The Couch Potato Report

Enjoy the movies, and swear if you want to!!

The Couch Potato Report – October 18th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels some young people…hugging, and the late great Misters Orson Welles and Paul Newman.
The title of this week’s main new release, our Hot Potato – is one that I can’t say on the radio…if I want to keep my job.
Actually, I can say two of the words in the title…I just can’t say the third one.
Those first two are YOUNG and PEOPLE…and for the third word, let me just use the word HUGGING…I can say that and still keep my job…right?!?
Okay…so, the film, for my selfish keep my job purposes, is called YOUNG PEOPLE HUGGING…but imagine the most intense, passionate, pleasureable type of HUGGING that you can think of, and that is what this film offers…or, wants to offer!
Let me back up a bit, when I first heard last year at the Toronto International Film Festival that there was a Canadian film coming out that was called YOUNG PEOPLE HUGGING, I knew right then and there that it would not be very good.
And I don’t mean not very good because it was a Canadian film, I mean it because of the title.
If the filmmakers had a better and more interesting movie on their hands, they would have given it a better name…instead, they have to rely on a cheap publicity stunt – putting an expletive word in the title, the word I am replacing with HUGGING this morning – using that expletive in the title just so their film would get some attention.
For that, I will just say, they should have gone back to the beginning and written a better film.
Sadly, they didn’t.
YOUNG PEOPLE HUGGING wants to be a smart and fast-paced comedy…it isn’t.
It is – however – a movie that intertwines the stories of five couples over the course of one evening as these YOUNG PEOPLE attempt to do what birds do, and what bees do…heck, even educated fleas do it.
YOUNG PEOPLE HUGGING is full of attractive people, but boring characters, and an utterly predictable and bad script…and the filmmakers – even though they probably will never admit it until their dying breath – know this, which is why they gave it the title they have.
Look…I am usually happy to state that Canadian made films should at least be seen and supported….but not in this case.
Stay away from YOUNG PEOPLE HUGGING, it just isn’t worthy of your time.
Up next are four films that are all worthy of your time, and you might even enjoy watching them with someone to hug sitting beside you.
Let start with the 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION of Orson Welles’ classic film TOUCH OF EVIL
I am not sure that I have mentioned this before, but I am a HUGE fan of Orson Welles and his films and work. I could talk for hours about him…but I won’t. I will just speak for a couple of minutes.
TOUCH OF EVIL stars Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Welles and it takes place in a U.S./Mexico border town.
Heston is a high ranking Mexican narcotics official on honeymoon with his bride who is drawn into a murder investigation.
Welles is the 330 pound sheriff who run sthe town, and he isn’t all too happy to have Heston in the way.
TOUCH OF EVIL has always been a misunderstood film as the version that played in theatres wasn’t Welles’ version. The studio didn’t like the film he gave them, so they re-shot some scenes with another director and released their version, which was a few scenes less than coherant.
Welles countered by writing a 58-page memo to the studio on how they could make it better, which went largely ignored.
In the 1970s a longer version was discovered in the studio’s vault, and that was also released in theatres, but it stil wasn’t Welles’ film.
Then, in 1998 the film was restored in a version that attempted to follow Welles’s 1958 memo as closely as possible.
And now all three versions are available in the TOUCH OF EVIL – 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION, along with a copy of Welles’ memo.
In 1993, Touch of Evil was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and the film was placed #64 on American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Thrills…and I could go on and on about it, but I will stop now….after 11 more words.
It is a classic, I recommend it…see it, and enjoy!!
I also recommend our next movie, the semi-historical film MONGOL about the young Genghis Khan and how events in his early life lead him to become a legendary conqueror.
MONGOL is the first in what is planned to be a trilogy about Genghis Khan’s life and it was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as a submission from Kazakhstan.
MONGOL features epic battles with graphic violence and action scenes, a great unknown cast, and an interesting story.
If all that sounds interesting to you, don’t miss this film!!
If none of that appeals to you…how about a Paul Newman movie?
When Paul Newman died on September 26th, I said on this show that I wasn’t going to eulogize him, instead, his work should speak for itself.
This week the DVD’s COOL HAND LUKE and THE PRICE OF SUGAR allow that work to do that.
The DELUXE EDITION of COOL HAND LUKE allows this always interesting film about a man in prison who refuses to conform to the system to look and sound better than it has in years.
It also has a nice 30 minute retrospective look back…but unfortunately it doesn’t feature any new interviews with the screen icon.
But the film still, and will always stand on it’s own. It is a great movie!
The documentary THE PRICE OF SUGAR that Newman narrates isn’t what I would call great, but it is very insightful and illuminating.
THE PRICE OF SUGAR focusses on the exploitation of Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic involved with production of sugar, and the efforts of a Spanish priest to make their lives and work situation better.
As I said, it is insightful and informative from start to finish, but even though the lives of the workers are unimaginable, the film failed to connect with me emotionally.
I watched it, it was over. Usually I feel one way or another after a documentary ends.
With this one, I felt nothing…well, I thought of Paul Newman, and wished he was still alive and well…but I am I will think that for a while.
He was a true conematic icon who will be missed.
The documentary THE PRICE OF SUGAR with narration from Mr. Paul Newman, the DELUXE EDITION of Mr. Newman’s classic COOL HAND LUKE, Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Nominee MONGOL from Kazakhstan, the 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION of Orson Welles classic film TOUCH OF EVIL and the wannabe provocative but isn’t even worth your time Canadian film YOUNG PEOPLE HUGGING are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
UP THE YANGTZE is a 2007 documentary film directed by Chinese-Canadian director Yung Chang. The film focuses on people affected by the building of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze river in Hubei, China.
And to get you ready for Halloween: I will tell you about new versions of three classic Alfred Hitchcock films, PSYCHO, VERTIGO and REAR WINDOW; an dthe new terror filled release THE STRANGERS.
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!