The Couch Potato Report – November 8th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels two of everything, two TV shows, two movies, and two animated films.
Yes, there are two of everything this week, and we will start with the releases that give us more TV ON DVD, most notably the HOT POTATO this week, the debut on disc of the Michael J. Fox series SPIN CITY.
SPIN CITY was the show that brought Edmonton born, Burnaby, B.C. raised Michael J. Fox back to television, as once the classic series FAMILY TIES had ended – and I am sure you know this – he had become a world renowned movie star with films such as the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy and THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS.
Co-created by Gary David Goldberg, the man responsible for Fox’s previous successful show, SPIN CITY focuses on the Mayor of New York City and his staff as they run the city – although the main person in charge is Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty, which is the character played by Fox.
SPIN CITY ran ran from 1996 to 2002 and if you only watched the later years of the show, you probably weren’t aware that actress Carla Guigino from the SPY KIDS films and the film SIN CITY played his live-in girlfriend in the early episodes.
They are all included in the 4-DVD set SPIN CITY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
I remain a huge Michael J. Fox fan, and since he is no longer able to act on a regular basis, due to the fact that he has Parkinson’s disease, so I enjoyed watching this show again over the past week.
If you remain a fan as well, or you just enjoy a well written sitcom, with a great ensemble cast, the SPIN CITY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is available for you to enjoy now on DVD as well.
And, if you were also a fan of FAMILY TIES, the end of every episode of SPIN CITY will also bring back some pleasant memories.
And if you prefer Canadian sitcoms to the ones produced in the States, well then you are in luck this week as well!!
ROBSON ARMS – SEASON THREE is now out on DVD too!!
ROBSON ARMS is a Canadian anthology television series that takes place in and around the Robson Arms apartment building in Vancouver and each episode of the show focuses on a different tenant of the building, although we also see the other people who live in the building in the halls, or in the store that is located in the lobby.
ROBSON ARMS features lots of Canadian music and references and it has a large ensemble cast of well known Canadian actors that rotates from week to week, but when SEASON ONE was released on DVD my review concluded with this:
“…in the end, I just didn’t find the show really isn’t all that entertaining.”
But when SEASON TWO was released, the show won me over!!
My review for that season featured this conclusion:
“…the producers got rid of most of the unlikeable characters, and added a few people you could actually care about, and while I didn’t completely love SEASON TWO of the show, I really did enjoy watching it, and catching up with the folks who live in this Vancouver building.”
And now, with the release of SEASON THREE on DVD, what am I thinking?
I am thinking more along the lines of how I felt after seeing SEASON ONE! Sadly, I found most of SEASON THREE of ROBSON ARMS awful!
The stories that the filmmakers gave us for this year are uninteresting and I just didn’t care! Yes, Vancouver looks great as it has been shot beautifully for the show, but almost all of the likeability that the characters had is gone, and there are only a few entertaining minutes – and they are spread out over the course of the entire 13 episodes – and so my conclusion this time is this:
“…I wanted to like SEASON THREE of ROBSON ARMS, but I didn’t. All the goodwill I felt towards the show after SEASON TWO was eroded quickly, and I was left watching something I didn’t care about. Skip this release, unless you have to see how the series wraps up.”
And yes, SEASON THREE is the final one for the show as ROBSON ARMS has been cancelled.
May SEASON TWO rest in peace! The other two are just best forgotten!
That was your two television show reviews, now lets move on to the movies I have for you this week, starting with a great film based on a classic series.
Yes, we segue from TV Shows On DVD to a film based on a TV show on DVD.
The title of this one is GET SMART.
The film smartly features some of the catch phrases, characters, gadgets and locations of the series, but it is mostly an all-new piece of entertainment that is based around the charaters we used to see on TV.
But it is those characters that we are watching this film for, and you will once again see Max, Agent 99, Fang, and The Chief is some very funny and entertaining situations.
Steve Carell from television’s THE OFFICE takes over as Maxwell Smart, and Anne Hathaway is Agent 99. They both do an exceptional job of making these iconic roles their own.
GET SMART is funny, and it is a great action film too. I liked it a lot, and it is one of my favourites of 2008.
One of my favourite films of all-time is ANIMAL HOUSE, and this classic comedy is now out in a 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION!
ANIMAL HOUSE is one of those films that has already been released on DVD three times, so instead of reviewing the film – which remains a classic comedy and one that is a must see for anyone who loves to laugh – I will review the DVD’s extras.
Admittedly, the 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION does include several extras that were not on the “Double Secret Probation Edition”, most notably Animal House: The Inside Story – a 98-minute documentary is a great companion piece to An Animal House Reunion – the absolute complete documentary on the film that has appeared before.
So, bottom line, is the ANIMAL HOUSE – 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION DVD worth your money? Well, it is priced under $20…but, if you already own something better than the very first release of the film on the format, you probably don’t need this one.
Personally, I watched the 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, just as I have watched the other releases, but I still own the Collector’s Edition that came out in 2002.
That one is good enough for me, until the next edition comes out in another year, or so.
Finally this week I have two animated children’s movies to tell you about. One is a classic, the other features a classic character, but the film itself is for young kids only.
That film is TINKERBELL.
Tinkerbell is a fictional character from J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play and 1911 novel Peter and Wendy. She has also appeared in multiple film and television adaptations of the story, in particular the 1953 animated Walt Disney picture Peter Pan.
Initially described by Barrie as “a common fairy,” she has since become a worldwide icon, and this first movie about her is for young girls only, I’m thinking between the ages of 3 to 8! Perhaps some older gilrs might like it, but I don’t think it is even intended for older kids.
It is bright and loud and for young girls.
As an older man, I actually though the animation looked kind of creepy, but my 8 year old neice Taylynn liked it, so if you have a young lady in your house or family, this one is for them!
That other animated film is the Disney classic SLEEPING BEAUTY. It is available now in a two-disc, 50th Anniversary Edition.
Most very young kids won’t able to sit through this film as it is a bit slower in pace than the animated films of today, but those who do sit through it will be rewarded as it has such spectacular visuals and such a strong villain that it makes up for the fact that it doesn’t really have a good lead character.
SLEEPING BEAUTY is a true cinematic classic, and it has never looked better! It is available now on DVD, along with TINKERBELL, which is for young girls only, the classic ANIMAL HOUSE and the film version of the television show GET SMART, a film I liked a lot! Plus, the not very good SEASON THREE of the Canadian TV series ROBSON ARMS and THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of Michael J. Fox’s SPIN CITY are available now on DVD as well.
Coming up in two weeks on the next Couch Potato Report
I will have a wealth of very interesting new releases for you, including two o fthe most entertaining films of the year WALL*E and HELLBOY 2 – THE GOLDEN ARMY, and a very interesting documentary about the state of the Canadian Film Industry called MAPLE FLAVOUR FILMS.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in fourteen days, on the weekend of November 22nd.
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 – November 8th, 2008