I DIDN'T CATCH THE NAME
I would have loved to have listened in on the conversation four men were having during a party at Buckingham Palace. Talking shop in the corner were Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Brian May and Jeff Beck. At least I would have appreciated what they were talking about. When approached by Queen Elizabeth II this past Tuesday they had to smile politely when her Majesty asked them, "And what do you do?"
Several weeks ago I mentioned the BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) killer. This person had murdered several people in Wichita, Kansas back in the 70's and, after 25 years of silence, had resurfaced to taunt the authorities with his crimes. I am sincerely pleased to report that this past Saturday 59 year old Dennis Rader was arrested and charged for the crimes. In trying to be clever, Rader had sent the police some of his taunts on a computer disc that he had done on a computer of his local church, where he was president of the congregation. Unknown to Rader was that the computer left an identifying mark on the disc which led the police to him. As I write this Rader has apparently confessed to six of the ten murders he is thought to have been responsible for.
Congratulations to all of the winners of last week's Academy Awards. Best speech definitely belonged to Jamie Foxx, who's obvious love for his late grandmother was more then apparent. I thought Chris Rock did a good job, though I was surprised he didn't have as much to do or comment on during the show. What makes Billy Crystal so enjoyable is that he would have some comment/jokes during the ceremony as well. With the exception of his monologue, and when he introduced the well known comedian Jeremy Irons (who actually WAS funny when he was interrupted by a loud "bang" off camera) Rock was reduced to little more then a talent show MC, introducing the next act and heading back behind the curtains. I hope he gets another chance and is able to bring more of his personality to the show. I did like the way they opened up the stage for him to stalk around , similar to when he does his stand up. Whoever woke Sean Penn up and dressed him in a hurry should have reminded him that Rock is a comedian. For whatever reason Penn, who is currently working with Jude Law in the remake of "All the King's Men," felt that Rock slighted Law's talent when he suggested that Law has been in every movie made over the last few years. Hasn't he? He was in seven movies last year. And that's not counting the ones where he just showed up and made cupcakes for the cast!
In other award news, congrats to my best picture choice, "Sideways," which won a total of six statues at the Independent Film Spirit awards. The film took home the prizes for best film, director, screenplay, supporting actor, supporting actress and a much deserved best actor award for Paul Giamatti. Sadly, though they claim to be the complete opposite of the Oscars, I'm afraid a little bit of the Hollywood smaltz is slowly creeping into the indie film scene. During the show the audience was treated to song parodies of the films nominated for best picture. Not only were the songs not funny, they were a deliberate rip off of the bit Billy Crystal does when he hosts the Oscars. And believe me, when you have to recruit Tom Arnold to sing a bad song you've got serious trouble.
Also, congratulations to "Catwoman," which took home four Golden Raspberry awards Saturday night as the worse achievements in filmmaking were honored. The film "won" worse film, director, screenplay and actress. Congrats to good sport Halle Berry, who became the first "worse" actor to show up and accept her award in person since Tom Green did in 2001. Nice to see she has a sense of humor. Another quadruple winner was "Fahrenheit 9/11," which took home prizes for worse actor, President Bush; worse supporting actor, Donald Rumsfeld; worse supporting actress, Britney Spears and worse screen couple, which was a tie between President Bush and either Condoleeza Rice or the book My Pet Goat. Being as this is the 25th anniversary of the "Razzies," they also bestowed awards for the "worse" of the past 25 years. Worse Musical went to "From Justin to Kelly," worse comedy went to "Gigli" while "Battlefield Earth" was named worse drama. Sylvester Stallone and Madonna were named worse actor and actress of the past 25 years.
YO ADRIAN, YOU'RE DEAD
Speaking of Stallone, he has turned publisher with a new magazine aimed at helping older men keep fit. Entitled, simply, "SLY," the publication is pretty much a version of "Men's Health" geared to men age 40 and above. A special treat in the first issue is part one of a three part excerpt from the script for "Rocky VI." Adrian is dead, Rocky, Jr is a successful businessman and the current heavyweight champ, named Mason Dixon, is unhappy with his opponents. While Rocky, in his late 50's, does kick some local bar scum ass, I don't think he's heading back to the ring.
IT'S ONLY A MOVIE
SPOILER NOTE: If you haven't seen "Million Dollar Baby," you may want to skip down a few sentences. I'll try my best not to give away too much of the plot of this excellent film.
Last week I had the unfortunate pleasure of working next to someone that was quietly listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. Hearing him mention "Million Dollar Baby" I bent my ears to pick up on the discussion. In what I can only assume is stupidity brought on by a lack of that sweet OxyContin he loves so much, Limbaugh began blasting the film's director, Clint Eastwood, for what he called a positive stance on the subject of euthanasia. What is it about some people that they feel they need to find a negative in EVERYTHING they see? Especially with movies. I used to think it was funny when, during a re-issue of "The Exorcist," people would stand outside the theatre and hand out little brochures claiming that to see the film would send you right to hell. "During the making of the film, several family members of the cast and crew died," the booklet would read. And your point is? Cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth died during the making of "Superman: the Movie." Work of Satan or just coincidence? Brandon Lee and "The Crow?" Natalie Wood and "Brainstorm?" Let me know if you think old Lucifer loaded the gun or pushed Natalie overboard. It didn't start getting ridiculous until the late 1980s. I didn't even know there was a society made up of people who stuttered, but they sure made their thoughts known when "A Fish Called Wanda" was released. And I can't tell you how many petitions I got telling me I'd be going straight to hell if I showed "The Last Temptation of Christ." Of course, the fact that all of the people that had signed the petitions hadn't seen the film seemed not to make a difference. The incident that most sticks out in my mind was a visit I received from a group of professional clowns informing me that they would be picketing my theatre if I played the Bobcat Goldthwait film, "Shakes the Clown." I told them that it wasn't my decision. I begged them to reconsider, telling them that I didn't want any of my customers injured in a random drive by pie-ing. Here it is now, 15 years later, and once again people are reading too much into the movies. It's not about beliefs with these people. It's about how much publicity they can get. If "Million Dollar Baby" had been directed by Pauly Shore nobody would care. But the chance to get your ideals mentioned along with Clint Eastwood gets you headlines. Let it go! It's a movie. The decisions made by the characters fit. And if you're so damn upset about a film that you feel glamorizes euthanasia, why aren't you going after "The Sea Inside?" I mean, the entire film is devoted to the idea. As Michael Palin might have said in "A Fish Called Wanda," 'g-g-g-g-g-get a li-li-li-life, people!'
AM I BLUE?
This past Tuesday night, ABC aired the 261st and final episode of one of my favorite television programs of all time, "NYPD Blue." Even though my television set seems to always be on, there are very few shows that I make an effort to see each week. "Blue" was one of them. From the very first episode I was hooked. I hung in there each week as David Carusso, Jimmy Smits, Rick Schroeder and Mark-Paul Gosselar worked side by side with the great Dennis Franz. Another favorite show of mine was "Hill Street Blues." To me, "NYPD Blue" was "Hill Street Blues" super sized. Prior to the last episode, Smits hosted a great retrospective show. At the end, various cast members addressed the viewing audience, expressing their genuine thanks for watching. The last to appear was Franz, who won four Emmy awards for his work as Detective Andy Sipowicz. "Thank you," Franz said, looking directly into the camera, "thank you one and all." Thank YOU, Mr. Franz. It has been my pleasure.
Anyone here watch "The O.C.?" Don't all raise your hands at once. This coming Thursday, March 10th, the new trailer for "Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" will premiere during the broadcast of the show. If, like me, you are easily frightened by Peter Gallagher's eye brows, the trailer will be in theatres the next day.
Following a very successful trend, "Batman Begins" will open in theatres and on several IMAX screens on June 17th.
I may have mentioned this before but, since it's my column, I'll mention it again. The week of June 3-6 the island community of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts will be hosting "JawsFest," a 30th Anniversary celebration of the greatest film ever made (my opinion of course, please don't send me any emails blasting me for choosing "Jaws" over "Citizen Kane," "The Godfather," etc). Lots of great guests and events are scheduled. I am so very happy to announce that I have been ask to participate in a documentary film made up of "Jaws" fans from around the world. Think of it as "Trekkies" without the weirdos! For more information, please go to www.mvy.com/jaws And, speaking of "Jaws"......................
JAWS: THE STORY - PART 8
At the end of April, 1974, the cast and crew arrived on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Best known at the time of being the home of the bridge Ted Kennedy drove off of, the town had no idea of what was about to take place. On May 2, filming began. The first scenes shot were of Police Chief Brody and a young man searching the beach for his missing girlfriend. Playing the young man was Jonathan Filley, a local boy who had auditioned and charmed his way into the part. Several different takes were filmed as the two men discussed everything from college to the cost of renting a house on the island. A longer version of the scene in the film can be found in the out takes section of the "Jaws" laser disc boxed set and special edition DVD. While "Jaws" marked the beginning and end of Filley's on screen career, he remained in the business and is a well respected production assistant. 30 years after they first worked together Filley and Spielberg reunited when Jonathan was hired as the head production assistant on the film, "War of the Worlds."
This week's photos were taken on location by Edith Blake, author of the book "The Making of the Movie JAWS" Edith sent me these, and other photos, in 1976. To the best of my knowledge, they have never been published until now.
Well, all for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.