The World Cup: An Alternative Viewing Guide
Posted on Friday June 11, 2010, 13:25 by Chris Hewitt in Small Screen
The World Cup – that most glorious of football fests – starts today, in South Africa. And, while I’ve made detailed and unnecessarily complicated plans to watch pretty much every one of the 64 games coming our way over the coming month, word reaches me that Fifa’s brainchild isn’t to everyone’s liking. James Dyer, for example, refuses to acknowledge its existence and is the only curmudgeon in the office who wouldn’t take part in our World Cup sweepstake (I got Spain, by the way).
So, to cater for those film fans who think that the only good football match is the one that takes place in Escape To Victory, I’m going to put together a blog giving you viewing alternatives to the madness that’s taking place in South Africa.
The blog will be updated on a regular basis, so keep checking back.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
7.30pm, Spain v Germany
On the off-chance that anyone is still reading this, congratulations. We're nearly there. Three to go. And tonight's game, between a Spanish side that hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders, and a German side that has lit up the tournament, should light up the night. But if you're unmoved by the prospect of 22 men looking deep into their souls and standing up to a challenge that will test them to the limits of their endurance, then you should watch High Noon, the classic western in which Gary Cooper plays a man who looks deep into his soul and etc. etc. It's on Sky Movies Classics from 7.30pm.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
7.30pm, The Netherlands v Uruguay
Just four games to go, starting with the first of tonight's semis. Whatever will we do once it's all done and dusted? Well, you'll probably get on with your lives and watch films. No change there, then. In fact, you can start tonight with the decent Don Cheadle thriller, Traitor, on Sky Movies Crime & Thriller from 7pm. Co-written by Steve Martin - yes, the Steve Martin - it's got absolutely no laughs in it (much like The Pink Panther 2), but a fair amount of thrills as Cheadle's undercover agent betrays his country. Or does he? Etc. etc.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
3pm, Paraguay v Japan
And so the round of 16, as Fifa insist on calling it (but then again, Fifa insist on a lot of things that don't make sense), comes to a conclusion today, beginning with the match between two hotly-unfancied teams, who'll probably be delighted with a quarter-final berth and have their bags packed for after that game. It promises to be a dullfest, so why not enliven proceedings with a splash of Michael J. Bassett's grimy, gore-soaked fantasy flick, Solomon Kane, which is new to Blu-ray and features arguably the only action hero in cinema to have a Somerset accent. OK, two, if you count Hot Fuzz' Danny Butterman.
7.30pm, Spain v Portugal
Oh, if only Michael Jackson were alive. Then he could sing Iberian Girl before this match. You see, that's clever because he had a song called Liberian Girl and... never mind. I've just realised he'd have to change the words to Iberian Footballers, and that just doesn't scan. Anyhoo, this is a must-see game between Spain and their neighbours. Torres v Ronaldo. Villa v, erm, The Other Portuguese Players Of Note. Yeah, Spain should win this one. But I've been wrong on so many occasions before that no doubt Portugal - dour, defensive, negative Portugal, who only came alive when giving North Korea a right old shoeing like some hideous playground bully - will win. Of course, if you don't like football, this is a must-miss game, and the real must-see for you is Guy Ritchie's underrated, but really rather fun, crime flick, RocknRolla. Which, if nothing else, features fun turns from Gerry Butler, Mark Strong and Toby Kebbell. It's on Sky Movies Crime & Thriller from 7pm.
Monday, June 28, 2010
3pm, Netherlands v Slovakia
OK, so that happened. No point crying over spilled disallowed goals, so let's move onwards and upwards, and other cliches. And where better to start than with the other all-European tie in the second round, between - as Dr. Evil might say - those crazy Dutch bastards, and the Slovaks. Again, the TV schedulers have deserted us today, but your best bet for avoiding the chilling sight of Dirk Kuyt celebrating a scuffed goal might be the decent Keanu Reeves cop thriller, Street Kings, featuring a screenplay by James motherfuckin' Ellroy. It's on from 2.50pm on Sky Movies Crime & Thriller. Which is nice.
7.30pm, Brazil v Chile
The battle of the aesthetes, despite the insistence of Brazil's manager, Dunga, on none of that fancy-dan stuff, like stepovers and dribbles and the like. Brazil should win this one, but I'd like to see a smaller, less heralded nation get through to the quarters. And now that England are out - boom boom - that mantle might fall to Chile, who've been darned impressive so far. But you don't want to know about that; you want to know, 'but Chris, what do I watch if I couldn't give the tiniest mouse-fart about football?' Well, you've come to the right place, for you could do a lot worse than spend the night with Sky Movies Showcase, where Raiders Of The Lost Ark - sorry, Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark - starts its blissful, CG gopher-free runtime at 6pm, before Christopher Nolan's quite brilliant Bat-sequel, The Dark Knight, takes over at 8pm. Two of the best blockbusters of all time - in a row? Might miss the Brazil-Chile game myself.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
3pm, England v Germany
So, what's it to be - a glorious victory for Don Fabio and his brave boys, or the usual feelings of regret, recrimination and crushing disappointment as they go out to Germany (again)? I'll plump for the former, but couldn't tell you why. Call it what you will - a hunch, woman's intuition, but I think England are going to save their tragic exit from this World Cup until the semis. And I've never been wrong before. About anything. Apart from Attack of the Clones. And some other stuff.
Anyway, that's not important right now. What is important is what you, the football haters, the people who would rather watch anything than engage in the jingoistic jousting that will accompany today's game, will be watching instead. Frankly, your options aren't great, with most TV channels choosing not to schedule anything of interest against the Big Match. However, Billy Wilder completists can check out the great man's One, Two, Three on TCM from 3pm. It's got the wonderful Jimmy Cagney on fine form and, while it's not one of Wilder's best, there's enough bite and spark to make it worth your while.
7.30pm, Mexico v Argentina
Much more choice for the evening game, between the skilful Mexicans and Howling Mad Maradona's team of outrageously talented players (who might be dodgy at the back). It's a repeat of their second round game in the 2006 World Cup and, speaking of repeats, you can avoid all things footbally by watching, for example, the original and best big screen version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, aka Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, from 7pm on ITV3. But if the thought of being terrified by Gene Wilder doesn't appeal, there's The Lost World: Jurassic Park on ITV2 +1 from 6.25pm. OK, it's not as good as the first one, but there are some great set-pieces. Just maybe flick over to another channel for the bit where Jeff Goldblum's daughter drop-kicks a velociraptor. Or, depending on the earlier result and your mood, there's the wonderful WWII flick, A Bridge Too Far, on Sky Movies Modern Greats from 6.05pm. Be warned, though: if Germany have beaten England, this isn't a movie that will give you instant payback. Instead, it'll rub it in and then some. Even so, Dickie Attenborough's all-star extravaganza is bloody brilliant.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
3pm, Uruguay v South Korea
And so the second round kicks off. We're down to the last 16 teams, and not too many people would have had money on Uruguay v South Korea being the first game to start the countdown to the final. But it should be a good game, with two attacking teams going for it - as long as Uruguay don't revert to the form of their opener against France, and come with a 'don't-lose' mindset.
But in case your fancy remains untickled, there's only really one choice: Henry Selick's splendidly creepy Neil Gaiman adaptation, Coraline, which starts at 3pm on Sky Movies Family.
Friday, June 25, 2010
3pm, North Korea v Ivory Coast, Portugal v Brazil
Sorry to those of you still reading this blog (only another two weeks to go!). I was on a plane yesterday and wasn't able to update it for the thrilling games between Slovaka and Italy, and Denmark-Japan. Ah well, onwards and upwards today as Group G comes to a close with, effectively, two dead rubbers. After all, the only way that Sven-Goran Eriksson's Ivory Coast can qualify is if they thump seven or eight past North Korea, and hope that Brazil beat Portugal. Mind you, stranger things have happened. But chances are that both games will meander along aimlessly, like a student taking a gap year, thus giving you the perfect excuse to flick over to Sky Movies Classics at 3pm, and check out the late, great James Dean in East Of Eden, a loose version of the Cain & Abel story. Soon to be remade, hopefully, by Brit director, Tom Hooper, so catch Elia Kazan's original for an interesting compare/contrast.
7.30pm, Spain v Chile, Switzerland v Honduras
Now this is interesting. With France and Italy already on the plane home, will Spain - the pre-tournament favourites - join them, despite arguably playing the best football of the competition so far? Quite frankly, they must win their game against Chile, who simply need to avoid defeat to go through. Sounds to us like the perfect recipe for a 89-minute siege of the Chilean goal, with a breakaway winner in the 90th sending Torres and his pals home, heartbroken. But if that gripping slice of human drama doesn't tempt you, then slip on your glad rags and head down to your localplex and check out Russell Brand and Jonah Hill in the hit-and-miss (although when it hits, it's very, very funny) Get Him To The Greek. There's also Mark Steven Johnson's When In Rome, for rom-commers. And if you're in the mood for something truly classic after East Of Eden, Jean-luc Godard's Breathless receives a 50th anniversary re-release today. If it's playing near you, pop along. You won't be disappointed.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
3pm, England v Slovenia/Algeria v USA
How big is this game? Big enough to send the country into a depressed funk for the next few days, the economy crashing, and reduce grown men to tears. Yep, England v Slovenia is pretty darned big - it's clearly a time for rah-rah-rah patriotism, a time for standing up for your country, a time for grabbing opposition players by the scruff of the neck and yelling, "Get off my pitch!" Oh, sorry about that: got caught up in Air Force One fever, and had a touch of the Harrison Fords. You can succumb, too, if you watch Wolfgang Petersen's ridiculous Die Hard-a-like on Sky Movies Showcase from 2.35pm.
7.30pm, Germany v Ghana/Serbia v Australia
Could it happen? Could it actually happen? Could both England and Germany go out of the World Cup at the first hurdle on the same day? There's every chance, as it's likely that Germany will have to beat Ghana to go through to the second round. Yikes. So here's two choices for you: if you want to catch the first few minutes of their do-or-die match, and it looks like Kyle MacLachl - sorry, Joachim Low's men aren't going to make it, flick over to ITV 2 +1 from 7.55pm for Kindergarten Cop, and a pleasant reminder of when Teutonic titans ruled the world. Cinematically speaking, of course. And if you want to miss the whole shebang, you could do worse than Michael Mann's crime flick, Public Enemies, which starts on Sky Movies Showcase from 7pm.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
3pm, France v South Africa/Mexico v Uruguay
So, this is it: the day when the group stages start to enter their final phase. From now on, there are just two sets of games a day, which means you don’t have to go out of your way to avoid the World Cup. If that’s still your bag.
After all, what could be more entertaining today than watching the French team, filled with more prima donnas than even the England squad, fall apart against the hosts, South Africa? Oh, OK, have it your way. Good news is, if you have Sky Movies Sci-Fi & Horror, you can sit down in front of a double-bill – Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners, followed by Paul McGuigan’s decent sci-fi superhero flick, Push – that should comfortably erase any of the kick-a-ball antics unfolding on t’telly.
7.30pm, Greece v Argentina/Nigeria v South Korea
Group B comes to a conclusion tonight, with it all in the balance. Can Nigeria get the win they need to go through (if Argentina beat Greece, that is)? Can South Korea hold on for the point they’ll need should Greece fail to garner a point? Or can Greece spring a massive surprise by beating one of the most impressive teams thus far?
Or you could watch Terry Gilliam’s massively entertaining, and none more Gilliam, fantasy, Time Bandits, on Film Four +1 from 7.45pm. Job’s a good ‘un.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
12.30pm, Slovakia v Paraguay
Apart from one notable exception, the second round of games in the group stages have thrown up some hugely entertaining games. I don't expect this clash between two severely limited sides to go down that path. Then again, my predictions have been so spot-on thus far that it'll be a 5-4 classic. Anyway, if football ain't your thang, flick over to ITV2 at 12.30 for Rob Cohen's flawed but entertaining fantasy flick, Dragonheart, featuring the mighty voice of Shir Shean Connery. And yes, I could make a hackneyed gag about England needing some Dragonhearts, but won't.
3pm, Italy v New Zealand
Even though I recommended Rocky IV earlier in the tournament, that is one of the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. I'm not sure I can go the whole hog and tell you to check out the truly risible Rocky V on Virgin 1 from 3pm. So, instead, I'd recommend you go for Jacques Audiard's wonderful prison drama, Un Prophete, which is new to Blu-ray. Tahar Rahim, in particular, is astonishing as a young prisoner getting to grips with a system designed to choke people to death. Mind you, with its tale of infighting between different factions in a French institution, it probably won't be what Nicolas Anelka watches as he flies home from South Africa.
7.30pm, Brazil v Ivory Coast
Are you sure you want to miss this? Could be the game of the tournament to date. Or, more likely, a damp squib. Anyway, I've long had a soft spot for Ang Lee's cerebral take on Marvel's not-so-jolly green giant, Hulk (2003) which, until the finale in which Nick Nolte and Eric Bana scream at each other like two bad off-Broadway actors, is compelling, thoughtful and features at least one great action sequence (Hulk vs the army in the desert). And the effects aren't that bad. No, really.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
12.30pm, Netherlands v Japan
No contest this, at least on paper. And it's no contest for what you football-hating fans (and presumably that's most England fans now, too, after last night's abject display) should watch: Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial on ITV2 from 12pm. "Phone home... and get Adam Johnson in the squad, stat!"
3pm, Ghana v Australia
This could be the end for the Socceroos. If they lost to Ghana, they're most likely out of the tournament. Take your mind off their plight by watching David Lynch's simply bonkers sci-fi flick, Dune, from 2.35pm on Five. Tim Cahill might be watching it too, if that's any consolation.
7.30pm, Cameroon v Denmark
We established yesterday that there's bugger all on at the cinemas, unless you want to endure Killers. And, frankly, there's bugger all on the telly, too. So rent yourself a DVD, Blu-ray, or download a film - legally - on iTunes. Maybe something Danish. A Lars von Trier film. Antichrist, perhaps. If your mind's still on the England result, that's nothing a spot of genital mutiation and a talking fox couldn't fix.
Friday, June 18, 2010
12.30pm, Germany v Serbia
The Germans – arguably the most impressive side of the tournament thus far – resume their campaign against dark horses Serbia, looking to get back on track after their opening defeat against Ghana. But you don’t need to know about that – instead, flick over to Sky Movies Modern Greats and take in Robin Williams’ inspirational schtick in Peter Weir’s wonderful Dead Poets Society. And, if you feel compelled to stand on a desk and yell, ‘Oh Captain, my Captain!”, then please think of Steven Gerrard while you do so.
3pm, Slovenia v USA
Can the Americans score a goal without the aid of Old Spoonhands himself? We’ll find out in the afternoon game when they kick off against the unfancied Slovenians, in a game they simply cannot, and must not, lose. Should be quite a game – and as luck would have it, David Fincher’s underrated twisty-turny thriller, The Game, is on Sky Movies Crime & Thriller from 2.55pm. Watch it, and try to ignore the fact that the ending is totally ridiculous.
7.30pm, England v Algeria
This is it. The Big One. Again. Fabio Capello’s brave boys must defeat Algeria if they’re to have a realistic hope of topping the group and avoiding the Germans in last 16. But if you’re still resolutely unmoved by the plight of Stevie G, Wazza, JT, and Old Spoonhands, then rejoice in the knowledge that today is Friday. And Friday is New Movie Day! Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a bad batch this week (most movie companies are trying to avoid the World Cup, see), but you could do worse than go see MacGruber. Yes, we gave it two, but it’s got some laughs in it. Which could be more than the England game will offer if Greenitis strikes whoever's selected between the sticks.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
12.30pm, South Korea v Argentina
Now that the tournament has woken up in the wake of Uruguay’s tonking of hosts South Africa, all eyes will be on this match-up between two swashbuckling sides in Group B, all too aware that a win would effectively book their place in the last 16. All eyes, that is, except yours, because you’ll be watching the classic 1935 version of Les Miserables, starring Fredric March and Charles Laughton, on Sky Movies Classics, instead. Won’t you? Kicks off at 12.30pm.
3pm, Nigeria v Greece
Both teams played poorly in their opening games, so chances of this being a high-scoring thrillfest are slim. And there’s nowt on the telly, either, so if you’re at home, pop in a DVD. We recommend Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, a heartwarming tale of South Africa’s greatest sporting triumph. Might erase the bad memories of last night…
7.30pm, France v Mexico
Group A concludes its second round of games with a face-off between Les Bleus and Javier Aguirre’s charges. With Uruguay now on four points, the onus on both is to go for a convincing win, so as not to be left behind. But that need not concern you – not when Cameron Crowe’s wonderful teen rom-com, Say Anything, is on FilmFour from 7pm. John Cusack holding a beatbox above his head? Frasier’s dad dispensing wisdom and hiding a dark secret? A wonderful soundtrack that will have you rushing to download the songs from iTunes? It’s all here.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
12.30pm, Honduras v Chile
Please God, won’t somebody score some goals? Maybe today’s opening match in Group H, which pits Honduras – featuring Spurs’ Wilson Palacios – against the silky skills of a possibly resurgent Chile, could provide the answer. But if not, you could do a lot worse than skim over to Sky Movies Comedy at 12.30pm and catch Simon Pegg in the not-bad-at-all comedy, How To Lose Friends And Alienate People. Which is, pretty much, what the World Cup is doing at the moment with its godawful football thus far.
3pm, Spain v Switzerland
Ah, the debut of the team many have tipped to win it, with critics lauding their mix of power, poise, pace, precision and, just to upset my amble down alliteration alley, skills to match. But enough about Switzerland, Spain are playing too. If the prospect of watching the best team in Europe – Villa, Iniesta, Torres, Casillas et al – leaves you cold, then you should probably check your pulse. Or watch On The Beach, the classic nuclear war drama with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, which is showing on TCM from 3pm. Be warned, though, it’s a downer.
7.30pm, South Africa v Uruguay
Group A – and the hosts – return. And if you think I’m writing them off again after spectacularly failing with my last prediction, you can think again. Mind you, if Uruguay park the bus again, like they did with France, we could be in for a snore draw. In which case, pack yourself off to your local cinema and take in, say, Robin Hood. It might be unusual to see something in which someone hits the target consistently, but there you go. And, if you’re an Orange customer, Orange Wednesdays rock – 2 for 1 deals on movies and pizza? Goooooooaaaaal!!!
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Posted on Friday June 11, 2010, 16:59
so, what the FUCK does this have to do with MOVIES?
Posted on Friday June 11, 2010, 17:07
Snake-Eyes, I hope you're referring to the spam post above, because this blog has PLENTY to do with MOVIES.
And that bit where I described the South Africans as 'no-hopers'? Yeah... got that wrong in the first game. Good call, Chris!
Posted on Friday June 11, 2010, 18:00
Ah, a happy coincidence that the Greece match happens to chime with Mamma Mia! Wouldn't it have been wonderful if the Koreans actually launched a nuke onto that island, just before Pierce Brosnan started singing?
After all the remains of the fallout would be better than the disaster of Brosnan's singing.
Posted on Friday June 11, 2010, 19:23
wow thx ill probably watch the england v USA to see us kick the yanks asses but ill probably sky+ most of your film recomendations
Posted on Friday June 11, 2010, 19:33
Long time reader, first time poster. Please note, Nigeria are not the indomitable Lions, we are the Super Eagles. Those other guys are Cameroun. That's as bad a faux pas as calling England Les Bleus or saying Scotland play with Three Lions on their shirts. Besides that, good blog.
Posted on Saturday June 12, 2010, 04:35
I think this might be the year for USA soccer, but come on, who would want to miss Maradona? He's the man, even for a coach.
Posted on Saturday June 12, 2010, 12:51
Thank you for soiling this wonderful webpage with football talk.
Posted on Sunday June 13, 2010, 00:01
I'm probably going to be torn apart for the following comment but today has to be the first time I actually felt sorry for an English football team.
We Germans may be boring punctuality fanatics, wear ridulous leather pants, love brass music*, are nazi descendants, make depressing movies about our depressing history and Idon'tknowwhatelse but at least we always had great goalkeepers.
Well, it seems the curse from '66 is still alive** (Where that picture above is taken from).
Oh, and please don't call this wonderful sport soccer again, Phykrone. Tzzz...
*That trousers and brass music thing is actually confined to Bavarians. And they aren't considered Germans after all by most Germans.
**Of course the third goal was none.
Posted on Sunday June 13, 2010, 21:06
First of all, to refer to South Africa as 'no-hopers'? The power of the underdog mixed with immense passion.
Secondly, Nigeria are NOT the Indomitable Lions. We're the Super Eagles. Come on, all you needed to do was type in "Nigeria football team" in google! Get it right please.
I sense a hint of ignorance from this blog, not good Empire.
Posted on Monday June 14, 2010, 09:03
Posted on Monday June 14, 2010, 09:39
Baba and Mozzy, realised the mistake over the weekend but wasn't able to change it until this morning. Was hoping no-one would notice, but you're too sharp! Thanks for pointing that out. The Indomitable Lions, of course, are in action today against Japan. Mozzy, as for accusations of ignorance? No, just a mistake - dredged the wrong nickname up from my memory.
Posted on Monday June 14, 2010, 10:33
"Bill Nighy – the sort of redoubtable Englishman who wouldn’t haplessly spoon a daisycutter into his own goal."
Mr. Hewitt, did you look into the future and see Saturday's England game early? O_O
Posted on Monday June 14, 2010, 11:19
Sadly, undesirable, I update this blog every day. Otherwise I'd have made a million from betting on the England game, and I'd be sitting on a beach, earning 20%.
Posted on Tuesday June 15, 2010, 09:52
Updated again for Tuesday's games.
Posted on Tuesday June 15, 2010, 10:29
The 3 p.m game isn't Spain - Switzerland but Portugal - Côte d'Ivoire ;)
Posted on Tuesday June 15, 2010, 14:28
Good point, Ashitaka. I'll change that. And while I'm at it, I'll make it look as if I wasn't predicting a heavy defeat for the All Whites...
Posted on Tuesday June 15, 2010, 14:31
As if it never existed...
Posted on Wednesday June 16, 2010, 01:43
The worst thing about the this world cup is that with each passing game the prospect of endulging in alternative activities (such as those movie recommandations above ;-) ) becomes more and more attractive.
Your daily blog entries are at the moment more fun to read than following the actual (really boring) games.
Ah, usually football tournements mark the only time in the year when I can bring myself not to constantly watch every movie I can lay hands on.
Posted on Wednesday June 16, 2010, 20:46
Fair enough. Appreciate you responding Chris :-)
Posted on Thursday June 17, 2010, 11:49
No worries, Mozzy...
And today's games are now in the mix. But if anyone wants to use this place as a forum for discussing the Cup, I'm up for that.
Posted on Thursday June 17, 2010, 13:10
"And today's games are now in the mix. But if anyone wants to use this place as a forum for discussing the Cup, I'm up for that."
Great news. *lol*
I swear, I was'nt purposely (okay, perhaps a bit) trying to stray into a discussion about this world cup's merits and shortcomings and open a debate. But after the last few games I couldn't help but feel quite disappointed. Well, that kind of sneaked into my last post.
And it seems that critics' favourite team succesfully employed their masterful skills to plunge our euopean champion into a little crisis. Who would have guessed ...
Posted on Monday June 21, 2010, 11:40
Chris i like your wee mention of Die Hard "I'd be sitting on a beach, earning 20%." in relation to if you were betting on England.
The best game so far for me was USA v Slovenia...Alan Hansen jinxed the final result.