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A Trifecta of Best Films on the Box For Sunday 1 January 2017

It will be hard to top New Year’s Day for wide-ranging film choice in 2017. All four foreign films bolded in the Also Ran section, e.g., could have taken today’s top slot. The DirecTV Channel establishes its musical dominance on day one of the new year with Linkin Park (11.30am), Joan Jett (1pm), James Blunt (3.30pm), Alanis Morissette (4.30pm), Cyndi Lauper (8.30pm), Snoop Dogg (9.30pm) and Sam Smith (11pm) all ONSTAGE for an hour apiece, plus 90-minute sets of the Isle of Wight Festival (10am), Muse Live at the Mayan (2pm) and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators (5.30pm). In response, cable can only muster Bon Jovi Live in London (2.01pm TCM).

Today’s number one film:

Star Wars Rogue One:

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Firetruck 2016

ONE DAY left in this firetrucker and I can’t wait for it to be done and gone; mankind can’t even risk writing that he can’t wait for it to be “dead and gone”, should in case this bad-mind mofo of a year take it firetrucking literally and take one of his own in its dying seconds. God knows 2016 has taken away way too many from all of us who ever saved the day by dancing the night away.

David Bowie, who justified his life, and defined mine, with “A Space Oddity” – what am I, if not that? – and who wrote so many more songs that saved me, from “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes” to the “Heroes” they’ll play at my own funeral, was the first to go, on January 10th of this year so dread that it doesn’t sound bad enough in Latin: annus horribilis, my ass; call it a pain in the annus.

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​Christmas Adam

MY YOUNGER brother and his dead-end friends – none of them feared widely for their rapier wit – were nevertheless the first people I heard use the expression, “Christmas Adam” to refer to today, the 23rd of December. More than 15 years ago, he’d invited me to his home, saying, “Come anytime from 6.30pm onwards, on Christmas Adam” and, when I baulked, offered the explanation, “Well, if the day before Christmas is Christmas Eve, and the Bible says that Adam came one day before Eve, the day before Christmas Eve have to be Christmas Adam!”

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A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box

Kramer vs Kramer (Robert Benton/ 1979/ USA/ Drama/ 105 mins/ PG) 9am Turner Classic Movies. Watch this if you liked Annie Hall, Terms of Endearment or Driving Miss Daisy. The winner of the Best Picture, Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Non-Original Screenplay Oscars and BAFTAs (and most of those Golden Globes, too, plus two dozen more awards) deserved every one of them. A slow-moving, but still immaculately-paced, drama features a storyline familiar to most families today and performances that take away the breath of most people. Dustin Hoffman is stunningly good, Meryl Streep almost as and Justin Henry, as the child of the failed marriage, perhaps better than both his adult parent actors. At age eight years and ten months, he remains the youngest actor nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar – and was also nominated for the BAFTA. A simple story of family life, fairly common now, deserves – and repays – close attention. Get your hankies, out, though; it’s truly a heart of stone that will not shed a tear.

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A Prince Among Guitar Men

YOU’D THINK that, if God really knew what the firetruck He was doing, He’d have killed off a few others – the Jackass-elect comes swiftly to mind – ahead of the many great musicians He gave an unwanted booking for Pink Floyd’s great gig in the sky. This year’s dead musicians include the King of the Blues, the great BB King, the legendary Canadian poet-singer, Leonard Cohen, Sir George “the Fifth Beatle” Martin, Maurice White leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake (two-thirds of the great prog-rock band, Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Prince Be (the heavier part of the original crooner-flower power-rap duo PM Dawn), Leon Russell, Beastie Boy John Perry, Phife Dawg (from A Tribe Called Quest), Paul Kantner from Jefferson Airplane, Mott the Hoople drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin and Trinidad’s own Lord Smiley and George Victory.

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