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PCR #266. (Vol. 6, No. 17) This edition is for the week of April 25--May 1, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! A few notes this week and I interrupt my series on "JAWS" to share some personal thoughts of a gathering that I'm sure will live in my mind forever. Shall we begin?

"XXX:State of the Union"
 by Mike Smith
In With The Garbage, Out With The New (Order)
 by Vinnie Blesi
Andy Lalino's Departure .... The Omac Project .... The Day of Vengeance"
 by John Lewis
The Exodus of Andy....Buccos Score Huge....King Kong News....King Kong '31
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Man of Steel....Great Americans....Agree With....No Way!...Jaws: The Story, Part 16
 by Mike Smith
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Ironically, as I'm writing this I'm watching "Superman: The Movie" on cable. This week Warner Brothers released the first photo of Brandon Routh, who is playing the title character in next summer's "Superman Returns." Like he did with the costumes of the X-Men, director Bryan Singer has done some revisions on the classic costume. Though the main colors of red, blue and yellow have been kept they are more subdued. The reds are more scarlet and the yellow in the belt and insignia is more gold. Speaking of the insignia, it is slightly smaller and, instead of being sewn onto the costume, it is more like a plate attached to the chest. The insignia also appears on Superman's belt buckle. Also, like Christopher Reeve, Routh is providing the only muscles in the suit. No padding necessary.

I recently came across a list the nominees for an upcoming television show on "The Greatest Americans." This is not for the Greatest Americans right now, but for the Greatest Americans EVER! EVER!! The Greatest Americans in an almost 230 year history. Some of the nominees, and I'll list them, I agree with. Others, and I'll list them, I don't. Is the attention span of this country so short that people like Dr. Phil and Martha Stewart are held in the same esteem as George Washington or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.??

Muhammad Ali
- Forget the boxing. This man fought for his religious beliefs and, at one time, was the most recognized person on the PLANET!
Thomas Edison/Henry Ford/Bill Gates - Without them I wouldn't be able to drive home, turn on a light and get on my computer.
John and Robert Kennedy - Even though it seems at time like Bill Clinton (who is on my other list) gets all the love no president was as beloved in my lifetime as JFK. His influence on civil rights, the space program and the cold war make him truly a leader taken before his time. Same with Bobby. I believe he would have easily beat Richard Nixon in 1968 had he not been assassinated. This country is a lesser place because, like his brother, he was taken when he still had much work to do.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - THE face and voice of the American Civil Rights movement. Dr. King endured more hardships trying to gain the right to use the bathroom then most criminals deal with in prison. Another man whose hopes and dreams were silenced by a bullet.
Steven Spielberg/George Lucas - I may catch some flack for agreeing with these two choices but their contribution to film making and all that goes with the process over the past 30 years is immeasurable. Not since the days of Alfred Hitchcock has a filmmaker's name been as important as the actual film in promoting it to the public. Are there better directors? Of course. But their work behind the scenes, especially the technical advances promoted by Lucas' various LUCASFILM off shots, is what makes them list worthy.

Maya Angelou
- Great writer. But if Hemingway and Steinbeck aren't on the list should she be?
Lance Armstrong - Yes, the man came back from testicular cancer to win one of the most grueling athletic competitions not once but many times. He's showed courage in the face of adversity and has raised millions for cancer research. That makes him courageous and admirable. Not great.
George H.W., George W., Barbara and Laura Bush - I'm blaming these nominations on the fact that these are the times we live in. In 1976 the nominees may have been Gerald and Betty Ford. In 1876, Ulysses and Julia Grant. History has yet to decide the place either president will hold. And for George W, what he is remembered for is still to be decided.
Bill and Hillary Clinton - Ask me again in 2008. If Hillary's elected president maybe I'll change my mind.
Tom Cruise - Great actor. Great Smile. Good American.
Ellen Degeneres - Funny lady. So is Lucille Ball, who IS on the list and deserves to be.
John Edwards - Ran for vice president and lost. What's great about that?
Brett Favre - great athlete and a real nice guy. So is Cal Ripken, Jr. And he drinks milk.
Mel Gibson - See Tom Cruise.
Rush Limbaugh - Don't get me started.
Dr. Phil McGraw - Before he was television's feel good guru the good doctor practiced here in Kansas. And had a few run-in's with the law for using his first wife as a punching bag.
Richard Nixon - Sure, he did a lot of good for the country by opening up relations with the Soviet Union and Russia. Too bad he had to resign in shame.
Martha Stewart - See Rush Limbaugh.

This week I'm going to bring this series into the present by focusing on an upcoming event that, as it grows nearer, has got me as giddy as a school girl. That event is JAWSFEST, which will be held on Martha's Vineyard the first weekend of June 2005. Some background:

I first saw "Jaws" in September 1975. It was the first film that really "grabbed" me and got my attention. After spending most of my allowance to see the film over and over I got the bright idea of taking a cassette recorder into the theatre and taping the film. That way I could listen to it whenever I wanted. One day during drama class in high school I was listening to the tape when a tall, blonde guy ambled up, sat down next to me and asked, "are you listening to "Jaws?" Well, as they say in Hollywood, a friendship was born. Most regular readers know that the guy in question was Rail writer Matt Drinnenberg. What they may not know is that a common love for a certain film was the beginning of a friendship that will never be broken. Matt is my brother. I would walk through hell for him and I know he would do the same for me. But enough of the sappy stuff. This past week Matt and I confirmed our reservations for JAWSFEST. It's going to be one of the most incredible experiences of our lives. And the great thing is that we will be sharing it with fellow "Jaws" fans from literally all over the world. Like the Beatles once sang, "A splendid time is guaranteed for all." I'm sure that we will both fill the PCR with great stories and photos taken on our great adventure. If you plan on being on the East Coast in early June or just want to read more about the event, please go to http://www.mvy.com/jaws/

Well, that's 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.