The Couch Potato Report – July 22nd, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on some basic instincts, weeds, and a short lived TV show starring the one and only Bruce Campbell.
The original BASIC INSTINCT came out in 1992. In that movie Michael Douglas played a police detective who was in charge of a case involving the brutal murder of a rock star, who has been killed using an ice pick.
All the evidence pointed to a beautiful female novelist as the main suspect. Sharon Stone played that beautiful novelist and the role made her career.
Eventually Douglas’ character fell for Stone and once they became lovers it threatened to hinder the investigation and even his life is put in danger.
One of the reasons the original BASIC INSTINCT was worth watching was because just as soon as you think you’ve figured the whole film out, you actually havenít, but then again maybe you have.
The original BASIC INSTINCT is a pop culture staple and it will – sadly for some – stand the test of time.
It is a great example of what can be referred to as a good ìBad Movie.î
Now, fourteen years later, Sharon Stone is back in BASIC INSTINCT 2.
This sequel is a great example of what can be referred to as just a ìBad Movie.î
Michael Douglas wisely stayed away from this mess, as did Paul Verhoeven the originalís director, and Joe Eszterhas, the originalís writer,
With the absence of those three, instead of the edge and excitement of the original, we get a boring, slow moving film.
Sharon Stoneís novelist Catherine Tramell now lives in London and she is once again in trouble with the law after another suspicious death.
Scotland Yard appoints a psychiatrist – one Dr. Michael Glass – to evaluate her, and like Douglasí Detective Nick Curran before him, Dr. Glass is entranced by Tramell and lured into a seductive game.
Sadly, David Morrissey – who plays Dr. Glass – doesnít have the charm of Michael Douglas and there is never one second when you think that the character he has created could outwit Trammell.
But then again, since this is a BASIC INSTINCT film, maybe when you think you’ve figured it out, you actually havenít, but then again maybe you have.
Either way, you wonít care. Morrissey is boring and new director Michael Caton-Jones canít do edgy and excitement like Verhoeven did, so the result is a boring, slow moving movie.
The original BASIC INSTINCT is a good ìBad Movie!î Itís useless sequel is just a ìBad Movie.î
Now, if you choose to watch it, because you think you like ìBad Moviesî, donít say I didnít warn you. This is a bad movie!!
So, enough about it then! Letís get to this weekís good stuff, starting with the quirky and interesting TV series WEEDS.
WEEDS stars Mary-Louise Parker from THE WEST WING and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES as a suburban Mom of two kids.
After her husband’s unexpected death, and her familyís subsequent financial woes, she embraces a new profession and becomes a pot dealer in the Los Angeles suburb of Agrestic.
During the course of the 10 episodes on the 2-DVD set WEEDS – SEASON ONE she is faced with keeping her family life in check and her business a secret from her best friend.
Now when I sat down and watched this show, I didnít think about the moral issues of what would happen to her kids if she got caught, or any of the other legal issues the showís premise might bring up.
Instead, I just watched the show. And I liked it!
Mary-Louise Parker is such a great actress that you can see the moral dilemmas that she is fighting with almost overwhelm her at times, but yet she fights on because she has too.
And former Saturday Night Live cast member Kevin Nealon is superb in the show as a city councilman who is one of Parkerís best customers.
WEEDS isnít a perfect show, I personally hate the character of the brother-in-law, but it is exceptionally entertaining. If the premise doesnít bother you, give it a shot.
No WEEDS is perfect, and neither is the TV show JACK OF ALL TRADES, but the star of that latter show is perfect, so that makes it worth watching.
Bruce Campbell from the EVIL DEAD films and BUBBA HO-TEP is that perfect star and I would watch him in anything, in fact, I have watched him in everything he’s done.
Including the short-lived TV show JACK OF ALL TRADES from 2000. In this show Campbell is Jack Stiles, an American spy stationed on a Caribbean island in the early 19th century.
Stiles is sent to work with British spy Emilia Rothschild to stop the advances of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, in his bid for world domination.
Now, JACK OF ALL TRADES is available to own as all 22 episodes are included in a new 3-DVD set.
JACK OF ALL TRADES blends Zorro, James Bond and Captain Blood all played for comic effect, and while it isnít perfect, as I mentioned, it is entertaining to watch, especially if you are a fan of Bruce Campbell, which as I also mentioned, I am.
The show has lots of innuendo and double entendre humor, and it is fun and well written. I even like the opening theme song!
No, JACK OF ALL TRADES isnít perfect, but it is fun!
Our ALFRED HITCHCOCK FILM this week is far from fun. I would also say that it is far from good.
Over the past few weeks as I have been talking about Hitchcock’s film I have enjoyed them all. ROPE, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY and SABOTEUR all had something I liked about them.
TOPAZ has nothing I liked. I found it completely boring and totally uninteresting. But I guess the man who gave us as many superb films as Hitchcock did is allowed to have at least one failure.
In TOPAZ a French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
There are several classic Hitchcockian touches scattered throughout the film, and those I liked.
However, at 2 hours and 23 minutes, and with little action to watch, this spy thriller was just too long and too full of dialogue for my taste.
There is no reason for me to think that I would ever watch TOPAZ again, and if you haven’t ever seen it either, you might think about staying away from it too.
Even if it does co-star Zehner, Saskatchewan’s own John Vernon, TOPAZ is about 30 minutes too long.
Alfred Hitchcock’s TOPAZ is now available on DVD, and so is JACK OF ALL TRADES – THE COMPLETE SERIES, WEEDS – SEASON ONE and the awful BASIC INSTINCT 2.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
In the BEASTIE BOYS – AWESOME…I SHOT THAT concert film 50 fans are given cameras to shoot the band in concert; AMAZING STORIES – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON will see Steven Spielbergís classic 1980s TV series debut on DVD and in the 4-DVD set for THE INCREDIBLE HULK – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON you get all ten first season episodes, plus the two original feature-length films.
And Iíll also conclude our tribute to ALFRED HITCHCOCKíS FILMS with the directorís FRENZY.
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 – July 22nd, 2006