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PCR #293. (Vol. 6, No. 44) This edition is for the week of October 31--November 6, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! A whole plethora of thoughts this week but first an apology. Shall we begin?

 by Mike Smith
Peeping Tom....Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds
 by Vinnie Blesi
Halloween Prophesy Fulfilled....Al Lopez
 by Matt Drinnenberg
My Bad....The Challenge....Brownie....Al Lopez Field....Everything But....You Want What?...Ape News....Musical Notes....Good Movie/Bad Movie....Jaws: The Story, Part 40
 by Mike Smith
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In my review of the film, "Jarhead" this week I errantly mentioned that I thought Peter Sarsgaard would earn a SECOND Academy Award nomination. Well, no sooner had the review been up when a couple readers called me on the carpet for that sentence.

After the screening, many people stood outside the auditorium and discussed what we had seen. One of the men in our group mentioned Sarsgaard's performance and then noted that the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, of which I am a member, had voted his performance in the film, "Shattered Glass" as the Best Supporting Actor performance of the year. As I had seen the film late Tuesday evening I rushed home and prepared my review so it would be ready for the PCR by Wednesday morning. My hearing of the local award for Sarsgaard translated into an Oscar nomination and I didn't bother to verify that info. For that I sincerely apologize. Doubly embarrassing is that the PCR review is featured on the "Jarhead" front page on the Rotten Tomatoes site and, wouldn't you know, the lines in question are the ones quoted! I have changed it there and Nolan has assured me that he will change it on our site. Again, my bad. (The correction re: Sarsgaard has been made in This Week's Movie Review as well as the corrected spelling of the character "Swofford", caught by another sharp-eyed reader. Thanks! We do strive for accuracy. Mike, all is forgiven---Nolan)

Hopefully some of you are still compiling your list of the top 10 worst cover songs. Mine will run next week.

I don't know why I was so critical of the man Dubya calls "Brownie." Recently released emails from former FEMA director Michael Brown showed why he was the man for the job. In testimony last month at a Senate hearing, Marty Bahamonde, who was the only FEMA in New Orleans on August 29 when Hurricane Katrina struck, said he sent the following message to Brown on August 31: "Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical ... many will die." Brown replied, "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?" The day before, he sent the following to his assistant, Tillie James: "Do you know of anyone who dog-sits?" On September 2 Brown, who had planned to leave FEMA after Labor Day, sent this note to acquaintance Betty Guhman: "Last hurrah was supposed to have been Labor Day. I'm trapped now, please rescue me." And I was wondering what he did for that $12,000 a month!

My memories of Al Lopez Field are very similar to Nolan's. I remember it being next to old Tampa Stadium, with a very distinctive sign on Dale Mabry directing you to the parking lot. I also believe it used to be the spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds during the hey day of the Big Red Machine.

If, like me, you went out and picked up "Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" on DVD, play close attention to the battle scene at the beginning. About three minutes into the film you'll see an ordinary kitchen sink go by. Funny guy, that George.

A few months ago the big news here in Kansas City was the firing of two police officers who tasered a man five times, including while he was on the ground in handcuffs. Last week,to prepare for the man's trial for "resisting arrest," his attorney asked for a copy of the videotape of the arrest that was shot from the dashboard of the police care. Surprisingly, the first six minutes of the tape, which included the man asking for a lawyer and the officers tasering him several times, was missing. When informed of this the presiding judge declared that the entire tape better appear or he would hold the police chief in contempt. The prosecutor provided the entire tape this week and apologized for the "mix up. In the future we will try to clarify the wording of the requests for such evidence." Let's see: "I'd like a copy of the videotape." That doesn't seem too hard to hard to comprehend, does it?

Long time readers will remember that I've interviewed both Linda Harrison and Paul Williams for the PCR. They should also know that both share a history with the "Planet of the Apes" film series. Earlier in the year a reader from New Zealand (not Steve Beasely, the other one) contacted us about obtaining interviews with Linda and Paul for a magazine he produced called "Simian Scrolls." We hooked him up and recently received a copy of his current issue, complete with "Ape" themed interviews with our two stars. I don't have a web address but if you're interested in obtaining a copy of this fine publication, please email Dean Preston at: dean_ali@xnet.co.nz. Enjoy!

Though not household names, the music biz lost some important players recently:
Paul Pena, who wrote the Steve Miller band hit, "Jet Airliner," died in San Francisco at the age of 55. The blind guitarist began his career in the 1960s, opening shows for the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa. After hearing Pena play while she was attending Harvard, Bonnie Raitt asked him to play on her first album. In 1973 he recorded a solo album entitled "New Train," which included the song, "Jet Airliner." Produced by Steve Miller band keyboardist Ben Sidran, the album was never released over contractual disputes. Sidran did play the album for Miller, who decided to record "Jet Airliner." The song went to number 8 on the Billboard charts.
Mike Gibbins, drummer for Badfinger, died at his home in Oviedo, Florida of unknown causes. He was 56.
Nick Hawkins, guitarist for Mick Jones' group Big Audio Dynamite, passed away in Las Vegas due to cardiac arrest. He was 40.

Some upcoming film projects inspired by rock and roll:

  • Mike Myers has signed on to play Keith Moon, legendary drummer for the Who, in a biopic which has the support of Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey.
  • With the 25th Anniversary of the murder of John Lennon right around the corner comes news that a film about killer Mark David Chapman is in the works. Titled "Chapter 27," the film will look at the final weekend Chapman spent in New York before killing Lennon on Monday night. Jared Leto will play Chapman (which doesn't make sense since Leto is a thin good looking guy and Chapman was a fat, unattractive bastard!). Lindsay Lohan will play a friend of Chapman. No word on who will play Lennon. I'd like to see Pat Morita play Yoko.

    For the next two weeks I thought I'd do a little birthday/fan club piece. This week we'll concentrate on Richard Dreyfuss, who turned 58 this past Saturday, October 29. As I've mentioned before, I wrote many fan letters to the principal stars of "Jaws." The week of October 18, 1976 I received two pieces of mail that will play a part in this series. The first was a note from Ray C. Smith, a representative at the Writers and Artists Agency, informing me that Roy Scheider was not interested in a fan club (more on this next week.) The second note was from Arlene Chain, who introduced herself as Richard Dreyfuss' cousin and founder of his fan club. I was told that for a mere $5.00 I could join the club and keep up on all of the cool things going on in Richard's life. I immediately stuck an Abe Lincoln in an envelope and added a note saying that if there was anything I could do to make the club a success she only had to ask. A couple weeks later I received a large box in the mail full of fan mail for Richard, along with some photo negatives and a note from Richard to his fans. Apparently overwhelmed with Richard's popularity, Arlene put me in charge of corresponding with all Dreyfuss fans east of the Mississippi. The next year was a blur. With the double shot of "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind" and "The Goodbye Girl," Richard was the hottest thing since sliced bread. When he won the Oscar for his performance in "The Goodbye Girl," I was as proud as if I had won the darn thing. Sadly, the fun didn't last. While talking to his agent about getting some material for Richard's upcoming film, "The Big Fix," I was told to make the next newsletter to the fans the last one. "Richard feels he's no longer in need of a fan club" I was told. Sadly Arlene and I spread the word and the 800 plus members of the Official Richard Dreyfuss Fan Club went their separate ways. Almost a decade later I found myself on the set of the movie, "Tin Men," in Baltimore. After spending an enjoyable half hour chatting with Danny DeVito and Bruno Kirby I spotted Richard off by himself across from the Belvedere Hotel. I mentioned that I was going to go say hello and crossed the street. "Mr. Dreyfuss?" I doubt you'll remember me but I used to run your fan club." He looked at me for a moment and asked, "you the kid from Florida?" I told him I was. We chatted for a few minutes. He autographed a "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" poster for me and then I excused myself so that he could get back to work. "You know," he said, "it wasn't my idea to get rid of the fan club." I smiled, shook his hand, and went back across the street. A nice moment. I saw Richard again in New York City in 1992 when he was on Broadway with Gene Hackman and Glenn Close in "Death and the Maiden." He was very cordial to the fans at the stage door and walked off by himself into the Manhattan afternoon. A very nice image that I stored in my memory.

    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.