“I think he has an opinion, but just won’t tell us!”

The Couch Potato Report – February 21st, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report includes two releases that I don’t really have an opinion on.
Each week I sit here and give you my thoughts, musings and opinions on new video and DVD releases.
Whether it is a release I loved – like DOCTOR WHO – or one I hated – such as WAITING – I usually have an opinion.
This week I don’t.
Over the past seven days I watched the film NORTH COUNTRY and the first season of the TV show GREY’S ANATOMY, but neither release moved me enough to have an opinion about it.
I didn’t like them, I didn’t hate them. I didn’t enjoy them, I didn’t not enjoy them.
Wait, was that a double negative? Well, if there is a double negative in my thoughts, at least there isn’t a double negative regarding this week’s two releases.
No negatives, no positives, just some thoughts. So let me get to them.
I’ll start with NORTH COUNTRY.
This film is “based on real life events” that took place in the late seventies and eighties at a mine in Minnesota state.
Academy Award winner Charlize Theron from MONSTER stars as a woman who goes to work in the mine, to the dismay of her male co-workers.
Theron only wants the job because she has two children to feed after leaving her husband and the mine will pay six times what she was making elsewhere.
From her first day on the job she learns that she isn’t wanted. Even the human resources manager tells her and her female counterparts that he doesn’t want them there and if it wasn’t for the Supreme Court, he wouldn’t have hired them.
But NORTH COUNTRY is only partially about the hardships that Theron and her co-working women face in the mine. It is also about the first class action sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed against the mine in the early 1990’s.
A case of which the outcome is clearly revealed on the film’s packaging, an outcome I am not going to give you.
The women in NORTH COUNTRY’s story are threatened, attacked, degraded and made to feel like second-class citizens.
While watching the movie I felt sorry for them, and I felt saddened that they had to put up with this abuse just because they wanted to earn a living.
But once you know the outcome of the lawsuit, there is no drama in the film. The middle of the film, the “how do they get from the mine to the conclusion” has little to offer as a movie, and by the end of the two hour plus running time I was indifferent.
It is a very positive thing that these real life women fought back against their oppressors. Everyone should do that! The fictionalized movie named NORTH COUNTRY that tries to tell their story is neither positive nor negative.
It isn’t good enough to recommend it and it isn’t bad enough for me to tell you to ignore it.
Charlize Theron may have received an Oscar nomination for her work, but the movie she is in just didn’t move me enough to have any feelings about it whatsoever.
And neither did the first season of the medical ensemble drama GREY’S ANATOMY.
The second season of this show airs on TV Sunday nights and last week the show was the fourth highest watched program in North America.
Now, GREY’S ANATOMY – SEASON ONE is available on DVD.
GREY’S ANATOMY is a one-hour drama that is primarily about five young and very competitive surgical interns at a fictional hospital in Seattle.
The doctors all juggle romance – in and out of work – and try to remain friends while they simultaneously try to grab the best cases and perform surgeries.
I never got in to the show when it first debuted, and I don’t watch GREY’S ANATOMY now, but I did sit down and watch all nine of the episodes on this new 2-DVD set.
As I was watching them I started to think of the medical dramas that I have enjoyed over the years from ST. ELSEWHERE to SCRUBS, and while I didn’t feel that GREY’S ANATOMY was in the same league as those shows, I had no problems watching all 9 of the episodes, and the DVD’s extra features.
I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, and I didn’t try and figure out how the show is doing so well in the ratings.
I watched it, it ended, yet I don’t have an opinion about it.
Of course, I suppose the fact that I don’t have an opinion on GREY’S ANATOMY or NORTH COUNTRY can be taken as a negative review since if I liked them I would just say I liked them.
However, I didn’t like them, and I didn’t dislike them.
I watched them, and they are over.
And now both NORTH COUNTRY and GREY’S ANATOMY – SEASON ONE are available at a store near you for you to watch and see if you can form an opinion about them.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The superb WALK THE LINE is a cinematic look at the early years in the life of Johnny Cash.
Jane Austen’s book PRIDE & PREJUDICE is given a youthful update with Oscar nominee Keira Knightley leading the cast.
And it is time to celebrate the 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of Walt Disney’s masterpiece LADY & THE TRAMP.
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!