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Many of you think Oddservations has been on hiatus while my filmmaking partner Andrew Allan and I were off making a movie. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. My 3+ month PCR absence was a necessary sacrifice as I strove to reach brave, new heights as to what it means to be the purist Crazed Fanboy possible - and I did it for the benefit of all CF participants and readers. Please let me share with you my wondrous journey.
Earlier this year I had agreed to participate in a clandestine fandom operation whose identity I am not at liberty to disclose. I had received a gold-plated invitation from a certain "Mr. Corman Carpenter Price" (an obvious alias) that instructed me to travel to destination: unknown in order to - and I quote - "immerse my ethereal spirit in complete, total, and utter fandom for the benefit of future generations and the survival of the genres of science-fiction, horror, and fantasy". The invitation noted the ultimate importance of Nolan Canova's Crazed Fanboy as a pivotal centerpiece in steering the world of fandom back on course from its fatal veer-off in the dreaded year of 1987, and perhaps saw something in my philosophies worthy of inclusion in this crucial effort.
On March 13th, 2008 I had boarded a Yeti airlines jet plane destined for a secretive think tank high in the Himalayan mountains - complete with a private airport. I disembarked into a furious snowstorm and was given a white hide supposedly taken from the back of an "Abominable Snowman". Once sufficiently warmed, I was greeted by a mysterious figure who approached me in a parka, who revealed himself to be none other than a famous Cult Movie director (who must remain unnamed). With a grin from ear-to-ear, he motioned for me to follow him as we approached gigantic wooden double doors. Emblazoned above was a warning forged in cast iron: "For those embracing fandom of 1987 and on, thou are welcome not." The Cult Movie director set his hand upon my shoulder and assured me that I was qualified to pass through the portal, and with the timbre of Godzilla's roar, the gateway opened up with blinding light from within.
I ascended a flight of stairs leading upward to a divine shrine-type setting. Before me stood an array of actors, filmmakers, authors, and various other genre notables whose best work shined in the '70s and early '80s (who I shall not identify) and who were to serve as my mentors throughout the course of my intensive studies and who I would eventually refer to as "The Masters". Their mission was to teach us - a small band of fanboys rooted in the '70s - the absolute importance of pre-1987 fandom preservation and continuation.
Our studies immediately commenced. We had a marathon viewing session of 1970's/early 1980's cult horror films in different environmental settings: a faux drive-in, a mock grindhouse, and even a living room with a simple VHS player connected to a flat-screen TV. Selections included Suspiria, Demons, The Devil's Nightmare, The Prowler, The Last House on Dead End Street, Up from the Depths, Impulse, and many, many more. For the other students and myself - it was true bliss.
We were also taught to sabotage any and all attempts to embrace mainstream fare, whether genre-related or not. The Masters sat us down for a holy screening of John Waters' Cecil B. Demented to psyche us up for forthcoming missions. The following are examples of the lessons we learned as we prepared to take our fight to the real world.
LESSON 1: DEBASING MAINSTREAM MOVIEGOERS
In our first of many challenges, we executed a mock exercise where The Masters had reconstructed a modern movie multiplex brazenly showing a print of 'rush hour 3' to a packed house in simulation of a typical American weekend at the movies. We students, dressed in attack gear and armed with power squirt guns filled to the gills with slug urine, stood ready for action. With a mad yelp of "BAVA FOREVER!!!" we assaulted the patrons in saturating streams of snail piss, belly laughing as they limped out of the theaters in trails of yellow stain.
LESSON 2: ADIOS ANIME PIXIES
Part of the Shangri-La-type setting of The Masters' headquarters high in the Himalayas consisted of a massive, airplane hanger-style structure in which was simulated a to-scale modern fandom convention, complete with thousands of real "fans" (flown in from various parts of the world). Our targets in this case were those gaggles of gigglin' gals - the ever-present Anime Pixies; fans of those Japanese cartoons who usually dress in high heels and pink hair taking up convention space. As the Anime Pixies fawned over the latest 'manga' DVD releases, we students plotted their riddance.
Out of nowhere my voice echoed throughout the convention floor: "HEY! OVER HERE! IT'S 'PIKACHU' - IT'S 'PIKACHU'!"
Giddy and gigglin', the Anime Pixies gobbled up their DVD's and other vendor knick-knacks and all scrambled toward the concession area - where we waited.
We had constructed a massive, 20-foot tall sculpture of 'pikachu' which we filled with a potent mixture of hot roof tar and molasses with a dash of Super Glue. As the Anime Pixies all gathered round the statue, we hit a button (while wildly exclaiming: "REMEMBER THE DRIVE-IN'S!!!") which exploded the 'pikachu' - and saturated them all in an insanely sticky, potent batch of sludge. Their pink hair now dyed a sickening shade of dark brown, the poor Anime Pixies - humiliated beyond comprehension - stumbled out the convention hall.
A strange side note: Because the Anime Pixies' eyelids were caramelized to their facial skin during the drill, they could not expel tears. As a result, the salty droplets that could not be expelled by crying ended up choking many of them to the point of unconsciousness - an unexpected but most welcome result!
Now, I realize some of The Master's methods seem extreme, but even tolerance has a toleration point, which they believe had passed a long time ago (1987, to be exact). To show that The Masters were indeed good sports, they mailed each and every wounded girlie the 42nd Street Forever collection on DVD. New converts to the Cult Movie cause! We received another round of A+'s for this one.
LESSON 3: NEO-"STAR TREK" FANS "TRANSPORTED"
Our third assignment returned us to the convention floor scenario. A big bone of contention among The Masters was the alarming acceptance of the neo Star Trek incarnations by fans ('next generation', 'enterprise', 'voyager', etc.), and we decided to finally do something about it. As expected (sadly) there was a large contingent of fellow geeks dressed as 'picard', 'data', and others.
Once again, my voice rang out down the hall: "ATTENTION ALL NEWER STAR TREK FANS! 'NUMBER ONE' IS HERE! 'NUMBER ONE' IS HERE!"
The crowd stampeded toward a series of tractor trailers that we had parked nearby, all emblazoned with images from 'voyager','next generation', and 'enterprise'. Just as they were all stuffed inside, we locked them in and started up the trucks to shouts of: "VIVA NIMOY! VIVA NIMOY!!!". As our prisoners panicked, we convoyed all the way to the sea, where the trailers were placed on barges headed to Guam.
I tell you, it was a real moment as we die-hard Cult Movie fans sat and waved as the barge parade sailed toward the setting sun. Brought a tear to my eye.
Epilogue 1: About a month later we heard word that the very first 'star trek: the next generation' fan club was started in Guam. We immediately plotted how we'd take it down.
Epilogue 2: After defeating our nemesis-es, the students retreated to the far end of the convention centers, where we were applauded by The Masters and other Cult Movie fans and vendors. While the Anime Pixies dripped with tar and the 'voyager' fans were transported to Guam, we real fans - now freed from all the irrelevant riff-raff - swapped issues of FM, Creepy and Eerie, traded VHS editions of Satan's Blade and Soylent Green, chatted about '70s Italian horror films and Night Gallery, and figured out how to re-create 1986 in 2009. Ah, what a grand moment.
LESSON 4: PIXEL POX
We were fortunate to have among our group a computer whiz kid who'd developed a potent virus specifically designed to wreak havoc on CGI workstations all over the globe. For the uninformed, CGI is the use of 3D computer graphics in science-fiction/horror/fantasy cinema. Though a powerful tool that has much potential, 9 times out of 10 it's used to the detriment - not benefit - of said cinema, in the form of God-awful kid's films, the absolute worst productions one could possibly comprehend which play regularly on the 'sci-fi channel', generic Hollywood blockbusters, and other inane applications. In The Masters opinion, which I share, CGI is one of the leading - if not the leading - culprit in why movies today are just not as appealing and endearing as those from the '50s, 60s, '70s, and early '80s. And of course, like everything else mentioned so far, it became prominent in the late 1980's with James Cameron's The Abyss.
Our student's virus was specifically designed to infect every CGI workstation it contacts, but goes way beyond simply affecting files. This virus deletes any and all archived files, nullifies the 3D programs themselves, destroys the monitors and all other hardware associated with the workstations, and leaves the facility without the use of electrical power - permanently. In other words, it completely shuts down all CGI efforts around the world in effect, so filmmakers can go back to the luscious techniques of using real miniatures and starship models, as they did with the original Star Wars films, whose SPFX remain much more impressive than any CGI I've ever seen.
With a shout of "ILM '77 FOREVER!!!" the whiz kid initiated the virus attack, as CGI workstations all over the world gloriously ground to a halt - permanently.
LESSON 5: 'STAR WARS': THE CLEANSING
Sixteen years after the release of Return of the Jedi, fans were initially excited about having a new Star Wars entry return to the silver screens. We figured if there was one filmmaker out there who had the genuine clout, talent, and ability to restore the grandeur and excitement of that fateful May day in 1977, it was George Lucas. To be sure, there was a lot of hoopla surrounding the release of 'episode 1' called 'the phantom menace', which had poor suckers standing in line for days(!) just to say they were among the first to see it.
We knew 'the phantom menace' could potentially be bad...we just didn't know how much. Well, needless to say, its horrendousness spilled far beyond anything even the dark side of the Force could conjure.
Despite the fact it was a really lousy movie any way one looks at it, the public - of course - seemed to embrace it. Don't ask me why or how - my theory is: "hell; it may be the only new Star Wars film we get in our lifetime so we'd better enjoy it." Other theories state that it's a "kid's film" not meant to be understood or appreciated by adults. I don't buy that one.
Anyway, The Masters and I were in sync on how to approach the problem of eradicating every element of the newer Star Wars lore from pop culture - from 'padme' to 'darth maul'. We felt it was of utmost importance that we preserve the original ambiance of the films, dated from 1977 to 1983 respectively, and to abolish all memories of the newer Star Wars slop, which we all considered contamination. This was going to be a major effort along the lines of eradicating the newer Star Trek efforts, but we're a determined bunch.
Our strategy was a grass-roots one. We would go around to garage sales, discount stores, thrift stores, in order to buy up any and all newer Star Wars-related merchandise that had been sitting on the shelves collecting dust. In neighborhoods all across America we held voluntary events where we'd coax kids to donate their newer SW toys to us, which we would enthusiastically hurl into a huge bonfire. We figure if we can keep this up for a number of years, we can eradicate entire memories of 'phantom menace' and its equally rotten sequels and have the Star Wars legacy revert back to a cherished memory from the late '70s/early '80s.
LESSON 6: THE SCI-FI CHANNEL: TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES - PLEASE STAND BY
I recall at an early edition of Tampa's Necronomi-Con seeing a flyer advertising an upstart stations that seemed to be a dream to fans: The Sci-Fi Channel. Was it really too good to be true? You bet your ass. Completely ruined quicker than the blink of an eye, this lamest-of-lame networks has proved to be a constant kick in the face to real fans. Once a fairly decent network that occasionally showcased vintage Godzilla and Hammer films, nowadays the quality levels have sunk to such lows that mudpits would have a hard time staying above water. What? Don't you like reruns of 'dark angel', or screenings of 'return of the living dead: rave 2 the grave'?
We and The Masters were furious that this 'network' has run rampant this long with such agonizingly atrocious offerings. We planned a scheme to divert their programming with our own: 1970's horror films 24/7 with no commercial interruptions. To accomplish this, we used our own interceptor satellite trucks which canceled out their signal, rendering them as limp as a 40-day old banana. We then pumped in the '70s horror, to the cheers of rejoicing by real Cult Movie fans across the world, as we screamed: "FULCI LIVES!!!"
With a heavy heart, it came time to leave The Masters stronghold and return to my home state of Florida, ready to champion all efforts to convince fellow fanboys of our cause. I was handed a certificate of graduation as The Masters escorted me to the jet plane. Before boarding, one put his hand on my left shoulder and said:
"Odds, upon your return, you must convince all fanboys that they have been misled by pixellized trickery and the storytelling of charlatans. Only be returning to the year 1986 and continuing its legacy can we possibly return to quality genre cinema. Take your voice and shout it out to Crazed Fanboys throughout the Universe."
And at that moment, I truly felt special...for all my time spent being rooted in the '70s, someone had finally recognized and in turn rewarded my efforts...
I have become 1978.
I AM Corvette Summer.
"Oddservations" is ©2008 by Andy Lalino. The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.