Finnegan On Films: God, The Minions, Cops And Debaters

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, recommends some films on TV today to distract you from thinking about tomorrow’s game…

Comedies about religion are always tricky.  They’re either  bland — lest they cause offence  — or they deliberately set out to cause offence.

Oh, God! (Saturday 2.50 RTE1) is a rather endearing story about what would happen if God returned to Earth, and looking rather like George Burns, selects as his human representative, a mild mannered supermarket manager, Jerry (John Denver).

It is similar in tone to a Frank Capra comedy in that it is light hearted, funny and tasteful.

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Jerry is the epitome of decency and honesty.  He was selected by God in the same way “the millionth person crossing the bridge” is chosen, not because he is better or worse, but because he was there at the right time, and He has faith in the decency of the common man.

Directed by Carl Reiner, written by Larry Gelbart and also starring Teri Garr Donald Pleasance and Bernard Hughes, this is a lovely gentle comedy that might leave you thinking.

Any film that contains the Minions is a winner for me, so Despicable Me 3 (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1) is pushing at an open door.

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Gru (Steve Carrell) and his new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are fighting for the Anti-Villainy League and are trying to stop Balthazar Bratt seeking revenge on the world for cancelling his 80’s TV show.

When Balthazar escapes, Gru is fired by the League.  As his career seems over, Gru is contacted by his long lost twin brother who wants to resurrect the family business – Crime!

This is very funny, although a few too many bathroom-style jokes.  There is a wonderful version of Gilbert and Sullivan by the Minions that always makes me giggle.

Some films depend very much on the chemistry between its cast and Hot Pursuit (Saturday 10.30pm RTE2) is definitely one of them.

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Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is a by-the-book cop who has to protect a gangster’s widow Daniella (Sophie Vergara), a vital witness in a drug lord Grand Jury trial.

Suffice to say that everything does not go to plan and the women have to go on the run perused by hit men and corrupt cops.

Directed by and starring Denzel Washington, The Great Debaters (Saturday 9.30pm TG4) is based on a true story.  This is a theme we have seen many times before, but it’s usually in a sports context.

An underdog debate team from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas is guided by the school’s English professor, Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington) who is a hard taskmaster demanding the highest standards from his team of students.

What makes Tolson different is that he is not the dangerous radical or communist that he is suspected to be, but is someone who cares.

His team of Henry, Hamilton, James (Forest Whitaker) and Samantha, all have their own stories and difficulties, but, guided, inspired and tutored by Tolson, they get to the final against Harvard University.  I won’t spoil the surprise by giving the result. Enjoy and stay safe.

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