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PCR #411 (Vol. 9, No. 6) This edition is for the week of February 4--10, 2008.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Sorry for the delay. I guess some of us don't get the memos! j/k (or am I?) Luckily not too much to yak about. Shall we begin

"Fool's Gold"  by Mike Smith
Saturday Night Dead  by ED Tucker
The Black Lector: James Tokley  by Paul Guzzo
SuperDuper Bowl .... Politico .... Rondo  by Matt Drinnenberg
Oscars .... Grammys .... Passing On .... Rocket Misfires .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1989 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Things seem to be working in favor of the writers who are currently on strike in Hollywood, which points to actual attendees at the Academy Awards in 2 weeks.

Speaking of the Oscars, nominated director Jason Reitman took his director father Ivan (Ghostbusters, Stripes) to the nominee lunch this week. Jason told a reporter that, when he was 12, he asked his dad why he had never attended an Oscar ceremony. Ivan told his son that he didn't want to attend if he wasn't a nominee, to which little Jason asked his dad, "What if I get nominated? Would you go with me?" Nice story.

Look for some major tributes this Sunday night at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. Announced tributes include the cast of the Cirque de Soleil show "Love" and of the film "Across The Universe" paying homage to the Beatles and a star-studded salute to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Jackson supposedly has a new album finished but word is he won't be performing on the show this week.

Transcendental Meditation teacher and 9th Beatle (following Paul, John, George, Ringo, Pete Best, Stu Sutcliffe, Billy Preston and Murray the K) Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died this week in the Netherlands. He was 91. He had been teaching his ideas for 12 years when he attracted the Beatles to one of his lectures in 1967. His teachings gained popularity after the Fab Four visited the Maharishi's ashram in India in 1968. Though the band spoke highly of their experiences, they later had a falling out with the Maharishi.

Barry Morse, best known as Lt. Gerard, who pursued Dr. Richard Kimble across television screens in "The Fugitive," died this week in London following a brief illness. He was 89.

Shell Kepler, who was nurse Amy Vining to me and millions of "General Hospital" fans, passed away unexpectedly from renal failure at the age of 49. She began on "GH" in 1979 at 21 and stayed on the show through 2002.

Ah, Roger Clemens. You've spent the past few months proclaiming your innocence and denying you ever took steroids or human growth hormone, going so far as to file a lawsuit against your former trainer, Brian McNamee. Last week you testified UNDER OATH before Congress that you were as clean as a fresly minted penny. Now you find out that McNamee has turned over to investigators syringes, gauge pads and other possible evidence pointing your way. Dude, don't be Pete Rose and wait 15 years to admit your crimes. If they've got you, come forward now. Barry Bonds will go to jail not because he took steroids or because he's a piece of shit as a person but because HE LIED! Unless you're looking for a spot on the prison softball team, do the right thing.


The year Oscar DIDN'T "Do The Right Thing"

March 26, 1990. I had suffered perceived slights in the past as a casual film goer but this year I was practically OUTRAGED that two films failed to make the list of "Best Picture." The films were the civil war drama "Glory" and Spike Lee's social commentary "Do the Right Thing." Which is not to say that the films nominated were chopped liver. In competition for the award were the following:

"Born on the Fourth of July," "Dead Poets Society," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Field of Dreams," and "My Left Foot." All well done films. However, to me two of them were driven to this nomination based on the performance of their lead actor: Robin Williams in "Dead Poet's Society" and Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot." I would have replaced these films with my two omitted choices. I'm happy to know that I wasn't the only person on Oscar night who felt "Do the Right Thing" got slighted. During her spot as a presenter actress Kim Bassinger made mention of her disappointment and drew loud applause from the audience. Later that evening, Bassinger was handed a piece of paper that read, simply, "Thank you. Spike." To be honest, had "Do the Right Thing" and "Glory" both been nominated I would have struggled mightily to pick a winner between them. Of the nominated films, my choice would have been "Field of Dreams." The winner: the very safe "Driving Miss Daisy."

Best Director was basically the same way. As in the recent past, the nominees for picture and director differered somewhat. The nominees were: Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July), Woody Allen (Crimes and Misdemeanors), Peter Weir
(Dead Poets Society), Kenneth Branagh (Henry V) and Jim Sheridan
(My Left Foot). Not only were Spike Lee and "Glory" director Ed Zwick missing, but Best Picture directors Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams) and Bruce Beresford, who directed the Best Picture winner, "Driving Miss Daisy." Again, how can you have a BEST picture without the director being nominated? The entire film is his (or her) vision. My choice would have been Ed Zwick for "Glory," however since it wasn't nominated my choice was the winner, Oliver Stone.

Best Actor consisted of some great breakthrough performances: Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot), Tom Cruise (Born on the Fourth of July), Robin Williams(Dead Poets Society), Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy) and Kenneth Branagh (Henry V). The first category of the year I really have no substitutes for. My choice would have been Day-Lewis, who was also the academy's choice.

Best Actress was the weakest of the major categories in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, the nominees were excellent. It's just that, after these five ladies, there weren't too many great performances behind them. The nominees were: Isabelle Adjani (Camille Claudel), Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy),Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys) Jessica Lange (Music Box) and Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine). If I had my way, I'd drop Pfieffer and replace her with Sally Field (Steel Magnolias). The winner was Tandy, who was an overall emotional choice. At age 81, Tandy became the oldest winner of an acting award.

The supporting categories also had some surprises. Best Supporting Actor nominees included Martin Landau (Crimes and Misdemeanors), Danny Aiello (Do the Right Thing), Dan Aykroyd (Driving Miss Daisy), Marlon Brando (A Dry White Season and Denzel Washington for "Glory." Of the nominees the weakest of the bunch was Landau (in my opinion). I would have replaced him with Burt Lancaster in "Field of Dreams." My vote would have split between Aiello and the winner, Washington.

On the actress side one film split two nominees: Anjelica Huston and Lena Olin (Enemies: A Love Story, Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot), Dianne Wiest (Parenthood) and the first ugly rearing of Julia Roberts (Steel Magnolias). If I had to pick a suppporting character from "Steel Magnolias" it would have been Olympia Dukakis. The winner was Fricker, though I would have taken Weist in Ron Howard's underrated "Parenthood."

FYI: My fave films, not counting the best picture nominees, include "Lean on Me," "Say Anything," "Road House," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "Major League," "Batman," "Parenthood," "The Abyss," and "Roger and Me," which, in typical academy fashion failed to earn a Best Documentary nomination. Oh well, Michael Moore got his revenge later!

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 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 ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.