The Couch Potato Report

“So, should we check out one of these or look fo something else?”

The Couch Potato Report – January 17th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report includes a LORD OF WAR and we’ll say GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, once again.
In this day and age of constant coverage of every film that comes out, I always like it when a movie comes out and doesn’t get very much publicity.
For the filmmakers that usually means the movie doesn’t do too well at the box office, but for me it sometimes affords the opportunity to watch a movie with no expectations.
And I like that.
I also liked Nicolas Cage’s new film LORD OF WAR, but more of my thoughts in a moment.
First, let me tell you what the movie is about.
Primarily LORD OF WAR is about Yuri Orlov. Yuri is a person who has always dreamt of a better life outside his Ukrainian village in New York.
Soon his dreams come true when he begins selling guns to local mobsters.
Through hard work and good fortune he eventually becomes one of the most successful arms dealers in the world.
One of Yuri’s most successful relationships is with an African warlord and his psychotic son.
Unfortunately, the relationships he has with his younger brother, his wife, and the federal agent who is determined to bring him down, aren’t as successful, or as lucrative, and he soon starts to confront the morality of his work.
LORD OF WAR only made about $25 million at the box office. By comparison the unwatchable remakes of BEWITCHED and HERBIE THE LOVE BUG each made over $60 million.
But no matter how much money it did, or didn’t make, it is a film worth seeing.
Nicolas Cage’s performance is perfect and the movie contains just the right number of anti-war sentiments, along with a good dose of humour.
You also get a crash course in international arms dealing, but that is beside the point.
LORD OF WAR is an interesting, underexposed film, and because I didn’t know too much about it before I pressed play, I enjoyed it and I think you will too!
Back in 1999 I enjoyed an underexposed film called AMERICAN PIE, about three friends who make a pact they hope to complete before graduation.
Two years later, I enjoyed AMERICAN PIE 2 a little bit less that the first one, and two years after that, I am not sure I even enjoyed AMERICAN PIE 3: AMERICAN WEDDING.
These are the type of films that get less interesting with each sequel as the original cast and crew depart for other work.
And now, some of the people who brought you AMERICAN PIE present BAND CAMP. In fact, the actual name of this movie is AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BAND CAMP.
Sadly, the only people left this time around are Canadian comedic icon Eugene Levy, as Jim’s Dad, and the guy that played “The Sherminator”, and they only have supporting roles.
Instead, we get a whole new cast of kids, lead by Steve Stiffler’s brother Matt. Steve Stiffler was one of the characters from the first three films and he remains a great movie character.
The brother is just a pale imitation of the original, and so is this whole movie.
In the film Matt Stiffler is sentenced to a summer at Band Camp. He plans on taking it easy, and following in the path of his older brother, who is now making GIRLS GONE WILD-like videos, but once he arrives he finds out that he is expected to work hard and contribute.
Along the way, he falls in love, and he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time more than once.
The movie isn’t great, but it isn’t horrible either. If you liked the original three AMERICAN PIE films, or the PORKY’S movies, then you might enjoy the adult language and situations in AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BAND CAMP. Otherwise, skip this one.
I doubt I will ever watch it again, but I am not disappointed I’ve seen it once.
Two films that I have seen more than once over the years are DEAD POET’S SOCIETY and GOOD MORNING VIETNAM.
Both of them star Robin Williams and both of them are now available as SPECIAL EDITION DVDs!
In DEAD POET’S SOCIETY Williams stars as English professor John Keating. He works hard to entertain and inspire his students to form a love of poetry, and more importantly to “seize the day.”
The SPECIAL EDITION DVD features a commentary by Director Peter Weir, a collection of uncut, deleted scenes, a look back at the making of the film and more.
DEAD POET’S SOCIETY remains a superb film seventeen years after it’s release, but if we are talking about superb Robin Williams films, and we are, that list will always feature GOOD MORNING VIETNAM at the top of it!
In that film Williams plays real life person Adrian Cronauer, an unorthodox and irreverent radio announcer who breathes life into the stale and stiff US Armed Services Radio station in Vietnam.
He does the type of things on his show I would love to do!
The GOOD MORNING VIETNAM SPECIAL EDITION DVD includes a thirty-four minute production diary, six behind-the-scenes features, and the real Adrian Cronauer explains how he created the “Good Morning Vietnam” sign on.
There is also about thirteen minutes of raw Williams performance footage, from which many of the movie’s best comedic moments were taken.
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM remains one of my favourite movies of all time, and this SPECIAL EDITION is a great addition to my movie library.
It is available now at your favourite local video store along with the SPECIAL EDITION of DEAD POET’S SOCIETY, AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BAND CAMP and the underrated, but very good film LORD OF WAR.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
Jodie Foster returns to movies in the thriller FLIGHTPLAN; THE ARISTOCRATS features one hundred big name comedians telling the exact same joke, each in their own unique way; And the classic 1981 Albert Brooks comedy MODERN ROMANCE is being released on DVD for the very first time!
Plus, Al Pacino, Rene Russo and “The Sexiest Man Alive” Matthew McConaughey topline TWO FOR THE MONEY a film about bookies in the sports-gambling business.
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 time on The Couch!