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Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #249  (Vol. 5, No. 53)  This edition is for the week of December 27, 2004--January 2, 2005.

Will and Karen's Cabbage Key and Key West Kraziness, Part Two
 by William Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
Year-End Oddservations....R.E.M. Trumps U2, Tears for Fears, Duran Duran; releases Best Album of the Year
 by Andy Lalino
Happy New Year....Tragedy And Disaster
 by Matt Drinnenberg
I'd Like To Thank....Thoughts And Prayers....Andy's Present....Tampa Related....Passing On....Gone But Not Forgotten....Explain, Please....Worst Thing To Happen This Year....Best And Worst Movies....Phillip Smith's Top 5 Movies....Favorite Film Lines....Happy Birthday....Meet The Beatles, Part 49 (final chapter)
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Year-End Oddservations
2004? Well, I guess you could call it the Year of the Hurricanes. That woeful Sept./Oct. period of intense hell dwarfed nearly every other event that came our way as Floridians (except for the Presidential elections). But let's put that aside for now and look at 2004 - a year of highs and lows. Here are some of my favorite and not-so-favorite moments of PCR and the year in general:

 My column, Oddservations, begins; spotlighting horror/sci-fi/fantasy/New Wave largely of the '70s and early '80s era.
 Nolan celebrates the 200th edition of CF/PCR.
 Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan dies.
 Oddservations spotlight on VH1's "Bands Reunited" begins with Berlin, Romeo Void, and AFOS.
 Creature's Corner "You Can Go Back" published - always liked this one.
 Matt Drinnenberg on Ray Ferry - very enlightening.
 Blondie plays Jannus Landing.
 The Guzzo bros. start their long-running film series at Romeo's 1515 Coffeehouse in Ybor City.
 Icon Film Studios shoots "Pop" trailer.
 Actor/Performance Artist Spalding Gray (David Byrne's "True Stories") dies
 Actress Uta Hagen ("The Other") dies
 Ron O' Neil ("Superfly") dies
 Dancer/Actress Ann Miller dies
 "Weekly World News" creator Eddie Clontz dies. Batboy weeps.

  Ed Tucker writes Johnny Sokko (a.k.a. "Voyage Into Space") piece.
  Matt Drinnenberg defends his "Masters of Horror" website.
  Andy Lalino celebrates 37th birthday.
  Mercedes McCambridge, the voice of Satan, dies.

  "The Virgin Mary" on Drew St. and 19 in Clearwater, blocks from my house, is vandalized and destroyed.
  Annie Lennox wins Academy Award for LOTR's single "Into the West". U2, Elvis Costello, Eugene Levy and Catherine O' Hara perform.
  Howard Stern hounded by do-gooders.
  Nole, Ed Tucker, and Scott Van Sickle attend MegaCon '04.
  "Dawn of the Dead" arrives in theaters.
  Peter Ustinov and MTV VJ J.J. Jackson die.
  Icon Film Studios shoots their short horror/thriller "Broken Tomorrow"
  Actor Paul Winfield ("The Terminator") dies.

  "My Afternoon with Forry Ackerman" chronicled in Oddservations.
  Actress Carrie Snodgrass ("Willard") dies.
  My short horror film "Filthy", Other Side Cinema's "Night Demons", and Robert Massetti's "Realms of Blood" plays at the TamBay film festival. Local actor & 3-D Animator Sean Sanczel wins "Best Animation" for "Pencilman Meets Pencilgirl"
  Tampa-featured "The Punisher" opens.

  The leftist press make a mountain out of a molehill by the Abu-Grabe prison thingie. Hangin's too good for 'em! Burnin's too good for 'em! They should be torn into itsy-bitsy pieces and BURIED ALIVE!!!!!
  Alan King ("Stephen King's Cat's Eye") and Tony Randall ("The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao") die.
  Robert Quine (61) guitarist for Richard Hell and the Voidoids, dies of an apparent suicide by heroin overdose.

  Ronald Reagan dies.
  Will Moriaty chronicles Dr. Paul Bearer's Creature Feature shows in La Floridiana. It's the beginnings of what will soon be the Dr. Paul Bearer database.
  Robert A. Burns, Production Designer for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Re-Animator", "Tourist Trap" and other classic horror films passes away. Burns was a personal friend of mine. I'm glad to have known the person who designed Leatherface's mask. Burns was also an expert on '40s horror star Rondo Hatton.
  "Filthy" plays at the Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase in Winter Park, Florida. Steve "Uncle Creepy" Barton, Debi Moore, and Eric Molinares attend.
  Florida filmmaker Paul Sirmons screens "The First of May" at Ybor City's "KidFlix" film festival.
  Nole, Lonnie Dohlen, and I meet for the first time together at the St. Pete. Main Library.

  Nole and Will visit Ed Tucker in Jacksonville.
  "Spider-Man 2" opens.
  Rick Danford shoots "The Reaper" under his Enigma Films banner.
  Will begins his popular "What's in a Name" series of Florida towns.
  Marlon Brando and composer Jerry Goldsmith die.
  My controversial "Do the I, Robot" debuts in Oddservations, immediately inciting sensitive readers.
  Vinnie Blesi revisits "Twilight Zone" magazine.
  Arthur "Killer" Kane, bassist for the legendary punk band New York Dolls, dies of complications from lukemia.

  Actress Fay Wray ("King Kong", "Mystery in the Wax Museum") dies.
  Yet another controversial Oddservations (censored this time!), this time poking fun at John Kerry as an Oompa-Loompa. Libs lose their minds!
  Character actor Eugene Roche ("Slaughterhouse-Five") dies.
  Barbara Stanwyck dies.
  Hurricane Charley hits Florida - the first of 4 deadly storms.
  Oddservations features the article "Grindhouse Cinema Fans Storm Tampa Theater".
  Fay Wray and composer Elmer Bernstein die.
  "Filthy" gets its long-awaited Official DVD release. Celebration party takes place at Tampa's "The Castle" Gothic Night Club.
  Rick Danford's "The Nightmare Collection" released on DVD.
  "Filthy" debuts on PCR's "The Last Outpost" - get your copy now!
  The Psychedelic Furs play Jannus Landing.
  Ed Tucker's "20,000 Leagues Into the Toilet" debuts.
  Nole and "Filthy" editor Tom Linkiewicz celebrate birthdays this month.
  Dr. Paul Bearer/Creature Feature database premieres on PCR.
  Singer Laura Branigan sadly passes away.
  Neil Fredericks, "Blair Witch Project" cinematographer, dies

  Hurricane Frances hits - the 2nd disaster.
  Hurricane Ivan hits next. #3.
  Nolan/CF featured in Tampa Trib article.
  Mike Smith celebrates a birthday.
  Nolan Radio debuts.
  Radio legend Tedd Webb contacts Crazed Fanboy.
  Johnny Ramone dies.
  Russ Meyer dies.
  Hurricane Jeanne hits - #4. Enough already!
  Filmmaker Andrew Allan recalls memories of Russ Meyer in Oddservations.
  Tears for Fears, newly reformed with singer/bassist Curt Smith, releases their first CD since 1989 (with both Smith & Orzabal), "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending".

  Janet Leigh and Rodney Dangerfield die.
  Terence Nuzum reviews The Cramps show at the State Theater.
  Creature Feature 2004 debuts, featuring Professor Paul Bearer.
  "Star Wars", "Empire..." and "...Jedi" released on DVD as a boxed set. I'll take my laserdiscs, thank you.
  Christopher Reeve dies.
  17-year-old Rebecca McKinney, a neighbor of mine, is struck by a pickup truck and killed while leaving her school bus in Clearwater.
  The original 5 members of Duran Duran release a new album: "Astronaut".
  Soft Cell singer/solo artist Marc Almond injured in motorcycle accident in London.
  Enigma Films and Metropol Productions sponsor the Halloween Horror Picture Show 2004, featuring "Filthy", "The Reaper", "Eternal Blood", and may other indie horror films. John Biebrich ("Rocky" from "Filthy") hosts. Professor Paul Bearer makes guest appearance.
  "Filthy" screens at "Fear on Fairbanks" in Winter Park, Florida.
  Brandon Jones celebrates Rakuween.
  R.E.M. releases "Around the Sun"
  Happy Halloween!

  Bush wins the presidential election (*whew!*).
  Screamfest 2004 event happens in Ft. Lauderdale. Terry Cronin, Robert Massetti, Jeff Strand, Lynne Hansen, Joel D. Wynkoop attend. Andy meets Florida B-movie filmmaking legend Bill Grefe for the second time.
  Live Aid DVD debuts.
  U2 releases new album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (produced by former collaborator Steve Lillywhite) and new hit single "Vertigo".
  Ken Jennings dethroned as Jeopardy champ.
  Crimewave starts: Radio Shack killings at Gateway Mall.

  Bayfront Center torn down
  B-52's "Love Shack" burns in Athens, GA.
  Tsunamis ravage Indonesia & Asia. Kills tens of thousands.

Andy's Picks:
 Best Movie of 2004: "Spider-Man 2"
 Best Actor: Alfred Molina, "SM2"
 Best Actress: Cate Blanchett "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou"
 Best Album of 2004: R.E.M. "Around the Sun"
 Best Single of 2004: R.E.M. "Leaving New York"
 Best TV Show: "Bands Reunited" (VH1)
 Best Network: Classic VH1
 Best shot of Zombie pulling apart human: "Shaun of the Dead"

As you can see, it's been a roller-coaster year. In terms of quality horror films, it's better than most any year of the 1990's. We saw plenty of remakes hit the screens, and commented negatively about this trend on the pages of PCR. The lowlight of the year was of course the endless stream of scary hurricanes, which meant yours truly had tons of oak tree debris to clean up. I shouldn't complain, because thousands of Floridians were effected and suffered worse problems. Here's to hoping 2005 is a milder year in terms of weather; it's hard to imagine a worse year than '04.

Another powder keg was the presidential elections. Though Bush won by a comfortable margin, I was still surprised by the amount of voters who chose Kerry. Clearly Republicans have to do a better job at convincing people that sometimes war is good for the world, if it means a more stable planet in the end all. Some people are so idealistically dove-ish, however, that they'll never quite get it. If you want to live in Fantasyland, here's two tickets to Disney World.

2005 is shaping up to be a retread of '04, with more remakes on the horizon. Beware of more material based on concepts and characters we all know, such as "The Fantastic Four", "War of the Worlds", and "King Kong". There is some hope, however, with a slew of new, original horror films: "White Noise", "Darkness", and "Boogeyman".

Look forward to some good shows coming in '05: Duran Duran (newly re-formed with the original 5 members), the Go-Go's at Jannus Landing, Elvis Costello, and very possibly a stop by U2. Incidentally, Go-Go's bassist Jane Weidlin is going to be featured on VH1's hip show "The Surreal Life" - Season 3! Go Jane!

Let's also hope that the Tampa Bay indie scene picks up again with new projects. IMO, the film scene has died down a bit, so a good shot in the arm is in order. Icon Film Studios has recently wrapped production on their new short "Sever", and the film is currently in post-production. Look forward to an early 2005 release. Other local filmmakers, such as Tom Linkiewicz, Andrew Allan, Rick Danford, and GenXsis Productions all have projects in development and are expecting an exciting 2005.

R.E.M. trumps U2, Tears for Fears, and Duran Duran; releases Best Album of the Year

New Wavers, the battle is on, and R.E.M. emerges as grand champion of 2004. They best supergroups U2, TFF, and Duran Duran as having the best single and album of the year, "Leaving New York" and "Around the Sun respectively. R.E.M. and U2 have been duking it out in yearly tug-o-wars as to who's the best band (after Simple Minds dropped out in 1987); usually U2 emerges victorious. This time around, however, R.E.M. proves worthier. If you haven't done so, go out right now to your favorite CD store and pick up "Around the Sun". You may not get past the first track, "Leaving New York", because you'll be setting "repeat 1 song" on your CD player and listening to it over and over and over again.

In my own opinion poll, R.E.M. won the "Best Single of the 1990's" with the song "The Great Beyond" from the "Man on the Moon" soundtrack, closely tailed by U2's "Lemon" (from Zooropa) and the Boy George/Pet Shop Boys collaboration "The Crying Game". When you least expect it, R.E.M. can come out of nowhere and blow your socks off, which they've done again, shifting U2's "Vertigo" to #2 and Duran Duran's "(Reach Out for the) Sunrise" to #3.

In a year when we're lucky enough to have CD's put out by both U2 and R.E.M., it's great to see they are still producing some of their best work. Both bands prove to have creative ability beyond ordinary human comprehension and have achieved a status so high that religions must be devoted to them.

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.