The Couch Potato Report

This week in the Couch Potato Report a horse is a horse, of course, of course, a Friday that’s freaky and a new league. One that has extraordinary gentlemen.
SEABISCUIT is based on a true story about an undersized Depression-era
racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the three-man
team behind it but also those of an entire country.
During a summer of terribly inane sequels, like BAD BOYS II, CHARLIE’S
ANGELS 2, and LEGALLY BLONDE 2, SEABISCUIT was an oasis. It was a
fertile spot in a uninspired desert of celluloid.
With an exceptional cast that includes Tobey Maguire from THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, Jeff Bridges of THE FISHER KING, recent Oscar winner Chris Cooper from ADAPTATION, and William H. Macy of FARGO, I had a feeling that I would like SEABISCUIT before I even saw it. My one trepidation was the fact that since the titular horse was an American legend this American made film could have been too “Rah-Rah, America is number one!!!!” for my taste.
I am happy to report that SEABISCUIT isn’t just about how great America
and Americans are. Its about people; the consequences of decisions; and
the absolute joy of rising above adversity.
What I enjoyed most about SEABISCUIT was how the story was told. Director Gary Ross has fashioned this film like a documentary, using archival material and familiar PBS-styled narration from noted historian David McCullough.
Simply put, SEABISCUIT is a very entertaining and rewarding film and is one of the best movies of the year.
There are no horses in FREAKY FRIDAY, the remake of the 1976 Jodie Foster mother daughter role reversal movie. Former teen movie queen Jamie Lee Curtis stars with current teen up and comber Lindsay Lohan in this pleasant enough family film that sees a Mother and daughter swap bodies and lives through an odd twist of fate.
As in the original, hilarity ensues as the daughter has to live the mother’s life and vice versa. And, as in the original, both women learn that the other’s life is no picnic either.
So, if this version of FREAKY FRIDAY is so much like the original, why did they remake it you ask? Well, even though its an enjoyable film, I was asking myself
that same question while watching it.
I liked the movie, but I loved the original. Maybe 27 years from now when they remake it again people who are kids today will say the same thing about this version.
Finally this week is THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. Sean Connery stars as Allan Quartermain as he, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Dorian Grey and other literary legends join forces to try and defeat a masked madman’s plans.
Based on the Graphic Novel of the same name THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY
GENTLEMEN is a hard movie to review. It is a visually stunning film, and anything with Sean Connery in it will always be worth watching. But the film is kind of boring.
That’s due to the fact that as the film rushes from one frenetic battle to another it replaces sense with spectacle. Sure, its cool to see Captain Nemo’s submarine rising from the water; a warehouse full of zeppelins bursting into flame; and the city of Venice collapsing into its own canals, but during those spectacles the movie gets flashy, dumb, and almost completely incoherent.
But, then Connery comes on-screen and says a few words and the movie gets good again.
That’s why its a hard film to review. If it wasn’t for Connery’s incredible screen presence this movie might be unwatchable. I guess you could say, in the spirit of the festive season, that I found myself enjoying it, in spite of myself.
SEABISCUIT, FREAKY FRIDAY and THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN are all available to rent and own right now.
Not too much
ANYTHING ELSE – Christina Ricci invigorates an even-more-neurotic-than-usual variation on the classic neurotic woman in this Woody Allen movie. Comedy writer Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs, American Pie) is madly in love with Amanda (Ricci, The Opposite of Sex), even though they haven’t had sex in six months. Falk meets an older writer named Dobel (Allen) who becomes a sort of accidental mentor, encouraging him to break free of Amanda and his clinging agent (Danny DeVito). The pace is sluggish, almost every scene feels like an outtake from an earlier, better Woody Allen movie (particularly Annie Hall), Biggs never seems comfortable with his dialogue–only Ricci makes her character her own, giving her own perverse comic spin to the proceedings. About three-fourths of the way through the movie, the story starts to feel fresher and more compelling, but by then it’s too late. Also featuring Jimmy Fallon and Stockard Channing.
JEEPERS CREEPERS 2 – The Creeper returns to feed on a bus full of athletes in this second chapter of the mildly entertaining Francis Ford Coppola produced horror franchise. (Billy Aaron Brown, Jonathan Breck, Nicki Aycox)
THE MEDALLION – A cop gains super powers from mysterious medallion in
Jackie Chan’s latest Hollywood misstep. (Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire
ALEX AND EMMA – Rob Reiner’s latest not only proves that he has lost his touch as a film maker, but offer definitive proof that it may be time for him to just stop making movies. This failed feature sees a writer hire a stenographer to help him finish his novel. No romance or hilarity ensues. (Kate Hudson, Luke Wilson, Sophie Marceau).
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you on the couch!