The Couch Potato Report


The Couch Potato Report – March 17th, 2012

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report are Academy Award nominees, and winners, and some American Pie.

First off the lot this week is the made-in-New Minas and Wolfville, Nova Scotia television series CALL ME FITZ – starring BEVERLY HILLS 90120’s Jason Priestley – as a morally bankrupt used car salesman.

In SEASON ONE of the show he reluctantly agreed to become business partners with an odd do-gooder, who also professed to be Priestley’s inner conscience…and now in THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON – according to a prophecy – Fitz may only have 73 days to live.

CALL ME FITZ is a profane and blunt comedy where nothing is off limits and while it is never great, I found the first season very entertaining at times. This second season – unfortunately – doesn’t have a lot to like.

The overall story of the entire season is very good, but the little stories that play out during the course of the thirteen episodes aren’t always that entertaining…or interesting.

Plus, there are more than a few supporting characters that you won’t want to spend any time with…and when they are on screen the show borders on unwatchable.

THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of CALL ME FITZ isn’t great, but I still like the show enough to watch the third season when it comes out.

Of all the films that were released this week that were nominated for Oscars, only one of them won – THE DESCENDANTS won Best Adapted Screenplay.

George Clooney stars here as a wealthy Hawaii real estate lawyer who is forced to re-examine his life when a boating accident leaves his wife in a coma. He now has to take care of two daughters he barely knows, who know more about his life than he is aware of.

THE DESCENDANTS has plenty of unique story twists, and Clooney and the entire cast are great. You won’t like some of the characters right away, and the non-stop Hawaiian music might initially sound a bit annoying, but eventually it will all grow on you and you will be invested in it. So much so, that even when it gets a bit predictable, and it does, you won’t mind.

This is one I easily recommend!!

THE DESCENDANTS had five Academy Award nominations, including one for George Clooney as Best Actor.

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN was honoured with two nods, Best Supporting Actor – for Kenneth Branagh’s performance as Sir Laurence Olivier, and Michelle Williams was nominated as Best Actress for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe.

In 1957 Marilyn went to London to make the film THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL with Sir Laurence, and while there Colin Clark – who was an ambitious 23 year-old production assistant on the set at the time – became friends with her.

He spent a week escorting Monroe around England, earning her trust and affection.

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN isn’t an exceptional movie, but Michelle Williams gives a tremendous performance as Marilyn, Branagh is great as Olivier, and the result is a very interesting film.

Another Oscar nominee this year was John Williams. He was given the nod for Best Original Score for his music for director Steven Spielberg’s motion capture animated adventure film THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, which was produced by Peter Jackson.

Based on the series of comic books created by Belgian artist Hergé, TINTIN is about the adventures of a young reporter, his dog, a sea captain, and a pair of bumbling twin detectives named Thompson.

The motion capture method of filmmaking is still not perfect, the characters still occasionally look creepy, but THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN is one of the best uses of the technology yet and the result is a fast-paced adventure that feels true to the original stories…and that was the most important thing for me.

I grew up with the books, and still love them to this day, and I really enjoyed the movie. It has a great voice cast, plenty of sight gags, and more than a few inside jokes for fans.

Plus, for people who have never seen the books before, I think you will enjoy it too.

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN is a great flick!

On February 24, 2008, the song “Falling Slowly” from the movie ONCE won an Academy Award as Best Original Song.

ONCE is a small film about two people in Dublin, who meet and write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.

It is a fictional movie, starring Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová…but a funny thing happened along the way, they actually did fall in love and make great music together.

Together Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová are known as the band THE SWELL SEASON and a documentary about them, and their lives post ONCE takes the name of their band.

THE SWELL SEASON shows their story – and their love – during a two-year world tour…a tour that threatens to break them apart as success gets in the way of their happiness.

THE SWELL SEASON is a beautiful black and white, music-filled documentary that allows us to get to know Glen and Markéta a little bit as we share their tunes, and their ups and downs.

This is a great supplemental film for those – like me – who enjoyed the movie ONCE…but it also stands on its own.

These two are great people, and I always enjoy spending time with them, either on screen, or in person, and I love their music!!

There are no great people in director Lars Von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA…not one…and the film is really boring at times…but I am glad I’ve seen it as it was never uninteresting.

Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Rampling star as two sisters with a strained relationship, and the great Kiefer Sutherland is Rampling’s wealthy husband who foots the bill for everything, including Dunst’s wedding.

The melancholia exists for many reasons, and one of the big ones is due to the fact that a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with – and crush – the Earth.

Yes, MELANCHOLIA is a disaster film, for the art house crowd, and I – for one – am glad I’ve seen it. I will never sit through it again, but I have no regrets.

Who killed Rosie Larsen? That is the question that the made-in-Vancouver television series THE KILLING asks.

This show follows the police investigation of the murder of a young girl, through a series of three interlocking stories. The investigators – lead by two of the most miscast actors ever – chase a variety of leads.

And yes, the biggest problem I had with this show comes from the fact that the lead police investigators are poorly cast.

Mireille Enos plays the lead investigator and her acting is still and wooden…and she rarely shows emotion. You could also call her cold…but the bottom line is she is just someone that I found it hard to watch…especially during a thirteen episode season.

And her partner…played by a guy named Joel Kinnaman he is just awful, I wouldn’t trust this guy to wash my car, let alone search for a missing girl.

The other main issue I have with THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of THE KILLING is that because the story is spread out over thirteen hours, there is no immediacy to it.

I didn’t care for this show at all…for those reasons and many others…and I will not be watching SEASON TWO.

Who killed Rosie Larsen? I don’t care!!

I also sat through THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the made-in-Toronto series BREAKOUT KINGS this week, and it is a very good, albeit low budget show.

I didn’t expect much from it, and its no-name cast, and I was pleasantly surprised.

This show is about a squad of current and former U.S. marshals who team up with cons to work together on tracking down prison escapees. The cons are currently prisoners, but are taken out of jail to offer their help, and they are also given time off their sentences for every case they help solve.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of BREAKOUT KINGS is never great, but it is very good. I liked it!

Finally this week is a trilogy that has grossed almost $300 million dollars in North America, but none of them have ever been nominated for one Academy Award: AMERICAN PIE, 1 and 2 and AMERICAN WEDDING.

The three theatrically released AMERICAN PIE films are brand new on Blu-ray this week, and that is a perfect excuse to hang out once again with Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch, Stifler, Michelle, Nadia, Vicky, Jessica, Heather, Jim’s Dad and Stifler’s Mom.

The 1999 original is still the best in the series, the 2001 sequel also has some big laughs, and a nice love story, and the 2003 WEDDING episode – which doesn’t feature most of the original cast – is the weakest in the series, but still offers up some big laughs and a few nice moments.

The AMERICAN PIE films debut on blu-ray with a wealth of extras, and they look and sound great in HD.

AMERICAN PIE, AMERICAN PIE 2 and AMERICAN WEDDING, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the made-in-Toronto series BREAKOUT KINGS, THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the made in Vancouver series THE KILLING, the boring yet interesting MELANCHOLIA, the music documentary THE SWELL SEASON, the very entertaining animated action film THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, the god but never great drama MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, the very entertaining George Clooney film THE DECENDANTS, and THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the made-in-New Minas, Nova Scotia series CALL ME FITZ are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

The Academy Award winning 1978 film THE DEER HUNTER, the Academy Award nominated remake of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, the North American version of Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and get ready for the return of THE MUPPETS!!

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!