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 56 (Vol 2, No. 16).  This edition is for the week of April 16--22, 2001.
Goodbye, Joey Ramone

Incredible. I heard the news on the radio early this morning (Monday) in the wee hours while on patrol. Joey Ramone, lead singer of the seminal punk-rock group The Ramones has died at the age of 49. The report cited complications from lymphoma, which apparently Joey had suffered from for several years.

I first heard of the Ramones sometime during 1979, I think, on one of those rock concert shows...could have been Don Kirshner, but I can't swear to it. All I know is for about a half an hour I sat absolutely transfixed while this group played rapid-fire, breakneck-paced music that seemed to be 30 songs in 30 minutes. I remember the guitar sound was almost as percussive as the drums. In fact I don't think I ever heard a band before or since whose sound was so...percussive!

Good friend Corey Castellano (who called me from Maine--where he's shooting a FOX special--to make sure I heard about Ramone...what a guy) remarked at the time the sound was "heavy metal beach music". I never forgot that because that's pretty close to right. Think Beach Boys on amphetamines (oh, wait, they were on amphetamines...skip it), or Buddy Holly after shock treament.

Mike and Matt would never forgive me if I didn't mention one last impact The Ramones had on our lives. In various incarnations of my rock bands over the years, I usually had a Ramones song tucked away in the set. Most memorably, the last several performances of my band "Blade" with the "classic" line-up (Matt Drinnenberg, Corey Castellano, Scott van Sickle, and yours truly), managed to cover both "Rockaway Beach" and "I Want to be Sedated" for the crazed Rocky Horror midnight crowd when we played live-before-the-movie in the Fall of 1989...Halloween, in fact...which also marked the last public performance of "Blade", but that's another story.
For a fuller account on Joey Ramone, see "Mike's Rant", this issue!


AHEAD, WARP FACTOR 2.....This is one of those times I feel absolutely out-of-the-loop, and I hate being out-of-the-loop and ESPECIALLY if my trusted sources are out-of-the-loop as well. Good friend, ex-bassist for Blade/Hats, Scott van Sickle, and I were out to dinner last Sunday, where, among other things, we ruminated on the demise of the last Star Trek in production, namely Star Trek: Voyager, which has only a few episodes left before it closes forever. I asked Scott, who is usually psychic about all things fandom, if there were any more Star Trek series planned. Scott remarked that he thought the next movie was in pre-productiion, but that was about it. I hadn't heard anything either, so the subject was dropped.
   Well, BUST MY BUTTONS if not 24 hrs. later, I'm perusing a Star Trek fan mag at Winn-Dixie, and the cover story is about the new Star Trek series to debut this Fall!  This is the first I/we even heard about it. No title and no specifics were granted by Trek producer Rob Berman in the mag's interview. Just that a new Trek series was coming out this Fall, barring delays from the impending Screen Actor's Guild strike and that the title MAY not contain the words "Star Trek". Commenting on the new movie, Star Trek 10, however, Berman said that while the Romulans are slated to be more villainous, the new heavy was a singular villain he hopes will "be as memorable as Khan" (from the orignal series episode "Space Seed" and the film "Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan"). High ambitions, indeed. Good luck to all....and I'm glad Scott and I were wrong. (And please don't think I'm blaming him for anything..the point is nobody is talking about this. Besides, Scotty-boy got me the Lost in Space Robot man, Bob May's autograph at the local Mega-Con. How could I be mad?)

THE SHATNER-IFFIC-NESS OF IT ALL... William Shatner has been working on a trilogy of Trek novels (again, I was clueless). He evidently came out with a novel recently called "Star Trek: Preservers".
   To all ST fans: please, if you spot any errors or simply have an update, you're welcome to write in and enlighten us.

Deadguy's Dementia
Up-to-the minute horror and sci-fi news
Jason X - Release date August 17th, 2001.
Yup! He's back, the man behind the mask. "Friday the 13th, Part Ten : Jason X."
I'm greeting this one with mixed emotions. I love this series, but I'm worried about two things:
   First of all, the initial reviewers seem a bit unimpressed. The only positive review I could find was from someone who wasn't a fan of the series. They claimed that the room was divided 50/50 on whether or not it was any good. There are some aspects that make it entertaining, but apparently it's not scary, surprising, or anything close to that. The fans that have seen it are pretty much unanimous about their hatred of it.
   It starts off with Jason in a position that had nothing to do with the rest of the series.. Sort of a "don't worry about how he got here, HERE he is now!" kinda' thing. The script (which is no longer available anywhere) I read was SO similar to "Alien Resurrection", that I'm kinda' surprised that no one's seeing anyone. Of course, reading the script is ONE thing, and seeing it is another thing entirely, but if you call Jason a "thing" and call the alien a "thing" and then tried to summarize the plot without using character names, you'd be amazed at how they are identical on many levels. There's a "teaser" poster available on the internet which has a highly stylized new "cyber" mask for Jason, but don't worry.. it's not our boy like you THINK it's our boy. I think those posters are going to get a lotta' flak, because they're very misleading.
   Apparently the intro to the movie has kind of a "remember when?" sort of feel to it. Some of the actors are from the first movie (including, of course, Kane Hodder). And the murder count will be the highest ever, in the history of movies Apparently 28 was the old number to beat, but that was set by "Jason vs. Freddy" which wasn't released (and still won't be, until after this movie is released) I assume the number is close to that. I guess I should mention that they are referring to screen deaths, not deaths that are referenced to.. when I first heard about the "highest body count ever", I was worried that they were gonna' have Jason destroy the planet, or something goofy like that...
   I've received word of some of the scenes that are supposed to be in this movie, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of them. I'd list them here, but I don't really wanna' spoil anything. However, I WILL mention that there's a zero-g scene that has my hero chasing his struggling victim through a weightless environment. I'll bet that will look pretty cool; kinda' like a bloody shark drifting quietly after his screaming, almost helpless, victim.
   The second thing I'm worried about is that the movie "Freddy vs. Jason" might suddenly disappear again if this movie fails as badly as I suspect it will. I'll definitely see it for myself in the theaters, but how many fans will do that, once they hear all the bad reviews by "former" fans?
The rental market is killing theatrical releases like this one. Everyone seems to figure that if a movie might suck, they'll just wait for the video. NOT IF YOU WANT FREDDY VS. JASON TO HAPPEN! The rental market is what stopped Evil Dead part 4 from happening, and I'm sure it's stopped countless others. People also wait for rental outlets when a certain movie doesn't appear to have large intricate vistas and stuff, like the ones in "Gladiator", for example. In fact, the movie trends these days, at least in some genres, appears to be moving towards effects-laden "breathtaking spectacle"-type films. Apparently that's the only way to stay afloat these days, unless you think you've got a cult phenomenon in your hands..

Filming of "The Matrix" sequels in Australia have been suspended due to the imminent Hollywood strikes. Warner Brothers has postponed shooting of the two sequels until the writers' and actors' guilds strikes are resolved or averted. Film bosses hope that the smaller-scale shoots in California will provide enough material to occupy the Matrix special effects team in the meantime.

The planned plot for the sequel to The X-Men is reported to be about a deadly virus. David Hayter, who wrote the screenplay for the first X-Men movie has released his first treatment for X-Men 2.
   Apparently the team of mutant superheroes are to do battle with the deadly, man-made, "legacy virus". The virus is only harmful to mutants, which leads the X-men to try and locate the mastermind behind the deadly infection. 20th Century Fox is currently considering the use of this screenplay. To me, it suggests either a possible team-up between good and bad mutants to fight for a common cause, or that a group of bad mutants have created the virus (with antidote, I'm sure) in-order to raise the tension between mutants and non-mutants. The goal of the "bad" mutants is to dominate all non-mutants while the "good" mutants want to help non-mutants. A disruptive virus such as this, may be intended to make the good-mutants believe that the non-mutants are trying to kill them all off. If this is the case, then 99% of the plot can be figured out just by knowing who the characters are. Ah well, still might be fun to watch, like the first one was, in my opinion.

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

Lisa's Lambast!

Just when you thought it was safe to to go back into the 'zine... I'm baaaaack!
   Miss me? Well then you really SHOULD work on your aim. I mean, how big a target do you NEED? Sheesh!
So, I've been away for a while (they won't discover that I've tunneled out for a few more days yet) and I suppose I should bring you all up to speed on what's been goin' on in the Land Of Lisa. I am FINALLY on the air! I am a news anchor for Florida's Radio Network. Yes, I AM the media... be afraid, be VERY afraid! I am, however, the ONLY liberal anchor at the network. SOMEHOW these people didn't GET the memo about "the liberal media". Go figure. We do only Florida news, so I know more about voter fraud, Governor Duh, and Dale Earnhardt's freakin' autopsy photos than any human being ought to! I'll spare you a Sunshine State rant... this time.

"You ARE the weakest link... Good Bye!" Did anyone watch this crap Monday night? It's touted as Survivor meets Millionaire. Contestants answer rapid-fire trivia questions barked out by a Nazi dominatrix from hell. (Think Dr. Laura channeling a librarian with a cat-o-nine-tails.) She insults the contestants mercilessly. Rumor has it that she always travels with a pack of rabid body guards, so unfortunately, a surprise bitch-slapping is outta the question. The contestants try to answer the questions correctly, and at the end of each round they vote off one of their own. Nazi Bitch tosses off her oh-so-clever tag line, "You ARE the weakest link, Good Bye!" (It's GONNA replace "Wazzzzzz Uuuuuup" as the newest annoying thing yer gonna have to hear ten thousand times a day.) And the ousted contestant must talk "the walk of shame" and exit stage left, even. I can't, for the life of me figure why ANYONE would put themselves through that kind of humiliation, Andy Warhol's 15 minutes be damned! I think Regis' empire is safe for now. I thought the show WAS the biggest stink... Good Bye!

Spy Kids                  Movie review by Brandon Herring
Critic's rating: *** out of ****
Starring: Carla Gugino, Antonio Banderas, Alex Vega, Daryl, Sabara, Alan Cumming, Teri Hatcher, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Mike Judge, Tony Shalhoub.
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Rated: PG (mild violence)

After the genuinely repellent "family" comedy "See Spot Run"...I was starting to think that the good family movie genre was out. Alas "Spy Kids" opens and goes against all I just said, but it is the best family movie to come out in long time, and is the best time I had at the theaters so far this year. The young actors prove themselves worthwhile, and the adult actors are just as great. Surprisingly, from the man who directed violent movies such as "Desperado" and "From Dusk Till Dawn", there is barely any violence--let alone blood or gore in this movie.

Robert Rodriguez wrote, directed and produced this tale about two young kids, Carmen and Juni Cortez, who find out their parents (Carla Gugino, and Antonio Banderas) are international spies and have been kidnapped by an evil kids show host, who wants to take over the world. Of course the kids must take the action upon themselves and save their parents by using the nifty gadgets, spy equipment etc. In the end the film is a rewarding experience worthy of multi viewings, and your kids and even yourself will find yourself loving this film.

Young Alex Vega and Daryl Sabara (sister and brother characters) play Carmen and Juni Cortez, the two seem to be real-life friends as they work great together and have a good onscreen chemistry. Carla Gugino (Snake Eyes) and Antonio Banderas (Desperado, Assassins) play the parents of the kids, and also have a surprising amount of strong chemistry between the two. As for the supporting cast, Alan Cumming ("Spice World", and the current "Josie and the Pussycats") plays the scheming bad guy and is a very good actor. He seems to be having fun as the bad guy, and some surprising information is given about him in the end. Teri Hatcher has a small role, and in her role she is deliciously diabolical and funny as well. Some other great cameos include many people from Rodriguez's earlier movies. Rodriguez's cleverly-written and witty script is that of a great one. His dialogue is snappy and comes quickly out of the actors/actresses's mouth. His plot is very easy for younger people to understand and follow, and has no sex, scatological humor, bloody/violence or even cussing. Only a mild amount of violence occurs in the film, and it's much nicer to see this than some man falling out of a window with his pants off into dog poop.

"Spy Kids" is one of the funniest movies I've seen so far in the year 2001, and is the best kid's movie so far. See it with your entire family, and even those who aren't fans of kiddy movies might find themselves having a lot of fun with this one. A winner.
Reviewed by Brandon Herring (4-9-01)and ©2001.

Letters to the Editor
Mike's Rant     by Michael A. Smith
Hello gang!  Much to report. Shall we begin?

I understand from a close friend in Tampa that the Hillsboro Theatre has closed it's doors. (This I did NOT know. Sorry to hear it.---N) You may recall Matt rejoicing that this final bastion of our movie going days was still operating. I can remember seeing MANY movies here, standing in line for no less then two hours to see films such as "Close Encounters" and "Superman". It was where we saw the studio preview of "Dawn of the Dead". I think the last movie I saw here was "Nine to Five". It was always a nice place to catch a movie. (Agreed.--N)

Wow, not a good week for the following personalities:
Beatrice Straight: a Tony and Oscar award winner, Ms. Straight died last week at age 86. She won the Tony for her role in Broadway's "The Crucible," and the Oscar for best supporting actress for her performance as William Holden's wife in "Network." Though only in about ten minutes of the film, they were obviously ten GOOD minutes. Later roles included playing Lynda Carter's mother in TV's "Wonder Woman" and as part of the research team in "Poltergeist".
David Graf: best known as Officer Tackleberry in the seven "Police Academy" films, Graf died of a heart attack while attending a wedding this past Saturday. His most recent roles were as Sam in the "Brady Bunch" films and on television's "West Wing." Graf would have been 51 this past Monday.
Harvey R. Ball: inventor of the Smiley Face (no, it wasn't Forrest Gump); died Thursday at age 79. Ball, who co-owned an advertising and public relations firm in Worchester, Mass., designed the Smiley Face in 1963 to boost the morale of workers in two recently merged insurance companies. He was paid $45 for his artwork by State Mutual Life Assurance Cos. of America - now Allamerica. He never applied for a trademark or copyright. At it's peak of popularity in 1971, more than 50 million Smiley Face buttons were sold.
Robert Aurand Moon: inventor of the ZIP code, died last week at age 83. He began his career as a postal inspector in Chicago in the 1940s. Zoning Improvement Plan code numbers first appeared on July 1, 1963.
Joey Ramone: Punk Rock pioneer. Lead singer for The Ramones, arguably the most influential US band of the past 25 years. Joey Ramone died Sunday following a seven-year battle with lymphoma. Born Jeffrey Hyman on May 19, 1951, Joey began his music career as a drummer. Unfortunately, he never learned how to keep a beat and soon switched to singing. In 1976, he and faux brothers Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy formed the group that would shape an entire generation of rockers, from The Clash to Nirvana to Green Day. They would electrify audiences with such songs as "Teenage Lobotomy" and "KKK Took My Baby Away" played loud and fast. In one concert, they played 20 songs in 17 minutes. (Oh, I believe it!---N) The Ramones are probably best known for their appearance in, and title song of, the Roger Corman film, "Rock and Roll High School," and for contributing the phrase "gabba gabba hey" to mainstream culture. To best understand their influence: a few months ago I played an old tape of our band doing a song. It took my 16-year-old son less then five seconds to recognize it was "I Wanna Be Sedated". (That's my boy!---N)

To film director and former Eagle Scout, Steven Spielberg, who resigned from his position on the Boy Scouts Of America advisory board, citing the organizations ban on gays. "It's a real shame," Spielberg said. "I thought the Boy Scouts stood for equal opportunity."
To me! Filming begins this Saturday on "Shivaree," the independent film I am appearing in. Am I nervous? Heck no. I've found through the years that acting is like riding a bike or having sex. Climb on and peddle as fast as you can.............and wear something white at night! (LOL! Once again, thanks for the visual! Congratulations again and good luck on this endeavor. Remember, please, to thank us "little people" when accepting your Oscar.---Nolan)

Thank God our 24 hostages have been returned by the Chinese government. What, Mike? Hostages? That's right, booby! In my dictionary, anyone who is held against their will and not allowed to leave is a hostage. And then they wanted an apology. How about "I'm sorry for the many generations of mutants we are about to create by dropping the atom bomb on Hong Kong?" or "I'm sorry your pilot was such an asshole that HE crashed into our plane." Jesus, next thing you know they're going to demand an apology because "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" didn't win Best Picture! I'm glad President Bush stood firm, though I don't like the fact that once our servicemen were released he started talking tough. It sounds too much like the kid who, after an argument with someone, starts in with "Yeah, I would have kicked his ass if he hadn't left" after the other kid has walked away. And why don't we have some kind of remote detonation device on that plane? I mean hell, in "Armageddon" they were able to remotely program a bomb to explode while in space! Of course, then we'd probably have to apologize for blowing up our own plane............especially if there were a few dozen Chinese lackeys on board when it explodes. Well, at least our people are back home safely. When all is said and done that is what matters most. Have a great week!

Matt's Rail      by Matt Drinnenberg
Hello all.
As usual I've missed a week of this now legendary e-zine, and, also as usual, it was because of unforseen issues....such as losing DSL. I never understood just how much dial-up SUCKS until I lost my DSL. I've been trying to write my column for a while now, but kept getting knocked offline after only being on-line for about 90 seconds. No sooner would I be checking out the Newsstand for fodder, I'd be losing my connection. VERY AGGRAVATING. Fortunately, the internet gods smiled upon my homestead and granted me Cable, so now I'm flying thru the net at speeds that make DSL look like dial-up. How awesome is that!?! The cable company also upgraded my TV cable to digital, so now I have 700 channels to explore. I'm loving life.

My inner being is permeated with sadness at the thought of my beloved Hillsboro Theater biting the dust. Unfathomable. The last bastian of greatness from my youth, the Hillsboro was the place you went to for the ultimate movie going experience. I will always remember my dad dropping me off for the 2pm showing of JAWS and having to walk about 1/2 mile to the end of the line (which at that time was located by the dumpsters in back), or the times we saw SUPERMAN, DAWN OF THE DEAD, and, of course, ET. ET has special significance because as Mike and I exited the theater, we walked by the kids in line proclaiming, "I CAN'T BELIEVE ET DIES AT THE END". We walked away with background voices of "ET dies????" Truly a memorable moment. (huh,huh,huh) Wow...the Hillsboro's gone......at least there's still POP 'N' SONS (Uhh...yeah. But it's only open for breakfast and lunch, I think.---N)

AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!  I just can't take it. Joey Ramone, dead at 49 of lymphoma. One of the most influential musicians to touch this generation, his brilliance was his simplicity. Rapid-fire, lightning-fast chords that are ALWAYS fun to listen to, and even more fun if you can play along with them, and ultra-original lyrics. When I think of "Blade", I always first recall "Rockaway Beach". I would torture Nolan everytime we played it with "I don't think I remember the words". Eventually Nolan caught on that I was joshing him (at least I hope he did. N?) (NOW he tells me.---N) Also, I'm very impressed with Phillip's expansive culture! (i.,e., Phillip Smith. See "Mike's Rant".---N)

That's about it for now, but guys....isn't it about time for a new Top Ten? How about "TOP TEN 'PERFORMANCES' BY AN ACTOR" (any genre). And they don't have to be Oscar-winners, as we all understand it's IMPOSSIBLE Roy Scheider has not won one.
Till next time, Take care and God bless

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith.    "Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2001 by Mike Scott.    "Lisa's Lambast" is ©2001 by Lisa Zubek    The movie review of  "Spy Kids" is ©2001 by Brandon Herring    "Matt's Rail" is ©2001 by Matt Drinnenberg    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

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