The Couch Potato Report

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The Couch Potato Report – September 24th, 2011

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are bridesmaids, Conan O’Brien, and we’ll have breakfast…at Tiffany’s.

In a day and age when every movie that is coming out is hyped, over-hyped, and then hyped some more, I love it when one comes out of nowhere to become a huge surprise hit.

That was the case back in May when a comedy called BRIDESMAIDS, starring Saturday Night Live veterans Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolf, was released.

No one expected it to be a hit, yet it was – to the tune of almost $170 million dollars so far…which is more than the Summer Blockbuster KUNG FU PANDA 2, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, THE SMURFS, GREEN LANTERN and COWBOYS & ALIENS all made.

BRIDESMAIDS is about two best friends, Sad Sack Annie whose life isn’t going very well and her friend Lillian…who announces she is getting married. Even though she has been asked to be the maid of honour, Annie’s life seems to spiral out of control and she appears to be losing her friend to one of the other women in the bridal party…the rich and controlling Helen.

Between the engagement and the altar there are often hilarious run-ins with bad Brazilian food, the flight to Vegas for the bachelorette party and especially during the dress fitting.

BRIDESMAIDS is not a perfect film, at over two hours it is about twenty minutes too long, it is predictable at times, and I didn’t completely believe the ending would have happened that way…but when it works it works, and much of it does work.

Plus, there are some fantastic laugh out loud moments!!

Due to its very raunchy nature, it isn’t for everyone, but after spending time with the bridesmaids again this week, it is no surprise to me that the film was a success.

I enjoyed it!! This is a fun and entertaining film!!

There are parts of the documentary CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP that are fun and entertaining…but mostly this film about the North American Tour the comedian went on after being fired from The Tonight Show is a fairly serious look at a man who has lost his dream job…and – understandably – isn’t t happy about it.

CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP is a very honest film, and I was completely engrossed with it while I watched it. I highly recommend it…but know this going in, if you are expecting to see a complete performance from Conan’s “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour”, this movie is not about that…it is about the man at the centre of it.

Conan’s 2010 Tour took him to several destinations in the Pacific Northwest as he did shows in Vancouver, Spokane, Washington and Seattle.

We are staying in that region of North America as that is where the Western MEEK’S CUTOFF takes place…back in the year 1845.

The film is based on a real historical incident about three couples in covered wagons who are travelling the Oregon Trail with a less than reputable guide named Stephen Meek – and played by the great Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood. They have had their share of misfortune along the way, plus their two-week journey has stretched into five, and they are now in desperate need of water.

Michelle Williams from BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and BLUE VALENTINE co-stars and she is certain that Meek is in over his head.

MEEK’S CUTOFF is a beautiful looking film that is slow moving and takes it’s time getting where it is going. It often feels as if it can’t move any faster that the wagons themselves…and I appreciated that about it.

But ultimately the wheels come off of the movie as it moves toward its conclusion and I was completely unsatisfied by the ending. Whether it is based a real incidents or not, it just didn’t work for me.

So while I admired parts of MEEK’S CUTOFF, I don’t recommend it.

I also admired parts of the made-in-Toronto and Hamilton miniseries THE KENNEDYS, but I also don’t recommend it either.

THE KENNEDYS is not an eight-part documentary about America’s first family…it is a television series, made to entertain people, and as such – even though it does feature a lot of the truth about the family – including various drug habits, mob connections, election fixing, philandering, cynical manipulation, cruelty and more – you can’t watch it as if it is the truth about them…after all Edward Kennedy is never mentioned, let alone seen, and Kathleen, Eunice, and Jean are also nowhere to be found…but Marilyn Monroe is.

There is some truth, some fiction, and many omissions…but there is also some good to be found in THE KENNEDYS, namely in the performance given by British Columbia born actor Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy.

Unlike many of the others, he nails the family’s accent.

Greg Kinnear plays JFK and Katie Holmes is Jackie, and while neither is miscast…they don’t quite nail the accents.

THE KENNEDYS is not awful…but it is never great either. I am glad I’ve seen it…and if it sounds interesting to you, I suggest you pick it up. Otherwise, just skip it.

With the new television season now underway, there are a wealth of new TV Shows Sets available for us to own…and I have three of them for you this week, and it all starts with a big bang.

I continue to recommend the comedy series THE BIG BANG THEORY, a program that seems to get better and better each season…and I recommend it knowing full-well that one of the lead characters – Sheldon – is almost completely unlikeable…but that said, I think he is great and he works very well within the show…and how he remembers all of his lines is beyond me!!

THE BIG BANG THEORY is a show about a group of friends – a beautiful woman and four male scientists – and it features a great ensemble cast and some great pop culture references, and more than a few laughs.

THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON is now available to own, and I am glad I do because I love this show, and one of the Special Features in the set includes Canada’s own Barenaked Ladies talking about the show’s theme song, which they wrote.

Yes, I like THE BIG BANG THEORY and I also like GLEE, the very popular television show about a High School Glee Club, and the talented and troubled kids who are in it.

The show is also about their teacher advisor, and Sue Sylvester, the head of the school’s cheerleading team who is always scheming to take down the Glee club.

The second season of the show is now available to own!!

GLEE features some moving and involving storylines, and it the characters are growing, but it still has far too much teenage melodrama for it to be a show that I love…but I do love parts of it, specifically the songs they sing and the musical numbers!! They are spectacular!!

Even though I don’t love GLEE, I do enjoy it, and I had a blast this week watching THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON.

Let’s hit the beach now and head to Hawaii where the HAWAII 5-0 was filmed.

That show ran for twelve seasons from 1968 to 1980 and last year the show can back to television. The re-imagining, like the original version, follows an elite state police unit/task force set up to fight crime in the state of Hawaii.

Steve McGarrett returns home to Oahu and his team features Chin Ho Kelly, Kono, and Danny “Danno” Williams.

THE FIRST SEASON of the new HAWAII 5-0 has a lot going for it, and I like the show…never loved, but like.

It is an above average cop show, with a great season long story about McGarrett looking for his Father’s killer to keep you tuned in for the long haul.

I liked it!!

It is BLU-RAY BEACON time now, as we shine a light on the latest releases in high definition on Blu-ray…and I start with the film that started it all for the Academy Award winning Coen Brothers.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s BLOOD SIMPLE came out in 1984 and it is a clever and smart crime thriller about a Texas bar owner who hires a seedy private detective to follow his cheating wife, and then kill her and her lover.

Along the way, people are double-crossed, buried alive, and it all adds up to a great debut!!

I appreciate BLOOD SIMPLE more and more every time I see it, and it is one I easily recommend.

It is Anniversary Time now on The Report as we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S.

Audrey Hepburn is stupendous as New York socialite Holly Golightly in this romantic adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella.

She is a frustrated romantic with a secret past and a hidden vulnerability who befriends – and maybe even falls in love – with a writer who moves in upstairs.

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S is almost a perfect film and the main thing that prevents it from being that is Mickey Rooney’s demeaning and racist performance as the apartment building’s Japanese manager.

It remains an offensive stereotype, but…to its credit, the Special Features on the 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION BLU-RAY address Rooney’s performance from an Asian point of view.

If you have never seen it, this is a true Hollywood classic!!

Finally this week…in October of 1941 Walt Disney released an animated film about a young circus elephant that is ridiculed because of his enormous ears, but befriended by a mouse that helps him use those ears to his advantage.

Almost seventy years later, DUMBO is still entertaining audiences around the world and you can now see it looking and sounding better than ever before on Blu-ray in High Definition in a 70th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.

I love DUMBO, and – in addition to the classic film – this blu-ray comes with a wealth of old and new bonus features.

I easily, and highly recommend it!!

The 70th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of DUMBO, the 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, the Coen Brothers’ debut film BLOOD SIMPLE, THE FIRST SEASON of the new version of HAWAII 5-0, THE COMPLETE SECOND SESON of GLEE, THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON of THE BIG BANG THEORY, the made-in-Toronto and Hamilton mini-series THE KENNEDYS, MEEK’S CUTOFF, the insightful and entertaining documentary CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP and the hilarious BRIDESMAIDS are all available now in stores and online.

Coming up inside 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 movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!