The Couch Potato Report – July 21st, 2012
Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report is the King of late night, a visit to Comic-Con and an American Reunion.
Before Dave or Jon or Jay or Conan…Jimmy, Craig or Colbert, before any of the people who work in late night television today made their debut, there was one man who ruled the airwaves.
An appearance on his show could make a comedian a star overnight and it could help make your movie or record a hit.
His show was The Tonight Show, and he was Johnny Carson. Both are featured in an amazing new documentary called KING OF LATE NIGHT.
Carson reigned over The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992 and this documentary features clips from his three decades of shows. It also offers up well known comedians such as Steve Martin, Drew Carey, Ray Romano, Gary Shandling, Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld discussing what it was like appearing with The King of Late Night.
The documentary also features praise and stories from many of the hosts who came after Johnny, including David Letterman.
I was – and remain – a huge fan of JOHNNY CARSON and I enjoyed every second of KING OF LATE NIGHT and wanted more. It is a comprehensive biography of a very private man who was – and remains – the biggest television star of his time.
I highly, very highly recommend it.
I actually have another documentary for you this week, and while I won’t refer to it as “amazing”, COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE is very, very good.
Joss Whedon, the writer and director of this Summer’s THE AVENGERS – the third highest-grossing film of all time – appears in this film talking about the annual Comic Convention – or Comic-Con – in San Diego that brings over 130,000 people together to sell and trade merchandise and take part in a shared experience with other fans of comics, graphic novels, movies and television shows.
COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE was directed by Morgan Spurlock, who also made SUPER SIZE ME, and he has given us a very interesting documentary populated with some really unique people. It also offers up some real drama as several artists put their dreams on the line.
Not everything in COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE works, but almost all of it does, and that is why I can easily – and highly – recommend it…even to people who don’t usually like comics.
Do you remember a time…not that that long ago…when Mel Gibson and Robert DeNiro were two of the biggest movie stars in the world? Succeeding with audiences, critics, and with the Academy as they have both won multiple Oscars?
They used to be huge stars, but DeNiro’s career has waned as the quality of projects he has chosen to appear in over the years has fallen off, and Mel Gibson’s personal life and racist tirades have turned him into box office poison…plus, Gibson no longer has the pick of the litter – as he did when the LETHAL WEAPON movies and BRAVEHEART had him at the top of Hollywood.
So now, he only gets to star in movies like GET THE GRINGO.
Things go wrong for Gibson’s gringo after he is caught during a getaway after a multi-million heist. He is thrown in a Mexican prison where he is forced to fend off corrupt cops and ruthless drug lords who all want his money AND his life.
His only friend is a ten-year-old boy…and you won’t care.
GET THE GRINGO is predictable…everything that you think will happen does. No, it is never boring, but I just didn’t care.
This is yet another Mel Gibson movie that you should skip, and BEING FLYNN is another Robert DeNiro movie to skip. I love DeNiro, he is possibly the greatest actor of my lifetime, but once again his talents are wasted.
This is a movie about a man who runs into his estranged Father while working at a homeless shelter. The Father is a cab driving con man, who professes himself to be a great writer, and the younger Flynn has to decides whether to help his Dad – or not – as he has been burned by him too many times in the past
BEING FLYNN is a very slow and predictable film that I never once felt connected to. It is based on a true story, yet I never once cared what happened to the people I was watching on screen.
That is why I suggest that you just skip it.
But…here’s hoping that both Robert DeNiro AND Mel Gibson eventually make a movie worthy of their talents and legacy again. That is something I would highly recommend!
Moving on…do you remember the 1981 sci-fi thriller ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK? The classic John Carpenter film starring Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, an outlaw loner who is given the task of going in a giant maximum security prison to rescue the President?
Well, there is a new film that is almost exactly like it called LOCKOUT…except this time Guy Pierce from MEMENTO and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL plays a guy named Snow, not Snake, Snow, and he is tasked with rescuing the President’s…daughter.
Oh, and it all takes place in space!!
LOCKOUT isn’t an awful film, the cast is pretty good and there are some well done action scenes, but it is no ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK…as much as it would like to be.
Sci-fi fans should definitely see it, but don’t expect much. Everyone else should skip it.
And everyone…young, old, tall, short…everyone should skip the Farrelly Brothers movie version of THE THREE STOOGES.
This film is just pointless!!
The original Three Stooges were a vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid–20th century best known for their short films. Their trademark was physical farce and extreme slapstick and what they did was usually very funny.
This movie version of THE THREE STOOGES does feature some well choreographed slapstick and farce, but it is never funny.
I did not laugh once as Larry, Curly and Moe try to save their childhood orphanage, stumble into a murder plot, and eventually become reality TV stars.
Not once did I laugh.
This Three Stooges film once had Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn and Jim Carrey attached to star, and that might have been a classic update. But for one reason or another they all dropped out, and the result is a movie that is just pointless.
Skip THE THREE STOOGES movie, but search out their short films.
Now that is comedy!!
Finally this week, the opportunity to catch up with the entire cast of the great 1999 comedy AMERICAN PIE!
Yes, Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch, Stiffler, Michelle, Nadia, Vicky, Jessica, Heather, Jim’s Dad and Stifler’s Mom are all back in AMERICAN REUNION.
Yes, as you might expect, everyone is returning to East Great Falls, Michigan, for their High School Reunion and hijinks ensue as they try and pick up their friendships where they left off, and deal with the next generation of kids in their town.
The first AMERICAN PIE film is still the best, and I did enjoy seeing these characters I liked again, but the movie just isn’t very good. There are a few okay scenes and a couple of laughs, but not many, and as a result this is an AMERICAN REUNION only for people who have seen the other three and also like the characters.
Otherwise, just skip it.
The not very good AMERICAN REUNION, the pointless update of THE THREE STOOGES, the less than great sci-fi action flick LOCKOUT, BEING FLYNN – starring a past his prime Robert DeNiro, Mel Gibson’s predictable GET THE GRINGO, the great documentary COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE and the amazing JOHNNY CARSON documentary KING OF LATE NIGHT are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report
The made-in-Winnipeg thriller KEYHOLE, the fascinating documentary JIRO (hero) DREAMS OF SUSHI, we’ll go SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN, and SEASON ONE of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION debuts – and looks and sounds amazing – in HD 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!