TV Films of the Weekend

TV Films of the Week 4

Film of the weekend: Withnail and I, Film4, Saturday April 27, 12:20am

When actor Richard Griffiths died last month it was no surprise that many over the age of 30 instantly recalled not his recurring role as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter franchise with most fondness, but instead his turn as Uncle Monty in cult classic Withnail and I. The sight of Griffiths in full pomp as raging homosexual Uncle Monty, telling Paul McGann of his desire to “have him, even if it must be burglaryâ€? was just one component of what makes Bruce Robinson’s semi-autobiographical film so perfect, however.

Perhaps its most memorable attraction remains Richard E. Grant, a lifelong teetotaler, committing to celluloid one of the most convincing portrayals of hopeless yet hilarious inebriation ever seen. His Withnail is the arrogant, snarling fantasist you really ought to hate, but whose wit never fails to win you round in spite of it.

Although outrageously funny, it should not be forgotten that the film contains an overarching sense of pathos too. This is the tale of a bright talent willfully refusing to burn and instead being wasted. Gloriously wasted, granted, but wasted nevertheless.

Set the recorder for:

Road To Perdition, More4, Friday April 26, 9pm

Having directed the phenomenon that was Skyfall, it is easy to forget that Sam Mendes was an Oscar-winning filmmaker long before he gave Bond his own golden touch. Funnily enough, Mendes got a look at future 007 Daniel Craig in Road To Perdition, his second outing behind the camera. But its real star is Tom Hanks, playing against type as a prohibition-era gangland enforcer forced on the run with his young son.

Hot Fuzz, ITV2, Sunday April 28, 9pm
This week it was announced that the release date for The World’s End, the third instalment of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (which began with Shaun Of The Dead), is being brought forward a month to July 19. To celebrate, indulge yourself with the trilogy’s middle masterpiece, which contains almost too many treats to mention, from Pegg and Nick Frost’s bobby buddy pairing to Timothy Dalton’s dastardly villain and cameos from the likes of Bill Bailey, Olivia Coleman and Cate Blanchett.

LA Confidential, ITV4, Sunday April 28, 10pm

In 1997 those voting for the Academy Awards made yet another howler when they failed to recognise LA Confidential as by far and away the year’s best picture and instead gave that honour to James Cameron’s eminently sinkable Titanic. No matter, in the test of time Curtis Hanson’s neo-noir thriller has fared far the better. In particular it should be praised for giving the Antipodean pairing of Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce their US debuts, with both giving powerhouse performances as diametrically opposed cops investigating police corruption.