TV films of the week

TV Films of the Week 32 - The Social Network

FILM OF THE WEEK: The Social Network
Sunday June 22, Channel 4, 10:20pm

At just 10-years-old, Facebook is already looking like the gnarled old survivor of the social media era. In that decade it has beaten back challenges from the likes of Google+, Pinterest and Twitter to remain the most popular platform for everyone to post the most intimate detail of their lives for all to see. And with as many users as there are people living in India (1.2 billion), it was no surprise that Hollywood decided Facebook’s story could earn it more than a few ‘likes’ at the box office.

Even so, David Fincher’s ‘Facebook movie’, as it was dubbed whilst still in production, sounded more than a little silly at first. I mean, who could make a narrative film about the virtual showground used to convince everyone we’re all so happy and living such wonderful lives, without it ending up as a Tron for the millenial generation? You can’t, of course, so instead Fincher got Aaron Sorkin to knock up a belter of a script based on its creator, Mark Zuckerberg.

Although more fiction than fact – the latter would have meant two hours of geeks eating pizza and tapping their keyboards – it perfectly captures the yearning desire for recognition that fuelled both the creation of Facebook and the millions who proceeded to join it. Jesse Eisenberg is quietly scintillating as Zuckerberg, but the entire cast – Justin Timberlake included – are all on fire here. Include amongst them Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s bristling (and Oscar-winning) score, without which the film’s emotional impact would not be quite so profound.


Wayne’s World
Saturday June 21, E4, 9pm

The tradition of turning TV shows into feature-length films is littered with abject failure, from the awful A-Team to the extremely tedious X-Files. Being a sketch on a TV show (Saturday Night Live) meant there was even less to work with for Wayne’s World, but thanks to some brilliant writing it ended up even funnier than its original source. A pre-Austin Powers Mike Myers is at his sarcastic best as Wayne Campbell, the twenty-something 80s rock enthusiast catapulted to fame alongside best friend Garth, the equally hilarious Dana Carvey.

Saturday June 21, Film4, 11:25pm

In 2007 Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez parodied the era of grindhouse movie – a cheap, exploitative film genre of the 1970s and 80s – with a double-bill release of Planet Terror and Death Proof. Sandwiched between was a raft of fake trailers, one of which depicted a machete-wielding Mexican-American tough guy called, yes, Machete. Rodriguez was so taken with the trailer that he made it into a feature-length film, starring Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba and Lindsey Lohan. It’s absolutely bonkers, of course, but with hilarious turns from Robert de Niro, Steven Seagal and Don Johnson, it’s definitely the most fun you’ll experience in your living room on Saturday night.

The Battle of the Sexes
Sunday June 22, BBC Four, 9pm

Sadly, misogyny and sexism are still suffered by women the world over on a daily basis. While things haven’t come that far since 1973, at least a man like former pro-tennis champion Bobby Riggs would face ridicule today for pronouncing a woman’s place to be the bedroom, the kitchen and “supporting the king” on live television. This captivating documentary charts the day Riggs met his game, set and match in the shape of Billie Jean King, the player who would go on to do so much for gender equality in her sport at least, if not quite the world beyond.

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