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PCR #156. (Vol. 4, No. 12) This edition is for the week of March 17--23, 2003.
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I don't know how in the world I could have missed this, but alas, I sit red-faced and ashamed at my lack of recognition toward such a monumental occasion.

For you see....KING KONG is now 70 years old.

That's right, folks. On March 1st, 2003, King Kong celebrated its 70th year since its theatrical release, and the big guy is still going strong.

What I find unforgivable is that not only has Universal yet to release this on DVD with loads of extras that still exist, but they didn't take this primate opportunity to really rake in the cashola. Maybe it's because of Dino (and I'm not talking about Fred's pet), and his lackluster attempt at creating greatness.

As enjoyable as it is watching the remake now, I recall less-than-enthused feelings when I saw it at the theater. Among other things, Charles Grodin really bothered me...but I'm getting off the subject.

It is kind of sad that, even with the horrible acting in the original, and the atrocious script, that it still surpasses what was supposedly done in an effort to improve upon the original. How many times have we seen this fruitless attempt in other great classics. But Kong??? They should've known better.

Of course, there is still the CGI Kong we've yet to see. Don't know if they're working on it yet, but you know there's SOMEONE out there, maybe a young Lucas or Spielberg, that desires to see it done right. Can you speak of CGI and something being right in the same sentence?? Help me out, Terence. (Actually I can help out here---word has it that if Peter Jackson of "Lord of the Rings" fame gets his way, he'll be helming the next Kong remake!--Nolan)

But there can be no misunderstanding that any attempt to improve on this great classic will pale in comparison to what Special Effects Guru Willis O'Brien brought to the screen. Hard to imagine Kong as a 18" stand up figurine, but that's what the father of Stop Motion Animation can do for you. (Bonus points: Anyone out there know his famed pupil?) YAY! I win I win---at last, an easy one! Ray Harryhausen who gave life to the skeletons of Sinbad and the dinosaurs of Gwangi was once an apprentice of O'Brien's. Add'l bonus points: on what major release did the two co-conspire? Answer: "Mighty Joe Young", original version!--Nolan)

70 years....that's a lot of candles to blow out. At any rate, here's a big boastful, loud, chest-pounding, tree-crushing, dinosaur-killing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Kong-ster himself.

Due to the lateness of this, and Mike's more than eloquent way of speaking to the categories themselves, I'm simply listing my picks for the WINNER of the Academy Award. I say WINNER because the Oscars won't. As you know, for some time now, it has been announced as a more friendly, non-abrasive "...and the Oscar goes to". Which means, if this is uttered in your direction, you are not a LOSER...which can only mean one thing...you are a WINNER. Get over it, Academy, and get a life.

Best Picture: Chic....Chicag...dammit....Gangs of New York

Best Director: Martin Scorsese

Best Actor: Richard Gere (okay, okay....make it Michael Caine)

Best Actress: Nicole Kidman

Best Supporting Actor: Paul Newman (almost want to say Ed Harris, who is awesome)

Best Supporting Actress: Catherine Zeta-Jones

Best Original Screenplay: Gangs of New York

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Hours

Best Cinematography: Road to Perdition

Best Foreign Language Film: Nowhere in Africa

Best Make-Up: Time Machine

Best Original Song: "I Move On" -- Chicago

Best Sound Editing: Minority Report

Best Animated Short: Mike's New Car (in honor of Bruce, the car)

Best Art Direction: Chicago

Best Documentary Feature: Bowling for Columbine (as Mike said, anything else would be a joke).

Best Animated Feature: Ice Age

Best Film Editing: Gangs of New York

Best Visual Effects: Two Towers

Best Sound: Chicago

Best Original Score: Road to Perdition

Best Costume Design: Gangs of New York

Let the Mike vs Matt Oscar contest begin....and good luck, Mike.


Till next week take care and God bless,

"Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Matthew Drinnenberg. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.