The Couch Potato Report – February 15th, 2005
In The Couch Potato Report this week, there are six Academy Award nominees.
We are now less than two weeks away from the 77th Annual Academy Awards.
Iíll give you my predictions on who will win in the six major categories next week.
This week I thought I would remind you about some of the nominated films that are now available on video and DVD, just in case youíd like to see them prior to their appearance on Hollywoodís biggest night.
Lets start in the BEST PICTURE category, with a movie that also features the actor leading the BEST ACTOR race. The actor is Jamie Foxx, the movie is RAY.
RAY is a warts-and-all look at the man, the musician and the businessman who was Ray Charles.
Yes, RAY does celebrate Ray Charles, but it doesn’t shy away from detailing his frequent infidelities, the hostility that Brother Ray suffered due to the racism of 1950s and ’60s in America, and Ray’s heroin addiction.
In addition to the great music, one other reason to watch RAY is so you can bear witness to the amazing performance of Jamie Foxx in the title role.
For once, all of the hype you are hearing about a performance is completely justified.
Foxx is absolutely amazing in the picture!
Ray Charles had an unprecedented 50-year career, and when we lost him last year, we lost a powerful musician, and a great man.
It was my pleasure to watch RAY, and I take pride in admitting to you that RAY is a fitting eulogy to a great artist.
Jamie Foxx became a great artist in 2004 with his work in RAY, but he also received a nomination as BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR in COLLATERAL.
Tom Cruise strays away from a career of good guys to play a contract killer named Vincent who hires an unsuspecting cab driver to drive him through a nocturnal tour of Los Angeles.
COLLATERAL is just a tad shy of superb. It is an excellent movie and Jamie Foxx is as well.
But ìexcellentî doesnít even begin to describe the film that features Kate Winsletís performance that got her nominated for an Oscar as BEST ACTRESS.
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, the new film from writer Charlie Kaufman.
His previous works include BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ADAPTATION, HUMAN NATURE and CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND.
The one thing that all of those films have in common is that they are all brilliant, odd and not for everyone.
Kaufman is a writer who exists on a different plane than most of us, and that makes his vision a bit askew.
In ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND Canadian comedian Jim Carrey is a man who tries to erase his ex-girlfriend from his memory.
Be warned, this isn’t your typical Jim Carrey movie. And as I’ve alluded to, this isn’t your typical movie.
The luscious Kate Winslet plays the girlfriend and while Carrey is undergoing the procedure to erase her, he changes his mind. He wants to keep the memories, but since this is all going on inside of his head the erasure team cannot hear his request that they stop.
No, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND isn’t your typical movie.
But it is the kind of film that I truly love. A movie that keeps you guessing and shows you things you haven’t seen before.
At it’s core ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is a love story. A love story that juggles morality, identity, and heartbreak all at once, but a love story nonetheless.
I enjoyed it on every conceivable level and highly recommend it, even though I know many people will not like it at all.
Something that many people do like is fast food, especially McDonald’s.
If you enjoy fast food, then you absolutely have to see the documentary SUPER SIZE ME.
In this very entertaining film Morgan Spurlock subjects himself to a steady diet of McDonald’s cuisine for 30 days, just to see what will happen.
What happens is not good.
No, SUPER SIZE ME is not a perfect film, but it will entertain you. It is nominated in the BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE at the Academy Awards and it is available on video and DVD.
So is SPIDER-MAN 2. In fact it has a trio of nominations in the SOUND EDITING, SOUND MIXING and VISUAL EFFECTS categories.
Now, should you be unfamiliar with the Spider-Man story thus far, here is a brief recap.
Not a recap of the legacy created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the Marvel comic books, but a recap of the first movie.
Tobey Maguire is Peter Parker, a brainy high school outcast who transforms into an amazingly agile, web-shooting superhero named Spider-Man, after he is bitten by a “super-spider.”
The radiant Kirsten Dunst is Mary Jane Watson, Parker’s girl-next-door, unrequited sweetheart.
At the end of the first movie, he shunned her for fear that she would get hurt if his enemies knew he loved her.
In the first movie, that enemy was The Green Goblin. Spidey’s nemesis in SPIDER-MAN 2 is the deranged, mechanically tentacled “Doctor Octopus” or “Doc Ock.”
But it isn’t the foe that is the most compelling part of SPIDER-MAN 2, it is the dilemma that Peter Parker has to face within.
He has to decide if he should continue his obligatory, lonely life of crime fighting, or pursue love and happiness with Mary Jane?
The action sequences in SPIDER-MAN 2 are great! It is fast-paced, witty, and even a bit poignant at times.
And it is nominated for three Academy Awards.
BEFORE SUNSET, on the other hand, is only nominated for one Academy Award, and that nomination is for WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY.
The original creative team of actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy and writer/director Richard Linklater have all returned to make BEFORE SUNSET.
In the movie Jesse has written a book about the pair’s time together and his book tour comes to an end in Celine’s hometown of Paris.
She comes to see him and the two get together and begin to catch up on how the other has been doing with the other’s life in the eighty minutes that Jesse has before his flight back to the United States.
The fact that he only has eighty minutes is important to point out because the entire film plays out in real time. There is not a single wasted moment between the end of the opening credits and the start of the closing credits.
Once again we get to watch the two as they walk and talk about everything from career to sex to misconceptions about the last time they were together.
Do Jesse and Celine stay together at the end of this encounter?
Did they meet up six months after their first one?
Have you ever wondered if the characters in films you love have stayed together?
You won’t get any answers from me. I don’t want to rob you of one second of the ongoing or back story that is revealed in BEFORE SUNSET.
What I will reveal is the fact that BEFORE SUNSET is a unique cinematic window that lets us look at two lives intersecting years after a hopelessly romantic fling.
BEFORE SUNSET was also one of the best films of last year, and it deserved more nominations.
But I donít decide who does or doesnít get nominated for Academy Awards. All I can do is remind you that the Oscar nominated films BEFORE SUNSET, RAY, COLLATERAL, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, SUPERSIZE ME and SPIDER-MAN 2 are all available on video and DVD.
COMING UP IN THE NEXT COUCH POTATO REPORT
I will give you my predictions on who will win the Oscar in the Best Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, and Director categories. I will also tell you if THE AVIATOR, FINDING NEVERLAND, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, RAY or SIDEWAYS will be named Best Picture.
Plus, Iíll speak about I HEART HUCKABEES, a movie that stars Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin as a married couple who help others solve existential predicaments. The filmís all-star cast also includes Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Naomi Watts and Shania Twain.
And with the release of SOUTH PARK – THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON you can join Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as these four characters embark on the adventure of growing up in a small mountain town. In the fifth season, the boys discover a government secret, accidentally get sent to Afghanistan and get into an extreme slugfest when ‘Big Gay Al’ returns, among many more hilarious adventures. Some of the episodes are: It Hits the Fan, Cripple Fight, Super Best Friends, Scott Tenorman Must Die and Cartmanland.
Iím Dan Reynish and I’ll have more on those releases, and my Oscar Predictions, 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!
The Couch Potato Report – February 15th, 2005