Freeview flicks of the week: The Big Lebowski, The Secret Garden and Jurassic Park

Sunday 20th December

Home Alone 6pm Channel 4

It’s not really Christmas time until you’ve seen Home Alone, is it? Not until you’ve snarled along to ‘Keep the change you filthy animals,’ and seen Macauley Culkin having the time of his life, accidentally home alone when his family go on their Christmas holiday. Kevin lives out every kid’s dream complete with pizza and ice-cream until the burglars come knocking, and chaos ensues. Brilliantly written by the always-talented John Hughes, it never gets old. 


Monday 21st December

The Big Lebowski 12:10am ITV4

Okay so technically it’s on after midnight so that makes it Tuesday’s entry, but ignore that and if it’s too late, record it, because you don’t want to miss out on this hilarious comedy from cinema’s greats the Coen brothers. The plot seems bizarre to say the least – centred around a stolen rug and a bunch of mates who go bowling together who try and reclaim it – but it’s not so much the plot that matters than the talented comedic acting from all the actors and the overwhelming originality of the film. Witty, smart and with a killer soundtrack, it’s now a bit of a cult favourite and for good reason.


Tuesday 22nd

The Secret Garden 4.05pm Channel 5

Unwaveringly true to the beloved children’s book, the film version of The Secret Garden is a delight for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in their childhood. A classic just like the book that inspired it, and starring the much-loved Maggie Smith, the garden it creates is sumptuous and beautiful. Recently orphaned, Mary Lennox is brought to England and under little supervision begins to explore the mysterious garden in her Uncle’s grounds. A perfectly sophisticated novel to film adaptation.


Wednesday 23rd December

Life of Pi 6:35pm Film 4

Based on the best selling book, Life of Pi tells the story of a young man stranded at sea who survives with the company of a Bengal tiger. The film is visually stunning and the special effects will force you to have to remind yourself every five minutes that the animals aren’t actually real. But the best part of film is Pi himself, who you grow to love and root for throughout the movie. Perhaps not one for action fans, but for those looking for a moving, philosophical, character driven film with gorgeous cinematography, it’s a must watch.


Thursday 24th December

It’s A Wonderful Life 2:15pm Channel 4

You don’t get much more old Hollywood than It’s A Wonderful Life. With classic stars James Stewart and Donna Reed, it’s heralded as one of America’s most inspiring and popular films. Stewart is George Bailey, a man who considers ending his life on Christmas Eve, only to be visited by an angel and shown the reasons he must stay. Ready your Kleenex and brace yourself for a whirlwind of emotion in this vintage Christmas film.


Friday 25th December

How To Train Your Dragon BBC3

How To Train Your Dragon follows on BBC 3 straight after Toy Story. Though Toy Story is a tried and tested family favourite, I think it’s time you should broaden your animated movie range a little. How To Train Your Dragon tells the story of Hiccup, a young Viking who, contrary to tradition, befriends a dragon and helps him fly again. The animation is exquisite and there’s enough action and flying fireballs to keep kids happy. It’s a heart-warming tale with possibly the cutest animated dragon ever, so give it a chance instead.


Saturday 26th December

Jurassic Park 1:20pm ITV

With its successful revival via Chris Pratt earlier this year, the Jurassic Park movies have never been more popular, but it’s time to take it back to Spielberg’s original massive box office hit.  A touchstone for computer generated imagery on its release, its special effects and CGI dinosaurs still stand up as pretty terrifying today. Scaremongers would say the story is increasingly relevant, what with large scale cloning an ever more likely possibility. Take a trip back the original theme park and remind yourself of the dangers of taking science too far.


Heather Nash



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