The Couch Potato Report – September 12th, 2006
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on one of the Greatest Canadians, and some TV Shows on DVD Box Sets.
With all due respect to Tommy Douglas, it is my opinion that Terry Fox is the Greatest Canadian
In 1977, when he was only 18, Terry was diagnosed with a form of cancer called osteosarcoma. At the time the only way to treat his condition was to remove his right leg several inches above the knee.
Three years after losing his leg he decided to run across Canada in order to raise money for the fight against cancer.
He created the Marathon of Hope and once his initial target of one million dollars was in reach, he then hoped to raise one dollar for every Canadian.
On April 12th, 1980, Terry dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
His goal was to dip it again in the Pacific Ocean at Victoria, British Columbia, but cancer had spread to his lungs.
Terry was forced to abandon his Marathon on September 1st, 1980, just northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
After 143 days Terry had run 5,373 km – 3,339 miles – through Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario, all on one leg.
After stopping his Marathon Terry pledged to finish the Run, if he was able to. Sadly, he wasnít and Terry Fox died less than a year later, on June 28th, 1981, just one month shy of his twenty-third birthday.
Even if it wasnít true, and truly inspirational, Terry Foxís life would make a great movie.
But one of the hardest types of films to make are biographies.
Movies are movies and since they are made to entertain and make money, sometimes facts and situations have to be changed for ìcinematicî reasons.
Filmmakers call this ìcreative license.î
Sometimes those changes arenít that noticeable – for instance the Johnny Cash Biography WALK THE LINE features several scenes with Cash on tour with Elvis.
In real life the two did know each other, but they did not go on tour together.
However, those scenes work for the film and there was little debate about that fact when the film came out.
Other times the changes are very noticeable – as the ongoing debate over PRAIRIE GIANT: THE TOMMY DOUGLAS STORY proves.
For that movie the filmmakers portrayed former Saskatchewan premier James Gardiner as arrogant, self-centered and vindictive.
Mr. Gardinerís family has spent the better part of the past year saying he was anything but the way he was portrayed and defending his honour. As a result CBC has agreed to pull PRAIRIE GIANT from all scheduled broadcasts in response to criticisms it was historically inaccurate.
Yes, one of the hardest types of films to make are biographies.
So far, there have no been two films made about Terry Fox. The first was 1983ís THE TERRY FOX STORY and while it is a pretty good movie, it is quite flawed – to the point where it ignores the fact that Terry has two brothers and not just one.
The second film was TERRY. This was a tele-film that aired on CTV on September 11th, 2005.
Now, if you donít know me personally, and havenít figured this out yet, I admire and respect Terry Fox. He is one of my personal idols and, while I donít know him, I know almost everything there is to know about him and the Marathon of Hope.
That said, I was still able to put the creative license of the filmmakers aside and I enjoyed TERRY.
Shawn Ashmore, a Canadian actor from British Columbia who is best know as Iceman in the X-MEN films does a good job as Terry and the rest of the cast are very believable as well.
Plus, the movie was shot on many of the actual locations where the Marathon Of Hope took place, and it gets extra points from me for that as well.
TERRY is not a perfect film, but I am not sure anyone could make a perfect film about the man I consider to be our Greatest Canadian.
That is because there will always be too much about Terry Fox to fit in a movie. He is bigger then life, and he is much bigger than any movie.
By the way, the 26th Annual Terry Fox Run will take place on Sunday – September 17th – and you can find out more about it at www.terryfoxrun.org.
And if you would like to sponsor my Terry Fox Run, just click RIGHT HERE.
In addition to the date of the annual The Terry Fox Run, the third week in September usually means the start of the new television season and many of our favourite shows will soon be making their season debuts.
In order to get us ready for the new seasons, the studios have released a wide array of comprehensive multi-disc DVD box sets.
And I have spent the last few weeks watching almost all of them – specifically I have watched the box sets for THE OFFICE – SEASON TWO, GREY’S ANATOMY – SEASON TWO, LAS VEGAS – SEASON THREE and THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of LOST, so let me recap.
While some feel it is blasphemy to praise the American remake of the classic BBC series THE OFFICE, I do not. While the British version is superior, Steve Carell and the cast and writers of the American one continuously come up with unique and interesting situations and jokes that make me laugh. That is the primary thing I expect from a comedy and there are many, many laughs in SEASON TWO of THE OFFICE.
THE OFFICE takes place in an office of a paper supply company and I highly recommend it, both in itís original incarnation and the remake.
I also recommended season one of GREYíS ANATOMY when it came out on DVD, but while I was watching the SECOND SEASON of this drama centered on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors, I couldnít remember why.
GREYíS ANATOMY is one of the top ten shows on TV, and I know that it found many new fans during this SECOND SEASON, but I just didnít enjoy this season as much as I did the first one.
I think that is because I am fascinated by medical shows and people who work in hospitals. SEASON TWO of GREYíS ANATOMY didnít fascinate me, and I grew tired of the soap opera side of the show.
That said, the show is still as addictive as always, and I will watch SEASON THREE when that box set comes out next year.
Just as I watched SEASON THREE of LAS VEGAS.
In my reviews of past seasons of LAS VEGAS I have used the words ìguilty pleasureî to describe it and I still feel that way because of that fact that Nikki Cox is one of the showís stars.
But SEASON THREE of this show about a Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, where you can do anything you want, as long as you stay out of the way of the security and surveillance team that will be watching, wasnít as entertaining as the first two.
Yet, it does try to be different and I give it points for that. I especially enjoyed the episode called ìEverything old is you againî where the whole show took place in Vegas in the glory days of the 1960s.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but if the producers of the TV show about the city want to keep me interested, they should film more of the types of stories we should never see and leave the dramatic stuff to DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES.
Alright, now, finally this week is THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of LOST.
A year ago LOST was a show I loved, craved, and couldnít wait to watch every week. Today, LOST is a show I watch because I want to see what happens, but it has definitely lost most of itís magic for me.
However, it did get some of itís luster back when I watched this seven disc set because it allowed me to watch the Hanso Foundation instructional films a few times, I was able to look closer at the map on the back of the door in the hatch, and I saw more than a few things I missed the first time around when I was watching it on TV.
Now if you donít know what any of that means, I still recommend that you go back and watch LOST from the beginning, even if SEASON TWO isnít as good as season one.
But I do still have high hopes for SEASON THREE and I will be watching when the new season premieres on Wednesday, October 4th.
The second seasons of LOST, GREYíS ANATOMY and THE OFFICE and LAS VEGAS – SEASON THREE are all now available on DVD.
So is the very good TERRY, the latest film biography about Terry Fox.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
HARD CANDY is a Canadian film that is hard to explain, but I will do my best next week.
And after months of waiting, BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA – SEASON 2.5 will finally debut on DVD!!
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 – September 12th, 2006