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Number 49 (Vol 2, No. 9).  This edition is for the week of February 26--March 4, 2001.
If anyone still cares...Florida election re-count results were finally completed! The result:

The Miami Herald's recount--among the last to perform the operation independently--just announced that Al Gore only picked up another 49 votes and there would have been no way he could have become President by winning Florida after all. That concludes my commentary on that. But on a quasi-related topic...

President Bush's Address to the Nation...
I have just finished watching the first Presidential "Address to the Nation" by George W. Bush (Tuesday Night). I am more encouraged than before. Altho, clearly, the speech was a disorienting hodge-podge of "how much money we got" and "how much money we'll spend", the core value of the speech was "how much taxes we gonna cut". Happily, he seems genuinely interested in improving education and reforming welfare. He spent a little extra time on the Social Security issue, particularly steps devised to prevent its collapse and promote its stability.

Perhaps the most challenging concept is the wide sweep of tax cuts--his plan's most radical section--increased spending on a variety of programs (most notably the military, Medicare and SS), and yet, and I quote, "and we'll still have money left over". He said this even after the part about the military budget and after we stabilize Social Security and pay down the national debt and about a half-dozen other things. That's quite a surplus, eh? Most interestingly, he makes the new tax code retroactive and is talking tax refunds. Now that's all great.

Predictably, the Democrats are less-than-thrilled with such massive tax manipulation and call Bush's plan absolutely unrealisitc, favoring the rich, and will be an eventual disappointment for American citizens. I'm not so sure about any of that. I do know for sure I can never go back to being a Democrat, I can't agree with anything they say anymore (actually I've been Libertarian for many years). I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I liked what I heard Tuesday night. I do believe his plan could work. I believe his tax-ceilings talk is realistic and I don't necessarily see how it favors the rich.
For Chrissake people, Bill Clinton has left office. LEAVE HIM ALONE. OK, people who get pardons? They committed a crime. They're in jail because they committed a crime. To say "he's pardoned criminals" is like saying "I'm drinking this water in liquid form". The President does not need permission to pardon whomever he wants. Call it one of the last "presidential privileges". That his enemies don't like his pardon list is irrelevant. That they want Congress to enact legislation to prevent future presidents from acting with impunity over such matters is insane.

Bill Clinton is a sleazy character, cheated on his wife, yada, yada, yada, yes, whatever, WE KNOW. MOVE ON. George W. Bush--your man--is president now.

Did you ever think about George W's feelings? How hurt he must be, because he IS President of the United States now, but everytime he opens the paper it's still all Clinton this and Clinton that. They're even still talking about a post-administration impeachment, for God's sake, just to deny Clinton his retirement White House pension or something. How petty!! You know what this reminds me of? The days/months/years after Nixon. It was so damned much fun to rail on him and make the obvious jokes, that when he left, it wasn't much fun anymore!

Add to George W.'s problems the economy--that we've ALL enjoyed for about 10 years--took a major downturn precisely when he entered office, you have this feeling--in an almost supernaturally timed way--that the party's over 'cause the dean's here. I didn't vote for Bush (or Clinton), but I'm feeling better about Bush than I was. Tonight's (Tuesday's) address to the nation impacted me in a positive way. At least until someone explains how mixed up I am, as usual.

Hey, check this out: Clinton gets impeached, convicted or whatever and his pension withheld. Bush can then pardon him for his pardoning crimes and reinstate his honorable status! HAHAHAHAHA! Unless its outlawed due to some "Clinton amendment". HAHAHAHA! Too much.

End-of-another-era dept.  This news is more applicable to present and former residents of Tampa, particularly South Tampa:  the Britton Cinema has closed...again. Last week, Regal Cinemas announced it is closing 30 percent of its 375 theatres, cited as being "small and/or under-performing". (My math adds that up to about 112 theatres!) And, unfortunately, the legendary Britton is among them.
    Whenever you guys have heard me refer to "my local bijou", I meant Britton 8. It opened in 1956, I think, as a single-screen theatre, then remodeled around 1970-73 to include 2 more screens. It was in continous operation until 1991 when General Cinema closed the whole operation. It reopened in 1992 under Muvico, which gave it its last major face-lift (kind of art-deco) and added 5 more screens. Regal took it over in October 1995 and ran it ever since.
    Reflecting momentarily, I can't help but hold in contempt the overgrowth of megaplexes which drove smaller theatres under. I don't enjoy megaplexes. I don't like walking 400 miles from parking lot-to-concession-to-my seat. The Britton was 5 minutes away from me, you could park directly in front and walk into the darkened theatre in minutes. Even tho there are lots of 'plexes around (none very close to me, unfortunately), I will have to want to see a film VERY badly now to go to the trouble. Shame.
    For the record, the last film I saw at The Britton 8 Theatres was "Hannibal", on Tuesday, February 13th. I paid $3.25 for a medium Coke.
The return of Terence Nuzum and Viddywell Productions. Terence wants you to know he hasn't disappeared (despite the well-wishing), but is in pre-production on his next film project: "THE STRANGE OCCURRENCE OF ROOM 109". This will be a short subject, filmed in Super-8 (so it's really film!) and will be acted with no dialogue. It stars Andrew Reiber (rhymes with fiber--from Viddywell's "A Pound of Flesh") and Antonia Provostas (from Public Access TV). Story concept: a man faces his past in a dark, seedy motel room.
     Terence was on my Public Access talk show "The World of Nolan" last year. That episode was reviewed in Nolan's PCR, issue 25. Terence is updating his website with pics from that show. Please go see his Viddywell homepage, read his ravings and new poem, then click below where it says "PHOTOS" and, sometime in the next couple days, it'll take you to some behind-the-scenes pictures.

Down To Earth      Movie review by Brandon Herring
* *1/2 out of * * * *
Starring: Chris Rock, Regina King, Eugene Levy,
Chazz Palminteri, Frankie Faison, Mark Addy,
Jennifer Coolige, Greg Germann.
Directed by: Paul and Chris Weitz
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Rated PG-13: sexual humor, language.

Good-natured comedies are sometimes a rarity. Most comedies out in the past year have either been raunchy (Road Trip), Stupid (Dude, Where's My Car), or just plain bad (Urban Legends: Final Cut...wait, that wasn't a comedy). Its nice to know that some filmmakers out there still make these good-natured comedies, and Chris Rock's new vehicle "Down to Earth" is one of them. It's funny, but also at the same time has a sweet side to it, and, in the end, delivers a good message.

Lance Barton is a struggling comedian, he wants to be at the Apollo and perform his comedy and not be booed off the stage (his nickname to his friends is Booie). On his way home from a bad show, he is hit by a truck when he sees a beautiful girl while riding his bike. He arrives in Heaven just in time--of course, not realizing what happened, he thinks he is dreaming. Convinced by Keyes (Eugene Levy) and King (Chazz Palminteri) that he is indeed not dreaming, he finds out that Keyes took him 42 years early. For the mistake, they tell him he can go back to Earth in another person's body, and live their life. The body he chooses is a older man by the name of Charles Wellington. Wellington the 15th richest man in the world, is having a problem however, his wife is cheating on him, and his wife and her love (his personal secretary) just tried to kill him. To add to the muck, Charles has died and Lance has taken over his body. Now as Charles Wellington, Lance must fit in, in the world and try to convince the love of his life Sontee (a person very angry at him) that he is, in fact, someone else.

Many of the jokes in Down to Earth work, however, some do not, and fall flat on their face at times, as well. The acting is one of a mediocre scale. Chris Rock, who I think is a better comedian than actor, does a good job in the main role of Lance Barton. Regina King is sexy and realistic as the love interest, and Eugene Levy and Chazz Palminteri make a great comedic duo as the angels. The standouts, however, are the maids and servant of Charles Wellington. Mark Addy of "The Full Monty" fame, does a great job playing his personal servant comedically named Cisco. Wanda Skyes who plays Wanda, the loud-mouthed-but-inside-sweet maid, is very funny.

Chris and Paul Weitz directed a little teen movie in 1999 that went on to make $102 million domestically. That little film was "American Pie". Now, two years later they are back. Directing a comedy is hard to do, because you don't need any fancy camera shots, or special effects. "Down To Earth" really doesn't have any of these, but the direction, however, is good, the actors all do the right things, and the major flaws come from the story and the overall tone of the film. It doesn't seem as funny as one would want it to be, and story is at times pretentious. Besides these flaws, "Down to Earth" is a clever little comedy, that is a remake of the Warren Beatty classic "Heaven Can Wait". In the end, it's worth the watch, and worth sitting through its (too) short running time of only 87 minutes, cramming in everything it can.
Reviewed by Brandon Herring 2/25/00 and ©2001

Letters to the Editor
Mike's Rant   by Michael A. Smith.
Hello gang! Not a lot this week, but you know me.............I've gotta talk about something! Shall we begin:

As Nolan mentioned in an addendum to last week's issue, the world of sports lost a bonafide legend last week with the death of Dale Earnhardt. I'll be honest and admit that I really don't follow auto racing. I'm sure it's an entirely different experience live and in person, but on television it gets pretty boring to me. But, I don't doubt the skill and intelligence necessary to drive a car at 200 mph. I laugh at the people who don't consider auto racing a sport...............feel free to try it anytime. I join Nolan in sending my sincere condolences to his family and fans.

Hollywood lost one of it's most powerful and provocative filmmakers last week when director Stanley Kramer passed away at age 87. Best known among his films are such certified classics as "The Defiant Ones," "The Caine Mutiny," "Judgment at Nuremberg," "Inherit the Wind" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". Although his films won several Academy Awards, Kramer never won one, despite nine nominations.

Congratulations to Steely Dan for capturing their first Grammy awards EVER this past week. Misters Becker and Fagan walked away with three awards, including Album of the Year. I actually enjoyed the Eminem and Elton John duet on the song, "Stan." Grammy officials liked it so much it will be released as a single this coming Friday, with proceeds going to help various Grammy sponsored charities. Best line of the night belonged to "Band" leader Robbie Robertson, who remarked, before handing out the first ever Grammy award for Native American music, that Leonard Peltier was not given a pardon because he was not "Mark" rich enough! As Peltier resides 5 blocks up the street from at the United States Federal Penitentiary, I wondered if he was watching. Also I found curious the fact that all of the Native American acts nominated wore HUGE cowboy hats! What's up with that...........hell even the guy from the Village People could dig up a cool headdress when necessary!

If you're as anxious as I am to see the first trailer for Tim Burton's upcoming "retelling" of "Planet of the Apes", the trailer will be available this Wednesday on line at www.planetoftheapes.com. Can't wait!

Well, gang, that's it for now. Have a great week.
Matt's Rail   by Matthew Drinnenberg
THE MONDAY FROM HELL...part 2.   (Read the Monday from hell, Part one in "Matt's Rail", Nolan's PCR, Issue 47.)

Okay....I've finally calmed down after my experience in "winter hell" and feel I can finally move forward to "The Hotel Hell". Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go back to your reserved accomodations...the legend continues......

When I last left you, I had just made my way past the conglomeration of metal that at one time was 5 to 6 semi's, now laying - in state - on I-84 in the Connecticut hills. Feelings of glee and utter happiness found their way to my now ever-widening smile. Going more than zero miles-an-hour was good enough, but knowing the scumbag jerk that tried to hose me at the end of the traffic jam was still living his nightmare.....well.....it just doesn't get any better than that. Popping in "Living in Oz" by Rick Springfield, I raced down the freshly-cleared highway, on the way to my hotel room in Waterbury, CT. How awesome, I thought, that in just a few moments I'd be in my room, relaxing, putting an end to a horrendous day/night. Luckily, I found a parking spot right up front. My luck is changing for the better.........NOT!!!!!!

As I walked into the hotel, at 1:00am, I observed a line standing at 'check-in' that was approximately 6 people deep.  As I had a reservation, and assumed these were all weather-determined guests, I approached the counter and said, "Hello, I have a reservation". As the hotel representative's forehead was beading with sweat, I took it as a bad omen. "All of our rooms are full" he said. "Surely, you must be in error," I proclaimed, "you see, I not only have a reservation, I have a confirmation number."  He informed me that he was "very" sorry but that, in fact, there were no clean rooms to have. I assured him that a dirty room would suffice and/or I was more than willing to clean my own room. I also included that I was staying at the hotel only because I was holding a Shoe Seminar at their hotel that morning. The next thing I knew, he was off cleaning rooms. I feel I must stress that I never lost my temper in all of this. In fact, I was pretty much the only understanding patron. I felt justified when I got the first available room..even if it was at 2:00am.  The only downer was that the hotel tried to get in my room at 3:30am in an attempt to give it to these guys who were there before me. In the hotel's defense I'm not certain these gents had reservations...and we were in the middle of a blizzard.

Anyway, the Seminar ended up being a huge success, the hotel "totally" apologized several times to me personally, and they didn't charge me for the room!  In fact, they gave me the next night for free as well, at the Braintree seminar in Mass. And I have a great story of tragedy to tell for years to come. Not too bad, after all. Guess it's all how you look at things.

That's about it for now. I'm looking forward to the coming weeks, and the challenge of supplanting Mike as Oscar Ace. I'm sure our host is stoked for the challenge, as well, eh Nolan?
Till next time, take care and God bless
Actually, I've seen so few of the nominated movies, that unless I get to the video store or still-in-town bijou in a MAJOR hurry, I'll have to recuse myself from the process entirely and let you and Mike duke it out. (Maybe we can talk Brandon into getting in on it?) Now that the Britton Cinema is closed, it's going to be even tougher this year.---Nolan

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith.
"Matt's Rail" is ©2001 by Matt Drinnenberg.
All contents this page are ©2001 Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001