The Couch Potato Report – June 6th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on yet another sports movie, Dumbo Jumbo, The Duke and the former Gordon Shumway.
Regardless if the story is true or not, sports movies in this day and age have become quite predictable and full of clichÈs.
They all usually start off with a team – or individual athlete – who no one ever expects to win, or in a situation that is preventing them from excelling.
Then, you add a coach who works them too hard because he believes in them, and he knows that they can win if they just apply themselves.
The coach also has a loving, understanding and supportive wife who is usually a very minor character in the film…well, until the coach starts to doubt himself, and then she is there to stand him back up again!
Now, once all of that has happened in these films, the odds must be stacked against the team – or individual athlete – and there absolutely has to be a scene in a locker room where they are prepared to quit, before they are inspired to play on either by the coach or one of the players who has “…no where else to go.”
Do they win? Do they lose? Well, it isnít always about winning. It is sometimes just about the journey.
REMEMBER THE TITANS, MIRACLE, PREFONTAINE, and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS are just four recent examples of this new genre, a genre I will name ìPredictable Sports Films.î
And you can now add GLORY ROAD to that list.
GLORY ROAD is ìbased on the true storyî of Don Haskins. He was the 1966 Texas Western coach who led the first all-black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship.
Every single one of those aforementioned predictable clichÈs are used in this film. Every single one of them, and even a few more!
Yes, the cast does great work, the film is expertly made, and the story is incredibly inspiring, but if you have seen any recent sports movie, you will know exactly what happens at every moment of the film.
Since I have seen almost every recent sports film, I found GLORY ROAD way too predictable to recommend.
Now, if you only watch films about basketball, or if the last sports movie you did see was SLAP SHOT, well then maybe GLORY ROAD has something for you.
Otherwise, take another road, or just watch another movie.
How about Walt Disneyís 1941 classic DUMBO, for instance.
The 64-minute DUMBO is the simple story of a long-eared, baby elephant, who is cherished by his mother, and mistreated by nearly everyone. Eventually he rises – literally – above every one else, and you will just about have seen everything, when you see an elephant fly.
Even though DUMBO has already been issued twice on DVD before, I am happy to tell you about this new BIG TOP SPECIAL EDITION DVD of the film because it gives me another opportunity to praise this marvelous movie.
No, this new version doesnít have all of the Making Of” documentaries and bonus music videos that were on the “60th Anniversary Edition” DVD release just a few years ago, but it does have the main thing: The film itself.
And as I watched it again this week, for the twentieth or thirtieth time, I even realized something I had never noticed before.
The stork calls out for Mrs. Jumbo when he is attempting to deliver the baby elephant to itís mother. Her last name is Jumbo, her fellow elephants name the baby Dumbo, so that makes his name Dumbo Jumbo.
I never noticed that before, and I found it funny, both that I never noticed it before, and that his name is Dumbo Jumbo.
Okay, moving on. Lets go from the highly recommended 1941 film DUMBO to a two disc set that has the 1940 film SEVEN SINNERS, 1941ís THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS, PITTSBURGH from 1942, THE CONQUERER from 1956 and JET PILOT from 1957.
Yes, all of those films can be found in the JOHN WAYNE – AN AMERICAN ICON COLLECTION.
Sadly, there are no extras or bonus materials included, once again we just get the films.
However, they are all interesting in their own right and they all feature great sound and picture quality.
John Wayne completists unite, and enjoy the set!
Finally this week is the 4 disc set for ALF – SEASON THREE.
In season three the former Gordon Shumway, refugee of the long-gone planet Melmac, continues to wreak hilarious havoc upon his adoptive Earth family the Tanners.
He annoys the father, upsets the mother, angers the teenage daughter and plays with the young son.
Oh, and he also hosts The Tonight Show.
I watched ALF every Monday night when it was on in the 80s, and I have no problems recommending it now…to those who also watched it when it was on in the 80s.
But, if you never saw the show before 2006, and youíre interested in finding something to make you laugh, I think you will definitely have a few laughs with Mr. Shumway and the Tanner family.
ALF – SEASON THREE, the JOHN WAYNE – AN AMERICAN ICON COLLECTION, the BIG TOP EDITION of Walt Disneyís classic DUMBO and GLORY ROAD are all available now on DVD.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
In FIREWALL the once great Harrison Ford play a security specialist who is forced into robbing the bank that he’s protecting, as a bid to pay off his family’s ransom.
The 1991 film FRIED GREEN TOMATOES is celebrating itís 15th year with an EXTENDED ANNIVERSARY EDITION.
TAMARA is a Canadian made film about a girl who is murdered and then returns from the dead to exact revenge.
And in THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS – THE FRANCHISE COLLECTION you get the original FAST AND THE FURIOUS film, plus itís sequel 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, plus a bonus look inside the soon to be released THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT.
Ah yes, good mindless summer fun, all in one DVD Box Set!
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!
The Couch Potato Report – June 6th, 2006