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Now in our fourth calendar year!

PCR #195. (Vol. 4, No. 51) This edition is for the week of December 15--21, 2003.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Some news and notes for the week before Christmas. Shall we begin?

Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida - Part One........The Continued Death March of Locally-Produced Radio and Television
 by Will Moriaty
LOTR: Return of the King
by Mike Smith
 by Patty G. Henderson & Terri Davis
Let Me Be "Direct", Generically-Speaking
 by Matt Drinnenberg
This And That....Mel And Jesus....Oscar Watch....Willy Sleeps With The Fishes....Beatles Notes....A Big Shout Out
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Ref. Andy Lalino's letter in this week's issue: No offense taken, my friend. Sometimes I can only review what I get to see that week. And while I agree that Love Actually and The Cat in the Hat aren't "Fanboy" films, I am limited by what I see and when I can review them. I have already seen Cold Mountain and Big Fish, but am also limited as to when I can issue my reviews. I will say that both films are excellent. Happily, now that the screener ban has been lifted I will be able to see some of the more "Fanboy"-oriented films and be able to comment on them. (But the non-fanboy ones serve an important purpose too and appeal to a wider audience, not to be undervalued! We are glad to support the cult-film community, and they are very vocal, but pop culture is very wide and very broad. Continue your excellent work on whatever films you see fit to review!---Nolan)

As to Brandon's piece last week, I'm so happy to hear that you and your family got to experience what a great guy Joe Jurevicius is. There was a long piece done on he and his family on Sportscenter a few months ago and it broke my heart to see the pain he was feeling over the loss of his son. It's good to know that the hometown athletes are treating their fans with the same respect we give them. Also, I have a couple Fight Club bars of soap if you need one. I also have a few packages of Something About Mary hair gel available. The package says it's "hand squeezed!"

Talk about going straight to the top! This week Mel Gibson screened his film, The Passion of the Christ for the Holy Father himself. According to a Vatican spokesman, Pope John Paul II says the film depicts the last day of Christ's life correctly. "It is as it was," the pontiff said. I was going to comment on the film but I sat behind the Pope and couldn't see a damn thing because he decided to wear the BIG pointy hat to the theatre!

Golden Globe nominations came out this week. Cold Mountainleads the nominations with a total of 8, followed closely by Mystic River and Lost in Translation. I am quite pleased to see Jack Black get nominated for School of Rock. I wish the Academy Awards would do more to recognize comedy like the Globes. He's been a film maker for over 50 years. Among his credits: The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Days of Wine and Roses, 10, and Victor/Victoria. Yet Blake Edwards has only been nominated for an Academy Award ONE TIME, in 1983, for his screenplay to Victor/Victoria. This year he will receive an honorary Oscar for his body of work, an honor long overdue. Congratulations!

Sad to report that Keiko, the killer whale made famous by the Free Willy films, died this week from pneumonia. He was 27.

Surprisingly, Yoko Ono is not behind this one: The album John Lennon autographed for his assassin, Mark David Chapman, is now for sale. You may recall the photos that other fans took of Lennon signing albums the day he was murdered, including one of him signing an album for Chapman. While waiting for Lennon to return to the Dakota 23 years ago, Chapman stuck the album in the fence around the building and waited. The album was retrieved by a fan shortly after the shooting and it was returned to him after Chapman's trial. The seller, who remains anonymous, points out that not only is it signed by Lennon but that Chapmans' fingerprints are still quite visible after the album was "dusted" by police. On second thought, since Ono felt the need to put Lennon's bloody glasses on her album cover, maybe she is behind this!

In Los Angeles, a dealer named Gary Zimet is offering an unusual tape. It is a 1976 studio session by artists named John, Paul, George and Rich. The producer's name is George Martin. The tape contains five songs: "Happy Feeling," "Back Home," "Rockin' Once Again," "People of the 3rd World" and "Little Girl." Four originals and a remake. Zimet says he purchased it from a former employee of Apple Records. Could the fab four have been contemplating "getting back" to where they once belonged?

One of the things I enjoyed most as a theatre manager was the bond I had with my employees. The other day I ran into a young man that had worked for me 6 years ago. We chatted for a few minutes and when he left, he told me that I had been his favorite boss. I'm proud to say I get a lot of that. It's a great feeling when the kids include you in their lives. This evening, I was invited to watch a play directed by another former employee, Franklin Cline. The play was well performed and the direction and blocking were top notch. Congratulations, Franklin. Let me also point out that Franklin, who could play every song on the Beatles WHITE ALBUM on guitar while still in the FIFTH GRADE will be helping me refresh my fingers as I prepare for the 25th Anniversary HATS reunion, coming this summer somewhere in sunny Tampa, Florida!

Well, that's it for now. Next week, end of the year comments, shout outs and movie picks. Special guest writer Phillip Smith will also add his end of the year film choices! Have a safe and happy holiday everyone! See ya.

"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.