The Couch Potato Report

Another weekend means another opportunity to watch stuff!!

The Couch Potato Report – April 6th, 2013

There is an odd yet likeable made-in-Quebec film inside this week’s Couch Potato Report and a baseball documentary about the knuckleball.

I begin this week with a film named after a man called Esimesac, a man who was held in the womb longer than his siblings, and so even though he is younger than they are, he is the tallest of them all.

Oh, and he doesn’t have a shadow.

Did I mention yet, that this movie – called ESIMESAC – is odd? I did, okay, well it’s also likeable and in many ways unlike anything you’ve ever seen before…at least the majority of it is.

ESIMESAC lives in a small, out-of-the-way small Quebec town where there is barely enough food to survive. Everyone is trying to grow their own food, with no luck, so our hero convinces them all to work together on a community garden…and even though their fields are full of rocks, they all start to believe that food will grow there.

And that is the part of the film that is likeable and unique as Esimesac – a loveable, gentle giant – does everything possible to help, including pulling a giant rock out of the field all by himself.

But then the film switches gears as Esimesac walks away from the garden project to help a selfish, greedy blacksmith build tracks to try and ensure a railway stop is built in their town…and he convinces everyone else to help too.

None of the stuff involving the railroad storyline worked for me…that part of the plot is see-through…but ESIMESAC has enough likeable people, characters and whimsical and odd scenes that I did ultimately enjoy it, so let me give this Canadian movie a mild recommendation.

Let’s cross the pond from Canada to Britain now for the crime drama THE SWEENEY, a movie based on the 1970’s television series of the same name.

The Sweeney Flying Squad are an elite crime fighting force who are not afraid to use old school bare-knuckle violence to bring down modern day criminals.

Plain and simple, with a major case to solve, a master criminal on the loose and a major bank heist in progress the members of The Sweeney will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Because this is a police drama, there has to be a boss who is trying to keep his rogue team in line, and someone from internal affairs who is trying to bring the whole group down because he doesn’t like their methods. Those scenes are stereotypical and predictable, but when those two characters aren’t on screen there is some great stuff in the film – like a car chase in a trailer park and a shootout through Trafalgar Square.

That stuff I liked, which is why I recommend THE SWEENEY. It is never great, but it is very good.

The most fun I had this week while working on The Couch Potato Report was watching the political comedy VEEP, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus from SEINFELD as the Vice President of the United States.

Louis-Dreyfus won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her work here, playing a former Senator who finds out that being Vice President is nothing like she expected….but for us viewers it is very funny.

The eight episodes in THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of VEEP are all very funny, due to the great cast and their superb timing and abilities, and they also feature some great political insight into what happens in Washington…but mostly they are funny.

THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of VEEP is quite profane, so it isn’t for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. This is a smart and entertaining comedy and I am really looking forward to SEASON TWO!!

Finally this week, I have a great documentary for you about the oddest pitch thrown by baseball pitchers, the KNUCKLEBALL.

KNUCKLEBALL is an interesting and dramatic film that takes us inside the legendary subculture of the knuckleball and the brotherhood of men who have thrown it professionally over the years – Charlie Hough, Wilbur Wood, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, 18-year veteran Tim Wakefield, former Toronto Blue Jay Tom Candiotti, and current Jays ace R.A. Dickey.

I love baseball and so I was preordained to enjoy KNUCKLEBALL, which I can easily recommend to other fans of this great game, but even if you don’t tend to enjoy baseball, I still think you’ll be able to appreciate this interesting and even dramatic film that will introduce you to the majority of the men who have made it to the major leagues throughout the years by throwing this very odd pitch.

The great documentary KNUCKLEBALL – starring Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey – GO JAYS GO!!!, the very entertaining COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of the television series VEEP, the very good British crime drama THE SWEENEY, and the likeable made-in-Quebec film ESIMESAC are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

The made-in-British Columbia western GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE – QUEEN OF HEARTS, Bill Murray stars in the historical drama HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, HIT & MISS is a dramatic television show about a contract killer with a secret, and for those who miss the eighties, go back to for THE SIXTH SEASON of FAMILY TIES, starring Michael J. Fox.

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!