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PCR #274. (Vol. 6, No. 25) This edition is for the week of June 20--26, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! I write this week's rant with a heavy heart. Shall we begin?

"Batman Begins"
 by Mike Smith
Cronenberg Heaven, Part 1: Long Live the New Flesh
 by Vinnie Blesi
Hayao Miyazaki and "Howl's Moving Castle"
 by Peter Card
Back....Con-Gort-U-Lations To Will Moriaty for "William Moriaty's Florida"....Dungeons & Dragons Illustrator Dies
 by Andy Lalino
Two Thumbs Down & a Bag of Doritos....Black Rednecks and White Liberals....Fuel Some Flames--Part Deaux
 by Brandon Jones
"Batman Begins"
 by John Lewis
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Cancer....On The Subject....Movie-Going in the 21st Century....Or Maybe It's Just Those Southern Baptists....Oprah, I Hardly Knew Ye....Jaws: The Story, Part 22
 by Mike Smith
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I hate the word. My father has battled the disease for years. It took Matt's dad from us much too soon. Now this week comes word that Roy Scheider, who readers of this column know has played an important part in my life, has now become a victim. This past week Mr. Scheider underwent a bone marrow transplant in an attempt to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. Doctors harvested Roy's own stem cells so he was, essentially, his own donor. Please join me in wishing Roy a successful prognosis and a speedy recuperation.

To honor Roy's illness, Dave Picton, a member of the Jawsmovie.com forum, made a donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of the site and arranged to have a luminaria lit for Roy at a Relay for Life fundraiser he is participating in this coming weekend. His message reads as follows:

"In Honor of Roy Scheider from All at JawsMovie.com -- 'You can do anything...You're the Chief of Police'"

A great gesture and a great message. There is no way I can do justice in describing the reason's Dave is participating in the relay this weekend so I will just use his own words from an email he sent me:

The team I'm on is called "Elisa's World" and is captained by Elisa Mordente, a friend of mine who is also a cancer survivor. I became aware of the Hamden/North Haven Relay in the summer of 2003 through a mutual friend of mine and Elisa's and volunteered to be on Elisa's team for last year's Relay in 2004. I had such a great time at that event that I knew that being a part of the Relay would definitely be an annual event for me. So I'm back again this year -- and things are definitely on track for this being a VERY successful year for the team. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of team sponsors (i.e. individual donors), we've almost reached our team's fundraising goal as of this writing.

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about being part of the Relay is, when I talk to people who graciously agree to donate to the ACS Relay and sponsor me, how just about every one them tells me about a friend or loved one who has been affected -- or taken away -- by cancer. It's very scary how cancer is such a commonality for so many people -- and how far reaching it's tentacles really are. And while hearing these stories only serves to strengthen my resolve to be a part of the Relay and raise as much money for the ACS as I can, I really do look forward to the day that Relays no longer need to be done because the cure has been found. Until that day, though, you can count on me to keep Relaying!

It's been an interesting year for me in terms of how cancer has impacted my life. Shortly after volunteering for last year's Relay, I discovered that my aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer (since then, luckily, she's undergone many treatments and an operation and she's recovering wonderfully). In February, a dear friend who ran the local karaoke show that I frequent (yes...it's guilty pleasure numero uno for me!) passed away after a hard-fought bout with cancer; she was 44. Soon after that, the young wife of one of my co-workers also passed away; she was only 39 (a mere three years older than me). And then there's the sad news about Roy Scheider so soon after the time-of-my-life that was JawsFest '05 -- but I have faith that he'll recover: as you know, "he can do anything; he's the chief of police!" If there's anything I've learned, it's that cancer can impact your life in any realm -- home, work, vacation, and otherwise. Which makes me work that much harder on raising funds for the ACS through the Relay.

I urge all PCR readers to go to the Elisa's World web site and help sponsor the team this weekend:


You can't turn on the news or pick up a newspaper without seeing a story about how badly the movie industry is doing. Each year Hollywood feels it must beat the previous year's box office or it considers the year a failure. As of this week, movie grosses are down about 8% from last year and the industry is panicking. Why? I don't understand how "Star Wars" can make $350 million in less then a month, how "Mr and Mrs Smith" can do over $50 million in a weekend and "Batman Begins" opens huge and the business is in a panic. Are the powers that be really understanding the big picture? My thoughts:

1. It only takes one or two surprising blockbusters to skew the figures. Last year both "The Passion of the Christ" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" surpassed estimates many times over, taking in over $500 million collectively. And that was BEFORE the summer blockbuster season started.

2. Movies are opening on way too many screens. 30 years ago "Jaws" opened on 300 screens. In the entire country. These days it's not unusual for a film to open on more then 3,000 screens. This means big box office the first week, then a drastic drop off the next, even with good word of mouth. Why? Because everyone who wanted to see the film had the opportunity to see it opening weekend. Why wait a week when it's on three screens at the local cineplex? I hate to use the "in my day" analogy, but when most of the senior staff here at the PCR went to the movies it was almost an event. You actually planned your visit. It wasn't unusual to get to the box office early and stand in line just to get your tickets. And by line I don't mean a few people in front of you. I mean waiting for an hour or more to get a ticket to a show that might not start until later in the evening. You waited in line, chatted with your friends and your anticipation grew. I can remember myself, Matt, Scott Gilbert and others getting in line at 11 am just so we could see the 1:00 pm show of "Superman." And we didn't mind because we spent the entire time talking about what we hoped we were going to see. Same with "Close Encounters." Hell, our group was the first to buy tickets for "Jaws 2" at the Britton Cinema. That we got to the theatre almost 3 hours before show time didn't phase us at all.

3. Most movies today are crap. It's my opinion that there are basically six original stories in Hollywood and that most movies that come out are variations of those stories. Example: everyone loved "Die Hard" when it came out. Great movie. So Hollywood made more of the same. "Speed?" "Die Hard" on a bus. "Under Siege?" "Die Hard" on a boat. Get the picture?

With DVD sales in this country approaching $2 BILLION dollars, I don't think anyone in Hollywood needs to panic. They just need to learn that money isn't everything.

This week the 12,000 members at the annual Southern Baptists convention voted to end their 8-year boycott of the Walt Disney Company for violating "moral righteousness and traditional family values." Florida member Wiley Gray was quoted as saying "We have cost them (Disney) hundreds of millions of dollars." WHAT? At last count there are a little less then 16 million Southern Baptists. Let's say they cost Disney only ONE hundred million dollars. That works out to about 8 bucks. Yeah, they were really sending Mike Eisner to the poor house! Of course, that would explain the low gross for the latest "Herbie" movie!

I've always had a great respect for Oprah Winfrey. You may not know it but she got her big break when she was discovered hosting a morning show in Baltimore. But now it appears she has forgotten her roots and turned celebrity sour puss. This past week Winfrey went to the Hermes store in Paris to buy a watch as a gift for Tina Turner. When she arrived she learned that the store had already closed for the day 15 minutes before she showed up. Angry at this, Winfrey let it be known that she would be doing a "show" about how the store treated her. This somehow led the stores owners to send her an apology. FOR WHAT? For being closed as advertised. What a bunch of shit. If it was you or I what would they have done. Ever get to Blockbuster right at midnight hoping to get a flick for the night? Guess what, buddy. Their closed! Have you hit the drive thru at Wendy's at 1:01 am? Guess what? Yep, closed as well. Trust me, the next time the voice in the speaker box tells me their closed I'm going to mumble, "don't make me do a show about this." If it works I might even get a free Frosty!

This week we'll look at the careers of some of the minor characters from "Jaws."
Lorraine Gary, who was and still is married to former Universal head Sid Sheinberg, only appeared in a few films after "Jaws," including "Car Wash," "Just You and Me, Kid" and, of course, "Jaws 2." She retired after appearing in Steven Spielberg's "1941" in 1979, but returned to the screen in 1987's abysmal "Jaws: the Revenge." To date that has been her last film.
Murray Hamilton also went on to appear in "Jaws 2" and "1941." His other post-"Jaws" credits include "Rich Man, Poor Man," "The Amityville Horror" and "Brubaker." His last role was in the television film "The Last Days of Patton." Murray Hamilton died on September 1, 1986.
Jeffrey C. Kramer joined Gary and Hamilton in reprising his character in "Jaws 2." He also had roles in "You Light Up My Life," "Halloween 2" and "Clue." Today he is a television producer, winning an Emmy for "Ally McBeal."
Carl Gottlieb used his "Jaws" experience to his advantage by penning "The Jaws Log," a best selling account of the making of the film which recently had a 30th Anniversary hardback edition published. He later appeared in "The Jerk," "Johnny Dangerously" and "Into the Night." Besides the screenplays for "Jaws 2" and "Jaws 3-D," Gottlieb also wrote or co-wrote "The Jerk," "Which Way Is Up," "Dr. Detroit" and "Caveman," which he also directed. He is currently working on a project for the Disney Channel.

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. Please keep Roy in your prayers. 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.