The Couch Potato Report – November 29th, 2008
This week The Couch Potato Report peels on okay sequel, an awful sequel, and planet earth.
Sequels can be good…they can be…there have been many good and great sequels…THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, TERMINATOR II, and especially THE GODFATHER – PART II…these were all great sequels that equaled or surpassed their predecessors.
But, and lets be honest here, most film follow ups are usually quite unnescessary from a film fan’s point of view and – if we are being honest – it is true that they are rarely as good as the original.
And that is certainly true with this week’s first two releases, including our HOT POTATO, the made-in-Quebec sequel CRUISING BAR 2…a film that was released this year, 19 years after the first one!
This thing is a huge letdown from the original CRUISING BAR, a film that remains a very entertaining comedy about four very different men from very different lifestyles, who are all getting ready to go out to try and find some companionship on a Saturday night.
The four men don’t know each other, and they don’t even interact in the movie, but they do all have a connection.
All four of them – the very shy nerd, a broken- hearted junkie, a snob yuppy, and a middle-aged married man – are all played by the same actor.
Michel CÙtÈ plays all four lead characters, and he gives all four a unique series of body movements and voices.
CRUISING BAR was first released to Canadian theatres in 1989, and it isn’t perfect, but it is very, very good and I easily recommend it.
The sequel…not so much.
In CRUISING BAR 2, the characters are still unique individuals, and they are sometimes funny, but the film isn’t entertaining at all. After you get past the fact that you are seeing these characters 19 years later, and catching up with them, it is just one dance scene after another…and it all equals a sequel that isn’t as good as the original.
Skip the sequel, see the original.
BUT, for all the negative things I could say about CRUSING BAR 2, at least it has the same writer, director, and almost all of the stars from the first one.
Our next sequel can’t boast that…actually there is very little that this next film can boast about…IT is awful in almost every way!!
IT…is SLAP SHOT 3.
The original SLAP SHOT had Paul Newman as a player-coach of a failing hockey team who finds success using fighting and violence during games.
It is raunchy, rowdy, profane, and it is a classic!! It is easily one of the top three sports films ever made!!
SLAP SHOT 3 is just an embarassment to all those who love and admire the original 1977 film.
In this film – subtitled THE JUNIOR LEAGUES – a young group of kids from a boys home must win a hockey game to save their home, and maybe even grow up a little along the way.
Yes, you heard that right…SLAP SHOT 3 is a film for teenagers…and not a very good one at that!!
But for fans of the first film, what makes it even worse is that three members of the original cast appear in it…I guess The Hanson brothers haven’t saved their money!
There might be some young teens who are hockey fans who get some entertainment value out of this Langly, B.C. filmed release, but I got nothing worthwhile out of SLAP SHOT 3….even though it does co-star Saskatchewan’s own Leslie Nielsen and features cameos from two of my favourite hockey players of all time – Doug Gilmour and Mark Messier.
No, even with those three guys in it, SLAP SHOT 3 – THE JUNIOR LEAGUE is potentially the worst sequel ever!!!
Not really, indeed!!
Sequels aside, lets move on now to something that I can – and do – recommend…maybe not to everyone, but to those who find unique people fascinating…I give you GONZO – THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON!
The late Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author, most famous for his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories.
GONZO – THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON is a documentary that completely delves into Thompson’s writings on music and politics, and asks his friends, family, and well-know people such as Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, author Tom Wolfe and cartoonist Ralph Steadman – among many others – to help describe the mythos of Hunter and his adventures…which were usually filled with drug induced hysteria.
No, due to Thompson’s language, use of guns and drugs, this isn’t for everyone, but I found him, and the documentary film about him – GONZO – THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON – narrated by Johnny Depp – utterly fascinating.
Up next this week is last year’s Vince Vaughan’s Christmas film – FRED CLAUS…this one is new on DVD and Blu-Ray and shouldn’t be confused with his Christmas film from this year – FOUR CHRISTMASES, which is in theatres now. The new film is actually very entertaining…and then there is FRED CLAUS.
Did you know that Santa had a big brother? Well that is the premise in this film as Vince Vaughan from WEDDING CRASHERS and SWINGERS is the big bro, who is constantly living in the shadow of his younger, and more succesful sibling.
The great Paul Giamatti from SIDEWAYS and CINDERELLA MAN plays Santa and he and Fred have been estranged for many years, but when Fred needs help, he must reconcile his differences with his brother and help with out when an efficiency expert threatens to shut Santa and his operation down.
Yes, Fred must help his brother save Christmas.
I saw this film in theatres last year when it came out, and again this week at home, and while I continue to love the cast and the premise, the film just isn’t very good.
It isn’t ho-ho-horrible, FRED CLAUS actually has some good scenes and moments, but with the people involved, it should have been much better.
Let’s call this one a good rental.
Before I get to this week’s Blu-Ray beacon, let me tell you that THE COMPLETE 7TH SEASON of the television show SCRUBS is now available as well!!
SCRUBS is the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning comedy about the professional and personal lives of several characters working at a teaching hospital.
SCRUBS features slapstick, fast-paced dialogue, and surreal moments….but even as a fan, I must admit that THE COMPLETE 7TH SEASON of SCRUBS isn’t as good as the some of the earlier seasons.
But it does still have some very good moments, and it remains one of my favourites.
Finally this week, is the Blu-Ray Beacon
Blu-ray is the next step in DVDs and home viewing as a Blu-ray Disc can store almost six times the capacity of a standard two-layer DVD and that extra space allows these releases to have superior quality over regular DVDs and gives the filmmakers and studios the chance to include more Special Features and material that isn’t possible on DVD.
So each week for the next little while, as the format continues to take off, and the number of films available in Blu-ray increases, I will spotlight one new release each week, and share more information about the format, in this forum – The BLU-RAY BEACON.
This week, the spotlight shines on THE BBC EARTH COLLECTION!
THE BBC EARTH COLLECTION features the brilliant 4 DVD set for PLANET EARTH and the 2 DVD set for EARTH THE BIOGRAPHY
Planet Earth is simply one of the most entertaining documentaries ever seen!
It takes us to the highest peaks and the lowest valleys with astonishing photography and incredible detail.
EARTH – THE BIOGRAPHY is a five-part series that look at how our our planet was formed, and how it is changing.
While not as completely compelling as the PLANET EARTH, EARTH THE BIOGRAPHY is still an exceptional series and very worthy of your time.
I have seen these shows several times, and enjoyed them each time, but while watching them on Blu-Ray this week, I think I have fnally seen them as close to being there as possible! The colours are richer, the events seem even more realistic, and just when I thought I couldn’t enjoy them any more than I already do, I have.
These are fantastic additions to your library, even if you already own them on DVD. The quality is just that good that it is worth the upgrade!
This week’s BLU-RAY BEACON shined the spotlight on the very interesting 6-Disc set THE BBC EARTH COLLECTION with PLANET EARTH and EARTH – THE BIOGRAPHY and it is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD.
The still entertaining SCRUBS – THE COMPLETE 7TH SEASON, the good rental FRED CLAUS, the very interesting GONZO – THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON, the embarrassing SLAP SHOT 3 and the sequel-that-isn’t-as-good-as-the-original CRUISING BAR 2 are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
I will let you know all about THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of THE TUDORS; THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, a small film from Ireland and one from Quebefc, one big Hollywood Summer Blockbuster and the BLU RAY BEACON features THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
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 – November 29th, 2008