The Couch Potato Report – November 8th, 2005
This week The Couch Potato Report features a movie remake, a TV show spinoff, and Live 8 on DVD.
The first movie I ever saw in a theatre was WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, a film based on Roald Dahl’s book CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
Admittedly, I don’t remember much about my first cinematic experience, but I will never forget the film.
Gene Wilder was brilliant as the title character, and the sights and sounds that fed my senses inside the chocolate factory were overwhelming!
To this day, when I hear the words “come with me, and you’ll be, In a land of pure imagination,” I am instantly taken back inside Willy Wonka’s world.
And I love it there!!!
I love it there so much, that when I heard that director Tim Burton was going to do his own version of the film, it didn’t bother me. I was also okay with Johnny Depp taking over as Willy Wonka.
To their credit, Burton and Depp did a great job and there are many things to enjoy in their film.
However, I like my original version better.
That isn’t necessarily because one version is better than the other, after all it is Roald Dahl’s original story that is the basis for both, but I still prefer the original.
And I bet thirty-four years from now, when they inevitably make another film version, there will be someone who proclaims the 2005 version to be the preferred one because it was the first film they saw.
Whichever film you prefer, the story will always be the same unique tale of Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who is fortunate enough to receive one of only five golden tickets that grant the holder exclusive entry into recluse Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and they will get to experience the wonders with.
Once inside, due to the winners’ unfortunate personality traits, they eventually disappear until only one ticket holder remains.
That person is in store for a wonderful gift, if he can accept it.
And of course, if you haven’t read the book, or seen either movie, I don’t want to give anything away.
However, the book and the newest film are called CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
But I digress.
It might not be my preferred version of this classic story, but Depp and Burton’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is very entertaining. Specifically, Depp does an incredible job playing a very, very unlikable character. His Wonka is actually very mean at times, but in a good way.
I say just think of this as a guilty pleasure and enjoy it.
Another guilty pleasure this week is the DVD set for A DIFFERENT WORLD – SEASON ONE.
IN 1987 the show debuted as a spin off of THE COSBY SHOW. Daughter Denise was sent off to college to find out that there was “a different world” awaiting her outside the Huxtable house.
In addition to Lisa Bonet as Denise, this first season of the show stars the young, and always beautiful, Marisa Tomei, who would eventually go on to win an Academy Award for her work in MY COUSIN VINNY.
Denise, Maggie, Whitley, Dwayne Wayne, Ron. They are all still attending Hillman College on this new 4-DVD box set.
Another 4 disc box set that is now available is the LIVE 8 BOX SET.
On July 2nd some of the biggest names in the music industry- including Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Mariah Carey, Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams, Black eyed Peas, Jet, Elton John, The Who, Sting, Paul McCartney, U2 and a re-formed Pink Floyd – took part in a series of concerts around the world. Two decades after he gave the world LIVE AID Bob Geldof staged an even more ambitious series of continent-spanning concerts dedicated to raising funds and public consciousness about international debt relief.
This Box Set focuses on the two biggest concerts that took place in London and Philadelphia. Sadly, even though there were a series of shows there is very little from them in this set.
That is the bad, but there is plenty of good on the LIVE 8 BOX SET. In addition to the concerts themselves there is also a backstage documentary and the entire performance from Pink Floyd and their pre-concert rehearsal.
Now if you are interested in the individual concert DVDs from Toronto, Paris, Rome or Berlin, they are also available as single discs.
However it is the Box Set that is most worthy of your time.
Plus, royalties from sales of the set will go to the Band Aid Trust for the relief of hunger and poverty in Africa.
From LIVE 8, we go now to this week’s “leftovers.”
Up first is the superb 2001 TV show UNDECLARED about Steve Karp and his fellow freshman dorm-mates.
They are all about to embark on one the greatest experiences of their lives…unfortunately for Steve, the girl he slept with last night has a boyfriend, and his lonely and recently divorced father is tagging along for the ride.
If you were a fan of the under appreciated FREAKS AND GEEKS then you will enjoy the humour and honesty that is front and centre in UNDECLARED.
And now UNDECLARED- THE COMPLETE SERIES is now available in an incredible 4-disc box set with an array of extras.
I declare that I love UNDECLARED, and I am quite pleased that I now own THE COMPLETE SERIES on DVD.
I am just as pleased that I now own a movie version of Douglas Adams’ classic book THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.
After almost twenty years development THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY was finally turned into a movie this year.
For those unfamiliar with the story, everyman Arthur Dent wakes up one morning to discover that the entire planet of Earth is about to be destroyed for an interplanetary bypass.
Dent is saved by his best friend, and alien-in-disguise Ford Prefect and that sets the stage for a series of interesting and goofy trips across the galaxy, accompanied – of course – by the trusty Hitchhiker’s Guide.
Many of my friends revere Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” book, and the BBC television series. Many of them were subsequently disappointed in this film adaptation.
But I enjoyed it. The cast seems to be having a good time, and the result is a fun, breezy movie that is a treat to watch.
THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY movie might not be as good as the book, or the series, but it is an entertaining film nonetheless!
And it is available now at a store near you, along with CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, A DIFFERENT WORLD – SEASON ONE, the LIVE 8 BOX SET and UNDECLARED.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
The funny film MADAGASCAR features four zoo animals who end us shipwrecked outside of their friendly confines.
SCRUBS – SEASON TWO is the 3-disc box set with all of the 22 hilarious episodes from SCRUBS sensational second season.
THE SKELETON KEY is the title and the item that reveals the secrets of an old mansion.
And our “Leftover” is the 2005 version of CRASH. In this exceptional film several stories interweave during two days in Los Angeles involving a collection of inter-related characters.
I’m Dan Reynish. 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!
The Couch Potato Report – November 8th, 2005