The Couch Potato Report
This week in the Couch Potato Report, an old TV show is turned into a good movie and there’s an American Wedding.
Up first, TV, or not TV.
Most of the old TV series that have been turned into movies have been pretty bad. For every one good movie based on a TV series – like THE NAKED GUN, THE ADDAMS FAMILY and THE BRADY BUNCH – there are two films based on TV shows that are bad – LOST IN SPACE, THE AVENGERS, THE SAINT, WILD WILD WEST, CHARLIE’S ANGELS and MY FAVOURITE MARTIAN for instance.
The MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and STAR TREK movies fall somewhere in the middle of the good/bad pack, but I digress.
With this week’s release of S.W.A.T. you can add one more to the good list.
Samuel L. Jackson of PULP FICTION and current Colin Farrell of DAREDEVIL swagger through this guns-and-big-trucks macho extravaganza based on the 1970s TV show of the same name, about the police teams brought in to take care of extremely dangerous situations.
After a lot of training and head-butting with a smarmy police captain, our cinematic S.W.A.T. team is assigned to transfer the head of a European crime cartel who’s declared on television that he’ll give $100 million to anyone who gets him out.
Every scumbag in Los Angeles descends to claim the money, turning a routine transfer into a bullet-filled gauntlet.
S.W.A.T. is a great story with just enough action to keep you going, without overdoing it.
But the best part about S.W.A.T. isn’t the action. The filmmakers have taken the time to create back-story and interpersonal elements that elevate the film above that of a simple action flick.
In a simple action film police officers just race to the action without taking time to prepare or discuss potential consequences. In S.W.A.T. situations are discussed, repercussions are considered and consequences are pondered.
This is a thinking person’s action film. I really enjoyed S.W.A.T. and it made my list of the Top Ten movies of 2003.
Now since I have added S.W.A.T. to the list of movies that have been made from TV shows that are good, there must be two bad ones on the way to keep my opening statement of 2 bad for every one good intact.
Well, with the ongoing rumours that there will soon be movies based on the TV shows THE DUKES OF HAZARD, BEWITCHED, KNIGHT RIDER and HARDCASTLE AND MACORMACK I suspect the two bad for every one good theorem will be restored soon enough.
With all of the hype surrounding the conclusion this year of THE MATRIX and LORD OF THE RINGS trilogies there wasn’t as much attention paid to another trilogy that has reportedly come to an end.
The AMERICAN PIE trilogy.
If you are a fan of American Pie 1 or 2 I suspect that you won’t be disappointed with this third installment. Even though most of the original cast is absent the story is a fitting conclusion to a very funny trilogy.
The gags in AMERICAN WEDDING all hit the mark. Our hero Jim once again stumbles from one embarrassing episode to another as he prepares to marry his one true love.
All the while, Jim’s Dad – the brilliant Eugene Levy – is right there with him, lecturing Jim on the lessons of life and love.
But what would any AMERICAN PIE be without Steve Stifler? I am pleased to tell you that Seann William Scott does return as one of the most idiotic cinematic losers you hate to love of all time.
If there is one detriment to disclose about AMERICAN WEDDING I have to admit that it just isn’t as funny as the other two AMERICAN PIE films.
It is a very funny, and enjoyable film – if you liked the first two movies- but at times it does just seem like a watered down version of the first two films.
Of course, we’ve all been to weddings where things are a bit watered down, so why should this one be any different?
If you expect a comedy to make you laugh, then you won’t be disappointed with AMERICAN WEDDING.
S.W.A.T and AMERICAN WEDDING are available to rent and own at your local video store right now.
COMING NEXT WEEK
ALIEN – A slimy creature boards a woman’s space tanker in this “director’s version” of the classic 1979 film. (Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt)
UNDERWORLD – A Vampire and werewolf fall in love despite an age old and existing rivalry between their two species. (Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly)
OUT OF TIME – A police chief gets caught up in scandal and murder. (Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes)
UPTOWN GIRLS – A spoiled, rich girl is forced to get a job as a nanny in this movie that has nothing to do with the Billy Joel song. (Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Marley Shelton)
Enjoy the movies, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and I’ll see you on the couch!
I know that, technically, I don’t actually have a couch, but think of this as the couch that exists in your mind. The one that exists in all our minds! (Don’t you wish most movies could be that creative!)
The Couch Potato Report