Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed. Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2001 Banner! Number 55 (Vol 2, No. 15).  This edition is for the week of April 9--15, 2001.
Home Improvements, Spider-Man, and Reactions to PeeWee

I'm recovering. Thanks to everyone for the uplifting emails I received from sympathetic collectors who know the joy and agonies of the oft-conflicting trials of collecting and home maintenance. The two terms seem to be mutually exclusive, especially for a crazed fanboy. But with a little help from my friends, the first-tier project--"liquidating" a storage unit I've had for ten years--was completed successfully and on time.

Every bone in my body aches, but I will...keep....publishing. Seriously, I am feeling better. Many thanks and a grateful nod to brother Ron Canova, friend Will Moriaty, and the bestest of the best, P.D.J.--you know who you are--, for without their help, I'd still be loading a truck!  Now on to the news....

Spider-ManSPIDER-CURSE. According to a recent MSN homepage article, the new Spider-Man movie seems to be cursed. The first tragic accident happened a month ago and involved a welder who was killed while his crew was working on replicating the top two floors of a 1930s-style building. A crane hauling a large metal cage suddenly fell over onto its side. The metal cage struck the man in the head, killing him instantly.
   Now another mishap has left actor Tobey Maguire's stunt double seriously injured. Zack Hudson, the guy whose job it is to perform all the hair-raising daredevil Spidey maneuvers Maguire's contract won't allow, fractured his leg last Tuesday after one tricky stunt went way wrong, according to studio sources. The accident occurred on Stage 15 on the Sony Studios lot in Culver City, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Hudson was performing a stunt that was supposed to have him fly through the air and crash through a brick wall before skimming the surface of a second brick structure. Unfortunately, Hudson smashed into the second wall, according to witness reports quoted in the Hollywood Reporter. He was immediately taken to UCLA Medical Center's emergency room for treatment and is still confirmed to be in the hospital (as of this past weekend).
   The much-beleagured movie is scheduled for release in May 2002. Much-noted is this highly anticipated movie's legal battle over rights and a revolving door of talent over the years, including--at one point--James Cameron as director. The film finally began shooting in January with Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) at the helm and with Maguire as the nerdish Peter Parker, who suddenly finds himself endowed with super-strength and agility after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Willem Dafoe costars as Spidey's archnemesis, the sinister Green Goblin, while Kirsten Dunst plays Mary Jane Watson, Peter's fiery next-door neighbor and secret crush.
   In other Spider-Man news, Columbia said it will give a $25,000 reward for information leading to the "prompt and safe return" of four Spider-Man costumes reported missing last week from the Sony lot. Anyone with information (or a reliable Spidey-sense) can call a special hotline at 310-244-1044.

Deadguy's Dementia
Up-to-the minute horror and sci-fi news

Hello everyone. I've taken some time away from my website building to put together this quick article for you. My website isn't at a point where I'm encouraging anyone to visit, but as soon as it is, I'll be sure to let you all know. A basic synopsis of the site's future content is that it's a gathering of ghost experiences, both personal and submitted, and a look at modern day ghost hunting. It will also include ghost hunter instructions, and a look at the Corpse Art museum exhibits that have popped-up in Berlin and Tokyo which will be making their way to the US in 2-3 years. Hopefully, no one minds that I just advertised my website, but it's been occupying most of my free time lately... At least I didn't add a link to it! Ok, that being said, let's move on.

About the Spider-Man Curse. Accident number two has occured on the set. (For details on accident number one see "Spider-Curse" above---N) Accident number two involves a stunt, performed by Zack Hudson, Tobey Mcquire's stuntman which went awry, causing him to fracture his leg. It's not known. at this time if this will push back the May 2002 scheduled release date, I assume that if Zack can't return to work soon, they'll just get another stuntman. (Ow...cold. But, that's Hollywood!---N) Also, there's a $25,000 reward for information leading to the "prompt and safe return" of four Spider-Man costumes and encouraged to call a special hotline at 310-244-1044.
   If you call it, and you get the money, please don't forget that Nolan and I were the ones who clued you into it!
   Perhaps the shooting is cursed due to the same thing that comic book purists are upset at: the fact that Spider-Man will be able to shoot his webs NATURALLY from his wrists rather than the concoction that the comic book character used to mix and add to small "shooters" at his wrists. James Cameron made that decision, but he's no longer involved with the picture and Sami Raimi has decided to try to appease the masses by requiring Spider-Man to use strap-on shooters at his wrists to CONTROL the naturally-secreted web fluid. Is that enough? Or is it THAT crucial to the comic book purists?

Speaking of comic book adaptations, there's another one on it's way that will have the purists a bit more appeased. "Batman: Year one" is currently in the scripting stage with no release date set. Everything's pretty much under wraps at the moment, but the Director, Darren Aronofsky, has stated that he'd like to approach this as being a time when Batman had to resort to guerilla warfare tactics, and didn't have the backing of the entire city. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers may not want him to head too far down the "dark path", though no one seems sure that they will step in and say anything, or just trust the guy to do a good job. It's the movie industry, anything could happen. The actor that's supposed to be playing Batman is George Clooney, who is under contract for another two sequels (including this one). Rumors came up that either Kurt Russell or Nicolas Cage are slated to play the early Batman, but these have been debunked as being just rumors. Val Kilmer has admitted to the press that he'd like to return to the role. Val'd like another Batman movie with him in it "to have more humor."
   uhh.. sure thing, Val...
Personally, I don't think it'll be Clooney doing the role either, due to his age in comparison with the character, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Pee Wee Last Issue
Last week, Nolan made mention of Pee Wee Herman's role in the new "Blow" movie. Well, Paul Reubens is also at work on TWO Pee Wee Herman scripts! The first one which he calls "The Pee Wee Herman Story" is going to start-out with Pee Wee in prison. Supposedly, the movie hints at the real-life legal troubles that Paul experienced locally (also mentioned by Nolan). The movie is being designed by Reubens to be more "adultish" in nature and is likely to be rated PG-13 even though it IS a Pee Wee movie. The second story he's working on is more of the Pee Wee's Playhouse variety, aimed at family viewing. Paul himself describes it as being a"Wizard of Oz type thing in a make-beleive land." Well.. I ain't going to see either of them but lots of luck Pee Wee.
    Well now that THAT nasty bit of horrifying news is out of the way...

Jonny Knoxville, one of the hosts of the MTV show, "Jackass" will be seen in the upcoming "Men In Black, Part 2". When asked what role he'd be playing, he said that it'd be the part of a 2-headed alien, but that was all he's allowed to say about it. (damn those non-disclosure clauses) Opening over the July 4 holiday in 1997, the original Men in Black earned more than $500 million worldwide. With all the IOUs, Sony execs figure the sequel needs to make $400 million worldwide. Anything less might put Sony in the red, especially since the film's likely to cost anywhere from $100 million to $140 million. From the first MiB, Will Smith earned the relatively low sum of $5 million--with no cut of the action in future promotions and other tie-ins. Not this time around though. Apparently, Mr. Smith drove a particularly hard bargain with Sony, demanding he be given a stake in all profits made from promotional tie-ins. After some tough negotiating, the studio caved-in and agreed.
   I guess it's kinda' handy to be one of the primary returning stars in a series of movies.
   In fact, Sony is so willing to jumpstart MiB2 that it's going to have some special effects-intensive scenes shot before the pending Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America strike in June. The hope is that once the strike is over, their movie will be one of the first ones out of the gate, and first to the bank. I know very little about the strike, and hope to track down more info about it soon.

Jason X revealed. There's word of something bigger for my childhood hero/role model, Jason Vorhees, (from the "Friday the 13th series"). It's on the horizon for a tentative 2002 release date.

The Event you've all been waiting for..! The Match of the century, with rulership of Hell as its final reward!

   In the right corner! Wearing Navy Blue Dickies pants and a hacked-up hockey mask! Weighing-in at over 250 pounds! Hailing from Crystal Lake! The Man Behind the mask! Abused kid turned Teen Killer! Standing strong, silent, and slowly rotting! It's... JASON VORHEES!!
   Annnd.. as his opponent! In The LEFT corner! Wearing a green and red stripes and a battered fedora hat! Once just a school janitor, Now the man of your Dreams! Burned alive by a vindictive PTA for abusing their kids! A Body carved by Flame, Gloves by Ginsu! The master of the bad Pun! It's the Boogey Man himself! Evil incarnate! It's.... FREDDY KRUEGER!!!
   Despite previous information which called the project dead-in-the-water, they STILL want to release the "Freddy vs. Jason" flick promised to fans over 3 and a half years ago in 1997. Hell, they even claimed they were gonna' start shooting the damn thing almost immediately, but then they ran into trouble while trying to settle on a script for it. There were rumors that there was a conflict between the copyright owners of each character, but since both are now owned by New Line Cinema, I find this to be unlikely. At the end of Friday the 13th, Part IX, there is a scene involving Jason's mask being pulled into the ground by a very recognizable bladed glove accompanied by a very forboding evil laugh. Fans rushed out of the theaters after the movie, telling anyone that would listen that Freddy vs. Jason was gonna' come out soon!
   Production is planned to start 2 months after Jason X is released, even though the script delay up until this point is still going on. Script after script has been rejected for one reason or another, possibly due to the inability of the copyright owners of the two characters to agree on how the story should proceed. Currently attempting to redo the script is Mark Protosevich, who wrote the story for "The Cell." He was selected due to the incredible "otherworldly feel" to the Cell. However, it's my belief that the effects that he's credited with were actually the work of the Director and the way he handled his crew.
   It's almost a case of the immovable object being hit by the unstoppable one. It will be interesting to see how they handle the fact that Freddy has the ability to do all kinds of Acid-induced tripped-out magical things, and Jason's basically stuck doing the whole "hold-still-and-lemme'-hit-you-JUST-once" thing. Also, how do you have Freddy delivering all of his god-awful puns while Jason just sorta stands there looking menacing?
   I think that the main threat to Freddy will be that he doesn't get to use any fear tactics on a guy like Jason, and that no matter what he physically does to Jason, the guy'll keep getting back up.
   Conversely, Jason will have a hard time actually getting ahold of Freddy to mess him up. Also, Jason has been tricked and confused by adversaries in the past, which will certainly give Freddy the upperhand, since deception and confusion is a major part of Freddy's bag of tricks.
   I find it hard to beleive that there would actually be any way of actually being true to the characters' personalities and abilities while mantaining the pretense of a battle. Unless of course, they're both in Hell and told that they must fight to see which of them would be released to unlive on Earth once more, or some supernatural plot like that.
   Another idea I had was that Jason is preparing to kill some teeny bopper engaged in sex with her boyfriend but then Freddy makes his move on the same victim and Jason hit him instead. Another was that one of Freddy's potential victims manage to summon Jason through a dream, or is possesed by him.
   The first script, presented by Brannon Braga, featured Freddy and Jason usurping the devil's rule in Hell and trying to rule the world themselves. I'm kinda' glad that New Line passed on that one.. The second script, by Peter Briggs concerns both Freddy and Jason being pawns in a plan for the end of the world, and draws upon the phenomenon known as "millennium fever". The script begins in 17th century Italy and literally deals with the end of the universe. It also neatly wrapped up the two series completely, leaving no plot thread unused. An interesting aspect to this script was that Jason Vorhees lived on Elm Street before drowning at the camp, and his parents were involved with the burning of Freddy Krueger. By Freddy's rules, that would make him a suitable target, even though Jason appears to be an adult by now. New Line was going to go with this script, and it was announced that Peter Briggs would also direct the movie, but later New Line decided that it would be too expensive to produce the move based on that script, so they dumped it.
   David Schow wrote the next script which featured a bunch of sweater-and-fedora-wearing Freddy fan club members resurrecting Freddy through a seance, and then as Freddy is released, one of them decides to summon Jason to put an end to the slaughter. Interesting, but kinda' shallow, so New Line dumped it and then decided to go back and rewrite script #2. Then they gave up on that corpse of action and the movie was proclaimed dead, until they decided to try again with Mark Protosevich.
   I'm just kinda' wondering how it will all play out in ANY accepted script. At the end of each of their movies, Freddy and Jason are always defeated, only to arise once more for the next movie, so are they BOTH gonna' lose this time too?
   I just hope that they'll get a script worth shooting in time for the projected release date, because if they don't, this project is gonna' die again.

Well.. it's 3:45AM, and time for this ghoul to return to his coffin, see ya'll next week!

"Deadguy's Dementia"is ©2001 by Mike Scott

Josie and the Pussycats       Movie review by Michael A. Smith
Critic's rating: RECOMMENDED

I was pleasantly surprised by the fun tone and actual laugh-out-loud comedy in the newest "cartoon-to-movie" treat, "Josie and the Pussycats." For those of you who may remember, Josie and her friends, Valerie and Melody, are the talent behind the OTHER band out of Riverdale. Sadly, there is no sign of Archie and the gang.

The film begins with our girls playing at the local bowling alley. Unfortunately, it's league night and they soon have to give up the lane they are set up on, as well as their shoes! While Josie dreams about stardom, we are introduced to DuJour, the newest "greatest group in the world." An obvious "homage" to boy bands like N*Sync and the Backstreet Boys, they drive the girls crazy. However, when they are alone, they fight over the dumbest things, like who stole who's "look." Seth Green and Brecken Meyer stand out in this short bit. The boys are managed by Alan Cummings, who is slowly becoming this decade's Tim Curry. Recently this actor has popped up in more films than Ron Jeremy!

When the band discovers that there are subliminal messages hidden in their music, they are immediately listed as "missing." Charged to find the "next big band," Cummings happens on the Pussycats and promises them the world. Though skeptical at first, Josie goes along for the ride. What follows is something I'll let you find out for yourself. Though heavy at times with musical montages, the film is full of the same crazy humor that made the animated show so funny. Rachel Leigh Cook is beautiful and funny as Josie, and Rosario Davis and Tara Reid shine as Valerie and Melody. Reid has some funny bits as the bubbleheaded drummer with a heart of gold, and has genuine fun in a scene with her real life boyfriend Carson Daily, who appears in a cameo.

The songs are catchy and the actresses really seem to be enjoying their characters. I recommend this film to anyone who enjoyed the Saturday morning cartoon show or just want to laugh and have a good time. Enjoy!

Letters to the Editor
Re: my article from last week that included the hopeful thought that David Duchovny's return to The X-Files was permanent....
Dawn Miller
I wish it was a "permanent" thing........... but I highly doubt it. X-Files got good with Mulder's return. Lone Gunmen isn't too shabby either!
What's up with Roswell?? Cancelled??? They haven't been on since like forever :( I really liked that show too............ oh well. I think Lone Gunmen will make it. The comic approach is kinda unique. Finally there is something decent on TV on Friday nights!
   I seem to be a cult of one who's not sold on The Lone Gunmen's comedic approach. I'd have to divest myself of their whole history with X-Files. It'll take me time, but I'll come around I suppose.
   I have no info on Roswell. Readers? Any idea?.......Nolan

Mike's Rant     by Michael A. Smith
Hello gang! Hope everyone is enjoying the first weeks of spring. Shall we begin?

Not sure if Jeff Goldblum appeared on "Pee Wee's Playhouse." Two actors I do remember well is Laurence Fishburne, who was Cowboy Curtis and William Marshall as the King of Cartoons. Marshall was the star of several of the classic blaxploitation films of the 70's including "Blacula" and "Abby." (Unless any readers can back me up, I may have confused Fishburne with Goldblum who played a cowboy on "Buckaroo Bonzai". It was a long time ago, people.---N)

Sad to report the passing of baseball hall-of-famer Willie Stargell, who passed away April 9 at age 61. Cause of death was listed as a stroke. Stargell hit some of the most majestic home runs ever and was a first ballot hall of fame selection. In 1979, he became the oldest winner of the league Most Valuable Player award while leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series victory over my beloved Baltimore Orioles. He acquired his nickname "Pops" when the Pirates began referring to their 1979 team as "The Family," an idea that grew from the Sister Sledge hit "We Are Family." Sadly, Stargell passed away the same day as the new PNC Park in Pittsburgh opened. There is a 12-foot bronze statue of Stargell in front of the ball park and fans spent the day placing notes and flowers at its base.

With the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt still fresh in the countries' memory, Warner Brothers is about to release the film "Driven." Described as "Rocky on Wheels" by star/screenwriter Sylvester Stallone, the coming attractions play up more of the crashes then the actual races. In fact, if you didn't recognize Stallone's eyes in the first trailer you wouldn't have even known he was in it. The big hype is that this is a "Renny Harlin" film, and so promises us many exciting screen thrills. Of course, "Cutthroat Island" was also promoted that way, so you take your chances! Yet with Earnhardt's death still on their minds, will audiences want to spend 2 hours watching other drivers trying to cheat death? The movie "Body Parts" suffered greatly by being released three days after serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested. Though the movie had nothing to do with Dahmer or his heinous crimes, the studio was blasted for it's "insensitivity" and the film did poorly at the box office. Now Warner Brothers is being chastised for releasing "Driven" so soon after Earnhardt's death, as if their intention is to cash in on the tragedy.
   Film companies schedule their release dates MONTHS in advance, with no knowledge of what is going on in the world. I knew LAST YEAR that the "Harry Potter" film will be released on November 16th, 2001. Believe me, even if the world is over taken over by young, spectacle-wearing wizards, the movie is coming out November 16th. Is Warner Brothers wrong in showcasing the exciting crashes in "Driven"? My answer is no. Believe me, as much as I like Sylvester Stallone, it would take more then his on-screen banter to draw me to his movies. I mean, be honest, who went to see "Rambo" just to hear his pro-Vietnam veterans speech? You play up the action in your preview and that is just what Warner Brothers is doing. As far as I can tell, "Driven" has as much to do with NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt as "Hogans Heroes" had to do with World War II. Hollywood has been taking heat for so many things recently, some of them justified. But believe me, no one is stockpiling films waiting for a tragedy to capitalize on. If they were, I'm sure we'd be swamped with "Americans held in China" movies! I doubt the executives at MGM are kicking themselves because they released "Red Corner" two years too early! More on THAT situation next week.

Have a great week!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith.    "Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2001 by Mike Scott.    Thanks to Dawn Miller for her letter, keep in touch Disnoid.    The movie review of  "Josie and the Pussycats" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith.    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

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