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 58 (Vol 2, No. 18).  This edition is for the week of April 30--May 6, 2001.
The Week That Was
by Nolan B. Canova

I have to confess, I was completely blindsided by the response to last week's issue. I don't mean that in a bad way, either. I've always said the whole reason for this e-zine, besides a smattering of news, is reader crossfire and feedback. Nolan's Pop Culture Review, Issue number 57, was the largest issue I've yet put out with a 60-plus megabyte text count! That's before graphics. And before the two additional pages--being in the 15 to 20 MB range each--that had to be linked over to Crazed Fanboy.

I was completely annihilated that Matt Drinnenberg's newest challenge, i.e., "name the Top Ten performances by an actor or actress of all time" drew such a huge and instant response. Everyone who wrote listed their choices along with their regular columns. That, to my knowledge, has never happened before so soon after a challenge is issued. You want to know something? When Matt first pitched the idea, I thought it was kind of lame (too soon after the Oscar movie lists) and that after Mike and I lobbed a few choices his way, maybe a couple more responses would stroll in. So much for my predictive powers. If I'd've known, I might've pulled my "lost Ramones memory" story and saved it for another day. It seems pitifully out of place now.

Regular readers will remember last year's highly successful "Top Ten music albums of all time" challenge. That was the all-time champ for reader feedback. If you don't count against it that it took several weeks to accumulate lists, it's still champ. I think issue 57's feedback on actors--and one other thing--might've edged it out, tho.

That "other thing" brings me to the controversy surrounding Terence Nuzum. The enfant terrible of Pop Culture Review, Terence is known for his incredibly consistent knack of pissing everybody off with his biting opinion and undisguised hatred for diplomacy. Some would add "arrogant punk". While his columns aren't all that regular--he's only written two this year(!)--Terence has left his mark. However, Terence is a young man with deep beliefs in what is accomplishable in movies and what is merely commercial. For his age, he has pretty sophisticated tastes in art, music, and movies, particularly underground. He wastes no time in telling it like it is, but people feel he's attacking them, through his columns (well, he is kinda), so it gets personal. I love it.

I did write a reply to his previous column, but apparently, some readers didn't think I conveyed the appropriate amount of ire. Folks, I know Terence personally and I've known some of his family since before he was born. I know what he sounds like in real life. What he talks like. His column "reads" much, much worse than he is in real life, BUT he is who he is. I addressed his unfair slamming of the defunct Britton Cinema--admittedly a local affair out-of-town readers can't really identify with--and I briefly touched on his demonization of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. That was--and is--all I have to say on it. Columnist Mike Scott had a much stronger reaction, and to be fair, he made good points, too. If you haven't read Mike Scott's Rebuttal to Terence's Tirade, please do so, and from there go to Terence's Response to Mike's Rebuttal, either from here or from Mike's Rebuttal page.

And if you still haven't had enough, Terence insisted I post Mike's one last parting shot (I wasn't going to): Mike's Reply to Terence's Response to Mike's Rebuttal. I think those two are done arguing now...I think.

It's always good to hear from out-of-town friends we don't hear from often enough. Scott A. Gilbert of Apeshot Studios in Houston, Texas weighs in on the Top Ten Actors list, along with a few other comments, in our Letters section, this issue.

FEAST-OR-FAMINE.  While last week's issue had column contributions by nearly every writer I've known here, apparently everyone's still too shell-shocked to have written anything yet for this week! 11th HOUR UPDATE: 5-3-01.-- "Mike's Rant" and "Lisa's Lambast" are in and online.
   To be fair: Mike Smith was IN TAMPA (until Wednesday the 2nd) attending to a family illness situation. I visited with Mike on Monday and we caugh a flick ("Momento") on Tuesday. It's been great, especially as the illness situation was now under control. I even got to speak with his 16-year-old-son, Phillip, whom I've never met, via cell phone, all the way from Kansas. I finally got a digital snapshot of Mike, so his column will have a new graphic. Even with the schedule disruption, stalwart professional that he is, he wrote about his adventures when he got back to Kansas. (Among which was meeting THE Terence Nuzum at the local Border's Bookstore.) See "Mike's Rant" (with the new graphic), below.
   About Mike Scott. Mike Scott's rebuttals to Terence's Tirade were the most total and complete so far. Mike has not contributed a "Deadguy's Dementia" column this week due to scheduling problems. It has nothing to do with the battle with Terence. Mike is developing his own website and is forming a ghost-hunting research group. He had already warned me that his DD columns were going to be more sporadic.
   About Terence Nuzum.  The bad boy of PCR is fine with the controversy, but, evidently, I misunderstood that Terence's "Enlightenment" series was to begin immediately. It will not. Maybe next week. I apologize for any inconvenience this caused.

I did have a previously unpublished review of "Bridget Jones's Diary" by Brandon Herring, thank gawd, for you to engage yourselves in. Otherwise, I might have been the Lone Ranger this week! (BTW, I asked Brandon for his comments on last week's issue. No word back yet.)

Lisa's Lambast!

Violence on TV, in movies, in graphic video games, and on the radio. School shootings, and children emulating what they see on TV... Just what IS the cause, and where DOES the responsibility lie?

Today, in Florida,the murder trial of 14-yr-old Nathanial Brazill is underway. Brazill, who was 13 when he shot Lake Worth Middle School teacher Barry Grunow faces life in prison if convicted. Just last month, 14-yr-old Lionel Tate was convicted of murdering his 6-yr-old cousin by practicing wrestling moves on her that he had seen on TV. He HAS received a life sentence. Recently, not one, not two, but THREE kids have been injured attempting to copy stunts they saw on MTV's Jackass. Violent juvenile crime is at an ALL time high in this country. The New York Times reports that the average age that children become sexually active is 13. We have more children having children in this country than in ANY other civilized nation. Just what IS going on here? And who should bear the brunt of the blame?

Well, we can look to the entertainers, the heroes to whom our children look up to. Puff Daddy AKA P-Diddy was acquitted on gun charges last month. Eminem is facing similar charges, and several jail cells in various locations are currently housing some of today's popular rappers. Rap stars today are making millions of dollars with their hate-spewing lyrics, all the while encouraging young African-Americans to "keep it real". Loosely translated, this means if you attempt to better yourself by aspiring to any thing other than being a street thug, you are betraying your race, and you will be outcast. Hmmm, not the best role models we could hope for, are they?

Sports heroes aren't faring much better, either. One can scarcely turn on the news without hearing about the latest NFL or NBA player who has committed some sort of violence against another, or who has been arrested yet AGAIN on drug charges. I guess we can't look to THEM for role models either.

On TV we have COUNTLESS examples of sex and violence on nearly EVERY channel. (Do you know that The Cartoon Network runs commercials about AIDS and sex?!) I don't know WHAT in the hell is up with MTV these days. (Really, does ANYONE find Tom Green funny?)

In this age of the two-income family, children are often left to their own devices for hours after school to watch, listen, or play whatever they want. Can't REALLY blame the parents, can you? Mom and Dad HAVE to work, and they can't watch little Johnny every second of the day can they? So, who DO we blame for what is happening with our children? Well, the government wants to blame the media. They want the record companies and the movie studios to stop marketing sex and violence to our children. That's not a bad idea, but let's not go so far as to censor. That would be VERY bad. What I can't understand, is why these performers can't censor THEMSELVES?

You CAN'T tell me that Marshall Mathers doesn't KNOW that kids EVERYWHERE look up to him. (I can't fathom for the life of me WHY, but they do.) You can't tell me that Britney Spears doesn't KNOW that her target audience is 8-yr-old girls, and that in dressing like that she is encouraging sexuality in children too young to understand the reprecussions of such behavior. So, WHY can't these people say, "Ya know what, I know I am a role model of sorts, so I am gonna try to put out a POSITIVE message. If I do that, then maybe I can make a positive difference in some kid's life". Tiger Woods is doing it, Will Smith is doing it. It CAN be done with out hurting your popularity, OR your bank book.

I can hear some of you now screaming "It's about the ART, they don't wanna compromise their ART". Oh, I see, but compromising the future of our children, and consequently, the future of this country is perfectly OK. After all, they're not YOUR children, right? I weep for the future.

I'd like to remind our readers that not only is Lisa an old friend and an outspoken pop culture critic, but a mother of three to boot! So her comments on parenting have a basis in experience.
   That said, however, long-time readers may remember that in past issues of PCR, Matt Drinnenberg has expressed differences of opinion over Mike Smith's and my more liberal views of the same societal issues Lisa addresses: does violence in the media affect children's behavior? I don't believe the blame for problem children can be assigned so easily. While I agree that the media sure doesn't help, we start climbing a slippery slope when we talk about content control.
   Lisa, I know you're against censorship--any sane individual would be--but, I believe objectionable programs, movies, whatever, are a small price to pay for the freedom of speech and expression. Raising kids is still the province of the parents, end of story. Readers? Care to weigh in on this?---Nolan
NEXT WEEK: Mike Scott responds to "Lisa's Lambast"!  Be here.

Bridget Jones's Diary        Movie review by Brandon Herring
Critic's rating: *** ½   out of  ****
Directed by: Sharon Maguire
Starring: Renee Zellwegger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Embeth Davidtz, Patrick Barlow, Honor Blackman, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent.
Rated R: some strong language, sexuality and brief violence.
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Date: April 13th, 2001

Surprisingly enough to the dismay of fans of the novel, Renee Zelwegger plays Bridget Jones flawlessly and wonderfully. For the role she gained weight, and adapted an English accent, which is fantastic and in the movie "Bridget Jones's Diary" Renee becomes Bridget Jones, through thick and thin she stays Bridget until the end, and this may be an Oscar-worthy performance for Oscars 2001.

Bridget Jones is a 32-year-old woman, who is obsessed with everything that she thinks is wrong in her life. Weighing 136 pounds when the movie starts, smoking several cigarettes a day, and drinking several drinks a day, she decides she has to stop. Her goal is to lose 20 pounds, stop smoking, stop drinking, and stop flirting with her handsome boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). She falls for him inevitably, but also remembers a man she once sought after Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) who spoke some not-so-nice words about her, and sadly, she overheard. She finds out, howeve,r that things aren't as they seem, because sometimes the good man is bad, and sometimes the bad man is good...or is it the other way around?

Throughout the entire brisk 95-minute production "Bridget Jones's Diary" is never slow, never boring and never uninteresting. Renee Zellwegger, who won a Golden Globe for her brilliant performance in last year's "Nurse Betty", shows once more she is a great actress and, as mentioned before, her role as Bridget could earn an Oscar Nomination. With her beautiful smile, wonderful body and delightful accent, Bridget Jones is a memorable, lovable character.

In the supporting roles as the two men Bridget is confused over, Hugh Grant (1999's "Notting Hill") gives a great, if somewhat deceiving, performance as the boss Daniel Cleaver to whom Bridget falls for. On the other hand, in the role of Mark Darcy, Colin Firth (1999s "My Life So Far") is a great companion to Renee Zellwegger and two have perfect chemistry onscreen. Embeth Davidtz gives a nice, if bland, performance as the girlfriend of Mark Darcy, and the standout performance from the supporting cast goes to Gemma Jones as Bridget's mother, who is having trouble with her father (Jim Broadbent). Gemme Jones is comedic and had me laughing in most of the scenes she was in.

At a fast 95 minutes, "Bridget Jones's Diary" coasts along, and is not too long nor too short. The ending climax is sweet and I had a permanent smile attached to my face afterwards. The snappy cleverly funny script written by Richard Curtis and Andrew Davies, adapted from Helen Fielding's novel is extremely fun to listen to, and the dialogue pours from the actor's mouth.

In her first role as director, Sharon Maguire has made a film that is both funny, poignant, sweet, dramatic and great all at the same time. With a sequel possibly in the works already and the fact that the film is a hot so far in America, its without a doubt one of the best movies of 2001 and, even though it is already April I, can safely say, it will be in my top 10.
Reviewed by Brandon Herring 4-14-01, ©2001.

Letters to the Editor

First up in a series of letters responding to Matt's newest Top Ten challenge, and last week's issue in general, we present Mr. Scott A. Gilbert. Scott...er...stretched the definition of Top Ten just a wee bit. But, we here at PCR, are really flexible (read: weak-willed) and welcome any and all input from readers, no matter how mutilated our "challenge rules" become!....Nolan
Scott A. Gilbert
Well, ya sucked me in, I take up the challenge and then some:

2. Steve Buscemi, FARGO, TREES LOUNGE
4. Dennis Hopper, BLUE VELVET
5. Robert DeNiro, BRAZIL, everything
7. Peter Fonda, ULEE'S GOLD
8. Albert Finney, MILLER'S CROSSING
9. Katrin Cartlidge, CAREER GIRLS
--crazed fanboy #11. JACK NICHOLSON, THE PLEDGE, everything

2. Werner Fassbinder, FOX AND HIS FRIENDS
3. William Holden, THE WILD BUNCH
5. Harvey Keitel, FINGERS, MEAN STREETS, everything
8. Harry Dean Stanton, PARIS, TEXAS
10. Rutger Hauer, BLADERUNNER
--crazed fanboy #11. Slim Pickens, THE GETAWAY, DR. STRANGELOVE, 1941, everything

1. Peter Lorre, everything
2. Buster Keaton, THE GENERAL, everything
5. Robert Mitchum, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
6. John Garfield, everything
7. Burt Lancaster, VERACRUZ, CRISS CROSS
8. Judy Garland, THE WIZARD OF OZ
9. Jonathan Winters, IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD
10. Jimmy Cagney, WHITE HEAT
--crazed fanboy #11. John Wayne, THE SEARCHERS

Finally, that Terence guy is OKAY by me. With the exception of his silly Britton Cinema carp, I agree whole-heartedly with him.
And WHO, I say, WHO would have figured Mike would have chosen the Scheider-Monster as his top actor of all time-- for JAWS, no less... what about his magical effort in SORCERER? ;-)
--Scott A. Gilbert

P.S. The closing of the Hillsborough is definitely sad-- saw ALIEN there, and BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, and a bunch of others I can't quite remember. Is the Drive-In closed, too? I remember a wonderful evening watching KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE there.

Scott clarified in a subsequent email that he meant the Drive-In behind the Hillsborough Theater, known simply as the Hillsborough Drive-In. Yes, sadly, that was closed many years ago. In fact, ALL of the Drive-Ins in the Tampa Bay area are no longer in business with the exception of The Fun-Lan Drive-In, also on Hillsborough Avenue. BTW, Scott, we saw ALIEN together at the Hillsborough! (I still have my "You are my lucky star" souvenir button!)---Nolan.

Steve Beasley
I have a couple of observations.
1. Terence, in spite of being so young, is right on the money when it comes to Spielberg and Lucas.
2. Mike's review of "O Where Art Thou" is fine, however, the movie should win an award for it's soundtrack because it brought back memories of my grandfather's music, which is sorely neglected today. I used to listen to him play his "git-fiddle" or "git-box" and it was always '20s,'30s and '40s bluegrass. He played with a band and on local radio stations.
Will Moriaty
Last week's edition, (4/23-28), WAS YOUR BEST ISSUE EVER! The graphics on Lisa's Lambast, and in particular Terence's Tirade are OUTSTANDING!  (Thank you!!---blushing Nolan.)

In reference to Dawn Miller's inquiry about the show "Roswell" (from issue 55.---N), it must still be in production (but not for long) if Walt Belcher's column in the Tampa Tribune of Thursday, April 26th is to be believed. According to his column, 20th Century Fox pulled "Buffy" from the WB and sold it to UPN. WB plans to get revenge by cancelling two other 20th Century Fox shows, "Angel" and "Roswell" (both of them fine series). I don't know what on earth the WB is thinking about here.  (Nor do I. But on behalf of Dawn Miller, myself and all fans of "Roswell", thanks for the excellent research and relevant info!---N)

Until next time, take care my Sun Bay South denizen!  (Grrrr.......---N)

Mike's Rant!
Hello gang!   WHAT?   A "rantless" issue?   Not in this lifetime. Shall we begin.

If you caught early editions of this week's PCR, you saw that I was indeed in Tampa the past few days, attending to my father who was taken ill over the weekend. It was very difficult for me, because, as Matt and Scott G. will attest, my father has always been a strong man. And like all sons, my father is my hero. It was quite disquieting to see him in a sick bed. The first day he was very sluggish (from the medication) and I had to feed him his lunch, as he was just  s o   s l o w  getting the fork to his mouth. Thankfully, he was up and alert before I had to leave, and should be home this weekend. Extreme thanks to Nolan for his compassion and willingness to listen. A truer friend I could never have. (Glad to be there for you. You'd've done the same for me, man...N)  Now................

Hoo Boy! What a commotion our Terence has caused. When I first read his tirade, I was in the same frame of mind as Mike Scott. In fact, after I read Mike's rebuttal, I emailed Nolan and proclaimed "Mike Scott is my new best friend!" During my visit to Tampa, I had the opportunity to spend about 30 minutes with the "dark, brooding" Terence, and I came away with an entirely different opinion. As I have said before, the written word does not translate its meaning well. When you have an opinion of a person, especially one based on what you have read, and not from any interaction with them, you tend to interpret their comments in the way YOU think they meant. That being said, I still have a few items to address, but believe me, this list is MUCH shorter then it would've been had I not met the man. My comments on the following:
   The Britton Cinema: OK, so Muvico and Regal didn't do it any justice. I have commented many times that back in the "old days",, there wasn't a movie theatre on every block. As you can tell from our previous reminiscences, the theatre we saw the movie in was as important as the movie itself. It became part of our memories. Perhaps that is why we continue to bemoan the loss of pieces of our youths.
   Steven Spielberg: On occasion, he has gone the commercial route, but you cannot blame him for the crappy state of movies today. From his earliest television work through "Saving Private Ryan", he has always stressed story first. Though "Jaws" did indeed usher in the "summer movie" mentality, that wasn't his intention when he made it. And he certainly isn't the "crapmeister" George Lucas has become. The first time I saw an Ewok in "Jedi," I remarked to my wife, "Those will be in the stores in a week." As a small-time toy collector, I can't tell you how many unnecessary action figures I have seen, just in the attempt to make a few more bucks. I mean, why in the HELL do Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker have "Phantom Menace" figures? Even the smallest background droid has his own figure. The more crap Lucas puts out, the more I wonder who REALLY did "American Graffiti!" And let me note a few other things. DREAMWORKS was sued by a woman who claimed the story of "Amistad" was stolen from her. Her suit was found to have no merit. As for "Lost World" not being anything like the book, very few movies are these days. Take "Lawnmower Man," or any recent Stephen King story-turned-film. The story I read had to do with a Pan-like creature cutting a man's grass, not computer-enhanced crap!
   As for the "A.I." controversy,
it is my understanding that Stanley Kubrick had many a discussion with Spielberg regarding this project. I don't believe he intended Spielberg to direct. I just think that he took the project on as his tribute to a man he truly admired and respected. Terence actually remarked to me that he was sad that the only Kubrick film he had ever seen on the big screen was "Eyes Wide Shut." My friend, come to Kansas City. We do a summer midnight show program every year and try to include films like "The Shining" "A Clockwork Orange" and "Full Metal Jacket." Finally, I'd put Val Kilmer's performance as Doc Holliday in "Tombstone" up against Dennis Quaid's version in "Wyatt Earp" any time. I do agree that Quaid stole the film from Costner, who would have been better off doing a sequel to "Silverado."

Always happy to see any submissions from Scott Gilbert.  I've always believed that if "Leaving Las Vegas" hadn't come out the same year, that Nic Cage would have been nominated for an Oscar for his work in "Kiss of Death." May I add the following roles to your choice of actors: "Network" for Bill Holden and "Marathon Man" for Dustin Hoffman. Yes indeed, the "Scheider-monster" was indeed incredible in "Sorcerer." However, the movie had the incredible bad luck as being released the same day as a little sci-fi flick called "Star Wars," so I was afraid only you, Matt and I saw it. I always thought that we saw "Alien" at the old Tyrone theatre in St. Petersburg, but I could be mistaken. The one highlight of the movie that sticks out in my mind is Ben Gregory, who had already read the novel adaptation, standing up while John Hurt is choking. Ben remarked, "I read about this.................here's where this thing blows out of his chest." Of course everyone looked at Ben and missed the infamous "chest burster" scene. Luckily Ben was heading to the men's room. I think it took him 40 minutes to come back. I, too, have my "you are my lucky star" button. I will donate a cool, movie-oriented prize to the first person who writes in to explain the meaning of that button. As to the Hillsboro Drive-In, I figured it had been gone for quite awhile as Matt's old apartment in Tampa was located on the old drive-in site. Ah, yes, "Kentucky Fried Movie." What a classic. I recently bought the anniversary edition DVD and showed it to my son Phillip. He rolled with laughter. Speaking of laughter, I came across an old comedy tape done by "The Credibility Gap" that we used to listen to, including the infamous "King Pin" (no one tells King Pin to "get back!"). Copies are available!

If you've caught the new "Planet of the Apes" trailer, did you wonder the same thing I did? That is, why are Michael and Janet Jackson in this movie. The two chimpanzees featured in the trailer, including star Helena Bonham Carter, have the same hair styles and facially resemble the Jackson duo from their video "Scream". Well, I had other things to add, but I'm pretty exhausted from my week. I promise to add more next week. Have a great week.

And excellent of you to write, considering the pressures you were under!
    I thought I remembered "ALIEN" as being at the Hillsborough and Ben's shenanigan was DEFINITELY at the showing I attended. It could've been showing at the Tyrone (I would've hitched a ride with someone at the time), but it just seemed to me it was the Hillsborough. Your memory has been demonstrably better than mine on many occasions, so I'll defer, but I would've put money on the Hillsborough. Who else was there we could ask?
   I used to know what "You are my lucky star" referred to, but my memory--again--is not what it used to be.---Nolan.

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "Lisa's Lambast" is ©2001 by Lisa Zubek    The movie review of  "Bridget Jones's Diary" is ©2001 by Brandon Herring    Thanks again to Scott A. Gilbert, Steve Beasley, and Will Moriaty for their letters...keep 'em coming!    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

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