“Is it just me or are the pickings slim this week? And I don’t mean Slim Pickens, the actor, I mean there just doesn’t seem like there is much out there.”

The Couch Potato Report – October 12th, 2004
In The Couch Potato Report this week, there’s a disastrous disaster
film, and the always charming Kate Hudson.
The disaster movie has long been a successful staple of the motion picture industry.
In the nineties we went to see INDEPENDENCE DAY, TWISTER, ARMAGEDDON and the two most successful disaster movies of all time: JURASSIC PARK and TITANIC.
Now, in 2004, we have THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.
If you are a fan of the disaster film genre – meaning you prefer spectacle to script – then this is a film for you.
But, be warned, this film doesn’t just feature stuff blowing up real good. It has a message!
And that message is that as a result of global warming, the Gulf Stream shuts down. Then the North Atlantic region starts to cool while heat builds up in the tropics. The result is a severe storm, the likes of which have never been seen, and a dramatic change in the global climate.
That all causes the disasters in this disaster film to be set in motion.
Now, up to the point that the disasters stop happening, and that includes the explanations of what is happening around the globe, up until the explosions end THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW is actually pretty good.
However, once the talking and the “how do we get out of this?” part of the movie begins then the entire film goes downhill and is quite unwatchable.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW was directed by Roland Emmerich and just like his INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA remake special effects are the big selling point with his films.
Even if the points behind the dialogue in the movie is possible, and could have real world consequence, it’s the spectacle that’s important here, not the script.
So forget the less-than-original plot about a father and son who endure an end-of-the-world scenario and just sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights of a tornado-ravaged Los Angeles, blizzards in New Delhi, Japan being pummeled by
grapefruit-sized hailstones, and Manhattan flooded by swelling oceans and then frozen by the onset of a modern ice age.
The special effects are great, even if the movie is not.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW is not a film you will remember forever; but because of the great special effects, and an enjoyable cast that includes Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal it’s also a film that you won’t feel was a total waste of time to watch.
No THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW is a total waste of your time.
And as much as I would like to say the opposite is true with this week’s other major new release, I just can’t.
No, RAISING HELEN isn’t a total waste of your time either.
It is utterly average, but I didn’t hate the film. A film I expected to hate.
The always charming Kate Hudson from ALMOST FAMOUS and HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS is the very superflous Helen.
Her life is but a dream of parties and men until her sister and brother in law die in a car crash and they leave custody of their three children to Helen.
Helen’s other sister is already a suburban Mom, but since this is a movie she ends up taking them in.
Since the film is from the director of PRETTY WOMAN and THE PRINCESS DIARIES, some very predictable comedy and cinematic life lessons are contained within RAISING HELEN, but the film isn’t a waste of your time.
It looks like it should have been, but it just isn’t.
I wouldn’t call it a movie you should rush out and rent, but if you have wanted to see it, check it out.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and RAISING HELEN are both available right now at your favourite local video store.
Hugh Jackman from X-MEN and and Kate Beckinsale of SERENDIPITY are the very original actors who star in the less than original film VAN HELSING where they battle monsters in Transylvania. Yes I’m serious.
I’m also serious when I tell you that on June 19, 1978 the comic strip Garfield debuted in 41 newspapers. Today, Garfield is the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world appearing in 2,570 newspapers.
On June 11, 2004 GARFIELD: THE MOVIE debuted in 3,094 theaters. Even though the film isn’t horrible, and Bill Murray is okay as the voice of the titular cat, here’s hoping we get another 26 years of laughter from the comic strip before they even think about making another film.
Finally next week, the ED WOOD: SPECIAL EDITION DVD that was supposed to come out in February will finally see the light of day. If you are a fan of old Hollywood, classic characters, or a recent convert of Johnny Depp’s, then this is a movie for you!
I’m Dan Reynish and I’ll 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!