Due to an unexpected schedule change at my odious place of employment, I had to race this week's PCR into production a wee bit ahead of schedule.
I'd like to welcome Dylan Jones to our swelling cadre of neighborhood 20-somethings contributing to the PCR over the last few weeks. If you've ever had more than a passing interest in anime, you'll probably be able to identify with his article, do check it out. I'd also like to welcome back Nicholas King, who, this week, contributes his thoughts on the uglier nature of political correctness.
Filmmakers are certainly part of our bread and butter here, and we have no less than two feature spotlights. La Floridiana reviews the Gus Perez film, Not Another Student Movie he made with some students from the Full Sail Movie Academy, where Gus plays an eccentric professor. Then swing over to Oddservations' for the spotlight on indie filmmaker Katherine Leis, a fascinating look at this beautiful young woman's multi-faceted career.
The Passion of the Christ
OK, what's this film about again...? Just kidding, you'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard the commotion over this highly controversial film and YES, I went on Wednesday when it opened. Mike Smith saw an advance screening, but needed "time to digest it"(!) before he could gather his wits enough to write his review. Hell yeah, now that's a movie I needed to see!!
I've not made a secret of the fact that I was raised Catholic but no longer practice. The timing of the movie's opening on "Ash Wednesday" is touching and contrived at the same time, and put me in the unique position of explaining to a few non-Catholic friends why that day was significant. (Without going into detail, it marks the beginning of Lent, the season which ends on Easter Sunday. On Ash Wednesday the priest takes the ashes of burned palm fronds on his thumb and draws a cross on your forehead, pretty much marking you for the occasion. It's also supposed to be a season for sacrifice. That's the short version for now.)
UPDATE 2-26-04. MY Review. Count me among the outraged. My rating? Well I have two ways to go about this, quick and dirty:
"The Passion of the Christ"|
For sheer entertainment value and a way to forget your troubles for a couple hours, I rate The Passion of the Christ:
(zero) stars, or|
To watch a 30 MILLION DOLLAR SNUFF FLICK in extreme discomfort and come away nauseated at man's inhumanity to man, regardless of religious beliefs, I rate The Passion of the Christ:|
(four stars) Click here for my full review! --Nolan
I hope enough of you see this on Tuesday to count it, but birthday wishes and many happy returns go out to major homeboy William Moriaty who turns 49 today as I write this (Tuesday, February 24th).
Through some type of computer glitch, Too Productions' Paul Guzzo has lost his entire email list of over a hundred names. I sent him Terence's, Andy's, Chris Woods, and Joe DiCanio's which is all I had handy. If you're reading this and remember signing up for the email list, please contact Paul immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome back to our pages Mr. Hugo Morley of Mad Dogs & Englishmen, whose first PCR guest editorial about trying out for The Weakest Link was quite a hit! Additionally, the mention of his relation to the much-loved English character-actor, Sir Robert Morley, moved several readers to comment. I'm delighted he's chosen to share his night at the Improv experience with the PCR readership. --Nolan
Emo Phillips at the Tampa Improv, Feb 15th 2004
by Hugo Morley
Tampa Emophilliacs had a treat this Valentine's weekend as Emo Phillips made his first Bay Area appearance in nearly four years. Even those die-hard fans with the highest of expectations would not have been disappointed as Emo was truly on top form.
Having read that Winston Churchill had said that a man over forty with long hair resembles his mother, Emo cut his trademark overgrown pageboy locks some years ago and having added a beard and glasses he is hardly recognisable from his late 80's cult heyday. However the high pitched whiney voice is still very much a part of his make-up as is his unique, surreal comedy. Many references are made about his ex-wife: "I know that she has evil lessons with the Devil but I don't know how much she charges him". Either Emo is too gallant to tell us that this ex-wife is comedienne Judy Tenuta or maybe he expects us to remember, as she did spend many years touring as his support act before finding her own little niche on Hollywood Squares.
As a good Emo Phillips show borders on a religious experience it is maybe not surprising that Emo dwells a lot on religion. At times simply - being jealous of Mormons as it is so much harder being brought up in a faith that is not easily disproved - and at times not so simply with long a rambling philosophical monologue on the state of Hitler's soul and his chances of redemption. This last piece left the entire audience stunned into silence until he picked up the pace again with -"Two Mormons walk into a bar........."
Emo's family have always been a constant source of his humour. He used to talk about his sister having a baby & how embarrassing it was whenever she took out her breast to feed the baby; cereal or fruit or whatever. He now mentions his German brother -in-law complaining that you just can't get a good bagel in Germany ("Well who's fault is that?").
The Sunday evening show at the Improv had a cross section of the Tampa community ranging from an annoying table of party girls who found it very hard to stop talking (trust me nothing that they had to say was as funny or as interesting as what was going on on stage.) through to veteran Emophilliacs such as myself. Although I refrained from shouting out, a few members of the audience called out requests for his old material as if this were a reunion tour of some sixties rock band. Whereas at Monkees concerts people shout out requests for "Daydream Believer" or Peter Noone is constantly being asked for 'Mrs Brown' or 'Kind Of Hush' Emo has the somewhat more bizarre heckling of "Coleslaw" or "Trombone". The latter refers to the days when Emo used to have a trombone on stage. He would never actually play it but at the end of his set he would dismantle it and juggle the three pieces. His obsession with coleslaw is still prevalent today, if not in his act, on his website where his "All American Coleslaw" recipe includes cutting off your finger and interrupting your neighbour's drug dealing.
I am now thirty six years old and realise that I have been a fan of Emo's for half my life. When I was eighteen and at drama school in London I found three other Emo fans and we would spend hours listening and re-listening to the two Emo cassettes that one of us had found at the import section of Tower Records. At the time Emo was making rare unannounced appearances in pubs around London. How annoyed were we to discover that he actually played in the basement of the Kings Head (across the road from our school) on one of the very few nights that we weren't in there drinking? A year or so later I did get to see Emo live in the West End where for a time he was able to sell out three week seasons in big theatres.
Four years ago I went to see Emo at Sidesplitters (Tampa's original comedy club) in Carrolwood. Before the show I was talking to Bobby, the clubs owner & MC about my fondness for Emo. He said that if I liked I could drive him back to his hotel after the show. I had to decline as at the time I was driving a very battered 1986 Toyota Camry and didn't even have a cellphone. The idea of being broken down on Nebraska Avenue at midnight looking for a payphone with Emo Phillips wondering who this strange English guy was, was too horrible to imagine. Although it could possibly have given him material for a new routine.
The weekend before last, however, I did get to shake the great man's hand. After the show I tracked him down at the bar at the Improv. I introduced myself and told him about seeing him in England all those years ago. He acted genuinely pleased, touched his chest and said "Bless your heart". When I told him that I now lived in America, he welcomed me to his country. It was a truly EMOtional moment.
Once again, here are my choices for the 76th Academy Awards. I encourage readers to send in their choices in the same categories. Should a lucky reader predict more winners then I, he/she/they will receive a cool goodie sent to me by the studios "for my consideration." Sorry, no screeners! Just send your picks to the "Letters to the Editor" email address (Crazedfanboy1@aol.com) and be sure you put "Oscar Picks" in the subject area. All emails must be submitted no later then 9 pm EST on Saturday, February 28, 2004. Good luck. ---Mike Smith
BEST PICTURE -- LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING.
Twice a bridesmaid, this time a bride! The only possible film that could upset this is "Mystic River," which is full of outstanding acting performances. Actors make up the largest portion of the academy membership and they have already steered a Best Picture Oscar in the past when "Shakespeare in Love" won over the highly-picked "Saving Private Ryan".
BEST ACTOR: Sean Penn - MYSTIC RIVER.
Bill Murray is a close second in my mind, but unfortunately comedy never gets recognized. However, Johnny Depp's surprise win at the Screen Actor's Guild awards really shocked me. Once again, it's actors voting for actors. But I'm going to stick with Penn, not only one of the finest film actors of his generation, but of all time.
BEST ACTRESS: Charlize Theron - MONSTER.
Diane Keaton was great in "Something's Gotta Give," but she already has an Oscar for "Annie Hall." Naomi Watts and Samantha Morton have many nominations between them in the future. Sincere praise for Keisha Castle-Hughes for becoming the youngest ever nominated for a Best Actress award.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tim Robbins - MYSTIC RIVER.
While I would have no problem with Alec Baldwin winning this award, I have to reflect on two things: Robbins has given some great performances in the past and never been recognized and, most of all, he is nothing short of brilliant in this film.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Renee Zellweger - COLD MOUNTAIN.
Like Robbins, Zellweger has done some great work in the past. Oscar noms the past two years for "Bridget Jones Diary" and "Chicago" certainly help her here. Plus, her character, Ruby, is a breath of fresh air when she arrives on screen.
BEST DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson - LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING.
It took Jackson seven years to bring his trilogy to the screen, and this award will be the cherry on top of the cake!
THE REST OF THE CATEGORIES
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: "Lost in Translation"
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "Mystic River"
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: "Finding Nemo"
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "The Barbarian Invasions"
MAKEUP: "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"
MUSICAL SCORE: "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"
ORIGINAL SONG: "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" from "A Mighty Wind"
ART DIRECTION: "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"
CINEMATOGRAPHY: "Cold Mountain"
COSTUME DESIGN: "The Last Samurai"
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "The Fog of War"
FILM EDITING: "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"
VISUAL EFFECTS: "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"