March the 10th, 2012: National Film Overload Day

Today may seem to be a day much like any other — unless you’re getting married today, or you’re having your first baby, in which case your motives for reading this blog on what is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, or the most painful but happiest, are questionable, if you don’t mind me saying — but it most definitely isn’t. In fact, today is National Film Overload Day.

Haven’t heard of it? That’s because I just made it up, and for good reason.

Cast your eyes down today’s film listings guide and you will notice just why I have taken it upon myself to give today’s date such an accolade. For today, my friends, is one of those rare occasions when doing anything else other than watching TV all evening could be considered almost criminal. Not convinced? Allow me to demonstrate the crazy state of affairs that today coincidentally is (or not. With every taste and variety of film being played today bar-none, it’s not unreasonable to think that dark — or light — forces are at work, conspiring to keep us inside while aliens skavenge about England, cutting the tops of peoples’ skulls off and replacing the insides with some kind of special covert-listening equipment, right?).

The madness began — if I can be so bold as to put a precise time to it — several hours ago at 4.50pm on ITV 2 with Batteries Not Included.

A film which is about slightly kinder aliens than I mentioned above; actually a lot kinder. It then takes a savage comedic twist, as child-freak McCauley Culkin — probably the wrong spelling — takes to the screen at 7pm on ITV 2 to be both somehow simultaneously witty and annoying (but aren;t all child actors? I dare you to name one who isn’t). And immediately you’ll have already found yourself running into a problem of some gravity, because also starting at 4.55pm on ITV 1 + 1 was Evan Almighty! The film all about God and Noah’s ark which manages to be mildly amusing in places — a feat which would have been impossible to achieve had Steve Carell (probably wrong spelling) not been cast as the lead.

On any normal day, all this film action would have been stretched over the whole night, more or less. But not on National Film Overload day, because at the hour of 7.40pm on 5* + 1, Hitch makes an appearance, with Will Smith playing the spectacularly irritating role of a man who is supposedly good at matching people up as life partners, but shocking when it comes to managing the same for himself.

But wait! There’s a problem! If you’re a man with a teenage girl inside him, just waiting to get out, you’ll notice that on Film 4 at 5.25pm was Freaky Friday — the quite ridiculous and silly, generic formula-fest which involves all kinds of daftness (none of which I have any first-hand knowledge of, but I do know it involves a woman becoming a girl and a girl becoming a woman, or something. And I mean instantly, of course. Everyone knows that girls become women — that’s common knowledge).

You’d think that it might all start to slow down after that, but alas, that is not the case! Straight after that sillyness is over, on we go with yet more straight-up, timeless, class A stupidity, this time in the form of Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.

Then things just get turbo-boosted: Sylvester Stallone bursts onto Film 4 at 9pm, swiftly followed by The Black Windmill at 11.40pm (never heard of it but it looks not half bad). By this point, any usually mild-mannered and capable crap-to-average film lover might just be holding themselves together by the weakest of strands, until the horrific truth is learned: The Matrix Reloaded also starts at 9pm on Sky 1, and at 10.10pm Deep Impact only bloody well starts on BBC 3, at the same time as highly addictive thriller-let-down Daylight begins its mission to by turns please and disappoint us on ITV 2 (what is it with ITV 2? Do they own National Film Overload Day or something?!).

By this point, you’ll probably be in a right state. But things take a sinister twist when you notice that at 11.15pm, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift is on ITV 1 plus 1…which wouldn’t be so bad…if you hadn’t also just noticed that bizarre thriller Orphan began at 10.30pm on Channel 4 and it’s actually quite good…

When 10pm has been and gone, you’ll be cursing yourself about a number of things. One will be your pathetic attempt to plan the evening, and the second will probably be how you never read all the way down the film guide, which inevitably screws you over completely just when you thought you were safe. Why? Because The Big Lebowski started at 9pm on Dave, and The Wedding date also started at 9pm on E4. Add to this the lunacy that was Reservoir Dogs starting at 10pm on 5USA — not to mention Robert Redford winner Indecent Proposal also starting at 10.05pm on More — and the colossal crushing embarassment is complete.

At least you thought it was…until it hits you right between the eyes: you’ve done the unthinkable! You’ve both forgotten to record or watch Big Fat Gypsy Weddings on Channel 4 + 1 at 9pm!

By the time you’ve picked yourself up of the floor, you won’t even care anymore that you missed Battle of Los Angeles on Syfy at 8pm, or that Dawn of the Dead (the original and still the best) followed it at 10pm. And when you notice that you’ve missed (500) Days of Summer at 9pm on Film 4, which was also followed by Carriers at 10.50pm, you really won’t give a shit anymore.

But still, if you can somehow survive all that then you might appreciate that Stepford Wives is on BBC 2 at midnight, or that Spider follows it at 1am…or that The Jacket is on ITV 2 (?????) at 12.50am…or that…