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PCR #254. (Vol. 6, No. 5) This edition is for the week of January 31--February 6, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Lots of news and notes this week, plus more on "JAWS." Shall we begin?

"Vera Drake"
 by Mike Smith
Creature Feature Database: Major Update....Exporting Sinbad....Off-Beat Cinema Watch....New Horror/Fantasy
 by Andy Lalino
Megacon: Looking Ahead to Wolfman & Perez, Part 2....Things I Didnít Know But Probably Should Have....Johnnyís Final Monologue
 by Brandon Jones
The Rondo Goes Global....Masters of Horror Update....Super Bowl....In Memorium
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Oops!...News And Notes....Boldly Going--Away....Baseball Is Now Very Good To Me....Passing On....Uh oh, Marty....Jaws: The Story, Part 4
 by Mike Smith
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I must apologize for an error I made in last week's Rant. I noted that this April would mark the 40th Anniversary of the Clutter Family Murders made famous in the novel, "In Cold Blood." Actually, April 15 will mark the 40th Anniversary of when convicted murderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were hanged. The murders actually occurred in 1959.

Add "The Godfather" to the list of films that will soon be available as a video game. Electronic Arts has announced that this fall they will release a video game based on the classic film. As a player you start out as a soldier in the Corleone family, working your way up the ladder with various crimes. James Caan (Sonny Corleone) and Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen) will provide their voices for the game. Surprisingly, Marlon Brando gave permission for his likeness to be used and recorded a series of voice-overs for the game as well. Sounds like a game I won't be able to refuse!

If you have $3.95 in your pocket, run to your latest newsstand and pick up the February issue of Vanity Fair. The cover is actually a four page fold out featuring a group photo of pretty much EVERYONE (and EVERYTHING) that has participated in the "Star Wars" story. Everyone from Harrison Ford to Hayden Christensen is featured in what must have been a very interesting photo shoot.

Speaking of magazines, "GQ" has named their list of this generation's greatest actors. They are: Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly, Gael Garcia Bernal, Don Cheadle, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jim Carrey. Inexplicably missing: Sean Penn, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jude Law or Matt Damon? And that's off the top of my head.

British television director David Yates has been signed to direct "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth film in the popular series.

Marvel has announced that "Black Panther" will shortly return to your neighborhood newsstand. Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin and artist John Romita, Jr. have collaborated to update the character and story.

It was announced this week that "Star Trek: Enterprise" will end production this May after four seasons on the air. Not since the early 70s, when "Happy Days," "All in the Family" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" has a single program had so many successful spin off projects. Ironically, all of the "Trek" spin offs (ST: TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise) ran longer then the three years the original series lasted.

Please join me in welcoming Slugging Sammy Sosa to my beloved Baltimore Orioles! It will be an honor to see Sammy hit his 600th Home Run in the black and orange of my Birds!

Spencer Dryden
, drummer for "Jefferson Airplane," died this week at the age of 66. Cause of death was listed as cancer. A pivotal member of the band, Dryden had fallen on hard times recently. Last year a benefit concert raised over $35,000 for Dryden, whose home had recently burned down. He was later diagnosed with cancer at the end of the year. Dryden was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of the band in 1996.
James Arthur Griffin, who, with David Gates, founded the pop group Bread, also passed away this Tuesday at the age of 61. No immediate cause of death was listed. Griffin was a guitar player and sang harmony in the group, best known for such hits as "Diary." In 1971 he shared the Oscar for Best Original Song for the tune "For All We Know" from "Lovers and Other Strangers."

Clint Eastwood was voted director of the year by the members of the Director's Guild of America for his work on "Million Dollar Baby." This doesn't bode well for Martin Scorsese, who was thought to be a shoo in for the Oscar this year for "The Aviator." Only six times in the past has the winner of the DGA award NOT won the Academy Award.

With Roy Scheider signed to play Brody, director Spielberg turned his attention to filling the role of oceanographer Matt Hooper. In the novel, Hooper was not only an expert on sharks, he also had his way with the ladies, including an affair with Chief Brody's wife. Thankfully, that part of the story was completely tossed out. Spielberg's first choice was Richard Dreyfuss, who had just made a splash in George Lucas's "American Graffiti." Dreyfuss turned down the part. Twice. Thinking Dreyfuss was out of the picture, Spielberg held talks with such up and coming actors as Joel Grey, Jon Voight and Jeff Bridges. Hot off of "Graffiti," Dreyfuss had recently completed his first starring role in the Canadian film "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravatz." When "Duddy" premiered in Montreal, Dreyfuss was convinced that he was terrible. In a panic, he called Spielberg and "begged for the part in "Jaws." because I knew I better have a job when this film came out." Of course, Dreyfuss was praised for his work in "Duddy" and his casting in "Jaws" was seen as a stroke of genius. With two parts cast, it was time to find Captain Quint. When Lee Marvin and Sterling Hayden say "no," Spielberg turns to the only Bond villain who looked like he could have actually kicked 007's ass.

Well, all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 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 ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.