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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
This week's
La Floridiana
Movie Review
Plastic People
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant

On the CF Homepage:
Florida Filmmaker Update

New Schlockarama! --
"Rock All Night"

  Number 162  (Vol. 4, No. 18). This edition is for the week of April 28--May 4, 2003.

Calm after the storm


 The Tambay Film Fest Winners

  Strange Agents Update
  In the Lettercol                          
  Art Wars revisited
  Andy Lalino strikes back

Whew, what a whirlwind couple of weeks. But as the ship of PCR settles into calmer waters, I expect smoother sailing ahead. Jeez what a load of clichés, but I'm half-asleep and extremely distracted. Why? As is the awful timing that is so often part of my life I had been scheduled to a court appearance today (Wed.) to testify on the matter of a bad dog in my neighborhood.
Yes, that's right I had to appear at a hearing during the usual hours I put out the PCR, but it was my civic duty and I had to respond to the call. I'm terribly sorry about it, but it couldn't be helped. (It turned out OK, the dog owner decide to "stipulate"--agree to conditions--rather than continue to fight charges. 'Nuff of that, let's move on..)

Many parts of the PCR will not be completed until Friday morning, because Wednesday afternoon was shot and I had to get a few minutes sleep before work that night. With all due apologies now in place, let's see what we do have...

Tambay Film and Video Festival Announces Winners

FESTIVAL WINNERS. Tampa, FL - April 27, 2003 -The 3rd Annual Tambay Film Festival would like to announce the festival winners in its independent Film competition.

*Herman Fox - Best of Show Award- Two Summers, Directed by Bruce Lapointe

*Florida Spirit Award - The Big Bang, Directed by Philip Cruz

*Humanitarian Award - Green, Directed by Laura Dunn

*Best Documentary Feature - Pole Pole, Directed by Mark Jaffee

*Documentary Feature Honorable Mention - Heart of the Sea - Directed by Lisa Denker and Charlotte Lagarde

*Best Documentary Short - Follow the crowd: The life of Henry B. Plant - Directed by: Brad Courtney

*Best Animation - Intelligent Life -Directed by Jeff Spoonhower *Honorable Mention Animation - Times Square - Directed by Muriel Magenta

*Best Feature - The Movie Hero - Directed by Brad T Gottfred *Honorable Mention Feature Film - Murder Rhapsody - Directed by Alexander Tana

*Honorable Mention Feature Film - Hills like White Elephants - Directed by Paige Cameron

Student films:
  1st Place - One Night it Happened Directed by Georgina Riedel
  2nd Place- Virgin - (Florida State University) - Directed by David Mitchell
  3rd Place - Corny Directed by Bogdan Apetri

From Leora Chai, festival director: We hope that you all enjoyed this years festival! For more information on how to become a sponsor or for further festival events, please log on to our web site at www.tambayfilmfest.com See you next year!

Cast of The Raging Bells
Monday night at the Tambay Film Fest, some of the cast from the indy film "The Raging Bells" gather in front of the poster for the movie. From left, Andrew Vingo, Rebecca Holycross, Gustavo Perez, Kevin Bangos, and Tina Frankl
   About Tambay Film and Video Festival: The Tambay Film and Video Festival, based in Tampa, FL, began in November 1999 by a group of filmmakers who saw the need for a festival which truly catered to and acknowledged the struggles of countless talented independent filmmakers from Florida and throughout the world.
   We at the Tambay Film and Video Festival strive to present work to the public, potential distributors and other filmmakers, as well as creating a film forum for Florida filmmaking. The festival is still organized and programmed by filmmakers. Several films got picked up for distribution. Almost all films got invited to other festivals. We believe in the profound power of the media arts to influence the public and are committed to exposing audiences to new ideas and perspectives beyond the mainstream. While the festival is growing in size and seeks to offer filmmakers a good level of exposure and an excellent venue, it is above all a community event. Tambay Film Festival is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. --Leora Chai

About Chris Woods' "BLEED". This was another entry at Tambay with an interesting history. It was shown at last year's Renegade Film Festivals, won the top award for horror, but I managed to miss it both times. I was contacted later by the filmmaker and got a copy to review a little over a month ago. I was delighted with the film and had intended to post a review in The Last Outpost when it was up and running (which it now is), but through a communication error, Chris thought it was intended for the PCR and I was delaying it for some reason. I was contacted again recently by Chris Woods and the communciation error has been resolved. The full review of BLEED will appear in The Last Outpost next to the video cover, when it is ready for distribution. (I'm excited to say I may get first dibs on that little gem.)
Quickly put, BLEED concerns a small group of college students, primarily female, who are interested in documenting the life of a public access producer named Vic Van Viper, whose TV show "Creeping Death" (where he acted the role of a serial-killer) seemed to serve as a template for a series of murders on a local college campus two years after he vanished (or was killed) mysteriously. The chief architect of this documentary is Amber Johnson, a girl who seems unnaturally obsessed with Viper to the point that it takes over her life. A detective called into the case uncovers shocking evidence that rewrites the true legacy left by the Creeping Death TV show, and calls into question the true motives of everyone involved.
To me, BLEED is equal parts "Unsolved Mysteries" mixed with those true-crime stories from The History Channel, but with a gorier edge. The acting by everyone in this well-cast film, especially Amanda Beck (the girl who plays Amber), is top-notch, and the screenplay moves right along. Chris Woods himself plays Viper, and brings his own psychosis to the role! The music is appropriate and the crew performs many jobs on set. The chief audio guy is also the announcer--to me he has kind of a dreamy, lilting cadence, like Bill Paxton on Quaaludes, but it works in this context (I might've gone for a Robert Stack or Mitch Pileggi sound-alike).
This is a highly recommended movie and I'm proud to say that as soon as its finalized by Chris Woods, it will likely be featured for sale right here, along with a more in-depth look at the filmmaker and his film.

What's New at strangeagents.com for May 2003

Your Prescription is Ready! The first Strange Agents screensaver is now available, it's fun for the whole family. http://www.strangeagents.com/ssaver.htm , sorry available for Windows users only.
Who's got the Burka? Exclusive Michael Jackson picture only at strangeagents.com http://www.strangeagents.com/images/burka.jpg
Further denials of having anything to do with the Bouncing Bomb (or Ashley Lauren), http://www.strangeagents.com/bouncingbomb.htm
Agent Sly photo update received from Donald Rumsfield http://www.strangeagents.com/slyphoto.htm
More Songs we have stolen. New mp3 added for "Steppin Stone" http://www.strangeagents.com/multimedia.htm

La Floridiana
This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty

Why it's called Florida

Matt's Rail
This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg


Ashley Lauren's Hollywood
This week's issue
Hollywood by Ashley Lauren

No column this week

Movie Reviewmovie review
This Week's Movie Review:

"Identity"  reviewed by Michael Smith

Mad Matt
This week's issue
Mad Matt's Plastic People by Matt Cerrato

21st Century Toys'

Mike's RantMike's Rant
This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
LET THE WOOKIE WIN!........MAKING THAT MONEY........PASSING ON........ ................Click here for more.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
To everyone:
Let me first say, I've been a fan of the PCR since its inception (but well, Nolan, you've known that). I can't always relate to the topics, but you know what? That's fine. It's always an interesting read, even if I don't know much about said topics. I applaud the staff for their interesting diversity, and yes, even I was among them at times.

If I may, I'd like to make a few comments: Firstly, my condolences to Corey and his family on Barbara's death. (Re: "Deaths in the family", PCR #160---N) I think I'd only met Mrs. Castellano twice, before receiving the sad news, but she was an incredibly sweet woman and she will be missed. Corey, you and your family are in my thoughts, and my dear Count Poffula's.

Now, to put my two cents in. First, I was quite surprised about... the surprise Nolan expressed over Robert Florida's article on the state of Arts funding in Florida. (Re: "Art Wars", also in issue #160---N) I am certain we've gone over this, personally, before, but let me just maybe fill in the readership: The Arts funding slash is indeed not surprising at all--in fact, unfortunately, I predicted it, the second it was mentioned. The arts are always slashed. I've seen it over and over, and until our government--no, more importantly until Florida's University Art Departments dig their heads out of their dusty little southland clouds :;cough:: and stop brainwashing their students into believing the only way to succeed is to move to New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, Florida's arts will continue to remain in dire straits. I am afraid to say it, but the arts festivals and the measly little Tampa Museum of Arts are poor compensation for the artists of Florida; the art of the last 40 years does not bring in the crowds. Sorry folks, but get over yourselves. Barbara Kruger and Michelangelo will never be in the same league. We need an influx of true art to the area for it to be taken seriously. God love the Florida Museum of Art in St. Pete, because at least they bring some diversity. But, no. I'm sorry. The Ringling is just too far away to count as being the Tampa Area (though thank God they at least bring the Baroque to our area). The Tampa Museum of Art gives it a good try with their lovely Classical collection, but they fall so flat, otherwise.

No, I won't whitewash this. The truth of the matter is, if we wish the arts taken seriously we need to kick Disney and Busch out and stop selling Florida's beaches and flora to the tourists (although I am sorry to see Cypress Gardens go, it is not the be-all, end-all of Florida) and *stop* trying to prove us a bad copy of the "retirement Florida" sold in the 1980s (awful) movie Cocoon. Florence, Italy did not become famous because of the Medici banks and the Arno River but because the Medici (read: the rulers) cared more about the arts than their sunshine and sandy Arno River banks.

But enough said. We can try, we can rant and rave and put on our little festivals and pretend Ybor is a little NYC, and call ourselves hip and artsy; but when one really steps back and takes a good hard look, sorry, but the truth of the matter is, our various attempts at film and art festivals are lost on the rest of the world. Good for the locals, ignored by the world. C'est la vie. Remember, Saturday Night Live bashed Tampa for being copycats on the Goth scene way back in ... what 1992? That is the way we're taken, people, as jokes. This did and does nothing good for the state of Florida arts. Let's find a better avenue: Change the thinking of the wider, more influential artists, and we may have a chance. ::sigh:: At least Graphicstudio has a pulse. Rosenquist, among others, come here to produce their world famous prints, and they have quite an interesting collection of artists, (http://www.graphicstudio.usf.edu/artistsmain.html), but unfortunately, that seems lost on most people. Trust me. Watch a few tourists walk into a gallery and leave, bored after five minutes, and you'll start to believe it.

Onward.... Personally, I believe Ashley is doing a fine job. I've found her columns interesting and well written, and not--as she has been accused--inflamatory. I lament the backlash against her, and I can only put it down to, dare I say it? Yes. Sexism. I too, Ashley, used to submit a column to the PCR, unfortunately it was dead on arrival. I commend Ashley for her column, and for the stir it has caused. But I don't see it as particularly harmful to the PCR. I saw nothing legally harmful at all. Don't let them discourage you, Ashley. Just keep sending them in. :) I lament that we lost Patty's contributions (Patty G. Henderson, "Murder on the Woo Woo Express"--N), though I thoroughly sympathize with her, as an author myself.

Also, I applaud Terence too, for his tirades and his columns. I especially look forward to them, yes, his History of the Blues series was indeed a highlight. I also look forward to Digital Divide. Gotta say though, I didn't like the Zwan CD at all (Digital Divide, PCR # 156---N). What is Billy Corgan doing? Oh, right. Spending too much time trying to be a roadie for Cheap Trick, which is not necessarily a bad thing! ;o) (Not to bash my dear CT. Love 'em!)

So, I think that covers it. Just keep doing the PCR however you like, Nolan; it's your PCR and I enjoy it quite a bit. In fact, I look forward to future editions. :)

Best wishes to all at the PCR,
Laure [Piper

And thank you Lauré for your always incisive views and kind words of support---always appreciated! ---Nolan


Prologue (I know you like prologues, Nolan): I honestly don't mean to beat the subject of Ashley Lauren's Hollywood into the ground, Nolan, nor do I want this to be a back-n-forth tennis game bashing. But it's inconceivable that I not respond to Terence Nuzum's "attack" on my letters to the editor. (Issue 161's Terence's "Tirade", where afterwards I asked readers to write to Terence not to me--no prob, Andy!---Nolan) I'd like the PCR staff to know that I regarded Terence's response as tongue-in-cheek (for whatever reason) and actually laughed out loud after reading it. Here we go...

Dear Terence,
Woke up on the wrong side of the Craftmatic, didn't we? Another bad hair day? All I can say is WOW!!! My first critic!!! I'm humbled...Steve Persall, give me your best shot!!! Thanks for priming me for any potential critical attacks on my soon-to-be-released horror film "Filthy" (which will be debuting soon at a local film festival, and which was shot on Super 16mm on a budget of $35,000). I know now how much you love it when Nolan plugs my new movie.

Upon reading your response, Terence, it begged the question: what's this dude so peeved about? Lots, obviously. Mad at the world. Can't blame you. I'd like to start dissecting the response:

ATTACK #1: "Now on to Mr. Andy 'Stuck in the past so far I'm lost up my own a%*' Lalino."
I won't deny that I, in general, live in the past. I'm just being 100% honest with people in general and myself. Do I think pop culture 2003 measures up to the '70s and early/mid '80s? No. Not at all. From the release of "Star Wars" in 1977 to the decline of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films in 1987 was when you had the best filmmaking talent (Spielberg, dePalma, Carpenter, Romero, Argento, George Miller, just to name a few) making genre films, which, in my opinion, were the best in their respective careers. Hell, in 1995 you'd be hard-pressed to even think of one horror film that was released that year. THEN: The Road Warrior, The Thing, Suspiria, Friday the 13th, 7 Doors of Death (aka The Beyond), Alien & Aliens, Escape from New York. NOW: Maid in Manhattan, Ice Age, Anger Management, The Wedding Planner, What a Girl Wants. See a difference?

I am a warrior, Mr. Nuzum, in the war to ensure that horror/sci-fi/ and fantasy films with a '70s attitude rises like a phoenix from the ashes in this day and age of celebrity machines and pixel wizards, and FILTHY is the first salvo!

ATTACK #2: "No one asked what you want to read here simply because we write for ourselves and for our own satisfaction."
Isn't that the wrong attitude to have for an online 'zine? To a degree, all art is somewhat "selfish", but if Picasso created a painting and stuck it in the basement, no one could experience it, now could they?

Should PCR be more well-defined, then? There seems to be a Jekyll & Hyde aspect to the site, namely nostalgic nods (Matt's Rail featuring frequent articles on FM, Mad Matt's Plastic People, Schlockarama) to highlights of current pop culture & movies ("Malibu's Most Wanted" - come on...). This warrior must strike when encountering contamination (like a review of MMW on a otherwise very cool site).

ATTACK #3: "This is not your PCR, it's ours, so stop pretending like anyone should care if you are mad because a new column takes up space that could be used to promote your new film/You simply sit there and bitch about what we are not providing you with and in the mean time use space for your own publicity."
I never once asked Nolan to promote "Filthy" (right, Nolan?). He did it out of the want to help promote local filmmakers, which is thick as dog (translation: awesome).

ATTACK #4: "You want to know what Barbara Steele is up to? She's a bitter old woman who won't sign autographs (e-mail me personally for that story). Corman? Ha, he's lucky if he can get a nurse to put on a film for him, much less make one. John Carpenter can burn in hell with all his damn money for all I care since he hasn't made a good film since "In The Mouth Of Madness"."
Sacrilege! Infidel!!!

I think "Christine" was his last great movie...

ATTACK #5: "you are not a contributer..."
...actually I was going to ask Nolan if he'd publish my review of "Battle in Outer Space" on Schlockarama...(Hell yes! Send it in! Will's willing to share the spotlight.--Nolan)

Plus, you are a hypocrite! You blast me for living in the past, and yet, according to your review of "House of 1,000 Corpses" (in which you were far too generous) you are a self-admitted "'70s horror buff"!!! And, I'll have you know I loved 'Saw 2!

To sum up, I ask you, Terence, what's your angle? You obviously are a rebel (which is admirable), railing against everyone from Spielberg to James Woods (INFIDEL!!! May you sleep under Saddam's shoes!) to Roger Corman to myself, yet you defend the current status of pop culture and evidently have no desire to steer it back toward quality genre films. I think your point is that you are adamant about PCR having the right to write/review anything they want, which is the way it should be, but God forbid if readers have another opinion. Newsflash: It 'aint all about you.

If you don't like Roger Corman, Steven Spielberg, Roy Scheider, or James Woods, who the hell do you like? Mary Kate & Ashley?

Well, that brings me to the end of my response to Terence's comments. I did want to state that I was immeasurably amused, and enjoyed the punk attitude that is missing in today's conformists. Don't change, but remember: Lovecraft fans should stick together...

To Steve Beasley
I don't want to give the impression that I am against dramas, comedies, or independent films, esp. the indies, because I feel that indie film and horror are blood brothers whose goal is to buck the Hollywood system (for instance, IFC is very horror-friendly, unlike Sundance). At times I admittedly do get jealous of the indies (Greek Wedding, Swingers) because over the past 10+ years they have replaced horror as an alternative to the mainstream.

What I am saying is that the reality is horror/sci-fi/ and fantasy were the rage all through the '70s (and before) up to the mid '80s, and I wish for those types to be crowned once again as the rightful genre leaders of today. In order to do that, it is imperative that genre talent goes on the offensive, and gathers together the talent required to take on the celebrity machine and pixel wizardry that has embedded itself in Hollywood. Let's face it; CG and Sandra Bullocks have replaced sex and violence as the motivator to see movies.

Back then you had the greatest filmmakers creating genre films, such as Tobe Hooper's "Poltergeist" and "'Saw"; Spielberg's "Jaws", "Raiders" (let's not talk about the sequels...); "ET", and Carpenter's "Halloween" and "The Thing" which to this day remain their best work. A genre picture came out just about every week (both indie and Hollywood), which was an absolute thrill to a young teenage boy (like I was back then). If you take a look at today's top filmmakers, they rarely do horror (although some, like Tarantino, say it was an influence), and quite honestly they're nowhere near the talent levels of the genre greats (Hooper, Spielberg, Lucas, etc.). They're more into doing "thrillers" or copying Tarantino than doing a genre film. That's okay, but it really makes me wonder how a generation (my generation), raised on genre films, can be so traitorous when coming into their own and making motion pictures. Why do they choose Woody Allen as their influence and not George Romero? Don't get it.

Fast forward to now. I'm looking through the movie section of the St. Pete. Times; check this out: "Chasing Papi". "The Real Cancun". "Malibu's Most Wanted". "What a Girl Wants". I honestly don't know what to say. If it's not evident that there is a major problem here, I don't know what else to do that will convince people. I really don't understand the choices kids have today: "Bringing Down the House" and "The Fast and the Furious 2" when way back when we could choose from "The Empire Strikes Back", "The Fog", "The Breakfast Club", and "Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter". Kids should be raised on horror and sci-fi, just like it was in the '30s, '50s (the '40s sucked), '60s, '70s, and most of the '80s. Anything else is criminal.

I now want to quickly address the issue of "Greek Wedding". Most people are under the assumption that it was and is an indie film, but remember it was produced by Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson (look it up), and I'm sure its distribution was well-strategized and had enough money thrown at it. Plus, I'm sure the distributors know that few women can resist a wedding movie, especially with an ethnic flair complete with quarreling family members. To be fair, I haven't seen MBFGW, so I don't want to malign it unjustly, but I will admit that the romantic comedy is a genre (probably the first and foremost genre) that must be sought out and destroyed.

I also want to make it clear as crystal that I do not believe that certain types of films/subject matter should be removed from PCR (it is Nolan's site, after all), but I as a reader have the right to express my opinion concerning the content. I know Nolan; he and I have much in common, our love of genre films, foremost. When I think of PCR, I do perceive it to be a primarily genre-oriented fanzine, thanks to the contributions of Nolan and the writers ('fer cryin' out loud Bill Moriarty just reviewed "Humanoids from the Deep"!), most of which write about genre subjects, for instance Matt Drinnenberg is a big Famous Monsters of Filmland fan; William Moriarity is a genre fan too and has a deep respect for bygone Florida, Matt Cerranto writes about action figures, most of which are from horror/sci-fi/fantasy films. But I am also a realist and willing to admit that not all people are particularly interested in those subjects.

In my response to Terence Nuzum's response stated above, I stated that I am a "warrior" whose goal it was to re-crown the horror/sci-fi/fantasy film as the genre leaders of today, kind of like a real-life Cecil B. Demented. I stand by that statement and will do whatever it takes to bring down films like "Maid in Manhattan", "Ice Age" (can't stand those animated character movies), "The Fast and the Furious", "Jackass", and other dreck since horror and sci-fi crumbled back in 1987. Whatever it takes, baby! Minds must be changed and steered. Sex and violence must return. Therefore I must stand up and challenge non-cool films, art, and music that dare steal the spotlight from the cool ones. Britney Spears 'aint no Claire Grogan - people have to be reminded of that.

I'm sure I've bored PCR readers long enough! Sorry again!

- Andy (Living in the Past) Lalino
P.S.: Terence, I did see "Phone Booth", "Below", "Minority Report", and selections from "The Animatrix", so I'm not totally a 36-year-old geezer...

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    "Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2003 by William Moriaty    This week's movie review of "Identity" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "Mad Matt's Plastic People" is ©2003 by Matt Cerrato    "Ashley Lauren's Hollywood" is ©2003 by Ashley Lauren Lewis    Add'l thanks to Lauré Piper and Andy Lalino for their input in "Letters"      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova

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