What do these Calendar Girls have in store for you this Easter?

The Spinoff guide to watching free-to-air TV this long Easter weekend!

Sam Brooks picks out what you should watch this long Easter weekend when you’re too full of chocolate and can reach no further than your trusty remote.

Easter is upon us! The four day weekend, or the weekend when you inexplicably can’t buy alcohol on Friday or Sunday in this country, full of chocolate, full of wine, full of lots of time to spend with your family.

So what are you meant to do?

You sit in front of the TV and lap up the good ol’ content that the broadcasters have given you. And lucky for you, me and my discerning eye has sifted through the best of the best, or at the best you can slip in and out of a food coma during.

GOOD FRIDAY

TVNZ 1

Austenland (10:45AM) – A rom-com fantasy (and by fantasy I mean a world where someone in their thirties has savings) where a single woman blows her savings to go to an Jane Austen-themed resort (which is somehow less fantasy than the idea of this woman having savings). Russian spy Keri Russell and Muppets songwriter Bret McKenzie star.

You’ve Got Mail (1.10PM) – Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks star in this, one of the best romantic comedies ever made, with one of the best comedy performances ever put to film, thanks to Meg Ryan. (Meg Ryan is very good! We did not do right by her. Stay tuned for my dissertation on this subject.) It also exists as a fascinating period piece where people could be anonymous to each other online, and media company rivals did not already know every tiny piece of digital information about each other.

Calendar Girls (7:00PM) – The one where Helen Mirren gets her cumberbatches out. Watch with your grandmother or not at all.

Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s a wig.

TVNZ2

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (12:00PM) – Ben Affleck divorce winner, I Love Simon monologuer, meme generator and wig-wearer Jennifer Garner stars in this kids movie about… a son who is actually a plant? It’s a very strange movie, and absolutely suitable for your hangover. Dianne Wiest also stars, if you care, and you should.

Lethal Weapon 2 (8:50PM) – If you can get over Mel Gibson being a fairly consistent piece of garbage, then you can enjoy Lethal Weapon 2. Or if you, like me, are bewildered and fascinated by Patsy Kensit’s rise and falls in and out of fame through the ’80s and ’90s, then you can also enjoy this.

THREE

A Midsummer’s Hawaiian Dream (12:45PM) – The above trailer should be enough to make you want to watch this trainwreck-y film which appears to be a slightly racist adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream about a middle-aged couple and their children, maybe? Starring nobody you have heard of.

Stoker (11:40PM) – A seriously great and bizarre thriller from Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) about a girl who does not trust her mother’s new husband after her father dies in mysterious circumstances. Mia Wasikowzka, Matthew Goode and a very terrifyingly on-form Nicole Kidman star.

PRIME

Olympic Winter Games: Figure Skating Gala (1:00PM) – It’s ice-skating! Outside of the Olympics! Do you know how lucky you are to be able to watch that, even if it’s available on the internet probably at your fingertips? Why wouldn’t you watch this? Do you hate beauty, grace and elegance?

King Kong (8:30PM) – A film where Naomi Watts get into an abusive relationship. Jack Black also stars.

Jessica Alby as the titular Honey, in Honey.

MAORI TV

Honey (8:30PM) – A gritty adaptation of Winnie the Pooh, where Winnie is a hardened investigator on the hunt for his honey. Or a biopic loosely based on the life of Laurieann Gibson, who would go onto be the creative director for Lady GaGa! Isn’t history fun. Famous person Jessica Alba stars.

Your problematic feminist faves.

SATURDAY

TVNZ1

Heavenly Creatures (1AM) – Wait until your family goes to sleep until you watch New Zealand’s favourite homegrown matricidal fantasy drama, with cinema’s most iconic Kate Winslet bath scene.

TVNZ2

Bruce Almighty (9:15PM) – The Jennifer Aniston film where Jim Carrey wishes she had bigger breasts so that happens. Morgan Freeman plays God. This film may not have aged amazingly, but there are worse things to do on your Saturday night.

Scary Movie (11:00PM) – My credibility may be shot at this point, but Anna Faris’ performance in this film is such a genuine delight. Everything else about it might not have aged well, except Regina Hall, who I remember being very funny in both this and the sequel. I have seen every theatrically-released Scary Movie film, and I will not be taking questions.

THREE

ET The Extra-Terrestrial (8:00PM) – If you don’t know what this is you have serious problems that extend beyond not knowing what to watch on a Saturday. Probably watch this though, it’s very good! 

PRIME

Super Rugby: Blues v Sharks (9:30PM) – An intimate drama revolving around the lives, loves and losses of 30 men who don’t know why they’re fighting but know they have to keep doing it anyway. Not lots of dialogue. Mike Leigh directs.

French people running in black and white, if that’s your thing.

MAORI

Jules and Jim (8:30PM) – This is your reminder that your best bet for finding cool arthouse films on free-to-air TV is Maori TV, and this is one of those. If you’re not into the French New Wave, try it out! You might like it. Or you might hate it. Go watch the Mike Leigh drama on Prime instead.

Men on boats stifle feelings in In The Heart of the Sea.

EASTER SUNDAY

TVNZ1

The Royal Variety Performance 2017 (2:50PM) – This is the perfect event to watch in stony silence with your family while you try to explain who Louis Tomlinson is, how One Direction actually came third on their season of X-Factor, and how Rebecca Ferguson (the runner-up, not the Swedish actress) deserved better.

In the Heart of The Sea (8:40PM) – Chris Hemsworth has feelings on boats as he plays some dude who was in a boat crash that inspired Moby Dick. Watch with your dad, a nautically-inclined female family member, or by yourself. Ben Whishaw, the last living sprite, plays Herman Melville.

Zootopia! That bunny gets into an inexplicable romantic relationship with that fox.

TVNZ2

Zootopia (7:00PM) – Or Baby’s First Racism Lesson. This is actually a very good watch, and I remember trying to stifle feelings as I watched it on a plane. Do not look this film up on Google Images. Has a ridiculously catchy Shakira song in it.

Forrest Gump (8:50PM) – A mid 90s where the lesson is that it is good to be apolitical and simple rather than political and complicated, which is surely not a philosophical mindset that has influenced the following 24 years. No sir, not one bit. Tom Hanks stars.

THREE

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (7:00PM) – A very, very good and very underrated animated film series about a boy and his dragon, and the community that surrounds them. I have nothing shady to say about this, and I will probably watch this. Cate Blanchett stars as an ethereal tall woman, which will surprise nobody.

PRIME

Regular programming, sorry!

Charlotte Rampling devastates in 45 Years.

MAORI

45 Years (8:30PM) – This film is seriously one of the best things I’ve seen in ages. Charlotte Rampling plays a woman whose entire life is shaken (or shook, as the kids say) when news of her husband’s dead ex hits her village. Rampling should’ve won her Oscar for this performance, which is a beautiful, well-rounded and haunting look at someone stuck in the place between knowing and so desperately not wanting to know.

Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel try not to kiss in Safe Haven.

EASTER MONDAY

It’s all regular programming except this gem:

TVNZ2

Safe Haven (Noon) – It’s an Easter miracle! This is the only Nicholas Sparks film showing this weekend, and it’s the most bonkers one involving a twist with a way too understanding soon-to-be dead wife who is very chill with whomever romances her widower. Fergie ex-husband Josh Duhamel stars.


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