The Couch Potato Report


The Couch Potato Report – March 29th, 2014

We start this lean, thin Couch Potato Report week with a bloated, excessive, three hour movie about the bloated, excessive lives and careers of some real life New York City stock brokers in the early 1990s.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET features an all-star cast lead by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey and it was directed by Martin Scorsese.

Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET stars DiCaprio as a successful and wealthy New York stockbroker whose firm specializes in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s.

Everything his firm does, from lunch to office parties, they do to excess.

Jonah Hill – in an Academy Award nominated performance – is Leo’s partner and friend.

The reason the people in this film get away with just about everything is because they are so likeable, the cast is so likeable, but the movie isn’t. I’ve seen it twice now, and while the 3 hour running time does go by fast, and there are some really funny, laugh out loud scenes, I felt nothing when it was over.

Not like, not hate, not waste of time, nothing.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is an ode to excess, early nineties style. Should that or the cast and filmmakers appeal to you, don’t miss it. Otherwise, I recommend that you look for something else to watch.

And if you are looking for something else to watch, let me recommend THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON of the very funny television series VEEP starring Emmy Award winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus from SEINFELD as the Vice-President of the United States.

Selina Meyer is a former Senator, now Vice President, with dreams of living in the White House, and in SEASON TWO she makes her play for the Presidency. Happily, much like in SEASON ONE – whether it is with her or her capable yet usually bumbling staff – nothing really ever goes as planned.

VEEP is not a slapstick style funny, the humour comes from the exceptional writing. Plus, it is so well cast. There is just so much to like about this smart and funny show.

I really enjoyed THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON as much as I did the first season and I highly recommend them both.

We’re going overseas now for the made-in-Paris mystery drama THE PAST.

Bérénice Bejo, the Argentinean-born actress best known as the silent-movie flapper in THE ARTIST, is a clerk in a pharmacy living in a run-down house in a Paris suburb.

Her estranged Iranian husband, has flown back at her request to finalize their divorce as she’s pregnant and wants to get married again. She also needs some help with her kids.

She has two children with other men, and her new fiance has moved in, but he’s dealing with some issues of his own. His wife is in a coma and his young son wants to go back home.

Everything in THE PAST would benefit if only all of their problems would just stay in the past, but they don’t and as a result we are treated to a very interesting film that has drama, but also mystery as we slowly find out why the wife is in a coma.

THE PAST is a great film from the Iranian director of the Academy Award winning film A SEPARATION.

Search this one out. I really enjoyed it.

We have arrived now at DELIVERY MAN, starring Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, and Vancouver’s Cobie Smulders. It is a remake of the 2011 French-Canadian film Starbuck.

Vaughn plays a wants to be well meaning guy who is usually just selfish and unreliable. He works as the delivery man in his family’s butcher shop, is being pursued by thugs who he owes $80,000 to, and his girlfriend is pregnant.

But all of that is nothing as he soon finds out that the fertility clinic he made donations to in order to help pay for college made a mistake and he is the biological father of 533 children. AND, 142 have joined a class action lawsuit to force the clinic to reveal his identity.

Forced with all of that, as happens in movies like this, he decides that maybe he wants kids.

At times DELIVERY MAN is funny, and at others it is very dramatic. Sadly, it is never a great movie… there are too many story elements that only come up to service the plot, and there is no way one of the characters would ever help Starbuck keep his secret once he knows it.

But Vince Vaughn is his usual likeable self, and the film is never awful, so I can mildly recommend it.

Very, very mildly, but a recommendation nonetheless.

Make no mistake, I don’t, mildly or otherwise, recommend this next release, one of the worst things I have ever had to sit through.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – THE MOVIE is a complete waste of time, for young and old alike.

This movie wants to have things both ways. It wants to be an educational film, taking us back to see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

But it also wants to be a kids film as it tells the story about an underdog who triumphs to become a hero for the ages.

It just doesn’t work either way, or on any level.

In addition to everything else that’s wrong with it, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – THE MOVIE features dinosaurs talking to each other, but their mouths don’t move. They only move when they make natural dinosaur noises.

This movie is a waste of time, so I suggest you skip it. Even young kids are likely to be bored by it after a few minutes.

Finally this week: It was on February 8th, 2013, that Bruce Springsteen was honored as the 2013 MusiCares Person Of The Year.

MusiCares was established in 1989 by the Recording Academy to provide a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need, through innovative programs and services.

MUSICARES PERSON OF THE YEAR: A TRIBUTE TO BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN is a concert featuring stellar list of artists paying tribute to the honouree, including Alabama Shakes, Patti Smith, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons, Natalie Maines, Ben Harper, Jackson Browne, Tom Morello, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Elton John and Neil Young, among many others.

This tribute also has Bruce himself and the E Street Band performing new songs and a few favorites.

MUSICARES PERSON OF THE YEAR: A TRIBUTE TO BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN is a must have for fans – like me – a very entertaining concert film for music fans, and the money that it raises goes to a great cause – to help music people in times of need.

The very entertaining MUSICARES TRIBUTE TO BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN; the absolutely useless WALKING WITH DINOSAURS; the never awful, but not great would be comedy DELIVERY MAN; the interesting and thought provoking French film THE PAST; the great second season of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ VEEP; and the well-made, but empty THE WOLF OF WALL STREET 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!