“Better late than never!”

The Couch Potato Report – January 7th, 2005
In The Couch Potato Report this week there are 4 of my favourite films of last year, but this isn’t a best of list!
No, it isn’t a best of list as I am not a fan of best of lists. It is just a coincidence that between the last Couch Potato Report and this one four of my favourite films of 2004 have been released.
Now, if you have been spending time with loved ones and enjoying the holidays, as I have, think of this week as a look at some of the films you may have missed over the past fourteen days.
And you have missed some good movies. Four of my favourite films of last year in fact.
So lets get to those four, two other films that you might have missed, starting with ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY.
After DODGEBALL, ANCHORMAN was the funniest film of 2004.
Will Farrell from OLD SCHOOL and ELF is Ron Burgundy, a macho, self centered news anchor from the 1970s.
The fact that it is set in the 1970’s provides some laughs, but it is the supporting cast, and their idiotic male chauvinist attitude that offers the majority of the films many humourous moments, especially when a woman arrives with ambitions to become an anchor herself, she threatens the male-dominated newsroom.
Remember it is the male chauvinistic 1970’s here.
At times ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY is hit and miss with it’s comedy, but it was more hit than miss for me.
As I said it was the second funniest film of 2004, and one of my favourites.
OPEN WATER isn’t funny, but it is one of the most suspenseful films of
the year, and another one of my favourites.
If you have ever been looking for an excuse not to go Scuba diving, OPEN WATER is it!
In the film a young couple is accidentally abandoned during an open-sea diving excursion.
Eventually the couple realizes that they are in the midst of some unwanted company and they end up treading water for most of the film’s brisk 79-minute running time.
It might not be as scary as JAWS was the first time you saw that classic shark film, but OPEN WATER has a few great scares all it’s own.
OPEN WATER is a perfect excuse to stay on land.
DE-LOVELY, on the other hand, can’t be described by using the word perfect in any context, but I still found myself thoroughly entertained by this musical portrait of American composer Cole Porter.
Kevin Kline plays Porter as he looks back on his life as if it was one of his spectacular stage shows, with the people and events of his life becoming the actors and action onstage.
The always radiant Ashley Judd shines as Linda Lee, one of the many loves of Cole Porter’s life, and singers Elvis Costello, Alanis Morissette, Diana Krall and Robbie Williams appear in the film singing Porter’s timeless songs.
No, DE-LOVELY isn’t perfect, but does every good movie have to be?
So, you have now heard about three of my favourite films of 2004, so let me get to the movie that I enjoyed the most last year.
GARDEN STATE may be one of the smallest films of 2004, in terms of how much exposure it received, but I still loved it.
Zach Braff from TV’s SCRUBS is an scarred young actor who travels back to New Jersey – the Garden State – after nine years away for his mother’s funeral.
While there he avoids his bitter father, choosing instead to party with old friends.
Along the way he meets a woman with more than a few problems of her own and the two are able to provide each other with a little comfort.
Natalie Portman from CLOSER and BEAUTIFUL GIRLS is superb as the woman and, without trying to be cliche, I both laughed and cried at her performance, and the entire movie.
GARDEN STATE has tremendous visual images, realistic, lively dialogue, and a great cast. It is a fresh and funny movie that is my favourite film of 2004..
The fact that I have just highly recommended GARDEN STATE might cause you to have raised expectations when you see it. I hope it lives up to what you expect it to be.
Because as I’ve mentioned before, low expectations can sometimes make a movie seem better than it is.
That is certainly the case with WIMBLEDON, the new romantic comedy from the folks who gave us NOTTING HILL and BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY.
My low expectations of the picture allowed me to enjoy it more than I ever thought I would, and subsequently, now allow me to recommend it to you.
In WIMBLEDON, Paul Bettany from A BEAUTIFUL MIND and KIRSTEN DUNST from the SPIDER-MAN movies are professional tennis players who fall in love at the All England Tennis Championships in Wimbledon.
Even though the film isn’t as good as it could be, it has more laughs and more genuine suspense that you will ever expect, and you will find yourself enjoying it.
Yes, I liked WIMBLEDON.
But I didn’t like TROY, and I doubt you will either.
TROY stars Hollywood’s hunky hunks Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom and is based on Homer’s The Iliad.
In the book, and the film, Trojan prince Paris makes off with Helen, the wife of a Spartan ruler. The ruler’s brother Agamemnon then prods him into enraged retaliation.
But the actress they cast as Helen is so poorly underwritten that there is no reason to believe that anyone would want to take her away, or go to war to get her back.
So the movie stalls there, and Pitt does what he can as the warrior Achilles, but after many, many, many fight scenes the film just starts to drag.
And the last thing you want is to have a film that is almost three hours dragging.
But drag it does and the result is a film that is just a waste of time.
It might take a bit longer that three hours to read Homer’s The Iliad, but the end result is something that isn’t a waste of time.
I also don’t feel that ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY, OPEN WATER, DE-LOVELY, GARDEN STATE and WIMBLEDON are a waste of your time. They are all available now, along with TROY at your local movie store.
The man who thrilled us with THE SIXTH SENSE and SIGNS bores us with
THE VILLAGE. In M. Night Shyamalan’s latest a rural village is
attacked by potentially menacing creatures.
WITHOUT A PADDLE won’t bore you, but this comedic story about three
friends who go on canoe trip to find a treasure won’t make you laugh
On the other hand, PAPARAZZI won’t bore you or make you laugh, but it
might entertain you. In the movie some menacing paparazzi photographers
injure a movie star’s wife and he takes revenge.
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!