The Couch Potato Report

Pick up a movie – or a whole box set of them – this long weekend!!!

The Couch Potato Report – May 21st, 2011
This week The Couch Potato Report begins with life, ends with a cop from Beverly Hills, and has some great films in the middle.
We head to Montreal in the early 1960s to get things started with LIFE BEGINS, a film about a twelve year old boy whose drug addicted doctor father dies after an overdose.
The boy is very close to his Father and he wants to be like him, both as a doctor – and otherwise – in life and death, and so he wants to wear suits all the time, smoke, and the kid even experiments with some of his Father’s drugs.
The boy’s grief – and the decisions he makes because of it – gets worse and that causes extra strain on the already tense relationship with his equally grieving Mother.
LIFE BEGINS features a great re-creation of Montreal in the 1960s, and the performances are all very good, but what I liked the most about it is how it takes it’s time.
As this family tries to adapt to a death none of them saw coming, the film moves at the pace life would – a pace that life does move at a time like that.
LIFE BEGINS is not spectacular, and it certainly isn’t a happy film, but I enjoyed it.
There are fifteen, count ’em, fifteen films in this next release…and all of them – every single one of them – are fantastic!!
Even if you don’t like sports, or documentaries, do not miss the 30 FOR 30 GIFT SET COLLECTION – VOLUME 2!!
Absolutely do not!!!
The 30 FOR 30 BOX SET is a six-disc collection of fifteen of the thirty documentaries that were produced about sports related stories from the first three decades of the ESPN sports network’s existence.
VOLUME TWO contains THE TWO ESCOBARS, about the intersection of crime, sports and nationalism in Columbia – circa 1990, JORDAN RIDES THE BUS – which looks at Michael Jordan’s attempt to switch from basketball to baseball, and UNMATCHED – an insightful conversation about the rivalry and friendship between Chris Everett and Martina Navratilova.
The set also has the New York Yankees documentary THE HOUSE OF STEINBRENNER, and documentaries about NASCAR driver Tim Richmond, his flamboyant lifestyle, and his 1989 death from AIDS, Fernando Valenzuela, Marion Jones, and you absolutely should not miss the superb documentary THE BEST THAT NEVER WAS that tells the story of football player Marcus Dupree – a can’t miss player who…missed.
All of these documentaries are great, but the best film in the set – is the one that NBA player Steve Nash made about Terry Fox called INTO THE WIND.
The films here contain real drama – not just sports drama – that is why I highly recommend the ESPN 30 FOR 30 GIFT SET COLLECTION – VOLUME 2 and VOLUME 1 – both of them are must haves!!!
I will tell you now about a film that is less that a must have…a lot less!!
DAYDREAM NATION is a useless, pointless film that was shot in and around Maple Ridge and Fort Langley, British Columbia DAYDREAM NATION stars Kat Dennings from The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist as a city girl who moves to a small town and in order to try and cure her boredom she gets involved – completely involved – with one of her teachers AND one of her classmates.
I like Kat Dennings and think that she is a very good young actress, but this movie is a waste of time…look, she’s bored so she is sleeping with her teacher, and look…she can’t handle the rejection when he goes out with someone her own age, so she acts out…blah, blah, blah!!
This movie is full of angst and teenage melodrama and you…won’t…care!!
Skip DAYDREAM NATION!! It is a waste of your time and doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen before, and seen done better.
You know, when it comes to making a horror film, there is the right way – right spelled r-i-g-h-t…to create an unsettling film that brings out fear, disgust and horror from viewers.
And then there is THE RITE way…rite spelled r-i-t-e…this 2011 film is a derivative and boring movie that is only unsettling because of how unoriginal it is, and only elicits fear, disgust and horror from viewers as you sit and wonder how much longer the film is going to drag on!!
THE RITE is about an American seminary student – who is full of all kinds of doubts – who travels to Italy to take an exorcism course.
One of the men responsible for his “education” is the aging Father Lucas, played by Anthony Hopkins.
THE RITE is not awful, but it suffers from one of the worst things one of these movies can have working against it…you won’t care. Alive? Dead? Possessed? Not?!? You won’t care about the answers – I know I sure didn’t – and so this is a movie that you should just skip.
Another film that is not awful, but is also nothing special is the war drama THE WAY BACK, about a group of prisoners who escape from a Siberian Gulag camp during World War II and must walk 4000 miles over land to become free once again.
THE WAY BACK is directed by Peter Weir – who also gave us DEAD POETS SOCIETY and THE TRUMAN SHOW – and it is inspired by “The Long Walk”, a book by a Polish POW in the Soviet Gulag.
The subject matter in THE WAY BACK remains interesting, the book is incredible, but this movie is boring and I never felt emotionally involved.
Skip this one too!!
My thoughts on the Blu-ray for Eddie Murphy’s BEVERLY HILLS COP are coming up, but  action star Jason Statham’s latest is here right now and he sure does like to have things blow up in his films, the latest one – THE MECHANIC – features him playing an elite hit man who decides to teach the son of his mentor to do what he does.
But the hit man is keeping a secret…he was the man who killed the trainee’s father.
As with THE TRANSPORTER films, the CRANK films, or any action movie Jason Statham appears in, THE MECHANIC is a shut-your-brain-off sort of film, and enjoy action and explosions.
The result isn’t anything special, but it isn’t completely awful either.
Finally this week The BLU-RAY BEACON shines on not only an action classic, not only an eighties classic, and not only a comedy classic, but an eighties action comedy classic…called BEVERLY HILLS COP.
This Eddie Murphy film remains a perfect meshing of action and comedy and it holds up – holds up very well – to  this day!
The film now looks and sounds great in High Definition and it remains one that I love and will always recommend!!
The still very entertaining BEVERLY HILLS COP, the good enough action film THE MECHANIC, the not good – at all – films THE WAY BACK, THE RITE, and DAYDREAM NATION, the fantastic films inside the six disc box set of ESPN FILM’S 30 FOR 30 GIFT SET – VOLUME 2, and the made-in-Montreal coming of age film LIFE BEGINS are all available now for you to watch and own.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
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 mov
ies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!