The Couch Potato Report – January 18th, 2014
Two of my favourite films of 2013 are now available to watch at home, and I recommend that you do, especially when it comes to the music documentary 20 FEET FROM STARDOM
This superb film will introduce you to backup singers Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and many others whose names you might not know, but whose voices you are likely very familiar with.
These very talented performers have worked with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, and Sting, among others.
Over the years, some singers have made it to the front of the stage, but many of them – to this day – remain 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. Sheryl Crow is one who has made it.
I absolutely loved 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. Hearing the stories – both good and bad – from the performers who reside both at the front of the stage and twenty feet back was fascinating and I’m glad – through this film – that these great singers may finally get some acknowledgement for their work.
20 FEET FROM STARDOM is a must see, and not just for music fans as the film has plenty of drama as well.
Okay, ENOUGH SAID. And I don’t mean that I am done yet, ENOUGH SAID is the name of the next movie I have for you, also one of my favourites of 2013.
This great drama stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus from VEEP and SEINFELD and the late, great James Gandolfini of THE SOPRANOS. They both play middle aged divorcees who aren’t necessarily looking for love, but somehow find it.
Complicating their relationship is the fact that Julia eventually finds out that the man she’s interested in is her new friend’s ex-husband.
The main reason I enjoyed ENOUGH SAID as much as I did is the fact that it is a mature, relaxed and calm film, just like the characters in the movie itself are. Just like most of us at middle age are. It has a confidence that most of the romantic comedies about younger people don’t have.
But I also like it because I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus, always have and I always will, and I also love James Gandolfini. His death last Summer at the age of 51 was a huge loss to the entertainment world, and the fact that ENOUGH SAID features such a great performance from him – in one of his last roles – is a great pleasure to watch.
I really enjoyed ENOUGH SAID and highly recommend it. Enough said.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini are primarily known as actors from television shows.
So are most of the cast of the wannabe divorce comedy A.C.O.D. – ADULT CHILDREN OF DIVORCE.
This one stars Adam Scott and Amy Poehler from PARKS & RECREATION, Jane Lynch of GLEE, Clark Duke of THE OFFICE, Richard Jenkins of SIX FEET UNDER and the great Canadian comedienne Catherine O’Hara from SCTV.
Adam Scott stars here as a grown-up man who not only finds out that his parents enlisted him in a study on divorced kids but he also stumbles upon them getting back together.
Add to that the fact that his younger brother is getting married, and that the author of the original study on divorced children wants to do a follow-up, and everything starts to fall apart…or as we discover, continues to fall apart for our hero.
A.C.O.D. – ADULT CHILDREN OF DIVORCE has that great cast – which also includes Jessica Alba and Mary Elizabeth Winstead – and it is likeable, it’s just never great, and only occasionally funny.
Huge fans of any member of the cast should see it, but most people should just skip it. I’m glad I’ve seen it, but I can’t recommend it.
Finally this week is a piece of historical fiction called THE BUTLER.
Loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen, THE BUTLER stars Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker as a man named Cecil Gaines, who happens to be an eyewitnesses to history during his 34-year tenure serving as a White House butler.
THE BUTLER has some great actors playing the Presidents that Cecil Gaines serves under, John Cusack 1s Richard Nixon, Robin Williams plays Dwight D. Eisenhower, James Marsden John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber is Lyndon B. Johnson, and Alan Rickman plays Ronald Reagan.
It also has a very interesting supporting cast that includes Oprah Winfrey as Cecil’s wife.
THE BUTLER has some great moments, but it is never perfect. That is primarily due to the fact that many of the actors playing the Presidents don’t quite pull off their roles, and there are too many secondary stories that take away from the story of The Butler, the most interesting part of the movie.
Still, I can and do easily recommend it as THE BUTLER is very good.
The very good, but not great drama THE BUTLER; the likeable but not really all that funny divorce comedy A.C.O.D. – ADULT CHILDREN OF DIVORCE; the exceptional romantic comedy ENOUGH SAID – starring the late great James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus; and the spectacular music documentary 20 FEET FROM STARDOM are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
And that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!