“Whew! I’m glad Dan is saying this week’s releases aren’t that notable. I’d rather be outside enjoying the weather.”

The Couch Potato Report – June 29th, 2004
This week in The Couch Potato Report, a movie about a mountain that will leave you cold, another barbershop and 17 more episodes of a southern park.
A lot of fuss was made in back in January when the movie COLD MOUNTAIN didnít receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. It did receive 7 nominations, but it wasnít nominated for Best Picture.
The fuss wasnít due to the fact that people thought an incredible picture was snubbed, instead it was due to the fact that Miramax, the studio who released it, hadnít been able to get COLD MOUNTAIN nominated.
Going into this yearís Oscar race Miramax had an 11-year streak of fielding at least one best-picture candidate.
In the 1990s Miramax pioneered the modern marketing blitz that has become the norm for studios seeking awards attention on their films.
Miramax’s campaign machine has helped produce such best-picture winners as THE ENGLISH PATIENT, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and CHICAGO, along with other Oscar successes that include GOOD WILL HUNTING, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES.
This time, Miramax was unable to sway voters in favor of its Civil War film, a movie directed by Anthony Minghella, the filmmaker ñ and Oscar winner ñ behind THE ENGLISH PATIENT.
My feeling is that this time Academy voters decided to actually watch the movie in question and not just go with the hype provided by the Miramax machine.
And when they watched COLD MOUNTAIN, what they saw was a movie that is certainly not one of the Best Pictures of last year.
Not by any stretch of the imagination!
Seemingly, COLD MOUNTAIN does offer everything you’d want from a dramatic romantic movie with big name stars. Well, everything except a resonant emotional core.
Every single thing that happens in this wannabe epic depends on whether you believe the instant love that ignites during a very, very brief encounter between Nicole Kidman, a city-bred preacher’s daughter and a Confederate soldier played by the Oscar nominated Jude Law.
Admittedly, Nicole looks amazing, but there is ZERO chemistry between her and Law.
That makes the fact that Law deserts the battlefield to return, weary and wounded, to Kidman on a farm in the rural town of Cold Mountain, North Carolina utterly uninteresting.
If you canít see the two of them together, how can you care if they end up together!??!
I didnít care. I wasn’t entertained and, truth be told, I even started to lose interest in staring at Nicole Kidman. At one point I found myself wondering how her teeth stayed so white, even though she was in dirt all the time and that she wouldn’t have had time for tooth paste. Did they even have tooth paste during the time when the film was taking place?
Like I said, my mind was wondering. Except when Rene Zellweger appeared on screen to help Kidman run her farm.
Zellweger won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work and she deserved it.
Without her support COLD MOUNTAIN might have been unwatchable.
With a running time of two hours and thirty-two minutes, I was glad for every single Zellweger moment!
COLD MOUNTAIN was obviously supposed to be an example of grand, old-fashioned filmmaking, boosted by star power of the highest order.
Instead, it is a boring movie that offers no chemistry between the two lead actors.
I hate to be harsh, but COLD MOUNTAIN left me bored, and well, cold.
On the other hand, BARBERSHOP 2: BACK IN BUSINESS warmed me up and made me laugh.
And I like to laugh.
BARBERSHOP 2 is a great sequel that delivers fresh laughs.
Yes, the plot is just about the same as the first movie – a group of likable characters at a Chicago Barbershop rise above adversity to keep their way of life – but the movie still entertains and the cast is even better since we have a few new characters, including Queen Latifah from CHICAGO and BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE. She plays Gina, the owner of a beauty shop.
For the record, Queen Latifah is currently shooting the spin off film BEAUTY SHOP.
Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer and Eve all return from the original and I recommend BARBERSHOP 2: BACK IN BUSINESS if you enjoy a good laugh.
I will also sit here and recommend SOUTH PARK ñ THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON, a new 3-disc box set with all 17 episodes from the fourth season of the still funny TV show South Park.
While the episodes might seem less hilarious when compared to the originality of the three previous seasons, or the incredible Oscar nominated feature film that came before them, the fourth season is still very funny.
Especially during the episodes that feature a new character. A character that most fans of the series came to love: the wheelchair bound Timmy who is only capable of saying his name.
Two of the best episodes from this season are the one that sees Eric, Stan, Kyle and Kenny form their own boy band; and the episode where the truth about Mr. Garrison is finally revealed once and for all.
Should you not be a fan of SOUTH PARK, this box set and my comments wonít change your mind.
But, if you do love the show, the fourth season is a box set youíll need to own.
As a bonus, series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker offer up mini-commentaries on all of the episodes. Their opinions and recollections are worth the price of the set on its own.
COLD MOUNTAIN, BARBERSHOP 2: BACK IN BUSINESS and SOUTH PARK ñ THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON are all available now at a video store near you.
Since the past few months have been busy for us all, I suspect that you just donít have as much time as youíd like to have to spend watching movies.
Well, I have time and I watch movies every week!
So next week, just in case youíve finally found some time to catch up on some of the releases you might have missed, Iím going to look back on some of the more worthy releases of the past six months.
Itís a look back at the six months that were (Iíll have more on those, and some
other releases), in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next week on The Couch!