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PCR #502 (Vol. 10, No. 45). This edition is for the week of November 2--8, 2009.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Just some news and notes this week. Shall we begin?

"Paranormal Activity"  by Mike Smith
Children of the Corn (2009)  by ED Tucker
Bruce Lee Extravaganza  by Jason Fetters
Phew! .... Rambo Is A Pussy! .... Lighten Up Already! .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... It's Not Supposed To Be Scary .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2  by Mike Smith
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Sometimes you have to wait and wait and wait but things do turn out. It was 33 years ago that I received the below photo from Edith Blake, a reporter on Martha's Vineyard who was on the set of "JAWS" everyday taking photos, which she turned into a successful "making of" book. As a kid engrossed with anything "JAWS" related I sought her out and she sent me a few of the photos she had taken. This one shows Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss after they have shot their final scene. As Spielberg yelled cut Roy grabbed Richard in a huge embrace and planted a kiss on him. The troubled shoot, originally scheduled for 48 days, had lasted almost 6 months. I was able to get Roy Scheider to autograph this photo in the early 80s. It took another 25 years to get Dreyfuss, which was finally acheived thanks to my friend Mike Gencarelli, who was also my tour guide last month when I hit the "Amityville Horror" house. Finally! Now it's on to finding the cure for cancer.

FINALLY! (and I would be remiss if I did not give photo credit to Edith Blake)

Film fans will remember the above as a line uttered by Sylvester Stallone in the movie "Tango and Cash" after one of his fellow police officers, commenting on Sly's style, states "He thinks he's Rambo." As a big fan of movies I love when stars slyly pay homage to other roles while maintaining their new characters. Think Richard Dreyfuss in "Stakeout" unable to guess a movie even though the line Emilio Estevez gives him is "We're gonna need a bigger boat," or Bruce Willis in "Die Hard: With A Vengeance" explaining that during his recent suspension he spent his days "smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo." I mention these because this past week I caught the new film "The Men Who Stare At Goats," which co-stars Ewan McGregor. In one scene he is invited to join a special group of "mind power" soldiers by George Clooney who asks "Do you want to be a Jedi warrior?" McGregor's reply: "What's a Jedi warrior."

I hope you agree with me when I say that I am sick and tired of the unbendable "zero tolerance" rules that keep being invoked. It was reported this week that in late September a six year old boy brought something to school for show and tell at Downes Elementary School in Newark, Delaware. The item was a camping utensil he got in Cub Scouts that contained a fold out fork, spoon and knife. Not sure if the kids in class were impressed but the principal suspended Zachary Christie for 5 days. Not only that, but he can't return to his school until he has completed at least 45 days at an alternative school. The vice president of the community board of education said he had no option but to uphold the suspension to avoid other students from bringing similar items. "I'm sure we've got many other devious kids in the district who are trying to figure out how to duct tape a spoon and fork to their switchblades right now," Resler said. With a straight face. So is he saying that little Zachary is a devious kid? Is this guy a moron? The 1999 killings at Columbine High School sent school districts into a panic. And while they are right to punish students who intentionally bring a weapon onto school property (and the key words here are "intentionally bring a weapon) is it necessary to punish a kid who plays cowboys and indians at recess and "shoots" a schoolmate with his finger, or one who holds his chicken nugget like a gun at lunchtime? Do you really think it's going to help a six year old child to miss two months of school, not to mention an expulsion on his school record? Common sense, people! It's a wonderful thing.

A quick correction on my story from last week regarding the fourth "Mad Max" film. A few days after I posted it came word that Tom Hardy, best known (to me anyway) for his role as Patrick Stewarts clone in "Star Trek: Nemesis," will assume the role of Max Rockatansky in "Mad Max: Fury Road." Oscar winner Charlize Theron will co-star.

Congratulations to Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who have been named co-hosts of next years Academy Awards ceremony. Martin has done the job in the past and Baldwin has proved on "30 Rock" and his many appearances on "Saturday Night Live" that he has a sense of humor. Break a leg, gentlemen.

When I went to see "Paranormal Activity" this week I was not aware that the ending of the film I saw was not the original ending that was seen at the Sundance Film Festival. Seems Steven Spielberg, who championed the film to be released rather than have the studio remake it, suggested the ending now seen. SPOILER ALERT If you have already seen the film and would like to see the original ending, click here:


I understand that there are two more originally shot endings that will be included when the film is released on DVD.

Lou Filippo, long time referee and member of the Boxing Hall of Fame, passed away this week at the age of 83. Filippo played the referee in the first three "Rocky" films.

Last week, in honor of Halloween, I ran some lists of the scariest films and scenes in the movies. This week I thought I'd have some fun and share Maxim magazines list of the 13 Most Unintentionally Scary Movie Scenes of All Time. Enjoy:

1. KNOCKED UP - The head of Seth Rogen's love child "crowns" in the delivery room.

2. UNDER SIEGE - Gary Busey in drag.

3. THE LOVE GURU - Just the first 86 minutes of the film. Apparently the two minutes of closing credits are the film's highlights.

4. DAN IN REAL LIFE - Steve Carell sings "Let My Love Open the Door" while playing guitar and quietly weeping.

5. THE HAPPENING - Mark Wahlberg, science teacher.

6. BASIC INSTINCT 2 - Sharon Stone uses her companions finger to masterbate while driving at high speed through the streets of London, crashing into the Thames as she orgasms. You know, she once got an Oscar nomination. Really.

7. MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL - The moment when Dane Cook's name appears in the opening credits. This would actually be number one on my list. I don't understand Cook's popularity. His stand up sucks. My penis is funnier then Dane Cook and my penis has never been laughed at.

8. ABOUT SCHMIDT - Kathy Bates drops her silk robe and climbs into a hot tub with Jack Nicholson.

9. RATATOUILLE - A rat prepares a meal that wins over the harshest food critic in Paris.

10. SEX AND THE CITY - The mark, right around two hours, when you mistakenly think the thing is over.

11. ROBIN HOOD - Kevin Costner wrestling with a British accent for two hours.

12. STAR WARS: EPISODE TWO - Hayden Christensen's rattail twirling round and round while making out with Natalie Portman.

13. CRUMB - The mother and son chat.

Also, courtesy of the same mag (see honey, I DO read it for the articles), the most terrifying hairdoos ever:

1. Nicholas Cage in CON AIR.


3. Tom Hanks in THE DA VINCI CODE.

4. Tobey Maguire in SPIDER-MAN 3.


South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone and George Clooney
Directed by: Trey Parker

FIRST SEEN: Westglen 18 Theatre, Lenexa, Kansas
FAVORITE SCENE: The "La Resistance" musical number
FAVORITE LINE: "Our government has apologized for Bryan Adams on several occasions!" Spoken by a Canadian representative after being reminded of the bad things Canada has let loose into the world.


2000 Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song - "Blame Canada."

Many national critics' groups also rewarded the film with awards for best animatd film, original score or song.

I believe it was Art Linkletter who once presided over a show entitled "Kids Say the Darndest Things." In the small town of South Park, Colorado those kids are Stan Marsh, Kyle Brofloski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick, though because of Kenny's tightly tied hood on his parka, you really can't understand what he's saying. After finagaling their way into a screening of the R-rated film "Asses of Fire," they are knocked out by the profanity on screen and begin using the new words they've learned in many inopportune places, including school and home. Though they are told not to see the film again, they continue to sneak in and after one screening Kenny is killed after imitating a prank in the film. Not understanding the need to take responsibility for their children and what they learn, the townspepole, lead by Kyle's mother, convince President Clinton to declare war on Canada. The stars of "Asses of Fire," popular Canadian actors Terrance and Phillip, are arrested and sentenced to be executed. Meanwhile, because of all the unrest on earth, Satan plans to return to earth, accompanied by his new lover, Saddam Hussein, who died a few weeks earlier and is now in hell. Sadly, because Kenny told his mother he'd rather go to hell then go to church, Kenny is also down below, lending a sympathetic ear to Satan who feels that Saddam doesn't love him and is just using him for sex. The other boys plan a daring rescue of Terrance and Phillip. And I should mention that all of this action takes place during and between several musical numbers.

When approached to do a film version of their popular television show, creators Parker and Stone insisted the film would have to be rated R. They felt there was a double standard in Hollywood, where bad language and nudity is punished while violence is ignored. It was nine years ago, in issue #49 that I wrote the following, "I would rather my son see a naked lady on screen then watch somebody get their head cut off." This was in response to the government involving itself in various studio controversies regarding children viewing R-rated films. According to Parker and Stone, the originally submitted title for the film was "South Park: All Hell Breaks Loose." They claim it was denied by the MPAA because all film titles must be G-rated, even though other films have had the word "hell" in their titles ("Hellraiser," "From Hell"). The newly submitted title, "Bigger, Longer and Uncut," was a thinly veiled reference to a penis, which the not so smart MPAA did not figure out.

But what makes this film stand out to me is not the language but the music. "South Park" is probably the best original film musical since the days of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney putting on shows in their barns. The songs, by Parker and Marc Shaiman, are witty and catchy. They also embrace the many musical styles audiences are used to. Satan's lament that he wants to visit earth, "Up There," is reminiscent of many of the popular Disney songs of the era, while "Blame Canada" is an ensemble piece that could be found on any Broadway stage. The majority of the songs help set up the film's plot and result in what can best be described as "toe tapping fun!"

Next week we'll turn serious was we take a look at Michael Cimino's Oscar winning "The Deer Hunter."

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

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 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 ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.