The Couch Potato Report

May The 4th Be With You!!!

The Couch Potato Report – May 4th, 2013

There is guilt trip inside this week’s Couch Potato Report, the Borg take Picard, and a superb documentary about Eagles.

Some ideas for movies look great on paper…but the execution of them doesn’t always pan out.

For instance, imagine this…iconic actress and singer Barbra Streisand is cast as the well-meaning mother of an only son, who – after many years of it just being the two of them – has been away from home for years and isn’t very close with his Mom any more.

The son is played by Vancouver born actor Seth Rogen of KNOCKED UP and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. He loves his mother, but he doesn’t always have the patience to accept who she is and what she has to say…yet he still invites her to join him for a cross country road trip from New Jersey to San Francisco.

Now Seth Rogen is a very funny actor, and Barbra Streisand has been funny in some of the things she has been over the years, but neither one of them are very funny in this film, called THE GUILT TRIP. Once they head out on their cross country road trip hilarity doesn’t not ensue, instead they disagree and fight just about every kilometre along the way, until they get in a big fight, and go their separate ways, before the inevitable reunion takes place at the end.

The only time that I was actually entertained by this film was the scene prior to Barbra Streisand participating in a steak eating contest.

THE GUILT TRIP, isn’t the worst movie that I’ve ever seen, it isn’t even the worst this year, but it is one of the most predictable movies I’ve ever seen – you can see the ending coming a mile away.

It does have some nice moments, but not enough of them, so I think that you should skip it, the concept is much better than the final result.

One movie that is worthy of your time, and has a concept that works well as a feature film, is the Academy Award Winning drama SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

Bradley Cooper from THE HANGOVER films is a man with bipolar disorder that was hospitalized for eight months for almost beating a man to death when he discovered the man was having an affair with his wife.

Upon his release he moves back in with his parents as he tries to get his life back in order, and win back his wife.

Everything changes for him when he meets a recently widowed woman named Tiffany, who has some medical problems of her own. Tiffany is played by Jennifer Lawrence from THE HUNGER GAMES, who won the Oscar for Best Actress this year for her performance in this film.

Parts of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK are predictable, but mostly this is a movie populated with real characters that you will feel empathy for, and wish them well as they try to find happiness…with life, love and football…or just try to find a way to get through a day, together and by themselves.

I really enjoyed this movie, and highly recommend it.

The film I recommend the most this weekend is this next one, a three hour documentary about the Eagles.

HISTORY OF THE EAGLES – THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN BAND shows us the formation of the band in Los Angeles in 1971, the path they took to become one of the most successful bands of that decade, up until their break-up in 1980, and their reformation in 1994.

As a fan of the band, and Glenn Frey and Don Henley as musicians and solo artists, I enjoyed every second of this documentary, and wish it was longer…especially during the times – recent and past – where it shows them warts and all.

HISTORY OF THE EAGLES – THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN BAND is a must see for fans of the Eagles, and for all music fans as it also shows how some of the band’s biggest hits – like Life In The Fast Lane and Hotel California were written.

I highly recommend HISTORY OF THE EAGLES, and even though I’ve already watched it twice this week, I can’t wait to watch it again, along with the 45 minute concert from 1977 that comes on a bonus disc.

This is great stuff!!

I am a music fan. I like music. I am also a fan of movies, and I do love movies made about music and musicians…well, I want to love them.

Unfortunately one came out this week that I can’t love, I wanted to, I just can’t because NOT FADE AWAY just isn’t very good.

NOT FADE AWAY is set in suburban New Jersey the 1960s and it is the story of a group of friends who form a rock band and try to make it big…even if their fathers don’t want them to.

The main reason this little film is getting attention is because it was written and directed by David Chase, the man who created and ran THE SOPRANOS. Without his talent behind it, this film would have gone unnoticed by most people as it isn’t very good, and it doesn’t have anything in it we haven’t seen before, in other movies like Tom Hanks’ 1996 film THAT THING YOU DO.

NOT FADE AWAY has a tremendous soundtrack, the music here is spectacular, but the movie itself is not. I’m not disappointed that I’ve seen it, because I love this type of movie, but I don’t think you should bother with it.

It’s just not very good…unfortunately.

What is good, what I do think you should bother with, is a five episode BBC television series called THE SYNDICATE.

SERIES ONE of THE SYNDICATE is about five financially strapped supermarket workers who form a group to buy lottery tickets together – a syndicate – and they win a huge grand prize, changing everything about their lives. Some of the changes are good, some are not.

Each of the five episodes in THE SYNDICATE tells the story of one of the five members, in addition to advancing the entire story of the group, and that is unique.

Some of their stories are heartbreaking, some find them creating their own problems, and all of it is interesting and engaging.

I really enjoyed SERIES ONE of THE SYNDICATE. You may not find it everywhere, but you should search it out.

If you are in the mood for an Academy Award nominated historical drama this weekend, you are in luck!! A ROYAL AFFAIR is one. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars and it is a Danish film set in the 18th century where a young queen, who’s married to an mentally ill King, falls in love with her physician

A ROYAL AFFAIR is a great film that is both interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed watching it, and thought the writing, the performances, and the costumes were all extremely well done.

I highly recommend it.

The final new release I have for you this week is the blu-ray set for THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, or as I like to call it – the season when this show got great!!

The introduction of the Borg in this season gave The Next Generation a spectacular villain all their own and was a great addition to the Trek Mythology, and that season cliffhanger in THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS is television at its finest!!

This is also the season with YESTERDAY’S ENTERPRISE, the episode that brought back Tasha Yar and was also a great episode of TV.

THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION looks amazing on blu-ray and is a must own for fans, and a must see for those who haven’t ever seen it.

I highly recommend it, even if you don’t usually watch science fiction.

THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION; the very good Academy Award nominated Best Foreign film A ROYAL AFFAIR; SERIES ONE of the great British show THE SYNDICATE; the not very good music drama NOT FADE AWAY; the fantastic documentary HISTORY OF THE EAGLES; the great Academy Award winning SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro; and the not great wannabe comedy THE GUILT TRIP with Barbra Streisand and Vancouver’s Seth Rogen are all available now, either on disc or on demand.

Coming up inside the next Couch Potato Report

William Shatner’s THE CAPTAINS – which brings together all those who have piloted a ship in the televised STAR TREK universe; plus the horror film MAMA; we’ll head to a SAFE HAVEN; meet JACK REACHER; and spend time with Liz and Jack and Tracey and Jenna and Kenneth in THE FINAL SESON of 30 ROCK.

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!