The Couch Potato Report

In case you need something to watch (or avoid) this weekend…after you’ve seen “The Simpsons Movie” that is!

The Couch Potato Report – July 28th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels a number and an underdog, plus we see IraqÖin fragments.
If there is a number that corresponds to someone or something meaningful in your life, you probably see it everywhere.
For instance…that number for me is 333.
In the early nineties I worked at a music store that was located at 333 Yonge Street and to this day I see that number everywhere – on licence plates, buildings, t-shirts…and I even somehow always seem to look at the clock at 3:33, both am and pm.
Luckily the number doesn’t haunt me, follow me around, or show up right before bad things are going to happen…like the number 23 does to Jim Carrey in the film THE NUMBER 23.
And that number does haunt him in the film.
In this film Carrey plays a man named Walter Sparrow. Even though he might get bored with his life from time to time, he is a character who seems happy with his normal life with his wife and son.
And then…one night while she is waiting for him…his wife introduces him to a book called “The Number 23”.
As he reads the book, he notices eerie resemblances to his own life, including similarities to his own family, and he becomes obsessed with the number 23.
As Carrey reads along, he goes deeper and deeper into madness as he thinks that he must solve a murder which can only be done by unlocking the secrets of the book.
THE NUMBER 23 is a film that has many interesting moments – specifically when it shows us how often the number 23 comes up in everyday life – but ultimately it just isn’t worth your time.
The great Canadian Jim Carrey once again stars from the LIAR LIAR, BRUCE ALMIGHTY and ACE VENTURA comedic roles we all love him in to play the serious lead in the film.
And while his serious work in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and THE TRUMAN SHOW was superb, in THE NUMBER 23 he is just the wrong man for the job.
His performance isn’t awful…but he just isn’t believeable as this character.
THE NUMBER 23 isn’t a complete waste of your time…but it is very, very close.
I also fear that a film opening in theatres on August 3rd will also be very, very close to being a waste of our time…but I remain optimistic.
That film?…a live action version of the classic cartoon – UNDERDOG!
Underdog was a cartoon that began in 1964 and ran throughout the seventies on Saturday mornings.
The premise is that the “humble and lovable” Shoeshine Boy is in truth the superhero Underdog, who ducks into a telephone booth when he needs to be transformed into the caped and costumed hero, not unlike a certain super man.
In THE UNDERDOG SHOW there is a great hero, plenty of nasty villains, and it is always engaging to the ear as Underdog almost always speaks in rhymes.
If you even needed to find me at this time on a Saturday morning, thirty-some-odd years ago, you could just look in front of the TV because that is where I was – with my bowl of cereal – enjoying UNDERDOG.
And now the classic cartoon UNDERDOG returns to DVD, in advance of the impending theatrical film, with three new releases…Volumes One, Two and Three of THE CLASSIC UNDERDOG COLLECTION!!
The difference between these UNDERDOG releases and some of the other ones that have come out over the years is the fact that these DVDs have the complete Underdog stories, AND the cartoon shorts that originally aired with them.
Yes, Tennessee Tuxedo, Klondike Kat, Go Go Gophers and The World of Commander McBragg and all of the other characters are all here too!!
It might be thirty-some-odd years since I first saw Underdog on TV…but I had a wonderful time watching the THE CLASSIC UNDERDOG COLLECTION this past week.
I even had a bowl of cereal…or two.
Good times, good memories, good good good!
Here’s hoping the live-action theatrical movie – which I will see – is half as good!
Okay, finally this week, our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD continues.
This summer, while the big summer blockbusters roll out in theatres, I am telling you about at least one foreign film each week, in case you’d like something less commercial to watch.
And there is nothing commercial about the documentary IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS.
This film introduces us to three different individuals – and the people around them – and it shows how their lives are now, after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Many of them can’t understand why things aren’t any better, and some of them would even prefer to have things the way they were.
The thing that IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS does best is provide us a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary Iraqis.
The people we meet talk at length about school, work, their families, their hobbies, and much more.
While some people might find the amount of details and stories irrelevant, I was engaged from start to finish during this 94 minute film.
IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS is filled with unique faces and places, and for the first time we get to see extended stories about how the youth in Iraq is dealing with life there.
It is an exceptionally interesting documentary and this week’s title in our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD.
IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS, Volumes One to Three of the always entertaining CLASSIC UNDERDOG COLLECTION, and Canadian JIm Carrey’s new film THE NUMBER 23 are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
JEAN-PHILIPPE is one of the best films I have seen this year, it is about Fabrice, a man who has to coinvince his favourite singer, a man who is running a bowling alley, that he is – in reality – a music superstar.
Also next week, I will talk about the hilarious British movie HOT FUZZ, from the makers of SHAUN OF THE DEAD; the epic action film 300 – based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel; the classic MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA; and our FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL ON DVD continues with the animated action film RENAISSANCE from France.
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!