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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2009!
   Assistant Editor / Co-Moderator:  Terence Nuzum.                 HOME           ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our tenth calendar year!
Number 488  (Vol. 10, No. 31). This edition is for the week of July 27--August 2, 2009.

"Funny People"
Another Year in the Trenches
Samurai Epic with Ozu Flavor
At Least He Didn't Go Blind! .... Movie Notes .... About Time .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... t

Everything Sucks Now?
"Everything New Sucks" by Vinnie Blesi
New Columnist Joins PCR
Readers Comments

This is a topic that is WAY too huge to try and cover in a single issue of PCR, but it is one that has been banging on my door with increasing frequency lately.

Shelby McIntyre, Aug 9, 40 yrs.
Nolan B. Canova, Aug. 13, 54 yrs.
Much of PCR's most popular content is devoted to nostalgia, there's no denying that. Trying to find what's enjoyable and interesting in the here and now seems to have gotten much more difficult for many of us, especially in these troubled times, double-especially for those of us old enough to remember when it was better and simpler.

Or was it? The computer revolution changed the world and brought more information to more people than anything since the printing press. It has also changed the way TV, movies and music are created and consumed. Pop culture fandom, formerly a cottage industry (of sorts) for decades has been institutionalized and incorporated.

As people age, their desire to return to "better times" is a natural part of the process. In my lifetime, I have seen many generations of young people who, approaching the age of thirty, suddenly wake up and ask, "What the hell are these kids listening to/watching these days? What happened to all the great stuff I grew up with?" I call this their "pre-mid-life-crisis crisis". When they eventually reach forty, they've all but given up on the idea that any new pop media will prove exciting or inspirational.

Estranged PCR contributor Andy Lalino (Oddservations) made a career of promoting his opinion that nothing worth a damn came out of Hollywood after 1987. It was frequently debated how much the DVD revolution and technological inovations (CGI effects, etc.) had to do with the way movies are created and marketed, but Andy, and those like him, knew that, regardless, it would never be the same again, and that's all that mattered.

Recently, a message board poster in his mid-30s conveyed his devastation over finding his life-long passion for professional wrestling ebbing away due to the current set-up in the creation and promotion of the sport. He then determined nothing in pop culture is worth a f**k anymore.

I myself haven't watched television regularly since about 2002, the year I gave up cable TV. I haven't collected comics since about 1993, around the same time I gave up on anything new in the music field appealing to me. I do, however, still enjoy going to the movies and find that some of the greatest product ever has been produced in the last ten to twenty years (the '90s was sparcer).

I think I've addressed some or all portions of the thorny issues related to the changing face of fandom over the years. To me, it all has to do with what I call your hot ten years, roughly the age between 8 and 18, when you become aware of pop culture as a consumer and discover what your passions are. This is followed by a secondary ten years when your collecting and trivia knowledge becomes more fine-tuned. As 30 approaches, this tapers off as the national pop landscape begins to court a younger generation. Once you hit 40 and beyond, your demographic is no longer a prime mover and shaker which can lead to bitter contempt and a resulting embracing of nostalgia. Collecting anything new begins to taper off in favor of collecting things old.

The baby-boomer generation enjoyed an extra ten years or so of controlling the pop culture landscape because of the sheer numbers in our ranks (I never imagined the surviving Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zepplin members still touring in their 60s), but eventually, we, too, will have to settle for Jimi Hendrix posters in our retirement homes.

I'm sure today's teenagers still find lots to like that is new and current. However, I've run across many who, even at their tender ages, agree that things were better in the past!

The simple question: Does everything truly suck now, or does it just seem that way?

First up is Vinnie Blesi, a former regular PCR columnist who's making a one-time comeback to address this issue.

“Everything New Sucks”       by Vinnie Blesi

As a guest at a recent top-secret meeting of the Crazed Fanboy cabala, one noted member mentioned that, “Everything New Sucks”.

I noted that not everything sucks, but they are certainly derivative of previous works. Yes, the technical aspects are better, and the CGI is annoying at this point, but very few if any new works are breaking any new ground. Music or film, the technology is better but the art has died to become just product for consumation.

Like the 23 cats that I share my life with, I don’t acclimate well to change. Recently my bastion of legal indie music downloads, www.emusic.com, reverted to a new reduced pricing scheme as they have added the back catalogues of most Sony artists, including Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and others. Eerily they added the Michael Jackson back catalogue right after his alleged death. I could start a new conspiracy that emusic killed Michael Jackson, but I am still working on the fake moon landing conspiracy, and I can only handle one conspiracy at a time.

But looking at the charts on emusic.com shows that Michael Jackson and the Boss rule. The Sheeple have spoken. Why should any film studio or music label promote good original music or film when they have a winning formula now? Look at box office numbers in this age of recession. People are desperate for an escape. While this should be a bumper crop era for fantasy and science fiction, we are instead treated to tripe like “Transformers”, “The Hangover” and now an animated Guinea Pig movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

In the 1930’s, America experienced a similar growth in film and music, as people sought to escape from their financial woes through escapism. That era eventually blossomed into giving us some of the finest films and writings in American history. I have little faith that this recession will give birth to nothing but tweets.

Hopefully, in this formulaic derivative time in music and film, some young punk asshole will punch through the barriers of conventional media conglomerates and create some real art that would make Stanley Kubrick proud. And I don’t mean some idiot on YouTube.

A New Columnist Joins PCR
So, I'm walking around my local Publix Supermarket earlier in the week. I was in the back, just passing the frozen foods and picnic items, nearing the organic potato chips. Out of the blue, a man I figure to be at or about 40, but with a definite fanboy look, approaches me, and asks, "Aren't you the Crazed Fanboy?" I am awestruck, and I'm not kidding. To think that whatever dubious notoriety I ever had has finally resulted in being recognized in public!

He introduced himself as Jason Fetters and said he and his friends are long-time fans of this website, most notably the Creature Feature Database section as they are all fans of Dr. Paul Bearer. Ah, the instant bonding of the Bearer elite, eh? He then asked if I'd ever considered running a column on Japanese or Asian pop culture. I remarked that a former columnist, one Peter Card from Orlando, had a limited run on such a topic many years ago, but I'd done nothing like it since. Jason offered his services and, what the hell, I took him up on it. So....

The first installment of The Asian Aperture (my title for it, as we never discussed it) is in this issue! I hope you like it. Next week's installment is already "in the can"!

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
AA [03-08-2009 13:38] 
Thanks for the kind words, Paul. And thanks for coming out to the show.

Hat tip to Chris Woods who cut the film into fine form. Like a fiendish surgeon.
the outcast [03-08-2009 07:47] 
Wah! I missed brainjacked! I keep hearing from several people that it was really, really good! Congrats to the Andy's, and also kudos to Paul for supporting independent film in Tampa!
MAD MATT [02-08-2009 22:57] 
I like the new asian guy, pretty good stuff...
ED [02-08-2009 13:48] 
Mike - still laughing at that Taco Bell line but I think any move of that nature would only improve the quality of their meat!
2nd 2-Yr PCR Anniversary Celebrator Lisa [02-08-2009 08:15] 
ED -- Nice column. Congrats on another successful year!

Jason -- Welcome to PCR! The pay and retirement package aren't the best, but we have a really cool secret handshake.

I'm looking forward to reading your columns.

Nolan -- I like your phrase "hot ten years" and your theory about how/when fandom faves are established.
Paul Guzzo [01-08-2009 22:57] 
Just got back fron Brain Jacked ... yes, it gets the Paul Guzzo 100% F'n Awesome stamp of approval. I was pleasantly blown away by it ... acting, writing, directing, lighting ... all awesome. The Andy's should be proud.
KSeuss42 [01-08-2009 22:28] 
It's not that everything sucks. It's that the gems that pop up get horribly mismanaged. Firefly is a great example. Torchwood is another. (Both are available on DVD and Netflix for those that might not have seen them.)
Musically, there is some really decent stuff out there but you're not likely to find it through any mainstream application. (Though music has always been that way...)
Curious [01-08-2009 12:48] 
I coulda written about Asian movies ... although the Asian films I watch are a little bit more risque ... hint hint nudge nudge
Terence [31-07-2009 15:36] 
good to see we have an asian movie column back. i was starting to worry about the fandom quantity on the site for a while there haha
Ferret111 [31-07-2009 09:17] 
Thanks, Nolan. Most of them are fairly recent, though of older signs and buildings. The oldest (2000-2002) feature some since-demolished malls and drive-ins.
Nolan [31-07-2009 06:05] 
To Ferret111: I enjoyed your picture essay on Flickr! I does sorta tie into my article, but more in the way of remembering old Tampa. And how, despite our smaller-town feel back then, it seemed was so much cooler.
Terence [29-07-2009 22:03] 
looking at the emuisc site I still have no clue what it is all about. so im just gonna comment on the emuisc charts as I see them today. i was expecting a nightmare but instead found that it pretty accurately represents a indie rock fans picks. I myself just listend to Sonic Youth's The Eternal, Dinosaur Jr.'s Farm, and Springsteen's Born To Run at work back to back the other day. all which were in emusics top 20.So im going to guess that emusic is probably mainy used by people in my age group who have similiar tatstes and that may be why you see Springsteen in there. And while I didn't listen to Micheal Jackson at work the other day haha even I own Thriller! as for the part about costs changing etc. i dont know. I cant make heads or tales about their offers just on first glance.
Simon Lynx [29-07-2009 21:26]  
Nolan - I wouldn't have minded if you used my name in your reference.
It almost seems like I've shaken things up enough that there had to be an article at some point. Thanks for the sutle plug.
Ferret111 [29-07-2009 20:57] 
Well, this only vaguely ties into Nolan's article, but here's my website that has a bunch of Tampa/Pinellas pictures that I've taken, including some of places that are no longer existing.

Curious [29-07-2009 15:22] 
Vinnie should have mentioned things that he's bought that suck!
Nolan [29-07-2009 14:13] 
Congratulations to ED Tucker on his second anniversary on PCR!

And whaddya know? I'm first this week! (Actually pretty rare, that).
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer Ciurro    "Retrorama" is ©2009 by ED Tucker     "Splash Page" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones     "State of the Nation" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones    "Growing Up Fanboy" is ©2009 by Chris Woods    "Sports Talk" is ©2009 by Chris Munger     "The Asian Aperture" is ©2009 by Jason Fetters      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova    
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