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 72 (Vol 2, No. 32).  This edition is for the week of August 6--12, 2001.
Apes revisited.
Also: Star Wars 2 has a name.
The Worst Movie Sequels.

Welp, it's been well over a week since I saw Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" and wrote my review about it (last week's issue.) In a rarest-of-the-rare move, I'm reducing my official "critic's rating" by one-quarter star, post-facto. Don't laugh. I'm serious. At the time it was virtually a spoof move anyway, a quarter star instead of a half. Because I thought "Apes" deserved just slightly better than a three-star rating. However, after thinking about it, I very nearly went back to take last week's issue off the website to redo the rating, but decided that was going too far. After all, it did reflect what I thought at the time. I was really bowled over at the make-up (still am). But, I've changed my mind about a few other things.

Basically, I heard myself talkng to friends about it and I realized I had been doing more apologizing for Burton than I thought. I heard the oldest cop-out in the world come out of my own mouth: "You have to forget about the original movie and take this movie on its own merits." Why? Because otherwise it won't hold up!!

OK, it's not a remake officially. It's a "re-imagining" of the original book (Pierre Boulle's "Monkey Planet") and 1968 movie. Fine. I hope most of you who planned to see this film already have, because I'm fixin' to amend my original review here-and-now with a mini-tirade (apologies to Terence).

Among the most glaring omissions in the Burton film: y'all remember the original movie's opening desert scene? After crashing, Charleton Heston and his astronaut buddies seem to be walking around for days looking for life on what they thought could be a barren planet. They talk amongst themselves about a lot of subjects---some philosophical, some more rudimentary, but solid characters were established here. We sweat along with them. Just when it seems hope could be lost, they discover a tiny, living plant. Life. And where there's life there's hope. Gradually, they make there way into more dense vegetation, then a forest, then an open clearing, where the apes make their legendary first appearance. In the Burton film, all that is gone, presumably to make room for the new opening about genetically-enhanced chimps. Only the "humans-captured" scene remains.

I miss the Roddy McDowall character, Cornelius, and they didn't bother to come up with a knock-off. In the original, some of the most interesting tension is between Cornelius and Zira (Kim Hunter) as they argue about the trouble they're in sheltering this human, Taylor (Heston). In the remake, no such Cornelius character exists because in the interests of animal biology accuracy, the chimps have been changed to aggressive warriors--not the tame intellectuals of the first movie. This, I think, was a mistake, biology notwithstanding. The new movie's chimp female, Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), basically this movie's Zira, is alone to deal with the human astronaut (Mark Wahlberg) virtually solely as a renegade. The dialogue seems one-sided, because it's missing Cornelius.

And I miss Dr. Zaius (Maurce Evans) who covered the science/heresy/religion angles. The dialogue seemed so much more rich and political in 1968. (The producers took some lumps about that if memory serves.) It's not that the first movie wasn't action-packed. It certainly was. But it also covered much more ground. The planet seemed more...planetary. The Burton film has a very stage-bound quality (a Burton trademark). I think it lacks a great sense of scale and vista due to being shot primarily inside.

OK, that covers my major gripes. There are many more little things (like the lame ending), but you get the idea. And please don't think I'm not recommending the Tim Burton version of "Apes". I still give it a solid 3 stars. Just realize, that, you know, you have to....uh....forget about the..uh...1968 movie and..uh...take this film on its own merits!

STAR WARS: EPISODE 2 HAS A NAME. Thanks to Count Poffula for this head's up. For those of you who haven't yet heard, and I only heard this last night (Mon.), LucasFilm has officially announced the title of the next installment of the Star Wars saga. "Star Wars: Episode 2---Attack of the Clones". There now...wasn't that worth the wait?
   "Attack of the Clones" is due in theaters next year. The title admittedly sounds more like some Saturday matinee and Lucas apparently wanted it that way. This from Lucas:
   "It harkens back to the sense of pure fun, imagination and excitement that characterized the classic movie serials and pulp space fantasy adventures that inspired the Star Wars saga," Lucasfilm says in its announcement.
   (Personally, I'm extremely suspicious of anything that claims to "harken back".---N)
   Lucas's latest prequel, which was shot using digital video cameras, fast-forwards 10 years after the events in 1999's Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This time around, 20-year-old Hayden Christensen stars as Anakin Skywalker, who's turning into an accomplished Jedi (but not yet Darth Vader) as an apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi, played once again by Ewan McGregor. Natalie Portman also returns to her role as Queen Padmé Amidala.
   Shooting on "Attack of the Clones" began last June in Australia and wrapped last September--ahead of schedule--in London.


I had nowhere else to put this old Photoshop/Paint Shop Pro trick I did, so I'm sticking it here. I remembered this from a book and reproduced it freehand from memory while waiting for a phone call. Maybe not the greatest version of this chestnut, but I'm proud of it.
Surprise visit from Lisa
Just about everybody I've ever known, grew up with, worked and/or played with or was affiliated with in any way whatsoever has moved out of Tampa--far, far out of Tampa--so it's especially wonderful when I actually get to see anybody anymore. I hadn't seen PCR columnist Lisa Zubek or her sister, Karen, in over 10 years.
   Last week, Lisa came to town on important family business (everything's OK now) and we all met up at a local diner. It went very well. Lisa's very excited about a possible move to New England to pursue her news-anchor career. (Another long-distance move...sigh.)
I'm grateful the two girls agreed to pose outside the diner for "More Fan Friends" pictures!Lisa Zubek and Karen Holden
Lisa Zubek (left) and Karen Holden
Photo by Nolan B. Canova



E! Online's Original List    
10. The Color of Money (1986)
9. Rocky V (1990)
8. Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
7. Look Who's Talking Too (1990)
6. Jaws: The Revenge (1986)
5. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
4. Caddyshack II (1988)
3. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
2. Batman and Robin (1997)
1. Star Wars: Episode 1--The Phantom Menace (1999)
Loyal readers who read last week's issue will remember me commenting on the E! Online's list of the Worst Movie Sequels of All Time. I issued a challenge to all PCR readers to send me a list of their choices and I would list mine. The E! Online critic's list that started it all is to the left. To re-read my original comments on that list, please re-visit PCR #71.
Self-qualifier: altho there are tons of bad sequels I could mention because I heard they sucked, I'm limiting myself to only those movies I have physically seen and/or (gulp) paid to get into. Some items on E! Online's list I'm sure sucked, like "Jaws: The Revenge" or "Blair Witch 2", but I didn't actually see them, so they aren't on my list.
And now, my list of the Top Ten Worst Movie Sequels of All Time!---Nolan
Starting from Number 10...drumroll please.
10.  All Friday the 13th (after # 3) and All Nightmare on Elm Street (after # 4--except for "Wes Craven's New Nightmare") sequels. I'm starting right off with my notorious cop-out like I did on Top Ten guitarists, horror movies, etc., by lumping a whole class of sequel into one spot because I feel exactly the same about all of them. Recently, fellow columnist, Terence Nuzum, and I had a short phone discussion on "bad movie" lists and I thought horror movies were too obvious a target--they're routinely made extremely cheaply. However, if they're brought to market and they pale in comparison to a superior original, I think that qualifies them for target practice! I still regard the original "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" films to be modern horror classics.
9. Rocky V (1990) Aging, punch-drunk Rocky Balboa discovers he got brain-damage in Rocky IV. It's the Rocky sequel that ends in a street brawl.
8. Exorcist 2: The Heretic (1977). Jeeeezis, what were they thinking? Richard Burton, unusually inept as the exorcist in a John Boorman film where Linda Blair cameos as a mere reflection of her former self.
7. Alien 4: Resurrection (1997). Somebody basically cloned Sigourney Weaver from her formerly extremely dead self to again combat the alien menace. Actually a close call between this and Alien 3, which I thought quite lame also.
6. Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier (1989). Surprised it wasn't also the final episode as well. Poor William Shatner, who directed, had to suffer with an ill-timed writer's strike which, I guess, means the script revisions were done by him and his buddies. Starred Laurence Luckinbill as Spock's Vulcan half-brother, Sybok, a renegade, desperate to find the Vulcan equivalent of heaven. On the way, the audience suffered an equivalent to hell.
5. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997). Oh my gawd, was this turkey awful! I see why Keanu Reeves ran as far away as he could, with Sandra Bullock and Willem Dafoe wondering what the hell they pay their agents for. Basically, Dafoe is involving this large cruise ship in a jewel heist and it's up to Annie to save the day. Special effects are outstanding, tho. The ending where the ship basically comes into town is amazing.
4. Star Wars: Episode 1--The Phantom Menace (1999). Jar Jar Binks. "Nuff said.
3. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) Superman lobbies for nuclear disarmament. Lex Luthor creates an evil super-villain, "Nuclear Man" (Mark Pillow), cloned from a DNA sample of Superman's hair. Lex's nephew is crammed mercilously in their every scene as a Valley Boy with nails-on-the-blackboard run-on valley-speak dialogue. Very difficult viewing.
2. Batman and Robin (1997) Holy suck-ass Batman! This was the choice for number 2 on E! Online's list and is my #2 as well. "B&R" very nearly ground the franchise to a complete halt and threatened to bury it entirely. I'm sure Clooney regrets screwing with this at all and Joel Schumacher should never be allowed to direct super-hero movies again.
And the Number One worst movie sequel of all time according to yours truly? ...insert cymbal crash here!
1. Smokey and the Bandit 3 (1983) Unbelievable mess. I am a big fan of the first movie which, had it been cast with any different set of actors, would not have worked, except as a CB-radio commercial. The second installment, Smokey 2, was basically a pale imitation of the first (substitute an elephant for beer). And the third...the third..was arguably the most inept use of Hollywood talent since "Ishtar" (which came after, I know, I know). Smokey 3's most aggravating, jarring attribute was using stagebound, black-backdrop close-up inserts of actors to intercut with outdoor footage. Even Irwin Allen was never THAT obvious! The ending I could never stomach a second time: in the closing 5-minute sequence, a sad old Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice confronts his opponent in the Trans-Am---who starts out as Jerry Reed, but dissolves into Burt Reynolds before dialogue begins! Hinting to the audience, I guess, that Sheriff Justice was obsessed enough to see who he wanted. Or that he had Alzheimer's. Or that Burt Reynolds would only agree to a 5-minute cameo and not a minute more and this is the best way they could think of to use it. This film qualifies as, not only the worst sequel of all time, but in my top five worst movies of all time, period.

Terence's Tirade
Top 10 Worst Sequels.  Clone rage.  Nuzum & Godard vs Spielberg

Top Ten Worst Movie Sequels
Here's my list. Avoid all these films, since I have superior and vast knowledge, not dissimilar to Einstein. Here, I'll show you. With just a couple sentences, you'll see why these following films are pure horror to the retina:

10. Predator 2: He's in the big city.
9. Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier. Shatner directs.
8. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Gang of gnarly, nappy children help Max defeat Tina Turner, seriously.
7. H20: It's Halloween 7. Why is there 7? Why was there 4?
6. Exorcist 2: The Heretic. Those lame flashbacks.
5. Superman 3. Richard Pryor, my friends, Richard Pryor.
4. Crow 3. Involves corrupt cops and taxidermy????????
3. Freddy's Dead--The Final Nightmare. Freddy: "You forgot the power glove, ahahaha". Riiiight. Exactly.
2. Batman & Robin. There's so much, but I'll pinpoint it. Opens with a shot of the Bat-Ass.
1. Jurassic Park--The Lost World. Everything. But mostly.....well, everything.

Okay. Now I must address a serious issue. All usual kidding and cynicism aside.

Okay....I'm going to be calm. What?
WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THE HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Has Lucas finally lost his rocker and reverted to a babbling idiot, who really can't be the man responsible for the great "THX-1138", that we all thought he was. That monkey-shit-recycled-through-the-ass-of-a-dead-sloth-of-a-title doesn't "harken back" to good old serials like Flash Gordon, but lesser, cheaper ones like Captain America or Blackhawk.

George, check this EXAMPLE:   "Attack of the Clones" (bad!)
  "The Clone Wars" (good!)

Anyway, the biggest joy was seeing Ewan McGregor publicly diss the title, and he and Nicole Kidman laughing there asses off at it while being interviewed.
   "Harkens back..." Yeah, unlike Lucas' filmmaking. Sure, digital video will look passable on the muddy theatre screens but when you pop in that DVD you will see it in all its videoish glory. Unless he uses some lame aftereffect to make it look like film--and then why bother shoot it in video.
   Spielberg and Lucas need to be shot. I'm taking recruits, and our General will be French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who has publicly bad-mouthed Steven Spielberg every chance he gets--even at Cannes. Godard, unless you don't know, is the man who made "My Life to Live", "Breathless", but more significantly, "Alphaville" which begat "Bladerunner". Godard claims Spielberg is destroying film and has nothing really to say in his films that hasn't been said better. Hey, I've said that many times myself. Godard is my new hero. Godard says his greatest regret is "not having the power to stop him [Spielberg] from recreating and Hollywoodizing the Warsaw ghettos". All this from a man who appreciates and still makes great films. He comes from a scene and era when films were for the most part made for the best of reasons: Art. See? I'm not the only one. Godard's new film "IN PRAISE OF LOVE" concerns a Spielbergian figure who turns another character's real-life truama into a big-budget, glossy film. It also adresses the current imperialism present in Hollywood today.

Kudos to director Todd Solondz

His new film "STORYTELLING" was an NC-17, but due to annoying executive descisions, was forced to be alter it to attain an "R" rating. However, instead of the "Eyes Wide Shut" CG figures and/or blurring, a large, red box will cover most of the screen during these scenes that visibly show this scene has been altered for viewing-- "I want the audience to know what it's not allowed to see," says Solondz. Overseas prints and the DVD release of the film will show the sex scene uncut, but there're already several attacks going on at Solondz . Attack Hollywood again, I'm not the only one. There's hope yet. Maybe the true filmmakers will regain Hollywood at least in content if not box-office sales.

Oh yeah, and Deadguy, no more rebuttals or you might as well rename your column MIKE'S REBUTTAL.

If you all die and go to hell, say hello to Spielberg for me.

Terence Nuzum ©2001  Viddywell Productions

La Floridiana by William Moriaty LOCAL TELEVISION FROM THE 70's AND 80's IN TAMPA      by William Moriaty
Last week, we reviewed local television news of the 70's and 80's starting with WTVT "Big 13".
This week: we take a nostalgic look at WFLA/WXFL and WTSP/WLCY of that same two decades.
WFLA, "NewsChannel 8": Tampa's long-time NBC affilate, WFLA Channel 8, struggled at the number two news spot against "Big 13's" "Pulse" News. It would not be until the mid to late 90's that WFLA would finally captured the number one position. A part of the monolithic monopoly of moralism known as Media General (also owner of the Tampa Tribune and WFLA radio 970 AM) of Richmond, Virginia, Channel 8 has traditionally broadcast a steady, dependable, and enjoyable newscast, which probably accounts for its number one position today.
    Throughout the 80's to the present, primary anchors Bob Hite and Gayle Sierens have always done an admirable job in news delivery. Dick Crippen, a sports caster of the calibre of the late Andy Hardy, was a steal from former ABC rival WTSP. Due to Media General facing possible anti-trust violations, WFLA was temporarily redesignated as WXFL from 1983 to 1989. Other favorite NewsChannel 8 alumni of mine include David "JAPDIP" Grant at weather, Irene Maher, Joe Mannion, and noon-time fishing and sports commentator George "for Heaven's sake keep an out for one another" Michelle.
WTSP, Channel 10 "Action News": Where WTVT and WFLA were ratings-giants with the working wonks of Westshore in Tampa, across the Bay in Pinellas County, WTSP (formerly WLCY until 1977) was the demographic-darling of the droopy-drawered, geriatic crowd. Although bouyed today by anchors Sue Zelenko and Reginald Roundtree, this ABC (now CBS) affiliate was traditionally the weakest ratings-grabber of the big three local stations in the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Market. Newscasts at this station during most of the 70s verged onto the abyssmal. To its credit, the station did put on a respectable showing starting in the early 80's with the boy-girl tag team of Don Harrison (who left for the greener pastures of CNN--he was replaced in the mid 80s by current Fox 13 anchor Don Wilson) and Sheryl Brown. Dick Fletcher, who gave Roy Leep a run for the money, became an overnight hero wth his marathon musings at the Action 10 studio during Hurrican Elena in 1985. Mr. Fletcher, who I consider to be one of the finest weather persons in the industry, still anchors that station's weather spot.
    But the true genius of WTSP was sportscaster Ken Broo. Mr. Broo could make the most sports-hating person love sports after his comedic, witty, and high-brow deliveries each weekday night. Who could ever forget "BOOOOM!! it's outta there!" ? Mr. Broo left the station by the early 80s to move onto the greener pastures of ESPN.
    One of Action News's lowest ebbs was in the late 70s and early 80s when it broadcast both TV and radio ads touting the station's evening investigative report. Regardless of the subject matter being investigated, some nimrod using his best in-your-face bravado, aimed at terrifying WTSP's beloved Pinellas centigenarians, would announce some titilating trash in the following manner: "Tonight the Action 10 News I Team investigates "Lunch Pail Alcoholics". Are our public schools a breeding ground for a new class of social criminal, and are these prepubscent, pill-popping, pail-toting poopy-pants a threat to the elderly? Tune in tonight on Action 10 News at 6-- the results may shock you." I don't know about y'all, but those reports NEVER shocked me (I guess cuz I wasn't elderly back then).
Next week: La Floridiana takes a look at locally-produced fright shows and tacky television ads.
Florida Folk Heroes, Addendum #2: Bessie Coleman, Dale Mabry, the Outlaws (rock band), White Witch (ditto), the Tropics (double ditto) and the Allman Brothers (triple ditto)

Cheap videos reviewed!The Shoe-string Sultan, Super Cheapskate, James Michael Leigh...a crazedfanboy in his own right; here to bring you the bottom line on the low-end films on VHS and the low-down on the marked-down low!

This week's winner: "It's the Rage"
Rated: R
Screenland Pictures w/ Columbia Tristar Home Video.
Running time: 98 min.

   Everyone's got a gun! Warren (Jeff Daniels) & Helen (Joan Allen) Harding are a well-to-do couple on the verge of divorce. Through their seperation, their lives intersect with seven of the most eclectic characters of various walks of life: a computer geek tycoon (Gary Sinise), an adulterous attorney (Andre Braugher), a confused cop (Robert Forster), a jilted lover (David Schwimmer), a video store manager (Josh Brolin), a street girl (Anna Paquin), and her psychotic brother (Giovanni Ribisi)...What do they all have in common? They're all packin' heat. Through a series of events, this unpredictable story connects the lives of each of these strangers in a most bizarre scenario and takes a close look at the rage within us all.!!
YAY! Video sale!    The characters are believable. I mean, I can actually imagine them being people I come in contact with everyday. The film moves along in a "Pulp Fiction" kind of way; from one scenario to the next and brings them together for the overall picture. In fact, If you liked PULP FICTION, you're bound to enjoy this movie. I put this one in the same league as LOCK STOCK and TWO SMOKING BARRELS.
Drama, Comedy, Action and More!
I give IT'S THE RAGE the James Leigh Stamp of Approval!
I got it at Hollywood Video on Gandy Blvd....Previously Viewed, was $7.99...marked down to $5.99...half-off $3.00 with lifetime guarantee! If it was any cheaper, it wouldn't exist! That's value!...and that's the bottom line!

Letters to the editor
Will Moriaty  Re: "Terence's Tirade" from last issue (# 71).---Nolan
Wanted to thank you for sharing some Florida history with me and the readers of PCR about blues guitarist "Tampa Red". I know that there will be many Florida Folk Heroes that I may overlook or not know about (which I claim guilt on Mr. Whittaker's behalf), so such assistance is appreciated (just remember that there can be Florida Anti-Folk Hero, depending upon your perspective---remember Slim Whitman?).
   On a side note, for weeks I tried to remember who "The Creeper" of the 40's movies was that is buried in a cemetary off of Dale Mabry and Himes as an FFH entry. My memory banks finally became unclogged as I write this to you---Rondo Hatton!
   I'm a big fan of Dan Clowes myself with his retro 50's "Lloyd Llewlyn" comic of the mid 80's. Also a fan of the Coen Bros., particularly "Blood Simple".
Take care.

"Deadguy" Scott Re: "Terence's Tirade" from last issue (# 71).---Nolan
Maybe I'm just a genius here, or something, but I would have thought that the following phrase would go without saying:
   "Judge the entertainment value of something by determining how well it entertains you."

   That would suggest that if you saw a movie that used the same concepts associated with another film, it could still conceivably be enjoyable, even if perceived to be a rip-off. It also suggests that if a movie/comic/book/record or whatever has merchandising tie-ins, it does not affect the enjoyability of the subject material itself. Who cares? Don't buy the t-shirts if you don't want them. I don't give a rat's ass if someone's making a billion dollars off my movie ticket, or if someone's making 5 cents. I also don't care if my ticket purchase goes towards making someone more mainstream, or less mainstream. Is it so hard to realize that if a movie entertains, it entertains, regardless of any surrounding factors? Even if the acting is horrible within a film, it is STILL possible to enjoy it.
   The same thing applies to scriptwriting. A lot of people are fans for the "cheesiness" of B-budget films. To touch on the points you brought up about "Unbreakable": One of the things I found entertaining in your comments was the concept that super heroes cannot be properly translated to the screen. We'll ignore the fact that I thought Superman was done well, and move straight to the logistics of what you're saying. What I see is that you are basically disqualifying yourself as a "super-hero movie" reviewer, your opinion safely "predisposed", thereby making the entire point moot in the first place.
   In fact, that's exactly why I'm not going to be a reliable movie reviewer for "Jason X"; I'm predisposed towards enjoying the chance to see the character at work, and will probably like the movie regardless of the quality. I'll probably review it to "raise the banner" but unless the movie isn't "true" to Jason's character, I can tell you right now that I'll be entertained by it. They could wander around with the scripts in their hands, but as long as Jason is Jason, I'll enjoy it. I have to confess that I am very easily amused, probably due to my warped sense of humor.
   Personally, I found "Unbreakable"'s approach to super-heroes to be intensely interesting, and hope that a sequel will emerge to pick-up where the story left off. The DVD comic book discussion on the DVD had quite a few valid points to make about "super-heroes in the real world" that would probably have interested you, Terence. I'm not offering that as a challenge, I just think you'd enjoy the commentary.
   "I'm not going to get deep into the issues of scriptwriting and editing that you criticized, except to note that nothing stuck me as being glaringly wrong with either of them. If I went back and re-watched it to look for problems, I suspect I'd be forced to agree with some of your critical comments. Unfortunately though, by that point, I'm no longer looking at the movie for its entertainment value. Therefore, I'd have to say it was adequate for me to enjoy the film, and that's all it needed to be.
   As for Bruce Willis's acting abilities, I'm not going to sit here and say he's the ultimate actor, or whatever, but I will say that I have never been disappointed with his performances after the "Moonlighting" TV show finished. He's been VERY typecast, but since when does that make him a bad actor? It's kind of funny; People put down typecast actors' acting abilities. They typically claim unfair things like: "that's not acting, that's what he's like in real life!" How moronic is that statement? He actually had to learn his lines and learn to deliver them in such a fashion that it doesn't sound stilted. He also has to do this while standing WAY too close to the people he's talking with, while ignoring very large cameras pointed into his face. And scenes that are shot out of order. He must preserve emotional continuity. If he does all this well enough to fool you into thinking you know him, then by definition, he's automatically a good actor. Hell, if he's able to come across AS HIMSELF through all that, he's a SUPERB actor.

You also mentioned something about recognizing a DC vertigo storyline "gone bad." I don't have a comment on that because although I vaguely remember the whole vertigo thing, I didn't follow it except where it directly involved the comics I was reading at that time.
   Oh.. and by the way, I'd rather not "imagine Winnie-the-Pooh on crack", because I keep coming up with a mental image of you, Mr. "Sock Monkey".
   OOH!! I didn't mean that, and I DO apologize, but it was too tempting to pass up. (Like I said, I'm easily amused.) In any event, maybe this'll shed some light on our differences of opinion (the rebuttal, not the sock monkey joke).

Mike's Rant!

Hello gang! Shall we begin?

As a vision of 50 million Jar Jar Binks fill my head, I shudder at the corny title for "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones." What the hell is that? Does that mean the clones will attack? After all, Luke did question Obi Wan as to whether or not he had fought in the "clone wars." Of course, I prefer the Ken Hilliard/Scott Gilbert version referring to the "clown wars"! Sounds like this one will make my worst sequel list NEXT year. A friend of mine sent me a sound bite of Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman commenting when they first heard the title. Even after several assurances, both performers are sure the reporter is kidding them!

Sad to report that British stage actor Christopher Hewett, who is probably best known in the US as the star of "Mr. Belvedere," passed away this past Friday in Los Angeles. He was 80 years old. Among his many achievements was a role in the original production of "My Fair Lady" and a role in the Oscar-winning Mel Brooks' film comedy, "The Producers."

Odie and Pookie are lonely tonight. Lorenzo Music, who helped create the television series, "Rhoda," and who gave voice to the animated cat, "Garfield," passed away Saturday at the age of 64. Music, who won an Emmy for his writing for "The Smothers Brothers Show," also co wrote the theme song for the original "Bob Newhart Show." Not only did he help create "Rhoda," but he also supplied the voice for the unseen Carlton, the doorman for Rhoda's building.

Just heard that "The Matrix: Reloaded" will not appear until summer 2003. Apparently the filmmakers are going to shoot the expected back-to-back sequels as one huge film, and then edit as necessary. Which means that "Star Wars: Episode II," "Spiderman," "Men In Black II," "The Scorpion King" and "Star Trek: Nemesis" will be the big sci-fi hits for next summer.

Well, sadly the baseball season has come to a close for the Lansing, Kansas Huskies. They were defeated by the eventual state championship team from Ottawa, Kansas this past Saturday. For a team that wasn't even supposed to compete because of their youth, they far exceeded all expectations but their own. My sincere congratulations to my son, Phillip, and the rest of the boys. Now to get ready for fall ball.

I'm really enjoying the trip down TV news lane in Tampa (Re: "La Floridiana", Will Moriaty's new column. ---N). The only two memorable newscaster stories I remember are the anchor man for Channel 13 who was arrested for soliciting a prostitute (Hugh Smith. ---N) and Channel 10 newsman Arch Deal, who jumped out of an airplane at 8000 feet and plummeted into an orange grove without his chute opening. Oh, and he survived! (And he's STILL around, jumping out of airplanes! Arch's son, Doug, and I were in a rock band together in the late '80s called "Sniper".---Nolan)

I am going to go the Nolan route and just name the worst sequels I have actually seen or attended. Of the ones he mentioned, I have a special place in my heart for "Friday the 13th, Part 2" as it was written by a former theatre manager from Baltimore. Here are my worst ten:

ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS - After failing to catch fire with a series of terrible films, both Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli paired up again in this slap in the face to the original film. Steve Gordon, the writer/director of "Arthur," died shortly after the film opened, so he must have been spinning in his grave when he saw this piece of crap. Not even a cameo by Oscar winner John Gielgud can make this watchable.
CADDYSHACK 2 - I have never been able to understand the popularity of Jackie Mason. I have met the man (and was immediately hit with his first question to everyone he meets: "what do you do for a living?") and don't find him the least bit humorous. Substitute Robert Stack for Ted Knight, a mincing Dan Aykroyd for Bill Murray and a wasted Chevy Chase cameo and you come up with a film that is well under par!
A VIEW TO A KILL - not sure if you'd consider the Bond series a group of sequels, but I do. Roger Moore stuck around about 5 years too long as James Bond, and it shows here. Not even interesting villains (Christopher Walken and Grace Slick) or a hit song by Duran Duran could save 007 from the bad acting of his costar, former Charlie's Angel, Tanya Roberts.
EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC - Richard Burton could really pick them. For every "Equis" he made, there was a "Medusa Touch," or, even worse, "Exorcist II." Nolan should consider himself lucky. I saw this thing with an extra hour's footage in it when it opened at Twin Bays. The film was so terrible that theatres were ordered to ship it out the Thursday after it opened and showed a shorter version when they opened that Friday.
STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE - THE PHANTOM MENACE - when you think about it, this is actually the FIRST film in the story line. However, to me it's crap!! From the annoying Jar Jar Binks to the lack of storyline, this film just screams "buy the toy" to me. The only saving grace of this film is the performance of Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jin, who is sent to the Jedi graveyard far to early. Hopefully Ewan McGregor learned something from his master.
THE GODFATHER III - only the scenes with Sophia Coppola. Pee Yew. No wonder Pacino had gray hair...........he had to act with HER!
ROCKY V - as someone who considers the original "Rocky" one of his favorite films, it killed me to have to watch this obvious attempt to make some money for a cash starved MGM/UA. Having been swindled by his accountant, Rocky Balboa finds himself and his family living back in the old neighborhood with brother in law, Paulie. Eventually he takes a young fighter under his wing, only to have to duke it out with him in an alley at film's end. According to director John Alvidsen, Rocky originally died in the hospital at the end of the fight, but the producers begged him to keep him alive for future sequels. As of this writing, plans for "Rocky 6" are in pre production. God help us!
SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL - Rule #1...........you don't name a movie "SPEED" and then set it on a plodding ocean liner. Who would have thought that Keanu Reeves would come out looking like a genius for staying away from this stink burger? Has anyone seen Jason Patrick?
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 3 - the first one is a classic. The 2nd one is mildly amusing. But this one is pure crappola! When you're hot, you're hot...........when you're Jerry Reed, you're not! I remember in "Clerks" when Randall recommends this to a video renter, who replies "but it doesn't have Burt Reynolds in it." Randall tells him, "neither did E.T. but it was a great film. Don't be fooled. Before he died, Jackie Gleason gave, in my opinion, an Oscar worthy performance in "Nothing In Common." How did director Garry Marshall get Gleason to do the film? He told him that if he died tomorrow his final film would be "Smokey and the Bandit 3." Talk about incentive.
And the worst sequel ever made..........................
JAWS: THE REVENGE - I could spend an entire issue of PCR telling you what's so bad about this film. From a shark that flies and roars ( I swear to God, the damn thing roars like a lion), to Lorraine Gary having flashbacks to scenes from the original "Jaws" that she wasn't even in, this movie is definitely the worst sequel ever! If you watch it on home video or DVD, they altered the ending so that Mario Van Peebles' character lives. I recommend watching it on cable, where Van Peebles gets the gruesome and violent death he deserves for taking part in this fiasco.

Hey, for next week, how about a list of the BEST sequels?
Have a great week.

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by Will Moriaty    "Terence's Tirade" is ©2001 by Terence Nuzum    "J Michael's Bargain-basement Video" review is ©2001 by James Michael Leigh    Additional thanks to Will Moriaty and Mike "Deadguy" Scott for their extra input in "Letters"    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

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