The Couch Potato Report

“Why doesn’t he like ‘Harry Potter’?!?!?!?!”

The Couch Potato Report – March 7th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on friends, jarheads, and a goblet of fire.
Some films need to be seen in a theatre. They deserve getting the babysitter, planning a night out, spending $20 for tickets, and perhaps that much for snacks, and sitting in a theatre with other people, who may or may not talk during the movie.
Yes, some films just require the cinematic experience
Some other films are just good rentals.
The kind you pick up at the video store on the way home, and maybe you grab some snacks to enjoy after you put the kids to bed, or before you press play you just microwave some popcorn in the privacy of your own home.
The made in Saskatchewan Hollywood film JUST FRIENDS is the textbook definition of a good rental.
And now it is available on DVD!
JUST FRIENDS was shot in and around Regina and Moose Jaw in late 2004. The movie’s plot is simple: an overweight guy in New Jersey secretly pines for his best friend, but she only likes him as a friend.
After high school he loses the weight and moves to Los Angeles. When we meet him again he has a very successful job in the music industry.
Life is going well and he has no plans to every return home or see his high school crush again.
Through a mildly comical serious of events, he suddenly finds himself back home, just in time for Christmas.
No matter how successful, or thin, he might be, at his core he’s the same guy and his one time crush still makes him nervous.
JUST FRIENDS isn’t in the same class as the two funniest films of last year – THE 40-YEAR-OLD- VIRGIN and WEDDING CRASHERS – but it is the type of film that you will enjoy if you don’t expect too much from it.
There are laughs in JUST FRIENDS, there is emotion in it, and there is Regina and Moose Jaw!
And on the film’s DVD there is a special feature about the places in Saskatchewan where the film was shot. That feature is called “It’s Friggin’ Cold” and it features the cast and crew talking about the weather.
JUST FRIENDS might not be a classic comedy, but it is a good rental. As I said, it is the textbook definition of the words: “good rental.”
If you are a fan of the HARRY POTTER franchise, I suspect that you won’t just want to rent HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.
This is the fourth installment in the franchise, and if you are unfamiliar with my feelings on the series, let me state it once again: “Not everything is created for me. I can’t like everything.”
That said, there were parts of GOBLET OF FIRE that I did actually like. I truly liked the parts of the film where the kids were getting to know each other again, and as they get older, coming to grips with having different feelings for each other then they are used to.
The stares and sighs, fights and the moments that we all had as teenagers while we were trying to figure out why we were doing them.
That stuff I really liked. Otherwise, man was this film long! I know fans of the series probably enjoyed the two-hour and twenty-seven minute running time and wanted more, but to me, man was this film long!
In the film Harry finds himself selected as an under aged competitor in a dangerous multi-wizardry school competition and as I said when HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN was released on DVD, if you love Harry Potter and his adventures, my opinion doesn’t matter as you’ve probably already bought or rented HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.
So enough about HARRY POTTER.
Let me now talk with you – briefly – about this week’s other two major releases JARHEAD and PRIME.
A few moments ago I mentioned how some films need to be seen in theatres and others are good rentals. Well let me add a third group to the list: Some films just need to be skipped altogether.
JARHEAD and PRIME are those type of films.
JARHEAD is based on former Marine Anthony Swofford’s best-selling 2003 book about his pre-Desert Storm experiences in Saudi Arabia and about his experiences fighting in Kuwait.
The film follows Swofford from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty and none of it is even remotely involving.
In reality the Desert Shield and Desert Storm conflicts didn’t last very long , yet somehow this movie is over two hours long.
JARHEAD is a film only for people who have nothing but time on their hands, or love watching army pictures.
PRIME is a film only for people who really, really, really, really, like Meryl Streep or Uma Thurman. I can’t imagine any other reason why someone would see this film.
Personally, I have seen it twice. Twice I have seen it, and I can’t even tell you why the film is called PRIME.
Its not about math, and it isn’t about meat, yet it is called PRIME.
What I do know is that this film – about a career driven professional who falls for a young painter, who just happens to be the son of her psychoanalyst – should be ignored.
Yes, Uma looks great, as always, and Meryl Streep is still Meryl Streep, but PRIME has nothing to offer.
It isn’t even a good rental!
But the made in Saskatchewan film JUST FRIENDS is a good rental, and it is available now at a store near you, along with PRIME, JARHEAD, and HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
In GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK early 1950s broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy. David Strathairn, Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr., and George Clooney, who also co-wrote and directed the film, all star.
David Cronenberg’s A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE stars Viggo Mortensen as a man who becomes a hero when he kills two wanted men, and then becomes wanted himself.
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!