The Couch Potato Report – September 11th, 2010
This week The Couch Potato Report peels television shows, movies, and even some heavenly creatures.
It is Back To School time, and so the studios havenít put out any HUGE titles this week, but I have still managed to find a few new releases to talk about, starting with the latest DVD set for the Canadian television series KENNY VS. SPENNY ñ SEASON SIX.
For five years now, Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice, have been trying to outdo each other in some of the most innane challenges you’ll ever hear of ñ such as Who Can Stay On An Island The Longest?, Who Can Put On The Best Play?, Who Can Produce The Best Commercial?, and Who Can Have More Fun?…among many non-politically correct others.
The loser in each episode must perform an act of humiliation, at the hands ñ and sometimes even other body parts ñ of the winner.
KENNY VS. SPENNY is one of those shows that I do watchÖbut as I do I am constantly wondering, “Why am I watching this?!?!”
Simply put, even though they seem to be running out of ideas for challenges, KENNY VS. SPENNY remains a guilty pleasure, and so if you have laughed at them in the past, enjoy this sixth season. I know I did!
As much as I liked watching KENNY VS. SPENNY this week, there is another TV On DVD set that I enjoyed a whole lot more, the 8 disc set for THE NORM SHOW, starring Quebec City born comedian ñ and former Saturday Night Live cast member ñ Norm Macdonald.
THE NORM SHOW ñ which was also known as just NORM ñ ran for three seasons from 1999 through 2001.
In it Macdonald plays Norm Henderson, a former NHL hockey player with the Edmonton Oilers who is banned for life from the game due to gambling and tax evasion and sentenced to perform five years of community service as a full-time social worker instead of going to jail.
THE NORM SHOW wasnít for everyone when it aired, and it isnít for everyone now, but if you enjoy Macdonaldís dry witÖalbeit done here primarily in a cleaned up formÖand shows with a great ensemble cast, then this set featuring THE COMPLETE SERIES along with a wealth of special features is a must see!
THE NORM SHOW is primarily about a group of people working together in an office who become a family. The latest version of the television series PARENTHOOD is about an actual family.
PARENTHOOD is actually the second comedy-drama series that has been based on Ron Howardís 1989 film of the same name and this show revolves around the three generations of the Braverman family and their lives, loves, issues, problems, successes and failures.
I love the movie PARENTHOOD, and I must admit that this new series made me laugh, cry and smile a lotÖat the scenarios presented in the show, and at the memories of my own family.
I donít think it is a classic television series, but the 13 episodes on the three disc set for SEASON ONE of PARENTHOOD are veryÖvery entertaining.
Also entertaining? The sixth season of the show HOUSE, M.D.
HOUSE is about Dr. Gregory House ñ played by the great British actor Hugh Laurie ñ a man who is an unconventional medical genius ñ and complete jerk ñ who leads a team of diagnosticians at a teaching hospital in New Jersey and in this sixth season, House actually spends most of it away from the examination room as he tries get his medical license ñ and his preferred team ñ back.
I am such a HUGE fan of medical dramas that I always devour these HOUSE sets when they come out, and that is certainly true with this oneÖalthough I donít think this was the seriesí strongest season. But that said, when it is goodÖit remains very, very good.
A show that I didnít think was very, very goodÖor even very goodÖis one that I never quite got in to. I am sure that some people love FLASHFORWARDÖbut ñ for me ñ it just never reached itís potential, and I admit that I still love that potential.
This show is based on the 1999 novel Flashforward by Canadian science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer and it focuses on the lives of several people as a mysterious event causes nearly everyone on the planet to simultaneously lose consciousness for two minutes and seventeen seconds on October 6, 2009.
During this “blackout,” people see what appear to be visions of their lives on April 29, 2010, a global “flashforward.”
Like I said, I had high hopes for this show but FLASHFORWARD wasnít that compelling and it just never grabbed my attention and soÖto flashforward to the conclusion of this reviewÖI donít recommend the five-disc set featuring THE COMPLETE SERIES to you.
Nope, no recommendation is forthcoming for FLASHFORWARD, and neither is one for THE FIRST SEASON of NCIS: LOS ANGELES. I didnít care for this show at all!!
NCIS: LOS ANGELES ñ which is short for Naval Criminal Investigative Service: Los Angeles ñ is a police procedural series starring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J that is a spin-off of the show NCIS.
They work in The Office of Special Projects, a clandestine division and they go deep undercover to capture criminals that are threatening national security.
This team have access to the latest technological developments and a complete group of quirky support staff at their disposal, and I have to admit that I expected it to be better than it is. THE FIRST SEASON of NCIS: LOS ANGELES isnít the worst show I have ever seen, but it isnít anything special and I ñ personally ñ probably wonít investigate the second season.
I just did not find it arresting at all.
Alright, how about some movies now? In just a moment the latest film based on a Saturday Night Live character, but right nowÖbabies!!!
BABIES is a documentary about four infants ñ from Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo, Japan, and San Francisco ñ and we meet and spend time with from birth until they are one year old.
There really isnít much to say about BABIES, except that it features babiesÖand not much dialogue. It is fun to watch ñ if you like babies ñ but it doesnít really accomplish muchÖother than to show us that babies ñ much like adults ñ are all different, yet somehow the same.
This is not a film I loved, but I did like itÖa lot. But I do love babies!!
And ñ good or bad ñ I usually always love watching movies based on Saturday Night Live characters. Granted, I wonít sit through many of them a second time, but I always hope for good things.
Unfortunately the latest ñ MACGRUBER ñ is one I wonít ever watch a second timeÖbut I have no regrets about watching it once.
MacGruber was a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live, starring Will Forte as a special operations agent who has to deactivating a ticking bomb in every episode but becomes distracted by personal issues, resulting in the bomb’s detonation each and every time.
The sketches are parodies of the television series MacGyver and while the skits were funny, the film is an out-and-out pure action film. Sure, there are some laughsÖbut this is an action film.
Not a good one, mind you, but it is clever at timesÖso if you think you might enjoy it, give it a shot. If not, do not.
And hereís hoping the next Saturday Night Live film ñ whatever it is ñ is better!
MACGRUBER is okay, not greatÖand I will say that about HARRY BROWN as well.
HARRY BROWN stars the great Michael Caine and is set in modern day Britain, in a neighbourhood that has changed over the years and has become a place where drugs and guns are the currency of the day.
Harry Brown is a modest law-abiding citizen, retired Marine and a widower who lives alone. When his friend is murdered by a gang of thugs, Harry decides to try and clean up the streets.
I thought HARRY BROWN would be a great little film, but ultimately it isnít anything we havenít seen before in other revenge style films, including DEATH WISH.
If you are a fan of the genre or Michael Caine, donít miss it, otherwiseÖstay out of this neighbourhood.
And you should also stay out of any neighbourhood that has the film version of the great MARMADUKE comic strip.
This movie is one of the worst things I have ever seenÖman is it awful!!
In itís original incarnation, MARMADUKE is a newspaper comic strip that has been drawn by Brad Anderson from 1954 to the present day. The strip is about the Winslow family and their Great Dane, Marmaduke.
In itís newest form MARMADUKE is a live-action film adaptation as the Winslow family move from Kansas to California.
And ñ wouldnít you know it ñ since they movie to sunny California ñ there is a dog surfing contest.
MARMADUKE would like to be a fun film for the whole family, but you really need to keep your family away from it. This movie is not fun, not funny and not necessary. I wouldnít even suggest it for young kids!!
MARMADUKE is just awful, and it is a complete waste of time. Skip it, at all costs!!
OkayÖlets get in the wayback machine now and head back to 1975.
That is Elton John singing the true rock and roll classic PINBALL WIZARD from the film based on the timeless album ìTommyî from The Who.
It was back in 1975 that Tommy was adapted as a film, directed by Ken Russell, and starring Roger Daltrey as Tommy, and other members of the Who, plus Ann-Margret as Tommy’s mother, Oliver Reed as the boyfriend, with Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Arthur Brown, and Jack Nicholson.
TOMMY is now available on Blu-ray and while there are absolutely no Special Features, the film looks and sounds amazing, and if you are a fan of itÖthis is now the only way to see it, feel it and touch it.
I absolutely enjoyed seeing it again this week as the music has stood the test of time, and will live forever!!
Another film that is new on Blu-ray is one called STARDUST that I had never seen, but always wanted to as it is a modern day fairy tale based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, which was illustrated by Charles Vess.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn the film stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, and Robert De Niro.
STARDUST takes place in a countryside town bordering on a magical land, and is about a young man who makes a promise to his wannabe beloved that he’ll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.
Like I said, it is a modern day fairy taleÖnot a classic one like THE PRINCESS BRIDE, but it is a very entertaining movie and the new Blu-ray edition is jammed full of Special Features. If you have never seen it either, and youíve wanted toÖI think you should.
The Couch Potato Report concludes this first weekend in September with two great films, available for the first time on Blu-ray.
Unfortunately, neither one features any all-new High Definition content, but both of them are priced low enough that if you decide to replace your existing DVD copies, you wonít be too out of pocket.
First up is the 1988 baseball romantic comedy BULL DURHAM.
Kevin Costner stars as “Crash” Davis, a veteran catcher brought in to teach a rookie pitcher played by Tim Robbins about the game in preparation for reaching the Major Leagues.
Susan Sarandon plays fun loving baseball groupie Annie Savoy who romances Robbins, but finds herself increasingly attracted to Costner.
BULL DURHAM is one of the greatest sports movies of all-time, and this new Blu-ray comes with a DVD version that features some commentaries and other Special features.
I love this movie, and am happy to now have it on Blu-rayÖand when I say that I am speaking of both BULL DURHAM and Peter Jacksonís 1994 film HEAVENLY CREATURES.
Yes, finally this weekÖbefore he made THE LORD OF THE RINGS films, Jackon gave the world this little film starring a then unknown actress named Kate Winslet. The movie is about the obsessive relationship between two young girls who murder one of the girlís mother to avoid facing a potential separation.
The film is presented from the girls’ meeting in early 1953 to the murder in 1954.
HEAVENLY CREATURES is imaginative, interesting and a very good film. It was produced on a very low budget, so the High Definition transfer is not pristine, but it is still a fantastic addition to the Kate Winslet or Peter Jackson section of your movie library.
HEAVENLY CREATURES, BULL DURHAM, STARDUST, TOMMY, MARMADUKE, HARRY BROWN, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of NCIS: LOS ANGELES, MACGRUBER and BABIES are all available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
LESLIE ñ MY NAME IS EVIL, THE COMPLETE SERIES set for FLASHFORWARD, SEASON ONE of PARENTHOOD, SEASON SIX of HOUSE, SEASON SIX of KENNY VS. SPENNY and THE COMPLETE SERIES BOX SET FOR THE NORM SHOW are all available now only on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
The film LEONARD COHEN ñ BIRD ON A WIRE, SEASON TWO of the CBC Series BEING ERICA, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of GLEE, THE PRINCE OF PERSIA, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and David Fincherís modern day classic SEVEN debuts on BLU-RAY.
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 again next time on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report – September 11th, 2010