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PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
Crazed Fanboy homepage
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2002!

La Floridiana
Movie Review
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant
(Links listed above indicate "final edition" status.)

Michael A. Smith's
The Omnipresent M. Smith homepage and Email                    

Matt Drinnenberg's
The Masters of Horror

Terence Nuzum's
Viddywell Productions

William Moriaty's
T.R.E.E., Inc.

Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
   Number 106 (Vol. 3, No. 14). This edition is for the week of April 1--7, 2002.
Commentary on the Middle-East
Airport security in disarray
Would The Beatles have made a good "Lord of the Rings" movie?
Tampa's Public Access TV once again under attack

Please forgive a slight indulgence on my part this week. This newsletter focuses primarily on entertainment, and I try to keep it upbeat, but I don't feel very upbeat. I am compelled to convey feelings I usually do not associate with this newsletter.

As I write these words, the stand-off situation in the middle-east--one of the most volatile and explosive to happen in 30-50 years--is growing increasingly uncertain. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is still holed up inside his government compound as a protective measure against assured assassination attempts following recent suicide bombings against Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday that he would pull his troops and tanks from Arafat's compound if Arafat would agree to permanent exile, a step that would quash any remaining hope of his restoration as Israel's partner for peace talks. Predictably, Arafat said he would choose martyrdom over a one-way ticket.

And so it goes. Ever closer to the brink as each side continues to battle over relatively small pieces of land each fervently believes is their rightful property and religious heirloom. Countless lives have been lost over this with no end in sight. The events of the last week seem spookally "Revelation-ish" in their magnitude. Even as an atheist, I can see that. And yet, most frustratingly, no resolution is apparent or even possible for those people.

I came to the conclusion a long time ago, that while the best of all worlds is one without religion, fighting armies will still find reason to hate and kill each other. And yet, never in my life have I been so outraged that so much recent violence---say, from Sept. 11th on especially---all this violence is somehow in the name of God. I don't give a rat's ass whose God. It doesn't matter. Everyone believes they have the "right" one.

I'm saying all this, because I feel a journalistic responsibility to face this situation publicly---I know sometimes I write as if none of this is going on. That's to keep things as positive as possible. But it would be irresponsible of me, and just not credible, I think, to never speak of it. But this is as far as it goes....for now.

Airport security
Just again today (Tues, the 2nd), another security screw-up forced a three-hour evacuation/wait at Tampa Int'l Airport. A man carrying a bag walked through the metal detector and was determined to be carrying a gun. As soon as this was discovered, the man took off. About a half hour later, he was spotted going through another security check-point successfully. As soon as police were on his trail, the man disappeared into the terminal and has not been seen again. However, the entire airport had to be brought to a standstill while this was investigated. Reasonable precaution? Well, sure. We can't be having loose cannons getting on planes with guns....but.....
It's getting to be almost routine now: Loudspeakers blaring the order to evacuate. Confused passengers herded out onto the sidewalks. The frenzied chaos that follows.
More than 150 airport evacuations have occured since Oct. 30....the result, aviation security experts say, of overstaffed, undertrained screeners and a new federal security force that's in disarray. The Transportation Security Administration took over the job of protecting the nation's major airports on Feb. 17. But the agency hasn't even started to hire and train 31,000 new baggage and passenger screeners, recruit 81 airport security directors or deploy a 9,000-member federal security police force to replace National Guard troops, who will leave airports May 1.

All of this...all of this.....because of terrorism. And we can't go back can we? Sept. 11th changed the world forever. Now Presient Bush says the war on terrorism will outlast us all. Great.


(paraphrasing Tom Cruise from this year's Academy Awards. Not a Tom Cruise fan, but I support his sentiment heartily.)

The Beatles tried to film "Lord of the Rings"
If you've heard this one before, I apologize for being slow on the uptake, but while surfing the 'net over the last couple days, I discovered on the CNN entertainment page that while backstage at this year's Academy Awards, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney confided to "Rings" director Peter Jackson that The Beatles wanted to film "The Lord of the Rings" sometime around 1960, but the novel's author, J. R. R. Tolkien would have nothing to do with it, saying that it was a "bad idea" to have to mop-top quartet portray his characters.

According to McCartney, he himself would have played Frodo Baggins and Ringo would've played his best buddy Sam. George Harrison would've played Gandalf the Grey and John Lennon had his heart set on playing the mysterious and thieving Gollum, a background character common to all three "Rings" novels. Tolkien, who still owned the movie rights to his stories at the time, blew off the idea, much as we'd blow off, say, The Backstreet Boys doing it. Or 'N Sync being in Star Wars (har har).

I thought I'd heard it all about The Beatles, but this one was news to me. You know what, tho? Now that I think about it, the older, adult George Harrison might've been a pretty good Gandalf!

Tampa's Public Access TV once again under attack
Sometime last summer as one of my various public access activities was winding to a close, a county commissioner, Ronda Storms, suddenly decided that public access TV was obscene and had to go---or at least not be funded my public monies.

The offending show in question was Jerry Cantor's "Insanity Defense" a pretty typical, late night, vulgar/profane call-in show that featured bad singing by Cantor, and occasionally showed lewd videos. Altho none of her fellow commissioners were behind her, Ronda Storms insisted on taking it all the way to the State Attorney's office, who decided the show was vulgar, but not obscene.

Fast-forward to this week. Another show got her attention, "White Chocolate", Charlie Perkins' rapid-paced call-in show, that except for the singing, is basically similar to Cantor's. Charlie portrays a "white pimp" ("pimpin' free speech") of sorts and just rambles for a half-hour and takes the typical live phone calls. The offending episode of White Chocolate that got Storms' attention is one in which Perkins holds up a children's book ("See Jack Run"-type) and holds it up to read from it and spoof it. At one or more spots during his reading, there is/are cutaways to a video of a nude woman getting into the shower. Storms contends that impressionable young children who might be up late ("with a fever or something"---ha ha, we all know good normal children are in bed by 8:00pm, right? The rest are freaks.) might mistake Charlie's show for a typical early-morning kid's show (regardless that it's 11:00pm at night) and be traumatized by the nude woman's sudden appearance.

The one thing Charlie did do wrong, in my opinion, that Jerry Cantor did not, was getting careless with the adult advisory disclaimer at the beginning of his show. Apparently there was none and he risks suspension from the Access Center for that, because it is required. However, what Ronda Storms wants to do is prosecute him for obscenity. She will lose. BUT...it will waste taxpayer dollars again until she gets what she wants. And I think what she wants is to abolish public access...or at least terminate its funding, which is the same thing.

"Public monies" must be clarified. I'm not the guy to do it really, but my impression from all the meetings I've attended is that only part of PA is funded publicly--the balance comes out of the cable bills paid by the citizens of Hillsborough County. Without the government's help, however, it's a moot distinction.

Two final notes: 1.) Tampa Public Access Television, aka, The Tampa Bay Community Network, the Access Center itself, and its staff, are not and can not be held legally liable for any of this. According to the contracts we sign as community/series producers, they are not allowed to censor us (that's the beauty of it, if it's not abused). Any legal actions are levied against the producers themselves. Which makes things like disclaimers extremely important.
2.) I am convinced that even very young children know the difference between Captain Kangaroo (or whatever) and White Chocolate, especially when you consider the times they're on.

Well, I'm definitely feeling upbeat about this! "The World of Nolan" debuts on public access Thursday, April 4th! To help y'all keep up with, and track, the often-changing schedule, I set up a new page over at Crazed Fanboy: www.crazedfanboy.com/twon. That's "TWON" for "The World of Nolan". First up: Will Moriaty on his T.R.E.E. organization and reforestation efforts!

La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
This week your intrepid author reviews two movies filmed in Florida, "Scary Tales" and "Lector". Many kudos to Florida Folk Hero and Tampa actor Gus Perez for generously loaning these two movies for review, and congratulations for his being featured in the Brad Pitt movie "Ocean's 11".
"Scary Tales" was filmed on location in Tam-pah, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Sewell's Point and Palm City, Florida. This enjoyable effort is an anthology similar to movies such as "Bride of the Devil", with four segments that center around what tragic fates will happen to tragic people, regardless of what course in life they choose.
"Lector". From the school of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts of Florida State University comes this triumphant heart touching work of art. This twenty-minute gem is a period piece about a "lector" who works at one of Ybor City's cigar factories (the Cordova Cigar factory in this instance) circa 1924.... .......................................................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Review:
Hmm where do I start? Where do I end? OK, I've seen worse, but I really wish I hadn't wasted $7.50 on a film which had bad CGI and unsavory plot points. I'm sorry comic-fans, but unless you like flashy action films with a lot of cheesy CGI, and lots of shots of the main hero posing for the camera, then stay away....
Review by Terence Nuzum..................................Click here for more.

Matt's Rail This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
I would like to use this weeks edition to rail on something that's been eating at me for some time now. To be accurate, since about October 6th 1988, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. What's my beef?
Televangelists, brothers.....televangelists!!
Now, these guys have been around for quite some time, and while some of them appear to be genuine, quite a few of them seem to be off the page, so to speak. Normally, this would be a miniscule issue, but when the page is part of the make up of the Word of God, its error is far-reaching and sadly, negatively impactful. .................................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
Very under the weather.......lots of coughing and no voice.....THREE IN A ROW. My declaration last week that March 27th would be remembered as "the day the laughter died" was further validated with the passing of the great filmmaker Billy Wilder. Wilder, who had written, produced and directed some of the greatest films of all time, passed away late Wednesday night at the age of 95..... TERENCE. Just a few notes on two recent letters to the editor that Terence Nuzum wrote addressing my choice of Best Director and four-star rating of "ET." Terence, Terence, Terence.............. .................................Click here for more.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
NOOOOOOOO GODDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!! Why, Mike, Why? "E.T. Special Edition", 4 out of 4 stars, are you out of your mind? (Re: the movie review of E.T. last issue.---N)

OK, first off the fact that Lucas and Spielberg thinks it's OK to go back and change history is the most disturbing thing I have ever seen. They took out the guns because Spielberg now doesn't like them. Well, guess what, too bad Spielberg! A true artist doesn't tinker with his old work, he simply moves on. I can just see it now--soon they will go back and take out all KKK references out of "Birth of a Nation". How, Mike, how can anbody validate this?

Second of all a CGI E.T. is not cool. It's really sad when art has to be changed by the current public opinion and can't stand as it is. They took out the line about terrorists, they took out the line about "penis breath" I mean how is this a good thing? George Romero should be the best example here as he couldn't complete his "Night of the Living Dead" series because his recent installment somehow would have pertained to Sept. 11th-type events. But did he go, "OK, I'll change my art just to please people"? NO, he didn't, but guess what, everyone's favorite little Hollywood Director did. It's pandering to the public so they don't put Spielberg in a bad light.

I just hope that 30 years from now Spielberg is remembered for what he is--a public ass-kisser, while other directors like Lynch, Herzog, Godard, and even George Romero are remembered for standing their ground and not giving in, because this E.T. fiasco is not cool or cute, it's scary.


For Mike's reply, see the current "Mike's Rant"!---Nolan

I have to agree with Terence on the ET matter. Not only does the CGI ET look like a CGI ET, it looks FAKE, totally lacking in realism. Worse yet, instead of being taken away on ET's adventure from the beginning of the movie till the end, your mind is stuck on WHY THE HELL DID THEY SHOVE IN A FAKE-ASS ET. I mean, really!!!!

Spielberg's own words show him to be a wavering wonder, as he specifically stated that "Jaws" would never be given another once over as it was already perfection, and how could you improve on perfection! Guess that means he really thought ET sucked in its original version. I don't think its a stretch to say Spielberg's favorite Star Wars character is JarJar Binks (or Biggs, or whatever the hell it is...who cares).

On top of it all is the fact that Spielberg is of Jewish heritage. If any group of people have fought more for truth of what Naziism was all about I don't know them. And here we are, replacing the word "terrorist" because of where the world is today. Ridiculous! Would he had made this move if the word was "Nazi" instead of "terrorist"? I wonder. I also doubt it. If that's the case, is he thinking that terrorist are worse than Nazi's? We could go on and on.....

This is a major put-off for me, and I'm hopeful the DVD of ET will contain both versions, one of which I will enjoy watching, and the new one, which will be placed alongside my copy of "Phantom Menace".

It's just sickening.

By the way, just loved Terence's tribute to the blues, and hope for some more enlightenment very soon.

Matt [Drinnenberg]

Write to: Letters to the Editor   Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

"Mike's Rant" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2002 by Matt Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    This week's movie review of "Blade II" is ©2002 by Terence Nuzum    Add'l thanks to Terence Nuzum and Matt Drinnenberg for their input in "Letters"    All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

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