Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed.
Nolan Pop Culture Review, 2003!
This week's
La Floridiana
Digital Divide
Movie Review
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant

On the CF Homepage:
Florida Filmmaker Update

  Number 152  (Vol. 4, No. 8). This edition is for the week of February 17--23, 2003.

Having enjoyed a ride on a near-runaway train of publicity, and Ben Affleck's masked mug adorning almost every fan-related movie magazine on the stands, last weekend, the alleged be-all and end-all of comics-to-movie adaptations, the 20th Century Fox release of "Daredevil" opened to a riot of mixed reviews.

It was eagerly anticipated as possibly the movie event of the season. Ummm......'fraid not. In fact, depending on who you talk to, it may not even be worth your time. Then again, some big-time movie critics say it rivals or exceeds anything that has come before!

Mike Smith says...It started when our own Mike Smith sent in his movie review of Daredevil in last week's issue that I began to think something was amiss (please review that..er..review..to see what I'm talking about). Mike gave the film only 2-and-a-half stars, saying he felt basically the movie was meant for comics fans, and that regular movie fans might be left off after the 10th insider joke flew by.

Terence's Movie MeterThen, fellow PCR columnist Terence Nuzum checked the movie out and was sick about it. When he called, he gasped for several minutes trying to find the words to convey his disgust. As of this writing, Terence is toying with writing one of his rare major spoiler reviews to list "The Top 10 Reasons You Should Not See Daredevil" (hint: an itemized list of major plot holes and inconsistencies---funny stuff, I hope he does it). While we're waiting for a decision on that, we revived Terence's Movie Meter, where he started to give "Daredevil" an absolute ZERO. I asked him, "You sure you want to replace Jurassic Park II?" He said, "Hmmm.....naw, but put it just above zero, like 1½%!

A customer at a local 7-Eleven overheard me talking about DD, agreed with everything I said Terence said, then added some spoilers of his own, which I'll spare you here. But he agreed this was not adding up to the "movie of the season".

Roeper and Ebert ratingJust as I was content to pass on this flick altogether, I tuned in to a favorite syndicated Sunday morning program I try never to miss, "Roeper & Ebert: At The Movies" (Formerly Siskel & Ebert at the Movies, Gene Siskel passed away a year or so ago), two celebrated newspaper/TV movie critics from the Chicago area. THEY BOTH GUSHED OVER D.D., saying it rivaled or exceeded the best of the best, including last year's "Spider-Man" and Burton's 1986 "Batman" ("best of the best" is subjective here, of course, I seem to be the only one I know to have problems with Burton's "Batman"). I may have even gone into it thinking Ebert might give D.D. an OK vote, but the younger Roeper has a punkish air to him and I thought "no way". Nope, BOTH thought it was GREAT and gave it their trademark "Thumbs Up!" sign.

Drew Reiber, former PCR columnist of "Wake Up and Smell The Comics" fame, told me during an IM session: "And I liked it a lot. Not great, but good. I had problems with some of the lack of characterization, their assumption of getting a sequel and the obviously missing 25 minutes." He further commented that of all his friends who'd seen the movie, a mix of comics and non-comics fans alike, the division was almost exactly 50/50 over it! Drew himself gave it "3 stars" on the official PCR scale! Then, in the same IM, he exploded with this:

I think it's a bad cliché that the villain always kills the hero's parents, especially when the screenwriters always add it and it was not in the comic. It's considered an important step in linking a character's story arc in creative screenwriting, but to use it on TWO Frank Miller adaptations is a terrible mistake. I think the cast was great, and it was probably Ben Affleck's best performance when he doesn't really have that many. I've always liked him, but he usually just plays himself. I actually saw the character here. Colin Farrell was fantastic and it would be a shame if he's not brought back for the sequels. Elektra's introduction and subsequent tragic end was short and weak. She had something going, but it was too negligible for a feature film structured as this. The film's pacing was fine and very enjoyable until it kicked into overdrive once Daredevil, Elektra and Bullseye crossed each other's path for the second time. It was still allright from there, but too jarring. The movie desperately needed more padding and seemed to miss a lot, especially with Foggy Nelson and their court appearances. They cut 25 minutes out of the movie, when it's obvious they should have kept at least 10 or more of them. People are becoming too reliable on shorter running times to save their asses when it only hurts the final cut. I gave it a 3, but the director's cut may yield a better rating. We'll see. ---Drew Reiber

Nolan goes to the movies........."Daredevil"----One and a half stars
Well, there was no other way to resolve this than to see it for myself, which I did with close friend and fellow webmeister, Scott van Sickle. We went to the 3:00pm show Tuesday afternoon at AMC Westshore 14 in South Tampa.

First of all, I don't know of this part is playing in any and all theaters, but there was an expanded Hulk trailer in front of our show. VERY exciting stuff, altho The Hulk, even in super-fast cutaway shots, looks distressingly CGI, I think IT may wind up being one of the two biggest movies of the summer! I've been waiting for The Incredible Hulk to be done right since the '60s! (OK, I was a sucker for the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno TV series from the '70s, but that's all we had.) Also in "coming attractions" was "X-Men II", which will be the other big summer movie event, hands down.

OK, down to business. The opening credits of DD are an even cross between Spider-Man and Batman (what a shock), right down to the fonts and similar music. The opening scenes depict our hero (Ben Affleck), fully costumed, but critically injured, basically recalling the whole rest of the movie in flashback. The opening scenes of this part are, to me, the best parts of the whole movie. Detailing young Matt Murdock's life and the tragic accident that rendered him permanently blind, but gave him his other heightened powers. The boy playing the young Murdock, Scott Terra, is very effective and vulnerable. The older Jack Murdock, his troubled and down-on-his luck boxer father, is right out of the comics, dead-on casting.

Matt grows more confident in his abilites. He confronts the alley-way bullies that used to torment him, and the outcome is very different (altho it's never explained how his remaining super senses also give him super-agility, super-strength, etc.--this is one of those many big "leaps of faith" you need to get through this movie.) His calling in life is fully realized when he stumbles on the scene of some underground thugs, getting their revenge on the senior Murdock for a fight that didn't go their way. Young Matt is devastated and makes some decisions. So far, so good.

The problems start soon afterwards, however, when out of the blue, young Matt is grown up and fully costumed! (This is arguably the cheesiest part, recalling the "suiting up" scenes of latter Batman's where there are a quick series of close-ups of costume parts being snapped into placed with loud "chings" and "thuds" and swelling horns on the soundtrack).

Matt is a lawyer now, a partner is a law firm with his buddy "Foggy" Nelson (well-played by Jon Favreau---I don't recall if he actually called him "Foggy" in the movie, but it's obviously the comic-book counterpart.) While sitting in a nearby diner/coffee shop, a beautiful woman comes in (Jennifer Garner) that Matt smells and asks Nelson to describe her. Matt's attempts to meet her and get her name lead to the most fall-down embarrassing parts of the whole movie.

His persistence leads them to a playground, where they sense each other's abilities (or something) square off, and start a martial-arts meltdown. This is really hard to sit through, especially the "square-off" part where, I swear to God, it looks like they're going to start break dancing. Apparently, the woman is impressed enough to tell him her name is "Elektra Natchios".

As the movie progresses, the lawyers are convinced that the kingpin of crime in the city is a man by the name of...er... Kingpin. Actually, Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, is, to me, the biggest pleasant surprise in casting, not only in that the Kingpin from the original comics was a white man, but that Duncan really looks the part anyway! I totally accepted him very quickly. I just wish he'd had more of a part.

Kingpin's chief assassin is "Bullseye", a freakishly accurate marksman with any object. Colin Ferrell plays Bullseye with great relish as he threatens to steal the whole movie. While there is some justifiable critisicm about Ferrell's over-the-top performance (which I blame more on the director, Mark Steven Johnson, than Ferrell), I feel he is a much more convincingly menacing and threatening villain in a super-hero movie than, say, the Joker or the Riddler, from the grossly over-rated "Batman" movies.

During a street battle, Elektra's father (one of Fisk's insiders) meets his fate at the hands of Bullseye, but a tragic misperception turns Elektra against DD, holding him responsible. Then she costumes up and comes back for the final battle.

Terence and other critics are right in that there are WAY too many leaps of faith required to get through the planet-sized plot-holes and inconsistencies comfortably (who made Matt's costume? Did he sew by feel? How did he know the color was right?). The script is really bad, and the CGI is, oftimes, embarrassingly obvious (I'm still not sure how super-senses gives you the ability to jump and dive between buildings a la Spider-Man, regardless of training. But, hey, this is a comic book and we're at the movies.) My movie companion, Mr. van Sickle, indicated he, too, was leaning is the "sucks" camp.

OK, here goes. The problem with the movie is in its wildly inconsistent production values, which by definition in my universe, qualifies it as "Schlock". As "schlock" it works, laughably well. And I like that Stan Lee and Kevin Smith got cameos. So, I'm going out on a limb to give the performers 3 stars, mostly young Matt, "grown-Matt" Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, and, of course, Colin Ferrell, who I do not fault for the ZERO stars I give the abysmal script (Brian Helgeland), abysmal direction (Mark Steven Johnson), derivative musical score, conspicuous CGI, and, of course, the stay-through-the-end-credits-or-you'll-miss-it scene of Bullseye in the hospital (didn't stay that long, did you?). FINAL AVERAGE and OFFICIAL NOLAN RATING: One and a half stars.

(For more complete info on the cast and crew and an alternate description of the basic plot outline of Daredevil, please refer to Mike Smith's review of Daredevil from last issue.---N)

"The Simpsons" mark episode #300
I confess I haven't been following this show for a couple of years now, and long-time readers may remember my dismay at the perceived downhill slide of a show I thought would never get old with me. Nevertheless, I sincerely want to congratulate Matt Groening and Co. for a job well done for attaining a pretty rare record: as of last Sunday's episode, number 300, The Simpsons is the longest-running prime-time comedy show of all time. And not just of an animated series--of any series! (Saturday Night Live, which is in its mid-27th season would have to count as the longest-running comedy show ever, right?)

Starting in 1987 (I think) as part of the Tracy Ulman Show, it's 16 years old. Amazing. For the record, I think the strongest seasons were in the middle somewhere, around years 3-10. The "Treehouse of Terror" annual Halloween episodes were required viewing until they, too, started falling apart a couple years ago. I stopped reviewing episodes about then.

The original cast has stuck together over the years and is still with the show (with the sad exception of the late Phil Hartman, who did the Simpson's lawyer, and the washed-up actor Troy McClure).

Here's to the Simpsons: my you continue to offend the establishment and never grow old....even tho Marge and Homer's fictional ages are now younger than the baby-boomers who inspired them!

Corey Castellano
Fresh from doing F/X work on "Seabiscuit" and "Buffy", Corey stops in for an all-too-brief visit before departing for New Zealand to work on "The Last Samurai" (w/Tom Cruise!). Another epic achievement out at theaters right now with Castellano contributions: "Gods and Generals"!
LA FLORIDIANA UPDATE  by William Moriaty
Attack On Florida History
Update! Update! Update! You might be able to help win back Florida's history be linking to a Petition urging the Governor to rescind his proposal to dismantle the State Library and place Florida's history museums from the hands of historians to park rangers. The link is: http://www.floridahistory.info/petition/index.php3

Birds of Prey Finale
Hopefully you will read this in time to see the final episode of the too-short lived series "Birds of Prey". The finale will be a two-hour special between 8 and 10 P.M. on Wednesday February 19th on the WB (Channel 38 WTTA). Dinah, Oracle and Helena-- you will be sorely missed! Sadly, the episode will also run against...
The Twilight Zone episode that features a modern-day Billy Mumy reprising his famous childhood role on the original Twilight Zone in the episode "It's A Good Life". Actress Chloris Leachman, who played Mumy's mother in the original, will also reprise her role in this new episode hosted by Forrest Whittiker.

As per Will's advice I took in Wednesday night's special Twilight Zone, and I'm glad I did: it featured a reprise or sequel of not only one classic TZ episode, but two!
   It's Still A Good Life" is the sequel to the classic chiller "It's a Good Life". 40 years after we last visited Peaksville, we find Anthony Fremont (Bill Mumy reprising his role) is still in control of this barren and zombified community whose residents, isolated from the rest of reality, live in terror of his terrible psychokenetic powers: once angered, one look can send them into "the cornfield" forever, basically a pet name for disintegration. His weary mother (Cloris Leachman in a marvelous reprisal of her earlier role) must, as a matter of survival forgive Anthony's every evil foible, and act happy about it, lest she, too, be banished into infinity. In the meantime, Anthony's young daughter (Mumy's real-life daughter, Liliana in a terrific turn), about 6 years old, is discovering she has powers of her own. When his mom discovers this by accident, she sees hope for the town. Unfortunately, when she tries to turn daughter against father, things go disastrously wrong. A surprise twist near the end paves the way for possible sequels. Highly Recommended.
"The Monsters Are On Maple Street" is a remake of the classic post-war-paranoia-by-way-of-McCarthyism episode that spoke so clearly about the human condition. Updated for the concerns of this millenium, this time Andrew McCarthy (no relation) tries to defend the new folks in a restricted deed community from an angry mob led by Joseph Montegna, who has convinced everyone that the new folks are terrorists, responsible for an earlier power outage. Unable to stop them, McCarthy is powerless to do anything but watch as an innocent family is harrassed and their house is burned to the ground. As the camera pulls back, it is revealed this is some sort of gov't experiment to test people's reaction to a perceived terrorist threat. Results? Total elapsed time from outage to torching: 5 hours! The prosecution rests. Also highly recommended.---Nolan Canova.

La Floridiana
This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
Book review: "The Stingray Shuffle" by Tim Dorsey (2003)
303 pp. William Morrow (Harper-Collins Publishers, New York, N.Y.) .................Click here for more.

Matt's Rail
This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
FILMLAND CLASSICS BACK ON-LINE........... DELTA MEMORIES FLASHBACK (1980)........... .................Click here for more.

Movie Reviewmovie review
This Week's Movie Review:

Adaptation  review by Michael Smith

The Digital Divide
This week's issue
The Digital Divide by Terence Nuzum
CD Review -- The Microphones: Mt. Eerie
CD Review -- Rainer Maria: Long Knives Drawn
Also: CD News!
.................Click here for more.

Mike's RantMike's Rant
This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
MY OTHER SON........I HAVE A NIGHTMARE........ I KNOW IT WAS YOU, FREDO! YOU BROKE MY HEART!........ PASSING ON........ .............................Click here for more.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
Please see last issue's Mike's Rant to review the original horror story.---Nolan

Dear Mr. Smith:

Thank you for your e-mail message. On behalf of Delta, please accept my sincere apology for any inconvenience you and your traveling companion experienced on your flight from Tampa to Atlanta on February 10th.

When you are traveling with a Delta electronic ticket for a domestic flight, our new self-service kiosks are designed to give customers a quick alternative to lines at the airport, and assist with airport check-in for their flight. We are disappointed to hear this did not happen in your case. Your comments have been forwarded to the responsible department head for review to ensure continued improvement in our technology and special service programs. Constructive comments such as yours are one of the best ways we have of knowing what areas need additional attention.

For additional information about our check-in kiosks, refer to delta.com. http://www.delta.com/travel/trav_serv/kiosk/index.jsp

We also regret your additional inconvenience when Flight 840 departed without you.

Due to heightened security procedures at all domestic airports, customers should arrive at the airport at least one hour before their departure time. Baggage must be checked at least thirty minutes prior to scheduled departure, and customers traveling domestically must check in at the gate at least fifteen minutes prior to their scheduled departure.

Since wait times can vary significantly by time of day and airport location, Delta customers are encouraged to check delta.com/travel for estimated wait times at their departure airport to allow adequate time for check-in and security screening. Our customers tell us that on-time performance is a critical consideration, and Delta will continue to make adjustments to ensure on-time departures and meet our customers' expectations.

From your description, our representatives did not do a very good job in your case, and I apologize. While there are many different things that can interfere with our operation, we realize that the way our people respond is what will ultimately determine how our customers will feel about us. Knowing this, it was very disturbing to have your report about how poorly we handled the circumstances you described. We appreciate your taking the time to share your experience, and your comments will be forwarded to the responsible management teams for review. Please rest assured that we will make every effort to ensure that things are handled differently in the future.

Mr. Smith, thank you for writing. Once again, please accept our apology for the unfavorable impression you received in this instance. We appreciate your selection of Delta and we will always consider it a privilege to be of service.

Regina R. Sterioff
Customer Care

(Readers: Mike felt this was a "canned" response, and wrote to them a second time, below....---Nolan)

Miss Sterioff,

In response to your form apology letter regarding my complaints with the service provided by your airline:

It was unnecessary to send me information on using the Eticket kiosks. I was only directed there because of your employees incompetence. And may I ask you something on this procedure? Apparently all you need to access the kiosk is the credit card you used to book your flight on line. Swipe that in and you pick your seat and check your baggage. What would prevent a terrorist from booking a flight, checking a bag and then not showing up for the flight. He could time it so that it would appear he had just missed his flight due to security delays.

As for telling me I needed to arrive at the airport at least one hour before the flight departs, I was there ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES before hand and still never made it on board.

And is it really DELTA POLICY, as I was told, that people with the more expensive tickets take precedence over those with cheaper fares when put on the stand by list, even bumping down people who had already been on the list?

My readers and I look forward to your reply.

Michael Smith

I will continue to publish any and all communications regarding this issue.--Nolan

Hey, Nolan!

While surfing "fark.com", I ran across a Photoshop section where people find images to mess with and post them, and I was telling you they took an image of you off TV to illustrate a public access show.

Here's that pic. Just goes to show you that your influence spreads far and wide...She must have had a cable access show kind of idea, and did a Google image search, found your pic, and messed with it.

I don't think you should feel insulted, I think you should feel honored!

Talk at ya later,
Richard [Sousa].

Hmmm.....OK, so now I've taken their picture and put on my site what was originally my picture---is the irony that I'm infringing on their infringement? Ha, ha, just kidding. I recognize the picture, but it is NOT from my site, but from The St. Petersburg Times' web site, and the article "Talk of The Town". Of course, I don't remember having Ed O'Neil on that day! But I do remember Terence Nuzum and Patty G. Henderson being in those seats originally. Fark on!---Nolan

To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "La Floridiana" is ©2003 by William Moriaty    "Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Mathew Drinnenberg    "Terence's Movie Meter" is ©2003 Terence Nuzum, graphic by Nolan Canova    "The Digital Divide" is ©2003 by Terence Nuzum    This week's movie review of "Adaptation" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    Add'l thanks to Michael Smith and Richard Sousa for their input in "Letters"      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova ©2003; all rights reserved.