The Couch Potato Report – August 27th, 2011
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is David Suzuki’s LEGACY, the greatest movie ever sold, and The Muppets.
World-renowned Canadian scientist, activist, environmentalist and educator, Dr. David Suzuki feels that he is in the last part of his life, and so he sat down and wrote THE LEGACY – a ‘last lecture’ – what he describes as “a distillation of my life and thoughts, my legacy, what I want to say before I die”.
It started as a lecture, became a book and is now the basis of the documentary FORCE OF NATURE – THE DAVID SUZUKI MOVIE, which features parts of the lecture combined with footage from his work as an activist, and his time spent as host of CBC television’s THE NATURE OF THINGS.
As you might expect, FORCE OF NATURE – THE DAVID SUZUKI MOVIE does deliver an environmental message as Dr. Suzuki does offers up a blueprint for sustainability and survival, but the movie never hits you over the head with the message, it is just offered…almost as a suggestion, and not as fact from a learned scientist, activist, environmentalist and educator.
Other David Suzuki movies have attempted to pound the message into our heads, repeatedly, this one just offers it up…and that helped make the movie more enjoyable…and it is enjoyable, so enjoyable that I highly recommend it…and to Dr. Suzuki, I hope you are still giving ‘last lectures’ for many years to come!
This next release is also a documentary, and it does hit you over the head – repeatedly – with its message…but in THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD…that’s kind of the point.
Product placement is a form of advertisement, where products are placed within movies, radio shows, music videos, or television or news programs. It happens when someone professes to enjoy this restaurant, prefers that brand of pop, and likes clothes from only one store…that is the definition of product placement, as explained here on the only radio station I listen to, CBC!!
THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD is the latest comedic documentary from Morgan Spurlock – who also gave us SUPER SIZE ME – and it takes us behind the scenes of product placement, marketing and advertising in movies…and it was financed through product placement, marketing and advertising.
Yes, Spurlock took money from several different companies so he could show us how companies get their products in films and on TV, and he does it all in such a clever way that you might not always notice that you are not only watching a doc, but also commercials for the sponsor’s products.
THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD is informative, entertaining and even funny as well.
I really enjoyed it!
In addition to some documentaries, there are also some new movies out this week, and the one that I was most curious about was directed by Jodie Foster and stars Mel Gibson as a once successful toy executive and family man who – as the film begins – is suffering from depression and about to lose everything…until he finds a beaver hand puppet, puts it on, and gives it a voice.
With the puppet on hand, his life turns around and he is successful again – at home and at work – as long as he keeps the beaver on his hand. That is something his teenage son can’t understand.
THE BEAVER is not a great film, but it is much better than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t think I would, but I enjoyed it.
Another new movie this week is the high school wresting dramatic comedy WIN WIN, starring Paul Giamatti from SIDEWAYS and CINDERELLA MAN as a struggling lawyer, volunteer wrestling coach and family man who takes some money from a client that he shouldn’t have.
Because of that, he meets teenager who just happens to be a star athlete – and the pair help each other find some stability in their lives – and even though they have both done something wrong, everything seems WIN WIN…until the athelete’s mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke.
WIN WIN is funny and nice, entertaining and fun, with just the right amount of drama thrown in for good measure.
The only thing, the only thing working against it is the fact that you know Giamatti’s character is going to get caught…so I spent the whole movie waiting for the othet shoe to drop, and that was a distraction for me.
Otherwise, I liked it…this is a good one!
I didn’t like THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the television series EASTBOUND & DOWN!!
Didn’t like it at all…I…LOVED IT!!
Kenny Powers is a self-centered, rude, profane former professional baseball pitcher, who – in SEASON ONE of EASTBOUND AND DOWN – returns to his hometown to coach gym after an up and down career in the major leagues.
In the shows second season, we catch up with Kenny in Mexico, trying to leave his old life – and love – behind.
But he can’t.
He also can’t stop being self-centered, rude, profane, and we – the audience – are better for it!!
There is no getting around the fact that Kenny Powers is a jerk…a complete and utter, unaplogetic jerk…but the writing on this show is so strong, and he is so well played by the great Danny McBride of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and TROPIC THUNDER, that you still root for him.
Even though he is the cause of his own misery and downfall, you root for everything to work out for him.
Okay, maybe you don’t always root for Kenny Powers, but you will during most of THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of EASTBOUND & DOWN.
I absolutely love this show!!
NEDS…in 1970s Scotland, NEDS were NON-EDUCATED DELINQUENTS…and in 2011 there is a movie called NEDS, but you won’t care…I sure didn’t.
NEDS is set in Glasgow and is primarily about a smart student named John. It is a time when everyone had a knife and the threat of violence was everywhere, and although John tries to stick with his studies, he eventually joins a gang and gives up school for a life of crime.
NEDS (NON-EDUCATED DELINQUENTS) isn’t an awful movie – most of the characters are, but the film isn’t – it just doesn’t offer anything that we haven’t seen before, and the lea character just isn’t worth rooting for. I didn’t actually care of he turned hi slife around or not.
Plus, since the accents in the film are so strong – I had to watch it with subtitles to understand most of it.
NEDS is just more work than its worth, so skip it.
I also suggest you skip the most recent adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel JANE EYRE.
This is the story of a woman named Jane Eyre who – after a less than ideal childhood – she becomes a governess and lives happily at Thornfield Hall, where she meets Mr. Rochester, her employer.
They grow close, and soon fall in love…and then she learns his secret…one that could destroy her happiness forever!!
The story of JANE EYRE is timeless, and that is why movie studios keep trying to make a version of it that will stand the test of time. This one is the sixteenth film, and there have been countless stage productions of it and television adaptations, and they still have yet to create a version that can be called definitive.
Yes, this newest one is well made, and one cannot quibble with the source material, but it was boring too often, and I didn’t care about the a
ctors playing the leads, and if they ended up together and happy or apart and not.
ctors playing the leads, and if they ended up together and happy or apart and not.
Which is why I suggest you skip it, and just read the book.
It is fantastic!!
We are at war now on The Couch Potato Report. It is 1916 and as The Great War rampages across Europe, a brave platoon of tunnelers fight beneath enemy lines to defend an underground labyrinth packed with enough explosives to change the course of the war.
Yes…right now, we are BENEATH HILL 60.
BENEATH HILL 60 is an Australian film about the tunnellers and the man who is their leader. It is also a love story – told in flashbacks – about that man and the woman and life he left behind.
BENEATH HILL 60 is based on real, very interesting events…but the film never manages to fully capture the horrors of was or any of the claustrophobia you would feel being underground.
It is interesting, and at times pretty good, but it is never compelling.
This one is for war buffs only.
It is BLU-RAY BEACON time now, with The Muppets straight ahead, let me talk now about a movie that is also interesting, is very good, and is very compelling at times.
This is the 1991 Academy Award nominated film BOYZ IN THE HOOD!!
BOYS was nominated in the categories of Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and writer/director John Singleton easily deserved both nods as his film about a group of childhood friends growing up and trying to survive in a Los Angeles ghetto has stood the test of time.
The Blu-ray for BOYZ IN THE HOOD has a very good transfer of the film to HD and comes with both old and brand new bonus features, including an all-new retrospective with the stars and filmmakers.
It continues to be a film I easily recommend, and I also now suggest you pick up this Blu-ray!!
Finally this week, THE BLU-RAY BEACON shines on two new releases that bring my beloved Muppets to HD…yes, It’s time to play the movies, it’s time to turn down the lights, it’s time for me to talk about the Muppets, from the Muppet Show…that’s right!
1984’s THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN is the first of the two releases and it features Kermit and the gang heading to New York City to put their musical on Broadway…but once they arrive, they find out that it won’t be as easy as they thought.
THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN has never been my favourite Muppet movie, but it is still fun and the Blu-ray features an interview with the late, great Muppet creator, Jim Henson.
MUPPETS FROM SPACE has also never been my favourite film from the group, but parts of it are also still fun, and it too is now available in High Definition.
MUPPETS FROM SPACE Is not the film I would use to introduce anyone to the Muppets – who I have loved for as long as I Can remember – but once you are a fan, this story of Gonzo trying to discover where he comes from does have it’s moments.
Not many of them…but some…and it looks great in HD.
The still entertaining MUPPETS FROM SPACE and THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, the AcademY Award nominated film BOYZ N THE HOOD, BENEATH HILL 60, WIN WIN, JANE EYRE, NEDS (NON-EDUCATED DELINQUENTS), THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the crass, but very entertaining EASTBOUND & DOWN, Jodie Foster’s better-than-it-should-be THE BEAVER, the insightful and entertaining documentary THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, and FORCE OF NATURE – THE DAVID SUZUKI MOVIE are all available now in stores and online.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
WE’RE THE WEAKERTHANS, WE’RE FROM WINNIPEG is a concert film slash documentary that follows the band on a cross-country tour.
Also next week, the Academy Award winning Best Foreign Film IN A BETTER WORLD, Robert Redford’s THE CONSPIRATOR, and TOP GUN 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!