“That’s the fact, Jack!”

The Couch Potato Report – June 27th, 2005
This week The Couch Potato Report features a 1981 movie with 18 more minutes, a useless sequel, and we’ll go beyond the sea.
An unfortunate trend in the video and DVD industry right now is reissues.
Movies that are already available on DVD are constantly be re-released in new “Deluxe”, “Special”, “Super Platinum” “Director’s Cut” and “Extended” editions.
That is unfortunate because you and I are forced to buy the movies we love over and over again, if we want to know more about our favourite films.
Personally, I have decided that I won’t buy any films again that I already own, no matter what the extra features or bonus materials are.
My decision was put to the test recently when an “Extended Cut” of the classic Bill Murray film STRIPES was released.
I failed the test.
But I have to admit that I have no problem with failing in this case because unlike most “Special Editions” that are priced around $25, the EXTENDED CUT of STRIPES is priced around $14, in fact I have seen it for $10 at some stores.
So my new rule is if I love a movie, if it is a classic to me, and it is cheap, I will buy the reissues.
And so I bought STRIPES.
When STRIPES came out in 1981 it was Bill Murray’s follow up to CADDYSHACK, and he followed the film with a small role in TOOTSIE and the large success of GHOSTBUSTERS.
Classics one and all.
In STRIPES Murray plays a chronic loser who decides to join the army. All great comedians eventually do an Army picture, and this was Murray’s.
The film has many moments that are both full of absolute insanity and are wonderfully original. Yes, it falters a bit during the last third of the film, but when it isn’t faltering, it is very, very funny.
In addition to Bill Murray the cast features Harold Ramis, John Larroquette, Sean Young, Judge Reinhold and the late, great John Candy.
This EXTENDED CUT of STRIPES has 18 minutes of extra footage – including 6 never-before-seen deleted scenes, an hour long documentary with interviews with the cast, and a tribute to John Candy.
If you already own STRIPES on DVD the extra scenes don’t make the movie better, but since this disc is low priced, and it contains both the theatrical version of the film AND the Extended Cut, it is worth it for you to buy it again.
And here’s hoping the studio doesn’t ever release the movie again! Twice is enough.
Actually, when it comes to the film BE COOL, once is enough. Once might even be too much.
BE COOL is the utterly useless sequel to the well written, well acted, and well made 1995 film GET SHORTY.
In that film John Travolta was Chili Palmer, a mob collector who was also a movie fan.
When his business took him to Los Angeles, he decided to leave his old life behind and become a movie producer.
Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, Renee Russo, James Gandolfini and Delroy Lindo also starred in the film and everything they did was pure cinematic magic.
GET SHORTY remains one of the best comedies of the 1990s.
BE COOL is a useless sequel and one of the most disappointing films of 2004.
After getting bored with the movie business, Travolta’s Chili Palmer decides to go into the music business.
His decision makes sense, but his decisions after that seem coincidental and not plausible in any way.
When he needs an insider to help him out, enter widowed music executive Uma Thurman. He needs Steven Tyler from Aerosmith to help him out, well there he is too!
In GET SHORTY the things that happened, coincidence or not, all seemed possible.
In BE COOL, even with a great cast that also includes Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel and Cedric The Entertainer, the film fails on every level.
Only wrestler turned actor The Rock and AndrÈ Benjamin from the band Outkast will benefit from their participation in the film.
BE COOL is so utterly boring, useless and pointless, that you should avoid it at all costs.
Instead, look down the shelf from BE COOL at the store and you’ll find BEYOND THE SEA.
BEYOND THE SEA is Kevin Spacey’s labour of love biography/tribute to 1950s pop singer Bobby Darin and his wife Sandra Dee.
Spacey stars, co-wrote and directed the film, and he also sings all of Darin’s songs on the soundtrack.
I admire and respect Spacey because of his performances in SEVEN, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and AMERICAN BEAUTY, so I was prepared to give BEYOND THE SEA a lot of leeway, even though I had heard that it wasn’t very good.
And that statement is true, BEYOND THE SEA isn’t very good.
It is a film full of Kevin Spacey’s passion for Bobby Darin, and because of that it does take more than a few cinematic risks, but in the end the whole movie just isn’t very satisfying.
No, I didn’t like BEYOND THE SEA as a biography, but I do admire the movie and Kevin Spacey’s passion about Bobby Darin.
There is no reason to think I will ever see it again, but I am pleased I saw it this first time.
BEYOND THE SEA, BE COOL and THE EXTENDED VERSION OF STRIPES are all available now at a store near you.
You will hear all about the 30th Anniversary edition of Steven Speilberg’s classic summer film JAWS and the 10th Anniversary Edition of Martin Scorsese’s CASINO.
Plus, in THE PACIFIER action hero Vin Diesel from XXX and PITCH BLACK stars as a Navy SEAL who is called upon to baby sit a group of kids. Good, bad or horrible? Tune in and find out!
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!