The Couch Potato Report

Snowed in this weekend? How about a movie?

The Couch Potato Report – February 9th, 2013

Inside this week’s Couch Potato Report one of the greatest documentaries ever – ever!! – and we take a flight.

Music fans, do I have something special for you this week!!

Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Metallica, REO Speedwagon, Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Foreigner, Slayer, Ratt, Carl Perkins, BTO, Dio and Stevie Nicks are just a few of the music icons who appear in the documentary SOUND CITY!!

SOUND CITY was directed by Dave Grohl, of the bands Nirvana and Foo Fighters and is all about Sound City Studios, a legendary recording studio located in Los Angeles. Nirvana’s NEVERMIND was recorded there and Grohl wanted to document the place that helped him get where he is today, and pay tribute to all of the classic music made there and the people who made it, some who haven’t survived.

The most fantastic thing about SOUND CITY, among many fantastic things, is that Dave Grohl was able to get most of the actual musicians and producers who recorded in the studio to appear in his film and tell their story themselves…and verify other stories that you might not believe otherwise.

The first hour of SOUND CITY gives us the history of the now closed studio complex courtesy of the superstars who recorded there and the people who worked there, and in the final thirty-plus minutes Grohl collaborates on a new album. Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, Trent Reznor, Lee Ving and several others join Grohl and the Foo Fighters and the surviving members of Nirvana to make music, using Sound City’s legendary Neve recording console, which was saved and put into Grohl’s own studio when Sound City closed.

Now, that last bit of the movie is very good…and I look forward to hearing the final album when it comes out in Matrch…but the main reason to see the film is for the stories about the music made at Sound City Studios…including NEVERMIND.

In addition to being a tremendous look back at how music used to be made, by the people who made it, SOUND CITY is also tremendous because we don’t have to wait for it. It is only playing theatrically in a few select cities, and the DVD and blu-ray won’t be available until March 12th, but if you want to see the movie right now, you can!!

Just go to or iTunes and buy it.

Dave Grohl’s SOUND CITY will easily make my list of the best films of the year. I enjoyed every second of it and wish it was twice as long!! This is one of the greatest documentaries ever!!

Up next is a film with a tremendous start and finish, but some boring parts in the middle…which is not unlike an actual trip on a plane.

Denzel Washington received an Academy Award nomination for his role in FLIGHT.

Washington plays a pilot who manages to land a plane after mechanical difficulties threaten to send it crashing nose first into the ground.

The problem is, he was on drugs and drinking alcohol while flying the plane.

FLIGHT is a very interesting movie with some very emotional scenes and a great supporting cast – that includes John Goodman, Don Cheadle, and Canadian Bruce Greenwood. I also really enjoyed the music in it. But perhaps the main reason I liked it was the question contained at its core: Can a flawed man still be a hero?

You’ll make up your own mind about that, just as I have. I’ve also made up my mind – quite easily – to recommend this movie.

FLIGHT is not perfect, due to the slow and boring parts in the middle as the story plays out, but it is very, very good.

Now to the art of low expectations…as in, not expecting much from something…as in to set one’s expectation so low that even something mediocre can impress.

If you go into any of these four utterly mediocre releases with low expectations you might enjoy them. None of them are likely to ever be one of your favourite films of all time, but with low expectations, you might enjoy them.

I personally had high expectations for CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER as everything I had read about this romantic comedy starring Rashida Jones from the television series PARKS & RECREATION and Andy Samberg, of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, made it sound amazing!

For instance, in his very positive review for Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman concluded that “…it’s been a while since a romantic comedy mustered this much charm by looking this much like life.”

Man, I wish I had been able to go into this movie with low expectations instead of thinking I was about to see something amazing!!

CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER is the story of high school sweethearts who married young, are getting a divorce and are trying to stay friends.

And even though they’ve been separated for six months, they still hang out every day, laugh a lot, and Jesse holds out hope that Celeste will take him back.

But when she finally does, he has moved on.

CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER is cast with actors who are likeable, so their characters are likeable and you root for them…even Andy Samberg, who by the time he left SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE had become quite annoying…and if you don’t go in expecting it to be the best romantic comedy that you have ever seen, you might enjoy it.

I wanted to enjoy CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER, but the weight of high expectations crushed it for me and as it became cliché – as all romantic comedies eventually do – I started to lose interest.

So remember…lower your expectations.

I admit my expectations weren’t really that high at all for the action thriller ALEX CROSS and so I was mildly entertained by it.

It is never anywhere near great, but it does have a few twists that I didn’t see coming.

The character of Alex Cross is a police psychologist that first appeared in a series of novels written by James Patterson. He was then played on screen in the films KISS THE GIRLS and ALONG CAME A SPIDER by Morgan Freeman.

In this re-boot, he is played by Tyler Perry, who is best known for both creating and performing in drag the Madea character in a series of films.

Perry is neither a help nor hindrance to the film, he is just the lead actor is a very, very predictable movie.

Set in Detroit, ALEX CROSS is about a homicide detective who becomes willing to do anything it takes to catch a serial killer, and like I said, it has a few twists that you won’t see coming but not enough to redeem it. Even with low expectations you might not get much out of this one.

I had to watch ALEX CROSS, so I could review it, but unless you have to review it as well, need to see every action thriller released, or love Tyler Perry, you probably have better things to do.

Low, low, low, low expectations…that is what I had when I watched what I expected would be an unfunny comedy called HERE COMES THE BOOM starring Kevin James from KING OF QUEENS and the always lovely Salma Hayek.

It looked unfunny, and it was. I didn’t even come close to laughing.

Kevin James plays a big hearted high school biology teacher who wants to raise some money fast to try and save extra-curricular activities from being cut at his cash-strapped school.

So he becomes a mixed-martial arts fighter…ha ha ha!! Isn’t that funny?! Chubby Kevin James as an MMA fighter…no it is not!!

HERE COMES THE BOOM isn’t awful, I actually liked the message it offers about getting an education, taking part in extra-curricular activities, and respecting our elders.

Plus, the fight scenes in HERE COMES THE BOOM are very well done, so with low expectations fans of MMA might get something out of this would-be-comedy…just don’t expect to laugh…because laugh you will not.

And there goes the boom!

We find ourselves now at THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY, a movie that was filmed at some gorgeous locations in Spain and features a cast including Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver and the new cinematic Superman Henry Cavill.

He plays a young Wall Street trader who is forced to find the people – or agency – responsible when his family is kidnapped on a sailing trip in Spain.

Bruce Willis is his Father, a long time covert operative.

THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY is one of those movies that you can tell they spent some money to make because it looks great!!

They just didn’t spend enough on the script because you won’t care about what happens…unless you go in with low expectations and are a HUGE fan of Bruce Willis. In that case, you might think of it as an okay way to spend 93 minutes with an action thriller.

Otherwise, skip it. Sometimes expectations can only go so low.

Finally this week, 1953 meets 2013 as the Walt Disney classic PETER PAN is new on blu-ray in high definition!!

Based on the play “Peter Pan” by J. M. Barrie, this animated version of the story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up has always been my favourite.

PETER PAN looks amazing on blu-ray, at times it was hard to tell that it was now sixty years old, plus this new Diamond Edition comes with a wealth of Special Features old and new.

But the main reason to pick it up is because of the film itself as Wendy Darling and her brothers are whisked away to the magical world of Neverland, where they meet the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, his sidekick, Mr. Smee, and so many other one-of-a-kind characters!

PETER PAN remains a classic and I hope that Peter – and the movie itself – never grows up!

The Disney classic PETER PAN, the okay action film THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY, the predictable and uninspired wannabe comedy HERE COMES THE BOOM, the predictable action thriller ALEX CROSS, and the not great but potentially enjoyable – if you go in with low expectations – romantic comedy CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER, and the great Academy Award nominated FLIGHT are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

The tremendous documentary SOUND CITY is available to download right now, and will appear on disc March 12th.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report


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!