PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #206  (Vol. 5, No. 10)  This edition is for the week of March 1--7, 2004.

"Starsky and Hutch"
 by Mike Smith
Academy Awards Oddsverations....Indecency Hearings
 by Andy Lalino
Gay Marriage Amendment
 by Mike Scott
The Ghosts of Columbine
 by Joshua Montgomery
Collectible Card Games and You
 by Dylan Jones
P.C. Aftermath: The Response
 by Nick King
Ybor's Ups And Downs
 by Clayton Smith
The Passion in Brooksville....I Wanted the Scarecrow....FCC and the Sponge, Follow-Up....WMD At The Academy Awards?....Things I Didn't Know But Probably Should Have
 by Brandon Jones
And The Winner Is....In Other News....How Could She See Over The Wheel?....March 5th....Meet The Beatles, Part 7
 by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

The 76th Annual Academy Awards "Oddservations"
Well, there were no surprises this year, with LOTR: ROTK taking home every award they were nominated for. Sean Penn, Charlize Theron, Tim Robbins, and Renee Zellweger (got some weird female names going on here...) were also bestowed with expected wins.

The highlight of the festivities were the musical performances. In the past few years, New Wave acts have finally been recognized by the Academy. This year's lineup featured Annie Lennox (who looked stunning), Elvis Costello, and Sting; incidentally last year U2 was nominated for "The Hands that Built America" from Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York". Lennox took home the prize for co-writing and performing "Into the West" for the LOTR: ROTK original soundtrack along with the brilliant composer Howard "Ed Wood" Shore and Fran Walsh (who received 3 Oscars that night). Shore also took home the Oscar for "Best Original Score". Out of all the musical acts, I was most blown away by the surprise appearance of demigods Eugene Levy and Catherine O' Hara (SCTV alumni) who performed an excellent song from "A Mighty Wind" called "The Kiss at the End of the Rainbow", written by Michael "Lenny" McKean and Annette ("Cat People") O' Toole.

I confess most of the films nominated for Best Picture I have not seen, with the sole exception of LOTR: ROTK, which I think triumphed on a technical if not emotional, level. From the clips I did see of that famous Iraq Explorer Sean Penn, he did seem to give a superb performance in "Mystic River". He and his liberal partner-in-crime Tim Robbins were on their best behavior, with Penn just slipping a bit, making a comment about WMDs. Robbins naively wore a "peace" button, in hopes that all around the world we can hold hands and sing "Kum-bi-Ya". This morning I oddserved a TV critic griping that the Oscars were too long, and that the technical awards and original song performances should be sacrificed because "people don't really care about that". That's typical mainstream thinking; I personally would rather see who won "Best Sound Editing" than sit through 10 minutes of Billy Crystal spoofing the Best Picture nominees. You want the Oscars shorter? Cut down on the commercials. The same critic also thought that "The Belleville Rendez-Vouz", the song from the animated feature "The Triplets of Belleville", was the one that was best performed! Mind you, we're comparing that to Sting, Elvis Costello and Annie Lennox -- give me a break.

BTW, where was "Phone Booth" in last year's nominees?

Indecency Hearings
Leave it to a Jackson to fuck things up. Her little stint during the half-time show caused a shock wave throughout the entertainment industry, causing media companies to renounce the entertainers that make them gobs of money; the latest victims being the venerable Howard Stern and "Todd Clem" (Clem, i.e., "Bubba the Love Sponge" the schock-jock just fired from 98Rock, Tampa.--Nolan). I'm going to sound a bit prejudiced here by stating that I really could care less about "Todd Clem", but have mucho respect for Howard. Stern is crass and vulgar in such a unique and hilarious way, that it's no wonder he's as popular as he is. Typically, I really don't dig shows like "Springer" and "Maury Povich", but Stern delivers what those two goons, and others like them, do not: a sense of coolness. Stern is an exploiter, much like the great exploitation filmmakers of the '70s/'80s, like HGL, Fulci, and Lenzi, and does it with all the excitement and fun of a carnival barker at the traveling sideshow.

Being that we don't get the Howard Stern radio show here in the Tampa Bay area (for some reason no one can afford to carry him), it's difficult for me to assess what all the hubub is all about. The info I do get on Stern, surprisingly, is from TV! I'm the first to admit his shtick is extremely vulgar and not for everyone, and I would even go as far as to say his radio show is best broadcast in the later hours so children run less risk of being exposed to it, but don't just yank Stern, or for that matter "Todd Clem" off the air for "indecency".

If you really think about it, kids can get into pretty much anything that's broadcast, fed through cable lines, or up for sale in retail stores: broadcast TV, cable TV, DVD's, internet porn, VHS's, satellite radio, Pay-Per-View, etc. If the goal is to protect children under 18 from such vulgarity, what the hell structure does society have to set in place to totally protect them? If it means running family programming from 7am to 10pm, where all of us have to suffer from entertainment that is the likes of the Hallmark Channel or Pax TV, that's a fate worse than death. Let's be real; at age 15 I was digging "Friday the 13th" at my friend's house. While I was at my own, my parents wouldn't let me watch a rated R movie. I had to escape to get to see it. Kids will always find a way of getting into something you don't want them to; if you can protect them 85% of the time, I'd say mommy and daddy are doing pretty good.

I'm not sure what's going to come out of these "indecency hearings", if anything, but for crying out loud realize that it's not a good idea for the government to regulate broadcast TV/radio and cable/satellite TV and radio. The motion picture industry was wise to implement a ratings system that they adhere to pretty stringently; the TV industry was not so smart, and not surprisingly it's they who are now causing problems for people, like myself, who prefer their entertainment more "edgy". It is my fear that they will one day come after horror films, despite this being a country where the First Amendment is held so sacred. And it's not just the religious right (a faction I despise despite being a Republican), but also the liberal PC crowd who use societal pressure to ensure an artist can't say certain things. We lose from either end.

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All posters and images of Katherine Leis and her films are used here with permission. All other graphics, unless otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.