The Week in DVR: It’s a Wonderful Life, Taken, and Planet of the Apes

Monday: Garden State

You won’t find Garden State on many Best of the Decade lists, and with good reason: Zach Braff’s film nearly suffocates you with hipster twee. But, still, has anything been more influential on the latter half of the aughts? Without Garden State, (500) Days of Summer and a host of other 20-something ennui fests wouldn’t even exist. Sure, it has become a punch line—and a litmus test; if someone truly loves Garden State, we immediately raise an eyebrow—but it’s easy to see why this film struck such a chord initially: it’s funny, it has some great music cues and it features Peter Sarsgaard. What more could any indie-lover want? [IFC, 8 p.m.]

Tuesday: Planet of the Apes

Flipping around the channels a couple of weeks ago, we stumbled upon Tim Burton’s ill-advised remake of Planet of the Apes, and, to our surprise, we were oddly transfixed. Not because this film is any good—spoiler alert: it’s not—but because a remake of Planet of the Apes actually happened! We would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the pitch meeting when Mr. Burton sold 20th Century Fox executives on not only Mark “Talks To Christmas Animals” Wahlberg in the Charlton Heston lead role, but also Estella Warren as the female lead (non-ape edition). Say hi to your mother for us. [Cinemax, 8 p.m.]

Wednesday: Taken

Three reasons to watch Taken, the surprise sleeper hit from this past February: 1.) Liam Neeson, who combines Jason Bourne with the tenacity of a great white shark in the name of saving his daughter from being sold into sex slavery. 2.) The plot, which can literally fit inside a fortune cookie (see: man saving daughter from sex slavery). 3.) Did we mention how much ass Mr. Neeson kicks, all within the safely re-edited confines of a PG-13 rating (Taken was much more violent when it made the rounds through Europe)? Seriously, this movie is a load of fun because it’s as simple as a cheeseburger. Just make sure to check cognizant thought at the door. [HBO, 9 p.m.]

Thursday: It’s a Wonderful Life

Enough has been written (and re-written) about It’s a Wonderful Life, that, at this point, finding some virgin snow to intellectually play around in is borderline impossible. So we’ll just say this about our favorite holiday movie: it’s so dark and weird and twisted and sad that parts don’t feel like a Christmas movie at all. But then the third act happens—replete with Zuzu’s petals and “Auld Lang Syne”—and we’re a puddle of tears and hope. 63 years later and George Bailey is still the richest man in town. [NBC, 8 p.m.]

Friday: Till Death

Because it isn’t officially the holiday until you watch four consecutive episodes of Till Death, Fox is kind enough to air (read: burn off) a marathon of the sit-com on Christmas night. We doubt you’ll decide to watch Brad Garrett crack wise about how miserable married life is over putting on the Season Five DVD of Lost Santa Claus brought you, but Till Death is somewhat compelling. Think about it: this is a show that no one watches and yet it still airs. Do you think that worries the cast and crew, or, like so many others, do they just have the “eh, a job is a job” mentality that is so prevalent in America right now? More important, has anyone ever put this much thought into Till Death? Probably not. [Fox, 8 p.m.]

The Week in DVR: It’s a Wonderful Life, Taken, and Planet of the Apes