Number 17.   This edition is for the week of July 17--23, 2000.
Matt's Rail
Name-dropping, Howie made it, JAWS: the final analysis, Spiderman, Playboy, more!
Mike's Rant
The prodigal son returns!
   Hello Gang!  Hope you enjoy the new name (i.e,"Pop Culture Review"---N)..........but don't worry, it will be the same old me!  Let's rock and roll...
I'm glad Nolan felt my Ellen Greene story was worth repeating.  One of the perks of my job is that I do get to meet the occasional celebrity.  Through my work and my friends, I have met everyone from Cher to Kevin Spacey..........Alec Baldwin to Chuck Heston...............John Landis to Joe Piscopo (ok, forget Piscopo, but that meeting is also a pretty funny story).  
(I was about to call you a name-dropper...but, now you have me wondering about the Joe Piscopo thing....---N)
Yesterday, Lucasfilm Ltd released the first IMAGE of "Episode Two."  Talk about hype.  It appeared to be an unidentified actor in a Jedi Robe, but God forbid they should actually release a photo in focus.  In other "Star Wars" news, Christopher Lee and Jimmy Smits have been added to the cast.  Not sure who Lee is playing, (According to a MSN page---that they got off plays a "charismatic separatist". That's all we get, folks!---N)but Smits will play Senator Bail Organa, Princess Leah's adoptive father.  I've been a huge Jimmy Smits fan since "L.A. Law," so I'm already positive on this installment.
OK, I am now officially on M. Night Shamalayan's bandwagon.  I ribbed Matt and Nolan over their Oscar night votes, but I really did enjoy "The Sixth Sense."  Just caught the trailer for his new film, "Unbreakable," which will also star Bruce Willis.  From what I can tell, Willis is the only survivor of a major train crash in which all of the other passengers die.  In fact, he doesn't even have a scratch on him.  Samuel L. Jackson (the busiest man in Hollywood) co-stars.  ("The bandwagon is now departing for all points west.....AALLLLLLLL ABOOOOOOOOARD!"---N)
Also caught the trailers for "Red Planet" and "Castaway."  They have helped get me psyched for the holiday season.
   This week's celebrity sighting was none other then "Whose LIne Is It Anyway" funnyman Mike McShay.  You may remember him better as Friar Tuck in "Robin Hood" or Professor KeenBean in "Richie Rich."  (Please...I'm trying to FORGET them!---N)  He also was one of the reasons "Drop Dead Gorgeous" is so drop dead funny.  Apparently his father lives nearby, and after a session of gambling decided to catch a movie.  He saw "The Patriot," and concurred that the makeup effects were excellent!  (plug for Corey!) (So McShay has good taste after all....hmmmm.---N)
  Howie Mandel (who has managed to stay alive so far) (See "Mike's Rant" #16 for what he's referring to.---N) guest hosted on "Regis and Kathie Lee" last week and immediately pissed off Storm herself, Halle Berry.  He made a stupid joke when she came out about her having bumped into him back stage but not stopping, aluding to her recent hit-and-run problems in L.A.  Needless to say, she didn't find him funny.  But then again, neither do I. (Unanimous---N)
  With her 15 mins of fame almost up, Darva Conger has decided to show her goodies to the good readers of Playboy.  Conger, you may remember, was the "winner" on the Fox show "Who Wants to Show the World They're A Whore."  My opinion on her pictoral.........................nice ass, fix the nose! (I still remember her appearance on Larry King Live where she insisted she would NEVER do pictorials for ANY amount. I guess some amounts are more ANY than others!---N)
  Since Nolan did not like my assessment of George Clooney as Batman, (Your assessment was good--it's Clooney who sucked---N)  I hate to say that I think if the "Spiderman" movie goes into production (and it looks good with "X-men" taking in $55million over the weekend), that "American Beauty" star Wes Bentley would be a perfect Peter Parker.  I've heard that Tobey Maguire is also being considered, but while he may be a suitable Parker, I don't think he'd pull Spidey off.
   Finally, the "JAWS" DVD came out Tuesday, and I was there at 7 am to pick it up.  My worse fears were realized.........................all of the sound effects sound cheesy.  The final shots of Roy's rifle sound crystal clear, like they were recorded at a firing range.  Unfortunately, they were supposed to take place at sea.  They've updated the sound so much I kept waiting for Scheider to say "Smile you son of a bee-otch."  But that gripe aside, the DVD has a gorgeous picture, and the enhanced soundtrack does do justice to John Williams' Oscar winning music.  Plus I aced the trivia quiz!!  (That's a shock---N)

Well, that's all the news for this week.  Next week I'll fill you in on my son's American Legion tournament.  (Send a good pic of that, wouldja? Maybe a father-and-son close-up thing?---N)

Have a great week!
  Hello all.  Must apologize for "falling off the planet" for a while. Nolan was right the first time...I've been going thru some pretty encompassing medical nonsense and it's currently zapped any type of originality or effort out of me.
  Thus the trip to Martha's try and just forget about it all. It did help, but only with added uncertainty and unnecessary grief. (No shark attacks, then?---N)
  There is a serious deficiency in the medical profession when it comes to giving a crap about those who need answers to issues that cause them concern.  I know...I'm living it right now.
  My wife has some strange illness that no one can seem to figure out. It started with pain in the back of her throat, which flared up pretty much whenever she ate, then her glands became swollen around her neck.  We checked the internet for possible causes and "throat cancer" matched pretty much every symptom.  This was quite disheartening. We got to the doctor the next day ( a fill in..her regular dr. on maternity leave) and he had her do a "barium swallow", which outlines areas of the throat. All he would tell us is "there is a spot" on the back of the throat. He refused to go any further with it because "your doctor comes back from maternity leave next week so she should handle this". Who gives a crap...there's obviously an issue. What's the spot?
  So, after continued bitching, he sends her to a ENR guy, who doesn't even look at the x-rays before he checks out her throat.  He doesn't look far enough down either, which he doesn't realize until he looks at the x-ray AFTER his exam.....does he go back in and check out what he missed????? NOOOOOO.   What incompetence.
  Now we're VERY we demand a CATSCAN to see if that can tell us something...since all we know is there's a spot!
  Well, the doctor's accidently shot the radioactive dust under the skin of my
wife's arm instead of in a vein, where it's supposed to go. Because of this, her arm swelled up the size of an elephant's butt and we were cautioned her skin could start falling off, so we had to watch it for several days...
  Fortunately the swelling went down (convinced a miracle from God).
  FINALLY we see a Infectious Desease Specialist who is appalled at the
incompetence we've experience.  He suggested we see a "competent" ENR
doctor, and have an MRI instead of a catscan (which the doctors say came out that's possible I don't know, seeing as they have to have
100 % of that solution in the blood stream). We still know very little and
are awaiting more tests.
  That pretty much brings us to today........

  I know this isn't a forum for this type of report, so take this as an explanation for my absence.  Now that I'm pretty much numb from the experience, it's a little easier to deal with; knowing that aggravation is right around the corner is kind of soothing, because at least you know it's there....and can't come up and smack you down.
  I know I promised my "top ten films", so look for them next week. And again,
my apologies.

   Accepted!  Now, other than all that, things are great huh? Seriously, we all hope everything turns out all right with the missus. I am certainly sorry to hear of Denise's medical horror story.  These guys go to school for how long  again?---Nolan.

"Mike's Rant is 2000 by Michael A. Smith
Mike's webpage & email!
"Matt's Rail" is 2000 by Matt Drinnenberg
Visit Matt's Horror Fan Site!


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