COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

By DNA Smith
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Temple Grandin” (Unrated) — “Temple Grandin” is one of those little gems of a film that most people haven’t heard of or seen — but should. Unless you have HBO, you’ve probably never heard of this delightful biopic.

Claire Danes stars as Temple Grandin, a woman born in 1947 with classic autism, one of the most severe forms of the affliction. At the time, autism was diagnosed as a type of schizophrenia and mothers were blamed for the child’s condition, often being accused of being too cold and unfeeling toward the child.

When Temple is finally properly diagnosed with autism, her mother (Julia Ormond) rejects the doctor’s suggestion to institutionalize the girl and instead devotes her energies to raising Temple to live a normal, fulfilling life.

And Temple does just that. She not only attends university, eventually earning a Ph.D, she also becomes the foremost designer of humane slaughterhouses.

“Temple Grandin” is a better-than-average biopic, mostly because it treats the subject with gentle humor and respect, and doesn’t fall into the trap of sentimentality or hagiography. Claire Danes’ performance is brilliant, and she definitely deserves an Emmy.

If after watching the film, you want to learn more about Temple Grandin, I strongly recommend renting a copy of Errol Morris’ documentary series “First Person.” One of the episodes is devoted to Temple, and she tells her story in her own words as to how her autism gave her a unique insight and empathy toward cows, and how it gave her the ability to design the slaughterhouses so humanely and efficiently.

DOG OF THE WEEK
“Furry Vengeance” (PG) — Sometimes I imagine that Brendan Fraser’s idea of a perfect evening is having someone jangle a set of car keys just out of his reach whilst chiming, “Oooo! Shiny-Shiny!” It’s the only way I can justify in my mind why he makes such stupid movie choices.

“Furry Vengeance” is about a guy (Fraser) who takes a job overseeing the development of a subdivision in Oregon. The wee woodland creatures aren’t too happy about having their forest mowed down, so they band together and find ways to attack Brendan Fraser’s crotch. By the end of the film, Fraser’s character learns Important Lessons About Family and The Environment. You, however, will want to hunt Fraser’s crotch down and finish the job.

TV SERIES
“Friday Night Lights” The Fourth Season
“Ugly Betty” The Complete Fourth and Final Season
“Dexter” The Complete Season Four
“Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends” Season Four
“Cougar Town” Complete First Season
“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” The Complete Third Season
“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” Season One, Part One
“One Tree Hill” The Complete Seventh Season

© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.

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