The Couch Potato Report – February 7th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report includes two films I love, three I don’t, and one that isn’t as good as the original.
If a filmmaker other than Cameron Crowe made ELIZABETHTOWN I would call it a self-indulgent, unsatisfying disappointment.
However, from FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH through SAY ANYTHING, SINGLES, JERRY MAGUIRE and ALMOST FAMOUS I have been a huge fan of his work, so I was more than willing to forgive him for ELIZABETHTOWN and I really enjoyed it.
But unless you are as big a fan of his as I am you might will probably think that ELIZABETHTOWN is self-indulgent, unsatisfying and a disappointment.
Orlando Bloom from THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY is a man who causes the company he works for to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, and he then gets dismissed by his girlfriend.
As he is attempting to commit suicide, he finds out about the death of his father.
So he travels to his family’s small Kentucky hometown of Elizabethtown and on the way there he meets a flight attendant played by Kirsten Dunst from ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.
Dunst may radiate emotion, but Bloom is bland, and by the time the film gets to the father’s funeral, which is just one of its many conclusions, you probably won’t even be interested in seeing how it ends.
Me, on the other hand, well I completely enjoyed it, just not as much as some of Crowe’s other films.
Yes, ELIZABETHTOWN is a self-indulgent, unsatisfying disappointment, but Cameron Crowe’s disappointments are better then some filmmaker’s best work.
And it is certainly better than three of this week’s other new releases. Releases that are so mediocre that they only deserve a passing mention.
JUST LIKE HEAVEN stars Mark Ruffalo from YOU CAN COUNT ON ME as a man who falls in love with a woman. The problem is only he can see her as she might be dead.
The recently Academy Award nominated Reese Witherspoon is the woman, and she is beautiful as always, but Ruffalo looks bored and I was bored. JUST LIKE HEAVEN is just a substandard romantic comedy, with very little romance or comedy.
DOOM is the film based on the best selling game. The Rock from BE COOL and Karl Urban from THE BOURNE SUPREMACY play Marines who must go to Mars to battle experiments gone bad.
If you are a fan of the game, or you love any film that has action and guns in it, maybe you will take something away from DOOM.
The only reason I watched this horrible movie to the end is because I find one of the actresses in the film to be very talented, and very beautiful. Her name is Rosamund Pike and you will hear me speak of her again in a few weeks when I speak about the new version of Jane Austen’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE.
For now, I am done speaking about DOOM, it is just too bad to waste any more of my time on.
But no matter how bad I think DOOM is, the film WAITING is worse.
This film stars Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris from JUST FRIENDS about a group of young people working in a restaurant.
Now that is a great idea for a movie!
But WAITING doesn’t capitalize on the idea and the result is stupid and idiotic.
It was so bad that I watched the documentaries on the DVD to see if the people who made it knew how bad it was. If they knew, or admitted it, I would have been more entertained. Instead, they feel they have made a real-to-life movie about what its like working in a restaurant, and they feel that they have produced an honest to goodness great film.
Since the guy who wrote and directed the movie worked in a restaurant and I haven’t, I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. As for this being a great movie, take my word for it, WAITING is not a great, good, or even mildly interesting movie. It is just a waste of your time!
So lets move away from the mediocre to BAMBI II, the straight to DVD sequel of the classic Disney film.
BAMBI II picks up right where the original BAMBI left off, and I mean story wise, not in quality.
Bambi’s stoic and serious father decides to raise the fawn, since his mother – as you may remember – was killed by hunters.
Bambi meets new friends and learns to live in the wild as he grows into a young buck, and if you have a young child who won’t sit still for the original BAMBI, because it is a bit slow, then they will probably like this sequel.
What makes me happy about the film is that the folks at Disney did a great job ensuring that the legacy of the original film wasn’t tarnished by a lackluster sequel. They took their time and produced a quality film. BAMBI II is very, very good.
But it will never join BAMBI as one of the most treasured, celebrated and beloved classics of all time. It may sit beside it on the shelf, but it will never join it.
The young kids will love BAMBI II, and those who revere the original won’t hate it. That is probably the best thing I can say about it.
Okay, now that I have gotten through all of those other films, let me give you the best of this week’s releases, which I have saved for last.
WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT features the wonderful stop motion animated characters in their first full-length movie!
A very good, and entertaining movie!!
If you have never heard of Wallace and Gromit, or their creator Nick Park, let me briefly tell you that the latter gentleman created these stop motion animation characters for the short films A GRAND DAY OUT, THE WRONG TROUSERS and A CLOSE SHAVE. TROUSERS and SHAVE both won Academy Awards as Best Animated Short.
Nick Park also created and produced the stop motion animated film CHICKEN RUN in 2000.
That is their very successful, and well-deserved pedigree.
WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT only expands on their legacy and Nick Park and company have given us a superb movie!
When a creature with an over zealous appetite is threatening the cancellation of their town’s annual vegetable competition, only Wallace and his ever silent dog Gromit can save the day!
Save it they do, entertain us they do!
THE CURSE OF THE WERE RABIT has plenty of inside jokes for longtime fans, a wonderful array of British style humour, and enough references to classic films to entertain one and all!
In a week full of films that aren’t worth watching, or are only barely worth watching because you are a fan of the filmmaker or star, WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT is a superb film for the whole family that comes highly recommended.
And it is now available at your favourite local video store along with BAMBI II, ELIZABETHTOWN, WAITING, DOOM and JUST LIKE HEAVEN.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
I’ll talk about the new box sets for DOCTOR WHO 2005 SEASON ONE, MOONLIGHTING – SEASON THREE, CHARLES IN CHARGE – SEASON ONE and GREY’S ANATOMY – SEASON ONE.
There will also be a look at SAW II; THE RICHARD PRYOR COLLECTION – which includes his films WHICH WAY IS UP?, BREWSTER’S MILLIONS, CAR WASH and BUSTIN’ LOOSE; and in PROOF the daughter of a brilliant man puts his affairs in order. The wonderful cast features Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anthony Hopkins.
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!
“What?!?! A bad film from Cameron Crowe?!? Is that possible!?!?!”
The Couch Potato Report – February 7th, 2006