The Couch Potato Report

“Is the living really that easy?!?!”

The Couch Potato Report – July 29th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on some amazing stories, an incredible hulk, the Beastie Boys and a Frenzy.
To paraphrase Gershwin’s immortal lyrics; ìitís summertime, and the livin’ is easy.î
When it comes to The Couch Potato Report summertime means that the movie studios arenít releasing their biggest titles of the year because they know most people – including me – arenít sitting at home watching movies. We are enjoying ourselves outside because it is summertime and the livin’ is easy.
But even though studio releases are down, and my time spent outdoors is up, I do still have some reviews for you this week.
The most notable is the 4-DVD box set for the first season of the classic 1980s television series AMAZING STORIES.
This superb anthology show ran from 1985 to 87 and it was produced by Steven Spielberg, who by 1985 had been responsible for the box offices hits JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and E.T. – THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL. Spielberg also came up with many of the showís story ideas, especially in this first season.
Each week on the show there was a new, separate, very interesting and usually “amazing” story. These stories ran the gamut from hilariously weird to fantastic fantasy to awe inspiring.
And because each week had a separate story – not unlike THE TWILIGHT ZONE – some of the best filmmakers in the business worked on the show. In todayís world filmmakers work on TV all the time, but in the 1980s that was almost unheard of.
Danny DeVito, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Robert Zemeckis, Burt Reynolds, Timothy Hutton, Steven Spielberg himself, Harvey Keitel, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Tim Robbins, Kevin Costner and John Lithgow are just some of the people who helped make AMAZING STORIES a show to look forward every week.
Now, AMAZING STORIES – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is available on DVD! It includes all 24 episodes from the seriesí 1985-86 season and over twenty minutes of deleted scenes.
Admittedly, not every single episode is actually amazing, and when the show is bad it is truly bad, but for the most part they are AMAZING STORIES.
From the 1985 to 1987 TV series AMAZING STORIES, lets rewind back a bit farther to the 1978 to 82 show that was made out of THE INCREDIBLE HULK comic books.
If you are unfamiliar with Stan Leeís classic comic book character, well, I am not.
After being accidentally exposed in his laboratory to a massive dosage of gamma radiation, David Banner – as he is called in the TV show – finds out that once angered, he turns into the Incredible Hulk, a huge, powerful seven foot greenish, manlike monster of immense strength and primitive passions.
Donít get him angry. You wouldnít like him when he is angry!
The mild mannered Banner can’t remember what happens once he becomes The Hulk so he begins traveling around the country in search of a cure for his affliction as well as an escape from a prying reporter.
In THE INCREDIBLE HULK – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON you get all ten first season episodes, plus the two original feature-length films.
In my mind THE INCREDIBLE HULK was one of the best adaptations of a comic book, but before I sat down to watch this new 4-DVD Box Set it had been years since I had seen the show.
In reality, now that I have watched them again, it remains one of the best. I really enjoyed this set!
If you are familiar with THE INCREDIBLE HULK but you were never a fan of the show, well just donít tell David Banner. That might get him angry. And wouldnít like him when he is angry!
No one is angry in the new concert film AWESOME…I SHOT THAT from the Beastie Boys. In fact, everyone on screen seems to be having the time of their lives!
The place is New Yorkís Madison Square Garden. The date is October 9, 2004.
Prior to the show 50 fans who have seats in various parts of the Gardens are given Hi-8 cameras to shoot the band in concert and they are told that once the show starts they should not turn the camera off.
And they donít. At one point we even get to witness one fan’s bathroom break.
Iíll be the first to admit that the Beastie Boysí music isnít for everyone, and neither is this concert film, especially if you donít like to see footage shot with shaky hands by excited fans.
But if you know who Mike D, Adrock, MCA and Mix Master Mike are then it is for you because the Boys always put on a great show, and the concept is so unique that there are so many things to see, in addition to the group of guys on stage.
The BEASTIE BOYS – AWESOME…I SHOT THAT is one of the most unique concert films of all time, and I highly recommend it, even though I am fully aware that it isnít for the majority of people who are reading this right now.
But then again, the films of Alfred Hitchcock arenít for everyone either, and they have done extremely well over the years.
In the early 1970s, after the box office failure of MARNIE, TOPAZ and TORN CURTAIN, Hitchcock decided to go back to London to make his next film.
FRENZY was the director’s first film shot in the UK since he left during the 40’s and it was a huge success.
In the film a serial killer is raping women and strangling them with ties.
After his ex-wife turns up murdered, the police start to suspect Richard Blaney. Blaney is innocent and he turns to his friend Rusk for help.
As more of Blaney’s acquaintances turn up strangled, the pressure turns up on him to find the real killer.
FRENZY is a very interesting murder mystery, even if – at times – it doesn’t feel like a Hitchcock movie.
Still, I am happy that this summerís tribute to ALFRED HITCHCOCKíS FILMS ends on a high note with the very entertaining FRENZY.
In fact, FRENZY also ends this weekís Couch Potato Report!
Coming up on August 19th in the next Couch Potato Report
The also superb INSIDE MAN is director Spike Leeís film about a cop who is trying to talk a bank robber into surrendering, but in the end he might not be a bank robber after all. Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster star in one of 2006ís best films.
SCARY MOVIE 4 isnít one of the yearís best films, but if you need a laugh, the latest film in the series will give you at least one or two.
Or you can just watch THE SIMPSONS – THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON and laugh a lot!
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in twenty-one 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!