“Three weeks?!?! Three weeks?!?!?!”

The Couch Potato Report – March 10th, 2005
This week The Couch Potato Report has a ladder 49 and the pre-Fab four.
There are few professions that are as noble as police officers and firemen.
Over the years there have been many great movies about police officers – including DIRTY HARRY, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, FARGO and SERPICO, just to name six.
Unfortunately the equally noble firefighting profession hasn’t been as well represented on the silver screen.
THE TOWERING INFERNO, BACKDRAFT and now LADDER 49 were all valiant, yet ultimately failed attempts to dramatize some of life’s most gracious servants.
After watching the new DVD release of LADDER 49 I was left feeling like the men and women who risk their lives for us will just never get their cinematic due.
And they are due a great amount as they are models of heroism.
To its credit, LADDER 49 is very faithful to that heroic side of the men and women who fight fires. It actually does a great job of portraying the harsh and dangerous side of their job.
However, as realistic as the scenes with fire are, the dramatic side of LADDER 49 is full of clichÈs and uninspiring melodrama.
LADDER 49 stars John Travolta as a tough but compassionate Chief who looks upon his fellow firefighters as a family.
Joaquin Phoenix from GLADIATOR and SIGNS plays the movie’s central character, an everyday hero who looks back on his life while he is trapped in a burning building.
LADDER 49 has an honourable premise and it could have been a great movie, and a tribute to the daunting lives of firefighters.
Instead, it is a clichÈ filled, boring movie with uninteresting characters.
As police officers do, firefighters risk their lives every day and they deserve our respect and admiration, both in real life and in the movies.
I look forward to the day that firefighters get their respect from the movies, in the same manner that police officers have for years.
There was a time in the mid-1990’s that I looked forward to a sequel to the 1978 mockumentary THE RUTLES: ALL YOU NEED IS CASH.
Now that the day has arrived, all I want is the original.
The original RUTLES film was an affectionate spoof of The Beatles and their lives.
It was a collaboration between the casts of Monty Python and Saturday Night Live, and Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Band.
The soundtrack featured songs like “Ouch!” – instead of “Help!” – and “Get Up And Go” – replacing “Get Back” and the combination of the cast and the participants in the film made for an unforgettable viewing experience.
The original RUTLES film ALL YOU NEED IS CASH was brilliant.
Even though some of the original magic is there, THE RUTLES 2 – CAN’T BUT ME LUNCH isn’t brilliant on its own.
It is just a rehash of the original RUTLES film, devoid of any new wit. Yes, there is new footage, but no new wit, well except for the comments from comedian Billy Connelly.
Monty Python-alum Eric Idle is back directing and starring in this sequel. However, instead of wit he brings along his famous friends Tom Hanks, David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Jewel, Mike Nichols, Conan O’Brien and Steve Martin to comment on the fictional band.
I am a huge Rutles fan, and I was greatly anticipating this release.
Unfortunately, THE RUTLES 2 – CAN’T BUT ME LUNCH is just clips from the first film, edited differently to tell the same story.
Yes, it has its moments, but it offers nothing new of substance for Rutles fans.
But don’t let this disappointing new release stop you from getting to know The Rutles, and from seeing The Beatles in a whole new light.
Just seek out the original 1978 release THE RUTLES: ALL YOU NEED IS CASH and enjoy.
THE RUTLES: ALL YOU NEED IS CASH, THE RUTLES 2 – CAN’T BUT ME LUNCH and LADDER 49 are all available now on video and DVD.
Is Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES; The Oscar nominated FINDING NEVERLAND featuring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet in the story of J.M. Barrie’s attempt to create Peter Pan.
Renee Zellweger is back as Bridget Jones in BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON and movie that I didn’t like at all!
But, I did like Oscar nominee Annette Bening’s work in BEING JULIA and the performance of the wonderful – and Oscar nominated Imelda Staunton in VERA DRAKE.
And on the next Couch Potato Report I will also speak about CLOSER, erotically charged tale of love, loneliness and betrayal with the all-star cast of Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Clive Owen.
I’m Dan Reynish and I will have more on CLOSER, BEING JULIA, THE INCREDIBLES and those other releases, in twenty-one days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here April 2nd on The Couch!