• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Campfire Stories

TITLE: Campfire Stories

YEAR: 2001

GENRE: Horror

One of the great aspects of the digital age is that good film makers can make their dream projects and grace the world with their visions. Then again, the worst aspect of the digital age is that lousy film makers can also make their dream projects and annoy the world with their less than desirable results. Of course, awesomeness is defined in the eye of the beholder and there can be some debate on various films on its quality, but then again there are some movies that are just plain crappy on all levels. This is the case with Campfire Stories, quite arguably the worst independent anthology film ever devised.

Two young men discover an attractive female (played by Jamie Lynn-Sigler) wandering around the road after her car stopped running. While looking for help, the threesome discover Ranger Bill (David Johanson), a strange forest park employee, who convinces the college-aged students to listen to three of his favorite scary stories around a roaring campfire:

  • A groundskeeper at a local high school becomes the target for some tormenting by the football team. Little do the jocks know that the gardener has a sorbid history involving murder and mayhem, and he has access to some really big tools;
  • Three stoners target a Native American for a robbery and murder, and when they succeed in their vile deed dcide to use his peace pipe as a bong. The potheads discover that the Indian is really a medicine man, and his spirit poisons their herbs; and
  • Two twentysomething women are having problems with their boyfriends, and decide to humiliate the significant others and post the video of the shenanigans on the internet. However, one of the women has more devious plans.

The viewer knows that he is in trouble whn the beginning of Campfire Stories is a ridiculous CGI skull chatting for about five minutes about how terrified the viewer will be from the stories about to unfold. The problem is that all three stories are poorly written and lack any suspense or scary situations, and when the situation may bring about a good jumping Ranger Bill interrupts the scene and says something utterly stupid. The story about the dopers is the most interesting, but it centers more attention on them getting wasted instead of proper creative development and the end result is washed away in a sea of ineptitude. Director Bob Cea is a former New York City police detective and I have nothing for respect for the men and women in blue, but Campfire Stories lacks any real creativity nor panache to raise it even an average level. Even a live appearance by the legendary horror punk band The Misfits in the third segment does not add enough of a coolness factor to be a savior for this horrible cheesefest.

Campfire Stories did have a good amount of promotional buzz because Sigler was currently starring on the HBO series ‘The Sopranos” and Johanson was a regular on the TV show “Oz” when Campfire Stories was originally released on VHS and DVD. Despite what mileage one could get from a marketing standpoint, Campfire Stories is far beyond saving in terms of production values or interesting storylines. Some fans may have fun mocking this film like an episode of MST3K, but Campfire Stories is better left on the shelf. Yes, it is that bad.

*

–Mark

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