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

La Floridiana
Movie Review
Digital Divide
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant

(Links listed above indicate "final edition" status.)

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

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The Masters of Horror

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

Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
  Number 132  (Vol. 3, No. 40). This edition is for the week of September 30--October 6, 2002.




SMALLVILLE. I have to say, of all the Dubya-Bee (WB) network shows that have survived to see a second season, my favorite by far is "Smallville". This show absolutely ROCKS. I never thought that as an adult I could become such a fan of a show clearly aimed at teens and young twenty-somethings, but this version of the Superman story--done with enormous competition from legendary past efforts--is terrific. The stars are attractive, there is oodles of sexual tensions, the acting and writing are superb.....just amazing.

This past Tuesday's episode (10-1-02) finds Clark becoming aware of his heat-vision powers just as a sexy new teacher hits town (apparently, super-hormones expose that sort of thing--ha ha). Well, she "black widows" men into marrying her by exuding some sort of freakish pheremones that seduces them instantly. It works so well on young Lex Luthor so fast, he proposes mariage after just 2 weeks. Of course she's after his money, but he's blinded by love. No one can talk him out of it and the results are nearly catastrophic for the close friends in Smallville. Great episode and I continue to recommend this series.

I now turn over the wheel to William Moriaty...

FALL PREVIEW SHOW REVIEWS        By William Moriaty

In the "La Floridiana" column seen in NCPCR Issue #130, I recommended several new season premiere shows. Now that all but one ("Birds of Prey") has debuted, let's do a little first and second week review.
Rating System:
One Star- Lousy, put in a VCR or DVD.
Two Stars- Average, take time to go the bathroom, but you may miss something worth watching.
Three Stars- Good, try to tame your bladder.
Four Stars- Very Good, don't touch that dial.
Five Stars- Excellent, nothing else but this show really matters right now.

The Twilight Zone: 4 stars (Debuted Wednesday September 18th): After two weeks with four episodes, this is my favorite new show. The graphics at the beginning of the show are absolute dynamite and the stories have generally been enjoyable. The very first episode even surprised me with its twisted ending. This past week's first episode, concerning a white yuppie that slowly becomes the total likeness of a black man that he saw beaten to death by white racists, and did nothing to help him, was compelling without smacking of political correctness. The second episode about a graphic artist whose dream lover comes to life was also enjoyable with the traditional Twilight Zone twist of an ending. Unlike my fearless NCPCR editor, I enjoy Forest Whittaker's somewhat laid back hosting style. After close to 40 years of being off of prime time television (with the exception of the CBS reincarnation in 1985) it would be totally unrealistic to think that anyone could host this show in the same style of creator Rod Serling. The new Twilight Zone offers a nice mid-week respite and I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
CSI Miami: 3.5 stars (Debuted Monday September 23rd): CSI Miami is more a show about forensics than about Miami, so do not compare this with Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" of the mid 80's--it is "Quincy M.E.", the tropicales version. This is a very somber, serious and riveting series. David Caruso and Kim Delaney both do stand-out performances. The imageries are most intriguing when the CSI crew is imagining what might have happened when creating a forensic scenario. You'll see more cadavers and body parts (due in part to make-up wizard Corey Castellano) than bikini-clad babes, fast boats and sleek Ferraris, so again, remember that this series is about crime re-creation more than offering the viewer a Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce hour-long ad. Nevertheless, a good way to start the week. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Haunted: 2.5 stars (Debuted Tuesday September 24th): It's really hard to follow up right after Buffy and really wow someone, and this show is no different. Although this show has its scary moments, it is a very dark and depressing series. Just once I would've loved to see someone crack a smile or a joke. This series reminds me of "Millennium" in that that series was just too somber, dark and depressing. One magic element about "The X-Files', which this show is compared to, is that there was some humor and that element of sexual tension between Mulder and Scully. Unlike the new Twilight Zone, this show is pretty limited as to where it can expand. I'm willing to watch a few more episodes, but initially I'm giving it 2.5 stars out of 5.
Good Morning Miami: 3 stars (Debuted Thursday September 26th): If you want to see a bit more of Miami, with a spice of humor and zany characters, then this show's for you. Young executive Jacob decides to take on a struggling Miami morning show that has amongst its players, a nun who gives the weather, a news team comprised of a pompous arrogant airhead and his sizzling bimbo assistant. Not much cutting edge humor here, a predictable plot line and scads of racy humor; but veteran actress Suzanne Pleschette puts in a believable performance as Jacob's grandmother, and other characters such as Dylan, a cutie pie who Jacob has a crush on and Lucy, the news co-host bimbo are certainly easy on the eyes, even if at moments the show is hard on the nerves. Nevertheless, it's a lot brighter than Haunted and less serious than CSI. I'll give it 3 stars out of 5.


Rick's Comic Strip
Hey, gang...since I almost botched it last time, by not clarifying, this is going to be the Top 10 Comic "Strips" of all time. Any 4-panel or Sunday format strip that you like...I want to include internet-only "strips", as long as they continue with the same format as the daily newspaper versions. (Penny Arcade and Diesel Sweeties come to mind.) But that will be up to Nolan...So, to start off, these are my "Top Ten Comic Strips of All Time"! ---Richard Sousa

10--"Penny Arcade"--(Internet)--Two geeky gamesters, Gabe and Tycho, live out their lonely lives and wryly comment on the gaming/fan scene.
9--"Liberty Meadows"--This delightfully drawn Frank Cho strip enjoyed a limited run in the newspapers,then survives as a comic book...A hot babe,a shy veterinarian,and lots of funny animal characters...
8--"Archie"--Just what you want your newspaper comics to be:short and to the point.A joke a day,with Archie and the gang.Bob Montana started the strip in '47,later continued by the great Dan DeCarlo, and is still in newspapers drawn by Scarpelli and Boldman.
7--" Dick Tracy"--Camp classic. When I was a kid, I used to cut out all of the "Crimestoppers Textbook" things from the Sunday pages.
6--"Diesel Sweeties: Love and Pixels"--(Internet)--A 4-panel daily comic done in 8-bit graphics,that showcases the lives of a diverse bunch of Gen-Xers (Indie rock Pete, Maura,the retired porno star that lives with a robot,and her goth sister)...From the wonderfully twisted mind of R. Stevens.
5--"Doonesbury"--Sentimental fave I've followed for years...Never gets old,usually manages to stay fresh and topical.
4--"Arlo & Janis"--Jimmy Johnson's slice-of-life strip probably only seems like an inside joke to married people, but it's usually the first thing I look for when I open the paper.
3--"Bloom County"--Berke Breathed hit the mark on this one...Who can forget Bill the cat and Steve Dallas?
2--"Peanuts"--The supreme minimalist, The "Man", Charles Schultz, infused his strip with pathos and vulnerability...A most beautiful strip that will stand the test of time, as long as there is a little bit of Charlie Brown in all of us.
1--"Calvin & Hobbes"--Calvin's snowmen...dinosaurs flying F-16s...There is so much about this strip that reminds me about how much of a fantasy world I was living in when I was 7 or 8...Bill Watterston pushed all the right buttons and (wisely or unwisely) quit while he was ahead..."Come Back, Calvin & Hobbes!"

"Honorable Mentions: Local boys make good". A special tip-of-the-hat to local boys Denis Lebrun and Scott A. Gilbert...After meeting Denis many years ago when he was drawing "Aw Heck", He is now in charge of "Blondie"...and as for former Tampa resident and still friend, Scott Gilbert, his strip, "True Artist Tales", ran in the Houston Press for ten years...Way to go, guys!

THE TOP TEN COMIC STRIPS OF ALL TIME        by William Moriaty
Readers: the following list was submitted by William Moriaty last February when he mistakenly thought our then-Top Ten challenge for Best Comics meant comic strips not comic books. Following below, published for the first time, and now that it's appropriate(!), is Will's original list. ---Nolan

1. "Blondie": This shouldn't surprise anyone due to my close ties to the strip and Tampa artist Denis Lebrun, but I do rank this the supreme honor in its ability to have persisted through eight decades and still provide a world audience with a fresh and clean laugh on a daily basis. This strip has seen many others in its time come and go since creator Chic Young penned it so many years ago. It has been an honor and privilege for me to asssist Denis with the strip on an as-needed basis. In addition to being a great man, Denis is a master artist and has been instrumental in bringing the strip into the 21st Century. Chic Young and famed "Blondie" artist Jim Raymond would be proud!
2. "The Yellow Kid": Although not one of my personal favorites, this turn of the last century strip in many ways launched the daily newspaper comic strip as we know it.
3. "The Far Side": Man do I miss this Gary Larson one panel daily from the 1980's. This strip truly had me in stitches almost daily. Larson's intellectual and scientific bent on things made this a classic gem. My favorites include ants frolicking at a picnic when they see nukes going off in the distance; two mobsters moving furniture around pointing to their victim and saying "Next time this ain't the only thing we'll rearrange if we don't get our money"; a man being lifted into the air by an invisible force with a little nerdy kid saying "My invisible friend Bob doesn't like it when people don't believe in him; and a panel that simply showed a "Ship of Fools" and "Car of Idiots".
4. "Bloom County": Another sorely-missed 1980's strip was this daily by artist Berke Breathed. The stories centered around young child Milo Bloom and his strange cast of friends "Binkley" a fellow child with red hair, "Opus", a talking lovable penquin, "Steve Dallas" a huckster yuppie, and my favorite, "Bill the Cat", a burned-out cat who was killed in car wreck but reincarnated when he was cloned from his tongue which was left at the accident scene. My favorite series was their rock band "Death Tongue", with "Wild Bill Cat" doing lead vocals. The band then changed its name to "Billy and the Boingers" which released an actual record with a "Bloom County" book. Favorite song: "Let's Run Over Lionel Ritchie With A Tank". In 1988, Breathed renamed the strip to "Outland" and limited it to Sundays. As Bill the Cat would say, "Ack--thhpp".
5. "Calvin and Hobbs": What absolutely incredible artwork! This 1980's strip about a boy ("Calvin") and his tiger doll that would come to life ("Hobbs") was a very innovative strip, projecting "Calvin's" fantasies into what apppeared to be real life. My favorite scenes were those where the two would go bob-sledding and "Hobbs" would always find a way to make the sled turn over or crash-- but uninjured, "Calvin" would just laugh it off with his imaginary friend. Masterfully drawn by Bill Watterson, this strip died a premature death like "The Far Side" and "Bloom County" by the early 1990's and sadly enough is only seen mainstream in the form of images of "Calvin" on cars or pick up trucks urinating on logos or people that the drivers of said vehicles hold in contempt. How shameful...
6. "Rose Is Rose": Yes, this can be an incredibly cloying strip that result in insulin overload, but the graphics are often masterful. "Fish Eye" and "Crow's View" images are in constant use. Also enjoyable is how artist Pat Brady metamorphisizes "Rose" and her husband "Jimbo" when something, like a spring day or pile of fall leaves makes them become small children, or when "Rose" metamorphisizes from housewife to motorcycle mama when eating hot peppers or making bold decisions. This strip is an uplifting little gem.
7. "Family Circle": One of the finest family entertainment values by Bill Keane, this one panel daily can often be heartwarming without being pretentious or sappy. It continues to remain the same regardless of the rigors of time and changes in social values.
8. Tie-- "B.C.", "Beetle Bailey", "Hi and Lois": These strips by Johnny Hart, Mort Walker, and Chance Browne all had their origin in the early 1950's and continue to this day to be staples that are still generally fresh and enjoyable.
9. Tie-- "Judge Parker", "Mary Worth", "Apartment 3-G": Although I have never been a fan of serial comic strips, I always admired that they came the closest to looking like actual comics books (at least when I was a kid in the 60's)
10. "Batman" circa 1966 edition-- Had pencils by Carmine Infantino, daily inks by Joe Giella and Sunday inks by Murphy Anderson was a masterpiece comic book to comic strip conversion. This was far superior to the third incarnation in the late 80's early 90's also pencilled by Infantino. Also, the first comic strip version of the 40's and 50's was a notable effort, with "Batman" originator Bob Kane credited with the effort (though probably drawn by "Batman" ghost artists Dick Sprang or Sheldon Moldoff).

Readers: the following list also appears in this week's Mike's Rant.---Nolan

OK! This is what I'm talking about! The funny pages, man! I quickly name "Peanuts" to the Hall of Fame. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and the gang will always live on in my memory. Easily my all time favorite. Here are the next 10, in no particular order:

1. BLOOM COUNTY: probably the most consistently funny strip I've ever read. From Steve Dallas to Opus the Penguin, from laying in a field of dandelions to Bill the Cat's version of "Tomorrow," the mind of Berke Breathed gave us a multitude of laughs. One of my faves ran towards the end of the strips run when one of the characters found out he was destined to join the "Family Circus" and was drawn in Bill Keane's unmistaken style.
2. THE FAR SIDE: easily the most laughs out of one panel. Far to many to pick out one fave. But if I had to: a fish heading towards the surface of the water, tail first. The caption: His tail encased in styrofoam, Carl is sent to "sleep with the humans."
3. BABY BLUES: I don't know why this strip amuses me so much, but it does. The adventures of little girl Zoe, her brother, Hammie, and their parents just hit home so much. Maybe it comes with being a parent.
4. BLONDIE: long before Denis Lebrun was drawing menu's for "Pop and Son's" Blondie was a favorite of mine. I know I can easily relate to Dagwoods love for sleeping and the occasional giant sandwich.
5. FUNKY WINKERBEAN: Though it's been around for as long as I can remember, I only started following "Funky" the past few years. It's look at today's world, along with the problems that come with it, is always touching and often very funny.
6. HI and LOIS/BEETLE BAILEY: Between Sarge and Otto or Ditto and Dot, both of these strips continue to amuse. If I'm not mistaken, Beetle is Lois's brother.
7. MARY WORTH/MARK TRAIL: I combined these two because they are very similar in that they are like short stories. It usually takes a month or so for another chapter to end. I also used to read APARTMENT 3:G, but stopped after the Kansas City Star canceled it in order to run RED and ROVER, which is basically "Calvin and Hobbes" without the tiger or the wit. Speaking of...............
8. CALVIN and HOBBES: What a great strip. And kudos to Bill Waterson for not selling out and mass marketing his characters (though I would have loved to have a stuffed "Hobbes.") Like the Carol Burnett show, Waterson chose to go out on top.
9. DILBERT: for anyone who has EVER worked, this strip is like therapy. I don't think there is anyone who hasn't dealt with a Dogbert, Catbert or Pointy Haired Boss at least once in their life.
10. DOONESBURY: No one has the balls Gary Trudeau does to consistently point out the obvious in our world. I was able to have a little insight into the comics biz last September. While appearing in the play, "Glen Gary Glen Ross," I discovered that one of my fellow actors was the inker for this strip. Following the Sept 11 attacks, he commented on how fast Trudeau decided to preempt his current strips (which were negative towards President Bush) and insert a different story line. Of course, it wasn't long until it was business as usual again.
I always felt like an idiot because EVERYONE I grew up with could draw. Me, I couldn't draw water from a well. Thankfully, I was smart enough to save pretty much every drawing I've ever gotten from my friends so that one day I can make a fortune off of their efforts. From the early work of "True Artist's Tales" creator Scott A. Gilbert to the early fanzines of our own Nolan B. Canova, from the multitude of "remember when" comics that Matt would send me to the really bad drawings Ben Gregory would do when we were roommates, these little artistic masterpieces hold a special place in my life and in my heart.

Renegade Films, Inc.
Phone: 727-688-5756
Fax: 253-736-8720
Email: rick@renegadefilms.net
Web Site: http://www.renegadefilms.net
Renegade Films, Inc. Announces "Saints & Sinners 2" Film Festival
SAINT PETERSBURG, FL -- 9/29/02 -- Renegade Films, Inc. will be hosting 'SS2' on Saturday November 30th 2002 at the State Theatre in downtown Saint Petersburg. The event will showcase local independent feature-length and short films in the categories of 'Non-Horror Comedy and Drama' (Saints) and 'Horror' (Sinners). A festival jury will present awards to the winning film in each category. The purpose of the festival is to gain greater exposure for the local independent filmmaking scene and generate interest in the business of filmmaking in Florida.

The first Saints and Sinners Film Festival was held earlier in the year, Renegade Films Inc. showcased over fifteen local films to a sold out theater. A Standing room only crowd helped create a lot of excitement and exposure for the many talented Florida Filmmakers who were a part of the event.

The 'SS2' festival schedule features many exciting and acclaimed films from Florida film makers, including; 'Justice' - Pete Bauer, 'We Believe' - 12th Man Films, 'Gibtown' - Decoy Films, 'When shadows lie darkest' - Fear Films, 'Filthy' - Tinker Wins, 'The Pledge' - Renegade Films, 'The Uninvited' - Relic Films, 'Wonder Boy 2' - Minor League Pictures, 'Winter's End' - Jennifer Whitaker and many more .

A special feature will be screened from Michael Maiello, who helped bring us the Academy Award winning 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' and 'Ciao Manhattan' . Other special guests include the Ultimate Scream Queen Linne'a Quigley- 'Return of the Living Dead', Mike Fox- 'Independent Edge Releasing' and Peter D'Alessio 'Yo Soy Irini'.

Festival submissions will be accepted through October 31st at no cost to the filmmakers. Submission details, screening information, and a schedule for the event will be available at http://www.renegadefilms.net. We are looking for volunteers to assist in the promotion of the festival and we are still accepting proposals for additional corporate sponsors in our quest to help the Central Florida Filmmaking community get the exposure we feel it truly deserves.

Rick Danford

La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
The Paranormal in Florida, Where are the UFOs? Where in the Sunshine State are you most likely to spot an unidentified flying object? If you take the National UFO Reporting Center (http://www.nwlink.com/ufocntr/) database for Florida sightings at its word, Jacksonville's for you with 6 reported sightings out of 89! Here's a run down on sightings reported from Florida to NUFORC from January 11, 2002 to September 28, 2002. ...... ..................................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Reviews:
Review by Mike Smith.   If ever the old adage "clothes make the man" was doubted, you just need to watch "The Tuxedo" to see the proof. Jackie Chan plays taxi driver Jimmy Tong. His claim to fame is that he has never had an accident while having his license suspended nine times for his driving habits..... .........................................Click here for more.

The Digital Divide This week's issue
Music News and CD Reviews
by Terence Nuzum
This issue: The White Stripes: De Stijl, The Hives: Veni Vidi Vicious, The Mooney Suzuki: People Get Ready. ALSO, add'l music news featuring The White Stripes, Portishead, the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, and The Vines. CHECK IT OUT!! .........................................Click here for more.

Matt's Rail This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
IN-FAMOUS MONSTER(S). Not too long ago I reported that the Filmland Classics site (former FM) appeared to be abandoned. It was inactive for a couple of months. I wish it had stayed that way..... MIKE'S SAD FANTASY. I'd like to report that Mike and I are having great success in our little Fantasy Football endeavor...but, alas, only I can smile and raise my finger as Numero Uno..... ...........................................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
BATTLE OVER....In a follow up to last week's PCR piece on Yoko Ono and her former personal assistant, Frederic Seaman, a settlement was reached this past Friday.........THE RETURN OF DIRK DIGGLER......Val Kilmer has signed to play late porn film star John Holmes in the film, "Wonderland.".... THE TOP TEN COMICS........ ................................................Click here for more.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
Thought I would make this official. How about we do a "Ten Best Vampire Flicks" for the Halloween PCR?

Patty G. Henderson

All for it! We'll give the Top Ten Comic Strips of All Time a couple weeks more to mature. Then it'll be the perfect time to seduce our readers into revealing their vampirish favorites! Thanks.---Nolan

Mike [Smith],
Yes, Spielberg defintely needs to be stopped. (Re: Mike's Rant, PCR #131---N) I would very much like to participate in any torture you have planned for him. So count me in. Just let me know when you are planning to do it. I owe this to Kubrick, so it's not an issue for me if I bash Steven's teeth in. As for Nevermind being number two, all I can say is I see its influence and importance but as far as I'm concerned Nevermind was not only not the best album of the 90's but it wasn't even the best alt-rock album. Hell, it was, in fact, the worst Nirvana album. I understand why they put an alt-rock album before Sgt. Peppers. Revolver has proven to be more influential and in fact Sgt. Peppers would never have been made if not for the groundbreaking done first on Revolver. But if they had to pick an alt-rock album and they were going to pick a Seattle band or some such there were way better bands to choose from than Nirvana-I-Ripped-Off-The-Pixies' Nevermind. Here's some for examples: Tad, Mudhoney,The Melvins, etc. If it was me I would have just right away picked The Pixies' Doolittle. The Smashing Pumkins' Siamese Dream would also have been a better choice. But what do you expect from Rolling Stone readers. Anyone who reads a magazine that gives the latest Pearl Jam album the same rating as Britney Spears can't be of much intellegence.

To hell with you all,

To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  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 Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    This week's movie review of "The Tuxedo" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    "The Digital Divide" is ©2002 by Terence Nuzum    Add'l thanks to Patty G. Henderson and Terence Nuzum for their input in "Letters"     All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova ©2002; all rights reserved.