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PCR #508 (Vol. 10, No. 51). This edition is for the week of December 14--20, 2009.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Computers suck as does this week's Rant. 5 hours of work wiped out so you get the short version. Shall we begin?

MOVIE REVIEW
"Up In the Air"  by Mike Smith
RETRORAMA
Time Warp Toy Box ’09 – Part 3  by ED Tucker
THE ASIAN APERTURE
Ninja Assassin  by Jason Fetters
LAMPIN' @ THE 6TH BOROUGH
Intro 2 Lampin' .... My Letter To Tiger Woods  by John Miller
SPORTS TALK
Chad Ochocinco: Nfl’s Black Sheep? .... Steelers Out? .... Holmgren Returns .... Cowboys Vs Saints .... Bob Greise Says Lose One .... Tiger Woods: Athlete Of The Decade?? .... ....  by Chris Munger
MIKE'S RANT
Guess Who Died? .... The Year That Was Part I .... .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2  by Mike Smith
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GUESS WHO DIED?

Dan O'Bannon - wrote "Alien," "Blue Thunder" and "Life Force"

Jennifer Jones - won an Oscar for "The Song Of Bernadette." Nominated four more times. Last screen role was the woman that Fred Astaire tried to swindle in "The Towering Inferno." Bought the rights to the novel "Terms of Endearment" but was convinced by writer/director Jim Brooks that, at age 62, she was too old to play the lead character. Role went to Shirley Maclaine, who stole Debra Winger's Oscar.

Roy Disney - Walt's nephew. Worked his way (ha ha)from assistant film editor to the board of directors at Disney. Took over the animation department in 1984 and gave us "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" and others.

THE YEAR THAT WAS PART I

So many things were found Rant worthy. What were the main ones?Where to begin? How about

JANUARY

Within a week of inaguration every other television commercial consists of some kind of item featuring the smiling face of President Obama. From coins to towels to hemmoroid cream, the shilling of this man knew no boundaries. To the idiots that paid hundreds of dollars for those items that "are sure to increase in value" let me just add this: SUCKERS!

Roger Clemens is asked by the Houston Astros NOT to drop by spring training to help with the pitchers. Apparently they already know how to use a needle.

In his fifteenth and last year of eligibility Jim Rice BARELY makes it into baseballs' hall of fame. Fred Lynn fans cry out in outrage.

Speaking of outrage, "The Dark Knight" is NOT nominated for Best Picture when Academy Award nominations are released. Sadly, "The Reader" is. What a joke...me thinks the academy would be better off increasing the Best Picture nominees to 10.

Oscar outrage part 2: Due to some kind of rating scale, Bruce Springsteen's song for "The Wrestler" is deemed to suck and is not nominated. The winning song will consist of the lyrics, "Jai Ho!" No, seriously.

The ashes of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife, Majel Barret, will be launched into space.

My lovely bride, Juanita, takes on Bank of America and their outrageous interest rates on local television.

PASSING ON

The year starts sadly as 16 year old Jett Travolta passes away. Other notables: actor Sam Bottoms, filmaker Ray Dennis Steckler, Patrick McGoohan (the Prisoner) and Ricardo Montalban (KHAN!)


FEBRUARY

Rock and roll fans gather in Clear Lake, Iowas to commemerate the 50th anniversary of the day the music died.

Michael Phelps gets photographed with a bong. The world ends!

An audio rant of actor Christian Bale on the set of "Terminator: Salvation" is released. Hollywood stunned. Seriously. In between "Batman" films the guy dropped 63 pounds by eating a can of tuna and an apple a day to play a role...you don't think he's intense?

"Slumdog Millionaire" wins the Best Picture award at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs. "Jai Ho" also wins. "The Love Guru" sweeps the Golden Raspberries.

One month after telling "60 Minutes" that he doesn't have to use steroids because his natural talent is enough, Alex Rodriguez admits to taking steroids. One again baseball fans everywhere kneel down and pay homage to the god that is Cal Ripken, Jr.


MARCH

Rolling Stone names Aretha Franklin the greatest singer in the history of rock and roll. This writer sends Jann Wenner a note asking for a clarification of the term "rock and roll."

Matt and I travel to Boston for the television travesty "America's Got Talent." In researching the contestants later I discover that NONE OF THE ACTS THAT AUDITIONED IN BOSTON made it to the second round. Trust me, I didn't audition and I was better then some of the shit that made it on the air. Matt and I swear vengeance and have agreed to boycott NBC when he finally makes it big. TAKE THAT, JAY LENO!

On a brighter note, while in Boston we visit our friend Pete and get to sit in the same chair Robert Shaw sat in while on the deck of the Orca in "JAWS." We also get to hug an original fin, which to my knowledge Jay Leno has never done. TAKE THAT, JAY LENO!

PASSING ON

Paul Harvey bids us all a final "good day." Natasha Richardson has a tragic accident. The great singer/songwriter Dan Seal leaves us too soon.


APRIL

MAD magazine celebrates it's 500th issue. PCR is closing in on it's tail!

The majority of goodies from the Ackermansion go up for auction.

Phil Spector and his wall of sound head to prison.

Despite stories that he's lost his popularity, Paul McCartney holds a small concert in Las Vegas. The 4000 tickets sell out in seven seconds.

Juanita and I celebrate one year of wedded bliss.

PASSING ON

Baseball loses a trifecta with Nick Adenhart, Harry Kalas and Mark Fidrych. Adult film actress Marilyn Chambers and thankfully NOT adult film actress Bea Arthur also leave us.


MAY

J.J. Abrams gives us "Star Trek." All else achieved that month pales.

PASSING ON

Funny man Dom Deluise takes leave. After a long battle with brain cancer, my friend Jimmy Oyer leaves us way too early at the age of 28.


JUNE

Proving President Obama's point that he's just misunderstood, Reverend Jerimiah Wright blames "white Jews" for keeping the two apart. There's a place in hell for you, Rev. Get there soon.

After a decade of declining ratings and a list of Best Picture nominees that nobody has seen, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences decides to increase to ten the number of films eligible for Best Picture.

Jose Canseco blames Major League Baseball from keeping him out of the hall of fame. Actually, Jose, it's your one dimensional game that did that. And the fact that you used your head to give Carlos Martinez a home run. And the fact you cheated. And the fact....do I have to go on?

PASSING ON

Titanic survivor Milvina Dean. David Carradine adds to the legend. Pitchman Ed McMahon is reunited on the couch with Johnny. Angel Farrah Fawcett heads to heaven. Michael Jackson and what might have been leave us as well.







MY FAVORITE FILMS, PART II. THE YEAR WAS 1974...

The Lords of Flatbush
Starring: Perry King, Henry Winkler and Sylvester Stallone
Directed by: Martin Davidson and Stephen Verona

FIRST SEEN Home video
FAVORITE SCENE: Stanley and Frannie go ring shopping
FAVORITE LINE: "If you ever show my girl a ring like that again, you know what's gonna be written on your tombstone? "I was dumb enough to show Frannie Malincanico a $1600 ring," ya got that?"

AWARDS

NONE

For some reason the 1970s was a time for the 1950s. After the success of "American Graffiti" (which actually took place in 1962) and , later, the popularity of television's "Happy Days," it seemed Hollywood wanted to embrace a gentler time on screen. Films like "American Hot Wax" and "The Wanderer" certainly did that. So did "The Lords of Flatbush."

The film follows the day to day lives of four friends: Chico (King), Butchy (Winkler), Stanley (Stallone) and Wimpy (Paul Mace). Like most films of this genre' the boys are stereotypes: Chico is the face man, Butchy the smart Jew, Stanley the Italian tough guy and Wimpy the...well, wimp. Thankfully, the cast is strong enough to rise above the usual and give the characters their own life.

The film was not successful when it was first released, though it was a spring board for most of the stars. It was not until Winkler and Stallone were household names that it enjoyed a popular re-release. This was also the first film where Stallone would enjoy a writing credit. Director's Davidson and Verona also wrote the screenplay and were impressed with a lot of the improvisational material Stallone came up with, so much so that he received an "additional dialogue" credit. Stallone was also good luck for Winkler, who has said he based his early portrayal of Fonzie on "Happy Days" after Stallone's work in "Lords."

Part of the success as well should go to the keen eye of co-director Davidson, who has peppered his films with young talent that later made it big. "Lords" includes Susan Blakely, Paul Jabara (who later won an Oscar for co-writing the song "Last Dance" and was a major figure in the disco era), Ray Sharkey and Armand Assante in his film debut. Stallone would remember Mace and Assante, casting them in major roles a few years later in "Paradise Alley." In later films, like "Hero at Large" and "Eddie and the Cruisers" Davidson again championed young talents, among them Bruno Kirby, John Ritter, Joe Pantoliano and Tom Berenger.

Next week I'll take a look at one sci-fi adventure from the seventies that is often overlooked: "Logan's Run."


Well, that's all for now. If I don't see you before next weekend, have a safe and Merry Christmas. 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.