Finnegan On Films: Movies To Watch On TV Over New Year’s Weekend

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, on some movies on the box to end 2021 and usher in the new year…

In what has been another strange year in film, there are a number of classic films and performances to see out 2021 and get into 2022

One of the most charming westerns ever, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (3.45pm New Years Eve RTE One) does not allow historical facts, where known, get in the way of an entertaining story.

The relationship between the stars, Paul Newman (Butch) and Robert Redford (Sundance) transfers into their on screen performance.  Add to this mix the delightful Katherine Ross, and you have a classic.

My all time favourite comedy duo is Laurel and Hardy.  I grew up with their classic black and white films especially “The Music Box” and the piano delivery scene.

Continued below…


In Stan and Ollie (10pm New Years Eve RTE2), we focus on the events of 1953, where in an attempt to revive their friendship, career and finances, they, brilliantly played by Steve Coogan and John C Reilly embark on a gruelling music hall tour of Britain and Ireland.  Their welcome in Cobh is particularly poignant.

There is nothing better to see in the New Year than a classic film noir of the calibre of L.A. Confidential (New Years Eve 11.50pm RTE2). 

Three cops with their own motives, secrets and agendas find themselves interlinked with a murder case that involves police corruption and Hollywood celebrities.

Based on the James Ellroy book, and with an all star cast including Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Kim Bassinger, this is Oscar winning entertainment.

Set during World War Two, Bedknobs and Broomsticks (New Years Day 1.15pm RTE2) sees Charlie, Carrie and Paul are sent to stay with Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury) as part of the evacuation of children out of London during the Blitz.

What they don’t know is that Eglantine is a novice witch who takes them on a series of magical adventures in a brilliant combination of animation and live action. An underrated musical that has now been adapted for the stage.

In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (New Years Day 6.35pm RTE1), four teenagers find an old computer console set up to play a jungle based video game.

They find themselves drawn into the game by being transformed into the story characters. They must complete the game successfully to get back to the real world, or find themselves trapped in the game forever.

Staring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black, this is a very entertaining adventure romp.

While on the trail of the whimsical, and a sequel which, in my opinion is even more fun than the original, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (New Years Day 9.15 RTE1) Sophie finds out more about her mother Donna’s life, and her three possible fathers, when she reopens the Hotel Bella Donna on the island of Kalokairi.

Starring the original film cast of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and augmented by Lily James, Andy Garcia and Cher, plus, of course, the music of Abba, this could be described as the ultimate feel good film of the weekend.

On the other side of dramatic structure comes Veronica Guerin (New Years Day 9.30pm TG4), a fact based drama based on the life, and death, of Sunday Independent Crime Reporter Veronica Guerin.

Her brave expose of Ireland’s crime laws cost her her life, but set a radical political and legal reaction demanded by the country to deal with the gangsters and drug lords.

Set around a magnificent performance in the title role by Cate Blanchett, enhanced by the best of Irish talent on both sides of the camera and directed by Joel Schumacher, this pulls no punches in telling this different side of Irish life.

It only leaves me to wish you and your families a very happy and healthy 2022.  Enjoy and stay safe.

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