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Now in our fourth calendar year!

PCR #196. (Vol. 4, No. 52) This edition is for the week of December 22--31, 2003.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Season's greetings from the Midwest. Some news, notes and year end musings. Shall we begin?

Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida - Part Two......Plus, La Fla Year-End Summary
 by Will Moriaty
Cold Mountain
by Mike Smith
2003 Year-End Edition
 by Vinnie Blesi
The Top Ten Albums of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
The Top Ten Movies of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
At The Movies....In Closing...
 by John Lewis
'Twas The Night Before Christmas
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Year That Was....Why God, Why?....Do What We Say, Not What We Do....Yoko Again....Classic Lines....My Top 10 Movies, Phillip's Top 5
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR
There is so much to say about this past year. Like most years, it had it's good times and it's bad. Due to a change I got to experience first hand what Matt and Nolan before me had, the worry of unemployment. Happy to say that I am again employed with a great company where I hope to stay until the day I retire. I was able to enjoy an entire summer off for the first time in 25 years, so it wasn't all bad! February was a mixture of joy and sadness. Heading home to Tampa to attend the wedding of Matt's nephew, Daniel, I was able to not only meet many of the PCR staff as well as being in the same room with Nolan and Matt in almost 20 years. Sadly, the next week found me grieving for a young man who left us too soon. My sincere thanks to the many readers who took the time to write me during that sad time. I'm also proud that my series of interviews have been well received. I keep working on new ideas and am in the process, at Andy Lalino's suggestion, of trying to get Tom Laughlin on board. His health problems behind him, Mr. Laughlin is currently considering a campaign for the presidency. I am quite proud of the reaction I received from the Paul Williams interview, and I hope to have many more in the new year. And yes, I had resigned myself to leaving the PCR, even submitting my good-bye rant. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. And now for thanks and shout outs:

Nolan: my editor and, more importantly, my friend. Who would have thought that what began almost four years ago as a little experiment would have grown into an empire?! Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with strangers, for our late night/early morning IM sessions, for being there for Phillip and for over a quarter century of friendship.

Matt: my brother. As each year passes I reflect on where I might be or what I might be doing had it not been for you and your family. I must say that the reflections are not very favorable. Over the years I've always tried to come up with one song that, in my opinion, best describes you and I. My choice is "The Two Of Us" by the Beatles. When Paul, who wrote the song to share his feelings with John, sings "You and I have memories........longer then the road that stretches out ahead!" it sums us up perfectly. I love you, bro!

The PCR team: Will, Terence, Brandon, Creature, Creature's kid, Vinnie and Patty. So happy to hang out with most of you, if even for a few hours, when I was home in February. Will, you've already proven yourself to be one of the best writers on the web. But this ability pales in comparison to the way you can captivate a table full of coffee-drinking fanboys with your storytelling. You have set the bar incredibly high and it is an honor sharing the pages of the PCR with you. Terence, the bad boy of everything! Thank you for reminding me what it was like to be 24 and fearless. Much better then being 43 and fat! I expect nothing but the best from, and for, you this year. Now let's talk about Steven Spielberg! To everyone else, thank you for allowing me to share these endeavors with you.

The readers: If not for you..................

God bless everyone and I wish a happy and SAFE New Year to you all.

Can someone please tell me why TNT felt the need to remake "The Goodbye Girl?" It looks like a line by line rip off and, as much as I like him as an actor, Jeff Daniels is no Richard Dreyfuss. At least David Gates will earn a couple bucks since they use his song.

I've noticed more and more that car commercials are getting more brazen. The days of just driving down the highway are over. Now you must climb mountains, traverse jungles, plow through snow and be able to lock the brakes on a rain covered road, spin around a few times, and still stop on a dime. Of course, I love the fact that right after these stunts are completed, they tell you in tiny print that the "Drivers are Professionals on a closed course." So does that mean the car can't climb mountains?"

The recently released DVD "Lennon: Legend," a collection of music videos spanning the solo career of John Lennon, contains at least two videos that have had footage of Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, edited into them. In the video for "#9 Dream," Ono is shown mouthing the background vocals, which were actually sung by Lennon's companion, May Pang. In her defense, Ono states, "I carefully considered what John would have wanted to express. Because he was so artistically inclined and finicky, I think we tried even harder to make sure it is something he'd be proud of." Like making people think you sang on a record??? Honey, the vocals are in tune, we KNOW it ain't you!

Once again, it's time for my favorite movie lines from the past year. They include:

"Don't worry, Bernie. I've had worse!" Maria Bello to William H. Macy after a very short period of intimacy in "The Cooler."

"That's right! I called you a guinea homo from the 15th Fucking Century!" Tony Cox to Bernie Mac, who has taken offense at being called Leonardo DaVinci, in "Bad Santa."

"All right dad, let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love!" Thomas Sangster, deciding to tell the girl he worships that he loves her, to Liam Neeson in "Love Actually."

"They say war is a cloud over the land. These people make the weather.....then they stand out in the rain and say, 'Shit, it's raining!" Renee Zelwegger to Nicole Kidman in "Cold Mountain."

Here are my choices for the 10 best films of the year. With the exception of number one, they are in no particular order. They are:

1. Lord of the Rings - Return of the King
2. Cold Mountain
3. Big Fish
4. Mystic River
5. Kill Bill, Volume One
6. Seabiscuit
7. Finding Nemo
8. Love Actually
9. Something's Gotta Give
10. The Last Samurai


Mystic River
Shattered Glass
Big Fish
Last Samurai
Kill Bill Volume One

Well, that's it for this week and this year. I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a SAFE New Year! 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.