The Couch Potato Report May 11th, 2004
In The Couch Potato Report this week: Is Cruise cruise? Plus, some calendar girls, a few friends and a scary movie, that’s funny.
Some actors have made great careers out of playing the same character in almost every movie they make.
May I submit as exhibit A: Tom Cruise.
Tom Cruise always plays the same character. In every movie he’s basically a variation of the same person who is good, but flawed in some way, and needing redemption.
I doubt anyone would argue that Cruise is talented and does good work, but since he has become an uber-star it is always “Tom Cruise as.”
Tom Cruise as a vampire; Tom Cruise as a jet pilot; Tom Cruise as a Secret
Agent, A Police Detective, a sports agent, a doctor, a lawyer.
Similar bigger than superstar actors like Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt inhabit and
become the characters they play on screen, but Tom Cruise is always just playing one form of the Tom Cruise character or another..
In his latest movie Tom Cruise stars as Tom Cruise playing an American soldier who is sent to Japan in order to help the Imperial Japanese Army become more ‘modern’ and less ‘traditional.’
The goal is to prepare the Army to fight the legendary Samurai.
The costumes, locations and battle scenes are all quite impressive, and the story is interesting at times, but it is all overshadowed by the “performance” of Tom Cruise.
THE LAST SAMURAI is not a great film but the main – if not only reason – to see it is so you can enjoy the amazing performance of the Oscar nominated Ken Watanabe.
Cruise becomes a captive of Watanabe, the deadly but extremely polite leader of the Japanese Samurai.
At this juncture the story shifts to why the Samurai are fighting to preserve their way of life against Western influences.
And that is interesting stuff, well acted by Ken Watanabe. Watanabe is an actor known primarily for his work in Japan and he is exceptional in the film.
Cruise is Cruise. He works hard and is very reliable in the part, but I could never see past the fact that it was Tom Cruise.
Had an actor like Crowe or Pitt played the part, it would have been an incredible film. With Cruise it is just another Tom Cruise movie.
Love him, or appreciate his work, and you’ll love THE LAST SAMURAI.
If you don’t have a Tom Cruise calendar on your wall you probably won’t.
As Cruise moves toward his 42nd birthday no one would be surprised to see his face on a calendar.
However, one could be surprised at some of the faces featured within CALENDAR GIRLS might.
CALENDAR GIRLS is a based-on-a-true-story of a group of women, all over the age of 50, who pose provocatively for a calendar to raise money for Leukemia
Think of it as a female version of THE FULL MONTY.
With a great cast that includes Helen Mirren from PRIME SUSPECT and Julie Walters of EDUCATING RITA and the HARRY POTTER films CALENDAR GIRLS doesn’t specifically go for cheap laughs, but it has a few anyway.
Conversely, SCARY MOVIE 3 – the third installment of the movie spoof franchise – does aim for cheap laughs. Unfortunately there are only a few laughs to be had while watching the film, cheap or otherwise.
It’s funny, much funnier that the second installment, but no where near as
funny as the first SCARY MOVIE.
This chapter in the franchise combines parodies and elements of Eminem, THE MATRIX, THE RING, SIGNS, THE OTHERS and provides a decent dose of laughs.
You will be thinking “this is stupid” on more than a few occasions, but you might also be laughing while doing it.
If you’re in need of a laugh, check it out.
And you might need a laugh now that FRIENDS is finished.
Over 51 million people tuned in to watch the final episode of the show and now they, you and all of your friends can own FRIENDS – THE LIMITED EDITION SERIES FINALE.
And I don’t necessarily mean to be mock the obvious marketing ploy of this release, which came a scant 5 days after the finale aired, but as Jerry Seinfeld used to say: ìYeah, it’s limited to how many they can sell.î
My mocking aside, FRIENDS – THE LIMITED EDITION SERIES FINALE contains two versions of the final episode: the broadcast version and a slightly longer version with unseen footage.
And no, that version wasn’t made longer by giving Chandler and Monica an even further unbelievable third baby.
The disc also contains the original 1994 pilot episode of the show about 6 friends, their lives, their loves, their coffee and the fact that they’ll be there for you (When the rain starts to pour).
They’ll be there for you! (Like they’ve been there before).
They’ll be there for you (‘Cause you’re there for them too).
THE LAST SAMURAI, CALENDAR GIRLS, SCARY MOVIE 3 and FRIENDS ñ THE LIMITED EDITION SERIES FINALE, are all available right now on video and DVD at your favourite local video store.
COMING UP IN THE NEXT COUCH POTATO REPORT
MIRACLE is the based on the true story of 1980 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal winning hockey team.
While it might not actually be “The Best Sporting Event In History”, as indicated on the video and DVD sleeve, it is a great film.
Kurt Russell does a great job portraying Herb Brooks and the movie isn’t as “Rah, rah, rah, USA is number one!!!” as you think it’s going to be.
After a few weeks delay I will finally get the chance to tell you all about the rah, rah, rah, thoroughly enjoyable, Oscar nominated THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE.
There are only a few spoken sentences in the entire wonderful animated film, so I’ll have to choose my words carefully to do it justice.
I’ll start with these: Be prepared to be dazzled.
Also next week,
In PAYCHECK, the latest misstep from director John Woo, Ben Affleck plays
an engineer who discovers that his memory has been erased. The one and
only Uma Thurman co-stars along with Aaron Eckhart, but you won’t need to care.
I’ll have more on those releases in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report May 11th, 2004