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PCR #269. (Vol. 6, No. 20) This edition is for the week of May 16--22, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! The only person working himself to death more then me is Nolan so it's a short one this week. Shall we begin?

The Saga That Is Star Wars
 by Mike Smith
And for those who missed it in #267: "Star Wars, Episode III: revenge of the Sith"  by Mike Smith
The Quest For Decency In America
 by Nick King
Why I Hate Star Wars....He's Dead, Jim
 by Vinnie Blesi
Chan-wook Park....Matango
Inaugural column  by Peter Card
Sith For A Buck
 by John Lewis
One Pope To Go!?
 by Matt Drinnenberg
May 19th....Frank Gorshin....Money In The Bank....Jaws: The Story, Part 19
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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MAY 19th
Let me add my birthday congratulations to PCR pal Terence Nuzum. May 19th is also turning into a day to remember for the Smith family as well. In 1977, one of my favorite films, "Annie Hall," began filming. Last year on May 19th I broke my arm in an auto accident. And today my son, Phillip, received a letter in the mail informing him that he had been accepted at the University of Kansas' College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. My boy, the Jayhawk!

I was very shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of actor Frank Gorshin. A top impressionist whose repertoire included over 100 celebrities, Mr. Gorshin recently passed through Kansas City with his award winning show, "Say Goodnight, Gracie." In the one-man show Mr. Gorshin portrayed the late George Burns. Wearing very little make up and using no prosthetics, Mr. Gorshin's resemblance to Burns was uncanny. Ironically, Gorshin had never done an impression of Burns in his shows. Gorshin was best known for his Emmy nominated role of "The Riddler" on the 1960s television series, "Batman." He began his show business career doing impressions of well known stars. One of his earliest television performances was on the Ed Sullivan show. Unfortunately he was the first act to follow the Beatles the night they appeared on the program. His last performance ran tonight (Thursday) when director Quentin Tarantino cast him, not surprisingly as a Las Vegas Impressionist, on "CSI."

As I write this (Thursday evening, May 19) "Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" has already banked almost $17 million dollars from the midnight shows. Guess George Lucas will be able to super size his McDonalds this weekend.
Update 5-21-05: WOW! When I wrote the above I was tempted to say that in spite of the midnight grosses I didn't think "Episode III" would beat the $100 million plus that "Spider-Man" did in its opening weekend. Well, I stand corrected. 20th Century Fox has announced that "Episode III" made an incredible $50 million in its first 24 hours! See, George, if you make a good movie they will come.

With a month to go before the film's official 30th anniversary I thought I would devote the next few chapters to the careers the principal cast and crew members had after the success of "Jaws." This chapter will spotlight director Steven Spielberg.

"Jaws" had exhausted Spielberg. However, once the film opened and the raves began flowing in, he began to "believe the hype" and used his new found power to line up his next project, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." While readying for the film, Spielberg invited a local Los Angeles television camera crew to his home in anticipation of his being nominated for an Academy Award for directing "Jaws." One by one, the names of the nominees were read off. Legendary directors Robert Altman, Milos Foreman, Stanley Kubrick and Sidney Lumet were named. What's best remembered is Spielberg's comment after the last name was announced: "They went with Fellini instead of me." The fifth nominee was Italian director Federico Fellini. "Close Encounters" was an immediate success and did, in fact, earn Spielberg his first Academy Award nomination. He followed "CE3K" up with what was billed as an epic comedy, "1941." The film was not popular with either critics or audiences but his next film would more then make up for the disappointment his fans felt (though I must admit I wasn't one of them - I think "1941" is hilarious!) 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was a return to the old serials that he grew up watching. "Raiders" brought him directing nomination number two. He earned his third nomination with 1982's "ET: the Extra Terrestrial." In 1985 he tackled the serious subjects found in the acclaimed novel, "The Color Purple." Though the film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the shock was that Spielberg was not one of the nominees. He did win the Director's Guild of America Award that year, one of the very few instances where the DGA winner did not win the Oscar. In fact, he and Ron Howard ("Apollo 13") are the only directors to win the DGA award and NOT be nominated for an Oscar for the same film. In 1993 he finally took home the directing Oscar for "Schindler's List." He won the award again for 1998's "Saving Private Ryan."

Spielberg also emerged in the 1980s and 1990s as a producer, forming his own production company, Amblin. Among the films he helped bring to the screen: "Used Cars," "Gremlins," "The Goonies," "Back to the Future," "An American Tail," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Twister" and "Men In Black." In 1997 he joined forces with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen to form the studio Dreamworks SKG.

Next month his latest film, "War of the Worlds," opens.

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.