 hour 50 minutes)
A socially inept high-school student and his lonely unemployed brother find their eccentric home life thrown into upheaval when their meddling uncle comes to stay. The teenage oddball tries to make the best of his changing circumstances, while putting all his skills to the task of helping his new best friend win the class presidency. Comedy, starring Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Haylie Duff.
Home Alone (1990) E4 3:05pm-5:10pm (2 hours 5 minutes)
A boy has to fend for himself when he is accidentally left behind after his family jets off to Paris for Christmas. The youngster initially enjoys his freedom, but is soon forced to resort to ingenious booby traps to defend the family home from two dim-witted burglars. Comedy, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara and John Candy.
You Only Live Twice (1967) ITV London 3:20pm-5:35pm (2 hours 15 minutes)
James Bond is sent on a mission to uncover the truth behind the disappearances of Soviet and American space capsules before the mutually suspicious superpowers go to war. The trail leads to Japan, where Bond finally comes face to face with his arch-enemy Blofeld. Spy thriller, starring Sean Connery, Donald Pleasence, Akiko Wakabayashi and Bernard Lee.
That Thing You Do! (1996) Sony Channel 4:30pm-6:45pm (2 hours 15 minutes)
A small-town beat combo become a national overnight sensation with their debut record – but their sudden success looks to be a one-off, leaving them struggling to find a way of repeating the formula. Comedy drama set in the 1960s, written and directed by Tom Hanks, who also appears as the band’s manager. With Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler and Johnathon Schaech.
Jurassic Park III (2001) ITV2 5:05pm-6:55pm (1 hour 50 minutes)
Palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant is lured to a dinosaur-infested island by a divorced couple who offer to fund his research, unaware their real motive is to find their missing son – and that the creatures on the island are far more intelligent than anyone suspected. Action adventure sequel, starring Sam Neill, William H Macy, Tea Leoni and Alessandro Nivola.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977) ITV4 6:05pm-8:00pm (1 hour 55 minutes)
A truck driver accepts a challenge to deliver a consignment of beer to a party. He claims he can make the 900-mile round trip in just 28 hours, but a pompous sheriff is determined to stop him in his tracks, not least because his prospective daughter-in-law has deserted his son and hitched a ride with the unlikely hero. Comedy, starring Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, Sally Field and Jerry Reed.
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) Channel 5 7:10pm-8:55pm (1 hour 45 minutes)
The eccentric pet detective is coaxed out of self-imposed exile in a Buddhist monastery to visit Africa and help search for a sacred white bat. However, his unique investigative talents are tested to the limits as he faces a race against time to find the missing creature and prevent a tribal war. Comedy sequel, starring Jim Carrey, Simon Callow and Bob Gunton.
The Client (1994) ITV4 9:00pm-11:30pm (2 hours 30 minutes)
A Mafia lawyer tells a boy where a politician’s body is buried shortly before committing suicide, prompting a team of district attorneys to press the young witness for information. However, the streetwise kid refuses to give evidence unless his own and his family’s safety is guaranteed, and hires a lawyer to ensure his demands are met. Courtroom thriller based on the novel by John Grisham, with Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Renfro.
Whatever you’re up to this weekend, remember that too much rice is always better than not enough and to measure twice and cut once.